We are getting ready to attend the annual conference of our professional association, the Association of Sewing & Design Professionals. This year it is being held in Vancouver (Canada) where it looks to be a good bit cooler and rainier than home. Two new Rain or Shine Variations pieces I’ll be packing in my bags will do double duty for me as they are both reversible, the “Seeing Double Mulberry Shirt” and a water resistant raincoat. Today I’m going to focus on the blouse, saving the “Two-sided Travel Raincoat” for another post.
This shirt came about after realizing that I had two light weight shirting fabrics in my stash that go together perfectly and that they’d make a great reversible sample. I purchased the mulberry dobby cotton a few years ago at Mulberry Silks and Fine Fabrics in Carrboro, NC because I loved the color; the dobby is itself two-sided, one side being the mulberry color with white dots and the reverse a lighter shade with dark dots. Rae purchased the floral Liberty of London cotton lawn for me on a recent trip to England.
Rain or Shine Variations for the Tabula Rasa Jacket includes directions for making a completely reversible Rain or Shine jacket or shirt (page 15 of the instruction book). I chose the funnel neck option to keep my neck warm in cool weather. The basic steps for any reversible Rain or Shine top or coat, whether a jewel neck or funnel neck, with a collar or hood, are the same:
- Cut out two complete sets of pattern pieces, except facings, one in each fabric.
- Use the facing pattern to cut out one or two sets of front and back interfacings to support the closure and shoulders. Fuse or sew the interfacing to the wrong side of whichever set of front and back pieces you’ve decided to put it on, or onto both for added support.
- Assemble each layer of the jacket completely following the rain or shine construction steps.
- Join the two layers along the center front and neck in the same way you would sew in the facing or a lining.
- Hem the sleeves by pulling both sleeve layers out through the unhemmed jacket and stitching them right sides together. This is kind of tricky, so you may want to look at the detailed instructions in the Sidebar “Making a Reversible Rain or Shine Jacket”.
- To hem the top, turn the jacket wrong side out and sew the layers together along the hem, leaving an opening. Pull the top right side out through the opening and slipstitch the opening closed.
This shirt features a modesty panel so I can wear it as a blouse, buttons and loops, and flat piping made from the reverse side of the dobby fabric. The challenge with this sample came in figuring out how to insert the modesty panel and loops at the same time as the flat piping. The solution we worked out was to baste the piping to one layer (the Liberty floral) and baste the modesty panel and loops to the other layer (the dobby shirting) before joining the two layers.
Take care to place the loops carefully and to choose two sets of buttons that are close in size and are relatively flat; two sets of thick or domed buttons, or buttons with shanks, would seem awfully bulky. Here you can see the buttons close up.
To take full advantage of the complementary fabrics, we made the sleeves a few inches longer than wrist length and inserted more flat piping, so I can turn up a lovely contrasting cuff on either side.
Have you made a reversible garment? What special techniques did you use? We’d love to see your samples, so send a photo to us or post it on our Facebook page.
Happy Sewing! Carrie