As the temperatures drop, I yearn to blanket myself in layers of warm cosy fibres and fabrics. I am always on the lookout for cardigans/jackets that I can layer up over my outfits, and I recently discovered the Morris blazer pattern by Grainline Studio. Yes, I know for many sewers this is by no means a ‘new’ discovery, however, for me it was certainly a pattern I hadn’t previously encountered.
The Morris blazer is actually designed for stable knit fabrics, as a kind of jacket/cardigan hybrid. The centre front is designed to stay open, for an easy smart/casual feel.
For my version, I decided to make a few tweaks. In actual fact, when I first saw the Morris blazer pattern, I immediately thought it would make a great update on an original 1930s jacket I have (featured in this post). The 1930s jacket is made from mustard wool, featuring amazing original buttons. However – the sleeves were badly damaged, and the fabric throughout was also weakened; so for a little while I pondered over whether to shorten the sleeves, or to replace them entirely. Neither of which were options I particularly wanted to explore, as I feel I have a responsibility to my original vintage pieces to care for them, and to minimise any structural alterations where possible. Does anyone else feel that way? It is almost as if there is something sacred about an garment that has survived 80+ years, and I don’t want to be the one to have changed it. Although of course, if a garment is damaged then it is usually a good thing to re-use or re-purpose, at least staying in the spirit of Make do and Mend.
Anyway, finding the Grainline Studio Morris blazer pattern gave me the idea to make an entirely new jacket, loosely based on my original 1930s one. I made the decision to remove some of the buttons from my original vintage jacket, to put on my new jacket. I love these buttons so much, and this is a small alteration that can easily be reversed should I so wish in the future.
Part of my idea to make a new jacket inspired by my original vintage one, hinged on finding the right fabric. I found this amazing mustard/pumpkin wool as a remnant from Clothspot, and when it arrived I knew it would be perfect. The fabric has no stretch, so I sized up accordingly in order to make the Morris blazer work for this material. As I intended to wear the jacket as a kind of cardigan, I wanted to be able to wash it on a regular basis. With that in mind, before doing anything else, I soaked the fabric in cold water, with a spot of Persil Silk & Wool wash. This eliminated any shrinkage, and also just got rid of some excess dye. I then gently rolled the fabric in towels to carefully squeeze out remaining water, and left to dry flat. As I was very careful throughout this whole process, the wool didn’t felt. But – if you are embarking on washing wool fabric, please be careful! Do not wash in hot water or agitate/wring the fabric in any way. And, of course, NEVER tumble dry.
I didn’t make a toile – instead I decided to use the finished garment measurements and a bit of informed estimating to make my alterations.
- Added 7cm to the length of the main body
- Added 10cm to the length of the sleeves
- Cut a size 4 to allow for my non-stretch fabric
- Added pockets to the front
- Added buttons & button loops to the front
- Half lined the blazer – at the sleeves and the back yoke
- Added 1.5cm to the width of the sleeves
Pattern Alterations I would make for next time
As you can see from the list above, I had to add in 1.5cm to the overall sleeve width. I ideally would have added more (I cannot stand tight sleeves), but I only had a scant seam allowance, so that was all I could do. So for next time, I would absolutely make the sleeves a bit wider. Having said that, part of the need for this alteration may have been based on the fact that my fabric was a non-stretch. Perhaps in stretch fabric this may not be such an issue?
I also found the across back a tad on the snug side, so I would also increase the pattern there too. And lastly, if I were to make the pattern longer – I would also grade the pattern to the next size up across the hips to ensure it wouldn’t cling unattractively. But actually, I may either keep the pattern at this length, or even shorten a tad anyway.
Working with the Pattern
This was my first time working with a pattern by Grainline Studios, and I found the experience wholly positive. I chose to trace the original pattern, so I have my own copy with my alterations applied, and the original pattern complete and intact. The pattern comes with an instruction booklet, which clearly walks you through each stage of the construction process. As I lengthened the pattern before making (so I didn’t ever get to see/try out the intended length), the only fit issue I had was the sleeve circumference around my arms – which may be due to my non-stretch fabric choice as explained above, and the slightly tight across back.
Based on my experience of using this pattern, I would absolutely buy and use a pattern from Grainline Studio again. I am already planning my next Morris blazer! Perhaps in one of these beautiful wool and viscose knits.. Yummy!
Links and Outfit Details
- Jacket – Morris blazer sewing pattern by Grainline Studio (paper pattern purchased from Sew Essential for UK dispatch, also available as a PDF from Grainline Studio)
- Fabric – Wool Remnant from Clothspot
- Buttons – From my original 1930s jacket
- Lining – Ditto Fabrics
- Threads, Bias Binding other supplies – Jaycotts
Have you made the Morris blazer? How did you get on?
Until next time dears!