October 12, 2020

Blazer Bound: The Final Muslin?!


Well, I’m not sure anything we’ve done has ever be so hotly anticipated, so finally some news! Today I’m pleased to share with you the latest progress on our blazer and indeed what may, in fact, perhaps, let’s hope, be THE LAST MUSLIN BEFORE TESTING.

(Catch up on our full blazer development process here.)

As you have probably realized by now, this pattern is a bit of a doozy, not just because it’s complicated (IT IS!), and because making a muslin for a blazer takes quite a while, but also because of the whole pandemic situation, which has led to me (Jenny) being thousands of miles away from the rest of the team. Let’s just say that is not conducive to hands-on muslin fitting. However, when we started this series we knew there was a chance it would take a while, and one of the objectives was to reveal quite how lengthy our development process can be, so, objective achieved!

Before we move on, a caveat: I am very much not an 18 G/H at the moment, but the samples are. Right now I’m around 50″ – 42″ – 46″ which the eagled eyed of you will realize is more like a 20 G/H – 22 – 16. Not particularly helpful, that! We do have a “straight” size 18 mannequin which we also use for fitting, but it’s a challenge to fit the shoulders and neck on a mannequin, especially because it can’t move around and tell you what does or doesn’t fit. As a result, we do the best we can at this stage, which is to fit on the mannequin, and then on me, but bearing in mind that right now my boobs are 2″ larger than the 18 and my waist is 4″ larger. Were we not in the middle of a pandemic, we’d get an 18 G/H model into the studio to try things on, but needs must! The next muslin we make will be a 20 G/H.

All that said, it’s actually a little less important than you might image. The reason is that even if we perfectly fine-tuned this blazer for my body – that doesn’t mean it would fit everyone else’s perfectly. We like to get a muslin 80 – 90% of the way there, but then it’s much more productive to move to testing, where we can see the fit on a wide range of testers. I, for instance, have a VERY forward shoulder, but we don’t want the garment to only fit that type of shoulder angle, so the group of testers is super helpful for enabling us to find the “average best” fit across a range of body types.

With that said, on to muslins 4 and 5!

Blazer muslin #4

So despite the feedback we gave on muslin 3, it turned out that we didn’t adjust enough. We had very similar issues with the width of the shoulders, puffing out at the bust, excess fabric at the underarm princess seam, and above the boob.

Here you can see that I pinched out the left side (and pinned it) and how much better it looks than the right.

And here’s where I pinched at the princess seam

All that said, we had the thought at this point that maybe the two princess seams were just TOO much shaping and causing more issues than helping.

The feedback we gave to our drafter was:

  • Remove the pinned areas
  • Merge the two seams into one princess seam, to see if that works better.

If you’re thinking hmmm this would be so much easier if the pattern drafter and sample and model were all in the same room, you’d be RIGHT! But alas it is not to be, so on we trot.

Blazer muslin #5

Allllllrighty. Before we go on, another caveat: white muslins always look sort of terrible in photos! For some reason, this looks way better in person and I have no idea why.

The good news is, it’s way better now with one princess seam and those areas removed (another reminder here that it’s 1 size too small at my boobs and 2 sizes too small at my waist, and I have much smaller arms than an 18 and a very forward shoulder).

The verdict is: close enough to test the fit.

We’re making a few changes before getting it ready for testing:

  • Increasing the size of the lapel a touch for balance
  • Adding double welt pockets
  • Checking the princess seams – there’s some wrinkling going on there and we want to see if that’s a drafting or sewing issue with the stretch fabric

The other thing I want to do is check it in a non-stretch woven. Although we’re designing for stretch I think there’s a decent chance it may work in a woven (albeit it will be obviously be more constricting across the back) – and knowing that a big chunk of you wanted a woven blazer, that would increase the appeal of it a lot!

Finally, now we’re in two sizes ranges we have to do it all over again ๐Ÿ˜€ We decided our design approach is to get the 12 – 32 range design sorted first, and then we’ll go and re-create the same design lines for the smaller size range, making any proportional tweaks that are needed. Most (all?!) pattern companies do it the other way around, starting in the smaller, and then going upwards in size (or co-developing) but we’re a plus-size-first company so this is the right method for us.

Onwards and upwards!

27 thoughts on “Blazer Bound: The Final Muslin?!

  1. Donna Makowski says:

    I am soooooooo excited to see this is coming along!! Anticipation is killing me.

  2. catherine says:

    Yipee! Thanks for more behind the scenes as the blazer development progresses. May I pre-order now? Like many, I’m eagerly anticipating this pattern, and I have lots of fabric ready to spread and cut ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. murphyallen53 says:

      I’d preorder, too. I have total faith in you guys – this will be brilliant!

  3. Janis.Brodie says:

    I am glad things are progressing well. I would much prefer a woven as I like that pressed and tailored look in a blazer. Still, if this pattern works for both then great. I will look forward to seeing more.

