February 24, 2020

Blazer Bound: Muslin #1 (and #2)


Welcome back to our Blazer Bound blog series, where you get to see behind the scenes of our blazer sewing pattern development process, in real time!

We have our first muslin (well, actually our first two muslins) all sewn up and ready to show you, so let’s get started!

Last time, we received the first draft back from our pattern drafter. Carrie immediately got to work sewing up the first muslin.

If you remember back to our research and design phase, we stressed the importance of comfort and range of motion with this pattern. We chose to design the blazer for a stable knit, so we used a scuba we have in our stock for the first muslin. (You can purchase some here if you’d like!)

Here’s Carrie cutting the pieces for the first muslin.

Time to Sew!

Even though we’re using a scuba with a vibrant print, we decided to sew it with the white side as the right side so that it’s easier to see the seam lines on the finished garment.

When we sew up early pattern muslins, we go for the quick-and-dirty approach. That means not finishing any seams, not bothering with closures, and so on. So muslin #1 came together quite quickly.

Muslin #1: Stable Knit

And here it is! We tried it on on both Jenny and our mannequin.

Neither is exactly in line with our sample size (18GH)—the mannequin’s boobs are a bit small, and even with a padded bra (no joke!), her dimensions are slightly different, not to mention she’s also pretty firm everywhere! Jenny, on the other hand, has a 18GH body size, but right now has breastfeeding boobs so is a few inches bigger than the 18 GH. So, we try our samples on both, but it’s only when we go to test on multiple sizes of people that we are able to get a final sense of how the fit is going to work.

This first muslin was… OK? (Jenny also implores me to remind you to overlook her lack of make up, dirty hair day and nursing-bra-boob situation). The basic fit was in the right area, and the back was looking good, but the front looked droopier than intended, also causing pooling at the side of the bust when it was open. And the lapel wasn’t quite working as we imagined. So, given this—and also the fact we got lots of feedback from you that you want something you can wear to work—we thought instead of making changes to this pattern, we’d try using stretch woven to see if that improves things.

Muslin #2: Stretch Woven

So here’s the next round in a stretch denim—and it’s a great improvement!

We also popped in some shoulder pads, which helped tremendously as well.

Because the stretch woven was a success, we’re going to move forward with that as our primary fabric. But we’ll try it again on a thicker knit later on down the road to see if it works with a scuba or ponte too.

We’re loving how the double princess seams look on this blazer. You’ll notice that they’re different than the double princess seams you’d normally see (like on the Harrison Shirt, for example). The seam that’s closer to the center angles forward towards the back of the lapel, which is helping shape the bust and keep the blazer from flapping open when worn unbuttoned, which was an important design goal we identified early on.

Up Next: Revisions to Draft #1

Next up we’re going to be briefing our pattern drafter on some of the changes we’d like to see for the next round. The blazer is a little tricky to put on and take off, so we’re going to try adding a jersey lining. We also want the lapels to be bigger, and we noticed a twist in the sleeves that we’d like to work out, as well as a few other fit issues.

Once we have the revised pattern back from our drafter, we’ll be sewing it up into a new muslin. But overall the fit looks solid, so we’re optimistic that there won’t be numerous rounds of revisions.

What else would you like to know about this muslin? Is there anything that’s surprised you about this process so far? Let us know in the comments below!

52 thoughts on “Blazer Bound: Muslin #1 (and #2)

  1. Peggy R says:

    Definitely liked the woven better overall. Did like the back of the knit better though. It seemed smoother than the back of the woven. Agree with the sleeve twist issue. Really like the one button closure I’m thinking the length might be a little long, especially for shorter people. Maybe that can be dealt with on the pattern? (Ex: Lengthen/shorten here.) The back vent looks pulled so maybe a little more room is needed there? The left lapel looks narrower to me. It might be the lighting, etc. Love the woven fabric and the color. Jenny has nothing to worry about. She is a new Mom, breastfeeding, which means she is sleep deprived. She is lucky to be standing, let alone modeling!! LOL…A new Mom and still keeping an eye on the business…she should be admired!!

