Sew Menswear: Blazer of 2016!

blazer of 2016

It’s amazing where a bit of Tweeting lands you up.

Not for the first time, I recently made friends with another great sewing blogger, Jamie from Male Devon Sewing. He tweeted for suggestions on what he should make next and I cheekily replied that he should make a man’s blazer so I could watch his every move and pick up all his tips! He liked the idea of making a summer jacket and I was genuinely looking forward to watching his every step but then the sewing-table turned and Jamie suggested we have a Blazer-off of sorts! Me and my big mouth!

Mr O has been begging me to make him a blazer for absolutely ages and if I’m honest, I’ve been plain terrified of not being able to follow it through! And if I’m really honest there’s a bit of selfish in me that would rather be making me another (easy) dress!

McQeen Feather print blazer

But what am I actually terrified of?  Why would it be so much different to sew than ladies wear? I’ve made a jacket for me before, not the best of fitting and the stripes don’t line up on the shoulders but it’s a jacket all the same and I’m sure I could rectify those issues with a bit of care and attention. And If I didn’t, would it really be the end of the world?

Jamie and I put heads together and supposed because of a lack of menswear being sewn out there that there might just be a fair few of you also fearing how difficult it might be or maybe you’re just plain uninspired. Let’s face it, there’s not much in the way of menswear patterns compared to the plethora of womens’ out here. Like 6% apparently! And so #Blazerof2016 was born as a kick up the butt, so to speak to inject some much needed inspiration and promote a growth in the sewing of menswear!

Quadrophenia style blazer
Source: Bespoke Suit

Although I’ve been sewing for a few years, this is something that is definitely lacking in my repertoire so I’ll definitely be learning on the job, sharing all that I learn along the way. And if you check out Jamie’s jackets you’d be forgiven for thinking he has heaps of experience but he literally only sewed his first jacket a year ago! So we can all hold hands together – and steal all Jamie’s tips! By using the hashtag, #Blazerof2016 and tagging @ooobop and @maledeveonsewing on Twitter we can put out pleas for help as well as posting tips and progress photos. Nothing like a dive into the deep end, hey?!

Make one for your fella, your dad, your best mate, your brother or your son. Lets do it. Lets make someone’s day, add some more skills to our toolbox, encourage more sewing of menswear and more than anything, lets have some fun. Pinstripe, tweed or floral . . . let’s go crazy with colour and print. It doesn’t have to be boring! We’ll be regularly posting inspirational photos and techniques along the way so stay tuned for tailoring fun!

clue check blazer

We have a good six months before submission day which is good for me because, like most things, I’m going to have to do this outside of work and children! I’ll do my best to blog as many stages of mine as I can and I’ll encourage you to do the same so we can show everyone how cool and satisfying it is to sew a fabulous piece of menswear.

So who’s up for joining us on our quest to scatter some menswear among the dresses of the sewing community? The rules are simple:

  • Make a Man’s blazer/jacket using any pattern of your choice, or draft your own, it MUST be a piece of menswear though!
  • Your choice of fabric suitable for a jacket.
  • Can be fully lined, part lined or unlined (although if unlined the seams need to be suitably finished).
  • Must have some sort of pockets (your choice again: Patch, Flap, Welt).
  • Your choice of vent at the back, either single or double.
  • Your choice to have opening/buttoned cuffs.
  • Jacket to be completed by June.

Please note this is not a scheduled sewalong. This challenge should you choose to accept, is to be completed in your own way, at your own pace, within the 6 months allowed of course.

Leave a comment below with either me or Jamie so we can see who’s in and please add the badge to your blog to spread the word.

blazer or 2016

I’m off to study patterns. Good luck every one!

ooobop! review: Burda Style June 2013

Burda magazine June 2013

Can you believe this is the summer edition of June 2013? I can’t. I’m wrapped in my fleecy blanky, fingerless gloves no less, shivering my butt off as I point blank refuse to turn the heating on. My toes are curled for no other reason other than I can’t uncurl them because they are frozen solid. Is this weather for real?

I really want to get excited about summer clothes, really I do. But I’m struggling. So if you hear a slightly less enthusiastic tone this month, please bear with!

First section up is… Summer Fashion… ha! “Keep looking stylish, even in the heat…” is the opening line of the first intro copy.  Ha bloody ha! Rub it in why don’t ya!

Summer fashion Burda June 2013Ok. I’m going to try. I actually do really like the hand finishing on the brown shift dress, bottom left (above). Its a great couture technique that I’m thinking of employing on a future wool crepe dress I have planned.

