Reversible Anorak Jacket

Last year, when I was buying all fabrics olive and peach, EmmaOneSock was selling a fabric that was olive on one side and peach on the other.  So I snapped it up, but never got to making it up.  PR is holding a reversible garment competition at the moment, which provided the mojo for me to make up this plan from last year.

Her is my review entry for the Stylearc Romy Anorak.

Pattern Description: The description given by Stylearc is "This weekend Anorak is a great addition to your wardrobe. Make the Anorak in a lovely washed charmeuse or lightweight wool for a luxurious yet casual look. Wear the jacket open or zip it up to create a cosy look. The collar is soft and will sit beautiful opened or buttoned up. This anorak is unlined and comes with an optional tie belt."

Pattern Sizing:I made a Size 12 based on the Stylearc size chart. I am happy with this choice in size.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?I made quite a few changes, but it is still recognisable.

Were the instructions easy to follow?I didn't use them, because of all my changes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?Like all Stylearc pattern, the design lines of this seem very current. I liked the idea of a soft jacket with oversized collar, which is why I bought the pattern, but this time around I have shrunken the proportions and my fabric is not soft or drapy. I would still like to follow the fabric suggestions and make another version in a softer fabric.

Fabric Used:I used a stretch cotton twill with a crisp drape. One side of the fabric is army green and the other side is peach. The base of the fabric is white, and it feels like the colour has been painted onto each side. I didn't pre-wash the fabric as I wanted to stitch it all together before washing, to give it more of that washed-jeans sort of look once it is washed. Because of the design and ease, I don't think it will matter if the fabric shrinks a bit with the first wash.

I chose a contrasting fabric for the collar. I didn't like the look of the whole collar showing the other colour when the collar is open, so I went for a contrasting, soft, minky fleece.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
Changes for fit:
- Made the shoulder dart much larger, to accommodate a very square shoulder.
- removed some fabric at the armhole edge of the upper front, to accommodate a narrow chest.
- the collar piece was adjusted to match these changes

Style changes:
- Shortened the jacket by about 8 inches
- Shortened the sleeve by 3 inches
- reduced the width of the collar by about an inch
- I omitted the drawstring at the hem
- Stylearc recommends French seams for a clean finish, which is a great idea for reversibility, but they only provide 1 cm seam allowances. 1 cm was pretty tight for my fabric choice, so I increased the seam allowances to 15 mm.

Changes for reversibility
- I didn't attempt the zipper. Other reviewers have struggled with the placement of the zip and buttons, and I wouldn't be able to buy a reversible zip locally, so I thought it would be easiest to just forego the zip and use snaps on the front closure. I think there are other anorak patterns out there that do a better job of the zip / zip instructions. I didn't realise until the 11th hour that my snaps have one good side and one "back" side. I decided to use them anyway, and put the back side on the green fabric, which has more of an industrial vibe.
- No zip so no need for front facings
- I made "hem bands" to finish all the edges (hem, front closure, sleeve cuffs) so that the wrong colour would not be folded to the other side (as it would in a traditional hem)
- I added elastic to the sleeve cuffs
- instead of a waist tie, I made a casing and threaded elastic through it to draw in the back waist. 
- I wanted pockets on each side. I didn't want layers of fabric at the seams that were going to be French seamed, so where I combined the original front panels and them split them up again, so that as many seamed sections as possible were single layer. I split a horizontal section for the waist casing. I split upper and lower panels into "thirds".
- I didn't want flaps on the inside pockets, so I changed the pocket design. I also had to change the pocket size and placement because I made the jacket shorter. In the end I chose patch pockets for the green side. The patch pockets were sewn onto the back of the pink pockets. The pink pockets were the whole size of the pocket panel, so that the patch pocket did not show through to the other side. For the pink pockets, I took inspiration from a RTW hiking jacket that I have had for 20 years. The upper pockets have a pleated flap that hides a zippered pocket. I lined this pocket with lightweight liberty. The flap neatly covers my zips, which do not colour match the jacket. I'm not sure how to describe the lower pockets...you will have to look at the photos!

There was a lot of changing of thread and bobbin. I'm pretty pleased that I only had to pull out one seam because I sewed it in the wrong colour thread. Sadly, my machine makes a nicer top stitch than bobbin stitch. I did play around with the tension and settings, but the stitching on one side definitely looks better than the other.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?I would like to sew this pattern again, more in the fabric / style that it was intended.

Conclusion: I love the finished result. Thinking through the pockets was a bit of a brain drain, but I got there in the end. I can't decide which side of the jacket I like best, so I guess that makes for a successful reversible garment!


  1. Katherine, I am always amazed at your productivity. This must have been a lot of work! I like both sides too. I shall have to read the pocket construction part again to get how you did that. I'm just too tired now to get it. I love how it has a soft colour side and a utilitarian side... makes it very versatile. I'm very impressed. Good luck in the competition.

  2. Wow! That's a masterpiece! Looks great. Congratulations!

  3. That is so impressive. Both sides look terrific.

  4. Gosh, that is amazing. It really looks like two different jackets, which I think is difficult to achieve with reversible garments. Amazing sewing!

  5. A stunning success. Switzerland is really impressed!

  6. Really impressive! Love the two colours. What a fabric find! And pattern find too.

  7. Wonderful jacket! Great idea to use the cream minky for the collar, creating the contrast detail and the soft texture on the neck, I love making reversible garments, but they do take some prethinking about construction, etc.

  8. Great job! The pockets are ingenious, but I definitely had to look closely at the photos to get how you managed it.

  9. This seems like a really ambitious garment to transform into a reversible one - I don't think I'd manage more than the simplest of things. Either side of your jacket would be fantastic on it's own, having 2 is quite amazing!

  10. Amazing how they look so different! And either way is equally lovely - must be a dilemma which way to wear it!