I knew Mesa Plaid would be perfect for a jacket or coat, but I couldn't figure out which one. While the new O! Jolly! cotton knit fabrics are "sweater knits", Mesa is more stable than the typical sweater knit. It has the highest stitch density (stitches per square area of fabric) of any fabric in the new grown-in-color cotton collection.
It was around the time that the fabrics launched that I began noticing completed Morris Blazers turning up on blogs and Instagram. I loved the style and soon learned that a medium weight stable knit was a suggested fabric. Yes! But honestly, my Mesa and Morris pairing might never have happened if there hadn't been a US copy shop print option. (Thank you, Grainline Studio!) Copy shop prints are what I use if I digitally draft a pattern for myself, and they've become my absolute favorite pattern format. Aren't we lucky to have options!
Though I've never sewn a Grainline Studio pattern before, I didn't sew a mockup first. I chose my size according to the bust measurement and finished garment measurements listed. The blazer doesn't have a front closure and it's a knit. I figured it would be close enough.
I find I have better control when I cut patterns flat and do so about 98% of the time. Since this fabric is a plaid, it was imperative for me to cut it flat, taking all the necessary steps for pattern matching. I used a method similar to Jen's Quick & Easy Plaid Matching, except that I added more horizontal lines, probably more than were necessary with this fabric.
When I first read the pattern, it occurred to me that I could cut the back as a single piece, instead of two pieces, avoiding the center back seam, as I usually try to make as few cuts as possible with knits. It would also save a little sewing time. By the time I got around to actually placing pattern pieces on fabric, I'd forgotten my plan and cut the two separate pieces as indicated! (Attention any home machine knitters reading this post: This is an excellent cut and sew candidate for any narrow, stable fabric that you knit, as the back is designed to be cut as two pieces.)
Ever since I read this book, whenever I'm working with a US commercial pattern and a patterned fabric, I cut off the seam allowances from the paper pattern and thread trace the garment pieces at the sewing line. I then cut out the garment piece with seam allowances as big or small as needed. With thread tracing I can see the sewing line on both the right and wrong sides of the fabric -- very helpful when matching patterns on stretchy fabrics. I chose not to thread trace this time and only regretted the choice a couple of times. I don't do couture, but I really find it easier to match patterns during construction if the pieces are thread traced.
I like that Grainline Studio extends the grainline mark to the edges on the paper pattern pieces. I usually end up doing this myself. Even though knits don't have real grainlines, I always line up the pattern's grainline mark with a rib (if available) or wale of the knit fabric to keep the drape, look, and fit of the finished garment as it was intended. I chose to cut the sleeve facings and hem facings against the "grain" (that is, perpendicular to the ribs) in order to save fabric. Since the facings were to be interfaced anyway, I knew it wouldn't cause any stretching issues. Also, I knew I'd like the look if I ever rolled up the sleeves. As it turns out, I've only worn the blazer with the sleeves rolled up!
I sewed all seams with a narrow (0.5mm width) zigzag and finished any inside seam that would show when I removed the blazer with a stretchy Hong Kong finish. I cut up an old, thin t-shirt that I found in my husband's drawer (Don't tell.) to make the binding strips. It was very important to clip corners and trim seam allowances with the garment fabric, as stated in the pattern instructions, because seam allowances got quite thick in places. I top-stitched all seam allowances down, because I thought it made a nicer finish with the Mesa Plaid.
Though I usually don't like making such structured garments with knits, I really enjoyed sewing the Morris! I thought the written instructions and diagrams worked very well together. Whenever I had a question about a written instruction, the answer was found in the diagram. The only mess up I had was user error. I was setting in the first sleeve and mistook the the grainline mark (that mark I love so much) for the center of the sleeve head and couldn't figure out why things just wouldn't line up. Somehow I hadn't indicated the center mark on the sleeve I was working with. Placing the paper pattern piece back on the cut sleeve cleared things up immediately. The second sleeve was already properly marked and setting in went rather quickly.
I really am a lover of knits and I'm glad to have this addition to my wardrobe. Yes, it looks like a blazer, but it's amazingly comfortable to wear, just like a sweater! I can roll it up and shove it in a bag, and because it's a sweater knit, the wrinkles soon fall out... mostly. Thanks to the online sewing folk, Ginger Makes and Saturday Night Stitch, who called my attention to the pattern through their blogs, and thank you, Grainline Studio, for designing it!