So far in IPM2015, two of the three patterns I have used were ‘New to me’. I’d never before used Grainline Studio nor Made-By-Rae. I had for this week’s contest originally intended to make Sindbad & Sailor’s Hepworth Dress but a few things culminated into me changing my mind.
Pattern: By Hand London’s Victoria Blazer.
I’ll admit I’ve had an on-again, off-again desire to make this blazer since the pattern was released. On-again because I’ve seen some beautiful versions of it on people’s blogs. Off-again as I’ve been fearful that it would be too ‘boxy’ for me.
However I’ve been participating in Me-Made-May this year (but in June) and I’ve become very aware that I lack that something in my wardrobe – when you can’t wear your winter jacket, a cardigan just won’t do and well just because. I’ve also been enjoying this month by challenging myself a little to step away from the comforts of making dresses and blouses. While reading one bloggers post on the Victoria Blazer, I ended up visiting Truro Fabrics (where she’d got her fabric). Then I saw it, the fabric.
Fabric: A gorgeous chocolate brown linen/cotton blend (55% linen/45% cotton). Now I am on a fabric buying ban. But I had promised my husband for his birthday I’d make him a waist coat and he loved this fabric, so getting a tiny bit more for me, allowed me to exploit a loop hole in the ban. I also knew that I had a lovely red patterned silk in my stash which would make a gorgeous lining.
It was as though the stars aligned: challenge, fabric, actual printed pattern available and need (its all relative). I tipped over the edge and decided to go with the Victoria Blazer!
The pattern: I must say, while the instructions where clear and well written, I was grateful to have the online sewalong to turn to when I was puzzled over something. This was the case with the front darts, which on first read (or 5) of the instructions left me quite baffled. But the blazer shell turned out just perfect; though the lining, all slippery and silky was less so.
I loved the technique for joining the cuff to the sleeve – the use of french seams there seemed genius! I did have to do them twice though, as the first time despite my cuffs being a touch small for the sleeve opening, I pushed on. Which of course meant I had to redo them. Both of them. Duh. When something doesn’t work, don’t repeat your exact steps, hoping for a different outcome. But I redid them both and now they’re not bad.
Attaching the sleeves went smoothly enough, although on the second sleeve instead of turning the shell inside out, and inserting the sleeve into it, I kept the shell right way out and inserted the sleeve over it. This meant that I could ease it easily and ensure no accidental gather.
Alterations: Nothing much. I did the whole blazer as a size 6/10 (US/UK). Normally I would combine at least two sizes as boobs & up are always a smaller size than waist & below. But because I was fearful of the ‘boxy’ factor, I went with the smaller size for the whole thing. And I’m quite happy with the results.
Next time (and rest assured there will be a next time), there are a few changes I’ll make. I’d like to have the sleeves lined as well as the body. I was quite surprised when I opened the pattern up to discover they weren’t lined. At further surprised later on, that there didn’t seem to be any attaching of the lining body at the sleeve holes. I made a few little hand stitches, once I had sewed the lining into the shell (but before closing up the back hole on the bottom hem). These stitches were to hold the lining to the shell at the armholes at the shoulder and side seams in the seam allowances, which ensure the lining wont get pulled partially out when I withdraw my arm. So I think I’d either line my sleeves next time.
Finishing my seams: I hummed and hawed for a while about how to finish my seams. Mainly because I wasn’t sure how much the blazer shell (linen/cotton blend) would fray. In the end I just used pinking shears & zig-zaged.
Total sewing time: 12 hrs. I found that there was a lot of easing required when attaching the collar, which both the instructions and online tutorial failed to mention (though they mention it for other places). So I’m not sure if it was just me or not. As a result I spent a lot of time carefully pinning and easy this piece or that.
Plus that slinky silk is a real time consumer. But it does look really pretty and feel quite nice – there some more photos over on my blog, Thimble&Threads here.