A review of the Jasika Blazer by Closet Case Patterns
Well what can I say about the Closet Case Patterns Jasika Blazer ‘Learn to sew a classic blazer’ Course…. Firstly, what a fantastic project and a great tutorial experience with Heather. Thank you to Closet Case Patterns for allowing me to up my sewing game and teach me new skills that I will have for life.
The course is designed for anyone that is wanting to tackle a meaty project and learn some ‘speed tailoring’ techniques. The Course is broken down into various short videos so you can take one step at a time and go at your own pace. The end result is a timeless, smart blazer that will be a staple piece in your wardrobe.
I had some Navy wool in my stash and wanted to add a contrast collar so chose a burnt orange velveteen which worked really well to add a pop of colour.
After gathering all the supplies (I won’t bore you with the full list) that were recommended and using my handmade sleeve ham and a block of clean unvarnished wood for a clapper I was ready to go. I hadn’t used knit interfacing before nor horse hair canvas and not come across them in haberdashery stores before but managed to get them from UK sellers on eBay. I always buy a few reels of thread to see me through a large project like this so made sure I had plenty Navy and Orange Gutterman (other brands are available, but my machine is a thread snob and this is the brand that makes her happy 😊) threads before starting. Nothing worse than running out part way through when you are in the swing of things and I did get through a lot of thread.
Initially it did feel intimidating and there are a lot of elements to it not to mention the various pattern pieces but having sewn with wool and previously made the Sew Over It Chloe coat using the Online class I had some experience. The Jasika Blazer is more complex than that, another level of skill that I wanted to achieve, and I knew I would be better to spend a full day or two on it rather that chip away at it over evenings. I made some time over the Easter Weekend to complete it.
I am generally very organised and as a Project Manager by day I love a good list and planning for projects so with my organised nature this project was great fun, however you need to be organised or break it now into areas so you don’t get out faced by it.
I’m going to break this blog post down into the methods I used to create the Blazer and talk about the tips, highs and (very few) lows of this project.
Cutting pattern pieces
I had the pattern printed at a copyshop to save me sticking 70 (!) pages together. This was a good start to saving some time, I had it printed on 250g paper which is thin enough to trace through (more on that later). My measurements fell into the size 10 but I didn’t cut around the size 10 for each pattern piece, initially, I roughly cut around the shapes of the pattern piece without committing to the size 10 until I had made the muslin. This way I would be able to adapt my pattern pieces and cut them out correctly knowing that the amendments were taken care of.
I also used a colour coding method for the different type of pattern pieces, so I cut these ‘categories’ separately, again to break it down so it didn’t out face me and worked well with limited times in the evenings.
Orange – Outer fabric pattern pieces
Green – Lining pieces
Yellow – Horse hair and interfacing pieces
Making the muslin
So the tracing element comes into its own for the muslin, especially if you are using a calico or cotton muslin. I used a sharpie pen to trace the jacket pattern pieces directly onto the cotton duvet cover I used to make the muslin. This worked well as, thinking ahead, if the muslin didn’t fit well then I could easily adapt the changes on the pattern pieces and then cut them out as the ‘final’ version. (If you cut them out in the original form the you will need to stick bit on if you need to grade out etc. This is faffy and probably not as accurate).
I did refer to the fitting ebook which gave really great illustrations for how to amend the pattern pieces for the obvious changes needed highlighted by the fit of the muslin.
You can see here the bagginess around the bust needed grading smaller and I also extended the front darts.
Extra fabric is causing the lines around the shoulders.
The changes I made to the pattern:
- Extended the bust darts by 1 inch and graded to an 8 at the bust
- Graded out to a 12 at the hips as my muslin vent didn’t overlap as much as it should
- Shoulders came up too wide so followed the adjustments in the fitting guide.
- Note: Changes made to outer fabric and the lining pattern pieces in the brown pen.
Interfacing Pieces and prep work
This is quite a complex process and not covered in the video tutorials so my advice is to check you have all the relevant Knit and Weft interface pieces before touching the iron. There is a great list of pattern pieces broken down into sections which are also numbered in the instructions, I just ticked them off once I had cut them out.
