Navy Linen

I have a nice straightforward W to share today, and you know I like it ‘cause it’s got me standing like Jim Rash doing Angelina Jolie receiving an Oscar. Back in high school I wore a lot of skirts; I added dresses in college; then I phased out both and started living in pants, but I don’t know, I’ve been feeling skirts lately. Shade in the summer, warmth in the winter!

This particular skirt is an imitation of – um, an homage to the Tessuti Madden skirt. It’s a perfectly nice pleated skirt pattern with one side seam and an off-center button closure and I copied it, I copied it right up. Basically, as far as I can tell, it’s two rectangles, a pocket, and a waistband. I used the waistband piece of M8248, helpfully covered by a belt in the envelope photo, thanks, but it’s a curved waistband with front and back pieces that I merged into one long piece. Then I split the waistband 2.5” from one end, and moved that bit to the other end. Finally, I drew on additional straight extensions for the button over/underlap. Et voilà! “Drafting”!

The skirt panels required a little simple addition. I decided to draw them in Illustrator, and then look at the Properties panel and transfer those dimensions to fabric. I started with two pieces each 36” long and 15.75” inches wide, which is half of my waist measurement. Same as the waistband, I cut off a 2.5” section of one panel (now the front) and moved it to the other panel (now the back). I decided on the finished width of the pleats – .75” – and for each pleat (8 in front, 10 in back), added another 1.5” in width. Since a pleat viewed on edge is basically a squashed letter “Z”, that measurement is double the top layer – it adds the zig back/zag forward fabric, for fullness that doesn’t change the finished waist measurement.

I also added 1.25” in width to each panel for button placket, and then 5/8” seam allowances using the recently-discovered-by-me Offset Path function – I looovvveee iiittt – and I had my final pattern pieces! Still rectangles, but BIGGER rectangles. The front was 29.5” wide x 37.25” long, and the back was 36.875” wide x 37.25” long.    

 I messed up a bit adding the grown-on button plackets; I thought of them as overlapping, which they are, but of course they also add one placket’s-width to the skirt. I made the same error of logic when adding to the waistband, so the pieces fit together, but the finished skirt was 1.25” too loose. With a bulky sweater it was just comfortably loose, but in a summer top – and let’s face it, linen skirts and summer tops go together like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong – it was dipping at the center back. Rather than minutely increasing the pleats or resewing one of the plackets, I decided to retcon in some back waist elastic. I unpicked two sections of waistband and fed a scrap of some 1.5” elastic through one opening and out the other, snugging it up and then securing it with two short vertical lines at the side seam + what would have been a side seam.

The skirt is definitely not tight but it sits correctly now, and is still really comfortable, even on stonking hot days.

I opted for a slash pocket instead of an inseam pocket in the one side seam because I like them better, and because it’s much easier to sew French seams that way. The fabric is 100% linen from Sewfisticated; it was lovely to sew and finish.

It’s also quite light, so I gave it a nice deep double-fold hem, added tricot interfacing to the button plackets, and lined the waistband in cotton for stability. I use this interfacing roll in white, and while nobody’s ever tried to sponsor me, if they want to, they can, and I promise I’ll rename my apartment Fusible Tricot Interfacing Rolls Stadium.

The buttons are my laser-cut jaguar buttons. I rinsed this batch before varnishing and they came out a little blonder as a result.

I started with two and a quarter yards of the linen and I had to enough left over to try out something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. It’s a tank based on the Peppermint button-front dress, a free pattern. It’s actually just the size E facings from that pattern extended, with the button placket extension added to the new fronts.

I couldn’t fit the back on the fold but I was able to cut it in two halves with the center seam on the selvedge, which is my favorite fix for an unplanned straight seam! Pre-finished, baby!

I was originally confused by steps 12 and 14 (*NOTE: these are sequential steps in the directions, since step 13 appears before step 12. I don’t make the rules), where the facing edges are attached to the plackets, but once it clicked it was pretty terrific. Low-bulk, super neat, and well worth applying to other projects. Even if you never make this pattern, it’s probably worth reading the directions for that step.

