Summer Blazer Part 1: cutting and assembly

Summer blazer progress 1 - compilation

After the plethora of Renfrews that have been popping up on this blog lately, I decided to switch gears a bit.  My next project is a bit more meaty, a bit more challenging, and quite a bit more exciting: a fully lined blazer!  YEAH BABY!!  : )  Can you feel the excitement??

Simplicity 2446 pattern art

I decided to revisit Simplicity 2446, a classic-cut, fully lined blazer in Simplicity’s “Amazing Fit” series.  And let me tell you, after an absolute saga of fitting adjustments that I had made for my first version of the blazer, I think the adjusted fit IS quite amazing.  : )  It had better be after all that work, am I right?

I’ve been wearing my blue blazer a lot lately, and I always feel so classy in it.  The only problem is that it’s quite long – perfect for wearing with slim-cut jeans (which is how I always wear it), but too long for wearing with skirts and dresses.  I’d been dreaming of a white summer blazer for the last few months, so I decided to use my perfectly fitting pattern pieces to make a somewhat cropped version in a lighter color.  I chopped off 4.5 inches from the hem, but kept everything else as-is.  Summer Blazer, here I come!

Summer blazer - fabric

For the fabric, I’m using this white, teal, and gray geometric print from Gather Here.  I wanted something white, but not too white.  Full disclosure: I wasn’t completely sold on this print when I picked it up off the shelf, but after unraveling the bolt a bit and draping it over my body in front of the mirror (yes, right in the middle of the store!), I was convinced.  It’s exactly what I was going for, and it really does look great once you’re wearing it.  At least I think so!  With the blue and white, is anyone else thinking Miami Vice?

By the way, please tell me I’m not the only one to drape fabric across themselves and parade around the fabric store.  : )

The lining is Bemberg rayon in periwinkle, from Vogue Fabrics as always.  As you know, I love lining my garments in rayon.  It’s affordable, breathable, easy to care for, and completely static-free.  The yellow fabric is Kona cotton, which I’m using for some contrast piping on the inside of the blazer.  I think the piping will really be the highlight of the blazer, and I’m looking forward to flashing it during wear.

Summer blazer - cut pieces 1It took me all of last weekend to cut out all the pieces – almost 50 in total!  Not to mention all the time spent at the ironing board attaching the interfacing.  The front and front facing pieces are fully interfaced to give the collar and lapel some structure, and the remaining parts of the shell have strips of interfacing at the shoulder, hem, and sleeve cuffs.

I spent a whopping 9 hours (yes, you read that right) adjusting the pattern pieces for the shorter length, cutting the fabric, and ironing on the interfacing.  OMG what a saga!!  Note that this includes an extra half hour to replace 2 front pieces that somehow acquired huge stains that wouldn’t wash out.  Argh!  Luckily I had enough fabric to re-cut, but I had to make an emergency run to the store for more interfacing.  Still don’t know where the stains came from.

All right already, shall we get to the in-progress photos of the blazer?  : )

So far I’ve got the shell fully assembled and the lining partially assembled, still waiting for its sleeves and collar.  Below is a flood of photos with my intermittent ramblings, enjoy!  [Click any photo to enlarge.]

Summer blazer progress 1 - shell front Summer blazer progress 1 - shell back

The shell is essentially complete except for hems and buttons, and, of course, being united with the lining.  I’m happy to report that the fit is great, thanks to all my work on this pattern from last summer.  Yay for re-using patterns!  You know I love doing that.  : )

Summer blazer progress 1 - sleeve detail outside Summer blazer progress 1 - sleeve detail inside

A few close-ups of the sleeve cuffs.  I used light blue thread for the buttonholes as an accent, which I think will look nice with the silver buttons I picked out (sorry, no photos of those, oops).  The sleeve plackets aren’t fully functional (as per the pattern), but I’ll still cut open the buttonholes so the buttons can go through.  It’ll look like a real placket at least.

Summer blazer progress 1 - set in sleeve

Like last time, setting in the sleeves on this blazer was kind of a nightmare.  You can see above that my sleeve cap is a little puckered, although trust me, there are NO actual tucks along the seam line.  I re-sewed the seam multiple times to make sure of that!  Honestly, I probably should have removed some ease from the top of the sleeve cap, but I decided to fight with it instead.  Argh.

Summer blazer progress 1 - collar seam intersection

And speaking of fighting, this 3-way collar seam intersection was a BEAR.  That corner is just a bit wonky, but this was seriously the best I could do.  It’s hard to explain exactly what’s going on here, but if you’ve ever sewed a notched collar, you’ll know what I mean.  The vertical seam on the top is where the collar attaches to the neck, the horizontal seam on the left is the collar attaching to the lapel, and the vertical seam on the bottom is a dart on the front jacket piece.  Complete craziness going on here.