The shorts, centre, bottom row, are not dissimilar to the plaid shorts I made. These ones are made with stretch pique which sounds more comfy. I will defo give these a go as one of my gripes was the lack of facing with with Simplicity ones. I know I could probably draft one but hey, I don’t need to now! A bit difficult to see in the photo (top row, centre pic) but that t-shirt looks to be a good fit with side panels and neat little sleeves. Don’t have an overlocker as yet and I’m wincing at the thought of messy insides so I’ll just hang on a bit for that one until I win the lottery. Boy I can’t believe how much those overlockers are!

My dislikes are the pink pants, bottom right. I love this look on the right kind of body. I don’t have that kind of body, unfortunately so they won’t be appearing on my list anytime soon. As won’t that dress top left corner, funnily enough. I say funnily enough because at first glance it looks like a classy dress. Save the pompoms! But it’s not even the pompoms that are putting me off. I quite like them. Its more the “artfully laid little pleats” that appear on the right shoulder aligned with the left hip. Even from the photo I can see some annoying crosswise folds that would annoy the heck outa me!

So who doesn’t like lots of dots? That’s the theme for the next section:

Lots of dots Burda June 2013I think I can safely say I like everything in this section save the long shorts, first column middle row. Just a bit unflattering and boyish for me. I love the shirt-dress top right, most of all. If Me-Made-May’13 has taught me anything it’s that I need more shirt dresses. I love how comfortable and stylish and edgy they can be. It’s not to do with cutting edge design. More clever choice of fabric that makes a great shirt dress. And I’d love to have one for every day of the week. This is quite a slim-fit one and it sure fits the bill as far as I’m concerned.

The shift dress, bottom right corner, has some great side panels that are piped. I still haven’t attempted piping but this would be a great opportunity to practice. It would also be a great chance to practise some colour blocking too. Employing some block colour in those panels would create a great slimming effect.

The cowl top with gathered sides (top left corner) is a firm fave too. Much more stylish to wear than a plain old T! And I love the yellow swinging full skirt. Perhaps not in yellow though. It’s got plenty inset godets on top of all the gathering. And a big bow at the waistband. Dead funky!

The next section is all about beach wedding/party dresses. I truly have goosebumps right now thinking about how the chiffons and georgettes might feel next to my skin, but there are some pretties…

beach beauty section burda June 2013The cowl neck dress, bottom left corner, is my favourite here. With its side gathers and simple shape I think it could be really flattering and perfect for a few evening cocktails on the beach. The dress, top right, is quite stunning and doesn’t look that difficult to construct but there is some yardage of crèpe satin going on here, so it’s not really for the ‘thrifties’ among us!

I don’t dislike the others. They all have their place. Apart from the strange diagonal pleated bodice dress, top left corner – same issues as that purple dress in the first section. Oh, and that one sleeve wonder dress bottom right corner. Not sure I could handle that!

So, swiftly we move on to ‘Surfer Girl’. Not me. Not any part of it. I have noted there are a lot of runners that sew. Or sewists that run! I wish I could say I was one of those. But I’m not so I will leave judgement in the hands of the “Sporty Spices” of the sewing blogger nation…

surfer girl section June 2013That said, the little jersey skirt in the centre, bottom row, could be a quick and easy casual make for holidays and weekends. The jacket is a bit 80s for me, mind!

The Mother & Daughter section is at the very least tweeee!

Mother and Daughter section June 2013Would anyone ever consider dressing to match their daughter?

I quite like the dress, top centre. Though it looks a bit starchy in the batiste. I might be inclined to use something slightly drapier. I do really like the idea of printing on the fabric though. That would totally seal the uniqueness of the garments. You could really create some signature pieces with a clever use of design. I just made a skirt, similar to the star-print one, top right corner, but from an old vintage curtain. I love the deep waistband. I need to finish mine but I hope it looks as good as it does on this mummy!

The Plus Section gets as much attention, if not more this month:

Plus fashions June 2013I love how each of these designs incorporate clever structured detail to flatter the curviest of bods. Simple lines and crepe satin exude the elegance and the loose cut sleeves and empire waistline of that red dress, bottom left is simple yet stunning. But the one I like most is the red dress on the right. Cute standy up collar and dinky button loops on a fabulous yoke bodice add perfect detail to really versatile dress.

So what do you all think? Any faves? Any absolute disses?

I’m off up the wooden hill to Bedforshire right now. I’ve given up trying to keep warm. But I’m still thinking shirt dress. Perhaps in some rockabilly print that I have in a box somewhere. I’ll dream about it and see how it looks!