This tank also got laser-cut buttons and functional buttonholes, though this unshaped version can go off and on without touching the buttons. It’s not my all-time favorite tank but it was a really fun sew!

I’ve been having kind of a dud-ly sewing season lately, so it’s nice to add a couple things to my summer wardrobe without any mixed feelings or regrets. This just confirms my suspicion that linen makes everything better.

What a breezy and often expensive non-surprise!

Pattern: based on Tessuti Madden skirt

Pattern cost: NA

Size: fits waist measurement 31.5” – 32.5”

Supplies: 2.25 yards of navy linen, Sewfisticated, $22.48; thread, buttons from stash

Total time: 6.75 hours

Total cost: $22.48

 –

Pattern: Peppermint button-front dress

Pattern cost: NA

Size: E, facings as a tank

Supplies: leftover linen; thread, buttons from stash

Total time: 4.75 hours

Total cost: $0.00

1933 Skirt

Traditionally the moment I get cold I have no style at all, but I live in New England and I would like to be chic in the winter. I often wear fleece-lined tights under pants, but that’s not famously comfortable, so I’m calling 2022 as the year of the skirt! Combine a love of flannel with a dislike of wasting money and a languishing copy of M6993, and we have ourselves a swing. And possibly a hit. I think I like this!

I chose a comfortable, familiar fabric in a rich color so I knew I would enjoy handling it even if the skirt didn’t suit me. I also treated myself to this coordinating bear cotton. The nice helper at the fabric store asked me what I was making (I don’t know if it’s sincere or if they’re told to do that, but either way I like to chat); I said the flannel was for a skirt, and she asked if the cotton was for the pockets, and I cheerfully lied and said ‘yes’.

You know how world-class misogynist and lover of full stops, Hemingway, famously wrote a six-word tragedy? Well, I can do him one better. Modern horror in five.

THE SKIRT

HAS NO

POCKETS.

Hemingway would disapprove of my story. Is this a good time to mention I hate that woman-hater right back? He can farewell to my butt. Anyway. The cotton was only to line the facing/waistband/yoke. In this case, I don’t mind the lack of pockets. It would be possible to add side-seam pockets below the facing, but it would mess with the silhouette, and the silhouette is the priority. It does make it challenging to know what to do with your hands while taking blog photos, though, so I am mostly pictured composing my list of demands.

By the way, I bought ½ yard of bear cotton, and that’s the perfect yardage to cut all your lining and interfacing pieces as long as you accidentally cut all the front facing pieces from view B, too. I could have had a bear mask! Oh, well. I’ve officially converted to self-fabric interfacing, since it launders predictably, reduces scraps, and makes sewing waistbands and collars a terrifying minefield of right-sides and wrong-sides. Gets those red blood cells churning. Good for the ventricles.

This pattern was a ton of fun to sew. That pointed yoke + those panels were engrossing and satisfying. So much so, actually, that I got caught up in it and forgot to topstitch the seam allowance above the backed split before adding the yoke, and had to do it later, but I don’t think it shows!

Then in smart-women-outsmarting-themselves, I figured out how to make the insides pretty by folding over the top edges of the underlap, sewing the underlap to the skirt panels, and then serging the long seams together. And in doing so I put those raw top edges – where else? – on the outside front of the skirt.

As accidental raw-edge-flashing goes, it’s not egregious, as it took me several hours of wear to notice, but it is a failure of deductive reasoning. Those edges had to be somewhere, babe. I do like the pretty insides, though! Instead of doing this, you could fold the diagonal edges twice towards the back, or they could just be serged.

There’s a fair amount of hand-sewing in this project, primarily when finishing the yoke. I elected to hand-sew the hem, too.

I like the way the hem is handled; the directions say to snip into the side seam allowance above the hem allowance (I did this before serging, so I could weave in the serger thread ends), then press open the seams within the hem allowance before turning. I think next time I would snip the seam allowance a little lower and trap the snipped end under the hem turn-up. It’s a nice low-bulk finish, but it does mean you can’t alter your hem length.

