Geisha Jacket – The Appliqués

The foundation pieced Tabula Rasa Jacket I started on Labor Day features four appliqués cut from a Japanese scarf.  Today we will look at the creation of these appliquéd sections as a follow up to the Sewing Play on Labor Day post about the jacket’s design and fabric placement.

Here is the scarf with the other fabrics

Here is the scarf with the other fabrics

 

The Japanese scarf was purchased to complement the other fabrics in this jacket.  I was most drawn to the faces and as I began the serious design work, I found the shade of navy in the scarf’s background distracting when mixed with the jacket’s other muted colors.  The challenge was to keep the jacket soft while appliquéing the faces with light backgrounds to the shooting star jacquard.

Isolating each applique

Isolating each applique

 

The scarf’s plissé-like texture was both drapey and stretchy.  Since there were no extra geishas for sample making, I used the navy background to test some raw edge appliqué techniques. I wanted to stabilize as little of the appliqué as possible to maintain the soft drape of the jacket.

Preparing the sample with fusible interfacing strips

Preparing the sample with fusible interfacing strips

 

First, I fused two different strips of tricot interfacing to the back of the scarf, creating 2 sides of a triangular sample.  I left one side untreated.  After cutting out the sample, I pinned it to a scrap of the shooting star jacquard.  Along the 3 sides I tested several stitches that have worked in other raw edge appliqué projects.  My favorite was the machine blanket stitch along the side interfaced with soft stretch tricot.  But before I made a final decision, I roughed up the sample a bit to confirm that the stitches would securely anchor the appliqué, even if it was distressed.

Completed samples

Completed samples, the left side is best!

After cutting a number of ½” wide interfacing strips, I pressed the interfacing around the edges of each appliqué that would be placed on the jacket’s back.  My plan was to stitch them on first  so that I could master the process for applying the front appliqués.  Next I carefully cut out the appliqués for the back and pinned them onto the appropriate jacket sections.

 

On a very small edge of the white background that was cut away, I tested thread colors.  A blue and beige that matched the colors of the shooting star jacquard backgrounds were the best choice.

The back of the scarf prepared to be cut out.

The back of the scarf prepared to be cut out.

 

While I wanted to start sewing immediately, I took a short break and came back to the sewing machine fresh and ready to carefully stitch around the geishas.  I set the machine to the desired stitch with the chosen thread and put it on a very slow speed so I would have to work slowly and carefully.

See the stitching up close.

See the stitching up close.

 

The results were delightful.  As always, a little bit of patient sample making yielded success.  Planning and executing the four soft but sturdy appliqués was enough work for one sewing play day.  I departed the studio very optimistic that this was destined to be a terrific jacket.

The first completed applique for the upper back.

The first completed applique for the upper back.

 

Have you had good luck making samples for new projects?  Have you tried raw edge collage with soft fabrics?  Please share your experiences with everyone in the Fit for Art Community!

 

Happy Sewing, RAE

One Response to “Geisha Jacket – The Appliqués”

  1. Marijo Rymer September 30, 2015 at 12:15 am #

    Fabulous Rae!

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