Pattern Review: Stay Cozy Jacket
When I first saw Carolena’s Elevation Jacket, I immediately went “WANT”. Of course, having limited funds, and being a non-standard size on the other side of the Atlantic didn’t help. However, I did have a few metres of black cotton sweatshirt fabric in my stash. So off I went to find something that would work for me. And as per usual, I ended with something that was nothing like the original inspiration.
I found Ellie and Mac’s Stay Cozy Jacket pattern and saw the potential straight away. No, I wasn’t too inspired by the photos on the website, I have to say, until I saw the monochrome versions. It had an asymmetric hemline I liked, and the hood I wanted. The pattern was inexpensive, printing the pdf and assembling it was a bit annoying but not terrible. Afterwards, I traced it while adding a bit of an extra shaping: slightly bigger armscythes, stronger waist, bigger skirt. The instructions that came with the pattern were incredibly detailed and easy to follow, long but worth reading in full before starting. The method of assembly was unusual for me: shoulder seams, then pockets, then sleeves with open sides, then sides, was a bit weird to me to begin with. But let me say this: it might take a bit to understand how it goes, but once you figure out the method, you’ll start using it everywhere because it makes setting sleeves so much easier!
What I liked the most about this pattern was the potential for customisation. The most obvious customisation you can make is the fabric. I made the first one in black sweatshirt fabric. It saw me through most of that first winter and is still heavily used today. The double layer of thick warm fabric for the hood and each of the front pieces means I have four layers of sweatshirt over my chest. If yours, like mine, reacts badly to the cold, you would appreciate this extra layering. I made a second one in light crushed velvet fabric in velour, with added pieces along the side seams to create an irregular hem. For that one, I lined the hood and front pieces with cottom & lycra jersey, leftover from some stretch pantaloons I made. It’s not something to wear if you want to go unnoticed, but I love it, and it’s fun for mid-season. I made a third one in cotton jersey, no lining, to take on summer holidays. It was brilliant as a light jacket or coverup. I added an internal pocket on the front pieces for extra safety for my wallet and phone on public transport, and the hood saved me having to drag along a hat.
You can also customise it by altering the loose shape, like I did. The pieces are straightfowards enough that it is easy to see where you can alter the shape for a tailored look. You can also add extra pieces for a hankie type hem. A third option would be to add items like trims or details along hood or sleeves. I’ve used the hood piece with a shrug pattern and added cotton twill and D-rings to get a more industrial look.The simplicity of the pattern makes it very easy to alter to your needs, and take it from post-apocalyptic couture to fairy summer festival with just a couple of changes and different fabric.
Finally, you can also change the styling. I have pretty much ignored the tie it comes with it and have opted for wide wrap around belts. I have a bought one in faux leather, and have made one in teal brocade. I’m pretty sure I’ll make at least a couple more with those small cuts of brocade I’ve got in my stash, to go with different “vibes”.
I said at the beginning I made this pattern because I had been inspired by the Elevation Jacket. So, what’s my overall evaluation? Is it worth getting this pattern or getting an Elevation? The answer, as usual, is, “it depends”. They are similar enough but very different. Is it “cheaper” than getting an Elevation Jacket? Not really, once you add up the fabric cost and the time they take to put together. There’s a reason Carolena is a professional and we aren’t. I’ve finished three of these so far, with different options, took about two afternoons to do each time. Good thing I make clothing to relax and not for sale! Is it “nicer”? That will be entirely up to you. These have a simpler cut but a statement hood. Elevation Jackets are much more complex with the waterfall front and more tailored back. Can it “replace” the Elevation Jacket? Probably, if what you’re after is light or medium jacket that can go from casual to somewhat dressy, or if, like me, you need a hood. But that’s not the point, is it? We don’t sew to replace anything. We sew because we like the process and enjoy making things that are unique to us. So if what you want is the capability to customise everything in your casual jacket to your own design, then maybe this *is* the way for you. I can heartily recommend the pattern and the method outlined in the instructions. I can also heartily recommend exploring how you can make it more interesting for you. The pattern is a solid foundation that will allow you to do that.
Would you make this? How would you modify it? Let me know in the comments!