Thursday, February 12, 2015

April Rhodes' Popover Poncho

Winter is pretty much halfway over, which is promising, yet we still have a fair amount of cold to get through before spring arrives.  But hooray!  At least I have sewn my first outerwear piece with plenty of time to wear it before the weather gets too warm for wool!

For my project at the Finch Maker's Retreat (more on that later), I chose April's Popover Poncho pattern because it was cute (I'd been admiring the shop sample for awhile), and because I knew I'd need something that didn't require a lot of concentration.  If the retreat was going to be anything like a Friday Night Sewcial or Sip & Sew, I'd be doing a lot of wandering and chatting.  Hard to get much done in that case.

Also bonus, because April Rhodes was the guest teacher at the retreat, she was able to help out when I made a few mistakes (like totally forgetting to fold the pattern in a bit before placing it on the fabric fold - this will probably only make sense if you've made this poncho).  

I was also glad I chose to make this pattern at the retreat rather than at home because sizing had me confuddled.  So remember: when measuring, instead of your typical bust-waist-hip measurements, you'll be measuring around your shoulders and then, keeping your arms at your sides, around your bust and arms at once.  

I am what Cosmo and Glamour and other women's magazines call 'pear shaped', meaning that my shoulders are narrow and my hips are wide and just right for birthing, which is a waste because I'm not birthing anything anytime soon.  So despite my waist and hips usually falling into a larger size, the point was moot as my shoulders are a solid size small.

However, I am tall and instead of having model-length legs, I was blessed (sense the sarcasm) with an extra long torso.  Like, when my husband (who has a few inches in height on me) sits down next to me, I look like an amazon.  It's... awkward.  Anyway to remedy that, I traced out the size small width all the way down to the plus size length.  The size ended up being perfect!

The pattern came together pretty easily.  If I weren't too busy popping around the room to see what the other girls were working on, I'd have probably been done quicker.  But start to finish - including measuring, tracing, and cutting - it was done within a day.  I chose this specific wool fabric because I felt like it was a bit more casual, which suited me well.  And although I toyed around with a fuzzy fleece for the cowl lining, I ended up with this soft knit, which feels cozy.  I think wool would have been too itchy, so keep that in mind when choosing your cowl lining fabric.

The only changes I would make next time would be to choose a darker binding, and to lower the pocket so it's in a more natural position since I lengthened the pattern.  But because I forgot to do that, the bottom of the poncho flips up when I put my hands in the pocket, revealing the (sloppily applied) binding underneath, which I made using Crocheting in Clouds from April's new Wanderer line.  It's a beautiful pafabric, but now I think a simple black bias tape would camouflage the flipping of the bottom when I use the pocket, which wouldn't have actually been a problem had I thought to lower the pocket in the first place.  A vicious circle.

Oh, and something I might do is hand sew a pocket on the inside because why not?  I'll update this post if I ever get around to doing that.

The Popover Poncho is a great pattern.  It's my first time using one of April's Patterns, and it's well-written and easy to follow.  I've been getting so many compliments on it, including some nice comments from two older gentlemen in the coffee shop as I write this post.  Additionally, April is a complete doll, and it was fun getting to chat with her at the retreat this past weekend.

Fabric: Wool print; coordinating knit - from Finch Sewing Studio
Pattern: The Popover Poncho by April Rhodes
Size: Small
Alterations: Traced out the size small with the length of the 'plus' size poncho
Photos taken at Finch Sewing Studio by me; Photos taken of me by Beryl Young.  Thanks Beryl!

If you're in the DMV area, take the Popover Poncho class at the Finch!


  1. Alicia, this poncho looks so great on you. Is it possible to remove and lower the pocket at this point? It doesn't look bad at all, but if it bothers you, would it be worth unstitching and then sewing it back on? Or is it not just sewn on top?
    I loved seeing all the photos you took at the retreat. I had to settle with those since I wasn't there.

  2. Time's passed now since you made your poncho, but I was wondering if you could lower your pocket.