Take time to make sure you are interfacing the correct type to your jacket and again tick them off when you have interfaced them. Once you have interfaced then go and add the tailors tacks, they will not be much use sandwiched between your fabric and interfacing.
I added tailors tacks and used chalk as well to for the extra visual lines to follow when sewing.
Let the sewing commence…
I did find it helped to watch the video first before I started to sew along with Heather as she mentioned a few things after the sewing took place that were useful to note e.g. sewing the bust dart as her version looked slightly different which would of thrown me off if I hadn’t heard her explain the differences first.
Once I had watched the video, I then picked up my project and followed along, watching it twice helped it sink in and give me the confidence to know what was expected of that section and also saved a lot of stopping a starting as I could just get on with that bit at my own pace.
Sewing the front
Sewing the front darts were really simple, again the only bit that threw me was how far the cut into the dart but if you keep watching Heather explains after she has sewn her version.
She talks through some great tips throughout the process and one that sticks for me is the pressing techniques. You can see the seam allowance marks in the image below and Heather shows how to remove them by placing cardboard under your seam allowances.
The construction of the front pieces and back including the Vent are really straightforward and you can’t go wrong following Heather step by step, the key is the accuracy of your tailors tacks and chalk markings.
I have done some practice welt pockets before but not to the standard I wanted so I was nervous about them especially as they are bright orange and a bold statement they had to look good.
The fiddliest bit was adding the pocket bag as you don’t have a lot of space to sew onto, this is where you need a zipper foot to get as close as you can. My foot design is not great and so took a few attempts. The rest of the pocket bag is straight forward but was glad to move on from that part.
Honestly, I found these the easiest sleeves to set in. Yes, I did the steaming of the seam allowance and yes I hand tacked them in first. The pattern notches match perfectly and they went in like a dream, no lumps or bumps, no drama.
I didn’t feel like I needed any previous experience for these sleeves, if you follow Heathers advice you will be fine.
At this point I got very excited to try on the jacket and check the fit and consider any adjustments. I have long arms but the Sleeves are long (even with the 2” pressed up) and the sleeves did feel a bit loose. I was trying them out without a jumper on and they felt like they were flapping around a bit, after some further thought and consideration I have left them alone. I do need them to be loose enough as I want to turn them up for a flash of lining. Now the jacket is fully complete they are fine and I know I can wear it all year round even with a thin jumper underneath.
Happy with my finish of the jacket so far I moved swiftly onto adding the sleeve heads and shoulder pads.
I chose the most beautiful silky floral lining which looks like an oil painting and should be in a fancy art gallery. I absolutely love it and as soon as I saw it in the shop new it would be perfect for a lining and one goal I wanted to hit off my list was to sew a Blazer.
It did turn out the be difficult to cut out and sew as it was obviously very slippery but totally worth the effort, it make the jacket feel really special and I like to see a flash of it when I turn up the sleeves
This was simple to put together following the involved previous classes of the collar and sleeves. **Warning** Just be aware of the temperature of your iron, I have been caught out with this before and accidently melted the lining as I didn’t turn it down after switching from pressing the wool fabric!
I would definitely recommend the course, I think it helps if you have some sewing experience of varied projects especially setting in sleeves, having said that I think the way Heather explains things and guides you through most of the steps, a novice could attempt this project. You have to be accurate but the tailors tacks make you be accurate with your sewing.
The worst bit: For me was adding the pocket bags, which were fiddly due to the tiniest bit of fabric you are sewing to and my zip foot design doesn’t seem to get me close enough, hey ho.
The best bit: Apart from the finished jacket, definitely sewing the facing and collars together and then turning out the jacket facing. This had to be really accurate as I chose to do a contrast collar, any mis-alignment would have been really obvious.
Be prepared to be patient and for it to take several hours, but the skills you learn stand you in good stead and give you an amazing Jacket to wear with pride.
I would definitely make another one and have read a lot of people saying the same, now I see people wearing blazers popping up everywhere in magazines, on the telly and in the street. This just proves they are such a classic item to have in your handmade wardrobe.
Thank you for reading.
A challenging make but definitely my proudest make.
If you want to see more Inspiration check out #blazerofglory on Instagram and Pinterest for lots of makes by inspiring sewists.