Thursday, 17 September 2015

Last of the Summer Roses, Simplicity 2446 Fitted Blazer

This is the very last flush of blooms from my favourite old rose in the garden.  It smells amazing and has clambered right up into the apple tree, which is also jostling with the gigantic fig tree in a bid to get up to the light. A real last autumnal fling. 

Continuing with a love of all things floral then, this is a jacket featuring a riot of cabbage roses.  With a black background and shot through with electric blue and khaki green foliage, the red and white flowers completely cover this fitted blazer and I love the contrast of blowsy, rambling blooms and sharp-as-a-tack tailoring.  It's a real, no holds barred, eyeful of a jacket and is exactly the sort of thing I love to make. This was actually made a while ago and I haven't got around to taking photographs of it to put on the blog until recently.  Well that is, I had taken the indoor shots on the dress form, but not any of me wearing it that actually came out properly.  It's a devil of a jacket to get a good photo of.  When I had tried to selfie on a timer, which is my usual method of taking photographs of myself wearing things, for some reason the pattern seems to confuse the camera.  

This fabric is a cotton sateen with a really good intensity of colour.  It was a bit of an investment because I loved the print and paid more than I normally do for fabric when I don't have a clear idea at the time what I want to make. The flowers are very random and with a big repeat across the material, so pattern matching was thankfully not too much of an issue when cutting out.  I lined the whole thing with a really luxurious, electric blue satin that makes the whole garment feel beautiful to wear.  The photos taken here indoors, on my dress form actually do the colours better justice than the outdoor shots.  The lining is a fabulous colour and picks up on the blue in the leaves.

The pattern in Simplicity 2446, a lined, princess seamed, single breasted blazer with front pockets that has lots of scope for a really fitted construction or a slightly more relaxed style if you prefer.  There are two front buttons and three on each sleeve cuff, I used a charcoal grey and black, horn-look buttons that disappear, as I felt any more contrasting colours might be headache-inducing.  The pattern allows you to make a short or longer, riding jacket style and I opted for the shorter version in this case to fit the fabric length I had.  There is no back vent in this version, just a shaped hemline for a smooth silhouette.

This was the first really fitted jacket I've made in recent times, although I have made lots of different styles in the past such as boxy, biker style and military.  This one was a good challenge to get the construction really spot on and practice some rusty tailoring techniques, especially around the collar and lapels.  There wasn't enough fabric to move the sections around very much, but fortunately no horrible pattern clashes occurred.  I think the two white roses on the lapels could have been better placed with hindsight and if the quantity had allowed for it, but at least they're facing in different directions, so I'm happy to let that go.

The instructions on the pattern requires that you baste up the jacket first inside out to check the fit and ensure any issues are sorted out before you rip it apart and stitch it together.  Instead I cut a complete toile first in calico, cut and scribbled all over it, and then transferred my alterations onto the fabric.   I was glad I spent the time on this drafting element as there were quite a few tweaks and alterations required that although small, were necessary for a good fit around the shoulders and waist.  I took the princess seams in a lot at the waistline and through the back. By the time I'd got the draft as I wanted it, I was very happy to transfer the whole thing onto my precious roses.  

After that, the main jacket sections came together very simply and the collar and sleeves followed.  Each stage needed careful pressing to ensure the lines stayed sharp and true.  A tailors ham came into its own here, giving me a firm, rounded shape to press against for the shoulder areas.  The pockets are quite far forward on the front of the jacket, but they're a nice feature with the flaps over the top.

The back is fitted nicely across the shoulders and through the waist and hips but still has plenty of movement.

After wearing the jacket out to test drive it, I did go back to it and take out the shoulder pads as I felt they were giving me a little too much breadth (I have a broad back and so whilst liking  a nice structured look, any more additional centimetres across the width unbalances me).  This meant unpicking the lining again at the bottom hem, venturing back inside to pull out the pads, then taking in the seam slightly on the top of the arm hole to bring it in a little where the pad was no longer filling it out.  It didn't take too long and fortunately I had some help from my mum, who was staying with me at the time and who is an absolutely wizard at this sort of thing. It was completely worth the last extra tweak after all the work I put into making it in the first place.  There is nothing worse than making a garment and then leaving it to be forgotten in your wardrobe because there's something not quite right about it.  I think the shoulders still look nice and structured in any event, due to the fabric having a bit of body.

I can throw this on over a t-shirt and jeans, step into a pair of heels or high tops and look like I've made an effort. Pairing it with electric blue, red or bright coral pink and it's disco!  Oooh look, it's nice to have fancy lining to flash!

Being a Yorkshire girl at my roots, I also like to feel that wearing red and white roses at the same time might be a small sartorial gesture of friendship towards my northern neighbours!  It's also rugby run-up season too, so Rich might be pleased to see me doing my bit through sewing and sporting a rose for the team?!  Or is that too tenuous a link?  In the interests of promoting peace, tolerance and sporting spirit through clothes then, I will wear my autumn roses with pride. 


  1. A blooming lovely jacket! Big floral prints are very 'in' just now so you'll be right up there with the fashion pack. Beautifully made, and love the lining.

  2. Rugby and sewing! Like it. Wearing the rose just got very stylish! Rich X

  3. Thank you AWR, you are right there are lots of 'winter florals' around at the moment. I'm going to enjoy wearing this over autumn. The lining is quite fun isn't it! Sarah x

  4. Ha ha Rich, yes I thought you'd like the subtle rugby reference! I hoped you'd notice my contributing to supporting sporting activity through sewing. Sx