No, I am not entering a Chris Evans look-alike contest (British reference there). Today’s post features fabric kindly sent to me by Spoonflower. I am sure many of you have already heard of the eco-friendly custom printing firm. About 1.5 years ago they opened a second factory in Berlin, and to celebrate they asked a few British bloggers to be part of a Blog Tour, and make items using Spoonflower fabric. You can see the list of bloggers here on the Spoonflower Blog. The fabric I have used in this post was sent to me for no charge by Spoonflower, but all opinions are my own.
I have never ordered fabric from Spoonflower before. The choice of already uploaded designs on the Spoonflower website is vast (of course the option is also there to upload your own design), and somewhat overwhelming. I searched using key words of prints I have a passion for (like dark florals), and elected to go for Jungle Passion Floral Navy by Joan McLemore, printed on to the lightweight cotton twill (58″ width).
Because of my own indecision, Spoonflower ended up sending me this fabric in two separate lengths but I was not able to detect any differences in the colours between the two lengths. I think the colours are a pretty good match to what was shown on screen when I was making my selection. I also liked the fact that, at least for the design I selected, previews were provided of the fabric made up into a cushion and a dress, so I could guage the scale of the print.
I did run the fabrics through a hot (60 degree) pre-wash before cutting out and did not notice any running, bleeding or fading. This particular fabric was easy to cut, sew and press. It’s a good weight without being too heavy and bulky. Full disclosure: will I ever wear these two pieces together? Probably not, but as separates in my wardrobe I love them and how individual and quirky they are. I already have lots of things which these items will go with.
The trousers were made using Butterick 6331. This is actually my third iteration of these pants (I haven’t shown you version two yet), but you can see my first version here. For this version I took on board what some of you said in the comments and scooped out the back crotch by 0.25 inches and added 0.5 inches to the upper back thigh. I know it’s hard to see in this busy print but overall I think it’s better. Other changes for this version:
- I fully interfaced the waistband.
- I had to let the side seams out a touch from the waist down to the bottom of the pockets.
- I hemmed the bottoms by hand.
- These are trousers but with some jeans details like additional topstitching, jeans button and bar tacks.
The blazer was made using Simplicity 2446, which I first made in wool ponte. I do love my first version, and since going back to work, have worn it a few times. But the shoulders are too big (although I did go back and alter them to be smaller). So for this version I made sure to do a small shoulder adjustment.
- I did a 5/8ths inch small shoulder adjustment.
- I shaved 0.25 inches off all the shoulder princess seams above the bust.
- I added a centre back seam for shaping.
- I shortened the pocket bag length by 1.5 inches.
- I added small ready made shoulder pads but omitted sleeve heads and chest reinforcement.
- You can see a picture of the internal interfacing here on Instagram if you want.
My previous two blazers have taken me approx. 3 weeks each to make: I slaved over this blazer to get it done in a week! Gosh it was tough but overall I am pretty happy with the finished result.
Like I say, being honest, I don’t think I would be brave enough to go full on head to toe pattern, but as individual pieces I think these are going to get worn lots. I am also very proud of how far I have come on with my sewing techniques tackling things like the welt pockets and sleeve vents and even the trouser fitting and sewing.
Happy sewing everyone!
Note: this post contains some affiliate links. Also this post is picture heavy. Grab a drink and come sit down….
It’s SO nice to be back with you. If you have been following me on Instagram you would have already seen all of the following pictures. But today’s post gives those of you who haven’t seen them a chance to do so, as well as reading a little bit more about the construction of my tailored wool blazer and also reading my honest review of Craftsy’s Classic Tailoring: The Blazer Class. My blazer is now fully completed but I am waiting for a good day weather wise to photograph. It may be a while….
I followed Classic Tailoring: The Blazer to sew my blazer. I have never sewn a woven lined, notched lapel blazer before, nor have I ever done any tailoring. This class, IMHO, is not aimed at complete beginner sewists. That’s not to say you have to have any knowledge or experience of tailoring. Not at all. But the class does assume quite a lot of prior knowledge/ expertise. You have to know how to cut out a pattern, cut out fabric on grain, make a muslin, fit the muslin, make changes to your pattern and cut out your fashion fabric and lining. There are also other things which the class doesn’t show you (see below). If you need help on those other aspects there are other Craftsy classes which maybe you should consider taking first? BTW, Butterick 4610 (now OOP) is included with the cost of this class.
