Every wardrobe needs a classic blazer or two in its arsenal. The blazer can automatically elevate any outfit. Throw it over jeans and t-shirt and you have a fun and polished outfit. The Victoria Blazer by By Hand London just oozes "cool girl" vibe. I really love the design of this blazer and semi-patiently waited for it to become available as a pdf pattern.
For my first attempt at the Victoria Blazer, I opted for a black linen. The black goes with everything, forever and ever and the natural fiber linen is nice and breathable in my perpetual SoCal heat. I bought this fabric at Joann's in one of those moments of "I need to make this thing now." Of course, it still took me a few months to cut and sew it together. I'm pretty sure it's a linen blend, not 100% linen and it has a really nice drape and a softer feel than some other linens I've used.
My big lesson for this jacket was "if you seek it, search it." I learned this lesson twice with this pattern. First, I didn't notice the marking for the end of the dart in the front of the jacket until I was ready to attach the shell to the lining. I thought it was really weird that there wasn't a marking but didn't consult the pattern (or maybe just didn't see it there?). When I was almost done sewing, I happened to have my pattern on the table and I glanced over and saw it. And realized I was a big ol' dope. There were a couple of times, like when sewing the darts, that I wished there was a sewalong for the pattern. For some reason I assumed that there wasn't one, but again after I was almost all the way done I found it. Again, if you seek it, search it. Don't assume it doesn't exist.
The one big thing that the sewalong helped me with was the placement of the lapel. In my mind, I thought it should be attached ending 5/8 inch (the seam allowance) above the bottom of the jacket. But the illustration wasn't clear. The sewalong however was clear. I was able to rebaste it correctly before attaching the lining and now my lapel ends exactly at the bottom of my jacket. Otherwise it would have been caught up in the lining making it bulky and folded over.
I read a number of reviews of this pattern before I made it and took the advice of a few lovely sewists to add a lining to the sleeves. I simply cut the sleeves out of the lining fabric too. Then after attaching the lining to the body and turning it right side out, I hand stitched the hem of the lining sleeves to the sleeve hem. I know there are fancier ways to bag a jacket lining but this was easy for me.
I made a size 10/14 (US/UK) and did not make any size adjustments. For reference, I'm a 38" bust and 5'11". It's a pretty boxy fit and hits at mid-hip despite my long torso.
It's really more of a soft blazer than a traditional jacket. There's no interfacing used at all and I feel like it's a little bit floppy. If I make it again, I might add interfacing the collar. I have not (yet) tacked down the collar because I wasn't sure where to do so. So it does flop around a bit and you can see the lining. Next time, I also might make a facing for where the collar meets the jacket so that if it flops open you don't see the lining.
I'm also having a small issue with the lining pulling the hem of the side seams up. It really bugs me so I need to do a little unpicking and figure out what happened. I'm thinking it could be bulk from the seam allowance that needs to be trimmed or an issue with the length of the lining. I made this jacket last year and it doesn't have those issues but the shape is also less flattering and I've never worn it. That jacket also has a facing at the hem so that probably helps. Some extra pressing would also do a great service to this blazer.
Besides those hiccups and my own little issues I need to figure out, this jacket was really easy to put together. I really love the details of the front darts, sleeve cuffs, collar and lapel (popped above! :). I think it's a really good starter blazer for beginners. The hardest thing is probably that dart. But if you get all your markings on there, it's not really hard at all. Here I'm wearing my blazer with a little shorts jumpsuit I made last year. Do you have a favorite blazer pattern? Share in the comments.