We have a handful of quilted jacket samples that draw oohs and ahhs at every show, folks wishing to buy or make. So, Fit for Art is creating a series of directions for “Specialty Quilted Jackets” that provide step-by-step instructions to replicate some of those admired jackets. Currently we have two specialty directions available, for the Flower Garden reversible quilted jacket and for Vines & Leaves, made with Cherrywood fabrics. Next up to add to the series is Fan-Tabulous! (click on link to see it in our photo gallery), a jacket that Carrie created for a Hoffman Challenge in 2011. It was the first sewing challenge Carrie had ever entered and she was excited to have her entry chosen to travel with one of that year’s Hoffman challenge exhibits. Here is a little preview on how it was created.
Most of the fabrics in this jacket came from that year’s Hoffman challenge – the main challenge fabric is featured on the front and sleeves, and the coordinating fabrics are featured in the yoke, fan motif and pockets, and lining. The only exceptions are the “solid” purple, which is a quilting cotton, and the binding, which was a scrap of silk ikat from Mekong River Textiles.
Carrie used the basic Tabula Rasa Jacket pattern with the lantern sleeve and cuff from Sleeve & Cuff Variations for the TRJ. The front and back pattern pieces were split to create a yoke. What makes the jacket so striking are two unusual techniques – the woven lattice used in the yoke and the fan shape featured on the back and pockets.
Carrie found the woven technique featured on the yoke in a book called Quilted Elegance by Rami Kim (American Quilter’s Society 2009). Kim describes it as “weaving with wrapped strips”; her beautiful samples are executed in silk, but it worked equally well, if with less sheen, in quilting cotton. Carrie chose 3 contrasting Hoffman fabrics; a light and dark purple are used for the center strips, and green for the wrapping strips. Each center strip is cut 1¼” wide and is finished with two 1” wide wrapping strips, using a ¼” seam allowance. Carrie also used a couple of these wrapped strips on the sleeves to transition between the sleeve and the lantern cuff.
Carrie traced her yoke patterns (front left, front right, and back) onto lightweight fusible interfacing, then cut out the pieces with an extra 1” on all sides of the pattern. Working on the ironing board, the strips were woven at 45-degree angles using a simple basket weave (one over, one under) on top of the fusible interfacing. After completing each yoke section, the woven strips were fused to the interfacing. Carrie quilted each yoke section by topstitching along the middle of every strip with a decorative thread. Finally, she stitched around the perimeter of each yoke section just inside the cutting line before cutting off the excess.
The fan motif was inspired by the Japanese feel of the Hoffman challenge print. Carrie referred to an old book in Rae’s library by Jean Wells, Fans: A Collection of Quilt Designs and Inspirations (C & T Publishing 1987), for guidance in creating a fan pattern. The fan blades were sewn together by machine, then the entire fan was hand appliqued onto the back of the jacket. Carrie then topstitched each seam between the blades in gold thread to better secure the fan to the back.
The frame and ribs are gold trims hand couched onto the surface of the back. She used the same fan pattern to create the pockets, lined them with a solid fabric, topstitched the seams between the blades, and then topstitched the finished pockets onto the jacket as a patch pocket.
If you are interested in replicating all or some of this jacket design, look for Fit for Art’s Fan-tabulous specialty quilted jacket directions to come out later this summer. In the meantime, we’d love to see photos of some of your artful Tabula Rasa Jacket creations! Please send them to us in an e-mail or post them on our Facebook page.
Happy Sewing, Carrie