Welcome back to our Blazer Bound blog series, where we give you a behind-the-scenes, real-time look at the development of our curve-friendly blazer sewing pattern.
Last time, we looked at the research we’d done into different types of blazers, and we narrowed in on our general requirements and features. Today, we’ll talk about briefing our pattern drafter and take a look at the first draft of the pattern. So let’s get started!
Okay, so here’s where we ended up after our research process: we’re going for a single-breasted, fitted knit blazer—at least, that’s our starting point.
We’re fortunate to be working with a phenomenal freelance pattern drafter who is highly experienced in all things curvy sewing. Having an external pattern drafter means we can be working on several patterns simultaneously, and it frees up our small-but-mighty team to focus on designing new patterns and getting patterns out to you, so it’s a win-win all around!
In addition to those basic requirements—fitted, single-breasted, intended for stable knits like ponte (and potentially stretch wovens)—we also asked our drafter to include the following features:
- Princess seams in the front and back for a better fit over curves, potentially exploring double princess seams for more shaping
- A two-part sleeve with a vent for a better fit and more comfortable sleeve
- A faced neckline and classic notched collar
- Back hem vent for extra room when sitting
- A single button closure—we’ll see if this is enough or if we want a more substantial closure
At this stage, we are just looking to get the proportions, fit and major features right, so we leave off all the details, like pockets, or a potential lining. Once we have the overall garment working well, then we dig into refining all the style features.
The First Draft
Our pattern drafter got back to us with a first draft very quickly. She uses a pattern drafting software called Opitex, and sends us the pattern draft as an Adobe Illustrator file with a single size (our base size, 18 G/H).
We have a large format printer in our studio that we use to print drafts of patterns, so that’s the first thing we’ll do when we get this draft. (Before we had this printer, we were printing our drafts on 8 1/2” x 11” pages or bankrupting ourselves at Staples—this was before the days of pdfplotting.com!)
Here’s a quick timelapse of the blazer draft printing out (it took 20 minutes in total):
Here’s how it looks printed out:
Time to cut out the pieces! Since our worktable is covered with a large cutting mat, we can use a rotary cutter and cut directly on the table. (Don’t worry, this is a paper-specific rotary cutter that gets the old, dull blades from the fabric rotary cutter.)
We often have several patterns being muslined at the same time, so to keep our pattern drafts organized, we use this large hole puncher.
It’s quite handy, and you can punch through all of the pieces together at the same time.
And there we have it, draft #1 of the blazer with its pattern pieces all cut and ready to go.
Up Next: Sewing Muslin #1
Next time, we’ll be sewing up this first muslin and taking a look at how it fits on Jenny and our Alvaform mannequin. Since this is just a muslin, we’re going to skip seam finishes and take other shortcuts where we can. And we’ll be using leftover fabric we have on hand, since this won’t be a blazer that sees the light of day.
There are also no instructions for how to assemble it (that’s our job!) so as we prepare to sew the first muslin, we’ll be strategizing about the order of operations. Sewing up the first muslin allows us to test that order and make revisions as we find better ways to do things.
If you got a blazer pattern without instructions, do you think you could sew it up? It’s a fun challenge for more advanced sewists, but could be a head-scratching puzzle for newbies! Let us know in the comments below whether you would enjoy that challenge—but don’t worry, there will definitely be labels and instructions (and maybe even a workshop) by the time this pattern gets to you.