The pattern directions are sparse-but-good, with one small error; step 17 instructs you to press under the lower edge of the right waistband lining, but it shows the left waistband lining in the illustration. It’s shown correctly in the next step, and not the kind of thing to ruin anyone’s project. Just briefly confusing.

I cut a size 16 from 2 1/2 yards of 45” wide Kaufman Shetland Flannel in Navy, and I had over ½ yard extra fabric (19.5″, to be precise!). I cut non-directionally, but even though the fabric has no wrong side I cut as though it did. If I make another skirt, provided I choose a non-directional pattern, I can reduce my fabric buy by 20%. Heck yes!

The size 16 worked well for my body, too. I took in the waist ¼” per side, tapering to nothing just below the facing. It’s been a while since I’ve worn a skirt, and I never really wore snug skirts, so I was pleased and surprised at how comfortable this is. The flannel has a nice amount of give. I feel like a real classy dame. I doubt I really need 2 of these, 20% off or not, but I might give the fuller view a whirl.

By the way, for a super-thoughtful, historically-grounded, and fun-to-read review of this pattern, I recommend Seam Racer’s post! Caution: may cause the reader to spontaneously describe things as ‘sportif’.

Toodles!

Pattern: M6993, view A

Pattern cost: $12.79

Size: 16; took in waistband/front facing 1/4″ per side (1″ total)

Supplies: 2 1/2 yards Kaufman Shetland Flannel in Navy Herringbone, 1/2 yard Dear Stella Brave Enough to Dream, Bears, Gather Here, $36.59; 10″ invisible zipper, Gather Here, $1.59; thread from stash

Total time: 7.75

Total cost: $50.97

Sandhill Sling

My heavy-hitting Making backpack is sadly wearing out (heavy-hitting in terms of how often I use it, but the fabric is actually shredding, wah). But that gives me a good excuse to sew a new bag!

This is another Noodlehead pattern, the Sandhill Sling.

I bought the paper pattern. In this case that means a nice little plastic bag containing an instruction booklet, a rounded-corner template, and a cutting list, but it was the same price as the PDF so might as well! As a bag amateur, I also appreciate a physical booklet (easier to follow).

I kind of like the feeling of being busted back down to beginner. I also picked a new-to-me fabric, dry oilskin from Merchant & Mills. It is fine. Sorry, pronounce that “fyne”. This bright navy color isn’t particularly eye-catching but it was mostly a dream to sew. I was originally very careful with it – skipping a pre-wash, storing it on an old gift paper tube instead of folding it – but it’s a sturdy fabric meant for heavy use and I quickly got over my preciousness.

Tolkien reportedly thought the most beautiful words in the English language were “cellar door”, but I guess no one ever told him “you can skip the interfacing”. The pattern didn’t explicitly say so, but the oilskin was so stiff already and I thought interfacing would make the bag layers unmanageably thick. Plus I had no way to attach it. You’re not supposed to apply heat to oilskin (just handling the fabric with my body heat gave my hands a non-unpleasant waxy feeling), and in fact the only time I used an iron during this whole project was turning back and pressing the edges of the lining where it’s attached to the zipper.

Finger-pressing dry oilskin is amazing. It creases like thick paper and then it just stays put. If you need it to be flat again, you just smooth it, and then it’s flat. It doesn’t shift, it barely frays, and it doesn’t grow at all. At one point about 2/3rds into the project you’re supposed to true up your main panels and mine were exactly the same size as when I started.

The only downside of dry oilskin is that it doesn’t really heal. Solution: just go ahead and get it right the first time. Iiii did not.

All of its friendly qualities became frenemies when it was time to attach the gusset.

I sewed the lining first to get comfortable attaching the gusset loop to the rounded corners, and in quilting cotton it was a relative breeze. It conformed to the curves and I invisibly eased the straight edges a little when necessary. Lemon-squeezy.

Attempting that same step in a thick, rigidly stable fabric that shows every stitching hole? NOT SQUEEZY AT ALL.

