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Heather Blazer Pattern Hack: Cropped!
May 31, 2022 - also with extra arm movement - Heather Blazer Pattern
Gracie wears a cropped blazer with wallpaper-like fabric while rowing a boat, displaying arm mobility 📍Château de Fontainebleau

WOO! Look at this arm movement! After 3 months of on/off toiling I've finally finished the first version of my Heather Blazer.

This post shares all my research & notes throughout th process. I first bought the pattern around its launch in January 2021, thinking I would make a lengthened-to-my-ankles coat, but fast-forward to February 2022 & spring fever changed my plans. Read on to find fit adjustments, other makes that I learned from, and links to tips/blog posts I used to make a full bicep adjustment.

Inspiration
Originally, I wanted to lengthen the Heather Blazer to make a full loooonnng jacket . But spring came around and I rembered Nisan's cropped blazer.
TODO ❓ found on Pinterest
TODO ❓ found on Pinterest
Nisan's cropped blazer (blog post) (insta post) used Grasser 759 pattern, and she goes into detail about the incredible tailoring adjustments in her blog. I thought it might be possible to create a more beginner/intermediate friendly version by hacking the Heather Blazer. From Nisan's Heather Blazer details, I learned that the as-is Heather Blazer length would be too long on me anyway. And this project began!
Fabric
I had just enough of this weird Victorian-looking cat fabric to make a cropped blazer. When I bought my dress form off FB Marketplace last summer, I asked the person if they had any extra fabric (they were moving.) They pulled out this bundle from under a bed and said to take it!
Pretty sure the fabric is supposed to be for curtains -- which was confirmed when I googled the inscription on the fabric, "Killkenny Cats fabric 16259 copyright MCMXCV Scalamandre", and curtains came up in the image search. (I just googled what MCMXCV is in roman numerals and it's 1995!!! glad we could give this fabric new purpose after 27 years under a bed)
TODO Fabric came with my dress form
TODO a close up
Research about other makes
Before I choose a fabric, or a size (or sometimes a pattern), I like to sift through blog posts and instagram hashtags for the pattern to see if there's any gotchas or notes I can learn from. Now I can share all this with you through Sew Like Honey!
Analysis/TLDR;
  • The sleeves are small at the forearm
    • @annaescapist - "My only peeve is that the sleeves are reasonably small in the forearm area so they don’t really work for layering big sleeves under. Still will work for lots of summer clothes though!"
      @magster_in_melb - "Beyond those sizing tweaks I shortened the bodice about 3-4cm and the arms 3cm (too much!) and also trimmed down some of the excess armhole fabric. It was a bit snug through the sleeves as a S to I let a bit of the seam allowance out and that was enough."
      @ohbelles - "My final adjustments were: -2cm narrow shoulder adjustment - added 3cm to the sleeve width [...] The sleeves are still a bit narrow and a bit short too, but I used fun viscose for the lining so I can roll them up. I think the problem is that the smaller size band isn’t drafted with the amount of sleeve ease that a curvy figure requires, but I’m too small for the larger size band, which I think from the pictures has more ease l, especially in the arms. It’s annoying that they are two separate PDFs - I didn’t get both size ranges printed so I couldn’t compare (but at least you get all the sizes for one pattern cost! I can’t tell you how annoying it is to be a size 16-18 when the smaller size is 6-16 and the larger size is 18-28 and you have to decide which one! I wish companies would overlap them more). I can’t decide if it would be worth muslining the next size up to see if the fit would be better; definitely not any time soon though!"
  • Some people thought the shoulders were too big for them
    • @adaydreamerlife - "I cut a size S for myself then I realized that the shoulders were too big when I tried it on. So, I added shoulder pads to make the shoulders less sloping. It actually turned out really good. Other than that, I didn’t do any fitting adjustment."
    • @the.social.fabric - "I brought the shoulders in by 2 cm (3/4”)." [see post for other details]
  • Seems like it's better in thinner fabrics like cotton/linen, harder with velvet/corduroy (especially with tighter sleeves)
    • @ginghamhive - "added more ease in sleeves to account for the thicker fabric and added inseam pockets"
