Finished - Salme cropped blazer!
After at least 12 months of ogling, stalking and lurking I've finally made my first Salme Patterns garment - the Cropped Blazer! I love the simple, modern and chic style of this designer, and it was no surprise to learn she's Scandinavian. Her designs have an unfussy yet stylish attention to detail typical of many scandi designers, not just in fashion but in textiles and homeware and furniture design that I just adore.
Full disclosure here. This is a long post..... But there's so little out there on the interwebs regarding this pattern that I wanted to give a thorough review, and to help myself when I make this up again and my memory has faded. So I'll do some pretty finished shots first, and if you're interested you can read on regarding the construction....
So this is a simple unlined blazer, fitted in the shoulders, and worn loose and open at the waist but with some nice feminine waist shaping. There are no pockets. Others have drafted a lining, which I would consider in the future. The design is very clever - the lapels are actually facings, that are folded outwards and stitched into the shoulders. There's definitely ample opportunity to customise this pattern. I kept things fairly simple in this version as I wasn't up for investing a huge amount into a garment on the first make, but in the future I think contrast lapels and cuffs would be lovely, especially in a black with a contrast shiny a fabric to get a tuxedo look. And it would look great in denim, with flat felled seams.....
I cut a straight size 6 in the Salme sizing, which is what my bust measurement fell into. Being a relaxed fit that doesn't close up I figured my waist and hips didn't matter so much, but for future versions I'll probably leave it as a 6 in the shoulders, and grade up to an 8 in the bust/waist/hips, especially as there are some drag lines in the back view that I'm guessing would improve with sizing up.
I'm really happy with the final finished garment, considering it really is a wearable muslin. I'm happy with the length (I was a bit worried being a taller lady that it might look weird on me) and with a few tweaks and improvements I think future versions will be even better. The fabric is a denim weight cotton found at Darn Cheap for the fab price of $7/m. It was mauve, with a black slubby thread woven through, but I found it a bit too mauve, so when I washed it the first time I chucked the leftover contents of a navy RIT dye bottle, and it turned out a lovely deep indigo purple which I was much happier with!
And so to the pattern itself..... classified as a beginner, but I disagree.....
The pdf is nice and contained, with each piece sensibly limited to only a couple of pages, meaning you don't need to have every piece attached in one enormous sheet. I find the more pages I have to have in one piece, the more room for error. There are no seam allowances included, which doesn't bother me as I am a tracer anyway. The recommendation is 1cm seam allowances, but I went with the standard 5/8 inch/1.5cm as I wanted to have room to be able to finish my seams - I hadn't yet decided if I would french them, bind them or make flat felled seams. You also have to add your own hem allowances, which I didn't really like. The sleeves were straightforward, however the seam allowance for the hem needs to be perfect, as you finish the corners in a mitred finish - for such a crucial construction step there really needs to be minimal room for error. As it was I stuffed up with the shape of my hem allowances - instead of mirroring the shape of the pattern pieces I got it the wrong way round, and tapered outwards, rather than inwards. It wasn't a huge deal except it just meant I had to redo the bottom 6cm of each seam taking in the extra fabric I'd allowed for (otherwise the bottom of my hem would have been way too wide when turned up). I've already fixed this on the pattern.
There are no notches on the pattern pieces. For the most part this is ok, but there are a couple of points where having a mark or notch would be helpful. The instructions are very brief, and do not direct where to stop stitching down the facing at certain points in the mitred corner construction, thus I had to do some unpicking and restitching to where I thought seams had to end. There are also no notches on the sleeve, and the instructions do not state where to stitch the easing stitch line when easing the sleeve caps. Basically I just made a crease at the top of the sleeve cap, made this match the shoulder seam, matched the underarm seams and eased in where I could. They look pretty good although there is still some rippling (not puckering) despite getting a good walloping with some steam over my ham but even on the sample photo I notice the sleeves have a smidge of rippling so next time I might be brave and remove a little of the ease.....
I did a quick tissue fit to my stunt double to confirm bust dart was ok, and for some very rough and ready fitting. As mentioned above, the instructions are extremely brief, and give no direction regarding finishing seams or construction finesse - no recommendation to understitch or grade, all steps that I think are so important in the finished product of a well made garment. Once I sewed the bust dart and all the vertical seams, I pressed them open and bound them in contrast bias made from a cute fluoro pink and white floral cotton from my stash. I love the way it looks - I wanted to be sure that if I wore it out and had it off and flung over a chair or hung somewhere inside out it would look as profesh as possible. The only seams I'm yet to finish are the armscye seams - I'm not sure how I'm going to finish them - I'm thinking of just pinking them if binding them with contrasting bias tape restricts the range of motion.
I finished the inside edged of facings using method described here, to give a clean finish. I also made the neck facing in the contrast fabric, just because I liked the look, and under stitched it (this definitely needs to be done, otherwise it would absolutely poke out!).
Others have mentioned the steps for the mitred corner are tricky, and I'd have to agree. I wish I'd googled how to do a mitred corner first (instead of after!). I did manage to work it out, but its certainly not perfect. If the mitre and the hem aren't perfect there is a tendency for that corner to get a little distorted. I'm wondering if the next time I try something a bit different - maybe adding a separate hem band (like a giant cuff) rather than doing the hem as recommended.... hard to explain unless you've made the pattern.
|Hmmmm. What hem finish to try next?|
The pattern calls for a 4cm hem to be added to the sleeves when cutting out. I quite liked that longer length, so instead of hemming up 4cm I added some facings to the cuff so I could wear them long, pushed up Miami Vice style or folded up:
Finally the way the facings are finished is very tidy - they are incorporated in the shoulder seam along with the back facing (which is left flipped out until it is stitched down). I finished the visible part of the shoulder seam in bias tape too:
And of course I had to have a little fashion parade - I only had time to take a pic of the jacket with jeans and stripes - love this look too!
Have you ever attempted outerwear before? What do you think of my little blazer?