When I first saw this amazing fabric at Stone Mountain and Daughter I had plans to make a Colette Mabel. When I got home I realized that it was actually screaming to be a cropped By Hand London Victoria Blazer. Something a little cooler, a little fresher, then just a mini skirt. Of course I still wanted to make the Mabel and managed to have just enough yardage leftover from my lining to make it. Does this make it an outfit set? Did I accidentally make a setacular?! I think that I did.
This and the above photo were taken before I under stitched and tacked down the collar and the lapels. I took them in order to show how much the lining rolled out. The collar and lapels also really and a mind of their own.
This outfit really came together just as I thought that it would. Don’t you just love it when that happens? At first I was worried that the quilting in combination with the grey might give it a bit of an armor feel. I think that I managed to avoid that though and I know have the swingy, casual, cool, cropped blazer that I wanted.
Seriously what is this face? I feel like I am half way to duck face,but just can’t bring myself to commit.
The shell of this blazer is a thick, polyester, ponte knit with a quilted geometric pattern. It is the most expensive fabric that I have ever cut into and I must admit I was a bit nervous. Staying focused on my goal to sew with courage and embrace mistakes, I finally (after several weeks) talked myself into cutting my precious fabric, after making a muslin, of course. The bounciness/thickness/polyesterness of the fabric had me a bit nervous at a couple points during construction, but I think that it turned out fine. In retrospect I could have chosen to hand stitch the cuffs down so that the seam line wasn’t so pronounced there, but seam ripping anything on this fabric presented a major challenge because the stitches would just sink into the fabric and blend with the quilted stitches. I did, however, hand tack the collar and lapels down.
The lining of the jacket kept rolling to the front, a problem that several bloggers said that they had faced when making this jacket. I took the advice of more than one blog and under stitched the lining to the shell underneath the lapels. This created an unsightly line of stitching (especially because I was lazy and sewed using black thread), which of course had to be covered up immediately. I was already planning on tacking the collar and lapels down because they were popping a little too much for me, but it became even more necessary to cover the under stitching. I sewed both lapels down completely, but only tacked the collar at the ends so that I could still give it a little pop in the back. Style and neck warmth is a win/win in my book.
Besides that the construction of this jacket was pretty straight forward. The lapel darts were a bit intimidating at first, but the instructions were quite clear. If you just trust that they work and follow them to a tee you will end up with a lovely dart at the end. I was happy that I had practiced on my muslin and would recommend practicing to anyone that doesn’t quite believe the instructions work and don’t just want to follow them blindly. After practicing I felt totally ready for the real deal on my unique fabric.
One change that I realize I should have made is to the shoulders. They fit right, but the heavy weight of the unsupported Ponte sleeves pulls the shoulder seams down past my shoulder point (not sure if that is the right term, but I think you know what I am talking about). In retrospect I wish that I had stabilized the shoulder with some clear elastic or twill. This was not included in the instructions because the pattern is designed for a woven. They do say on the package that you could use a stable knit, but I think that that is just more of a bonus. Does anyone have any suggestions for stabilizing the sleeve at this point? I hand stitched the linking to the sleeve as per the instructions and don’t really want to have to rip out any of my lovely hand stitching. I didn’t follow the instructions for attaching the lining to the sleeve exactly. Due to bulk I had to cut away most of the shell and simply folded the lining over the seam and hand stitched it down. This looks very nice and greatly minimized the bulk that I am sure would have been very uncomfortable in my armpit.
As for the Mabel the constructions was pretty straight forward. I cut a size 8 at the waist and a ten a the hips. Although looking at my photos I think my booty could use a little more room and will add that to future Mabels because there will always be more. For this particular Mabel I used a polyester/rayon blend ponte knit. At Stone Mountain and Daughter they sell two weights of Ponte and this is the lighter of the two. It is very soft and smooth, perfect for the lining of the coat, but maybe a bit too thin for the skirt. I would love to try making some leggings out of it in the future.
I would love to give the Victoria Blazer another try in a woven fabric. I think that the different material choice would make for a completely different jacket. I’m thinking a wool with a bit of sparkle…