Summer blazer progress 1 - lining front

Oooh, and here’s the lining!  The front pieces are overlapping here, but the front does indeed open up.  As I mentioned earlier, the lining is still waiting for its sleeves and collar… 3 tricky seams that I don’t have the energy to tackle right now.  : )  But look how pretty it is!

Summer blazer progress 1 - piping detail

The yellow contrast piping is inserted into the seam between the front facing and the side front lining.  I made some 7/8 inch single-fold bias tape, basted it down the middle to stabilize it, and sewed it to the front facing edge.  (I tried skipping the basting first, but got the dreaded drag lines.  No thanks!  Ripped it out and basted first.)  The lining is then sewn on top of the piping+facing.  The finished width of the piping is 1/4 inch.

Summer blazer progress 1 - lining back Summer blazer progress 1 - lining vent top Summer blazer progress 1 - lining vent bottom

Unlike last time, I made a vent in the back lining to allow plenty of extra arm movement.  I’m so excited about this!  I have a really broad upper back and can use all the extra room I can get.  The top of the vent is currently basted in place, pending attachment of the collar.  At the bottom, I actually sewed the vent shut for a few inches so that the lining hem will be the same width as the jacket hem.

To make the vent, I simply added 2 inches to the back lining pattern piece at the center back.  Since the piece is cut on the fold, that’s 4 extra inches added.  The finished vent is 2 inches wide, with each individual “fold” being 1 inch.  LOTS of added room!

Summer blazer progress 1 - seam detail

Because the jacket seams will get lots of strain, almost all the seams are sewn twice.  I don’t want my blazer busting open if when I pop a stitch at some point!

And finally, here’s a preview of the whole shebang:

Summer blazer progress 1 - full blazer Summer blazer progress 1 - full blazer openedI LOVE IT!!!  : )  Oh come on, you know I fall in love with all my projects, right?

Phew!  If you made it to the end of this post, congratulations and thanks for indulging me.  Stay tuned for more progress on this blazer, including poking out those lapel points and miles of hand sewing at the hems.  Man I love these meaty projects.

What’s on your sewing table these days?

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10 comments
  1. I adore that fabric! I was in Boston a few months ago and stopped in at Gather Here. I left a rather large bit of my paycheck there, but it would have been larger if I had seen that print!

    It’s perfect for a blazer. I can’t wait to see the finished product!

    • Carolyn said:

      Thanks Erika! Isn’t Gather Here awesome? I’m there all the time. It’s such a friendly local shop overflowing with crafty goodness. :) Hope you enjoyed your visit to Boston!

      I almost walked by this print because it’s not very eye-catching, but I’m so glad I decided to pick it up. Sometimes the good finds aren’t immediately obvious!

  2. Emmely said:

    I often buy fabric on fabric markets and then there’s no mirror in sight. Draping it over you should help you determine whether the print and colour are going to look good on you so it sounds like a great strategy to me! Can’t wait to see the finished jacket!

    I am currently working on a bathrobe because I really need a new one. It’s almost finished (I think, but still requires a lot of handsewing so that might turn out to take longer than I anticipate…).

    • Carolyn said:

      Yes, hand sewing always takes longer than you think it will! I’m always surprised at how long it takes, but I think the results are totally worth the time investment. Good luck with the robe – looking forward to seeing it. :)

      Sadly there are no fabric markets where I live, but everyone seems to rave about them!

  3. I am in awe of all the detailed work on this – I don’t think I ever made anything so complex and it is looking amazing. I have the By Hand London Victoria blazer in my sewing queue which I think is much easier as it is not so fitted (I hope so anyway!) It is good to do something more involved after a few easier projects though

    Louise

    • Carolyn said:

      Thanks Louise! I agree, a challenging project every once in a while can be really satisfying.

      I haven’t made the Victoria blazer, but I think it’s pretty boxy and straightforward to construct. I think the lining is bagged (correct me if I’m wrong!), which is a breeze to do, and the notched collar is simplified to avoid the tricky 3-way intersection I mentioned above. Definitely a good blazer to start with! Let me know if you decide to sew it up. :)

  4. dokucug said:

    What a great post! Your jacket is coming along beautifully. Making a blazer (my first) is on my list for this year, and this pattern is a contender, so there’s lots of great information here for me. Thank you!

    • Carolyn said:

      Thanks, and I’m glad this post was helpful to you! :) I used this pattern for my first blazer as well. It’s a slightly ambitious project if you’ve never made a jacket before, but just take your time and everything will be fine. For me, it was a fun challenge and great learning experience. Good luck with it!

  5. Heather said:

    I find this fabric…surprising. But somehow, all together I’m loving it. Looks like it will be a beautiful piece. It looks really high end.

    • Carolyn said:

      Thanks Heather! I totally agree – I was surprised when I picked this print off the shelf, but I really do love how it’s coming together. You can reserve final judgment until you see me modeling the finished piece though. :)

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