Wednesday, October 8, 2014

October means blazers.

For months I've been planning to spend a fair amount of my fall sewing learning to make a tailored blazer.  I've gotten a small start on that, but to sort of ease into it - and because I wanted one - I decided to make an unstructured knit blazer first.

I've got plenty of blazer patterns in my stash, so I had a look through them and pulled out my favorites, then decided to go with Butterick 5926, which is made for "moderate stretch knit fabrics."  There are options for a shorter or longer length, and full or three-quarter sleeves.  I chose to make mine with long sleeves in the sorter length, which hits at my high hip.

My first version was a fit muslin but I was hoping (as one does) that it would be wearable.  Still, I didn't want to spend a ton of money on fabric, so I headed over to my local JoAnn's and picked up a couple yards of their Sew Classic Ponte Roma.  With a 50% off coupon, my fabric cost me $13; I spent another $3 or so on knit interfacing.  I'd never used this fabric before but for the (sale) price, I'd say it's fairly good quality - IF you check your yardage before purchasing.  I didn't, and after my fabric was washed I found a  large run.  Luckily, I was able to cut around it.  This fabric is 60% polyester and 40% rayon.  I was worried it might be too hot and polyester-y, but it's very soft and quite comfortable to wear.

I got a bit cocky and didn't take any flat pattern measurements or do a tissue fitting.  But I did look at the finished garment measurements, and decided to go with a size 10, which is where my bust measurement puts me.  I was surprised that the ease was pretty much perfect!

Before cutting, I made a bunch of flat pattern adjustments that are pretty common for me:

* Forward Shoulder Adjustment of 3/8" - less than my usual of 1/2" - 5/8"
* Broad Back Adjustment of 1/4" - again, less than my usual of 1/2"
* Sway Back Adjustment of 1"
* Shortened Sleeve by 1" and moved elbow dart up to correspond

I was pleased that the pattern had a center back seam and upper back shaping in the form of darts coming off the back neck.

So, how did it work out?  Well, I admit that I was a little underwhelmed when I first finished it.  I felt like I'd overdone it with the Forward Shoulder and Sway Back adjustments.  But I've worn it a couple times now and while I do think I can back off on those two adjustments just a bit, it's not too bad - not any worse than something I'd buy off the rack.  Here's me wearing it this morning, making my squinty face into the sun while Alicia took my picture:


I think this pattern is a keeper for me.  But there are a few things I will do differently the next time:

* reduce the Sway Back adjustment to 3/4" and
* narrow the shoulders by about 1/4" - this one is a surprise to me because my shoulders are on the broader side; it could be that I should really be in the size 8, but I like the ease I have here

The one thing I really don't like about this pattern is the placement of the buttonholes.  I worked them as written in the pattern and they are just too far in from the edge.  It looks a little ridiculous when buttoned.  It's not a huge problem because I'm not likely to button both buttons at once, but still . . .
these guys are about 1" from the edge.


There were a couple places I found the instructions a little lacking.  One was at the insertion of the collar, which wasn't too hard to figure out.  The other though was the hem.  The bottom hem is topstitched down, and while the pattern says to "trim" before hemming, it doesn't say how much.  I missed that part and fused the entire width of the hem back with double-sided fusible.  When I got to the point of topstitching, I realized that if I stitched at the edge of my turn-back, I'd be stitching through the pocket!  Of course, since it was fused down it was too late to trim it.  It won't show while I'm wearing the jacket, but it kind of bugs me knowing the excess fabric is there.

This ponte, while nice, is on the thin side.  I was a little disappointed when I tried the jacket on over some sleeveless dresses made from thicker ponte that the shoulder line became very lumpy. (P.S. this is my favorite dress, ever.  I have it in a gazillion colors, I love it that much.)  So next time, I may consider adding in some thin shoulder pads.  That said, it's pretty nice to have an unstructured, unlined jacket:  it feels like a cardigan but looks like a blazer.  I've been enjoying wearing this a few times in the week since I made it.

I did all my stitching on the regular sewing machine, using the "double stitch" as instructed in the pattern - really just two parallel rows of stitching before trimming the seam allowance.  I only dragged out my serger to finish the raw edge of the front facing.



I finished this last week, and tried a few times to get pictures of it.  As you no doubt know, trying to photograph a black garment indoors isn't the easiest thing to do.  This is the only picture from last week that came out half way decently - this is how I wore it to do some errands, with my white lace Renfrew, jeans, black flats and a sweet vintage leopard print scarf given to me by Andrea this spring.


And today I'm back at it with another Renfrew, jeans and a different pair of black flats!  Hey, if it works, it works!

Have any of you made this pattern?  Did you like it?  This one gets a thumbs up from me.  The great thing about an unstructured blazer is that even if the fit isn't stellar, I don't think it matters too much.  It's a pretty forgiving garment!  There's room for me to improve the fit here, but I'll enjoy wearing this one.  A black blazer was high on my list of holes to fill in my wardrobe.  I hope to do a more structured woven version someday, but this one will do for now!

38 comments:

  1. It's seriously cute!!!

    I've made it twice now. The first time I didn't make any adjustments and didn't know how to do the collar. The second one is near perfect. I need a small FBA--circumference is ok but I need more length.

