Guys. GUYS. GUUUUUUYS. Today marks the culmination of almost two years of work, the single biggest challenge this business has taken on since we started releasing patterns six years ago. It's been a wild ride, but I couldn't be happier or more proud of the result of all that tinkering, obsessing, lost sleep, countless muslins, endless research and long days: this is the Jasika Blazer and she was worth every.single.minute.
The idea for this pattern came to me when I had a meeting to attend and nothing that felt appropriately polished. I realized I didn't own a single blazer, which seems CRAZY to me now since I think they are easily one of the most foundational things you can have in your closet. I sketched out the idea about two years ago and it was one of the first things Celine (our now full-time patternmaker) drafted for us. We worked on it for a while but there has been so much going on with Closet Core that I kept putting the deep development work aside until I had the brain power to focus on it for a few months straight, which is what happened this summer and fall. I didn't know much about tailoring when I really got into it, so I spent months reading every book written on the subject, practicing every second I got and talking to as many tailors as I possibly could (thankfully one of my favorite all-time pattern testers is a tailor in real life so she humoured me with all of my questions).
The result is, I think, the best pattern we've ever released. I am really, really proud of our instructions, which are hand holdy without being annoying, and filled with great techniques to make the construction of this downright pleasing. This is a speed tailored project, meaning most of the structure comes from fusible interfacings rather than padstitching and sew in interfacings. That means you can make a gorgeous tailored blazer made just for you in a fraction of the time of a traditionally tailored jacket.
Here she is, my baby.
This grey check sample (made with a fabric that actually made me cry tears of joy when I found it here in Montreal) is View A. It's a little sportier with the contrast under collar and elbow patches. We include a pattern piece for the patches if you want to cut your own from leather or suede, but we're also stocking a limited supply of fusible faux suede patches in our shop if you'd like to skip that step.
One really important thing I want to point out is to please pay careful attention to the fabric we suggest for this pattern. In the course of developing our blazer, we discovered that lightweight suitings like wool gabardine (likely the fabrics you think of when you think "suit") don't like being fused with a home iron. They have a tendency to bubble since the texture is so smooth and fine and it's hard for the interfacing to adhere. There are tons of other options out there, so unless you have access to a local tailor who can fuse your pieces with an industrial press (luckily something we have here in Montreal at M&M Textiles in St. Leonard) stick to fabric with a little surface texture like melton, tweed, wool flannel etc.
For a more formal look, I was inspired by Yves St. Laurent's iconic "Le Smoking" suit, so I made up View B with a lovely cotton velvet (available here from Mood) with contrast satin details. Tailoring velvet has its challenges, but this look can also be achieved with a matte black wool.
The cut of this blazer was something we spent A LOT of time thinking about. I wanted a super timeless shape, one that would look equally stylish today, ten years from now or thirty years in the past. It's semi-fitted, meaning it skims the body rather than hugging it, but it's easy to shape it more to your bod through the side seams if you're into a more snug fit. It features a classic notched lapel, welt pockets at the breast and hip, a center back vent for movement and a beautiful two-piece sleeve. Oh and we've created FBA pieces too! If you get the PDF you can download C & D cup pieces there, or if you have the print copy you can download them from our sewing resource library (password:sewjo).
This is a style you can easily dress up or down, making it perfect for a casual Sunday brunch, a glamourous evening event or the office. I've made myself a few beauts I'm looking forward to sharing with you, and I kind of can't believe it took me this long to get on board. I am now the full-blown conductor for the Blazer Train, and I hope you'll feel confident climbing aboard, knowing the full support you can get from us on your tailoring journey.
To accompany this pattern, we have filmed a comprehensive online course that walks you through each step of the process from fabric selection to sewing professional looking buttonholes. While our instructions are great (if I do say so myself!) the course is far more intensive and is filled with tips, tricks and techniques that are much easier to demonstrate on camera. I highly suggest taking the course if tailoring is something you're apprehensive about, especially since it includes the Jasika pattern with enrollment in addition to lots of extras like a downloadable fit guide and free patterns for shoulder pads and sleeveheads. It's currently 15% off until March 21. We are still waiting on our videographer to export the final lessons so you should be able to watch all the lessons as of Saturday, although if you enroll now you can access the included pattern and fit guide.
Here's the trailer to give you an idea of what you'll be learning:
If you're feeling nervous, it's normal. Tailoring is next level sewing. I procrastinated for over a year getting started on this project because of my own nerves but... you probably know what I'm going to say here... it's not as hard as you think! Especially since we've done alllll the hard work of figuring out the most accessible way to construct it, all you've got to do is commit the time. It is a more time intensive project (even with our speed tailoring methods) but I've found making these blazers to be very meditative and fun. I have so much more confidence in my sewing abilities because frankly, if you can make a blazer, you can pretty much make ANYTHING, and that's kinda the best feeling on earth.
Our timing couldn't be better. I can't open a magazine without getting bonked on the head with tailoring EVERYWHERE so I can't think of a better time to dive into this fun new skill. To make it even easier, we've sourced some pretty special tailoring kits as well. While you should be able to find almost everything you need at a well-stocked fabric store (and we'll be sharing a blog post in a week or two with lots of sources!) we wanted to offer almost everything you'll need in one place. After months of research, I finally tracked down a great tailoring supply wholesaler here in Montreal (still blows my mind about the fate of that discovery!) and our kits have gorgeous, industry quality interfacings milled in Italy, and professional sleeveheads and shoulder pads made in Montreal, just like what the ones real tailors use. We have them in black (good for most applications and what I used for every sample I made) and a smaller quantity of white, which I suggest getting if you're using a light coloured and thin fabric.
We are really excited about this pattern and what it will do for your lifelong sewing practice, so to encourage you and support our community we will be hosting a Blazer challenge in March and April. Each week will have a different prompt (so you can take your sweet time sewing it) with amazing weekly sponsors and prizes. My team and I will be sewing right alongside you every step of the way, which should be especially fun since Amy has never sewn a blazer before either. I'll speak more about this challenge on Monday, but just know you'll have a community sewing right alongside you!
Finally, I could not end this post without giving a very big shout out to our muse, Jasika Nicole. If you read her blog or follow her on Instagram (and if you're not, get on it!) you know she is one of the most fearless, bold makers out there. SHE MAKES HER OWN SHOES! I know, because she taught me how the last time I was in LA, and if I wasn't a little bit in love with her before that sandal making adventure in her adorable backyard studio, it's now morphed into a full-blown love affair. This woman is an inspiration. If she wants to make something, she makes it, no matter how difficult or intimidating it might be. She's honest about her mistakes and is just enjoying her sewing journey for wherever it takes her, and that energy is something I hope you tap into if you want to push yourself to learn something new, and maybe make something fabulous along the way.
Phew! So, this is the story of our Jasika. I am thrilled to have this wonderful pattern enter our catalogue, and absolutely cannot wait to see what you do it with it.
Tailoring Course (including a free PDF copy of the pattern)