As I sat down to write this blog post, I just realized a weird coincidence about this garment that hadn’t occurred to me until today! During maternity leave with my daughter back in 2018, we decided to make the most of the end of my leave and took a trip to the mountains with some friends and our baby girl before I returned to work.I brought a couple of newly sewn pieces along on that trip, and got some excellent photos of the new coat I’d sewn while out in the snow.
After having my baby boy back in August of 2021, we decided to do the same thing and took a trip out to San Francisco during the last bit of my maternity leave to enjoy a little change of pace in our family time before we went back to the normal grind. Again, I packed a couple of newly sewn pieces to photograph while on vacation… And I’m realizing today that I now have fun pictures of two very different Wiksten Unfolding Jackets from both of these maternity leave trips! What an odd thing!!
So here is my “Baby Boy’s Maternity Leave Vacation Wiksten Unfolding Jacket” (gonna have to workshop that name…)! This jacquard canvas spoke to me as soon as I clicked on it. It comes in more than 10 colorways, and they are all lovely. In fact, when I reached out to Minerva to indicate that I wanted to work with this fabric, I’m pretty sure I listed at least 5 of the variations as options, knowing I’d love whichever one may get sent my way. This one has a lot of lovely detail up close, and from afar gives off an overall magenta hue. As is typical with jacquards, the weave of the fabric can be seen in different variations on the right and wrong sides of the fabric. With this particular fabric, it was difficult to identify the right vs wrong side without getting pretty up close and personal!
As is the curse of buying fabrics online, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I chose this fabric. I knew that I’d think up something great to make with it, but it was hard to narrow down what I wanted to do without feeling the weight and hand of the fabric. My original thought was this exact pattern, but I worried that it may be too thick or too thin for what I had in my mind. I’m happy to report that this fabric is perfect for a mid-weight jacket! As a jacquard canvas, it is sturdy and does not offer much drape. I wouldn’t recommend it for a top or dress, but I think it may make a lovely structured skirt, as well (something like the Patti Pocket Skirt by Amy Nicole patterns would be so nice!).
This day of our vacation was one of my favorites. The dates we’d chosen for our trip ended up coinciding with an event my husband’s company would be attending in San Francisco, so our trip was mostly pleasure with a little business snuck in towards the beginning. We are lucky that my husband works with some very cool humans, some of whom have young kids like ours, so we had built in friends and entertainment for the families. On this day, though, we did some sight-seeing as just a family of four. We visited the Golden Gate Bridge and drove up the coast to a delicious oyster shack that my husband has been pining for since his last trip here many years ago!
It happened to be Halloween, so our little ones wore their costumes some of the day while we explored. The weather was unseasonably warm throughout our trip, but on this day it was perfectly foggy in the morning, and gave way to bright sunshine so we had a beautiful view along with our oyster lunch. This jacket made the perfect blanket for two during our misty morning, and my daughter was VERY entertained at being carried around inside of it!
A few details on the jacket itself – this is the shortest length of the jacket. I believe I had previously made the mid-length option, and was bummed to find that I hadn’t printed out the pocket pattern pieces for the shorter length when printing this pattern 3 years ago. In a very lazy state, I went ahead and drew out my own pieces rather than finding my way to a computer to print them, so I’m not sure how these compare to the actual intended size of the pockets on this version. However, I’m quite happy with them and I love that I can nix the purse when wearing this!
I lined the jacket with some simple cotton I found on my shelves. I’m trying to focus on using some of the fabrics from my shelves this year, so between that desire and not wanting to leave the house during the early weeks of my maternity leave, I was very motivated to make something I already had work here. I’d originally hoped to go with a darker color lining, but I love the detail of the turned up sleeve cuff on this jacket and this sky blue kept catching my eye, so I went for it! I’ll be honest that cotton is not the ideal lining, though, and I do believe it contributes to the boxy nature of this jacket. I love the color, it is comfortable and breathable, but if I were doing it again I’d have chosen a softer lining with less structure.
I wonder if I’ll be reaching for this pattern again anytime soon, or if it will go back in the pattern drawer for another 3 years to await another vacation! I love the colors of this jacket, and while I’m making it work (somewhat?) with my current post-partum wardrobe, I have a vision in my head of wearing it paired with a mocha colored rib knit Lola Dress once I’m no longer breastfeeding! It’s been much harder this time around to get back to any sort of “healthy” activity, between a different work schedule, 2 kids that want mama around as much as possible, a global pandemic, and general daycare sickies spreading between the four of us.
I’m having a hard time feeling like myself in my body still, and I remember when I first saw these photos I felt a little jolt of surprise at how cute I felt in my head compared to how I actually looked. Every day is a learning opportunity, though, and I continue to try to remind myself that at the end of the day, maybe I didn’t do it all and I’m not “where I want to be” in every aspect of my life, but I’ve done a good job with the things I have done and I’m choosing to be happy and satisfied in that thought. I like to choose a word at the beginning of the year that I use as a guide in my decision making throughout the year – for 2022, I’ve chosen balance. I’m hoping this will continue to serve as a reminder that if I place all of my energy into one arena, there won’t be any left for the others. While I continue to work towards finding a balance that works for me, I’m also hoping to remember to be gentle with myself along the way.
Jacket: handmade by me
Pattern: Wiksten – Unfolding Jacket
Fabric: Minerva – Jacquard Canvas in Multi 9 Stripes
Brother XR9500PRW Sewing Machine
Brother 1034D Overlocker
Dahle 36×48 Self-healing Cutting Mat
Prym Sewing Machine Needles
Gutermann Sew All Polyester Sewing Thread
Thanks for reading my thoughts on this pattern! The featured fabric in this post was provided to me by Minerva as part of the Minerva Brand Ambassador program. The lining fabric and pattern were both from my personal collection, originally purchased by me. All words and opinions expressed throughout this post are my own, as always. Links provided throughout this post may be affiliate links – if you choose to purchase any products through these links, I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you. This simply helps me justify the costs of my sewing habit and the time it takes to share it with you!! Happy Sewing!
- XX Elizabeth