I've often said that I have gaps in my work wardrobe and I finally have a make to share that goes a little way to filling it. Every now and then I need to dress sharply at work. I've wanted to make Papercut's Bellatrix Blazer for a while and a VVIP event on the horizon provided the perfect excuse to get going as well as filling a small part of the hole in my wardrobe.
If you don't know this blazer, pop over here to see the line drawings. I love the sharp lines with the princess seams, the gentle curve of the collar and the cute sleeve detail where the back is longer than the front. I chose version one, which has the longer hemline as I am more likely to wear it over trousers.
I picked up the fabric at Barry's in Birmingham. It is a lightweight black brocade with blue "eyes" running in perfect lines throughout. I tried to keep the lines steady throughout the jacket but the curves boggled me a little. They are reasonably straight although no where near perfect. Ah, well. The lining is a plain black fabric that comes from the Fancy Silk Store. It has a lovely drape and will be able to withstand the occasional wear this blazer will get. It also feels good against my skin.
I made a few alterations to ensure a good fit. As I have a slight swayback, there was a lot of excess fabric in the upper back, about 4cm from the seam line. I pinched out 2cm at the centre back and tapered to nothing at the side. The the front, I added an extra 1cm to all sides. I added an extra 5cm to the sleeves. I don't like sleeves which move substantially past your wrist when your arm is straight and this extra length ensures this doesn't happen.
Construction takes a while, this isn't a project you can rush through. To start with there are a lot of pieces (about 26 when you include the lining) and then there's the interfacing. Wow, you will spend a long time at your ironing board applying the interfacing! The front, lower front, lower back, collar, sleeve hem facing and the welt pockets (all x2) require this treatment. To save time, I blocked fused the pieces and then cut them out. You could fuse your fabric before cutting out your pieces but it seemed like a waste if interfacing to me. I chose a lightweight black interfacing from Minerva as I didn't want to stiffen the fabric. I was aiming for a sharp but soft look.
The most daunting thing about this pattern when looking at it is the welt pockets. Creating neat ones can take a lot of time and increased attention to detail. However, the difficulty vanished when I realised they were in seam pockets. It gives you the same effect but without the panic of cutting into your fabric with no going back! They came out perfectly first time! You also need to be careful to remember that the seam allowance is 1cm, rather than the standard 1.5cm.
The instructions are very clear to help you throughout and are written as if you are having a conversation with someone. I was impressed with how Papercut packaged the pattern. The strong paper the pattern is printed on will last a long time. I found it a little annoying that the instructions are on the same sheet of paper. You do have the option of cutting them out and creating a cute little book (which I did in the end) but I would have liked to have kept the sheet fully in tact.
You'll notice that I haven't added a button and I'm holding the jacket closed in the photos. I haven't found the right button to work with the colours yet so played safe and decided not to cut a buttonhole until I have the right button. I am considering adding a hook and eye at the front instead though, allowing the edges of the jacket to just meet at the seams. What do you think?
Sadly, the first time I wore this blazer was for the photos. The morning of the event was one of the hottest of the year to date and called for a complete rethink of my outfit! It seems a shame to have out all the work into making it and then not being able to wear it. At least it is a useful addition to my wardrobe and I have no doubt it will get worn during the autumn - but I'm not wishing for that just yet!