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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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