Friday, 12 August 2016

By Hand London Victoria Blazer, with extra sleeve space

My most recent make is quite possibly my favourite yet, and I haven't really stopped wearing it since it was hot of the sewing machine! This A-MAZ-ING fabric is from the lovely people as Sew Crafty Online as part of my design project working with them. It's a lovely fabric as it's quite light but sews easy like cotton, though it's a nightmare to get a matching thread colour!

I changed the fit of the sleeves in this jacket because I was worried they wouldn’t be wide enough for my arms, and then would leave the jacket looking a little odd and the style is so loose and relaxed. This is the first time I have altered the fit of anything I have sewn so with the help of the ‘Curvey sewing collective’ I managed to edit my pattern piece.
I found the pattern sizes on By Hand London’s website and I wrote my measurements in the book like it asks, which is quite a nice touch, so you can remember what sizes you have made. As usual I’m all a strange shape compared to the pattern but the only bit I was worried about was the sleeves so I made it in a straight size 20 (apart from the sleeves)
For the sleeve alternations what I did was trace the piece of pattern as you would normally, then I found the centre point, and cut all the way down the middle leaving about ½” at the top should seam. I then spread the gap out so it increased by 1.5” along the cuff. Then I taped a bit of scrap paper in the gap of the pattern piece making my newly shaped pattern piece. If you pattern has cuffs like mine does down forget the cuff pieces will need to be lengthened 1.5” as well so that there is enough cuff to go around the sleeve.  It is so much easier that it seems and a lot less scary!

I made a toile of the jacket shell just to check the sleeves were going to fit into the arm hole after my alterations. I made this out of left over duvet cover from my Simplicity 8085 so it’s super light and almost lineny. The toile worked great and the sleeve fitted perfectly. Rather than pinning all the way round as you need to pin regularly to get the sleeve to fit in I used the quilters clips as I often do to save me stabbing myself as I was sewing round the circle. Without the lining you do have to have the collar a little bit, I use French seams to attached the lapels and collar on so that the seams were hidden but on the final product it was much easier as the lining removed the need for French seams.

Once I had made my toile I made the real thing! I cut my fabric outside as it was a beautiful day, if a bit windy for fabric but by that point I was outside! The pattern shows you the pockets on both sets of layout pictures, lining and shell, you don’t need both sets of these which it does say in the instructions but I was clearly too excited to get started and didn’t read that bit! Also if you want a contrasting cuff like I did, don’t forget to cut that out in the contrasting colour while you are cutting the lining fabric. I cut one of each because I couldn’t decide which to use!
The instructions are quite basic on this pattern but the’ sew along’ on By Hand London’s website is fantastic and very easy to follow. I got a bit lost when attaching the lapels and collar and the website saved me with the multitude of pictures for me to follow.
The darts are really easy on the pattern too as you don’t end up having to make out the lines etc the darts are cut out and you just match the pieces up and sew it along the edge to create the carts. I like how few pieces it took as well as it only took me an hour and a half to sew everything together (in between stopping for a cuppa!) and then I was out wearing it for my dog walk that evening!

It’s a perfect jacket for this time of year as made in cottons it is quite cool but gives you that extra layer in the cooler evening. I have even road tested it at the day job and it’s a perfect level of just smart enough but made out of some very me fabric! I think I’m going to make one in a light wool fabric for the autumn and maybe lengthen the sleeves but who knows what will entice me to sew by then!

All in all a very good pattern with lots of help and support around on the internet so don’t get put off by the intermediate skill rating! If you fancy checking out my Timelapse video of me making this have a look on my instagram @roodles_runique