I got everything attached but not well. I misaligned the main panels, placed the cross-body strap off-center, sewed the top edge of the front panel less-than-parallel to its zip, and gathered one straight edge on a few inches of the gusset. I finished the bag (including hand-sewing the lining to the zip), but it was bad. I felt bad when I looked at it. I started making plans to give it away but I didn’t want to punish anybody by giving them a bag that was madly askew. Here’s a couple un-glamour shots:

 I fretted about it for 48 hours then decided it was time for this mésalliance to end in divorce and ripped the outer layers apart.  

Side note: I had more than enough fabric to recut pieces as necessary, which made this decision easier. The pattern called for 5/8 yards, I bought ¾ yards, and even though I cut the strap out of self-fabric I probably would have been fine with ½ yard total. That said, I didn’t have to recut anything. I re-measured the gusset loop and the seamline of the main panels (easy to do when the needle holes are just hanging out) and discovered my gusset was 1” longer than my seamline. I’m not sure how or why this happened, but I sewed out the excess, and it’s a billion times better now. A billion. I ran the numbers.   

Also, once I was in there anyway I figured I might as well make another change. Using the leftover foam from my Making backpack, I cut two Sandhill Sling main panels sans seam allowance, and now they’re floating around between the outer and the lining. I couldn’t work out a way to attach them (probably should have left them some SA after all), but they seem to be staying put! I didn’t have enough foam to construct a whole third inner layer, but I’m not sure that would have been the right move anyway; the Making backpack just has it on the big panels.

My second-sew-around didn’t affect the lining, or I might have added an internal hook for keys. If/when I make a second, I’ll probably use foam again, plus add a key hook, and maybe some webbing carry handles a-la-Raspberry Rucksack, too. Kind of a greatest hits tour of all the bag patterns I’ve sewn so far.

I love hardware but I hate buying it. Mine is all from Wawak and I’m happy with the quality and even happier I could buy it all in one place, with the exception of the webbing; I chose to sew the self-fabric strap 100% so I wouldn’t have to order from two places.

Also at the last moment I changed my zipper color from “Navy” to “Pennant Blue” and I have zero regrets! I ran the numbers on that, too.

Last time I sewed a Noodlehead pattern I bought the hardware kit from there, but the Sandhill Sling kit is divided into two lots. Zippers and hardware are separate and neither includes webbing, and in the operatic words of the sex pest from the musical I cannot stop listening to, “I don’t know about THAT, Pierre!”.

Happily I do like my finished bag, part 2: Bag Harder. It’s nicely hands-free but I can swing it to the front if I want to get something out of it. Due to my manhandling, it already looks pleasantly rumpled and broken-in, much like Scott Bakula. I’d like to make another one for Professor Boyfriend. Maybe that time I’ll measure *before* punching a ton of permanent holes in it. Learning Is Fun!!

Pattern: Sandhill Sling, view A

Pattern cost: $9.00

Size: NA

Supplies: 3/4 yard M&M Dry Oilskin in Navy, 3/4 yard Resilient Creatures quilting cotton, Gather Here, $36.58; hardware  (Antique Brass, Pennant Blue), Wawak, $12.73

Total time: 5.25 hours

Total cost: $48.31

Ol’ Farmer Pants

My students have been known to comment on my outfits, never more so than when I wear overalls. I got a very suspicious “Why do you like those overalls so much?!” the first time I wore my Roberts dungarees. This pair of Pauline Alice Turia dungarees has been called my “weird old farmer pants”. One of my favorite so-called compliments, though I can’t remember which pair it applied to, was when a kiddo told me she liked my underalls. “You mean my overalls?” “No, I mean your shirt.”  (A lot of them are turning ten this year and every year they get more hilarious. I’m very fond of the hooligans.)

Anyway, despite the bad press, I’m still wearing these! I’m leaning into the farmer aesthetic, too, though anyone doing actual manual labor would laugh these right out of town – more on that later. I was hoping to wear this outfit to host a Late-November Gratefulness Eating Day for my parents (gratitude and stuffing are nice, Thanksgiving is iffy), but maybe next year, as we’re not doing any gathering. The smart money says I’m wearing jimjams right now but you never know!   

