My first version of Simplicity 2446, an amazing fit pattern, to create my attempt at Boden- the polka dot blazer. I made this a while ago now, and have only just got around to blogging about it….this jacket has turned into such useful Spring outerwear and as the summer fades it’ll again be something that I grab for on the way out of the door, with jeans mainly, and maybe one of those cotton scarves….
This is quite a long piece. Should I have split it? I’m not sure. Didn’t realise how much I’d have to write until I came to review it afterwards…so get a cuppa and put your feet up. Or just skim or not. As suits!
So time to tell the story of my ‘wearable muslin’ or the test jacket I made but hoped would be good enough to wear. This is the pilot before I make Tweedy out of my purple houndstooth Harris Tweed. ( This is on my sewing plans for the Autumn )
I looked for some cheap as chips cotton with a bit of weight, prepared to use calico until I saw that this cotton, with polka dots was almost as cheap. How can that be possible? Still, having seen Carolyn’s beautiful polka dot blazer using the same pattern, simplicity 2446 , an amazing fit pattern, the idea was hatched to make me a Boden style jacket.
I did even cut up some sheeting to make a very rough toile before cutting into the polka dot. (Makes a change doesn’t it?!) At sheet stage, there did not appear to be any glaring fit issues. And I know that toiles should be made out of similar type and weight fabric, but I wanted to get an idea that I was cutting the right size. The amazing fit patterns all have 1″ seam allowances included in key fit zones to allow plentiful letting out & additional shaping, so I felt this was not too risky a strategy. It also allowed me to practice constructing the details before laying into my posh tweed.
My plan evolved to optimise time with my Mum in Cornwall, bringing basted jacket with me so that I could benefit from sewing guru’s fitting skills to help me customise my jacket pattern. In the 5 days that I had there as my holiday I managed to squeeze in a few short ( for me ) sessions so that I could take away the completed polka dot shell with me, knowing that we had worked through the fit and it *seemed ok*.
It is strange that an amazing fit pattern with all of the extras to help achieve a custom fit- wide seam allowances, sections in the instruction on common fit alterations- was not actually needed as I think this fits me just about out of the packet. I made a size 10 at bust graded to a size 14 at the hips. This is usual for my body shape. I also wanted to make the longer length as this seemed more like the classic blazer….and suitable for my heirloom Tweed jacket. I did not want it too snug as I wanted to be able to wear some layers with it too.
So let’s talk about the jacket then?
One thing I rarely do, but always do for something like this, is transfer all the markings with tailor tacks. Ok some of them fall out by the time I get to the sewing, but the rate of loss is better than if I just used pins.
There are some lovely details for an almost tailored finish. As with the other amazing fit pattern I’ve made ( chinos using simplicity 1696) there are extra ‘amazing tips’ presented in the pattern instructions if you want to get a bit closer to some of the nice finishing details. For example, applying fusible interfacing at hem edges and also across the upper back and upper bodice – certainly at hem edges this provides a nice bit of extra structure.
Also having seen Carolyn’s awesome pop of even more colour with the addition of some contrast piping between facing and lining, that too was an amazing tip I took on. Check out the cute play of colour with my shiny green bias. I did not add piping cord per se, just used the satin bias ( left over from my abundant supply purchased for my tartan circle skirt).
On the subject of the lining, do you like? It’s GOLD and has little polka dots and ‘w’s all over it. Oh ok, apparently they are ‘m’s as this lining was a Max Mara end of line that I bought from Ditto fabrics when I was in Brighton last April. I’d hunted Ditto out, determined to visit and what a treat. Set in the fabulous North Laine area I found heaps of inspiration and shopping temptation. And then there is Ditto. yay !. I did purchase some other fabric, but was drawn to this lining (yes it’s still on sale!) by someone’s little boy whose hand had glided over its silky goldness, saying ‘look Mummy, it’s so shiny’. Ok, got me, I listen in on conversations between children and parents, but if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have also been drawn to this most beautifully perfect lining. Dots and ‘w’s?! At the time I’d not bought lining for my blue polka dot jacket. I just knew when I saw this egg yolk satin that the wait was over. When I cut it out, I allowed an extra 2″ ease in the centre back and created a little pleat at the centre back to allow for ease. I didn’t want any feeling of splitting lining when wearing it!
More jacket details?
Check out the pockets. They are welt pockets ? Oh no they’re not.
The princess seaming, as well as creating a sleek shape, ( different cup sizes on this amazing fit pattern) allows side pockets in the front seam under the pocket flaps.
It’s a really nice finish, but wearing it, I’m still expecting proper welt pockets under my flap. To achieve this in my Tweed jacket would involve starting with a different pattern I think- one without princess seams otherwise there’s just too much going on with a welt pocket, under a flap, crossing through a vertical seam. But having thought about it some more I am less sure, and might try to keep the princess seaming and just add welt pockets….do you think that would work?
Even more lovely details? The sleeve packets are pretty awesome. They are almost non faux. They almost operate as sleeve plackets. They are lined and everything. I made buttonholes in them, but didn’t bother slicing the buttonholes as why, if the buttons are just going to sit on top of them? Can I show you something I really enjoyed sewing?
The sleeve hem. It’s cut with the edges shaped to provide a perfect mitre. Oh pure joy.
I’d read that there might be some easing difficulties when it came to work on the collar and getting round those corners, but for some reason I did not come across any excessive swear moments. None actually. And I really liked the way that the upper collar attaches to the neck and blends into a lovely upper shoulder dart that hides under the collar….
The lining is bagged and the pattern tells you how to do it. All machined except for one small bit of closing. The interesting thing is that instead of just one hole to use for turning the jacket in and out of, there are three- you leave turning holes in each sleeve and at the hem. It was less tricky to sew each sleeve hem through its own hole this way. Good trick I think. You can still machine the lining holes shut with care. I’ve since used this approach with other lined jackets I’ve made.
What else am I chuffed with? Well I actually like the finish at the inside hem. That’s worked out well. Even my usual weak point, where the lining hem meets the facing. Looks neat enough to me. Next time I just need to make sure that my bias piping is turned the right way when sewing the facing’s hem – I’ve just coaxed it to sit the right way here with a couple of well meaning hand stitches.
It took me a while to complete the jacket – last thing to add were the buttons, and I didn’t have them. I’d snaffled some options for the sleeve cuffs ( you need 6 of these) but didn’t have anything that could be used for the front, and therefore was reluctant to make buttonholes. So I wore this jacket, buttonless and buttonhole-less on my shopping trip….(complete with tailor tacks marking position of buttonholes for when I did come to make them. I don’t think the wispy bits of thread on the front showed that much….) & chose buttons whilst wearing it 😉
So I’ve now worn this jacket a few times. There is plenty of ease in the shoulder and upper back area. It is comfy. And I like wearing jackets and jeans. It kind of elevates the humble ( but much loved) Ginger jeans…. And now I’ve written it up, I’m looking forward to rekindling the experience for Tweedy. A few other things to make first!
By the way, I’ve heard that there is a 10% off at Fabric Godmother this weekend running till Monday
and 15% off fabric at Weaver Dee using code 15% OFF *All fabrics! Use code: HOLIDAYTREAT ! Half price Simplicity New Look patterns ends soon too. If you feel like some fabric shopping this weekend. Hope you have a glorious bank holiday/ weekend folks…