December 3, 2020

Blazer Bound: Writing Instructions

The blazer work continues! Now that we’ve gotten our latest muslin to a good spot, it’s time to write pattern instructions so that we can send it off to our lovely testers.

If you’re new to our Blazer Bound blog series, here’s a quick catch-up: we’re working on a curvy and plus size blazer pattern! This pattern has been highly requested since the very beginning of Cashmerette, so we thought it would be fun to give you a behind-the-scenes view into our process for developing this pattern.

After a few rounds of muslins, we have the pattern in a place where we’re pleased with the look and fit, and we’re ready to send it to our testers to try it out. But first, we have to create the pattern instructions so that our testers know how to construct their blazer muslins.

Writing Pattern Instructions

If you remember back to when we got the first draft of the pattern from our drafter, we talked about how it comes without any instructions. Thankfully, Carrie is fearless, and she knows a thing or two about constructing outerwear! For this pattern, she started out by jotting down an initial set of steps while she sewed the first muslin, and revised it over the course of sewing subsequent muslins when she found easier or faster techniques to achieve certain steps.

If you’ve ever sewn a lined jacket, you know that some of the steps can be truly mind-boggling without clear instructions, so Carrie also checked her construction methods against those shown in jacket sewing textbooks. We also wanted to include enough tailoring techniques to end up with a fabulous finished product, but not so many that it is overly complicated, so we ended up settling on a few bits that really make the finished blazer pop!

When it gets time to share the instructions with our testers, we want to make sure that they’re as clear and easy to flow as possible. We include illustrations with each step, which are drawn by our production artist Mallory in Adobe Illustrator. For some of the trickier steps, Carrie sews little demo versions and sends photos to Mallory, like these ones of (version 687) of the angled welt pocket.

These may not the be the final illustrations that you see in the pattern instructions, because we may change some of the construction methods or the way we illustrate them based on our testers’ valuable feedback. But we aim to make the illustrations are clear and detailed, if not completely polished. Our awesome testers often have suggestions on how to make them even more clear.

One exciting discovery in the process of creating the illustrations for the blazer was that a few of the steps are similar to how our Chilton Trench Coat is constructed, such as bagging the lining! This allowed us to re-use the same steps from the Chilton, changing them to be our new pattern pieces, which sped up the process quite a bit: if you’ve ever drawn images in Illustrator, you know it can be time consuming at times!

The pattern instructions we send to our testers also include other important information to sewing a garment successfully, such as the sizing chart, the finished garment measurements chart, fabric requirements, cutting layouts, and so on. It’s basically everything you would find in the final instructions booklet or file, but not quite so pretty yet.

Onto Testing!

Now that the instructions are ready, we can send them along with the pattern files to our testers. Some of our testers will be making their blazers in stretch woven fabric, while some will be making them in non-stretch woven fabric, so that we can check that the pattern works in both. We’re giving our testers several weeks to make their muslins—sewing an entire blazer can be time consuming—and in the meantime, we wait anxiously to see what they say. It’s always possible that our testers won’t like the pattern (it’s happened before! Sad times.), but we’re feeling good about how it came together. Plus, we’ve seen your positive reactions to our muslins along the way, so that gives us a little more confidence that this will indeed be the blazer of dreams for curvy sewists. Let’s hope our testers agree!

13 thoughts on “Blazer Bound: Writing Instructions

  1. Jenny says:

    I am absolutely dying for this pattern to be completed. I can’t wait! Love the insight into the process! xo, Jenny

  2. Catherine Grebstad says:

    Hi, just wondering about pattern testing, you sent out a request for pattern testers, I filled in allt he info and sent, also questions sent later and then no more. Does that mean I wasn’t chosen? Just wondering!!!

    1. We contact people for testing each time we have a new pattern to test, and it’s combination of existing and new testers. So hold on and you may be approached in the future!

      1. Catherine Grebstad says:

        OK thankyou, fingers crossed then, I cant wait for this pattern to be released, keep up the good work Jenny and co.

  3. Donna Makowski says:

    Waiting, with GREAT anticipation!!

  4. Brigitte Thiele says:

    I can’t wait!!!!!! This is so exciting to follow the process through.

  5. Lena says:

    Whenever I sew a lined jacket I get confused when the moment comes to join the lining and the jacket especially in the sleeves. I think a video tutorial for this crucial step could be immensely helpful, if you find the time.

  6. catherine says:

    The excitement and anticipation continue to build! Thanks for sharing the peeks behind the scenes of what goes into bringing a pattern to market.

  7. Donna B. says:

    I just yelled a loud “whoop, whoop” right here in my office! A blazer that FITS me!!!!! I’m SO excited! It’s one piece of clothing that I dearly love, and haven’t had in my wardrobe for years because I can never find one that fits. Thanks you to all the Cashmerette folks for their hard work!

  8. Sherri Darocha says:

    This is coming along brilliantly! It’s so helpful to see the refinement. I am looking forward to tackling this and figuring out the little bit of additional ease needed to create with a woven. Thank you for sharing. It builds fantastic anticipation! Presale?

  9. Peggy Riordan says:

    I love that you show the behind the scenes work that goes on. It brings us in as collaborators and students at the same time. I am so happy to find a company that respects it’s customers so well. Thanks so much!

  10. msmjedwards says:

    The other day I hummed and hawed over whether to keep my two vintage blazers that don’t currently fit (I did keep them), and I thought ‘If only I could make one that properly fits me.’ And this morning I see your email!! Very excited by this news.

  11. Frau Leo says:

    I love seeing this all come together. At this rate, I’ll have a new blazer just when we return to the office 😉
    Best, Andrea

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