The Ascent Fleece is the final project from my amended make 9 for the year (excluding the unfinished Taylor Trench). It’s not finished yet, but I always find it helpful to know a bit more about the instructions and construction methods when using different pattern designers, and this is the first thing I have made from 5 out of 4 patterns.
When I was cutting out, I did notice a few of the notch markings didn’t sit quite on the lines, particularly as you went up though the sizes. It wasn’t always easy to follow the size lines either because the fold lines had been printed slightly offset for each size, but not enough to be clear. It might be better on a colour print though, because I just used black and white. I chose to sew the size S which is a bit of guesswork into which size will be best after baby is born, but I’m hoping it will be comfortable!
These fleece fabrics come from Pennine Outdoor, which specialises in outdoor and technical fabric. I chose the Navy and Denim Blue microfleeces, and I’m really pleased with my colour selections. The fleeces are a perfect weight, and very soft. I have some of their wicking t-shirt fabric too, which I’m hoping will be good for some technical walking t-shirts and was a bit of a bargain too!
I’ve used a scrap of sportswear lycra for the pocket linings in the hope that it will be nice and breathable. This fleece requires a few extras including 5 zips if you choose to put in the pockets and the nursing option which is a bit daunting! The instructions are a bit unusual in that they contain lots of hyperlinks to jump you around to the next step for your version of the pattern. It does seem to work ok as you are sewing, but is a bit confusing to skim read through in advance and I definitely would advise using a digital copy rather than a printed version.
I found the diagram and instructions on joining the two zips in the contrast seam (one for the pocket, and one for the nursing access) pretty confusing. I made my best guess at it, but it did make installing the zips very bulky at the join. I think next time I would just install each zip separately, one at a time and then trim back anything that wasn’t needed.
There is no easy way to finish these seams once the zips are in either. For this time, I’m not going to worry about it. Almost all of the seam is covered by the zip and pocket anyway, and the fleece doesn’t fray. In future, I might consider finishing the edge of the piece before putting in the zip though.
There is just one pocket piece provided for all the different sizes, which is fine, but the instructions suggest stitching the pockets to the front bodice piece as an option, and I have found that on the size S the two pockets overlap one another in the middle. I did still manage to attach them to the front piece, but I ended up having to stitch up the centre line of the front to secure both pockets at the same time, rather than attaching them individually. They are both nice and secure though now.
It sounds like I’m not a fan of the pattern based on my observations so far, but I am actually really looking forward to the end result. These little niggles are all things I will bear in mind if I make the pattern again, but so far none of them will stop me from using it. The drafting of the pieces themselves seems really good, and both the method of construction and the instructions have been pretty helpful so far. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished article.