Recently I had the privilege to test a new pattern for Kennis at Itch to Stitch. I have done quite a bit of testing for different designers over the past couple of years but I always particularly love to test for Kennis because, in my opinion, she has a knack for making sewing simple. Techniques in which sewist shy away, like jeans fly or button plackets, are made to seem like beginners’ work with the explanations and drawings that are presented in an Itch to Stitch pattern.

Although she has never expressed it that I am aware of, I believe Kennis has a good amount of sewing knowledge in her sewing repertoire just waiting to be released in her patterns. In brief, with some good motivation and patience, it seems any level of sewer could enjoy and sew her patterns due to her knowledge and ability to teach. I promise she is not paying me to say these things. Everything in this post and future sew along posts is strictly my opinion.

Kennis does have a few knit fabric patterns but has also delved in to the woven pattern world which is somewhat dangerous due to the continual issues people experience with fit. Reason number 2 on why I appreciate her patterns. They fit me pretty well and I have minimal fit issues. This, I find surprising because it is no surprise that designers mostly design for themselves and then grade up or down. I am solidly in the curvy lady pattern category and Kennis is not. I don’t have an explanation for this but am happy it works for me!

So back to pattern testing. I tested the Salamanca Jacket and fell in love. The pattern looks medium level complicated but it is not largely due to good pattern drafting and easy to understand instructions. There are a few tricky parts but with patience and determination I think can be overcome. It is a cropped style which is my favorite jacket style because I am a shorty but it works equally well on those taller. It can be lined or unlined (I think – we will find out). One can fancy it up or dress it down and add closures or not. But whatever design or fitting tweeks the pattern is given, when all is said and done one will have a solid wardrobe stable.

You can read Kennis’ blog post announcing the pattern release here as well as see many more examples of finished Salamanca Jackets. In the testing phase, my biggest regret is not spending more time carefully selecting fabric. It wasn’t very far in to my testing, and after I knew I had good fit, that I regretted not bringing out the “good fabric”. While I absolutely loved the comfort level of my main fabric and the vibrant blue of my lining, it is somewhat limited due to the print and definitely falls in to the more casual category. Also, my print is a bit, shall we say, dated?

Well, the only way to remedy my fabric choice was to make more! And, after deciding I would be sewing up at least one, maybe two more, it was a small leap to decide on a sew along.

Over the next month I would love for you to join me in sewing this great little jacket. I will be sewing two versions over the course of the month, lined and unlined (fingers crossed).

Kennis has graciously offered up a couple of prizes  from her shop and will be available to answer questions via her fb page. To eligible for the prize, you must complete the sew along.

Also, Kennis is offering 20% off the Salamanca pattern for those who want to sew along. Discount code is: salamancasal and is valid until 4/15/16. Pattern is available here.

The schedule will be as follows (please note schedule is subject to change based on the needs of a husband, college student and 17 year old soon to graduate):

March 16th – This post

March 18th – Determining size, preparing pattern, fabric choices

March 23rd – Making a muslin and adjusting fit issues

March 25th – Cutting fashion fabric, applying interfacing, preparing to sew

March 30th – Sew outer shell, sew lining shell

April 1st – Attaching hem facing, sewing lining to outer shell

April 6th – Sleeves, attaching yoke

April 13th – Adding closures

April 15th – Gallery of finishes, prizes awarded!

Hope to see you on the 18th!

P.S. Come join us for sew a long fun at Sewalongs and Sewing Contest fb page! A fun group of sewists who come together monthly and/or quarterly to sew all types of garments and stuff! Oh, and there are prizes!