The jacket is done! Well, okay, maybe the sleeves aren't hemmed yet. Here is how it turned out.
In the end, I found the rayon batik extremely challenging to work with. Even with pinning the fabric intensely, it seemed to move around quite a bit during stitching. I want to try the pattern a second time with cotton. I suspect it will be a lot quicker to stitch up. I was in our local quilt shop, Ivy Thimble, yesterday and discovered they also had a sample of the jacket on display. Theirs was in cotton and the fabric draped quite nicely so I am definitely going to follow up on this. I told Trish Dispenza, the owner, about my experience with the rayon batik and she agreed that the fabric is extremely slippery to work with.
As I made my jacket, I found my independent streak showing up. When I was learning to sew as a young child, the Mom of a close friend worked as a seamstress in a garment factory. She taught me how to take a pattern, assess it and then streamline putting it together, based on logic and intuition, making adjustments as you went. Those lessons stood me well when I designed and stitching my wedding dress more than 35 years ago. Now, that same process clicks in whenever I look at a pattern.
So it was with this jacket. There are a number of things that I would do differently a second time. The directions, as written, were fairly clear - I only misread them once. I just don't care for the way the hem and facing are machine stitched. I suspect that I shall hand sew on cotton, or use a decorative or contrasting thread to turn at least the stitching along the front of the jacket into a decorative item. If I ever try silk or another fabric similar to this rayon, I will try a bit of light interfacing for the front/neck with no stitching and then try handstitching the hem.The cut of the front jacket edge is also a little strange. I instinctively changed mine as I made it and checked out the 'correct' way on the Ivy Thimble version yesterday. I definitely don't care for the way the pattern is drawn.
Having not made an article of clothing in years, all in all I have to say that this was a good experience. (And, that duct tape mannequin I made several years ago finally came in handy!) I basically like the pattern, A Little Somethin' Jacket, and would recommend it. Quilters' Store and Gallery in Sedona, AZ, where I bought the pattern, was offering a class in assembling the jacket. I suspect that might be helpful for many if one happens to be available in your area.