Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Tale of Two Jackets

 I'm a fan of pieced work. I like wearing fleece jackets around the house. It seemed logical to piece a fleece jacket. I buy  fleece remnants to make hats and socks for Christmas. Sometime the fabric is too wonderful to be cut up for socks.  Sometimes it yodels, whistles and demands to be turned into a jacket.

 For jacket  number one, I had just a yard of a wonderful border print, and scraps of coordinating prints. It was 60 inches wide and could be cut  so the front and back of the jacket looked like related prints. I chose a very fitted pattern, with tight sleeves, reasoning that the stretchy fabric would make up for having to tug on the sleeves.  I learned two things right away. One is to choose a simple pattern; The second is to make sure the stretch goes from side to side, at least for the sleeves. I did not.

Books on sewing with polar fleece persuaded me that all was not lost, that I could cut in bits and pieces and zigzag them together, making a new fabric. This worked  just fine for the sleeves, but the shaping in the jacket body fought  me. When at long last I had the jacket almost right, I  wanted to shoot the author of the book. Her advice was to forget facings and make bindings for the sleeves, front edges and hems. When that was done, the neat  front neck edge wanted to flop. I let it, and stitched on an afterthought facing. This jacket should be called Rule breaker.

 Jacket number two was cut out recently, from two fabrics that had black backgrounds and colorful objects. I made sure the fabric all stretched the same way. I used prints in correlating colors. I used facings. I wanted it longer than the hip length pattern, and stitched on a 4 inch wide band. I should have sewn separate bands to the fronts and back, allowing for the swell of the hip. The pockets I cut out didn't work with the shorter length jacket, and the neckline seemed low. But the prints worked together. This is a sewing lesson called Think Before You Cut.

Two jackets are ready for closures of some sort. I may end up doing button loops. I'd like to do buttonholes, but the Artista is still intent on showing me who is boss. A book on sewing  with polar fleece  claims I can make a buttonhole just by sewing a skinny rectangle and slitting it. And you can.  I don't know how sturdy it would be. Another claims I should sew fake suede rectangles where I want the buttonholes, and sew a skinny rectangle inside it. On a test fabric, this looks likes bugs marching up the fabric. I'd feel happier with tiny zigzags, and the Artista looks at the buttonhole foot and just laughs. As finicky as it has been about how it is threaded and whether it will do a reverse stitch, I'm afraid to try.

I'm not even going to attempt a buttonhole of Jacket One. Jacket Two got a  buttonhole of the fleece  and straight stitch sort. I don't like it. I'll undo it and pray I come up with something reasonable.