My 2nd Bellatrix Blazer

IMG_1226I thought I’d be making the Rigel Bomber by Papercut next, but instead I decided to create another Bellatrix Blazer.

I found fabric in my stash (vintage 70s Boras fabric by Toni Hermansson) which I thought would co-ordinate well with a RTW skirt from Whistles that I bought in the early summer but have yet to wear:-/

This fabric lends itself to a more structured garment, so the Bellatrix it was. The main photo above shows it nicely pre-washed & ironed, ready for my pattern pieces to be laid out:-)

I had a very small amount of this fabric (120cm X 96cm) so it had to be variation 2 again. I cut 1 pair each of the front, side panel, back & sleeve facings, i.e. most of the shell. It was a very tight squeeze! I think it only worked because of the alterations I had to make to the front panel (5cm off the top) and the main front piece close to the shoulder (about 3cm) – effectively, using the small rather than medium. I cut everything else from the silk I’m using for lining, including the 2nd front panel (facing) and the lower back. It turned out pretty well when interfaced.

I used a medium weight woven fusible to give it body, as the lining is silk satin (a bargain from my trip to Biddle & Sawyer a few months ago). I decided not to interface both front pieces for this version, as I wanted to see how it feels with less stiffness. I also can’t be arsed to go out and buy more interfacing before I start sewing, even though I bought it at a great price from the wonderful William Gee in Dalston!

This has come together very quickly, despite once again using slippery silk satin for the lining – as well as front facing (a bugger to cut out). I started cutting out on Wednesday and finished on Sunday evening (12th October). I did have to work & walk dogs too!!

Annoyingly, I didn’t take many photos during the make – I was too impatient to finish it! So I don’t have anything to illustrate how it came together. I do have those from my 1st Bellatrix though, so I’m planning to post those somewhere in this blog!

On both jackets, I found attaching the front shoulder to the back really fiddly. It took a lot of unpicking and sewing again which is infuriating. Actually, I think where I went wrong was that I forgot to alter the length of the back close to the shoulder (it was too long the first time!). In fact, it will need to be reduced even further so that it corresponds to my new pattern pieces for the front shoulder. There was way too much fabric at the top of the back.

It’s also still slightly big at the top of the bust, so I might take a few centimetres off the main front panel seam that meets the side panel. If I weren’t so impatient I’d make a proper toile:-/

I’ve pressed it again to take a few photos (one shown here) but that silk creases almost on sight!







My 1st Bellatrix Blazer

Back lining

Back lining with pleat

Now that I’ve hijacked my own blog to write about my sewing odyssey, here’s my first post about my most challenging summer make, the Bellatrix Blazer by Papercut Patterns.

Once I decided that my 1st Bellatrix would be made out of upholstery fabric from my stash (I thought of it as a toile/muslin initially), I then had to see if I could fit the pattern pieces (for v. 2) into 1.4m of narrow fabric. It took some thinking and jiggling, but it was eventually successful. Yay!

I’ll try to focus on the fixes I made to the pattern. I need to thank Anne of Mercury – Handmade Fashion for her numerous makes & blog posts about the Bellatrix, as well as Sew Busy Lizzy for her stunning version. Both inspired me and alerted me to a tricky sleeve/armscye fitting!

I also had to adjust the length of the back close to the shoulder seam, as well lose an inch from the top of the side panel, which made the sleeve fitting even more challenging. I really wanted the jacket to fit me properly so I’m glad I took the time to do these (must get some pics taken of me wearing it too).

There’s a lot of interfacing which I thought might be too much for the front of the jacket. Actually, it’s not – it works well.

The other important alteration for me was to the lining. I used a lovely silk crepe de chine from Biddle & Sawyer, SoHo – an end of roll, so only cost £6 for 0.75m (plenty). It was a pig to cut out but feels fabulous against the skin:-)

Instead of cutting the back lining in two pieces as the pattern and instructions suggest, I followed the tailor’s method, which is to put a pleat in the back. Simpler and more effective than cutting & sewing two pieces of silk, it also gives the ease needed for movement. Many thanks to Judy Barlup from Unique Techniques for her simple to follow tutorial on PDF for making a jacket lining.

I’ve been a pretty lazy sewer in the past, so understitching wasn’t something I’d bothered with. It’s also like a double negative to me – not something I easily get my head around:-/ I recommend this great tutorial by Sewaholic if you’re equally challenged.

I haven’t been lazy about pressing seams for many years now, and this really pays off if you want a professional-looking finish. Fortunately, I have plenty of space at the moment to keep my iron & ironing board out permanently (and my sewing machine).

Apart from these personal fitting issues and adjustments, I found this easy and enjoyable to make and am delighted with the result. I have a few ideas for no. 2, 3 & even 4!

Did you have similar or different challenges making your Bellatrix blazer? Would love to hear what they were:-)