    1. Janis.Brodie says:

      I smiled when I read your comments because I thought I would prefer it to be a fair bit longer, including a longer back vent. Lengthen/shorten lines are very useful. I hope it will be lined too.

      1. Maggie Lewin says:

        Looks great in the denim I also would prefer it longer so it would cover any top.worn untucked. I think woven fabric would be harder wearing and hold its shape better

  2. Beck says:

    Oh the stretch woven looks AMAZING. (I love knit, but structure looks better in woven to me.)

    Jenny, you look gorgeous, and I love your “mum bun”.

    Love seeing the behind the scenes on this blazer. I’m excited to finally have a professional looking wardrobe without button popping happening!!

  3. Donna Soule Makowski says:

    Selfishly, I am THRILLED you are changing to a stretch woven!!!
    And I agree with the previous comments about the suggested changes.
    Cannot wait until this is ready for sale!!!

    1. Janis.Brodie says:

      I am thrilled about the stretch woven too!

  4. Sewniptuck says:

    This is fascinating because as with all the jackets I’ve drafted I really despise that draping to the outside of the boob. I’m really interested to see how you fix it and what works while still accommodating chesticles . I just succumb to having an overly tight jacket that I never button up or a larger buttonable one I never leave unbuttoned. Definitely staying tuned for the next instalment – gorgeous jacket girls and yay for Jenny and her baby 👶

  5. Win says:

    I agree re the back. It looks much too tight around the arm scythe in the stretch woven. Also pulls at the back vent. But interestingly the back on the scuba knit looks a better fit.
    Also, to me, the shoulder line often looks too wide on a lot of patterns. Maybe that’s just me. But it looks really wide on this jacket back too. But maybe that’s not an issue.
    I wonder if you can fold out the looseness under the bust?
    Will be interested to see muslin # 3. Keep up the good work.

  6. syreetabp says:

    I can’t tell you how excited I am about this pattern!!! I’ve tried and rejected so many blazers b/c BOOBS. I definitely have a preference for the stretch woven. From a style perspective, it strikes me as a bit more chic. I can’t tell if it’s the camera angle, but it seems to ride up a bit in the front…

    Bus most important of all – will there be POCKETS?!?!?!

    1. Frau Leo says:

      I was wondering about pockets as well!

  7. Maritza says:

    Love this series! I like the stretch woven version, too. Are you considering pockets?

  8. Nancy McL says:

    Jenny, between the lapel and the upper arm there is a bunch of extra fabric vertically on both sample fabrics. I seem to have that issue a lot. Is it because of narrow upper chest? Can that be checked? I am thankful for this blog. I am learning so much about my mature shape lol.

  9. Sus says:

    Looks promising! It would be great to have both a long and short version. Love the shoulders- on trend with the return of sharper tailoring. Can’t wait for this pattern release. Congrats too on the arrival of Cashmerette Junior!

  10. Geniese James says:

    I love this behind the scenes series. Jenny you look like a boss babe, hope you and baby are fabulously well. I’m super excited for this pattern!

  11. Mary Ellen Eckels says:

    Love it!! Can’t wait for the pattern! And also – love the stretch woven denim – that is exactly what I want to make. I’ve been searching FOREVER to find a blazer like this, let alone one that would fit well. Can you share the source of the stretch denim? Thanks and great work. So excited.

  12. Carmil Mullaney says:

    This series is fascinating and makes me appreciate the fit and drafting of Cashmerette patterns even more. Most of the things I would say have already been covered in the comments above- except- I like the narrow lapel! There have been times that I have not purchased a blazer due to the width of the lapel. I believe there is a fine line between a wider collar/ lapel emphasizing the bust in a negative way.
    I may already be on the hunt for a stretch woven that I will love making up in this pattern!

