The Ilford Jacket: A time odyssey

It was a long time coming. I put off making the Ilford Jacket from Friday Pattern Company for no reason other than I prefer making myself all the pretty things. Alas, a promise is a promise, so I was bound to make this jacket for my husband.

Procrastination of this level is no mean feat. I delayed this by months; it was meant to be a Christmas present, then a birthday present in March, and finally, in May, an Ilford was born.

The pattern is very well known now. It has a slouchy, relaxed fit that is comfy and easy to wear, and it suits everyone. Plus it’s literally for everyone. Friday Pattern Company describes the Ilford as looking great ‘on all gender expressions’. Bloody brilliant.

I have heard the sizing is very generous, so although David’s measurements put him at a large, I grabbed one of his rtw jackets and held it up to the pattern pieces. Large was showing up far bigger than his jacket, so I decided to cut a medium. This was a good call (if I do say so myself), as the slouchiness is just right. However, where I did go wrong was the sleeves. I added 2cm to the sleeve length, but they’re still too short. The cuff is also far too tight, so he will forever wear this with the sleeves rolled up. But that’s the look. Totally the aim from the start.

See I haven’t even opened the button hole? No need; that bad boy is getting rolled up, never to be seen again.

This was my first foray into sewing a placket sleeve. Friday Pattern Company’s instructions were so clear, with each step clearly illustrated and explained jargon-free. They also have a video tutorial on their website, so you can fear the placket no more! So although my plackets will be rolled up, it was great to give this technique a try; the Ilford Jacket definitely upskilled me there.

I went for the cropped length, but added 5cm as David’s 6’2″. It ended up the ideal length, so if you’re making an Ilford for someone on the taller side, it’s an easy adjustment to make.

Now for the pockets. THE POCKETS! There are so many pocket options for this jacket. I went for the larger patch pocket and a bust pocket with additional pen pocket. Shall I say pocket one more time?

The pockets add such a nice touch, the only difficult part is choosing which combo to go with as there are so many!

My only slight bugbear with the design was the button placket. I didn’t realise it folds back in a way that is seen. This makes it feel a bit more ‘hand made’, but on reflection, that’s ok! It is hand made, and I’m happy for it to look that way, rather than looking like another thing bought in a shop.

This jacket was a long time coming, but it was definitely worth it. David’s worn it loads, and although I prefer sewing for myself, there is something really special about seeing him wear something I made.

Side note: while doing this totally selfless sewing, I may have also traced a XS for myself, so another Ilford might possibly be on the way, too.

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