The Dixie Victoria Blazer

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Two things of note before we begin today – 1) In case you didn’t know, my middle name is Victoria! 😉
and 2) I’m completely convinced that “blazer” is the most awesome name of any garment. I mean just say it – “Blaaaazzzzeeerr!” It’s blazin’! Blaze!!! Fire and lasers!

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Ok, on to the real reason you’re here. No doubt you’ve seen this pattern on other blogs by now (why am I always the last one to finish?), it’s the Victoria Blazer from By Hand London. I love these girls. My Elisalex dress is one of my faves and most worn dresses.

The fabric is an organic cotton twill from Organic Cotton Plus.

The Goal: I really like wearing blazers but I don’t often do it, because Texas, so then I thought *light bulb* white blazer! This is great because it won’t be as hot as darker fabrics and I can wear a tank top outside and pop on the blazer when I go indoors to keep me from dying of air conditioning hypothermia. It’s a win win!

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The Pattern: This is my second By Hand London pattern I’ve made and I love that they’ve applied what they’ve learned from their first two patterns into making an even better pattern. I like their style – chic and with a modern twist on classic styles. This boxy blazer shape reminds me of the 80s but at the same time it looks like it fits perfect in 2013.

More things I liked – the fact that they tell you to stay stitch parts, like the center front, a place I wouldn’t have thought to do but it makes sense when you’re attaching the collar and lapel, you don’t want that area to have stretched out.

I liked the dart that you can’t really see while wearing the jacket but it makes a little bit of shaping while also serving as a collar stand in the back.

The pattern calls for French seams at the cuff which I thought was a clever option.

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Oh, and one thing I appreciated was the note about sleeve ease. I liked that the ladies explained the extra ease in the sleeve cap so I was prepared when I went to sew it in and I found that there wasn’t as much ease as I thought there’d be. I think this is nice because a lot of sewists have trouble with adding sleeve ease (I know I used to). Have you ever tried to insert a sleeve cap that had so much ease you gave up and just gathered the top so you didn’t have to deal with it? Having this extra info made me go into that part of the assembly with confidence and better expectations. It was just a nice consideration.

And that’s just an example of the fun, encouraging way the instructions are written which make sewing this blazer fun.

The Fabric: This is a 7oz twill weave from Organic Cotton Plus and I’m glad they give weights on a lot of the fabrics because I really think this is the perfect weight for this pattern. They have lots of other colors (and fabrics!) as well in case white’s not your thing. Also I was really impressed with the quality of this twill. I’m used to getting plain old twill from Joann and this stuff is much nicer and feels great. They have a lot of undyed fabric, too, which makes me wonder – anyone up for a turmeric dying session??

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The Changes: I cut a cropped version in a straight US 10 and didn’t have to do any fitting changes. The only thing I did differently is that I didn’t line it. I just didn’t want an extra layer of fabric when it’s so hot here. Instead I made some bias tape with the same fabric (I love making bias tape now!!) and used it as a facing to enclose the raw edges of the collar and lapels. Then I serged the bottom edge, folded it under and hand blind hemmed it. Looks pretty good! I also tacked down the top and bottom corner of both lapels but I left the collar loose.

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The Results: This is a really cool little jacket and I’ve already gotten lots of compliments on it! Win! Also, this pattern came together surprisingly quick. I finished it in a leisurely few hours over two days. On a side note, these are the sweatiest photoshoot pictures of all time. It’s soooo hot! This was a very forced smile. Love the blazer – hate the heat!

Self Drafted Sweatshirt Jacket, or In Other News, I now have Purple Hair

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I made this jacket partially as a contributor challenge on the Sew Weekly (in case you haven’t heard yet, the Sew Weekly has opened up the floodgates and is allowing anyone to contribute a project for each weekly challenge!) but also because from my Closet Catalogue I knew I needed (and wanted) more jackets! So excuse me is much of this post is taken from my Sew Weekly post.

This jacket was originally inspired by a stylish friend’s heather knit jacket but it has since morphed into something else entirely.

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I began with a sketch, started piecing bits together here and there and kind of making it up as I went along. I changed pieces in places in mid sewing – like the angle of the lower pieces on the front. Since I really didn’t know what I was doing I made several mistakes, especially in trying to figure out how to put in those darn pockets. This all resulted in much hand sewing!

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The extra long cuffs along with extra buttons were made out of necessity. See, I had a bunch of this sweatshirt material deep in my stash but I had very few big sections. Luckily I also had a failed dress and a shirt that I had previously made with this fabric so with everything together I had enough to cut out all the necessary pieces.