  4. Mariah says:

    Squeee! ::deep breath:: I am so excited to see that we’re almost at the testing stage. My level of excitement for this pattern exceeds the extreme level of anticipation I had for the Appleton pattern five years ago.

  5. Kate says:

    So exciting! Will there be a bicep adjustment pattern like there is with the Harrison?

    1. Donna Makowski says:

      Hopefully!!

  6. Stacey says:

    So so so excited!!! This is the one thing missing from my patterns, and I am always scouting the RTW, and not finding something I like.

  7. Thaise says:

    Oooh Iโ€™m excited to see how this progresses and will definitely be keeping my eyes open. I agree with another poster above… can i just go ahead and preorder this now lol

  8. murphyallen53 says:

    I’m SO EXCITED! I can hardly wait. I love and wear blazers all the time – albeit ones that don’t fit as well as my cashmerette garments do – so I’m anticipating a lot of blazer making. I like the idea of the elimination of the second princess seam. Welt pockets are gorgeous, but will the pattern have options? Like patch, welt, etc.I love the options on the other patterns.Oh and I love the idea of widening the lapels just a touch for balance. Perfect. Can’t wait.

    1. murphyallen53 says:

      And I love that cutire-patootie in the final shot! ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. murphyallen53 says:

        That’s cutie – too excited about the blazer to type right lol

  9. Debbie E. says:

    1) So excited for the blazer
    2) almost as excited to see a UK background in the photos ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. Elizabeth McAlister says:

    We appreciate all the hard work! It looks great, and anticipate it will be even better. Thank you for persevering despite the pandemic and geography and the fabulous small person.

  11. Lyndle says:

    This looks like an awesome pattern and exactly what Iโ€™ve been searching for. Well done on your perseverance through the difficulties of distance. It looks good (Iagree about the lapels, now youโ€™ve mentioned them). Canโ€™t wait for this one!

  12. Friederike says:

    I am so excited ๐Ÿ˜† in the beginning I was really unsure. I belonged to the people who definitely wanted a woven. The musslin looks amazing though ๐Ÿ˜ I will definitely try it, wether as a tester or as a buyer

  13. Kellye C Poage says:

    I spent hours and hours on a blazer/jacket pattern in my university class, I got a B+ and have never worn it because it looks ridiculous on me. I can’t wait to actually make a blazer that fits my curves without looking like I’m wearing my mother’s clothes! Thank you for testing and testing to get it just right.

  14. Tiffany says:

    Canโ€™t wait to make this! A vent AND princess seams? My high waisted bodacious butt thanks you in advance!

  15. Natalie N says:

    Iโ€™m beside myself with excitement that this pattern may work for both stretch and non-stretch wovens! Although the comfort factor is obviously upped with a stretch, so many of the fabrics I actually want to use arenโ€™t stretch. So… yay ๐Ÿ™‚ Really glad to hear about the progress.

  16. jane says:

    It looks good. My question is – is it normal for it to form “pleats” across the breast? I always try and adjust this when it happens in my clothes but am I right?

  17. BrigittaV says:

    I have been wanting to make myself a genuine Harris tweed jacket for a long time, but was daunted at the thought of getting the fit right. I mean there is plenty of work involved with proper tailoring, who wants to add on all that finicky plus-sized fitting work? (Ugh. Just the idea of trying to get the bust, shoulders, collars AND lapels to fit right makes me shudder!!) I am looking forward to this pattern release.

  18. Christine says:

    Wovens?? YES!! I’d much rather wovens than knits for this, as my woven collection is far more expansive. I have some adorable colorful stretch denims that would be stunning.

  19. mckpwll says:

    Please provide a video that can be bought to go along with the pattern. I LOVE the Harrison shirt but never would have attempted it without the great video on how to make it step-by-step. The video enabled me to make many versions of the Harrison shirt successfully.

    1. That won’t be happening at launch because I (Jenny) am in the UK and don’t have access to a studio etc. but potentially in the future!

  20. Wendy says:

    Shoulder fit has such a big effect on fitting the entire upper body. Your comment about your very forward shoulder gave me a little vision: what if a pattern came with alternatives for different shoulder types, similar to different cup sizes? Forward shoulder, square shoulder, normal/average shoulder. It sounds complicated, and it would mean more pieces of paper in a printed pattern, but if it were offered in a printable pattern it wouldn’t be necessary to print the unneeded parts.

    I would pay extra for this. With pleasure.

    1. Donna Makowski says:

      Excellent idea!!!

  21. sewnitter says:

    Looking forward to this pattern! Still very new to Cashmerette, but am hopeful that I can (eventually) be able to print and blend a 16-18 shoulder/bust with a 54+ hip without having to nearly recreate the pattern. This pattern has possibilities!

Let me know what you think!