    • @the_sew_sew - "I also struggled with the interfacing and wish I hadn’t interfaced the front pieces with a woven. This fabric has enough structure, a knitted one might have been more appropriate. But regardless, every make is a lesson learned and I love the outcome!!" [see post for other details about hemming]
    • @sewminisq - " It’s interesting how a different fabric can affect a garment. The tweed is much stiffer than the linen I used in my first blazer. It’s a bit too tight in the arms, but I’ll still wear it. Maybe it will loosen up over time."
    • @thepowerjen - "This blazer took forever, exclusively because the fabric was a PAIN. I absolutely love it, but it was a pain. In every way imaginable. Messy, shifty, impossible to press etc. The finished blazer is definitely wearable in the end, but not my finest work - I'm particularly unimpressed with the sleeve heads, but as I said the fabric was impossible and this was the best I could do."
TODO
I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn from other makers -- thank you for sharing your notes & experience!!
TODO
Choosing a size
My measurements at the time of making this were B 37" / W 30" / H 37". According to the Heather Blazer size chart:
  • M is B (36"-37"), W (28"-29"), H (37"-38")
  • L is B (39"-39"), W (30"-32"), H (39"-41")
This put me somewhat in the middle, but I felt confident M would be fine since my research above said it tends to run larger.
Pattern hack
TODO
~ and now it's time for the good stuff ~
To create the cropped blazer, I shortened the pieces :) The tricky part was keeping the same relationship between lining and main pieces.
  1. Trace the front/back main & lining pieces so you can cut & mark them #teamTrace
  2. Decide on final length. for me, this was a few inches below my natural waist
  3. Mark final length on front and back pattern pieces. I did this by marking a line on the front piece of my toile, and then copying that mark to the back, "walking" the back piece down the front until the mark
  4. Measure the distance between new length mark and bottom of the hem, call this DISTANCE_DIFF.
    • here's the tricky part, maintaining the hem relationship between the pieces
    • The bottom 1 3/8" of the main fabric will be folded up. So the amount you want to cut from your length is (DISTANCE_DIFF - 1 3/8") out of the middle of each piece.
    • I think taking the same amount out from the middle of each piece (front main, front facing, side front lining, back main, back lining), will mean you don't have to re-trace out/think about the hem
TODO
Here's my front pieces annotated. Well actually it's the lengthened pieces annotated (pretend it's the cropped version, same concept since we're just looking at the hem LOL)
TODO
And the back lining. Now in my actual version, my back lining was too long -- so I either cut something out wrong or the lining should be more than 3/4" or 1" shorter -- take this with some salt :) and if you figure this out message me and I'll update this!
Alterations: Fixing arm mobility
The only issue I had with my toile was sleeve mobility. I could not move my arms up, and crossing my arms in front of me felt really tight. At first, I thought it's because I used very thick upholstry fabric (thinking I could make it wearable). Then I made the same version in regular muslin material and had similar issues. I tried raising the armhole 3/4", but that did not help much.
TODO
Solution: Full Bicep Adjustment & Increase Elbow Width
I ended up doing a full bicep adjustment on the sleeves, which gave me a lot more room to move around! I followed the Closet Core Patterns guide for increasing the bicep for two piece sleeves -- turns out you only have to adjust the upper sleeve! But you need to use the lower sleeve to mark the bicep line.
I estimated the elbow room (ha) needed and distributed the extra across the sleeve -- doing the full bicep already added the 3/4" in the middle, so I added an extra 5/8" on top of that at the sides of the sleeve. Here is a sewing discussion on PatternReview about adding ease at the elbow.
TODO
TODO
TODO
Here's the relationship I found between the lining and main pattern pieces for the upper & lower sleeves. I think this is fairly standard (lining sits higher at armhole, further back from hem), and I'm going to use these measurements to draft sleeve lining for pattern pieces in the future!
Final photos
TODO
TODO
TODO
TODO
Other detailed Heather Blazer makes
TODO
Thanks for reading my first blog post on Sew Like Honey! I hope this was helpful in your making journey :) I haven't built in comments or a "message me" feature yet, but if you have any feedback, please share it through my instagram @sew.like.honey.

Special thanks to my friend Michelle for designing my sewing honey bear logo 🍯🐻