When I made this pattern in 2017 it was the only indie overalls pattern I found. Since then the options have exploded (outwards in two directions, towards loose wide bags and sexy little numbers) but this sits right about in the middle, a classic Osh Kosh B’Gosh shape. One benefit of that particular timing – 2017, not a lot of other options – is that it’s been blogged a lot. There are some truths universally acknowledged, like the included back pockets are comically small. I used the CC Ginger jeans back pockets instead, and I could have gone bigger; a non-fitted bottom means more fabric to cover.

They’re placed too far out and up, but that’s on me.

Another common change, it seems everyone agrees; two hip zippers is one too many! I’ve complained about invisible zippers in the past, but there’s not a lot of evidence of why we don’t get along, because I avoid using them. I used one here. Alright, deep breath. Here it is.

Come closer, my pretty. Closerrr.

It’s bad!! It’s bad at the top, where I couldn’t figure out how to neatly finish it! It’s bad at the bottom, where (I assume, this was years ago) my over-zealous unpicking ripped past the seam allowance and I bartacked a piece of scrap fabric to the wrong side! I admit fault at the bottom there, but I don’t feel totally responsible for the top, because the waist edge is finished with a single turn to the wrong side. There’s no waistband/facing/binding in which to hide that zipper end.

That edge is my biggest complaint about the pattern. The opening of the patch pocket is finished the same way, but that’s not carrying any weight. For the join between the bib and the pants, a seam that experiences a lot of stress, it’s a weak finish. It’s why I could never wear these to do physical work. And sewn in this lightweight corduroy, a single line of stitching with the seam allowance pressed down is basically a perforated line.

After several wears my bib started ripping right off at both ends! Originally I mended those edges with some discreet hand sewing, but that didn’t last long. So once again I popped a little piece of scrap fabric behind the rip and bartacked the crud out of it. Now that’s ripping too. I really like corduroy, but 21 wale might be for a good time, not for a long time; the pants I made Professor Boyfriend from this same fabric are nearly translucent on the seat. I guess 3 years of wear isn’t a terrible innings, but I might try to fix these one more time, if I can figure out how.    

I fit these on the fly! My 2017 spreadsheet doesn’t include the size I started from (weird thing to be coy about) but my best guess would be a 48, the largest available size, since I removed a lot of width from the legs. My fitting notes indicate that I narrowed the front leg 5/8” (cut the seam allowance off the outseam, basically), and reduced the back leg 1 5/8″ at the waist, blending to 1 1/4″ at the leg. Which is a lot. Nowadays I would start from a 44, and I’ve only gotten bigger & better, so I’m not sure what happened there.

Also in ‘mysterious choices from a  former life’ I extended the straps by a few inches, which was unnecessary, and then my extra strap ends were flapping around and bugging me, so I stitched them down (that line behind the rectangle slider dealie there), and now my straps are only pretending to be adjustable. The hardware is cute though!

Overall the pattern is pretty good, I think! That back seam is flat-felled, as are the inseams. My chest pocket is purely decorative since I stitched it shut, but I like it. I like the shape of the legs, too, though inevitably they bag at the knees. I’m wearing my Turias here with a Mélilot, which is a real get-along shirt pattern.

I still remember the nice woman at the fabric store helping me choose between these buttons and dark green ones, and eventually selling me on these by describing them as raisins! Which seemed appropriate for an Autumnal Food Party outfit. I hope you’re enjoying a meal, wherever you are, and having a safe, relaxing Thursday!    

Evenin’, all!  

Pattern: Pauline Alice Turia dungarees

Pattern cost: $9.00

Size: unknown; let’s say the final size was about a 44

Supplies: 2 yards corduroy in Navy, $23.00, Gather Here; $1.50, zipper, Gather Here; $7.99, buckles, Etsy

Total time: 6.75 hours

Total cost: $41.49

Pattern: Deer and Doe Mélilot

Pattern cost: N/A

Size: 42

Supplies: 2 meters mystery floral, $7.73, TMoS; $7.80, buttons, Gather Here

Total time: 6.5 hours

Total cost: $15.53

Keeping Warm

As I mentioned in my last post, of the 18 new-to-me patterns I tried last year, two of them were free. The first was Peppermint Magazine wide leg pants, and the second was the Megan Nielsen Jarrah. I won the Jarrah as part of the Sew Twists and Ties festivities over on Cooking and Crafting last year, an event which is happening again right now!

