My friend Shar and I had been talking about doing a blazer sew-along in the fall, and so "Bourbon and Blazers" was born. The name came from the title of an email I sent her referencing our plans and thanking her for the recipe for Salty Bourbon Squares she'd sent me. Since we knew we'd be sharing a lot of our progress on Instagram, we decided to use it as our hashtag. To our delight, a couple of our sewing friends have decided to join us: Lisa and Andrea for sure, and maybe even a couple others are thinking about it. We are all going at our own pace - there are really no rules or structure. We're just having fun exploring the making of a tailored blazer together. Please join us if you care to! #bourbonandblazers
I had several blazer patterns in my stash from which to choose, and in the end I settled on McCall's 6172. This is a Palmer/Pletsch pattern, which means it has lots of fitting advice, and fitting alteration lines are already included on the pattern. Since I'm familiar with the Palmer/Pletsch method and fit is one of my biggest concerns in this project, I thought it would be a good place to start. It turns out that all my sewing buddies have chosen this pattern as well! I think it's great, because we will be able to compare apples to apples.
I started this project at the very beginning of October and just yesterday was able to trace off my final version of the pattern. Between tracing, tissue-fitting and re-tracing, I've got about 10 hours into this project already! I'm hoping all this work will pay off in a big way.
First I started by tracing my four main pieces: the two fronts and the two backs. I started with only these four because I wasn't sure if I should use the size 8 or size 10. A quick tissue-fit of these main pieces verified that the 8 is the right size for me to start from. It's interesting to me that my Palmer/Pletsch instructor also put me in a size 8, and all the adjustments I needed for this blazer were the ones I needed on the sheath dress we did in our class!
Once I had the correct size, I traced off all the other size 8 pieces, and then got started with my tissue-fitting. I wish I hadn't done that though - I forgot that the shapes of the linings and facings would change to correspond with the new shapes of the front and back pieces. So in the end, I ended up re-tracing those as well.
For my tissue-fitting, I was a little over-zealous at first, and had to back some of my adjustments out. Once everything was done though (over the course of several fittings) I had made TEN adjustments! No wonder the RTW blazers don't fit me well! Here's my list as I kept track:
And here's what it says, but in the order of the adjustments:
* broad back adjustment of +1/4"
* shallow upper chest tuck of -1/4"
* dart remains as it is - I shortened it a bit at first but decided I liked the original better
* forward shoulder adjustment -1/4"
* sway back adjustment -3/4"
* low round back adjustment +1/2"
* increase side seam from waist down +9/16"
* increase back side seam (between center back and side back) from waist down +3/16"
* make tuck corresponding to shallow upper chest tuck (-1/4") the length of the upper sleeve piece parallel to grain line, so that sleeve cap fits into new, smaller armscye
* full upper arm adjustment +1/2"
* shorten sleeve -3/4"
WHEW! With all that tape, you can see why I wanted to re-trace my pattern pieces. I have a bad habit of forgetting that I have tape on my pieces and then ironing over it and gunking up my iron!
Here are some pictures of my pieces in progress, in no particular order.
|re-traced upper sleeve on left, adjusted sleeve on right|
|Paper Blazer, front|
|Paper Blazer, back|
|shallow upper chest tuck - extends all the way across the lapel; forward shoulder seam line|
|broad back adjustment and low round back adjustment|
|sway back adjustment|
|increased seams at hip area|
I'm very happy with the fit I've achieved. I only look unhappy in the photo because I've been suffering from sinusitis and a cold for the last several days and I had a massive headache! Also, a pin was sticking me right in the armpit :-)
At this point, I was ready to re-trace my taped-up pieces and adjust my lining and facing pieces to match - the work of another couple hours. But VOILA:
My pile of beautiful, fresh pattern pieces is ready to go! I'm hoping to start on cutting out my fabric today!