Professional, high quality, and wearable, everyday designs. There is a reason I have sewed three Megan Nielsen patterns. And the relaxed and versatile Hovea jacket did not disappoint!
I snapped up the Hovea Jacket pattern as soon as it was released. Not only did I love the casual style and relaxed fit, but I had had my eye on the Lunar Black Jacquard Square fabric from Merchant & Mills for some time, I just wasn’t sure what to make out of it. So when I saw the green version of the Hovea Jacket (pictured above) I was pretty inspired!
This review has been a long time coming as I actually made my jacket mid last year. So I thought it was about time I share my review of this super comfortable and versatile jacket pattern, and my experience using an unfamiliar fabric.
Wrap-up of this review
The maker: Megan Nielsen
Megan Nielsen is the Founder and Creative Director of the indie sewing brand Megan Nielsen Patterns.
Megan Nielsen offers everyday, wearable sewing patterns for women and children, as well as a range of notions and labels. Despite being based in Perth, Western Australia, Megan Nielsen Patterns can be bought online through the Megan Nielsen website (offering worldwide shipping), and via a number of stockists located across the globe. You shouldn't have any trouble purchasing one wherever you are located.
I have worked with three Megan Nielsen patterns now, and what has kept me coming back is;
The number of versions each pattern includes, providing you the creative license to mix and match, and really create the garment you want or need.
The unsurpassed level of professionalism and quality, apparent in the:
The instruction booklet, which is one the best I have come across so far. Not only is it beautifully presented like the pattern envelope, but the booklet form is super easy to manage, and the instructions and diagrams are detailed and easy to follow.
The patterns are professionally printed on high quality white tissue paper that are really easy to cut and pin. The markings on the pattern pieces are also really clear and easy to follow.
You are not alone in sewing your patterns. The Megan Nielsen website offers inspiring and helpful tutorials, advice and styling (e.g. fabrications), sew-a-longs, and blogs from the workroom.
What's included in the pattern?
The Hovea Jacket is available in paper and PDF format in two size ranges, 0-20, drafted for a B cup, and Curve 14-30, drafted for a D cup.
The pattern offers six different versions, allowing for a lot of personalisation.
View A: mid length unlined with collar band
View B: mid length quilted with binding
View C: lined with collar band and belt
View D: quilted with binding
View E: unlined, cropped with collar band
View F: quilted cropped with biding
Therefore, you can make the pattern simpler or more involved with the choice of fabric (quilted or non quilted), length (cropped, mid and long), the addition of a belt or waist tie closure, and lining.
I am a stickler for traditional paper patterns when they are available, so I purchased the paper version, which came with 4 A0 full size pattern pages printed on high-quality tissue paper, and a 22 page instruction booklet.
As I mentioned previously, the instruction booklet that comes with Megan Nielsen patterns are one of my favourites. The sewing instructions are really detailed, written in easy to understand language, and accompanied by clear diagrams. The booklet covers everything from;
a description of each of the six variations,
what to do with your fabric before you start,
a shopping list of required fabrics and notions,
ideas for customising the pattern,
various cutting layout suggestions,
detailed binding requirements, and;
detailed instructions with accompanying technical drawings.
What's involved in sewing this jacket?
The Hovea Jacket sits somewhere in between confident beginner and intermediate level. While the design is relatively minimal, requiring pretty straightforward sewing, the pattern becomes that little more challenging and time consuming depending on the version and fabric you choose (e.g. quilting your own).
I opted for the cropped length jacket (sitting just below the waist) with collar band and waist tie (View E), and added a lining. The actual sewing of this version was fairly straightforword but the pattern will still have you practising some pretty useful sewing techniques including;
creating lined pockets with facings.
inserting the sleeves using the insert method.
attaching and bagging out a lining.
attaching a collar band.
Opting for one of the other versions may also have you quilting fabric, binding internal seams and external edges, and attaching ties and hang loops.
Overall, I really liked sewing this jacket, there were just a couple of minor things I noticed and made adjustments for:
The angled pockets are rather shallow, almost to the point of being unusable. It would be hard to actually store things in them without running the risk of them falling out. Personally, my phone is probably the only thing I tend to carry in my pocket. Therefore, I chose to hand stitch the suggested pocket divide using the width of my phone as a guide making it more secure. If I was to make this version again, I would probably lengthen this version of jacket slightly to compensate for the shallow pockets.
The fabric became very bulky in parts, particularly around the pockets and at the outer edges. My fabric was overly bulky, but I did find myself trimming some of the seam allowances and corners down, something which I try to avoid.
I also opted for hand stitching (or anchoring) instead of 'stitching in the ditch' around the collar band and hem for a more invisible and neater finish. This comes down to personal preference though.
The Hovea Jacket is a relaxed style of jacket. Therefore, like most things I tend to make, it is definitely a little more forgiving when it comes to fit than other styles.
The oversized design, dropped shoulders and roomy sleeves make it a great option for those cooler days here in Munich when you need to add a few extra layers underneath. I made a size 0, and have plenty of room for a base and mid layer underneath.
A variety of fabrics could be used for this pattern depending on which version you choose, and the overall look you are hoping to achieve. The suggested fabric for versions B, D and F is a light to medium weight fabic, such as cotton, chambray or linen. These versions include a bias bound edge so it would be best to avoid anything too buiky. For versions A, C and E, a medium to heavy weight fabric like linen, boiled wool or suiting, would be fine. The use of a pre-quilted fabric could be used for all versions.
When it came to my version, I was inspired by the green jacket featured on the pattern envelope. I instantly thought of the Lunar Black Jacquard Square from Merchant & Mills that I had had my eye on. This layered 100% cotton with jacquard weave has the look and feel of being quilted, featuring a grid-like pattern, with squares of approx. 4cm.
While I didn't have to quilt the fabric myself, the challenge came from the grid-like pattern of the jacquard, and having to match the squares. In some instances, it made cutting out easier as I was able to simply follow the lines of the grid (e.g. at the side seams or hem). However, to make the rest of the cutting a little easier for myself, I chose to work with a single layer of the fabric at a time, tracing the pattern pieces onto the right side of the fabric in chalk. In doing so I was able to see pretty easily if the pattern was going to line up.
Tip: Due to the structure of this type of fabric, I strongly recommend overlocking the raw edges before commencing your project as this fabric frays a lot!
I also opted for a soft 100% cotton voile to line the jacket in.
Please get in touch or leave me a comment. I would love to know your thoughts on this review. Maybe I have inspired you to check out the Hovea Jacket and Coat Pattern.
Thanks for reading.
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