It took me a while to find a heavy enough knit, but eventually I ordered this 100% cotton french terry from Joann Fabrics. I’m sure this pattern would make a cute lightweight sweatshirt, too, but I would really like to be warm please.

IMG_5382.JPG

Happily I’m as snug as a bug in this outfit! Both pieces are warm and easy to layer. I sewed view A of the Jarrah, the traditional sweatshirt view with sleeve and bottom bands.  

IMG_5516.JPG

I placed the stripes on the vertical for the sleeve bands. I wish now I had done the same for the bottom band! At the time, I was skimping on fabric. The yardage came out of the dryer so badly off-grain, it was actually trapezoidal. Because the stripes are mechanically woven, I just ignored the selvage and placed the grainline perpendicular to the stripes for cutting most of the pieces. Because of the wild skew, cutting the bottom band so the stripes ran vertically would have wasted a lot more fabric!

Cutting.jpg

Except for that, it was easy to work with. The cut edges were only a little curly and because it’s cotton I could iron with lots of heat and steam. This is a super straightforward and speedy sew, especially because of the drop shoulders and with the banded finish. The stripes make some nice angles!

IMG_5390.JPG
IMG_5468.JPG

I’m showing the Jarrah sweater here with my third pair of Peppermint wide leg pants. I’ve tweaked these a little each time I’ve sewn them, and this time I tried a ¼” full stomach adjustment. I’m still getting drag lines pointing to my stomach, though!

IMG_5472.JPG

Plus, the pants came out big! Not way too big, but they’re for sure roomy. I’m not sure what happened this time – maybe I usually take a wider seam allowance on the outseams, or perhaps my full stomach adjustment had knock-on effects? I forgot to slightly stretch the waistband when pinning, which I usually do. Also, I swapped jeans-style pockets for patch pockets, which means no pocket stay. You can definitely see the roundness of my stomach more clearly but I like my round stomach. It’s where I keep my buttered toast. Anyway, I know this may sound like the ravings of an attic wife, but there’s something to be said for too-big pants – these are as comfortable as sweatpants. ❤

The color is hard to capture accurately – it’s called “Russet” (Kaufman 14 wale corduroy) but I grabbed these swatch images from a few different websites (fabric.com, robertkaufman.com, sistermintaka.com) and it looks a little different in each picture. In person I think it’s most like the third – more caramel than burnt orange, I guess?

P1230321.jpg

Inspired by Sew North’s carpenter-style Lander pants (also a house painter I surreptitiously stared at on the subway), I decided to add patch pockets to my Peppermint pants. I drew my own rather than using her measurements since it’s a different pattern. I got a little too cute, though, trying to duplicate the grainline of the pants perfectly on the patch pockets; it was a scant angle off the straight grain, and I should have just used the straight grain for neater pressing and stitching.

I also scrapped the hammer loop – I made one but I wasn’t wild about it, and I’m pretty sure it would have functioned as a child-towing loop, anyway. But hooray for extra pockets! I placed the back pockets by centering them on the back darts, with the top edge perpendicular to the darts. The height was just a smidge arbitrary. Okay fine, completely arbitrary!

IMG_5419.JPG

The patch pockets have bound openings – I made too much coordinating binding for my Tamarack but luckily it seems to go with anything!

IMG_5486.JPG

I’m a wee bit obsessed with the leg pocket.

IMG_5494.JPG

It’s holding my phone and my house keys and nothing pokes me in the stomach when I sit down! Nothin’!

My last change was simple as could be; I added 4” to the pant legs, then took a nice deep hem, so the finished length is equal to the unhemmed length of the pants as drafted. No breezes are finding my ankles. Cozy 4 life!

