At the end of last year I was doing some (last minute, of course!) sewing of 2 Christmas presents for my brother in law and my aunt. I made my brother in law a linen Ilford Jacket. When I lived with him and my sister last Summer, he mentioned that he would like a worker-type jacket for fulfilling his full Monty Don style vibes. I didn’t get around to making it before I moved out and then I thought making it as a surprise for Christmas would be a nice idea. Thank you to my sister for sneaking around and measuring his clothes so we could figure out what size to make.
I made the size large so he would definitely have room for a jumper underneath – his measurements were kind of between the medium and the large. I lengthened the sleeves a little (can’t quite remember now by how much, maybe 7cm?). The sleeves did end up a little long, but I think they look kind of good rolled up. The fabric was linen & cotton mix in the colour denim from Fabric Godmother and it was a dream to work with.
Because the Ilford is an unlined jacket pattern, I decided to bias bind all of the seams on the inside to make it look nice, and be more durable (as linen can fray quite badly). This was the first time I’ve done this technique and it was pretty time-consuming, I have to admit! I made the binding from the same fabric so that added to the time. But I’m honestly so pleased with how it turned out that I don’t regret the extra time I put into it. And I always kind of feel like if I make something for someone else, it has to be more ‘perfect’ than if it’s for me – I’ll still wear makes with little mistakes, but I don’t want someone I’ve given something to to feel like a mistake annoys them when they wear the garment, or they don’t want to wear it at all (even worse!).
I added a bunch of the square pockets and a pen pocket, and did the non-placket sleeves. The Ilford is kind of a modular pattern so you can mix and match various details to your own taste. I had actually sewn the pattern before, for myself (though I haven’t got around to sharing it here yet) and I’m glad I didn’t just dive in making this one without knowing roughly how the jacket came together. Having said that, the instructions are great and there are extra video tutorials for some of the steps if you’re more of a video-learner than a text-learner (I find I need a combination, depending on how complicated the technique is).
The second gift I made, for my amazing Aunt, was Helen’s Closet’s Sam Apron and thankfully she loved it! I asked what she would like for Christmas and she said an apron – I had no idea that she likes aprons and uses them all the time, and therefore needs a few on rotation for when they’re in the wash (she may or may not be getting a new apron for every Birthday and Christmas from now on!). The pattern is excellent and free, btw!
Sorry for the lack of photos, I was making it so last minute that I wrapped it as soon as it was off my machine and then thought ‘doh, I didn’t take any pictures’. The fabric is, of course, the Strawberry Thief by William Morris. It was too late to order fabric online and make sure it arrived by the time I decided to make the apron so I went to John Lewis in Oxford and was pleasantly surprised to find this gem! I don’t usually use John Lewis for fabric as I think it’s overpriced for the quality but needs must.
Can you spot the pocket below, btw?
Blurry photo to demonstrate the completely invisible, pattern matched pocket – I was pretty proud of myself, I have to admit. Pattern matching has never been my forte and I had only just enough fabric to make this work but I’m so glad it did!
The Sam pattern also has loops to hang your tea towels through – genius! I also love an apron because there are no fastenings!
It’s been a few years since I made any Christmas presents, I think, and I actually enjoyed it this year – I actually did start the jacked in plenty of time and I had a whole weekend to cut out and sew the apron so it wasn’t quite as last minute as it could have been. I think for me only trying to do a couple is going to be the way I do it from now on – trying to make things for everyone is where madness lies! Unless you start in, like, March I guess….
Did you make any Christmas presents this year or do you not like the pressure?