The class is spread out over 10 lessons which take up approximately 5 hours viewing time. You start off being shown how to create pattern pieces for the inner supporting structure for the blazer, which are cut from muslin and hair canvas. You then move on to cutting and applying hair canvas for the blazer fronts and being shown how to mark pad stitching lines, do the pad stitching and also how to establish (on the muslin/ tissue) and mark the roll line using twill tape. Note: you are also shown how to do a bound button hole, but I chose not to do this on my blazer.
After this you move on to the construction of the undercollar. Again, you are shown how to mark and do padstitching. The concept of turn of cloth is explained, but it might have been nice to have had an example where the instructor actually had to do an adjustment because, TBH, I still feel a little confused about the concept 🙂
The body is next assembled and the instructor talks about using wigan in the hems of the blazer. I could not get hold of any wigan and chose to use a lightweight knit interfacing instead (you can see in the first photo above). Worked fine. You are also shown how to apply a shoulder stay. All good stuff.
After this you move on to attaching the undercollar to the blazer, and are shown how to catch stitch seam allowances to achieve a clean, smooth finish. You are shown how to alter the (two piece) sleeve pattern pieces to include a vent. I think it was good this was included as part of the class so that you can alter future patterns that might not have this feature. The instructor also demonstrates a neat way to line the patch pockets and attach the pockets to the blazer.
The next stage is setting in the sleeves. TBH I was a little dissappointed with this aspect of the class, in that the setting in of sleeves is not actually shown in the class. It is completed off camera and then a completed example shown. Again, this may have been a case of assuming prior knowledge of how to do this, but it might have been nice to have seen, for example, setting in a sleeve using a bias sleeve head method (which is what I chose to do). Also, personally speaking, I am not able to obtain nice shoulder pads local to me and this is why I generally prefer to make my own using the pattern pieces.
The lining is assembled next. Again, I was a little surprised at this aspect of the class. In all the stuff I have read in tailoring books/ online etc most people seem to advise adding about 0.25 inches at the underarms of lining pieces (to allow it to fit smoothly over the underarm seam without distorting) and also to the side seams of lining pieces – again to ensure the lining will not pull the blazer once assembled. The instructor doesn’t make any mention of this. You are told to simply follow the pattern instructions to cut the lining out and then told to basically take less seam allowance at the shoulder seam to account for the shoulder pad. Hmpf. Didn’t like this. I followed my tailoring book for this part.
Other things which the class includes which I chose not to do: I machine stitched my facing seam allowances in place (didn’t hand stitch) I used my machine to add a decorative stitch to the back lining pleat rather than hand feather stitching. I machined in my sleeve lining rather than hand stitching it in place.
Still awake? Ok. The upper collar is now attached to the lining and the upper collar/ lining unit attached to the outer blazer. You are shown how to trim the seam allowances, press the blazer and baste the lapels whilst pressing to encourage the turn of cloth. These steps are crucial to getting a professional finish on your blazer. You need good pressing tools to get a good finish (wooden clapper, press cloth, tailors board etc). These are demonstrated in the class.
The final steps of the class show you how to hand stitch the lining in place (and finish your bound buttonholes if you chose to do them). It also shows you how to tack the roll line and collar to the lining to keep them together and how to complete the topstitching, sew on your buttons correctly and then finally press!
A lot of work right? In case anyone is wondering this blazer took approximately 3 weeks to complete (not working on it every day, but in small chunks as and when). As someone who generally avoids handstitching I did not find the work tedious or dull. I learned such a lot and although I don’t know if I will jump into making another hand tailored jacket for a very long time (if ever!) I do not regret the time spent making this piece.
To conclude: yes, there were things which I didn’t like about this class, but overall, I definitely do recommend it. I have the Tailoring the Perfect Jacket book (which I also highly recommend), but I would not have been able to complete this project with the book alone, even though the book covers all (and sometimes more) than the class. Having the instructor demonstrating the techniques is invaluable and I was also able to ask the instructor questions which she answered. So yes, I do highly recommend.
Up next will be final photos of the completed blazer (on me) and a review of the pattern itself. Well done for reading this far 🙂
Have a great rest of the day and look forward to reading your comments/ questions!