About Me

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Victoria Blazer review

Hi all!

Yesterday I took the last exam of the year, in pediatrics. I don't have the grade yet so I can't fully celebrate the end of the academic year but chances are I passed it. I past my previews two as well (internal medicine and surgery) despite not studying and having a miserable experience (at least in the surgery exam). Pediatrics is my strongest discipline so I'm letting myself indulge in not feeling guilty over not studying; guilt is such a time sucker! It's a strange position to be at, just aiming to pass the exams rather than excel them, but this year (my seventh year in university) introduced new challenges and priorities, so I'll take what I get. 

My SewJo is back so I'm enjoying that as well. My first impression of the academic year is that I barely managed to sew, but that isn't true. With the exception of sewing my wedding dress (I haven't posted it yet but I will) I also made a few utilitarian garments, mostly Linden sweatshirts by Grainline, and tried at least one new-to-me pattern - the Inari by Named . Though it isn't the end of 2016, the end of an academic year always puts me in a pensive mode so taking the time to remember the successes isn't too bad, especially among the "failures" a faced this year.

While I have many new ideas for upcoming projects I decided I'll restrict my fabric options to my stash until its volume will fit into one shelf in our closet. I'm not sure how it will go yet because I find that the more I sew from my stash the more volume it occupies, because the leftovers aren't easy to fold but harder to use. With that thought in mind I also decided not to put buttons on my Aster test garment for now, the fabric isn't pleasant to wear and I don't want to "waste" buttons on something I'm not likely to wear. As a test garment it has done its job of teaching me what I need to know in order to make my real Aster, and finishing it just for the sake of finishing doesn't feel right. 
BTW I've been mistaken for being pregnant because of the Aster picture (by a non-sewing bad-mannered person obviously). Just want to clear that up - I'm not, it's the cotton tank underneath that makes the shirt "stand".

And now for the Victoria Blazer -

I think it's the fastest from-purchase-to-garment item I have ever made. Last weekend I suddenly really wanted to make that floral cotton lycra I had in my stash into a loose fitting blazer and yesterday it has made its debut in the pediatrics exam! It was a satisfying make with good pattern-fabric compatibility. 

Worn over one of my favorite Strathconas with my pre-test face of horror

The dry facts

The Victoria Blazer is a half-lined loose fitting blazer by "By Hand London".
The pattern is half lined, with the body lined using the same pieces of the shell, leaving the sleeves unlined. The blazer has side-seam pockets, the collar is flat, and the lining is attached using the bagging technique. 
At first I was reluctant to sew from By Hand London. I'm more likely to purchase patterns produced by brands that make me feel like I "know" the person behind them and with whom I share values/ lifestyle/ fashion style. By Hand London is a very contemporary cool brand with very cool patterns, which is quit the opposite of my uncool self. Additionally I prefer less edited / more natural presentation of garments. The sample photos of their patterns is similar in presentation to RTW sites and that puts me off a little. however, from the (less edited) versions on-line/ Instagram, I thought the Victoria Blazer as a pattern was nice on its own so I wanted to try.  

I used the PDF version (as always). The A4 pages did not fully align, I was a bit disappointed with it, but that's normal for most PDF patterns.  

Floral cotton-lycra for the shell, with contrast cotton-lycra for the collar and lapel. Black viscose for lining. Interfacing, and cotton scraps for the pockets. All materials are from my stash (yey!!)
Sizing and modifications
Based on my bust circumference (85 cm full bust, AA cup) I'm between size 2 and 4. Given my small cup size and the oversized silhouette I went for a size 2.
I couldn't rationalize the half-line approach so I cut the sleeve pieces from my lining fabric as well for a fully lined version.
I only loosely followed the instructions, as I find them too long, and I made some changes to the order of construction. I also interfaced the collar and lapels, and made a wider hem (5cm) for a shorter cut. 

Worn over my only "formal" dress, made four years ago but going strong! Went with my best friend to celebrate our 7th friendship day

I think it's a great oversized blazer perfect for air-conditioned environments. The loose fit doesn't restrict movement and I love how the floral makes it summary and "light" without being too cute. It fits a gap in my wardrobe I couldn't define, which is unexpected. I made it just for fun but I've worn it already. I feel a real bad-ass when wearing it! I went outside my comfort zone with this one and I'm happy I did. Also it's the first time I ever bagged a lining before!
It feels a bit... like "fast sewing". The lining rolls from inside of the jacket. Before closing the hem I trimmed the seam allowance and that helped a bit, but without under-stitching and without facings there is only so much one can expect from a slippery lining fabric. There were also some additional "glitches" in constructions, probably my fault, but the lapels were too long so they are caught in the hem. I'm also bothered with the flat collar. I think a collar stand and facings would make a better pattern/ garment without taking away from the overall casual feel of the blazer. Lastly, I would prefer a different method of construction such that the lining's hem would be shorter than the shell. Using the same pattern pieces means that the lining shows under the hem.
All of the above result in a faster process of construction, but I felt like it compromised the quality of the end result. 
I could probably go on and on about each and every tiny detail that makes this blazer less than perfect and criticize my skills, but hey! I'm a med-student! I pay so others can criticize me instead!

All in all despite the few details I mentioned, this is a really nice blazer and I'm happy I tried the pattern. It is a great pattern for a first lined garment and I probably would have postponed trying this new-to-me skill if not for the easy(ish) pattern. It is fun to wear and is a great alternative for the summer, after wearing my Linden sweatshirts throughout June I should have figured that out... I have the Bellatrix Blazer waiting for me once I want to try again with a more structured version.

On other news I've already completed my "real" Aster (only buttonholes and buttons left to sew... famous last words!), and it's really nice! (despite, you know, not being perfect...). More on that next time.

Enjoy the remaining of the summer!

1 comment:

  1. Congrats for the last exam of the year!
    I really like the fabric you chose for your blazer and I appreciate your details about making it. Great post!