A boxy blazer

I loved the Seamwork Lilliana the instant it was released; I used to have a cropped, boxy blazer in a charcoal suiting fabric that I loved, and I started thinking about the similar potentials of this pattern right away. I wasn’t going to make it right off until I dropped by SR Harris and they had a huge pile of Japanese suiting remnants for $6 a yard and I fell in love with two different textured cuts.

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From there, Lilliana was a pretty quick weekend sew. So what’s the verdict?

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Eh. I want to love it, but straight from the pattern plus a sleeve adjustment, and it’s fine. Not amazing, but fine. Many of the things I’d like to change are fit issues particular to me, which is to be expected; many of them, in fact, are common changes I make. I’ll talk about those more in a bit.

First off, though: the front of this pattern doesn’t at all fit like their fit guides suggest it should.

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See how it’s supposed to be slightly open in the front? With a 47″ full bust, I’m just between Seamwork/Colette’s sizes 18 and 20, and with a 5″ difference between my high and full bust I’m right at the DD cup (in pattern making terms) that they draft for. Yet, when stitched up in a size 18, this jacket overlaps by about 2.5″ in front — a significant difference from the line drawings. The weight does mean it still tends to fall open, but with all that extra fabric there’s a lot of extra around my waist. While I also appreciate that they’re drafting for a full bust in the 18+ sizes, in a boxy fit like this, it really doesn’t require the big honking side bust dart that you’d typically need on a bodice. A dart half the size would still provide shaping without the weight or pointy end you get in heavier coating/suiting weight fabrics.

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So, those are my disappointments with the pattern drafting. How about things I’ll change to better fit my own measurements? This list is perhaps getting a little bit nit-picky, but one of my goals this winter is to perfect my shoulder and sleeve fit, so I’m going to try to be precise.

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  • Small bust adjustment to reduce the bust dart size.
  • Trim off about 2″ from each front piece.
  • Somehow it’s too broad across the upper shoulders, just behind the neck, and too snug right across the widest part of the shoulder blades. I might futz a little with a split-and-spread to give it a slight diamond-shaped addition.
  • Move the shoulder seams forward by about 1″. This is shaping up to be a pretty common alteration for me; I might start doing it standard at the beginning. I’m not sure if angling the shoulders in toward the neck just a smidge would work as well at this point, but perhaps.
  • Figure out the sleeves. Maybe it’s just that I’m tired and this was my first foray back into sewing after a while away, but I’m still pretty frustrated that in order to get sleeves that fit with enough ease, I almost always have to add at least 3″ to the width. I know I have lovely, big arms, but the fact that I’m making a size 18 that’s too big in the body but the size 26 sleeves would barely fit around my bicep really bothers me. Regardless, this is a typical adjustment I have to make, so I really do need to make a better effort to figure it out. Here, I did a kind of slap-dash lazy full bicep adjustment, and it ended up cut a little off grain and with some excess volume where it’s eased into the armscyth. For the next one, I’m going to add even a little more width, true up the sides and grainline marking, and do a little more research on how exactly to adjust the armscyth in order to be able to ease in the sleeve properly with that much extra.
  • Practice my mitered corners with bias tape! The outsides look good, but the insides are still a little sloppy. I don’t love working with bias tape but I do like the look of it here, so it’s worth it.

Okay, after all that, will I in fact make it again? I think so: I know that when fitted properly this style looks good on me and is versatile for my life. Honestly, one of the immediate things I thought of was Paris Geller’s amazing blush pink jacket in the Gilmore Girls revival.

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In actual images, not just my memory, the jacket is closer-cut at the neck, with a small stand collar, and has full-length sleeves. Still, I think the Lilliana would make a great base for this ruffle-shoulder look.

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8 thoughts on “A boxy blazer

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    1. Thank you! The only other top I’ve made with the new block is the Gretta top, which I love. I’m curious to make more – their old block actually fit me pretty well, so the changes weren’t super necessary in my case but I’m glad to see them trying to better the top end of their size range, especially.

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  1. Thanks for this post – I was excited by this jacket pattern too. I have some fit issues in arms and bust with the Seamwork woven patterns similar to your own, and have been wondering how to fit the sleeve with at least a 3 inch bicep adjustment into the size 18 armhole, and not have ridiculous ease at the sleeve cap. I’ve read that you can drop the armhole a bit at the side seam to accommodate some of the excess, but I haven’t had much success yet, as I’ve found it confines my arm movement too much. If I have more success on my next attempt I’ll share 🙂

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    1. Please do let me know if you figure out a solution! I’ve also heard that you can trim down the bottom of the armhole, but it hasn’t resulted in a well-fitting armhole for me, either. I’m going to keep testing it; I imagine there’s a place along the armhole where I could trim it without it inhibiting movement or changing the look too much.

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  2. Sleeves are a neverending struggle for me. Add to the large biceps some mobility issues and I basically can’t stand a woven sleeve. I definitely want to work on the fit, however, because I would love to be able to wear many more things. I love your jacket and can see you working out the fit issues and getting your Paris jacket. 🙂

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  3. Mitered corners with bias tape? Quilters have been doing this for a century, more or less.
    Ant quilt instructions for “double-fold binding” will tell how to get Perfecr Miters on both the inside (back of quilt) and outside (front) corners.
    It’s a nifty truck.
    Oh, and more recent ones are often explaining how to machine sew both sides, where older ones HandSewed the backside all around even 360”-480” of the 4 sides of queen/king size quilts! If I run across one, I’ll pass it on. Favequilts.com may have a tutorial, along w/1000s of blogs

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    1. I thought of quilters when I was working on it! I’ve never quilted before, but I knew that must be a skill mastered by those who do. I’m going to keep practicing it because I know I can get it down.

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