Completed: Beehive Victoria Blazer

Following on from my last post about being late to the party with social media, here is an example with sewing patterns. I've been watching the blogsphere explode with creations made from By Hand London patterns. With autumn on the door step, I noticed that I could do with another jacket and quickly rearranged my plans to sew the Victoria Blazer. The pictures below were all taken on our trip to the zoo recently. I'm sorry, I couldn't resist including animals. 

Before we get going on the details of my version, I wanted to take a moment to talk about the packaging of the pattern. I'm very impressed by it. It almost feels like a DVD case. The pattern and instruction book are placed in a small but sturdy cardboard folder and then there is a cardboard sleeve that goes over that. You really get the sense that the pattern will last for a long time while not in use and that you have spent your money wisely. 

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For those of you that don't know this pattern, it is a casual blazer with a fair amount of ease built in to give it a relaxed feel. While I am completely smitten with the cropped version, mainly because of Roisin's and Marie's creations, I figured it wouldn't be warm enough for the windy and rainy days that are characteristic of a UK autumn. So I went for full length. 

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The construction was a breeze once I had stopped staring at the odd dart at the front. I hadn't come across this before but it really is quite clever. I loved being able to sew two darts, as well as the collar, in one stitching line. If you're interested, this tutorial explains it really well and it has a cute kitten at the beginning! 

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I used the green crepe I bought in Croatia for the shell. It frayed like nobody's business but was really easy to work with once I had overlocked all of the edges. For the lining, I originally planned to use a grey cotton with Egyptian hieroglyphics from a UFO that I have but there was just no way I could get all the needed pieces from it. At a quick shopping trip to Darn It and Stitch I fell in love with the bees and thought it would make great cuffs. I was all for making it the full lining when Adam spotted the honeycomb fabric and the beehive blazer was born. Both are Robert Kaufman cottons. I'm really pleased I chose the bees as it breaks up the colour of the shell. When I put it on to check I had set the sleeves correctly I thought that I had won the Masters!

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I lengthened the sleeves to full length and made a late decision to line them as the overlocked edges of the crepe were a little scratchy. They are a little too long as I didn't check the length before stitching on the cuffs but I haven't noticed it when wearing it. Ah, the cuffs. Using a french seam to finish these are another clever part of this design. It makes for a lovely, neat enclosed finish. 

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I think there will be future versions of this blazer as there are so many options available: a more fitted look by going down a size, the cropped version, contrasting lapels, removing a couple of inches from the hem line of the full length version so it hits nearer the lower waist. Need I go on? The By Hand girls describe it as "the perfect throw-it-over-everything wardrobe staple" and I don't think I can disagree with them. It goes with so much of my wardrobe. 

All I need now is a bee lapel pin. Anyone know where I can get one from?