  13. Mrs.P says:

    The collar seems to be pulling/rolling up in both materials, maybe adding a little more fabric there will remedy this

  14. Lois E Albert says:

    I pretty much agree with the comments already posted, except …… I’m tall and prefer jackets and tops that are longer, so being able to length it would definitely be a plus.

  15. Toby Wollin says:

    I wish you’d taken shots of the model with her arms raised because that is always my issue.

  16. susan snow says:

    I think it would be more flattering just a titch longer. Like maybe 2-3 inches. It seems to end at a point on the body that isn’t the most flattering. Larger ladies (like me) seem to suit something a bit lengthening. Other than that I love it!

  17. jeanwiegand says:

    Love, love,love it in the stretch woven. Agree with the above comments about boobage and the sleeve issue. Love the idea of the double princess seams. Lapels do look uneven, but I suspect a good pressing may help that. I would love a “shorten/lengthen” here option, as I am tall and this looks like the blazer “as is” right now will end at my widest width. Prefer a little more length towards the hip. Jenny, you look fabulous! Hugs and love to you and your sweet smelling baby!

  18. Mary V says:

    Looking forward to this pattern! For the collar alone I am on team stretch woven. Really liking the design on the sleeve. I always roll my cuffs because I hate bulk around my wrists while typing, and I think this sleek design will work wonderfully for me. Thank you for sharing the process of finding fit issues and muslin iterations. It would be a great series to do with different body types! Maybe fitting a petite size 22 versus a tall size 22. Perhaps that is a series better suited (pun!) for the CSC.

    1. Darbie Pelachick says:

      Ohh, a view with faux-rolled sleeves or cuffs that bring it to 3/4 sleeve length would be fab. I love that look, but actually rolling things up typically makes them too tight and/or bulky on my forearms.

  19. SFVee says:

    I’m enjoying seeing the process from concept to final product and thank you for letting us in behind the curtain, so to speak.
    As to the muslin, is it the angle of the photo or is center front riding up as seen from the side? That’s always my problem: fits well in back, the front around the bust fits but if I check the side, I get an inadvertent “hi-lo” look with the center front higher than the back. I always have to adjust for extra fabric to go, not just around, but *over* the girls to make the hems even.
    Can’t wait for the next installment!

  20. Laurie says:

    This is fascinating to see the progress, but most of all I am beyond excited to make a Cashmerette blazer! That denim silhouette from the side was lovely!!!

    1. Donna Soule Makowski says:

      Totally agree – I wear so much denim that I cannot wait to have a stylish denim blazer too!!

  21. Mariah says:

    I like the structure of the stretch woven (and in my heart of hearts, I was hoping it was going to go that way vs a ponte). I am even more excited about this jacket than I was when it was first announced. The jacket is shaping up to be one I will live in year round — both casually and professionally.

    1. wolferiver says:

      I agree with the preference for a stretch woven. It is very difficult for me to find ponte or scuba fabric that I like. There isn’t much of a selection anywhere. Many on-line sources mis-characterize their offerings claiming them to be ponte fabric but the sample I get shows them as obviously not ponte. Being as finicky as I am about color and pattern, well, I have rarely found a ponte that I liked. Scuba is even worse for selection. On the other hand, there is a plethora of woven stretch fabrics available, and some of them are very high end. If I am going to go to the trouble of making myself a blazer, including the work of making a muslin or two, then why on earth would I make it out of anything less than my ideal fabric?

  22. Renae says:

    I am so excited about this blazer! I should warn you that jersey is not the greatest lining. It has a tendency to drag on other knits. I like to line my blazers with a lightweight stretch woven. I also love the one button closure. It’s super flattering on anyone with a tummy. Keep up the good work.

