August 13, 2021

We're Going Preppy this October with Handmade Blazers

Back in the very first year of Needle Sharp, we featured blazer boxes. In October, in fact. And looking back at those offerings, it's impossible not to see just how far we've come since that time. In terms of website, descriptions, and even fabrics, I've improved and learned so much about how to curate these subscription boxes since that time.

Perhaps I'm being nostalgic, but with our new site debuting last month, it's hard not to be. And there's nothing wrong with looking back to see your progress and growth. But we're also looking forward!

Even at the time that we featured our first blazers, I knew it was an item of clothing that I wanted to revisit. This became especially apparent when some truly inspiring blazer patterns showed up in the independent pattern world. The release of the Auburn Blazer this spring is really what clinched it for me. With a stunning option for the Sew Curvy Box, I knew this fall would be a great time to reprise a classic theme.

For me, Fall has always been synonymous with blazers, probably because my mom was a teacher and wore a different blazer every day of the school year. Blazer with khakis, blazer with dress pants, blazer with long skirt. It was was her unofficial uniform, so in my mind, I associate it with back to school. 

And there is always something preppy and collegiate about the blazer. It's at once dressy and formal but also androgynous and classic. It can be worn over dress tops and t-shirts, paired with jeans and pencil skirts. It's outerwear and a layering piece and an all around, versatile staple that is a must have in your handmade wardrobe. So why not make your own with us this October?

For fabrics, I really wanted to embrace the change in seasons that happens in October, with darker blues, greens, and reds, as well as some neutral grays. This box is all about texture and feel, and I hope you love all the options as much as I do.

So, without any more preamble, here are our boxes!


Sew Essential Box: The Blazer from The Avid Seamstress

It's easy to fall into a pattern of using the same independent designers over and over again, especially when only a certain subset offers paper options. However, I know there are so many other good companies out there, and it's always a treat to feature a new one. 

The Avid Seamstress has been on my radar for some time, and when I saw there slouchy, easy fitting blazer, I knew exactly when to use them. This blazer is an ideal entrée into the tailoring world as it teaches so you really useful techniques without overwhelming you with fit, hand-sewing, and couture concerns. 

There are also some really cool details in this pattern that distinguish it from your typical blazer. Shoulder darts replace your usual bust darts; in seam pockets avoid the stress of welt pockets, and a pieced sleeve gives you the opportunity to color block if you so choose. All in all, it's a wonderful blazer, and one that is great for confident beginners to try their hand at a more challenging piece of clothing.

For fabric, we wanted to give the look of luxury but with fabrics that are easy to cut and sew. This immediately led us to flannel, which has the look of wool or tweed, but presses like a cotton. These fabrics are all about texture and depth, and we hope you love them. Here they are!

  • Navy Chevron Shetland Flannel - We have fallen in love and it's with the luxuriously soft chevron flannel. Blue highlights and gray undertones make this fabric a brilliant choice for people who love blue but want some depth. With a structured drape, it will hold the shape of the jacket well and press nicely for the collar. Plus, it's brushed for softness, so your new handmade blazer will feel amazing whenever you wear it!
  • Plum Speckled Shetland Flannel - At first blush, this fabric looks just like a boiled wool or tweed. A deep plum background stippled with white, blue, pink, and green dots, this flannel has so much depth and interest. And all while being a touchably soft cotton that is medium weight and a wonder to wear. Trick everyone into thinking you made a wool blazer with this easy to sew fabric option!
  • Tobacco Wide Chevron Brushed Coating - The heaviest of the three option, this polyester coating is destined to become your new favorite layering piece. The wide chevron gives the look of heavyweight wool, but the brushed surface is delightfully smooth and soft. The rich tobacco brown evokes fall days and cool nights, and will make you want this handmade option in your wardrobe so you can rock it all season long. A fabulous fabric!

Sew Select Box: Heather Blazer from Friday Pattern Company

 

We've really been featuring a lot of Friday Pattern Company lately, but it's really difficult not to when they keep producing such good patterns. And the streak keeps going with the Heather Blazer, which they released at the beginning of this year.

The inspiration for the blazer is the movie, Heathers, and you can see the 80s accents in the style. It's loose-fitting and longer than many blazers, but this makes it easier to fit for sewists and fun to style. Patch pockets and single button closure give a simple, modern look, and the traditional, notched collar and pieced sleeve give a tailored feel. It's everything you want in a blazer, but designed for beginner sewists!

For fabrics, the looser fit meant that we could play with lots of options. The pattern called for everything from linen to gingham. But we decided on going for classic colors and lots of texture, which will be great for layering this fall. So let's take a look!

  • Gray Marled Shetland Flannel - If you've noticed a flannel theme this month, you're not wrong. We really do love this cotton fabric for blazers! But how could you not? This simple gray cotton looks just like wool melton but without the itchiness and weight. Any blazer you make out of this fabric will look bespoke, even if you're a beginner. And the medium gray will pair with everything from jeans to skirts to dresses. You'll basically want to wear this all season long. A wonderful, and versatile, fabric!
  • Navy Blue Embroidered Jacquard - If you've ever wanted to sew with brocades, but felt intimidated, this is the fabric for you. Lightweight, with a finely textured floral pattern in the weave, this jacquard has the look of brocade, but in a broadcloth, so far fewer worries about floats and seam fraying. In a beautiful navy, this fabric will sew up into a blazer that looks almost like a smoking jacket. It's opulent yet modern, and who could ask for better than that?
  • Kale Green Tweed-Look Shetland Flannel - When planning these boxes, I knew I wanted to use green. Fall is always about orange, red, and yellow, but I always think about dark greens as the contrast to these. The pine trees standing out against the fall leaves. So when I saw this flannel, with a faux tweed yarn-dyed print, I knew I had to use it. A gorgeous color and a gorgeous fabric option!
SHOP THE SEW SELECT BOX >>

Sew Curvy Box: Auburn Blazer from Cashmerette

 

If you're like me, and you follow Cashmerette's newsletter, you've been hearing about the trials and tribulations of creating a blazer for curvy bodies for quite a while. They were very good about posting updates on their "Blazer Bound" journey, and I knew that at the end of it, I would get a truly amazing pattern to feature in these boxes.

Well, they did not disappoint! The Auburn Blazer has all the traditional details you'd expect on a tailored jacket - princess seams, welt pockets, shoulder pads, back vent, and a button sleeve - but designed specifically for curves (C-H cup sizes included). There's so much to love about this blazer; it's impossible to cover every detail.

My favorite part, however, is that we can feature some really high end fabrics. The blazer itself could be made in simpler cloth for a casual look, but if we're going to do a blazer theme, we want to help you make a standout garment. So that lead to wools and jacquards. And bonus, the blazer can be made in stable knits for extra comfort, so we've included that as an option as well. So without further ado, the fabrics!

  • Hot Pink/Brown Chevron Tweed Wool Blend - The key to a wool blazer is the weight of the fabric. My mom used to love to tell the story of the cashmere jacket she spent a year making for my dad that he couldn't ever wear because it was too hot and heavy. So this medium weight blend, coming in just under 7 oz, is ideal. And the pattern is delightful. A yarn-dyed zig zag of hot pink and chocolate brown creates a subtle and stunning look, like a modern Chanel suit. If you want a high end, couture look for your blazer, this is the fabric for you!
  • Black on Gray Paisley Print Ponte - The beauty of ponte is that it will stretch and move with you as you wear it but will hold it's shape quite well. It's the best of both fabric worlds, if you ask us. Add to that a very subtle paisley pattern, with black motifs on a charcoal background, and you have a blazer that looks like it's made out of silk brocade, but feels like wearing your favorite knit. A beautiful, and comfy, fabric option! 
  • Bright Blue Glen Plaid Jacquard - For a pop of color, look no further than this unique glen plaid fabric. Glen plaid is defined by a distinct large and small check tartan that up close looks like it's made out of houndstooth. This fabric ups the ante, though, by using a vibrant blue as its background color. The jacquard weave has texture and depth, and a little bit of spandex gives the fabric the right amount of stretch for movement. A one of a kind fabric that will become a one of a kind blazer!
SHOP THE SEW CURVY BOX >>

Sew Indulgent Box: Jasika Blazer from Closet Core Patterns

When you think of blazer patterns from indie pattern companies, you probably think of the Jasika Blazer. Closet Core Patterns have become sort of an expert on tackling complex tailoring and technical garments – jeans, swimsuits, jackets – and turning them into accessible sewing projects for the home sewist. And I couldn't thank them more for it.

This pattern is a treasure trove of tailoring technique and slow sewing detail. And because of it, it's destined to be a rewarding and satisfying project. Learn couture techniques like pad-stitching as well as speed tailoring tricks to give you bursts of sewing mojo along the way. Plus, they have so many tutorials (and even a course if you choose) to help you along the way.

For fabrics, of course we had to go luxe. Wool, texture, even some metallic accents to give you the bespoke look that you've come to expect out of this box. But don't worry, I won't tease you any longer. Here they are!

  • Black on Black Textured Jacquard Suiting - A black blazer is practically an essential in a well stocked wardrobe, but that doesn't mean it has to be boring. This fabric livens up the look with a textured jacquard weave that is nubbly and varied, like a basketweave or tweed. Plus, we're giving you a yard of black sateen for contrast fabric that you can use on the collar or welt pockets. Get a tuxedo jacket look with this beautiful, textured fabric!
  • Emerald/Black Metallic Foil Plaid Wool Blend - The secret of this fabric is a line of gold thread that runs throughout the tartan, giving a hint of sparkle when you catch the light. This only elevates an already extraordinary emerald wool that is brushed for softness and full of rich depth and color. Create a truly unique look with this fabric and make a blazer that will have everyone asking where you got it.
  • Dark Cherry Red Wool Melton Coating - The heaviest of our three options, this wool melton will become your go-to layering piece as the weather turns cold this fall. A tightly woven fabric that will protect from wind and chills, this wool is dyed a rich, claret red, a shade darker than the fall leaves as they turn red. Create a classic and stunning blazer with this stunning fabric!
SHOP THE SEW INDULGENT BOX >>

In this month's Tried and True (the new name for our Classic Boxes) series, we're reprising our Trench Coat boxes. A wonderful three-season wardrobe builder, these coats will keep you warm and dry and stylish the whole time. Like the blazers, it's a slow-sewing project that will let you focus on the details as you construct an amazing garment. So if blazers aren't your thing, we've still got you covered! 

That's it for this month. I hope you have a wonderful end to your summer. And I hope you stay tuned for some cool stuff happening in September 'round here. Subscribe to our newsletter to be among the first to know. 

Until next time. . . 

Happy sewing!

-Mary

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