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Victoria Blazer Sewalong #1: Tracing & cutting

Aloha! And how insanely gorgeous is this sunshine we've been having here in London Town?! Someone said the other day that there is no finer place in the world than London in Summer. Real Summer, that is. They might just be right... These bright and balmy days are so few and far between here that when the sun really shines, it seems to infuse a kind of euphoria in the usually pretty sour-faced Londoners, making this city heaven on earth for just a few spectacular weeks each year. Anyway, that's not why we're here...

Victoria Blazer Sewalong - By Hand London

Who's ready to get stuck in? Fabric at the ready (pre-washed??), Victoria Blazer pattern in hand, lemme hear y'all say HELL YEAH!

Today we'll be making a gentle start and getting all the tedious tracing and cutting out of the way, but before anything else - we need to figure out which size to cut.

Victoria Blazer Sewalong - By Hand London

Finding your size:

On the back of the folder you'll find a pretty intense looking chart full of numbers - make friends with it. It won't bite, we promise. The first three rows is our sizing chart in both US and UK standard sizing, and you'll want to compare your own bust, waist and hip measurements against this chart to figure out which "size" you are. Please bear in mind that we don't expect your measurements to match up exactly; very few of us are perfectly shaped according to the standard set of proportions as dictated by ready-to-wear brands, and even sewing pattern designers. We just have to establish these sizes and proportions to enable a straightforward grading process - then it's up to you (with help from us!) to adjust the paper pattern to fit you like it should.

The thing to remember with this blazer, however, is that it is designed to be loose and unstructured. Once you have an idea of your "size", have a closer look at the finished measurements just below the sizing chart. This will tell you how the blazer measures up once made for each size. You'll see that there is plenty of ease included and therefore highly unlikely that your own measurements don't fall nicely into one size. If you're nervous about how the blazer will fit, it's never a bad idea to make a toile/muslin in some cheap fabric (as close in weight and drape to your chosen fabrics) before cutting into your lovely fabric.

Tracing the pattern:

Once you've chosen your size, time to get tracing! We really recommend tracing your pattern from the tissue onto Swedish tracing paper or dot & cross paper to keep your tissue pattern intact. It's worth remembering that if you cut your size directly out of the tissue paper you'll never be able to make this design up in any other size...

Start by laying out the tissue paper on a big, flat surface. Smooth it out and secure it down with some weights. It's a good idea here to outline the size you'll be tracing in a contrasting colour so you can see it better through the tracing paper.

Victoria Blazer Sewalong - By Hand London

Now overlay your tracing paper, replacing the weights to hold down both layers. Trace off your size, making extra super duper sure to include all notches, markings and pattern information like this:

Victoria Blazer Sewalong - By Hand London

Do this for all pattern pieces, then cut them out.

Cutting your fabric:

We know, we know, you're getting super bored of cutting things out by now right? Just a little more to go...

  • Give your prewashed fabric a good press and then lay it out folded in half lengthways, with the selvedges aligned. The selvedges are the two raw edges that go down each length of the fabric, perpendicular to the raw edge that was cut off the roll of fabric.

  • Have a look at our layplans on pages 4-6 of our instruction booklet to give you an idea of how you should be arranging the pattern pieces according to which variation you've chosen to make. Take extra care with pieces that need to be cut on the fold line. Our cropped blazer - variation 2 - is looking like this:

Victoria Blazer Sewalong - By Hand London

  • Once you're happy with the layout, securely pin the pattern pieces down, being careful not to distort the fabric.
  • Now with a pair of sewing shears (sharp fabric scissors), or with a rotary cutter and cutting mat if you prefer, carefully cut out your pattern pieces.
  • Make a little snip, no more than 3/4 cm, to mark the notches. Use tailors chalk or a pin to mark the starting point of the centre front dart.

Victoria Blazer Sewalong - By Hand London

And now just repeat this process for the lining pieces, and once you've cut out your main fabric and lining fabric you can pour yourself a hefty glass of wine/jug of Pimm's and kick back until next time!

*We really want our sewalongs to be as approachable and comprehensive as possible, so please leave us a comment below if there is anything else you'd like us to cover that we haven't already outlined in this post - it is your sewalong, after all!*

  • Elisalex de Castro Peake
  • blazerSewalongsewingtracingVictoria BlazerVictoria Blazer Sewalong

Comments on this post ( 9 )

  • Jul 26, 2015

    Hi Rachael,

    I’m not really sure that I understand your query about making the front pattern… Do you mean how we drafted it? The Victoria Blazer is available to buy as an already drafted pattern, complete with instructions (http://byhandlondon.com/products/victoria-blazer) as opposed to being a self drafted tutorial. If you need any help or advice, or if I’ve not answered your question at all, please drop us a line at help@byhandlondon.com

    Hope this helps!

    — Elisalex - By Hand London

  • Jul 26, 2015

    how do I get the instruction booklet please?

    — Rachael

  • Jul 26, 2015

    Nice one. but I do not understand how you made the front pattern. kindly explain.

    — Rachael

  • Jul 10, 2013

    I’m really excited to get started, running a little behind but looking forward to conquering my blazer fears!

    — vanessa

  • Jul 12, 2013

    Arghhhh, 2nd post up better crack on. Pattern paper cut, just need to cut fabric! Tho in my defence I did a quick muslin of the front and back to make sure I had the right size….

    — Loup

  • Jul 09, 2013

    I’m so excited to start the sewalong, but I have a bit of a dumb question. The word ‘pair’ is throwing me on the pattern pieces. Pattern piece A says ‘Cut 1 pair for blazer…’ so I’ll be cutting two separate center front pattern pieces for the blazer. Piece B says ‘Cut 1 pair for blazer…’, but here I’m only cutting one piece on the fold, correct (not really a pair of center back pieces for the blazer)?

    — Shar

  • Jul 09, 2013

    Hi Shar, no such thing as a dumb question! Always a smart move to make sure that you’ve got it right before you get to the cutting stage. Because you cut piece B on the fold and therefore end up with a double piece, we still stuck with calling it a pair. Perhaps, in hindsight, if that reads unclearly, that wasn’t the best move! So yes, it is exactly as you think it is, cut one of piece B (on the fold) for your blazer shell and do the same for your lining. Hope that clears that up!

    — byhandlondon

  • Jul 09, 2013

    That does make sense – thank you!

    — Shar

  • Jul 08, 2013

    Thanks ladies, I’m going to use this sewalong to kick my sewjo in the a$$!

    — ZoSews (@ZoSews)

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