IMG_5406.JPG
IMG_5439.JPG

As always, I can’t recommend this free pattern enough! I’m enjoying my Jarrah, too. This warm, colorful outfit will get me through January – just another 3 months of winter to dress for after that. But who’s counting? 🙂

Pattern: MN Jarrah

Pattern cost: $0.00

Size: 10

Supplies: 1.5 yards of cotton french terry, $15.98, Joann; thread from stash

Total time: 2 hours

Total cost: $15.98

Pattern: Peppermint Wide-Leg Pants

Pattern cost: $0.00

Size: F, with adjustments, including ¼” full stomach adjustment and 4” inches added to length

Supplies: 2.5 yards of Kaufman 14 Wale corduroy in Russet, $31.88, Gather Here; thread, button, zipper from stash

Total time: 6.25

Total cost: $31.88

In The Navy

IMG_3717

This is how I power dress! I want my foes to be discomfited by the almost-but-not-quite-identical shades of navy blue. Just kidding, I don’t have any foes. I think?! #nofoes

This is my show-up-to-show-out look, though. The me-mades from top to bottom, outside to inside, are: By Hand London Victoria blazer, Melilot shirt, and Ginger jeans. It’s a good bet that any time I don’t specifically say otherwise, I’m wearing Gingers! Closet Case has been covering my tuchus for years now.

IMG_3795

But actually we’re here to talk mainly about the Victoria blazer!

IMG_3704

The fabric for this blazer cost me $0.00. I was given a stack of fabric (Parisian attic fabric!!) third-hand that included completely unused wools and coordinating linings. Occasionally the woman who bought these fabrics would note which pattern she intended to use them for – as these purchases were made in the early eighties by a petite Frenchwoman, you can imagine how pertinent those suggestions were to me. Non. But it was very exciting to get my grubby paws on these beautiful fabrics/pieces of a stranger’s personal history!

IMG_3708

The shell is a lightweight wool (I think) and the lining is Bemberg rayon. Anyway, the wool (?) loved a press, and was a peach to sew. I had once previously made the Victoria blazer – cropped silver pleather, don’t ask – so I knew going in I was happy with the sleeve fit and collar width. I discovered with the full-length view, though, that the inseam pockets are a fun comedy bit, and not useful pockets. You know that book Things Fall Apart? A book about this blazer’s pockets would be called Things Fall Out.

IMG_3812

I added a facing according to a blog post that…um…I can’t find anymore! It wasn’t this one by Marilla Walker; that one looks helpful but a little more complicated. The post I lost showed a great Victoria jacket (black velvet with a satin lapel, if I remember correctly) and I did what I remember her doing – tracing off the front pattern piece, dividing it roughly in half vertically on a slight curve (the dart belongs on the facing piece) and adding seam allowances. When I first read the directions for that dart, by the way, they really did my head in, but sewing it was a snap! If you’re new to jackets as I was, I recommend it for ease and wearability! The sleeves went in beautifully, too. They must have been drafted really well because I’m usually crummy at setting in sleeves.

IMG_3788

I added about 1.5” total extra width to the center fold of the back lining. I pleated it for wearing ease, as intended, at the hem, but ended up using all the excess at the neck edge to match the shell neckline. Strange, hmm? A lucky break for sure though!

IMG_3842

The collar and lapel are separate pieces from the body of the blazer. I used every scrap of this wool! Thank goodness these pieces were rectangles I could nestle up against each other!

This is a super beginner-friendly outerwear sewing project. I want to get into the hard stuff, now – roll lines, tailoring, shoulder pads. When I was shopping I loved coats; now that I’m sewing my aesthetic is more menswear-inspired than Edwardian-military (again, don’t ask), but I think I might love sewing them.

IMG_3745

I would not be ashamed to shake Sue Perkin’s hand in this blazer. Speaking of which, where can an obsessed American watch the rest of Giles and Sue Live the Good Life? The first episode is freely available but I can’t find the rest of the series!

IMG_3738

Let me know your favorite coat patterns, and for the love of Pete where I can watch Sue Perkins milk a goat!

Pattern: By Hand London Victoria blazer

Pattern cost: NA

Size: 10/14

Supplies: navy wool (?), Bemberg rayon, $0.00, vintage stash; thread from stash

Total time: 6.25 hours

Total cost: $0.00