t-shirt, blazer–wha? Okay, it’s a stretch to equate a blazer with a t-shirt, but I offer the following arguments: I set out on this project to expand my own knit fabric experiences in terms of drafting, looking at RTW, and just generally thinking differently about them (check). Plus I wanted to look at cold weather knits beyond just wool jersey (lovely) and see what all they could do. Good quality sweatshirting is fantastic–dense, smooth, and cozily napped on the wrong side. Could it be tailored? Probably more successfully than I did, but it certainly has a precedent in RTW:
Also, work in the sewing room is slow-going these days between #1 not napping anymore and me being at that point with 11 weeks to go of fatigue and discomfort. With both the boys, I countered this general ick in my body by draping myself in the most non-feminine garment in my closet–my Met Opera hoodie that I bought on a trip with my good friend and travel buddy T. How such a shapeless garment (one that can easily go through all of pregnancy and back again with nary a suggestion of bulk) can come to be produced by an opera company creating such clear genius as their latest Ring cycle is a mystery. I for one welcome the irony. But this time around I wanted to explore having a more structured garment to combat that feeling of general roundness you are inundated with in the last couple of months. Snappy lapels would do it, so there you go, t-shirt blazer (why does this feel like I’ve just explained the Greek root of a Japanese word?).
I started with the Everyday Blazer from Isabella Oliver as inspiration:
I really liked how the center is cut away. It’s not just to expose your growing belly, if you think about it from a fit perspective, it’s smart design. You don’t need to add tons of fabric to cover something that’s growing exponentially when you can just take it out of the equation to begin with. But available in dark horrible colors and at $269, I knew I could do better at least on price and color. From the fabric content, it looks like it IO blazer is some sort of ponte–great choice for a jacket–not a lot of stretch with a nice smooth hand. From experience I know that the high rayon content of ponte makes me very cold in cool months, so I opted for the cozier sweatshirt fleece. Total cost for this project is around $10. The IO blazer is better constructed–with a lining and nicer hardware, but for $259 in savings, I’m not complaining. I will toot my own horn by adding that MY jacket is more shapely with the princess seams (rather functional for adding without distortion).
To emulate the cut-away, I made a muslin, drew a curve on it with my French curve up towards the navel and cut it away (, transferring the curve to my pattern. Simpler pattern work has not been done.
I chose to keep the jacket unlined and to give myself extra-wide seam allowances to give myself the option of letting it out as I grow these last couple of months. In reality, I probably will just wear it open, so I’m kind of disappointed I didn’t line it because catchstitching all of the hems and seam allowances down was a lot of work. There’s nothing more satisfying in jacket making than bagging a lining. Another day…
I fused the whole jacket minus the sleeves to give it more shape and structure and to stabilize the fleece which does have enough stretch to be problematic otherwise. I do have to iron the lapel line before I wear it because the fabric doesn’t have as much memory as say wool, but that’s easily done since I did tape the line on the interior. The fusible adds extra warmth too, which I won’t say no to. Jackets are infinitely more comfortable than sweaters–sweaters feel always so heavy and lumpen–that I can get snap, lightness, and warmth in the same garment is a coup for me. The pocket flaps are a nod–totally non-functional. I’m always in favor of pockets, but I didn’t want to deal with welts in a knit and since I wasn’t lining this jacket, I kept it simple. The only thing I wish is that this was a bright sunny yellow instead of the royal blue. I’m beginning to think that royal blue is too intense and too cool for my coloring. Live and learn–it’s still a good neutral, and good neutrals are lifelines in pregnancy wardrobes.
So often in life fitting square pegs into round holes doesn’t end well, but as it turns out, sweatshirting molds quite well into awkward places. Give it a chance!
My full review of the blazer is here.