Getting Creative with a 1930’s Blazer

This little 1930’s Simplicity pattern has lived in a quiet place in my mind since I found her last November.    I’m working on several projects at the moment- updating the Kimono Wrap Top, making another pattern for Craftsy, finishing the hack for May (it’s actually finished, the gussets look great, I just need to do the imaging work!), and a pants project I’ll talk about tomorrow.  At least the Duchess Top is finished… Of course it makes sense to throw a 30’s blazer into the mix, right?

For me it does.  I used to try to force myself to finish one project before moving to the next.  It never quite worked, and I’d get stressed out.  Eventually I learned I just don’t work that way.  Instead, I work in waves- waves of inspiration followed by pattern and prep work, followed by construction, followed by finishing.  Sometimes the waves overlap, but right now I’m working on heaps of “pattern-prep” work and loving it.

The only thing it needs is a little horizontal dart.

I altered the pattern using another jacket pattern some time ago and made a muslin- which I discovered this morning while cleaning out part of my sewing room.  When I put it on and saw that the fit isn’t that bad, I decided to go ahead and finally make the blazer.  Besides, I really like making jackets.

I’m a sucker for nice wide lapels.  The finished lapels will be somewhat narrower than the muslin (seam allowances!) but they’ll still be rather dramatic.  I like the deep neckline- it will show off the blouse underneath and it helps to break up the bulk I carry in that area.  The CF closes with two linked buttons and two buttonholes, but I think I may try a little tab feature a la Downton Abbey:

click for source

Isn’t Lavinia’s coat charming?  (No!  Must focus!)

The back is fine, too.  I like the lines of the darts.  There’s a little wrinkling through the waist, mostly caused by the way I’m pinching the front closed.  My muslin fabric is a horrible polyester suiting that won’t press, but I kind of like the rippled effect below the waist.  I went back to the pattern and gave the lower CB more flare, and I’ll sew the darts as tucks below the waist.

Once I tweaked the fit, I went back to Sherry’s excellent RTW Jacket Sewalong Archive and worked on my outer shell pattern as well as the facings, collar and lining pieces.  The pattern work went much quicker this time than I remember.   Sherry’s sewalong was amazing- I made a WW2 style corduroy jacket.  She covers everything you need to know for a great finished jacket.  In fact, it turned out so well that when I took it out for this year’s chilly weather it looked brand-new even though I wore and abused it constantly last winter.

This is fabric choice #1.  It doesn’t photograph well, and it’s pretty yawn-worthy in person- a plain smooth charcoal.  Ever notice that the most boring fabrics often become very useful and versatile garments?  That’s the idea here.  It’s a medium weight wool with 5% Lycra.  Does that work for tailoring or am I setting myself up for failure?  I bought this length for a skirt some time ago, but it’s pretty perfect for the blazer…

Fabric Choice #2 is another gray wool- lighter weight with no Lycra.  It’s pretty, but I don’t know if it would look as “classic” as the other wool, and I’m certain it won’t wear as well.  On top of that, I’m afraid it’s just barely too lightweight to tailor well.  But… It’s so pretty!

Either way, I’ll use this for the lining.  It’s some random pink poly jacquard from a friend’s de-stash.  I think it will look pretty inside the serious gray blazer, and it has enough “slip” to do the job.

I’m also quite pleased because when I re-read the pattern instructions, I realized it shows a new-to-me way to make a single welt pocket!  I can’t wait to try it out.

What do you think?  Do you tend to work on several projects at once, or do you finish one thing before moving to the next?  Button tab or no tab?  Dark and practical wool, or the slubby pretty stuff?  Oh dear me, and there’s buttons to think of…

Tomorrow: kicking off the month of Perfectly Fitting Pants… I’m on a mission to “crack” the Colette Clovers, then make some crazy ridiculously seamed pants that won’t leave my imagination and I’ll take copious notes.  So- some muslins, some detailed pattern work, one normal pair of stretch skinny legs, and one weird-as-can-be pair that I have already named “Golden Lotus.”


  1. Oh my gah, I SO wish I only worked on one project at a time. I’m sure I would be much more effective that way! But sadly, I’m just not that gal. I think I’m in the middle of four projects right now?

    • …and there’s nothing wrong with that. :) Sometimes I put everything else on hold to focus on one task only, and I’m always blown away by how quickly I finish something when I just *focus*…. ;) (Sigh, I also want to do some quilting right now, too… It’s an itch…)

  2. Ohhh, it looks great so far, I love a nice fitted blazer. And the tab! I am so stealing that idea! I would tend to go with the charcoal wool personally but I like a bit of stretch in a jacket and the colour would go with anything, but having said that my favourite jacket at the moment is purple, so go figure!
    I’ve started working on a couple projects at once lately, it keeps them fresh and it stops me rushing a project just to get it finished.
    Can’t wait to see what you do for pants month, I always learn so much from your post’s!

  3. I work on several projects at once. I cut out 6-8 things that can all use the same thread color, and/or that will work together as wardrobe units. I railroad seams through the sewing machine, do a marathon of seam-pressing, sew all the buttonholes at the same time, etc., etc. It takes slightly longer per garment to finish, but I have 6-8 things finished all at the same time. As for tailoring lightweight wool, underline it with cotton flannel. I did this for a jacket and skirt that had to serve as both “cool spring suit” and “warm late-winter suit” and was thrilled with the result. While I loved the tiny houndstooth design of the wool, it was truly only blouse-weight. The cotton flannel beefed up the drape of the wool, and acted as an insulating layer. Only had poly to line it (sigh) but at least the lining has giant polka dots.

    • I do that too, sometimes. It’s really satisfying, isn’t it? That’s an idea about the flannel, I might have to look into it… Thanks!

      Though I think I’ve almost completely talked myself into the dark wool and I’ll use the slubbed stuff for a pleated floaty skirt… Probably. If there’s enough!!

      Well.. It’s all good as long as there are polka dots.

  4. I adore Lavinia’s coat so I vote tab! Lately, I’ve been allowing myself to have several things going at once and I’ve found I like it much better. Hobbies are so much funner when you let them be fun! lol.

  5. I am not a good finisher of projects I’m afraid. If I put things to the side to work on something else, I may never return to the first. I find that when I make a to do list or plan for food for a party, about 10% are things that will never be done. So I try to finish things while I’m excited about it and I’m not so inclined to take on projects that take a long time to do because at some point I’m afraid I’ll put it to the side and not come back.

    • Do you ever “stack” your list, like build in 10% of things you don’t really need to do anyway, so you can get all the things done?

      I love how everyone works so differently, but we all sew/craft/etc. :)

  6. I vote for the plain charcoal with tab detail – it would be fun and versatile at the same time. Either way, it looks like a great project. Also, I’m interested in the new single welt method. If it turns out to be less fiddly, I’d love to hear about it!

    • Yes- I’ll still interface the welt with ribbon like Kenneth King says (it’s hands down the best way to make welts) but if my sample turns out well I’ll totally be posting a nitty-gritty. :) And if it doesn’t, I’ll post the epic fail and we’ll have learned something…

  7. I’m so excited to see you like that jacket of Lavinia’s too :) Ever since I saw that episode I’ve been trying to find a good picture of it so I can try to copy it for myself!

    • I wish I had the brainspace to copy it. So lovely. Sigh. Maybe I do have the brainspace… Should probably jump on that, at least make the pattern, while it’s cold and I feel coat-y… Sybil and Mary also had jackets/coats that closed that way… I might have to go dig back through my DA and get some screenshots…. Hmm!

  8. Pingback: Reliable Pants Alteration: Colette Clovers and Me « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

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