I love my tank dress, but I knew that I wanted something to throw over it to make it an “outfit.” I initially thought about using my awesome floral twill for a jean jacket, but realized that a very-casual jean jacket wouldn’t be as useful for me as a blazer. I had the Victoria Blazer pattern in my stash, and with its 90s style, it was a match made in heaven!
I opted to go with the cropped version for an even more 90s feel. Since the blazer is loose and boxy, and I am short, I think the cropped version also just looks better on me. Boxy garments have a tendency to overwhelm me, but keeping this short avoided that.
I’m not gonna lie here — I’m not a huge fan of the way this pattern is drafted. There are 2 things that bugged the crap out of me and I had to change in my version. First, and primarily, the blazer is drafted without a facing. That means that the lining fabric goes all the way to the edge where it meets the main fabric. It also means that it’s pretty much inevitable that the lining turns out a bit and is visible on the outside of the jacket. I looked at a lot of Victoria reviews online before I cut my jacket, and pretty much every single one had this issue.
So I knew early on that I was going to have to draft a facing for my blazer or I would never wear it. Then I came this post on the Nicole Needles blog where Nicole had the exact same thought. I love it when someone has already thought through the hard stuff for me! I used Nicole’s basic approach and drafted a front and back facing to which I attached my lining. It worked like a charm, though in hindsight, I probably could have skipped the little facing I drafted for the back lining piece. The collar is constructed in such a way that my front facing also ended up facing the back collar and served the basic purpose I was going for.
The next change I made was to add a couple inches of extra width to the back lining piece and create a pleat in the lining. Blazer linings are pretty much always bigger than the main pieces to allow for movement within the garment and prevent the lining from tearing. This pattern does not contain separate lining pieces, so the lining as-drafted would be precisely the same size as the main pieces. My extra fabric and pleat gives me some additional room for movement.
Next I decided to fully line the blazer, so I added a sleeve lining. No biggie here, I just cut sleeves from the lining fabric and added them to my lining piece. It didn’t even occur to me at the time to bag the sleeve linings, but I totally could have done that, even with the cuff. As it is, I just sewed the cuff onto both the sleeve and the lining, bound the seam with bias tape, and pressed it to the inside.
Speaking of bagging the lining, I followed Jen’s tutorial from the Grainline blog to machine bag the jacket lining. This was way easier than I expected. Also, to get the nice hem pleat at the bottom of the lining (and again to make sure the lining didn’t show on the right side), I lengthened the main pieces by about an inch so they would turn to the inside when I attached the facing and lining.
I decided to omit the pockets since I was unlikely to use them on a cropped jacket. I’ll almost always have either a purse or pants with pockets when I wear this blazer, so I doubt I’ll miss them.
The last big thing that I noticed when I looked at all the Victoria reviews is that the collar and lapels have a tendency to flip out. Most reviewers were hold them flat in their pictures. I decided to nip that in the bud and sewed a very small little tack at the top and bottom of both lapels and the collar piece. I also tacked down the cuff so I didn’t have to worry about it rolling around.
And…I think that’s it!
Whew! So that was actually a lot of changes to this pattern. This is often described as a quick and easy sew but with all my changes, it definitely wasn’t for me. I ended up with a jacket that looks 90% like every other one I’ve seen, but I think the 10% that’s different gives it a more professional look and makes it something I will wear.
Pattern: Victoria Blazer by By Hand London, Variation 2
Cost: 14 GBP (printed); 9 GBP (PDF)
Techniques required: Sewing darts, setting in sleeves, bagging a lining, sewing a collar, basic blazer construction. For my version, I also had to figure out how to draft and attach a facing without instructions.
Similar patterns: One of the lovely things about By Hand London patterns is that their shape and designs really are unique. I don’t know of other patterns that are really similar to this one, though they may be out there.
Modifications: Drafted a facing, added sleeve lining, modified the main/lining attachment to include a hem pleat, widened the back lining to include a pleat, tacked down the lapels, collar and cuff, omitted the pockets.
Fit: This jacket fits me perfectly, but note that I went a size down from my measurements. My measurements would put me in the size 8, but based on the finished measurements (I love it when patterns include detailed finished measurements), I was pretty sure that it would be too big. I decided to cut a size 6 and it fits great.
Pattern Format: I have the paper pattern, which really is lovely. However, the BHL girls announced last week that they will no longer be producing paper patterns (sniff). So if you want it in paper, jump on it now before they’re all gone. Otherwise, it will be available PDF at some point soon.
- Fun, retro 90s shape.
- Varying length and sleeve options mean that you can make lots of different garments from the same pattern.
- Versatile piece to throw over a t-shirt or tank to bum around town or for a night out.
- Detailed finished measurements provided in the pattern — these are so helpful in figuring out your size.
- The tag included in the printed pattern is a really nice touch.
- The pattern is not drafted with a facing. Instead, the lining pieces are drafted to mirror the main pieces. That means that as-drafted, the lining is going to peek out, which I really don’t like.
- Since there is no separate lining piece, the lining is the same size as the main. Jackets are almost always drafted with the lining bigger than the main to account for movement and make sure the lining doesn’t rip.
- The pattern seems to run large. I went a size down and there’s still plenty of room.
- The collar doesn’t quite cover the seam at the back neck — it’s about 3/4″ too narrow. With the busy fabric I used, it’s not really noticeable, but if I make another Victoria, I might widen the collar and lapels a bit and narrow the back neck piece to remedy that.
Overall Grade: C. This is a fairly taste-specific pattern, and I’m actually not a huge fan of the construction as written. The as-drafted pattern doesn’t include a facing and the lining goes all the way to the hem. In almost every version I saw online (and there were a lot of them), you can see the lining turning a bit to the outside. I really don’t like the way that looks and to me it kind of marks it as a handmade item. A blazer just needs a facing to look nice and professional.