The Metra Blazer from Love Notions is my newest blazer project and lets just say that I’m a sucker for blazers. It’s the type of garment that I have always LOVED sewing above others… since my teens and countless amounts have gone through my machines.
You might think that a blazer is too far for you in your sewing journey, but as far as blazers go, the Metra blazer is not too complex, nor does it have 1000 pattern pieces. It’s designed for knit fabric and its unlined.
Features of the Metra
The Metra Blazer is designed for knit fabrics and offers two collar views, though they share the same sewing technique.
The front piece includes the collar that is sewn with traditional shawl collar techniques. There is a narrower and rounder lapel option and another with a wide lapel with “corners”. This front piece is cut 4 times, two mirror images. One set will be the facing. You can do it all with the same main fabric or choose a contrast. The edges of the neckline are top stitched at 1/4″
There is a small side panel that is not a princess seam. In this seam that united it to the front, you will see pockets that look like welt pockets, but they are not welt pockets. There is no actual pocket bag. When you put your hand inside your pockets, the entire front is the “pocket bag”.
The sleeves are one piece and long. They are set in on the round. The back has a center seam with shaping.
My choice: The wide lapel version. I cut one set of front pieces from black contrast fabric, chose to under stitch the neckline instead of topstitching, and sewed all my hems by hand.
Best fabrics for the Metra
The Metra blazer is designed for knit fabrics, and medium to heavyweight fabrics will work best. The minimum horizontal stretch required is 25%. Now, the rest is my opinion based on my experience. These types of collars need a fabric that is stable and structured. The fabrics listed above are ideal.
The center piece is large and in a double layer. None of the pieces are interfaced, so a lighter drapey fabric will collapse and not hold its shape. These types of fabrics would never be my choice for a blazer with this style. Examples: Rayon frech terry, stretch velvet, stretch velour, some athletic knits. I think some fabric manipulation would be required to have a nice result with these. This means interfacing both layers of front pieces…..
My choice: a mystery knit that is super heavy & structured. It had been begging to be a blazer for years. It’s got the recommended 25% stretch horizontally and 10% vertical stretch. It comes at a whopping 17oz/sq yd weight (500gsm). I used black Liverpool knit for one set of front pieces to have a contrast.
Sizes XS-5X are available in this pattern. There is a standard bust and a full bust option. I chose a straight XL with the standard bust option.
The style is semifitted and only a light layer underneath will be appropriate. There is positive ease, but not a whole lot. If you want the option of wearing a layer underneath that has more volume, consider sizing up. Remember that the thicker your main fabric, the more it takes up part of the theoretical ease in the pattern.
- Bust: 2″ or 4″ if using the full bust piece
- Hips: 4″ or 6″ if using the full bust piece
- Bicep: 3-3.5″
The finished length from the nape of the neck to the hem is 22.5″. This number means that some length adjustments were needed. I am 5ft 8″ and 3″ taller than the 5ft 5″ the pattern is drafted for. You can see my changes in the digram below.
- There are many areas where you need to draw the 3/8″ seam allowance and in the intersection, mark a DOT. Thery are on the shoulder, collar pieces, corners of the pocket entrance. Some of these areas need to be stabilized with a small square of interfacing, and some stay stitching also helps when needing to snip into corners and dots.
Shawl collar in two steps
- The step where you sew the two collar layers to the neckline can be super fiddly to do all at once. There are three layers there. Both collars sandwiching the neckline. I prefer to sew the main center front to the back piece first at the shoulders and neckline with a basting stitch. Once that is done precisely, and taking care with the snipped corners, the facing front layer can be put right sides to the wrong side of the back piece. This is then sewn with a normal stitch length and on top of the previous seam.
- There is a small section I have sewn by hand! At the snipped corners of the shawl collar, when sewing the facing to the neckline, I can’t see the snipped corner that is at the bottom where the feed dogs are. I don’t want puckers there. I sewed 1/4″ in both directions from the dot by hand controlling where the hand needle goes in and out.
Break point to conceal understitching
- I am not strictly following pattern instructions. Though I have made no changes to the pattern, however, I chose to not finish the neckline with top stitching. I want a clean, polished look for a style that will be more formal. Also, my fabric has stripes and I don’t enjoy having visible seams running through stripes.
- I have opted to do under stitching instead, and in order to do this, there is a section where the lapel will naturally fold when the garment is on the body. This specific area will be the breakpoint. Here is where we snip into the seam allowance so the under stitching can be done in different directions. This ensures it’s all hidden where it has to be and accomplishing its function to keep the lapel clean and the seams rolling in to the correct side.
These sewing considerations are best seen in action right? you can see my full video below.
The video on my channel
In my video, you will see it all! From all the prep work needed to get your pieces ready… interfacing, stabilizing corners to how to sew the pocket pieces that look like welt pockets, the shawl collar with all the snips, to enclosing the seams on the inside via a burrito roll. The extra steps I did to be able to under stitch the neckline and not top stitch are all here too. Lots to see for your entertainment!
I opted to prioritize a formal clean look for my blazer…all to be able to wear it with nice dresses and heels. But it can also be dressed in a more casual way.. though really, really casual styling does not really exist for me!
Enter one of my trusty denim skirts. This can be replaced by jeans for a similar look. My Metra blazer is black and white and I had to pair it to a red woven cami underneath for the classic black – white – red combo that is one of my favorites, an goes will with my favorite red lipstick that has me written all over it. This is the way I dress casually. You will never EVER see me in flats and sneakers 🙂
Need to see more about the breakpoint? my video on the Octave coat from Love Notions also touches on this topic. See it HERE. Also, I made an Oakley vest hack and drafted a facing for it. I also used the same technique and you can see the video about it HERE. Both have clean lapels with undersitching that is there but is nowhere to be seen.
This is a fun blazer pattern and its not complex compared to other projects I have sewn. It’s a great step into making this type of garment, if you have not yet done so. I’d love to make this in the future with stretch denim and with scuba. I would like to put a single button just below the fold of the lapel in the future.
About the pockets. They are pretty, but I won’t be using them at all. I don’t want to deform the look in the front of my blazer with bulky objects in there. But that’s just me. I carry a handbag all the time. My things can go in there. To be honest, next time, I will sew that seam closed without the pocket there.
I really enjoy the comfort of the blazer. I can move and stretch freely and I could not do that with a structured tailored woven blazer in this style.
Do you want to see all of my Love Notions makes from 2020? this post contains ALL 72 all of them!
Happy sewing 🙂
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