The Classic (or Boyfriend) Blazer

by

McCall’s Palmer/Pletsch Pattern M7818 by Melissa Watson

 

I had so much fun sewing this jacket, McCall’s Palmer/Pletsch M7818. It had been a long time since I’d made a blazer jacket and I’ve missed sewing one. This classic style is back in fashion now. For the newest look, wear it with a tee.

McCall's M7818 blazer pattern

My daughter, Melissa Watson, designed this pattern. She was 17 when she made her first blazer. At the time, Marta Alto and I were writing the jacket book, Jackets for Real People, and we wanted to see if someone who’d never sewn a blazer could make one by just reading and following the instructions. Melissa was it. She used my McCall’s 8-Hour Blazer pattern from 1980.

She chose cotton velveteen. (Oh my! But a kid has to sew what she envisions wearing!) A photo of her wearing her newly sewn jacket is in the jackets book.

This jacket has subtle waist shaping, medium-width lapels, double vents in the back, a single button, optional single- or double-welt pockets, two-piece sleeves, and a full lining.

Three views of Pati Palmer wearing blazer M7818

MY JACKET

SIZE

McCall’s used men’s sizing for this unisex jacket. It will therefore be a classic fit for men. But for Misses sizes 8 through 12, it will be a “boyfriend” fit as you see on the model shown on the pattern envelope.

I sew with a size 12 pattern, so I used the small (12–14, which means it is actually a size 14). Because of that and my narrow shoulders, I had to set the sleeves in a little closer for a better shoulder/chest fit. I always have to enlarge the waist and hips in a size 12, so I didn’t have to add as much to the 14. I rarely enlarge the hip area enough to button the jacket because I will never wear it buttoned. (You may be able to see that I didn’t even cut open the buttonhole!)

MY FABRIC

This navy wool has fine white threads woven in the weft direction. I’m amazed that I was able to pack the jacket in a suitcase and have it come out ready to wear with no pressing. When buying wool, squeeze a bunch in your hand and then release to see how quickly the wrinkles go away. That will be a clue to wrinkling.

LINING

Ambiance rayon is my favorite. It’s very soft and comfortable to wear and comes in lots of colors.

INTERFACING

PerfectFuse interfacing

Front and undercollar: PerfectFuse TAILORultra.
Upper collar, front facings, back and side panels: PerfectFuse LIGHT.
Hems: PerfectFuse MEDIUM on the bias.
Sleeve heads: Bias strips of the wool.

 

Pati's cutting table

My cutting table is a folding cardboard that I pin straight into—a great timesaver.

CHANGES I MADE TO THE PATTERN

Follow the tissue-fitting instructions in the guidesheet. I shortened all of the body pieces by 2”.

I lengthened the facing the amount the front was lengthened in the full bust adjustment. After that, I had to shorten the facing the same 2” as the body pieces. I did this lower in the curved area and then trued the curve.

The pattern has a prefigured mitered vent on the back pieces. I filled it in because I may want to change the length. I then followed the instructions for a mitered vent in our jacket book, Jackets for Real People.

I wanted to add piping to the lining and also an inside pocket for my cellphone. I had 1/3-yard pieces of three cotton prints plus a silk scarf I was willing to sacrifice. I liked the top print the best. I cut this cotton print on the bias.

I made the inside welt pocket below the bustline on the left front (since I’m right-handed).

 

 

 

 

 

I sewed the piping to the facing and then sewed the lining in place from the facing side, following the piping stitching. The piping is not corded so it is sometimes called flat piping, and Australians call it a “peeper.” (See how the Aussies use peepers for creativity in the Palmer/Pletsch book Knits for Real People.)

I sewed the welt pocket through the piping and facing, following the instructions in Jackets for Real People.

welt pocket and piping

One more thing I added to the pattern is a back stay out of muslin. A back stay is not usually shown in patterns, but it adds strength and helps the jacket maintain its shape when on the hanger. And you can anchor a shoulder pad to it.

muslin stay

To make a back stay pattern, lap seams of back and side panel and cut with center back on the fold. Have a depth of 4-6” at the center back, curving to the underarm where the depth is 2-3”. In the photo above you can see my high round back and forward shoulder alterations.

Because my fabric is very soft, I decided not to do the traditional welt pocket with a flap. I used this idea instead that I saw in an Akris jacket. The pocket is in the side panel seam with a flap sewn in place just above the opening. (A coaster is in the pocket opening—prettier than my hand!)

inseam pocket

If you do want to sew a no-fail double-welt pocket with a flap, it is easy to do if you use the “draw it on Pellon” method in Jackets for Real People and in the pattern guidesheet. There are lots of easy steps and it will be perfect. All sewing is done on lines you’ve drawn on the Pellon with a sharp lead pencil.

