Making a Jasika Blazer, Part 3: Fabric Prep and Construction
This post may get a little long, but hang with me! I’ll try to stay organized…
I debated about whether or not to purchase the kits that Closet Case had available—I think they are a great value, but I also love the thrill of the hunt! And I thought it might be helpful to share where I bought everything.
The fusible weft interfacing, knit interfacing, and shoulder pads came from Mood Fabrics (I also purchased cotton twill stay tape from Mood, but I bought the wrong width and ended up folding it or cutting it in half for areas that required it—worked just fine I think!).
I purchased hair canvas from fabric.com. This was a little more challenging to source since I had no prior experience working with this stabilizer and wasn’t sure exactly what it was or which brand I should buy. After reading a few reviews, I noticed that some versions on the market are polyester, which is apparently not as nice. So I found this mostly natural fiber version on fabric.com and it at least looks like the stuff that is recommended and shown in the Closet Case kits! It is a sew-in stabilizer.
I planned to make my own sleeve heads, as those were hard to source, and I found a couple of tutorials for making them (and Closet Case also now has a blog post on how to do this). It looks fairly straightforward.
After all was said and done, my costs were maybe only a couple of bucks cheaper than the cost of a kit from Closet Case…so if you are feeling overwhelmed with sourcing, definitely get a kit and make your life easier! But maybe you already have a couple of things on hand and just need to buy a few items…then sourcing yourself is not too bad!
PRE-TREATING/SHRINKING THE WOOL
Wool coating fabric should not be laundered as it is vulnerable to massive shrinkage. However, it must be pre-treated to shrink the fabric a bit (I’m kind of an amateur at this, but my understanding is this will prevent additional shrinkage when pressing the fabric during construction and any environmental factors that may cause shrinkage down the road). I made the mistake of NOT pre-treating my Clare Coat fabric prior to cutting everything out and it definitely shrunk a little while I was making it. My coat is still wearable, but the sleeves ended up a little bit more snug than I would have liked!
I vowed to not make the same mistake with the Jasika, since I wanted a slim fit and shrinkage would definitely compromise my comfort while wearing it. A quick Google search informed me that there are generally three ways to pre-treat wool (oh, hey! These are also noted in the Jasika pattern instructions!):
press the fabric at home with an iron and lots of steam
throw the fabric in the dryer with a couple of damp towels
take the fabric to the cleaners and have them pre-treat it
I chose the dryer method—easy and quick is how I roll! I just wet a couple of bath towels (very damp but not dripping/soaked) and tumbled them with my wool fabric on high heat for about 45 minutes.
CUTTING AND INTERFACING
Once my fabric was pre-shrunk, I was ready to start cutting all my pieces. This part took a while! I used my altered muslin pieces to cut the main shell and sleeves (as opposed to retracing all of my adjustments, and this worked really well for me). I also made sure to transfer any length adjustments to the rest of the pieces that would be affected when tracing out the rest of the pattern pieces for cutting. By this time I was so ready to start sewing this thing already! But I tried to remain patient, knowing that all of my prep and planning would pay off in the end.
Interfacing also took a while (as did cutting the interfacing). One thing I noticed was that my weft interfacing was really difficult to cut with my [ahem, cheap] pinking shears. For the pieces that required a pinked edge, I simply snipped into the edge at about half inch increments to soften it a bit and give it some flexibility to prevent an obvious edge from the exterior. This seemed to do the trick just fine!
FINALLY! It was time to put this baby together! The most labor-intensive part was preparing the front lapel and constructing the welt pockets. I chose View B from the pattern versions (welt pockets) and left off the breast pocket. I found myself constantly re-reading the pattern on this part to make sure I got it right.
Once the front panels of the jacket were assembled, the rest of the shell construction came together pretty quickly and I was able to start trying on the shell to test the fit. The only additional adjustments I made were to lengthen the front darts about two inches to reach the apex of my bust, and shorten the front of the blazer by an inch. I mentioned possibly shortening it in the muslin phase and once the blazer was on, it just seemed too long. The back was already short enough due to my sway back adjustment, so I gradually blended the shortened hem in the front to the original hem in the back.
When I reached the point of adding shoulder pads and sleeve heads, I decided that the sleeve heads were just too much for my liking. They were a little bulky (could have been the batting I was using) and I found that my fabric had enough structure to hold its shape at the sleeve without them. I can always go back and add them in later if I decide they are necessary.
I took my time with some of the tailoring details and steaming. I wanted to make sure that everything had a professional finish and was symmetrical. I also left the stay stitching at the lapel in place until the moment I was ready to wear it out in public for the first time.
My last detail was the button/buttonhole construction. I decided to go with a pop of orange here and I think it is such a nice touch!
I love this blazer! I have been periodically looking at my husband in surprise and exclaiming, “I made this blazer!?”. It’s such a nice addition to my wardrobe and I feel very accomplished for completing a big project like this. I have to say, this was probably the most mentally draining project I’ve done due to all the prep and detailing…but it was SO worth it!
My first time wearing it out was at a local bar/restaurant. Luckily, the cold weather stuck around in Michigan a little longer so I could wear it. Never thought I’d be glad about cold weather hanging around too long…