Sewing For Kindergarten: Tiny Tailored School Blazer

girls hand tailored blazerMy kids go to private school so I don’t get to have so much fun sewing for them during the school year. Maybe a dress for the winter concert or a book bag. That’s about it!

This year I really wanted to be in Mie’s Sewing With Kindergarten Series. I was planning on making Gigi a backpack but we found one at The Gap she LOVED…

Sooooo I asked at her school if they would allow me to make a navy blazer that would go with her uniform and they said yes! Perfect!


SFK 14 participants

Before I get in depth about the making of this tiny tailored blazer, first I get to answer some fun questions Mie sent for me to answer. Here goes!

Is this your first time sending a child to kindergarten?

Oh Lord no! This is the fifth child doing kindergarten.  My five kids are so spread out in age that I’ve gone from being the super young 23 year old stepmom at the kindergarten gate to the 44 year old ‘older’ mom at the kindergarten pick up. And I’ve never been in a carpool either. That’s a lot of driving!

girls hand tailored blazerDid you feel like crying or celebrating?

I felt sort of sad all week after Gigi first started kindergarten. I miss her! But my house is a lot cleaner.

What type of school will your child attend?

My two youngest kids go to a private school. The classes are very small, the work is very rigorous and the children are expected to be respectful and courteous. And of course there are uniforms, as you can see, and the shoes have to be black or white. Not a lot of room for creativity in the fashion dept., but it makes life simple in the mornings.

What was your own first day of kindergarten like?

I lived in an old neighborhood near downtown Los Angeles and our school was directly across the street. I didn’t want to go to kindergarten and can clearly remember my mom saying goodbye and walking away across the playground and across the street to our house. I wanted to go home with her so much. I can’t remember what I wore but it was probably some Garanimals from Sears! Or some Osh Kosh overalls. I had a pair of denim striped overalls I wore all the time. I was a little tomboy and hated dresses.

girls hand tailored blazerI had some navy wool gifted to me and some Trina Turk crazy silk print bought downtown for two bucks a yard that would be perfect for the lining. Crazy prints are perfect for linings. All business on the outside, party on the inside! The pattern I used here was one from Burdastyle, the Legacy Jacket, and the fit was perfect. I made a muslin but didn’t need to because the size 110, equivalent to a size 5 fit her perfectly.

But a word to the wise about Burdastyle patterns. Be prepared for only a few paragraphs and no diagrams in the instructions. For those used to all the hand holding of the PDF Indie patterns, this may come as a shock. Be prepared to have a good, reliable sewing book. I knew I was going to try some tailoring techniques, not mentioned in the pattern intructions, so I used the tailoring chapter from my Reader’s Digest Complete Guide To Sewing Book.

girls hand tailored blazergirls hand tailored blazer

girls hand tailored blazerIMG_7093I like Burdastyle patterns because they DON’T have added seam allowance. I cut them out and trace them. This line becomes my stitching line. It allows for more precision when basting and sewing together. I then add seam allowances after I trace the stitching line. I can make the seam allowances as small or as big as I want. For instance, 1/4 inch is all that’s needed at a neck seam.canvas3I had some hair canvas left from another project and wanted to give the jacket some structure. So I tried some tailoring techniques from my Reader’s Digest Sewing book. I hand stitched the hair canvas to the blazer front, back and collar. Then I made some half moon sticthes on the collar to help it roll better. I didn’t do a perfect job, and I can see a few of the stitches through the jacket pieces. They mostly disappeared after a good pressing. One tip when using hair canvas, it’s more supple if you cut out your pieces on the bias grain. I learned that from examining photos of an YSL couture jacket taken apart.haircanvas haircanvas2I tried to do some pad stitching on the lapels. This is pretty messy looking! Better luck next time, Justine.padsI made some shoulder pads as well. From some batting pieces.lining

For the school patch I cut the embroidery off one of her big sisters old shirts and used the satin stitch to sew it on.
I sewed in the lining by hand. I think it’s easier than machine stitching anyway. There is a one inch pleat at the center back neckline for ease of movement.blazerpocketsI hand stitched the pockets too. It was a fun sewing experiment, but a lot more time consuming than just following the Burdastyle directions. It was good practice for making blazers. I’ve always wanted to make myself one, and feel more confident to try after this project.

What about you? Have you ever made any hand tailored pieces or tried any of the techniques?

Share Button


  1. says

    Wowza. So cute. Definitely quality over quantity! What a nice way to dress up the uniform (same plaid as my kids school by the way).

  2. Mie @ Sewing Like Mad says

    STUNNING Justine. I was hoping you would tell us about the sewing process…so thank you so much! I LOVE this blazer and Gigi looks crazy cute in it. And what a great idea to have a lining-party inside – genius!!
    Thank you SO much Justine!

  3. Veronica says

    This looks amazing, Justine! I’m not sure I have the patience for all that hand sewing, but Gigi’s blazer certainly looks terrific because of it!

  4. says

    Hi Justine. I appreciate the detail you are providing on how to hand tailor our pieces. It’s because of your recent post about hand finishing the boucle style skirt that I have just hand finished the arm and neck facings on a blouse. I just made the same blouse with a lace yoke and hand finished it all and I’m very happy with the result. Please continue these posts.

    I have a question about your method for tracing and adding the seam allowance for the Burda patterns. Can you provide how you do this? Any tips to making that process time efficient?

    • says

      I print out the PDF, not the magazine patterns, and trace it to muslin or fashion fabric. Then I add the seam allowances. 
      I’m glad you benefitted from  my tutorial!

  5. Olga says

    A perfect blazer, Justine! Love it. I never thought of tracing the pattern onto the fabric and then adding SAs. Brilliant. I always traced and added SAs to the paper pattern. This way is so much better. I always leran something from you. 🙂

  6. Fashionista says

    About 100 years ago when I was in school my mother made my uniforms (we had a blouse and pinafore arrangement) and knitted the required sweaters. As my sister and all my cousins also went to the same school there was a lot of uniform hand-me-arounds, all uniforms made by our mothers. The drapers carried the correct fabric for the uniforms for all the schools in town. It is just what you did.

    In Australia all schools, public/private/independent, wear uniforms. My children used to have occasional “casual days” where they were allowed to wear street clothes to school, it was usually tied to some sort of fund raising/awareness raising event. The drama that went along with choosing what to wear to school! I was relieved it only happened a couple of times a year.

  7. says

    Simply fabulous Justine. I would be tempted to wear this blazer inside out to show off the cool lining!

  8. Judy says

    This blazer is so gorgeous.. It looks perfect with G’s uniform.. and I can tell she loves it..
    So hard to believe she is in kindergarten already.. Time is flying, isn’t it?
    Cute, cute photos of Gigi.
    Happy sewing.

    • says

      Thanks Judy! Time does fly so fast! It seems that before you can blink, they’re grown. She was writing her ABC’s tonight!