I had high hopes for the By Hand London Victoria blazer. After all, it isn’t every day that I pay that much for a pattern! But for some reason, I put off actually making it. Maybe I was distracted by something else…oh look, new, bright, shiny…. Anyway, it worked out well for me that I did hold off for a little while, because the lovely Rachel started making one but half way through didn’t like it on her, and passed it on to me! So this blazer is actually a combined effort – Rachel provided the fabric and made the outer; I added the cuffs and the lining and sewed it all together. And kept it.
First things first: this is the BEST fabric. It is metallic coated linen and it’s just superb to work with! This was the left-over fabric from a beautiful jacket that Rachel made a couple of years ago. Very special stuff. It creases the second that you look at it but that doesn’t seem to matter because it is so lovely. I lined the jacket in some fabric that I think Anna gave to me – goodness, this really is a combined effort! It is lovely and slippery and makes the jacket very easy to wear. The pattern description reads: The Victoria is a casual blazer featuring 3/4 length sleeves, a turned up French seamed cuff and side seam pockets, with cropped and sleeveless variations. Designed with a generous amount of ease for a laid back style, this blazer is the perfect throw-it-over-everything wardrobe staple.
But what you really want to know is what I thought of the pattern overall, isn’t it! Well, I’m not convinced. There are things about it that I really like. The shaping around the neckline is lovely. The rest of the blazer is very boxy, which I rather like too. Everything fitted together well and the sleeves set in nicely. The cuffs are attached with a french seam, so they look attractive if folded back or left down. By the way, the collar and cuffs of this blazer were sewn with the reverse of the fabric out – they’re exactly the same linen, just the non-metallic side.
BUT – I don’t especially like the lapels. And I noticed that in most of the photos I have seen of this jacket, people are holding the lapels flat. Otherwise they open up and flap around and don’t lie back against the rest of the jacket, possibly because they aren’t really an integral part of the blazer fronts with a roll line but are just sandwiched between the blazer outer and the lining. At the back the collar is very narrow and doesn’t even cover the neckline/stand seam.
I think that the biggest issue with this blazer is that it is lined edge-to-edge. There aren’t facings down the front edges or especially along the hemline, so as designed it’s difficult to get the hem to sit flat without the lining either peeking out or pulling it up. This all adds up to a relaxed casual style, but I’d prefer my blazers to have a little more structure to them. Not much – after all, and I am huge fan of stretch fabrics and cardigans, so I’m not looking for heavily tailored structure – but enough to have everything lie where it should lie.
All that said, I will wear this blazer. I think that this pattern would look rather good without the collar or lapels, as the shaping around the neckline is rather lovely, but it could benefit from facings through that area. However, I won’t rush to make up this pattern a second time.