Winter capsule – blazer, pants

Two of my favourite stylists have suggested similar small casual capsules for the coming winter 2013, so I thought I’d use them as a focus for talking about some of the new patterns.
The Vivienne Files

They both use layers, tops, and pants.
No skirts, despite UK Vogue’s insistence that they’re a key look this season, see my post on skirts for this winter.
And no dresses, though the pattern catalogues are full of them. Perhaps home sewers are more likely to have a dress-wearing personal style 😀
(If you do prefer skirts and dresses, here’s another capsule from The Vivienne Files.)

The basic capsules have :
– 2 layers
– 3-6 tops, mainly knits but include 1 shirt
– 2-3 pants
– 1-2 big scarves
– 2 pairs shoes
– 1 bag.
– 1 belt

My comments have turned into a series of posts.
– here the main focus is on blazer-style jackets, with a note on pants.
I’m also planning :
– a couple of posts on other jacket styles (see YouLookFab on jacket trends for the season).
– one on tops.
– and possibly one on accessories.

– – –

Travel capsule

Incidentally, Janice of The Vivienne Files is talking about a minimal travel capsule, and shows all the advantages of mix-and-match.
Wear to travel : (“Key 3” outfit) 1 pants, 1 layer, 1 top,
plus 1 big scarf/ shawl, 1 pair comfortable shoes.
Carry a small bag with : (“Four Pack”) 1 pants, 1 layer, 1 shirt, 1 dressier top,
plus 1 big scarf/ shawl, 1 pair dressy shoes, (nightwear, small size toiletries, spare undies and socks).

The only bulky heavy item is the shoes, so try to lighten them. No jeans – they’re bulky and heavy. A knit for the packed layer would be light and pack down well.
Very little to carry and, if you have access to washing facilities, you have the basis for over 30 different looks !
(P.S. ejvc has some interesting ideas about making this group in her post here.)

– – –


First a brief mention of the pants.

Both stylists go for 2 pairs of pants, slim and even more slim.
Plus YouLookFab adds a comfortable-casual pair of ‘boyfriend’ jeans.

sources at YouLookFab

There aren’t any new slim ‘pants only’ patterns, but plenty of pants combined with the jackets, so I’ll mention them there.

If you’re looking for really slim high-stretch styles, McCall’s is a good source of patterns.

For jeans, each of the big companies has their own basic pattern.
Jalie 2908 jeans was the top Pattern Review pattern for 2009.


Pattern Review have 85 pages of tips in a chat and advice jeans sew along for this pattern.

– – –


Both stylists suggest 2 layering options.

This is where Angie and Janice have the biggest difference of opinion : one suggests sweater knits (she’s suggesting a travel capsule), the other has more structured wovens.

The Vivienne Files goes for a couple of classic thicker knits, sweater (what we in the UK call a jumper) and cardigan.

sources at The Vivienne Files

There isn’t a good source of sweater knit fabrics here, so knit your own or buy RTW.

You LookFab picks a blazer and a moto/ biker jacket. She’s going for one more formal and one more casual style, to get a wide variety of looks out of a small capsule.

sources at YouLookFab
(not clear from the image, but it’s a shawl-collar blazer)

Moto/ biker basically is a closer fitting style with exposed zips, often asymmetrical and in a tough fabric such as leather.
I’m planning to talk about these in a later post.
This post is about new patterns for blazer-like styles.

– – –


Many of the new notched collar patterns are buttoned at bust level. Which is interesting as nearly all blazer patterns recently have been buttoned at waist level.
Indeed, YouLookFab says that trendy jackets are buttoned low.

Long low-buttoned lapels may be high fashion,
but they’re difficult to get to lay flat for anyone but the B cup people who the patterns are made for.
And they’re not such a flattering look for many people with large cup size (see Imogen Lamport’s post on buttoning).
It’s a compromise decision, as long lapels do add a lengthening line.

So choose which is most flattering for you. And make sure the visual focus of attention is on the collar, not on the ‘break point’ where it turns back to start the lapels.

Blazer-like styles

Butterick 5926 has a notched collar.


The collar in Vogue 8939 is less usual.
And ah good, a wardrobe jacket that’s designed to fit over long sleeves.


Butterick 5965 wardrobe has a shawl collar.


McCall’s 6655 jacket by Palmer-Pletsch has 2 lengths and a good variety of collars. The blazer picked by YouLookFab is like the one lower left here, though not colour blocked.


– – –


In her post on jacket styles for the coming season, YouLookFab mentions the tuxedo as well as the blazer.

I take it to mean a version of the blazer that is ‘boyfriend styled’, looking as if you’re wearing a man’s jacket :
long and large – wide
more structured – crisp

Obviously the big pattern companies disagree with her, as there used to be several patterns for tuxedos, now no more.

Here’s a couple of download patterns from Burda Style.

Notched collar, Burda 03/2010 # 116


Shawl collar, Burda 04/2013 # 101


– – –


Blazer jackets no longer have to be made out of dark neutrals in gaberdine or men’s tailoring fabrics (unless you want to of course).
Big floral and geometric prints are still in style.

And the new idea is ‘multi-media’ styles (see YouLookFab’s post – link at top of this – for tops in different fabrications).
That means you can make your jacket or top with :
– colour blocking.
– areas with different styles of print.
– texture blocking – add lace, leather trims or sections, bias cut or textured areas.
It’s easiest to do texture blocking if all the fabrics have the same weight and weave. Using areas of different fabric types, such as combining knits and wovens, velvet and charmeuse, can be a technical challenge.

Blazers may be associated with serious work and power, but nowadays the most formal shape of blazer can be worn to an exotic occasion if you use the right fabric 😀

Maybe the blazer shape is classic, but using fabrication there’s lots of fashion forward jacket exploration possible this season. Well actually even classic fabrics are currently high fashion. A recent TV show had a multi-million-selling girl pop group wearing matched solid fabric blazer pant suits !

Does a blazer or tuxedo suit your personal style ?
See my post on details of blazer styling to make them your own.

Blazers are straighter and more structured, for people with a straighter shape, or who want to look more formal. Angie of YouLookFab herself has a crisper look and tends to suggest those styles. (As a supplementary post from YouLookFab, here are some capsules suggested by her readers.)

But if you’re like me, and not happy in a straighter more structured and classic jacket, there are plenty of other new jacket possibilities, which I’m planning posts on.

– – –

Patterns and links available August 2013

= = =

Explore posts in the same categories: current fashion

4 Comments on “Winter capsule – blazer, pants”

  1. Sara Says:

    My main issue with jacket patterns is that the shoulders tend to be much wider than in rtw. I recently bought a jacket from Zara that has very slim lines. The shoulders are narrow, and on my square shoulders that is a flattering look. I need the shoulder point of the jacket to be a close as possible to my actual shoulder point so as not to add bulk. I haven’t found this in sewing patterns. Even Burda which is usually the closest to rtw in their cuts tend to design their jackets with wide shoulders..

  2. […] First off – I am stealing the term “four-pack” from the Vivienne Files.  The four-pack is a travel wardrobe in which you only pack four pieces of clothing.  It was brought to my attention in this post at Sewing Plums. […]

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: