Saturday, October 12, 2013

Good Foundations: The Basic Blazer

Our trend reports included many jackets which prompted me to prepare this project. Until now, we've used the basic bodice sloper (minus the dart) as a base for a simple jacket. But what if you want to make a hip length blazer that has, perhaps, a little more shape?

Inasmuch as the intent of this blog is to present simple ways to draft basic patterns, I spent much of the past week experimenting with various techniques. I made four five different patterns, employing both draping and flat pattern drafting and was quite happy. However, settling on a method which is easy to explain was quite a challenge!

I started out using the sheath dress pattern as a base for my jacket. This results in very fitted jacket to which you will need to add 1/8-inch to the side seams if you should decide to go with that. And while quite valid, using the sheath pattern assumes you've already elected to make that dress prior to reading this post. Instead, I thought it more appropriate to focus, instead, on a pattern you can draft from scratch. So, I went back to the drawing board, reviewed all of my (more complicated) college drafting notes, played around with them to arrive at something much less complicated.
You can use the sheath dress pattern as a foundation for the blazer. Check for desired length by placing on the doll.

Even in the simplicity of the jackets featured on this page, there are quite a few steps. Thus, I will present this project over two posts. Today, we will draft the hip length sloper, then move on to a V-neck, shaped jacket (without collar). The following post will show you how to create a blazer with a notched collar, the shawl collar.

The hip-length sloper can be used, not only as a base for the blazer, but also for a number of other garments including coats, jackets, dresses and foundations for eveningwear.

1. Begin with the bodice sloper. Transfer half the dart into the armhole. You can use the pivot method.

2. At the bottom of the bodice, add a box which measures 1-1/4 inch down from waist on the CF line. The left side of the box should be parallel to the underarm point of the bodice.

3. Invert the bottom of the dart so that it extends 1 inch below the waist (which lines up with the hip line of the 11 1/2 or 12 inch doll).
4. Soften the curve on the side.

5. Draw the back sloper. At the bottom of the bodice, add a box which measures 1 1/4-inch down from the waist on the CB line. The right side of this box should be parallel to the bottom point on the armhole seam.
6. Soften the curve on the side.

7. Lower the armhole on both the front and back bodices by 1/8-inch.

8. Cut out the pattern pieces, laying the front over the back, then check to make sure the length and curves on the side seams match.

9. Finish the pattern by adding seam allowance then make your pattern into a muslin (toile). By doing this, you can adjust the fit, take in or let the pattern out depending on the look and fit you desire.

1. We will need to make a new sleeve. Take your original sleeve sloper and add seam allowance + another 1/8-inch around your pattern and transfer onto a slightly larger square of muslin. Mark the center of the sleeve.

2. Mark the seam allowance of the armhole around the edge of the bodice.

3. Begin by pinning the sleeve at the top of the cap, folding under the seam allowance. Continue all the way around (even if it means turning the doll upside down.


4. Make as many adjustments as necessary until the sleeve fits well and looks good. While you are working, keep the center line of the sleeve in line with the shoulder seam. Move the doll's arm up and down to assure ease of movement. The underarm sleeve seam should also meet up with the side seam under the arm. Keep working until the sleeve is as perfect as possible.

5. Mark where the sleeve meets the bodice (on the sleeve pattern) using a different colored pencil.

6. Remove the sleeve from the bodice and create your sleeve pattern. Smooth out the lines. Redistribute the space over both sides of the sleeve center line so that the pattern is balanced on both sides. I've curved the side lines but you can straighten them for sleeves with more volume.

1. Trace off the hip length sloper onto graph paper. Be sure to mark the Center Front line. For a single breasted jacket measure 1/4-inch plus 1/4-inch seam allowance from the CF and mark with a vertical line.. For double breasted jacket, you will need to extend 1/2 inch plus 1/4 seam allowance.

2. For your first jacket, let's stick to something without a collar. Decide how low you want to the neckline to be. Draw a diagonal line from the shoulder neck tip to that point.
3. Unless you plan to fully line your jacket, you will need to make a facing. Place the front and back bodices, shoulder to shoulder. The back sloper will practically be upside down.
4. Make a line that follows the direction of the outer edges approximately 5/8" from the edge starting from the back, and straight down to the hem of the jacket in the front.

5. Add seam allowance to the side of the facing that is joined to the jacket.

You can also transform this 2-dart front jacket pattern into a princess line. (See "Princess Diaries")

Even though there is no collar to this garment, this pattern still makes for a very attractive jacket. But we're not finished. Stay tuned. Coming up next: another set of blazers with the notched collar and the shawl collar!

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  1. These jackets are absolutely gorgeous!

  2. Thank you. I try to make clothes I, myself would wear!!

  3. Hi! Do you have an article on making the blazer with a collar and lapel?

    1. Specifically notched collar with lapels. I've been wanting to make a blazer/jacket like this. Thanks

  4. Hi. Yes. In fact, you're just one post away from "Collared!!" (10/16/2013) which shows how to do a shawl collar and its facing. There is also "Let's Talk YSL" (11/06/2015) which features a tutorial on a "notched" collar (somewhat more difficult). This tutorial also explores how to line such a jacket as well!

    1. LOL wow I had no idea, if I'd just went to the next page. Thank u so much!

  5. How would I go about making a jacket or blazer in an 80s or early 90s style, with the wider shoulders?

    1. Hi there. Do a search for "Shoulder to Shoulder" (5/15/2017). I have a tutorial on both the rounded and the square broad shoulder jackets!

    2. Thank you so much!


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