This is the recently released Chloe Blazer from Jolie Marie Louise. I had a choice of patterns to test and was instantly drawn to this one because of the classic style and feminine lines. I was really excited to test this pattern from the point of view of someone who had never sewn a garment of this type before. I was a little daunted by the task of a structured garment but the instructions for it are fantastic. My favourite part is the 'Quick Guide to Adjusting Your Pattern' which includes instructions for shortening or lengthening and on how to do an FBA. I was really impressed with this as soon as I opened up the pattern instructions as doing alterations like these is something I used to breeze on past as, not knowing how to do them, I was quite intimidated by the thought. With instructions for how to alter this specific pattern included (complete with really clear diagrams) it seems much more easily achievable. Having said that I cut a straight size 2 but next time I think I'll go down a size and do a slight FBA as there's quite a lot of room through the lower front. I do like the cut and fit of the back on this as it is though. I'd also shorten the sleeves to be three quarter length when the cuff is rolled back.
|I'd like it to be a little more nipped in at the waist|
It was quite an intensive project as there are simply so many pattern pieces to deal with once you have your main fabric, underlining, interfacing and lining cut out and there are many steps to work through (including basting all your underlining pieces to the main fabric to begin with!). If you like an involved project though this would be a great first step towards full on tailoring. Although many elements of this construction process were new to me each step made total sense and it was a really enjoyable journey. The part I was most apprehensive about was the welt pockets. Thanks to the clear instructions and plentiful diagrams these came together without any frustration. I'm pretty pleased with the final pockets although I definitely think I need some more practice at them to get all the corners nice and crisp.
As well as my first attempt at welt pockets it was my first attempt at using sleeve heads; in fact I didn't even know what they looked like when I went through the supplies list! I bought mine in a length off the roll from Kleins in Soho and cut them to size. They were surprisingly simple to put in. I lined up the ridge along the edge of the head itself with the seam line of the armhole and sewed them in along that line by hand.
For some reason I could not get the idea of a polka dot blazer out of my brain when first thinking about fabric choices for my jacket. After visits to Goldhawk Road and Rolls n Rems in Lewisham came up with nothing similar to what I had in mind I turned my search online which is pretty unusual for me. At first when it came to polka dots all I could find were endless options in quilting cotton then I came across this beautiful linen look cotton from Fabrics Galore. It comes in quite a few different colour ways and I went with the smoke grey. I bought 2.5m (it's only 44"/112cm wide) and just about squeezed the jacket out with scraps to spare.
The lining is a duck egg blue 100% cotton poplin which I'm having a hard time remembering the source of, it was either A-One Fabrics or Rolls n' Rems! As it was before the time I started keeping a good record of each project I also have no idea how much I used... I probably bought just over the recommended amount and I do know I had no trouble getting it out of that. For the underlining I used the recommend cotton muslin (which is known as calico here in the UK, muslin is an entirely different thing!). The combination of these three fabrics I think has ended up a little thick and crisp for some elements of the design. I don't think any one of them was the wrong choice but that each was just a little on the heavy side and I should have altered my choice of underling and lining to compensate for the hand of the main fabric. Next time I'd like to line it with a soft and fairly fine silk and I'd look for a lighter weight of calico or heavy poplin for the underlining.
The lining has a pleat at the centre back and was super straight forward to install. I love the way it looks inside with the duck egg lining next to the soft grey facing. It's an unusually girly combination of fabric choices for me but with this tailored silhouette I don't feel too twee. I even stitched the button holes in the thread to match the lining to bring and element of that colour to the outside. Being able to make little design choices like this it one of the things I really love about sewing my own clothes.
I used a couple of pewter metal buttons I had in my stash as they were the right size but I've never been entirely sold on them. Buttons in the same colour as the lining was too much, and also restricts what I can wear the jacket with as at the moment I can wear the sleeves rolled down and hiding the colour. What kind of buttons would you choose?
Now I've got a bit more complex sewing experience under my belt I'd really love to make this pattern again with a better choice of materials and better technique. As well as making the fit adjustments I've already mentioned I think my jacket would benefit from taking more time and care with pressing and steaming throughout the construction process. There is no underestimating the difference a good press of each and every seam can make which it comes to a crisp and professional finish is there?! I love the way Anto has styled the sample version and the brocade fabric she has chosen, I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for interesting jacket suitable fabrics from now on!
To finish up on a slightly different note I've got a giveaway winner to announce! The lucky recipient of the copy of 'Hollywood Costume' by Deborah Nadoolman Landis is Amy Gallagher from Made in a Normal Person's Kitchen. Congratulations Amy, I hope you enjoy the book as much as I have! If you could send me an email (address on my about page) to let me know your address I'll get it in the post this week