  23. Bridgette says:

    Stretch woven!!!!! Yes!!! I will definitely buy now! I was so sad at first. I hate ponte blazers. I’m a teacher who like to dress NICELY. Ponte just seems like a knock-off of classic maybe. #teamclassic

  24. I’m excited to sew a blazer! I’m working to increase my professional wardrobe and this will be a welcome addition.

  25. Tracy says:

    I’m so glad to hear that you’re going with the stretch woven. Knits are comfy, but a stretch woven can give a blazer a crispness that knits just can’t do. I prefer a little extra length in blazers to conceal the hems of untucked shirts in the back. You’ve identified all the issues I have with blazers, so I’m just excited to watch the solutions you come up with. I’m loving this series!

  26. Gandcjalbert@comcast.net says:

    Hi Jenny, lovely pattern coming together nicely. So much nicer fit than rtw.

  27. Barbara says:

    I am also happier with the stretch woven. When you live in heat and humidity it’s a better option than scuba.
    Fascinating series I am enjoying it. Who gets a full makeover for a muslin? No apology needed..its a work in progress and I’m excited to see the finish!

  28. Kathy Clark says:

    Loved the idea mentioned above of the 3/4 sleeve with cuff. Also hoping that the pattern will take into consideration that some of us will need sleeve adjustments for our bat wings ( saggy upper arms).
    Looking forward to the next step in this fascinating series.

    By the way triple bonus points will be given if you can sneak hidden pockets into princess seam.

  29. Alice says:

    As a person with a very long back, I’m for lengthening it or a shorten/lengthen here line. I am a little concerned about the wrinkles under the arms; I need room there, but I don’t want to be swimming in it. One problem I’ve had with ready to wear is that if there is enough bust coverage I can’t raise my arms. I look forward to seeing the next iteration.

  30. Ali Bee says:

    I love the shape, and have been looking forward to being able to make a blazer that fits my shoulders and bust! I would probably lengthen the body as I prefer a longer top layer.
    I agree with the above comments that the stretch woven looks much better than the scuba and disappointed that you are designing for a stretch fabric. I understand that stretch fabrics can make fitting easier. In my opinion a formal layer like a blazer is much better in a plain woven – I’m thinking linen for summer and wool for winter… and velvet and silk… The classiest and most beautiful fabrics I see tend to be non stretch wovens. At the moment my typical top layer at work is a cardigan or occasionally one of my wear ill-fitting RTW blazers, I view a stretch blazer in the same category as a formal-looking cardigan. I want to be able to sew a blazer to elevate my professional wardrobe, and while a stretch blazer could be a step in the right direction for me it’s not ideal.
    It’s entirely possible that I’m hopelessly old-fashioned in my view, please accept this feedback along with my thanks and admiration for what you do, I rely on the Montrose top and Concord tee to fill my wardrobe with easy wearable pieces.

  31. Laurie B says:

    You are definitely on the right track! I agree with all the comments regarding the sleeve which is definitely twisted. In looking at the back in the stretch woven I’m trying to figure out the source of the drag lines that radiate out on both sides of the back. It looks like the underarm may be cut too high and it’s restricting the back across the shoulder blades. I’m looking at the sides and I think they are tailored in too much just below the underarm. Are you drafting a side panel that includes the underarm or are you doing a side back and side front? Perhaps a shoulder princess seam in the back would give a more gentle curve and just skim the upper back area. I like the lapel as is. Too wide or too narrow are trendy and I would want this to be a classic in my wardrobe.

  32. Charlieo says:

    I’m on team lengthen! The length on dress form is good…covers crotch n probably back pockets. On Jenny, who looks amazing for new baby, it is an awkward length. If you are working for mature/ larger sizes, please remember the armseye needs to accommodate real people, not too tight. Looking forward to finished product.

