check me out, delivering on my promise to keep sewing…very excited to share the latest pattern from womenswear mastermind, april rhodes! you may know april from her outrageously popular staple dress pattern, and you have seen her work before on this blog both here and here (and my visit to her mom’s adorable shop here), with many undocumented but well-loved projects also hanging in my closet. april has a wonderful niche in the women’s sewing pattern community, wherein she designs highly flattering, wearable, customizable patterns that are also very beginner friendly. hers were some of my first patterns used when i began sewing for myself, and it was so rewarding and empowering to produce cute garments efficiently and without confusion or rage. even now as a more confident seamstress, i return to her patterns again and again because they produce high quality, on trend products without any hassle. her latest pattern, the popover poncho, is no exception! seamstresses can expect the same clear, simple, thorough instructions (with diagrams and photographs) full of tips and tricks to quickly turn out something they will love to wear.
when april put out the call for participants in her blog tour, i was SO STOKED that i immediately began brainstorming fabric selections and had ordered three potential combinations before she even accepted my offer to join in the fun. i have been on pretty strict fabric fast this year as i’m focused more on knitting these days (and have a pretty giant stash to work through), but for this special project, i made an exception. i did run through my existing options, but nothing was quite right for what i wanted to accomplish. i have a deep and dangerous love for pendleton wool as much as the next person, but given i rarely suffer a winter temperature below 55 degrees, a really heavy fabric wasn’t necessary. i considered linen and even double gauze or brushed flannel, all of which would be lovely, but also all a little too light for a fall/winter garment (though that would be perfect for the summer!). i remembered some beautiful dorr mill wool that can be felted and then machine washable/dryable, but i tend to avoid light colors on outerwear since i’m a slob. but while perusing the purl soho website, i came across this cozy herringbone shetland flannel, and because i can’t visit purl soho without spending at least a few minutes staring longingly at their vast catalog of liberty fabrics, i fell down that rabbit hole for a bit, and i knew the combination would be perfect–the flannel is a nice medium weight with just enough texture and pattern to be interesting, but provides a nice, neutral canvas to showcase a little pop(over) of a busier print (i went with a tana lawn seasonal called turquoise edna). i know that was a lot of information about fabric choice, but i wanted to highlight the versatility of the pattern so classic of april’s work–you could make this in anything from double gauze to thick wool, and it would look great.
as far as construction goes, the pattern is very straightforward with few pieces and no complex fitting. the poncho itself is unlined but for the neck and has a patch kangaroo pocket sewn on the front to keep your hands cozy. i inserted a twill tape draw string that i knotted on either end and finished with some anti-fray adhesive on the tips. i am pretty short–5’5″ on a good day wearing the boots photographed here and i made the s/m size.
because my fabric is only medium weight, i chose to finish my exposed seams (just the two side seams) with french seams (this would not be an ideal finish on bulkier fabrics). the seams have a slight curve in the shoulder, and if you have never sewed a curved french seam, this tutorial is a great resource.
you also probably noticed my bias finished hem–the pattern provides a few suggestions for finishing the hemline, again depending on the thickness of the fabric. while the pattern gives detailed instructions on bias finishing, it refers to a finish that shows the bias tape on both the right and wrong side of the garment, like a binding. i experimented with the hem finish, and my favorite is the variation you see here–bias bound, but rolled to the wrong side so you only see flashes of color here and there as you move in the garment. here is a nice tutorial on how to finish a hem this way (though my bias strips are 1.5″ wide for a bit more color).
one final note on finishing–the pattern will instruct you to hand seam the neck lining in place for a super clean finish once the poncho is assembled. anytime i’m instructed to do so, i try to find a way to machine finish–i don’t totally trust my own hand sewing, and machine sewing is definitely faster! i folded under the raw edge of the lining, ironed it in place (and that liberty is so well behaved!), and actually stitched the lining in place looking at the wrong side (vs. stitching in the ditch on the right side, where you run the risk of missing pieces of your lining). because of the thickness of the fabric, i was able to feel very easily where the neck seam was, and just pulled the lining about 1/8″ over that ridge and stitched in place. it worked out great with this fabric combination–looks neat and clean, and the stitch line is totally undetectable on the right side:
nailing the lining on the first try, definitely something to smile about.
so, that is about it for the poncho–comes together quickly for a cute and versatile little number that can definitely be reinvented for all the seasons. and now, the pattern is available for pdf download, and from these stockists in the next few days!
but wait, there’s more!! the pattern recently went to print, and you have a chance to win a paper copy of the pattern by entering a little giveaway in one or more of the following ways:
- follow me on instagram, (leave a comment on the photo letting me know so i can keep track!) and tag a friend in the post.
- follow me here on the blog, and leave a comment below letting me know.
- if you already follow me on one or both of those mediums, just leave a comment saying so and you will be entered in the drawing automatically.
- each medium you follow will count for one entry, so following in both places will double your chances of winning!
***giveaway now closed and winner has been contacted; thank you all so much for participating!!***
in the meantime, be sure to check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour (it’s a solid lineup), as well as april’s journal and instagram feed for blog tour recaps each day. this poncho would make a great holiday gift for friends/moms/sisters and is a super non-stressful project for the maker (and making holiday gifts is the best, when it’s not stressful). buying this pattern means you are supporting not only small business, but also the sweetest, most sincere and hardworking gal i know in the biz. you can feel good about these $15 all around.