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Oct 8, 2016

Which Blazer Muslin Looks Better On Me?


One of my goals before the end of the year is to complete a wool suit jacket for myself.

I plan to do this alongside the ladies jacket I'll be making in my Ladies Tailoring III class at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology), using the same pocket pieces and most of the same techniques we're learning this semester.

Naturally, I can't use the ladies jacket pattern from class.  So I'm trying to find a men's pattern I like or tweak one that's close if not quite perfect.  Up top is Butterick 2125, a vintage blazer pattern from the early Sixties.   I like the ivy-style, sack-suit silhouette of the jacket (no darts in front, just a long, diagonal dart from armhole to front pocket).



As you can see in the top pic and above, the muslin I made fits me fairly well.  I'm thinking, however, that it may be too retro-looking, i.e., boxy.

It's hard to identify contemporary styles because almost anything goes nowadays (except perhaps those huge Seventies lapels on loud plaid blazers, but who knows what kids find cool today).  Below are some contemporary jackets, some very fitted with padded shoulders, some more of a boxy silhouette with natural shoulders.

Brooks Brothers 1818 undarted sack blazer

Agnes B. 2017



Brooks Brothers


 So it's really a question of which style I prefer and which is more flattering.

Speaking of Seventies styles, the other jacket pattern I muslined (that's a verb, right?) was Simplicity 9598, below.  Not only does it have front fish-eye darts, it also has a separate side panel instead of side seams.


I'm more concerned about overall style lines than the lapels, which are easily tweaked.  Here's the muslin:




I think this has potential.  Don't you?
 
That's where things stand so far.  I've made suit jackets before (check the archives under mens suit), though not of wool, and usually using the boxier sack-suit style.  (More about men's suit patterns and other resources here.)

I own a lot of men's suit and blazer patterns, some vintage, some not.  I prefer vintage for many reasons: less design ease, better drafting, and one-size-only patterns.  (I know my pattern size, so with a one-size pattern, I don't have to trace.)  When I look at in-print suit jacket and blazer patterns they generally look "off" to me, and the fact they rarely fit the model doesn't help.

A few of my men's jacket patterns.

Readers, which style of men's blazer do you prefer: the fitted or the boxier sack style?  Any thoughts about which looks better on me?

Have a great day, everybody!

This is actually a sack silhouette though it's cut trim. 


52 comments:

  1. I really like the first muslin, but perhaps lower the front closing so it looks more like the Brooks Brothers blazer? That would make it look more contemporary.

    Also, if your intent is to wear the blazer with different pants, I think the first one is better proportioned for that use.

    However, no matter which you end up doing, I look forward to the finished result as you do such beautiful work.

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  2. With your body, you can wear almost anything and look good. I like the fit of the second muslin but there is something off about the sleeve.

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  3. Ok, here's my two cents. I prefer a more relaxed fit in a sport jacket but more fitted in a suit. If you are making it in wool you may wear a sweater under it so you don't want it too fitted....also looks better worn with a hoodie. Now a matched suit should be fitted, put together, sharp. Not that teeny tiny shrunken look though...lordy, I hate that look!. I think you have the perfect body for vintage patterns- and I mean that in a good way!

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  4. I agree with corkpop, it depends on how you are planning on wearing it. If you going to wear it with jeans and a sweater or hoodie, then the first jacket. The second one if this is going to be a suit. You look good in both. I wouldn't make it a shrunken fit, but that second one isn't shrunken, just more fitted. I like to try on a muslin with the kinds of things I plan on wearing under it.

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    1. Yup. If we were upvoting, I'm upping this.
      If you are wearing it over something, that's one thing. If it's a suit, you want to ...how do I say this? show yourself off.

      Delete
  5. SeamsterEast at aolOctober 8, 2016 at 9:52 PM

    A blazer or a suit jacket? The suit jacket will fit tighter, and have matching trousers, made with smoother, more elegant fabric = = = = a A blazer or a sport coat? Either with rougher fabric, either with a looser, boxier fit for more athletic wear. The sport coat might have patch pockets. The blazer will be one solid color with gold or silver buttons, generally of lighter weight fabric. The sport coat is spring/fall, the blazer summer. You might wear a sweater under a sport coat, not under a blazer. The blazer **might** be more closely fitted. The blazer clashes with blue jeans, like whipped cream on a hot dog. The blazer makes you look like you know your way around roadster sportscars and racing yachts, the sport coat like you know your way around horses and hunting shotguns and college football games.

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  6. I like the second muslin better.

    And this could just be a me thing, but modern jackets shown in movies or on TV always look like they bought them 2 sizes too small, and just buttoned them on anyway. Also, they always look like shitty shitty fabric. Like, polyester "I bought this for a middle school dance, but it's high school and I'm too broke to buy a new suit" kinda jacket.

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    1. I agree! I keep telling my son that his jackets are too small, but he likes them that way.