I didn’t have any piece long enough for a full sleeve so I chopped off the quarter length sleeves from the old shirt and added these  long cuffs.

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The body of the jacket itself has princess seams with sections at the bottom that have pockets hidden into the seam.

Since the knit fabric was so bulky I couldn’t for the life of me get my automatic buttonhole foot to work! It ended up stretching the fabric instead of moving it so I had to use a regular foot and manually make all 8 buttonholes. After all that work I just made the buttons on the pockets decorative. 😉

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And in other news – I have purple hair! I thought that might be something fun to do this year. I probably won’t have it purple for too long so I want to enjoy it while I can.

And in other other news – I just wanted to say how much I appreciate all you readers who have been coming to my blog or following. I don’t always get the chance to respond to every comment but I want you to know I do read them and often I visit your blogs, too, even if I don’t get the chance to regularly share the comment love at your place. Anyone with a blog reader list, even one that is relatively small, knows how fast that reader can explode with posts (I can never seem to catch up!) so know, that even if I don’t comment often I do follow a lot of your blogs and read regularly. And thanks for reading here, too.

First Coat of the Season

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Well, sort of. This is more like a slightly cropped, three quarter sleeve jacket, but since it never gets too cold in Texas, this counts as a coat!

Can you believe that with all my undying love for Wendy Mullin’s designs that I didn’t own this pattern (Simplicity 4109)? Now it is out of print so I tracked it down on ebay. There is another one of the Built by You coat patterns out there that I simply cannot find for less than $30, whoa!

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I used this wool fabric that I bought at a recent estate sale and while I did “pre-steam” it ala Sewaholic’s tips for sewing coats, I should have dry cleaned the fabric because it still smelled musty. Instead I dry cleaned the finished coat at an eco-cleaners in Austin (which I prefer to regular dry cleaning because they don’t use such harsh chemicals and therefore it doesn’t have that terrible nasty chemical smell that I despise).

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I loved the pattern. It is a boxy shape (no darts or curves) so I know some might not like it but to me it’s modern and it’s a coat so I don’t expect to look super svelte. I really liked the bell sleeves (cut on the bias) with the front facing seam (as opposed to a regular under arm seam). Some may not like the big sleeves either but it fits my style and I like how it shows off the plaid pattern.

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The only change I made was to add a lining which was difficult for me because I rarely make linings. I worked with the facings included in the pattern so I had to cut my new lining pieces to fit. First I finished the raw edges of the facing with black bias tape, serged the edges of the lining, then layered the facings over the lining (wrong side to right side) and stitched through. If the wool hadn’t been so itchy I could have gotten away without the lining.

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I think the design is cute and different from a regular jacket or coat. It almost has the look of a cape and I think it would be cute in a heavy knit with an added hood.

I want to make the other version of this pattern maybe in a nice twill, something that I wouldn’t have to line.

I love the Built by Wendy asthetic – sort of casual refined with modern cuts that are youthful and easy to make your own. Maybe I will shell out the $30 for that other BbW coat pattern? I suddenly feel the need to complete my pattern collection!

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Have you ever sewn a coat or jacket? What is your favorite coat pattern? I’m looking to make a few different designs for this season.

Rorschach Blazer

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I may have a contender for the prize of craziest fabric ever sewn. I don’t know what compelled me to buy this fabric. I think I found it at Hancock Fabrics although I bought it sometime in July and now I can’t remember very well where it is from. I do know that I was smitten immediately and at the time I wanted to make a printed blazer and thought this would do the trick.

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It is a medium weight twill with a green and orange on white print that reminds me of a Rorschach test. Pretty wild!

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I made the jacket using a blend of two patterns: Simplicity 2250 (I made a denim version last April) and Simplicity 2340 (for the curved collar on version C, which I realize is difficult to see in these photos, sorry!).

The 2340 jacket design was a little too boxy for me and I love the more curvy shape of 2250.

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Basically, I layered the front pattern piece of 2340 over the front piece of 2250 and matched up the shoulder seams. I also shortened the overall length by about 4 inches to make it more wearable with different outfits.

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The jacket isn’t lined because it never gets extremely cold here in Texas so I wanted to get some wear out of it in the warmer months as well as fall/winter. That’s also convenient because both patterns I used aren’t lined either (well, version C is lined but it is a vest not a full jacket) and I’m too lazy to make my own lining, ha!

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