Sewing: Grainline Studio Morris Blazer and Graduate School Musings

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I don’t know if you’ve noticed that I go through periods where I sew a lot, then through periods where I sew nothing. This is reflected in the blog posts, where I’ll have several sewn items in a row followed by a long period of sewing silence. In a odd and twisted way, in recent years, the periods of high sewing activity coincide with the periods in which I have the most graduate school work to do. For example, I sewed quite a bit when I was preparing for exams, then nothing over the summer when I wasn’t as busy, then I’ve been sewing quite a bit this semester, which is when I’m writing and defending my dissertation proposal.

Although this was not a conscious thing, I do think that it is quite telling of what I get out of sewing in general. Pleasure, that is. But also, graduate school is a long, arduous process that feels like I will never finish it. It’s the diametrical opposite of instant gratification. In order to stay sane, I think, PhD students need to find hobbies, especially those in which we can complete a project in a relatively short period of time. I find that it gives me a sense of accomplishment, that I have actually finished something, and that feeling is sorely lacking in my academic life. This is the reason why I sew, knit, make videos (sometimes), take photos, etc. I NEED something I can finish NOW, or this weekend, as opposed to a dissertation that takes years and years.

A friend of mine, who’s a knitter, also had a similar revelation lately. I wish that more academics spoke about their hobbies more openly and about the fact that you need to do other things in your “off” time to stay sane.

As such, I absolutely have to make time to engage in the activities that bring me joy upon the completion of a project, which explains why when I have the most work to do, I make the most time for sewing, albeit it subconsciously. There needs to be a balance between long term projects and short term projects; between work and life.

But on to the sewing!

Without further ado, I give to you the Morris Blazer by Grainline Studio (it’s wrinkled, I wore it to the shoot).

 

 

If you remember from last fall and this spring, I was quite obsessed with sewing the Grainline Studio Hemlock Tee and Lark Tee, of which I made multiples. Well I loved the patterns and the drafting so much that I decided to expand my Grainline Studio pattern collection and bought some more, including the Morris Blazer.

I wear cardigans of one sort or another regularly, and I love blazers, so I thought the Morris, which works so well in double knit fabric, would be a great amalgamation of the two to try.

The blazer you see here is my second version; the first one was a disaster through no fault of the pattern. It was me. All me.

 

 

But that is neither here nor there. I made this version with a light ponte by Telio; I believe it is called Ponte Leggero, and it was so great to work with and to wear.

The pattern itself is well drafted and the pieces go well together. I made some changes but nothing drastic. For fitting purposes, I made a 1/2″ narrow shoulder adjustment and shortened the sleeves 2″. From a design perspective, I eliminated the center back seam. Usually those seams are shaped in some way but this one was not, it was straight. I prefer the clean look of no center back seams so I just removed the seam allowance and cut the back on the fold.

 

 

The pattern does not call for the facing to be tacked down, but when I put the blazer on the facing kept popping out to the right side and it looked awful. I decided that I would never wear it if it did that so I topstiched the facing to the blazer on the front and around the neckline. I did so so that it matched the hem stitching at the bottom and I think it looks great. If I hadn’t told you it wasn’t supposed to be there you probably wouldn’t think much of it. This also solved the issue of having to hand stitch the facing to the back neck seam; if you to the topstiching carefully and line things up right,  you can catch the facing at the neck too.

And speaking of the facing… The pattern instructions were great, until it came time to assemble the facing, which is an all in one neckline and hem facing. It was so confusing! Thankfully the sewalong on Grainline Studio’s blog was very clear, so definitely check that out if you make this pattern.

 

 

There is very little ease in this pattern, so be aware of that. If you are going to make this in a non-stretch fabric, you will have to size up, especially around the arms. One problem that many people who have made this in a knit have had is that there is some fabric pooling at the front center hem. This is likely because the facing is interfaced by the front pieces are not. I did not have this problem with this version, but I did with my first one. The main difference was the fabric I used. While both were ponte, the first one had a high cotton content – which doesn’t have great recovery – and the second did not. I could be completely wrong, but I do think that in order to avoid the pooling you need fabric with decent recovery.

 

 

 

I really like how the blazer turned out. I can see it being both a casual piece but also one that can be worn in a more professional setting with the right clothing and accessories.

Until next time!

 

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