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  7. I like the back of the second jacket better, but I don't like the lapels. There is something off on the proportions, maybe too big?

    However, while I like the front of the Butterick 2125 coat I don't care for the boxy fit in the back.

    The wool you chose really would make a difference in how the coat looks. So I think we're really only voting on fit for the muslin.

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  8. I tend to gravitate toward more fitted looks even in a sport coat that is to be worn more casually. Perhaps this is a case where compromise between two distinct silhouettes might yield a third solution that works as well as the two tried-and-true. Proportion is the key, I think.

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    1. Inventive Mouse; building consensus, and stealing hearts.

      Slightly boxy works (the floral sheet sport coat!) for Peter's frame. Now if anyone else was obsessing on "Peter in plastic", then definitely fitted would be the path to choose.

      Delete
  9. Is there some way to meld the good bits from the first muslin, picture series, and second muslin? From the first muslin the shoulders are good, but the back is awful and the button too high. From the picture series, the location of the button(s) - way lower than either of your muslins. From the second muslin, the length is great, and the back is better than the first one.

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  10. Hi Peter - I think the first one looks awesome from the front - don't change a thing! Not such a fan of the back though, I agree it's a bit boxy and the back armhole is loose.
    Number two looks better in the back, but the front waist dart looks odd. Also I think the collar and lapel need a lot of work/modernisation.
    I'd run with number one, but add side back seams for shaping. And maybe narrow the upper back - is it too wide?
    Hope you're enjoying your tailoring classes - you must be if you are up to number three!

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  11. The first one is too boxy and simplistic while the second one has more style. I say go for the second one.

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  12. I like fitted better. Have you watched Rory Duffys vimeo series on tailoring saville row style? Its like sewing crack. I had to watch them end to end till his jacket was done even though it was finals and i had exams the next day. He is crazy good. You are all over the tailoring stuff so you have prolly already watched them, but if not i think you would like...pkg

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  13. First one looks like a better fit to me. some of the modern suit examples look at least two sizes too small! I like the slim fit "sack" cut in floral. Why not use that?

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  14. First one looks like a better fit to me. some of the modern suit examples look at least two sizes too small! I like the slim fit "sack" cut in floral. Why not use that?

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  15. I tend to like a simple sack shape, but either as long as they're correctly fitted will suit you (given that you have comparatively few figure issues compared to the shorter and stouter amongst us). What I loathe in so much tailoring today is how they so very frequently cross the line from trimly cut to tiny looking - with resulting deeply unflattering pulling on even the thinnest wearer should he be so rash as to attempt buttoning the damn thing.

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  16. I've actually made a jacket using the first pattern and even with careful fitting it is crazy boxy. I used a heavy-ish wool and it ended us being a good winter layering piece but I do suspect that my boyfriend only wears it because it was made by me ;p. As others have mentioned above, I would recommend lowering the stance a lot if you do use this pattern. Personally I think the other one is a better look for you.

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  17. I prefer the first one for a wool jacket. If you were making a summer jacket the second would be a better choice but for winter the first is preferable.

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    1. I agree with you. You need a more boxy jacket wear over a sweater or sweater vest. Clearly both are nice

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  18. I like the first one. It just seems to suit you better.

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  19. I'm Team Muslin #1. The sleeve is absolutely divine on that one from the front.

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  20. SeamsterEast at aolOctober 9, 2016 at 8:36 AM

    More random thoughts of whatever value or not. The six photos with padded shoulders don't somehow "feel right" for a blazer or sport coat. The natural shoulder coats seem "more athletic", with more movement implied of the wearer. The padded shoulders seem more posed, perhaps more poised, certainly more static. = = = = = The dark Brooks Brothers coats -- and most of the pattern envelopes -- have a slightly pinched in waist and may look better for it. The blazer's naval uniform heritage probably suggests a closer fit through the waist. Not sure how a sport coat of Donegal wool might look with a waist more than slightly tailored. To my eye, and I have no idea why I think this way, a sport coat seems day wear and mostly outdoors, with an implied chance of continuing into the evening. The sport coat's second cousin is a shooting jacket. Just my random thoughts, written on the wind and running water.

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  21. From my European viewpoint I vote for the fitted version.

    But I do not see many sack styles here anyway... in suits only on more or less overweight men, which you are surely not.

    So my viewing habits might be completely different from yours. :-)

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  22. Both muslins have their pros and cons. I like the front of the first and the back of the second.

    Just chiming in to say that I think the extremely fitted moment in style is about to run out of oomph, so you might consider going with something a tad more classic. Not boxy, never boxy on your figure, but not super tight either - not with the time and money you'll be putting into a nice blazer.

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  23. They are both lovely. They both suit you well however it sounds to me like the boxy one isn't quite what you like. So go with the second more fitted. The more fitted "feels" more modern in my opinion

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  24. I like the more tailored look and broader shoulders of the 2nd muslin. They both look nice, but I would love to see your talents applied to the more tailored of the two!

