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Sew Bossy: Minnesota via Ireland Edition

October 8, 2014
This box traveled from Minnesota to Ireland and back

This box traveled from Minnesota to Ireland and back

So last year sometime, I emailed Louise (who blogs at a view into my world) about possibly doing a Sew Bossy together.  I’ve always enjoyed Louise’s sewing and writing, and I admire her dedication to being environmentally conscious and participation in triathlons (I am not unhealthy, but I really only enjoy light exercise 😉 ).  I wouldn’t say our styles are the same exactly, but neither of us are very girly and I think we try to be more modern instead of “vintage.”  Turns out we also both like taking our sewing slow!  Let me break down the time line of The Most Drawn Out Sew Bossy Ever:

August 2013: Molly contacts Louise about initiating a Sew Bossy

September 2013: The soft date to have mailed packages to each other

July 2014: Louise has nearly finished sewing her dress

September 2014: Molly finishes sewing her jacket

October 2014: Pictures taken and posted online!

Obviously dates don’t really matter and our version of Sew Bossy was very relaxed.  I prefer sewing on my own schedule anyways.  Louise sent me the By Hand London (man does that name irk me) Victoria blazer pattern and some really cool polyester jacquard with a circular pattern woven into it.  She also sent some lining, but I choose to use this dotted lining I had left over from my bridesmaid’s dress because the circles were just too perfect of a match.

IMG_6392

There isn't enough to do much with the extra scrap fabrics Louise sent but they are so much fun to play with (especially that pleated fabric, it bounces!)

There isn’t enough to do much with the extra scrap fabrics Louise sent but they are so much fun to play with (especially that pleated fabric, it bounces!)

Pattern:  Victoria Blazer by By Hand London

"The Victoria is a casual blazer featuring 3/4 length sleeves, a turned up French seamed cuff and side seam pockets, with cropped and sleeveless variations. Designed with a generous amount of ease for a laid back style, this blazer is the perfect throw-it-over-everything wardrobe staple."

“The Victoria is a casual blazer featuring 3/4 length sleeves, a turned up French seamed cuff and side seam pockets, with cropped and sleeveless variations. Designed with a generous amount of ease for a laid back style, this blazer is the perfect throw-it-over-everything wardrobe staple.”

This is the first BHL pattern I’ve tried and I can’t say I’m overly impressed.  Don’t get me wrong, I really like this jacket and I’d consider making it again because it was so easy, but it’s the only pattern from BHL that I like at all.  I feel like BHL is over praised a lot online so I might have been a little sour going in, but when it comes down to it I think the jacket fit is a little funny (it’s a boxy style so they can get away with the strange darts) and I didn’t care for the way the instructions were written.  But I’ll get to all that below.

Spot helping me trace the pattern...

Spot helping me trace the pattern…

When it comes to pattern packaging I think I’m a minimalist or maybe I’m just too used to traditional envelope style packaging.  It just felt like they went overboard on the paper, there are so many bits and pieces and folders and booklets.  I think they put just as much time into designing the packaging as they did that actual pattern.  Yes, presentation is important, but content is more important.

Spot helping me lay out the fabric...

Spot helping me lay out the fabric…

Fabric:  Polyester jacquard and lining.  I love the fabric Louise sent me, I’ve never seen fabric like this and it’s such a cool modern weave.  It has absolutely no give, so setting the sleeves was slow but I got it done with minimal puckering.  FYI, this pattern has very high sleeve caps.

BossyVictoria (1)

Spot helping me take photos…

BossyVictoria (3)

Spot being angry that I’m not taking her outside… and Potato being a clueless kitten, as usual…

Design Likes/Dislikes:  Lately I’ve been really into the loose top and skinny-ish pants silhouette so I like how comfortable and unfitted this jacket is.  The collar is interesting and not used a lot in sewing patterns, and the split cuffs are a nice touch.  I don’t like that the collar doesn’t have much help turning because there is absolutely no shape to it, it’s just a rectangle, same with the front lapel.  If I remember right the jacket edge is shaped a little, but the lapel is not so it never lays totally flat.  These issue would probably be helped by a more drapy or malleable fabric.

BossyVictoria (8)

BossyVictoria (4)

Spot waiting patiently for the front door to open… also, my awesome lining

Sizing and Fit:  The only shaping in the jacket comes from the darts created by the collar seam (which is pretty much impossible to see in my pictures because it’s black fabric).  I can not tell if they’re supposed to be bust darts or not though.  If the jacket hangs loose, the darts seem to sit correctly, pointing down towards the bust, but then the side seams are not at my sides, they swing way out back.  In this position I can’t easily get my hand in the pocket or even find the pocket in the side seam without looking and pulling the jacket around.  If I pull the jacket closed so the side seams are at my sides, the darts don’t work at all.  Again this could be because my fabric is really stiff, but I don’t think that’s the only problem here.  It’s the drafting.

Spot trying to find a way to open the door, Potato trying to find out what Spot is doing (she's follows Spot everywhere) and me trying to find my pocket...

Spot trying to find a way to open the door, Potato trying to find out what Spot is doing (she’s follows Spot everywhere), and me trying to find my pocket…

Pocket located, kitten ignored.

Pocket located, kitten ignored.

The sizing of the pattern otherwise is very good.  The shoulders fit great and are comfortable when I move around.

Changes:  I cut off about 2 inches from the bottom, I just eye balled it.  None of the length options seemed quite right to me.  This causes the pocket bags to be a little scrunched up inside, but not enough to be noticeable and they’re still usable.  I also lined the sleeves by just cutting the sleeve piece out twice and bagged the whole jacket instead of hand sewing like the instructions say.  This is actually way easier than all that french seam business that they suggest doing.  Speaking of the instructions, they seemed weird to me.  The content was passable, but it was so hard to read.  They’re trying to be too conversational which distracts from any actual sewing help they might contain.  I didn’t think the illustrations were too helpful either, they didn’t seem to illustrate the main point of the step they were paired with.

BossyVictoria

Yes, we really named our new kitten Potato, what more do you expect from people that named an all black cat Spot? It started out as a joke because she’s so much chubbier than Spot, but it stuck…

For Next Time:  It won’t be any time soon, but I would like to try this one again, maybe in a more traditional jacket fabric.

Over all this was a really fun project, just challenging enough but still really easy compared to my last jacket.  And swapping fabric and pattern with Louise was exciting 🙂

~Molly

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 8, 2014 8:37 am

    Well it sure turned out cute! 🙂

    I really like that fabric and this simple pattern is a good backdrop for it.

  2. October 8, 2014 8:03 pm

    Thanks for the great review of the BHL pattern. I’ve not made one BHL up – they haven’t really appealed to me, either. I like this jacket silhouette on you. It looks great with the slim jeans.

  3. October 10, 2014 7:55 am

    That lining fabric is awesome 🙂

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