In this guest blog post, we feature Jay in this beautiful African print fabric from Dovetailed London. Jay (aka @theimpatientsewist ) was gifted this fabric in exchange for a blog post as part of the Dovetailed London Ambassador Program. Want to read on, get a cup of your favourite drink and enjoy!
Despite the September heatwave, shorter days bring the promise of autumn and it will soon be time for transitional wardrobe pieces. For this project, I paired the fabric “AFRICANPRINT-0147” with the Heather Blazer pattern from Friday Pattern Company. This lightweight, oversized blazer seemed like the perfect choice for layering as the seasons change.
Now, honestly, the Heather Blazer has been lurking in my digital stash for a while, simultaneously exciting and intimidating me. This is the first blazer I’ve sewn and I figured that a fun fabric meant it didn’t have to be perfect. Nonetheless, I decided to toile the pattern first because oversized clothes either look super cute or completely swallow you up. I don’t know the science of this but I know it when I see it. Toiling gave me a good opportunity to add darts or crop the blazer if required.
The toile, made of a natural cotton calico of comparable fabric weight, served multiple purposes. It was a good run-through of the construction method and allowed me to assess both the size and the movement of the piece. Because movement and drape are critical to an oversized fit, I shopped in person for my toile fabric and had my final fabric with me for comparison.
To my surprise, the toile required minimal alterations. I cut a size M and the only change I made was to shorten the sleeves by 2 cm. The shoulder seam is slightly off my shoulder but for an oversized blazer, I like it that way. I also liked the length, particularly when the sleeves are rolled up. So only one toile - happy days!
Cutting into the final fabric is always a little terrifying but the benefit of a toile is that you know that it will fit. I decided not to pattern-match to make sure I could squeeze the blazer out of 3yards. The fabric also doesn’t have anything in the design that could end up looking awkwardly placed on the body.
I used a lightweight black cotton to line the blazer, with cotton as interfacing too. The pattern calls for both woven and knit fusible interfacing, but at least for this lightweight fabric, I didn’t think that was necessary. The first half of the construction method felt intuitive to me, but when I attached the lining to the outer shell it all started to look a bit octopus-like! So I really had to trust the process before the magic moment of turning it all inside out. And that was sooo satisfying, poking out those crisp corners and pressing all my seams. Yum.
All in all, this project took me just under 3 yards of fabric and 2 weekends’ worth of sewing, toile included. It was a really fun project and not half as scary as I thought my blazer would be!I love the final look - it feels autumnal and chic, especially over a black top. Granted, it was about 30 degrees on the day I took photos of it (is she glowing or is it just sweat?), but I can’t wait to wear this throughout the autumn.
Want to make something gorgeous on this fabric? Shop here.
Want to sew with African fabric? Shop here.
Looking for a range of sewing patterns designed specifically with African wax print fabric in mind, shop here.
Want to buy ready-made in a selection of Dovetailed garments? Shop ready made here.
Want to make your own with a little help? Shop workshops here.