Night all. And thanks so much for keeping up with my ramblings x

ooobop! review: Burda Style May 2013

May 2013 Burda cover

Well this review very nearly didn’t happen. Firstly because I was in a grump when I bought May’s issue – there was no way that anything was going to impress me that day – and secondly the usual onslaught of work that is always determined to steal my blogging/sewing time!

But do you know what? The delay in between purchasing the mag until now has been enlightening. I am seeing much more potential in designs that I had initially dissed and I am seeing some valuable ‘easy makes’ that might just dig me out of a hole for Zo’s ‘Me Made May ’13’! Admittedly I am in a better mood now the sun is shining so that also helps the different slant!

So without further ado, let me present Full Bloom, the Flower Fashion section.

Lots of pretty lightweight floral loveliness going on here. I so wish I had the guts to go for one of these jumpsuits/playsuits whatever you like to call them. They look such fun. I just don’t think I could take the heckling from the smalls!

May 2013 burda playsuits

A bit difficult to see the detail, but the gathered drawstring top (below, top left corner) looks to be one of those easy ones. I have a fine bit of floral chiffon that I think should do it justice. The bikini below that looks a bit homemade if you ask me. Possibly the fabric – metallic poplin? But that aside I do think with a long skirt attached to the bikini top, it could be transformed into a gorgeous maxi. But my fave by far, out of all these flowery numbers, is the green print dress, on the right. It has a flattering midriff section which I love and some cheeky patch pockets on the skirt front. Total win!

Burda May 2013 flower fashion tops and dresses

The top (below, top left corner) is a super easy make. Its a tulle lace top over a shorter jersey one, sewn together at the bateau neckline. If you don’t fancy the belly button action, you can always make it longer and I’m sure it would be just as pretty. The denim shorts are included too, though surely easier to cut some jeans down?

I keep coming back to the green, v-back flounce dress but I’m not sure I’ve got Twiggy enough bod for that. Pretty though.

The dress at the end couldn’t be simpler. A long straight cut shirt with low-cut armholes. Pretty much 4 rectangles! Made from transparent chiffon and worn with an underdress. In fact the underdress is far more complicated! Perfect for the beach or a picnic or wherever the sun shines!

Burda May 2013 flower fashion

Top Stars is next up. A great little collection of funky tops. The gathered draw-string top features again, in a plain brown crepe this time. Not much of a variation except for the length, I think but great to see it in a block colour. If it really is quick to whip up, I would love a few of these to stick in a holiday suitcase.

Burda May 2013 topsIt wouldn’t be a summer issue without a ‘whites’ section. So here are some of the more romantic looks this month. I personally could never leave the house in a dress as white as this and certainly wouldn’t survive more than half an hour in London if I did, but they would be well-placed on a sunny beach. The dress on the right probably shows in more detail how the upper section of the green print floral dress works.

Burda May 2013 white dresses

Add some blue to the white and behold my favourite section of the mag. The Vintage Style. This little beauty gets away with being so stylishly modern despite its top spot in the fashion charts circa 1965. Tricky to see but underneath the deep V-neck, it has a fabulous seamed empire line, finished with a cutesy bow.

Burda May 2013 Vintage dress

Given that my chances of a tropical holiday are very slim this year (or any year to be fair!) I’m finding it a bit hard to relate to the styles and colours in the Tropical section. 10 out of 10 for innovation though. I’ll wait till someone else tries that green knotted skirt!

Burda May 2013 Tropical

But I did pick a few tropical delights. Check out the gorgeous Maxi dress (below, left) in large print satin! How divine would that be as you floated off for a pina colada all tingly from a day on the beach! The centre top is a must-have too. I love all the rouched detail is in the back. And the dress on the right is such fun!

Burda May 2013 tropical favouritesI think the kids section is a little strange this month:

May 2013 Burda kidsApart from this little red number that I’m trying to persuade LMO to like!:

Burda May 2013 kids

But hey! I’m not going to push it too much. It’s not like I haven’t got enough on my list already!

And last but not least is the Plus Section. Not so hot this month. But some pretty functional pastels all the same. I really don’t think the shot of the pink jersey top and the grey taffeta skirt (bottom left) best portrays these styles. They both have fabulous details. The top has side gathers just over the bust and to the hem. And the skirt is a double layer, the over-skirt being pretty much a square which creates those lovely flounces. It also has a jersey waistband which would add a bit of comfort to the class!

Burda May 2013 Plus sizeSo there we have it, lovely readers. I do so apologise for the delay in getting this to you. No doubt most of you already have it in your clutches. But for those that don’t yet, I do hope it helps to bridge the gap until you get hold of your copy.

Happy sewing everyone! x