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  25. The first one has less drag lines and only needs small shoulder pads to make the back drag lines disappear. I agree with others about TV personalities wearing jackets that are 2 sizes too small. They button the top button and you can hear the seams screaming! Nothing wrong with having room enough to move and sit and look comfortable for the sake of fashion. last season poor Tim Gunn wore gorgeous suit jackets that were so tight and had weird should pads...so glad he is wearing better fitting ones this season.

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    1. I so agree with you mrsmole, those over fitted suits on those Hollywood youngsters remind me of your brides wanting a sausage casing for a wedding gown! And poor Tim Gunn becoming a professorial fashion victim of the same overly-fitted suit look! Every guy needs a suit that allows him to move comfortably, sitting, walking, and dancing!

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  26. Without reading all the comments... I think they both suit you very well! They have different feels, obviously. I think you could choose either one!

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  27. I like the second one with more shape to it. The back view is what sold me.

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  28. I like the first one better. From the front it looks like a really good fit. The back needs a little work or shoulder pads or something as mrsmole says above. The second suit looks too 70's with the wide lapels. I'm not a fan of that or the too tightly fitted jacket/suits. It looks like someone has borrowed their little brother's jacket. I can't think how that would be very comfortable.

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  29. I think it is up to personal taste of every individual! This is definitely evident based on the comments you received. One of them truly resonated with me and my taste...with you body type, you'll look good in both. However, I feel a suit should have a fitted jacket what a sport coat could be either. My preference of the muslins on you would be the fitted.

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  30. How will you be wearing your future jacket? The first would allow for layering sweater, hoodie, nice for that. Looks more casual & versatile for jeans, variety of pants. The second would be stylin' with matching pants, crisp shirt & tie.

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  31. You will look best wearing what you like best. I know that was not the question. Were there no jacket patterns in your new Japanese book?

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  32. I like the fitted one best. But I suggest: shorten the fitted muslin by 1" to 2", lower the roll line, and narrow the lapels. The roll line on the boxier muslin also needs to be lower.

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  33. The floral jacket looks like a very good fit. Nice size lapels and jacket length. Personally, for a suit on a slim guy like yourself a very slight nip in the waist looks very sophisticated. Show off that fine figure.

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  34. My 2 cents. I think muslin #1 is the most "valuable" style to have in your sewing arsenal. Why??? Because it's suitable for any fabric, especially plaids and stripes which flow uninterrupted from shoulder to hem. You're already off to a great start. The shoulder line looks great and you don't even have any shoulder pads in yet. I'll be interested to see which path you take.

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    1. Drooling over your fur backpack.

      It's high art!

      Delete
  35. I vote for the first one. The lines fit you well.

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  36. I like the front of the first muslin, the back of the second one. It may be the fabric, but the front of the first seems to lay much smoother, however it seems rather large in the back. Now off to read the other comments.

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  37. I like both but I like the collar/lapels of the first one and the slim fit of the second one the best.

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  38. Peter, you have the trim physique to rock the nipped-waist European-style jackets -- I'm looking at Agnes B and Brooks Brothers, which are close-fitted but not undersized. I think that look demands two buttons, which would require changing the front and lapels of either muslin.

    Part of the secret of still being able to move in them is smaller, English-style armholes, which allow a fuller range of mobility for the sleeves. I find the second muslin very promising (both front and back views) if you were to apply that change to it.

    That said, the trim look calls for a contemporary (or at least not obviously vintage/retro) fabric -- the synthetics other commenters have complained of, or a less-traditional wool, or it still looks great in black. I'm not sure whether you have a stashed fabric in mind or will be shopping for this; I'd certainly weigh that fabric choice in the sack versus nipped decision.

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  39. I like the jacket that is more tailored and fitted. You look great in both actually.

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  40. I much prefer the second one, narrower lapels notwithstanding, but just watch the shape of the waist nipping, which is a tad higher than the modern eye can handle, given men's waists are now defined as below the navel, not at the narrowest part of the torso.

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  41. Put me down for muslin #1. The top button on the 3 button sacks are rolled over. You only button the bottom two. The Brooks Brothers sack has that roll. It's hard to see on the navy. I lived through the 70s and that fitted style was never my fav. You can pull it off but don't skip the flare pants to complete the total look!

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  42. I like Simplicity 9598. Something about the side panel, which would allow you to build in some shaping easily, and of course, the collar. Check the fit of the sleeves, which may be a little low on the shoulder.

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  43. I'll vote for the second, but maybe with a few tweaks (thin the lapels, maybe drop the break a little, make the hem a little less rounded, maybe go for double vents)

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  44. Definately the second. You'll be on trend too judging from all the fitted wool suits at the Bill Murray tribute we saw last night. Aziz Ansari's jacket was reeeeally fitted.

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