This post is a little out of synch as I made my first Morris blazer (Grainline patterns) last month but I didn’t have my blog up and running until today.
You will no doubt discover very soon that I love knits, they are so comfortable to wear, easy to wash and the best bit of all? For the most part they don’t need ironing – yippee! Since giving up work, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with my iron – basically I hate ironing and if I do all I can to avoid clothes that need ironing. So for me, knits are perfect. There was just one teeny tiny problem – I had never sewn a knit in my life and after reading too much on the Internet, I had scared myself into believing that I they were hard to handle.
Last month I saw that the folks at Guthrie and Ghani were offering a course to make the Morris blazer, which of course needs a knit fabric. I did a quick Google search of ‘Morris blazer’ and almost dribbled down my chin – have you ever looked for yourself? There are some amazing examples. There was no going back, I simply had to learn to make this blazer and to do that, I had to conquer my fear of knits.
Now I live in North Wales and Birmingham is a fair way for me to travel. I set off on the 4 hour train and arrived at New Street Station. After living in a very quiet area (well except for the sheep and cows) I found that the sheer quantity of people, noise and bright lights caused sensory overload. It didn’t take long to get acclimatised and I dropped my case off at the hotel and had enough time to hit the department stores.
I was up early the next morning and caught a taxi out to Guthrie and Ghani in Mosely, it only took 15 mins to get there. I arrived with plenty of time to spare – oops that was a mistake. Have you ever been in their shop? I defy you to visit and not buy at least 3 new pieces of fabric for your stash – I say 3 as hubby might read this post and I don’t really want him to be any the wiser. And to be honest, I did only buy 3 pieces in the morning – let’s not mention the afternoon!
Layla was our tutor for the two day course – what a brilliant, knowledgeable and extremely patient lady she is.
I chose a royal purple ponte roma fabric from G&G to make my blazer, £9.90 per metre (148 cm wide). Being on the very curvy side of large, I am always a bit wary of running out of fabric, even when it states how much I need on the back of the pattern, so I purchased 2m – but I ended up with plenty to spare, I could easily have gotten away with 1.7 m. I must learn to trust what the pattern says.
After explaining how to work with knit fabric, Layla set us all off pinning and cutting out our pattern pieces. She then showed us how to apply Hong Kong seams with bias binding to the raw edges. I chose to use the purple binding here (although it is currently only showing the grey version on the website). If my memory serves me correctly I used 5m in total.
I think the binding gives the seams a professional finish, a good alternative if you don’t have an overlocker. Although as knits don’t generally fray you could leave them unfinished or zig zag them with your sewing machine.
The majority of the blazer construction went together effortlessly with very few issues. The only point I struggled with was attaching the hem facing to the side facing, the instructions on the pattern aren’t very clear and there was quite a bit of head scratching. But Layla saved the day and showed us how to line up and attach everything correctly.
Overall I’m very happy with my blazer. I adore the colour and I love the feel of it – it is smart and yet casual, warm but not too hot and it really helps dress up an outfit.
My main fit issues with the blazer were:
- I needed a FBA – I am of the more curvy variety in the bust department. That nagging voice in my head kept telling me to do one at the outset but I thought that being knit and a casual style I would get away with it – but I don’t think the fit is right and I will definitely include one on my next version.
- Maybe it is because I’m curvy but I tend to like jackets and tops a bit on the longer side to try to cover (hide) certain areas. I found the default length of the blazer was too short for me – not helped by needing a FBA as I’m sure this made it look even shorter. For my next version I will add at least another 1-1.5 inches onto the length
- The sleeve width was very minimal – yes I’m a larger lady but my arms aren’t ginormous. The first version of the sleeves wouldn’t go anywhere near fitting round me. Layla came to my rescue and did a full arm adjustment. Another lady in the class also found her sleeves were far too tight to be comfortable and also had to slash and spread the sleeve (see fit for real people for the method used)
- I found the shoulder width was very wide. I do normally need a narrow shoulder adjustment but even after taking off almost an inch and grading back to the armsyce it still hangs quite far down my shoulders. I will narrow this further for my next version
- There was a lot of loose fabric around the back shoulder area. Again Layla came to the rescue when she slashed and pivoted the shoulder seam inwards to reduced some of the bulk
- The pattern goes up to a size 18, pattern measurements of B 44, W 37, H 47. Although the bust was fine the waist and hip size were significantly smaller than my measurements of B: 46, W: 41, H: 52. However, the finished waist measurement on the pattern sleeve is stated as 46.5 and I do think that if I do a FBA I will be fine making a size 18 again.
As to the course – I highly recommend it, especially if you are fearful of knits. I had a wonderful two days in a gorgeous environment – Lauren’s classroom above the shop is to die for, so light and airy and all of the equipment that you need. Definitely well worth the money.
Pattern: Grainline Morris Blazer
Size made: 18
Fabric: royal purple ponte roma 148 cm wide, £9.90 per metre. 1.7 meters were needed for the size 18.
Lightweight or stretchable fusible interfacing.
Thread – 100m gutterman matching thread
Optional: Bias binding (for Hong Kong seams) 5 meters