Summer Jacket – Frida’s Garden

A review of Unisex Ilford Jacket

Reviewed by Natasha on 3rd June, 2021

Sometimes when sewing, I have a definite plan in mind and it’s all plain sailing.

Sometimes that plan goes straight out the window and I cross my fingers and hope for the best. This project is one of the latter but lucky for me – it turned out to be great!

I bought this lovely cotton aptly titled Frida’s Garden in a New Year Sale. It’s a quilting cotton but that did not deter me, kept it aside, thinking it would be perfect for a crisp summer dress. Then the heatwave came and on Saturday I sat down to cut the fabric ready for my summer shirt dress. But alas to my dismay neither pattern I had in mind (Megan Neilsen Darling dress or TATB Lyra dress) would fit!

In my eagerness, I forgot to measure how much fabric I had! This is 114cm so narrower than I’m used to, and it has quite a large directional print (Frida is about 11 inches tall) so I had to go back to the planning board.

Not wanting to purchase another pattern, I reviewed what I have and after looking online I saw a few Ilford Jackets which had been hacked into a dress, which I thought could work for the overall idea I had.

I found Chelsea from Friday Pattern Company has a tutorial online which was helped to cement my plans. I’ve made this pattern before (see previous post for review) and knew it was a simple make in terms of construction so felt confident in making this. Following her steps, here’s my finished shirt dress!

It’s pretty much the same as sewing the jacket with shorter boxy sleeves, adding a little side slit at the thigh and a belt with belt loops.

Chelsea recommends to lengthen the jacket but I didn’t have enough fabric so this is the longer length jacket in a size S no modifications. Maybe a tad too short but hey, that’s what I have nude colour cycling shorts for!

I’ve made this before and the construction was straightforward. With no pockets or sleeve placket, I made this in one afternoon and it was a chilled, stress free few hours sewing.

When I tried this on mid-sew I was really unhappy – probably because I still hadn’t come to terms that it’s not a Lyra which I had my heart set on. But when I tried it on after sewing on the last button, my feelings were the exact opposite – it’s such a lovely dress, I’m really glad I made it and would definitely recommend everyone try out this pattern! Whether it’s the jacket or over shirt/dress hack, you will not be disappointed!

This may not be the exact dress I had in mind, but it’s a damn good effort and, regardless, this fabric makes me happy, it brings me joy and that is enough to ensure this piece will be worn a lot this summer! I also think it’s quite a versatile item – it can be worn as a summer jacket, over shirt, swimwear cover up or dress, and can be dressed up or kept casual.

Happy sewing and thanks for reading 🌸