It took me a week, off and on, to sew this jacket. I like handwork, so I saved that to do while watching the news with my husband. He had never seen me sew a garment from start to finish when I sewed in my sewing room on the third floor of our old house. Now that we are in a condo and my “sewing room” is the condo, he was amazed how much time it took and admired me for being so tenacious. I will wear the jacket many more hours than it took me to sew it. Plus, I enjoyed making it and now have the satisfaction of wearing my own creation! PERFECT!

When you make this jacket, please do follow the guidesheet. It is full of fit and sewing information! As is our book Jackets for Real People.

 

JACKETS FOR REAL PEOPLE

Jackets for Real People book

SAMPLE PAGES

Tissue-fitting assures a well-fitted final garment.

page 41 from Jackets for Real People

No need to custom tailor when we have high quality fusible interfacings.

page 61 from Jackets for Real People

The double-welt pocket in the guidesheet came from our book.

page 69 from Jackets for Real People

page 71 from Jackets for Real People

I added a side seam pocket under the welt flap.

page 112 from Jackets for Real People

mitered vent instructions

page 115 from Jackets for Real People

 

TAKE A TAILORING WORKSHOP

If you’d love to immerse yourselves in tailoring techniques, consider taking our 5-Day Tailoring workshop in Bellevue, Washington.  You will learn cutting and marking accuracy, interfacings and proper fusing, fit, shoulder and chest shaping, shaped darts, careful trimming and quality pressing, sleeve heads, bound buttonholes, patch and welt pockets, linings, and perfect hems. Truly, all of your sewing will improve after you learn to tailor. Tailor any jacket style under the expert guidance offered by Palmer/Pletsch Certified Instructor Nancy Seifert.

 

Workshop instructor Nancy Seifert

 

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12 Responses
  • Deborah Scott
    August 14, 2019

    Beautiful jacket. Perfect fit. I do love those shoes. Can you reveal brand?

  • Pati Palmer
    August 14, 2019

    I bought them last fall at Nordstrom’s. Here is the manufacturer’s website. https://www.arche-shoes.com/univers/collection.html . I looked it up just for you and wow, I love everything I am seeing! They are French!

  • Linda
    August 14, 2019

    Looks very lovely.

  • Helen Bartley
    August 15, 2019

    I can’t wait to have a jacket tailoring sewing party at the lounge! I loved this article.

  • Kathy Stafford
    August 15, 2019

    Beautiful job, fits you perfect. Your pocket was very clever. Makes me want to do some tailoring again. Thanks for sharing.

  • Nancy Seifert
    August 15, 2019

    Very timely post! I am actually in the process of tissue fitting this jacket! I might use it to demo some techniques at the Tailoring workshop this October. I love your jacket with all the extra details. Gets me in the mood to tailor!
    Nancy

    • Pati Palmer
      August 17, 2019

      You are such mean a good jacket sewing and teacher. I hope you have full workshops in Seattle. Those interested, you can sign up on this website!

  • Kristina Haight
    August 16, 2019

    I am signed up for the Palmer Pletsch tailoring class in Bellevue WA in October with Nancy Seifert.
    Super excited!!

    • Pati Palmer
      August 17, 2019

      You will love it! Nancy is an amazing teacher—very calm which is nice for tailoring!

  • Pat Christensen
    September 16, 2019

    Pati,
    I am in the process of making this jacket in a Pendleton Herringbone wool tweed which is on the heavier side(but not as heavy as coating). Would you still interface the front with Ultra? Should the side and back pieces be interfaced at all ?
    Did you apply additional bias strips of interfacing for the hems ?

    Its a very long time since I did the Jacket class in Portland and a few years since I last attempted a jacket….I have a lot of reviewing to do !

    • Pati Palmer
      September 18, 2019

      Pat,
      I think PerfectFuse Medium might be best on the front and under collar. PerfectFuse Light may be used on the upper collar and facing. To help you decide, make a test sample. and sew. On one rectangle of your wool, fuse a piece of Tailor Ultra and Medium. On a second rectangle of wool fuse a piece of Light at the top and just below the middle of the rectangle leaving a space below each. Sew The rectangles right sides together on the long edge. Trim and press. Pretend this is the edge of the front of your jacket. Which feels the best? Now you also have a sample on which to test your machine buttonholes!

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