Sunday, 1 June 2014

By Hand London Victoria... and a wedding cake!

It's wedding season, hurray! 

I have 3 weddings this year, so obviously there was a need for a jacket of sorts. I have a RTW navy jacket that I like, but it's thicker and coat-like and I wanted something light. Is it just me or there something about weddings and pastels? Sorry if you're the fuschia skirt with the fuschia blouse and fuschia fascinator (and don't forget the fuschia lipstick!) kind of person, but I'm just not.

This is the kind of outfit I like to wear to weddings: 

I thought I'd treat you to a new angle of my living room. Do you like my rum tum tugger cushion? :)

So here is my finished By Hand London Victoria blazer. I intended to make the full length version as I thought the cropped one would look weird, like a tiny shrug instead of a jacket, but I've recently become a lot more aware of what suits me, and that long cardigans do not suit my short body. After looking through some other people's blazers I realised that the cropped version would suit me much better, and I'm so glad I made that decision. It's the perfect length for 5 foot me, just ending at my waist, and not the scary short belero scenario I originally thought the cropped version could be. Just imagine how the long version would drown me! Ugh, wise move with the crop!

I used a cream polyester heavy crepe for the main fabric which was £8/metre in World of fabrics, Cheltenham, and some blush polyester duchess satin from the market in Leicester (also £8/metre) for the lining. The fabrics are a similar weight and drape and work really well together. I wanted the finished result to be more of a posh cardigan than a structured jacket. 

So I thought making the Victoria would be a tricky project but it was SO easy! I did the whole thing including muslin on and off over 5 days, much faster than most projects, and technically it was very straightforward. The sleeves are tricky to ease in but I sewed with the fuller side up so I had better control and got them both in first time with no puckers. Happy days!

I cut a straight size 10 (uk) despite being way between sizes - my waist is a By Hand London size 14, but being a very loose garment it's not  a problem at all, so I cut for my bust size and made absolutely no adjustments. I thought the sleeves might be a bit tight as I don't have the skinniest arms, but it turned out perfectly. 

So I mainly made this garment to wear to weddings, but I enjoyed making it so much I'd love to whip up a couple more, in more stable fabrics and different colours. It's a great alternative to a cardigan, which I wear a lot of. The temperamental weather of England makes layering an essential outfit choice.

I'm trying to get better at providing more detail on my makes, so here's a few bits on the construction.

Whilst I'm happy with my fabric choices, I won't pretend that it's an easy option for a jacket. This stuff doesn't like to be pressed, and is a little stubborn about it, so I had to tack down the lapels loosely at the top and bottom, otherwise they just bend back to the way they're sewn. It also means that the edges just aren't as crisp as I'd like them to be, but I'm willing to cope with it.

Here is the jacket on the inside with that lovely duchess satin. I love how it looks a little like a pink lady jacket here! I've also started taking more care finishing the inside of garments. Without an overlocker I always thought the only other options were pinking or complicated, time consuming bulky finishes like hong kong seams. Up until now, everything has been pinked, unless it's been sheer in which case it's been french seamed, but I'm not getting along with the pinking. It looks fine when you cut it, but after a couple of washes it just becomes a garbled mess. I don't like mess. I was all ready to start saving for an overlocker, and THEN I discovered my machine has a overlocking stitch, and I learnt how to use it. It's amazing! Obviously I only have 2 threads, not 3 or 4, but the finish is really very good considering. It will certainly serve my needs for a long while before I start getting really obsessed over seam finishing!

So I think that's enough about sewing, let's talk about the wedding, and cake. This wedding was very different from most weddings. It was kind of an anti-wedding wedding. The ceremony was not a religious or legal one, but instead the bride and groom asked the guests to support them through their marriage, and then we played giant jenga, ate sweets and had a caleigh. Guest participation was a big theme, and rather than having a wedding cake they decided to have a cake competition. 18 guests brought along their bakes, including me with my Hearts and Roses cake. 

Basically, I attempted to make a lovely hidden image on the inside, so as you cut a slice it reveals a little red heart in the middle. It's the first time I've tried this so I really had no idea how well it would turn out. It kind of worked :-) 

And I won a prize!! I was awarded "Best effort" which is actually a bit of a back handed compliment if you think about it, but heck, I won a rosette that says I'm a "winner" so who cares!?


  1. So two wins there: great jacket; great cake. Nice one!

    1. Thanks! I'm so glad they cut the cake where they did, the other side was a total BLOB!!

  2. Love this entire outfit, you looks gorgeous, as does the cake! Great job. I've been deliberating over what jacket to wear to a wedding I've got coming up and didn't even think about the Victoria, I may be stealing your idea!

  3. Thank you! Go for it, it's a really simple pattern, 100 times easier than I'd anticipated.

  4. I saw this jacket in the flesh on Friday at Ray Stitch and thought it was lovely. I'm not a jackety blazer sort of girl, but this is so lovely. I may give it a bashmyself.

    1. Aww thanks Karen! I thought it would be really dressy, (which I wanted it to be), and saved for special occasions but I now wear this ALL the time! It goes with everything and I'm hooked! DEFINITELY more on the way. Can't wait to see yours!