One of my Make Nine 2024 plans was to sew up a cropped blazer from this super spring-y matelassé that I picked out at Christmastime from Truro Fabrics. I spied it on the roll and was immediately reminded of Paige’s beautiful unlined oversized blazer in this fabric; I loved the casual vibes of that version, but I was ideally looking for a more fitted pattern that buttoned up and had a lining too — I had recently made an unlined blazer for Simon and was not up to finishing all my seams with bias binding again! I also managed to squeeeeeeeze out a matching mini skirt, using a heavily hacked version of the Forget-Me-Not Valerie dress. I adore how unapologetically ‘Clueless’ this co-ord is, I think Cher Horowitz would approve 😊

First things first, let’s talk about this gorgeous fabric! Matelassé is a weaving or stitching technique, which uses multiple threads interlocking each other to create the structure. Thicker threads that are woven in ’emboss’ the pattern design, so the finished fabric appears quilted or padded. It is a really unique effect! The florals are stunning pastel shades of pink, yellow, blue and green — a total spring-time palette — and the background is an incredibly light shade of pistachio green, with the slightest sheen. The fabric is medium-weight, with a structured drape, so it was perfect for creating a blazer. It cut and sewed up beautifully, but like many jacquard fabrics, frayed like there was no tomorrow. I also found the texture to be quite ‘bouncy’, meaning pressing a crisp notch collar was quite difficult. The fabric is a poly/cotton blend — I usually avoid synthetic fibres, but I can’t resist a jacquard — and I lined the jacket in the softest Lady McElroy pure cupro lining.

After browsing several patterns last December that met the specifications I had in mind, I found a blazer by Vikisews that ticked all my boxes. The Vikisews Bryce Blazer is a cropped, semi-fitted, lined blazer with a classic notch collar. There are two patch pockets with flaps, two-piece sleeves, and a button-front closure. There are waist darts and shoulder darts to aid fitting, and there are some really neat tailoring aspects, such as shoulder pads and sleeve rolls.
The Bryce Blazer can be made up in many medium-weight fabrics, with wool suiting, gabardine, tweed, corduroy, faux leather, and suede being recommended. Vikisew patterns are pretty unique, as they sell patterns in multiple heights and single sizes, so make certain to check your measurements before you buy. In terms of measurements, I used a size 42 in the 2nd height band and didn’t make any fitting modifications (mainly out of sheer laziness).

This pattern is rated as ‘Advanced’, which is a fair rating. There are a lot of accurate sewing techniques needed, especially when sewing a notch collar, and quite a few sections of hand sewing are needed. The instructions are incredibly clear and helpful, with clear photos demonstrating each step, but I did have to rely on the Tilly and the Buttons tutorial on how to create thread chains; this step is glossed over in the pattern instructions, so check out the tutorial if you are stuck. To save time, I block-fused most of my fabric after cutting out the sleeves, which are the only two pieces that don’t require full interfacing. I also left out the patch pockets, as I wanted clean style lines, and also the shoulder pads and sleeve roll, purely because they made my silhouette quite broad-shouldered when I basted them in place. The finishing touch are these iridescent ‘Mystic Meg’ buttons by Pigeon Wishes. They just add such a wonderful dimension to the jacket when they catch the light.

These Pigeon Wishes resin buttons compliment all the pastel shades of the jacket

For the skirt, I fancied hacking one of my favourite dress patterns that I tried last year. While this jacket is quite prim and proper, I fancied making the co-ordinating skirt a bit edgier (I can already hear you laughing “an edgy pastel floral skirt?!” and yes, I know I am ridiculous) by using an exposed metal zip at the front and taking a good chunk from the length.
This hack was pretty easy to do: simply use the regular pocket pattern pieces, then add a ⅝” seam allowance to the skirt centre front and cut two (instead of on the fold). Remove the ⅝” seam allowance from the skirt centre back and cut this piece on the fold. If you want, remove however much you want from the length — I think I took about 4″ off. The next step is to draft a straight waistband and facing and construct the skirt as instructed, except to topstitch around the zipper to keep the exposed zipper in place. This skirt came together really quickly and I love the slanted pockets — they are seriously roomy! Next time I make this skirt hack, I would consider lining it and drafting a hem facing to keep things neater on the inside.

This springtime co-ord already has quite a few outings, on the rare days we have had sun here in Cornwall 😊 I even wore it for good luck in my immigration interview at the US embassy! I must admit, I can’t see myself making another Bryce blazer, despite how much I like this finished version; it is a much too specific style to become a workhorse in my wardrobe, especially as I am moving to San Francisco imminently, the land where casual dressing reigns supreme. I am interested in doing some more hacking at the Valerie dress however, especially the skirt — I think that making a button-up skirt hack could become a fun afternoon of drafting.

Vikisews Bryce
Size 34 – 52
Height: 154cm – 184cm
Full Bust: 80cm – 116cm
Waist: 60cm – 96cm
Hips: 86cm – 122cm

Forget-Me-Not Patterns Valerie
Size 28 – 52
Full Bust: 27½″- 54½″
Waist: 21½″-45½″
Hips: 32½″-56½″

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