  33. Joi says:

    I love the idea of this, and would like it for both a ponte and a stretch woven. I do have to say, the drag lines under the bust in the stretch woven, and also along-side the shoulder seam and from the underarms towards the middle of the shoulder blades on the back, would make this a hard no for me. One thing I’ve found with the Harrison shirt is that when it fits in the bust I have far too much room under my bust/over my tummy to my hips in the front, which makes me look really blocky when seen from the side. I’ve had to adjust the front princess seams to allow for a sleeker line, and it looks like this pattern would have the same problem.

  34. Addie says:

    This is such an interesting process to see develop. I noticed the narrow collar right away and am glad you are changing it. I wasn’t super excited about the original knit idea either so switching to a stretch woven gives me many new possibilities. I really like the denim you used. I don’t wear formal blazers but more versatile denim, corduroy, twill and linen versions could be fun and useful. Thanks for sharing!

  35. Johanne Kjølner says:

    I know I should be positive, but I can’t . It is so much wrong here. Please look into Laurie B comment, she explains it so much better than I can, not mastering the English language so well.
    Sorry.

    1. As we explain in the blog post, this is the very first muslin that we made, after briefing our pattern drafter. We would never expect the first try of something to fit perfectly (although it would be amazing if it did!) – this is a starting point, and there will be further rounds of muslins. We made the decision to be open and vulnerable by sharing our journey in the development of this pattern, but you’ll need to bear in mind as you read the posts that this is a process, not an end-point.

      1. Donna Soule Makowski says:

        Thank you, Jenny, for the reminder!!
        And thank you letting us in on the development of one of your awesome patterns!!

      2. Jenny, Please don’t think that I don’t love this project! I KNOW it’s a long process–just think about how many muslins we all go through to get the best fit–and you are doing this to continue your awesome support of curvy sewists. I’m soooo looking forward to the finished pattern. Keep up the great work 🙂

        LaurieB

  36. Janet says:

    Would love a three button, and I love this length. “ Locked and loaded” Is what Stacey and Clinton always said. A single button will gape and there will be drag lines. Of course if there is Magic in the pattern draft, I’d be open to it! Great progress!!!

  37. Kristen says:

    I seem to be one of the few, but if it could happen, I’d love a final pattern that would work in both a heavyweight knit (e.g. a nice high-quality ponte) and a stretch woven for a greater range of options. I’m also on team length options please. Thank you for starting this process and sharing it with us!

  38. Stina from Stockholm says:

    It is very interesting to see your first muslin and how your work will continue. My first muslins do often really not look good at all and
    I´m not sure what to do. Looking on your professional work might learn me something more about fitting!

  39. Andrea says:

    I’m really enjoying following your process and progress! And good too that your Muslims have fit issues, too 😀 like many others, I’m looking for to this being for stretch wovens as I think it’ll make it even more versatile than a scuba or pointe would.
    Andrea x

  40. Heidi says:

    I think I would like to make it a bit longer too, at least if I made one to use with trousers. To cower tops yes, and I tend to want to “cower stuff” (body fluff) but it is also about proportions, especially if you use different colours on top and bottom. I think it is important to remember that this is a unlined jacket and Jenny is wearing a knitted sweater under the jacket. She should maybe wear the jacket for some time and get some coffe, sit down and move around to be sure how it actually behaves (I am thinking about the upper back area and armtwist especially. Personally I would prefer stretch woven or firm ponte, I find that scubba can be “plasticky” to wear although it always look good.

  41. Catherine says:

    I love the current length, the single closure, and the denim – the jacket is gorgeous and I’m looking forward to making it when it’s done!

  42. Becca says:

    I agree that the back fit looked better on the scuba and felt the addition of the shoulder pads on the stretch woven helped the shoulder seam a lot. Sign me up for team(s) variable length, pockets, a fit that allows button options and a pattern that offers the flexibility of a very stable knit or stretch woven. In full appreciation of the irony given my “team preferences” I do know that no pattern can address everything for every person, but I echo the comment on not going too trendy on wide verses narrow lapels. A happy medium would be a better jump off point for personalization in the future.

Let me know what you think!