The Blair jacket from Homer+Howells is as versatile as they come. Depending on the fabric choice, Blair can be a coat, a duster, a blazer or a dress, and even a shirt, too. My choice for my first version is a khaki green linen duster for spring and summer. Winter is over, there’s light ahead!
Blair comes with two views, one duster and one blazer length. The long version has inseam pockets. Both versions are unlined and have dropped shoulders, a slim notched collar and double breasted fastening. The shaping comes from french darts. On the back there is a double yoke and a shirt pleat. The design sits comfortably between an oversized shirt and a more formal jacket, and the result is both relaxed, modern, fun and classic.
View B, the short version, is a cute jacket and definitely something I’ll look into later. There are several versions of Blair available if you search the #hhblair hashtag on Instagram. The variety is inspiring, lots of both short and long Blairs in various iterations, a sleeveless one, too, and there is even one made up as a pyjama jacket – wow! I’d never thought of that.
The construction is a little unusual. One of the first steps is to attach the front facing before sewing the double yoke by using the burrito method (Closet Core Patterns has a great tutorial for this). When using the burrito method you enclose the raw edges of the front, back and yoke, and it leaves a clean finish. Homer+Howells have published a blog post with an alternative method if you work with heavy fabrics. After the yoke is finished, you go on to sew the notched collar to the front and yoke. Then you sew the side seams before you set in the sleeves. The edges here are finished by overlocker/serger or zigzag stitches on a regular sewing machine.
The instructions are very thorough and helpful. The sizing is great with loads of measurements, but I could go down a size, too, I think, or at least grade from a 10 at the bust to a 12 at the hip.
I have to admit that I’m not particularly fond of exposed edges in coats that are finished by overlocking only. They are more visible than edges inside a shirt or dress, and if you leave it on a hanger or chair, the inside doesn’t look as good as I’d like. Linings serve several purposes, among them is the ability to hide a multitude of sins, so I considered adding one. Then again, an unlined coat is lighter and more suitable for warm weather. I’ve missed having a lightweight spring/summer coat, and this gorgeous linen was perfect for it. So I decided against a lining and opted to band edge all visible edges instead.
To band edge, you need a lot of bias tape. This is of course available for purchase, but you can easily make a lot of it yourself, too. I made around 50 meters from a piece of floral cotton measuring approximately 1.40 x 1.40 meters. I used a tutorial from Megan Nielsen’s blog, and to tell you the truth, it IS a lot of bias tape to cut, sew and iron. It took probably at least around an hour and a half to make it, with the ironing as the most tedious part (using a bias folder gadget), but the upside is that you can use up fabrics that don’t quite fit in with the rest of your handmade wardrobe, like the one I used here.
I didn’t do proper Hong kong binding, I just folded the bias tape around the edge and stitched it down, also known as simple bias binding. Hong Kong bindings are a thing of beauty, but I just didn’t have the patience to do it this time. In more delicate fabrics, however, I definitely would do Hong Kong binding instead to reduce bulk and achieve a more refined result. Closet Core (again) has an excellent tutorial on various bias tape bindings.
I like patterned bias tapes because they are often easier to match to different colors than plain ones. I rarely wear very busy patterns, sweet florals or bright colors, but I still love a quick flash of color and print here and there. Adding bias tape to all those edges is a little more work than using an overlocker, but the finished garment gets so much better looking for it, so more and more often, I choose the longer road. Since I made bias tape in bulk, I have a lot of it left for other projects, too. That’s a win if you ask me.
The fabric is a lovely heavyweight linen I bought from Metermeter last spring, thinking of making a jacket of sorts. More and more often I find that the fabrics I buy for a particular season, but don’t get around to sew up, are great for getting started when the same season comes around next time. Does anyone else do this? My only regret is that I only bought three meters of it. I wish I’d had it in several other colors like black, dark navy and cream. Speaking of color: This is Green khaki is a particular shade of khaki that I find goes so well with so many other neutrals and colors. One of my favorite color combinations is in fact khaki, white and some bright red. I think I’ll pair this with a white shirt, faded denim, a red cross body bag and probably white sneakers when the weather allows it. What do you think, does it sound like a good idea?
This is my third Homer+Howells make in a row, and it didn’t disappoint. I am confident that this linen duster will get a lot of wear. I am very pleased with it, and I wouldn’t change anything about it, perhaps except for shaving a couple of centimeters from the sleeve length. I have many ideas of how to pair it with jeans, striped tops and casual footwear, or the occasional dress or skirt when we finally are allowed to go out and meet others again. That sounds brilliant, doesn’t it?
Pattern: Blair jacket from Homer+Howells
Size: UK12 (EU40/US8)
2.3 M heavyweight washed linen from Metermeter (in Denmark), sold out
6 corozo buttons
Interfacing for the collar and front facing
10-12 meters of homemade bias tape
Time: 1-2 days, including making the tape