    I have FINALLY(!) found a navy and white striped ponte that I love. So that will be happening soon! Oooh now I want a black one too :)

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    1. Ooooh, I'm jealous of your striped ponte! I hope to find some too one day - I love the drawing of the striped version. And sadly, a FBA is something I'm never likely to need ;-)

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  2. Great idea for a blazer. I think it looks great. I would never have thought of making one with ponte but it makes so much sense for comfort and practicality.

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    1. Thank you! I was so intrigued by the idea when they first started showing up in stores a few years ago. I've always wanted one, and now I have one!

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  3. It's like you're in my head lately, all of my "to-dos" are showing up DONE on your blog. �� This looks great on you! I would wear the tar out of a ponte blazer; indeed, that's why it's on my list. :) I can't wait to see what you do for your next version!

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    1. Must be the Great Minds Phenomenon :-) Wouldn't it be great if they could show up in your closet too?!

      As much as I like it, I'm probably going to table the ponte blazer pattern for a bit while I work on my "real" wool blazer. Of course, if I find some über-cool ponte, all bets are off.

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  4. It looks great! Honestly, it fits you way better than my store bought knit blazer fits me. The colour is a good choice too, you can probably wear it with everything!

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    1. Thank you! It was a drag and a half sewing this black fabric, but it ended up being worth it in the end!

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  5. I used this pattern last winter, and coincidentally, pulled the blazer out this morning! I made mine from a thick, slate grey wool jersey, so it's starting to get cool enough to wear it again. I agree width you on a lot of the fitting issues... I don't remember what size I made, but I like the ease thru the body--perfect for layering--but the sleeves are way to roomy, and the sleeve head droops over my shoulder by a good 5/8". I think thin shoulder pads are great idea too! The only thing I really deviated from the pattern on was to line my sleeves with something more slippery than wool, and I bound all my hem and seam allowances.
    Good luck with your blazer endeavors! Can't wait to see what beautiful things you make!

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    1. Oooh, I'd love to do a heathered grey version too!

      This is very interesting - I don't find the sleeves to be roomy at all. BUT, I have larger than average arms for my frame. I could see how someone with slender arms would find these too loose, but for me they're just right.

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  6. This is great, like a really smart cardigan. I should pick up this pattern as I think it would fill that gap in my wardrobe where you need to be warm, but relatively smart. Those buttonholes are crazily far over though, aren't they!

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    1. Exactly! Yes, definitely fixing those buttonholes next time around. I'm kind of kicking myself for not being more aware of the placement this time before stitching and cutting.

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  7. I have some beautiful navy ponte in the stash that I've been considering making a jacket from...now I'm convinced. I love this. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  8. This looks great!! I have been thinking about jackets... I'm not ready for a blazer just yet, but some simple, clean jacket to wear instead of my endless cardigans. It may be ponte!

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    1. This was my first time sewing with ponte, and it won't be my last! Very easy to sew, and so comfy to wear. I just wish it were easier to find nice ones!

      If you like the blazer look, I think you could do this pattern. It's not really that hard to figure out the collar. A lot of my problems with this one were because I was sewing on black fabric with my 50-year-old eyes in poor lighting! It would have been a lot easier with another color!

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  9. well you know i'm alll about the knit blazer! i can't believe i haven't made a second one... i love yours in black! it's such a versatile piece to have in the wardrobe.

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    1. I sort of can't believe you haven't made another too! I'd like to try a more "upscale" one like the one you did, but wool blazer comes first :-)

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  10. I was so glad to read this post! I have this pattern in my stash and can't wait to make it up now! You blazer looks great.

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    1. Thanks, Margo! I think you will really like it!

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  11. This is a beautiful pattern. Nicely done! Yes, this is a necessary color for one's wardrobe.

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    1. Thank you! Honestly, I don't wear a lot of black, especially next to my face, because I don't think it's the best color on me. But it sure does go with everything!

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  12. Super cute and comfy-looking. I'm glad you mentioned the buttonhole placement. I'll be making a note about that on my pattern.

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    1. I know you have a blazer on your to-sew list, and I think this is a good pattern to start with. (Or the tiny one for Ollie - still can't get over how cute that is!) But yeah - watch out for those buttonholes!

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  13. Ooh, a knit blazer! Great idea! This looks so wearable!

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    1. Thanks, Sonja! Going to wear it again today!

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  14. Very nice! I made a structured blazer a while ago, but I want to make a knit one sometime too! Love it in black! So handy!

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    1. Thank you! After a structured blazer, this one would take you no time at all. Go for it!

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  15. It's cute! I want one. You can wear a graphic tee with some skinnies and fly kicks. Thais what I wanna do and why I want one.

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    1. I had the same idea yesterday, and am on the hunt for a graphic tee or two! Except for me, substitute the kicks for moto boots :-)

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  16. Black unstructured blazer - looks like a very comfy and wearable garment! You did an excellent job on yours - it's cute and you look lovely in it.

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  17. Great blazer! Maybe make the buttonholes vertical instead of horizontal? Just a thought.

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    1. Thank you! I don't have great luck with vertical buttonholes on this kind of thing. The buttons don't want to stay buttoned!

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  18. Nice blazer! You can't go wrong with a black one to match almost anything :) The fit looks great too, and the buttons aren't that noticeable to being so far in.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, I've already worn this one a lot in the few weeks since I made it!

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