Choosing Fabric for Greenstyle’s Sundance Jacket

My jacket, in progress. I’ll use a solid color in class to make it easier to see details.

This is one of the topics we will discuss in class, but if you want to choose your material and cut strips for practice during class, I want to help you get ready!

The notes say that the pattern “…is suitable for medium to heavy weight stable knits like double knits, Ponte de Roma, scuba knit, medium-heavy weight Supplex.”

“Stable knit” is one of those terms that can scare you right off from choosing knits. Basically, it’s a knit fabric that has a little (not a lot) of stretch and a lot (not a little) recovery.

You want a fabric that has at least 25% stretch in the horizontal direction. To test this, fold a piece of your fabric along a top or bottom edge, line it up against a four-inch length of ruler or a gridded surface, and stretch it. It should easily stretch to 5 inches wide. If your fabric stretches a lot more than that, you may want to cut the next size down in the pattern.

In the vertical direction (along a selvedge edge), the fabric should stretch 25% or less.

Test recovery by poking your thumb or finger very firmly into the fabric near a selvedge edge. If, after a few minutes, you can still see where you poked the fabric, your fabric may not have enough recovery for this project.

I’m sewing my samples in Liverpool, which is a very easy-to-sew double knit fabric. (This is the exact fabric. Please note that we are not affiliated with Girl Charlee.) Another good option is Heavy Brushed Athletic Performance fabric from Greenstyle. (We are connected to Greenstyle, but this is not an affiliate link.)

I’ve seen lovely versions of this jacket in Supplex and in a reversible knit.

I also love the idea of making this jacket as my first scuba knit project. This one is so great!

Don’t forget that, whatever fabric you choose, you’ll probably want a lighter-weight fabric for your pockets. I’m using nylon tricot for mine. An athletic mesh would also be nice and very RTW.

For more background on sewing knit fabrics, check out this Threads Magazine article by Ann Person, a piece on Ponte Knits by Nancy Nix-Rice (subscription and login required), and Sourcing Scuba Knit by Stephani L. Miller.

Sundance Jacket Back and How to Add a Matching Notch to Any Sewing Pattern

I read over the directions for Greenstyle’s Sundance jacket and I felt like I knew where the sewing challenges would lie. I then proceeded to prove to myself that some issues only show up when you’re actually sewing!

Now, maybe some people won’t have trouble with this, but the first time I stitched the back yoke to the rest of the back, it ended up crooked. I picked out my stitching (and topstitching!) and redid it. Here are a few tips to avoid getting tripped up, as I did.

  • Instead of stitching from left to right on the yoke, stitch from the center back seam of the yoke to the outer edge of the back, then go back and stitch the other side from the center back seam to the other outer edge. This makes lining up the centers of the yoke and the back piece much simpler.
  • After stitching (before topstitching), lay out your back piece on a flat surface and check that it all looks good. If I had done this, I would have, at least, only had to take out the stitching and not both the stitching and topstitching to redo it.
  • Add a notch on the back yoke pieces where they should intersect with seam lines.

Adding a notch to make sure something matches is pretty easy. In this case, there’s a seam line I want to match up, so I started by marking out the seam allowances on the back center pattern piece and the yoke piece.

I then lined up the two seam allowances from the center-back seam out, pivoting to bring them into line with each other as they curved, until I found the place the yoke should intersect with the seam between the center back and side back pattern pieces. I then marked that spot.

The little cross you see there isn’t because I did this on Easter. It’s so that, when I cut the pattern again, I know to only cut my notch about halfway into the seam allowance. Sometimes when I see a longer line like the first one I drew, I overcut my notch and that creates a weak spot in the seam.

There you have it! Matching notches are a pretty easy way to see if you’re off track when sewing before you even finish stitching the entire seam.

Curious about sewing your own fantastic athleisurewear jacket? Check out our class coming up on May 22, 2021. If we have time in class, I’ll go over this, again!