I saw some near-instant buzz among my fellow sewists around the Seamwork Lilliana jacket when it was released as one of the magazine’s October patterns, and I agreed. The cropped, boxy silhouette is well balanced by the gentle curve of the hem and the open front, and the bias binding method means it’s a quick sew.
Since the introduction of their new fitting blocks earlier this year, Seamwork patterns come in two size ranges, 0-16 (C cup) and 18-26 (DD cup). My measurements are 43” high bust, 47” full bust, 37” waist, and 53” hips. I’m slightly above average height at 5’7” and I consider my body type to be a full-hipped hourglass.
I made a size 18, with no fitting adjustments to the body. I omitted the back seam by removing 5/8” and cutting on the fold, in order to avoid pattern matching. I did do a full bicep adjustment of about 2” (which wasn’t quite enough – more on that later). I have to do this adjustment on every sleeved pattern I make, woven or knit, but I’m not quite happy with my method and am still perfecting it.
The reason I made this pattern so quickly after its release was finding a remnant of this gorgeous, graphic Japanese wool-blend suiting at my local fabric warehouse store, SR Harris. The pattern calls for coating or suiting fabrics, and I would suggest something with a medium body. As it’s unlined, consider the feeling of the fabric against your skin. I also made my own bias binding from a lightweight navy wool/polyester blend.
The construction process is pretty straightforward, with clear instructions for constructing the body. After examining the pattern pieces, I chose to omit the back seam as it is a straight line and cutting on the fold avoids the need to pattern-match. I’m uncertain why Seamwork included a back seam if it’s not providing any shaping. Completing the bias binding around the edges of the jacket took a little more concentration, as at four points the shape requires the creation of a mitered corner. The instructions for the corners took me a bit to puzzle out – if you’ve never done a mitered corner with double-fold bias tape, I’d suggest doing a practice one, as the insides of mine don’t look very neat! I also trimmed down the bias tape and seam allowance after stitching the first fold, in order to make the bias tape fold over more cleanly, which the instructions do not call for.
After wearing my Lilliana a few times, I like but don’t love the fit. On my body, the jacket front overlaps about 2.5” when worn close to the body, quite different from the line drawings and model photographs, in which the jacket sits just a bit open at front. I believe that this, combined with a slightly wide-set shoulder span and a fairly large bust dart, weighs the front panels down and pushes them open. This results in the jacket looking very boxy and oversized on me. In my opinion, the front panel should be narrower. While Seamwork’s new plus-size block is cut for a DD cup (5” difference between high bust and full bust), which I love as it’s unusual in the indie pattern world, in a boxy jacket like this the dart needn’t be quite so large to give sufficient shaping. My full bicep adjustment wasn’t quite sufficient, as well, so the sleeves are just a touch tight.
I do want to make another Lilliana jacket, as I think I have identified fitting changes that would make it more successful on my body. I would adjust the front panels to fix the issues described above, and, for my body, bring the shoulder seam forward and inward and cut a slightly larger sleeve to give more room to move my arms.
If you’re thinking about making this pattern, I would suggest holding the pieces up to your body to judge both the width of the back neckline/shoulders and the width of the front panels, and adjust accordingly before cutting your fabric.
Size Range (1-5) 4 – Their size range is one of the biggest in the indie world, though I wish their sleeves were cut more proportionally in the plus sizes
Instructions (1-5) 4 – The clarity of the bias binding steps was just a bit lacking, but the rest was clear.
Construction Process 5 – Simple and straightforward
Final Fit (1-5) 2 – I’m disappointed with the fairly major difference in fit between the actual pattern pieces and the line drawings and model photographs. This is a fairly simply cut garment, so even a small difference in width dramatically changes the look.
Overall Rating (1-5) 3.5 – I would recommend it, but with caveats regarding fit. I think the curved hem and boxy silhouette works well on a variety of body types, and it would sew up beautifully in a dramatic, statement coating or suiting fabric.