OK. Maybe I am not exactly trailblazing as far as sewing goes, but my first BLAZER is a huge milestone for me, nonetheless.
My FIRST EVER BLAZER!!
I love blazers, jackets, and coats. I have a LOT of patterns for blazers, jackets, and coats. Some part of me obviously feels as though the POSSIBILITY of a new blazer, jacket, or coat is as good as having the actual thing. I have procrastinated when it has come to making one, though, always feeling my sewing/fitting skills were inadequate for projects this complex.
And this project showed me that, yes, they are inadequate. Despite that, I have something wearable from the experience.
Matching it with my McCall’s maxi dress, hurray!
I wanted a simple jacket for my first attempt, preferably unlined to keep the number of challenges to a minimum. I considered By Hand London’s Victoria Blazer which is so popular of late, but to be honest, as fresh and hip and NOW as it probably is, I am not keen on all the ease in the pattern. I saw Amy’s version of Burda 8201 and thought, YES! I want to do a cool floral blazer, too! But first, a linen blazer to wear with shorts and dresses for the upcoming summer.
I did Craftsy’s Jacket Fitting Techniques class in preparation for sewing a jacket. It was useful in giving me confidence when it comes to pinching out seams, but my biggest bugbear with it is that Pam Howard creates extra seams to allow for better fitting. What if the fabric you are using is best sewn with as FEW SEAMS AS POSSIBLE?? Such as a print? So I ignored that advice and sewed Burda 8201 as is.
I made a small adjustment to the paper pattern (shortened the bodice by a couple of centimetres so that the waist would sit where it should) and then made a muslin out of horribly stiff calico. I guess the untweaked muslin was horrendous, because I don’t have any photos of it. I pinched and pinned until I liked the fit and re-sewed.
Here is what my adjustments looked like when I took the muslin apart. The black dotten lines are the seamlines and the red dotted lines are the new seam allowances:
As you can see, it is much more shaped along the seams than the original.
I had a ‘bubble’ of fabric along my upper back which couldn’t be taken in along the centre back seam. Here I used a tip I DID get from Pam Howard’s online class and removed fabric from the back like this:
This pattern does suggest using shoulder pads. I have never sewn anything requiring shoulder pads before (Dynasty, anyone?), and the shoulder seams of the muslin really stumped me. They were sitting high off my body and also felt as though they were too far back, but I didn’t want to adjust it in case that is how patterns using shoulder pads are SUPPOSED to look…I had visions, though…
using dildos for shoulder pads.
As it turned out, NO, the shoulder seams should not have been so high or far back for the look I wanted. Shoulder pads were never going to fix the uncomfortable feeling of my body fighting against misplaced seams. I had already cut the linen dress fabric, though, and I ended up having to unpick those shoulder seams and use every last millimetre of the back piece seam allowance to bring the seam forward so that it would sit right.
The sleeves were straightforward, though I eased a much larger area of the sleeve cap so that I didn’t get any puckers.
No lining for this pattern, so I used bias tape to cover the seams:
Just OK. I overlocked the seams before realising they would be hidden within the bias tape, and the overlocking is sometimes visible, which is a bit messy.
ALSO, even though I was DILIGENT with doing all my fitting with the blazer pinned closed, I didn’t take into account the size of the buttons I would be using, and AFTER I sewed three lovely buttonholes, I realised the big buttons pull the jacket tighter than the pins did. Too tight. So I guess I’ll unpick the buttonholes and either reset them or I may end up using hooks and eyes.
Pattern Burda 8201- I did a lot of tweaking with this pattern, so no ‘sewing straight from the envelope’, but I want a shawl-collar jacket pattern, and I really like the look of this one. There are diamond darts in the front pieces, and I like that they aren’t princess seams which would make fabric placement trickier with prints. The instructions are good and straightforward.
the sewing experience- Not 100% fun, I have to say. I made a muslin, a linen jacket, and I still have’t ironed the bugs out of the fitting. I quite enjoyed all the techniques, but my enjoyment is VERY CLOSELY linked to how the garment looks and feels at the end. Work still to do, here.
the finished jacket- I love the colour, I love the simple style, and I love the versatility of a linen jacket. It is tighter across the shoulders than I would like, and there is that issue with the buttons, but I am really happy with the finished product and I have worn it quite a few times.
I do recommend this pattern and I will be sewing with it again. After all that work, I’d be crazy not to!