“Whether or not God has kissed your brow, you still have to work. Without learning and preparation, you won’t know how to harness the power of that kiss.”

Twyla Tharp

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Quick & Easy Felt Jacket

I had no intention of buying cloth, or even making something for myself yesterday morning. Honestly! I was going to clean my house! I stopped by Fabric Fix in Manchester to check out wool for my daughter who wants me to make her a jacket and I want to work on it at my Sewing Camp at the end of this month.

But then.....

I saw lovely double sided fleece which would be perfect for this Marcy Tilton Vogue pattern I've had around for a few months. They had a beautiful pink, lime green, red, and taupe, all with black on the other side and for the incredible price of $8 a yard for 60" fabric! So, my plans went out the window. I bought the taupe and ran home to trim the pattern and run it up on the machine. Since it's fleece, it required no hems and no facings. You have to cut the fabric very evenly so I used a rotary cutter. The only seaming was on the shoulder, the side, and the sleeves. The fleece was so forgiving that everything just melted together.

The sleeve has an interesting detail. It's cut very wide at the upper sleeve and tapers as it goes down. To create the taper, you cut a dart out of the cloth, piece the cloth together and close the edges with a zig zag stitch (detail here). I don't really like the fit of the upper sleeve and will have to play with it if I make it again -- there is just too much fabric there. I'll either cut a smaller size, or try to find a way to take some of the excess out of the sleeve without spoiling the lines of the jacket -- suggestions welcome.

There are no buttons or other closures -- the collar folds down a couple of different ways. The sleeves are shortened by simply trimming away until they are the length you want. I trimmed away enough to make it bracelet length. Since the jacket isn't necessarily for very cold weather, I thought the shorter length showed off bracelets while balancing the wide upper sleeve so it didn't overwhelm me and just look too big.

The side also has some interesting detail, with the back cut longer than the front -- side view picture here.



I'd like to experiment with some of the other colors -- perhaps adding a pocket or two that are zig zagged on to carry over the theme from the sleeves. The pattern calls for some artistic needle felting that you can do as well.

Fun look for 2 hours and $13!!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Pure and Simple Coat

Well, the rain jacket is finished!

To refresh, the pattern is Louise Cutting's Pure and Simple coat. The pattern doesn't call for a lining, but since the weather is getting cooler and I was using a fabric that was suitable for a raincoat, I decided to line it. It was a bit tricky -- I don't have a lot of experience with linings (alright -- none!) and Louise is noted for finishing all of her seams and facings in really cool ways so the inside looks perfect. But, it got done, with Anne from Apple Annie pointing me in the right direction. I included a shot of the lining (below), which is a fuchsia silk print and there is a 1/2 inch piping of solid fuchsia. The fabric is a beautiful tightly woven, shiny cotton from Apple Annie Fabric.
One of the things I like about Louise Cutting is her detail. The body of the coat is in 3 sections so you can actually use three separate fabrics if you're brave. There is edgestitching above and below each of the horizontal seams, as well as both edgestitching and topstitching around the body of the coat and collar. The loop buttonholes on the pockets (which are built into one of the section seams) are a cool touch as well. I had to play a bit to make the loop as it called for making a tube, which you then turn right side out with rat tail inserted. But, my cloth was so inflexible that this proved impossible, so I turned under 1/4 inch on each side of the loop, folded in half lengthwise and topstitched. I've included a close up (albeit a bit fuzzy -- sorry!) of the pocket detail and the lining.

It was definitely a fun coat to make and a great way to practice your topstitching! It feels good on. It's boxy, but a bit narrow in the bottom so I think it would really be flattering on most body types, which is a good thing!

Of course I finished it today. Yesterday poured, and today it's sunny and seventy:) I wore it out anyway because I always wear what I make or buy within 24 hours. Some people never grow up!