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Samples For Threads

When designing and constructing jackets that will illustrate a magazine article, there is a certain level of anxiety that accompanies the project.  Most of my days in the studio are spent designing and testing new patterns or sewing up new clothes to hang in the booth and write about on the blog.  This is most enjoyable.  But, when you add to the task the expectation that the garment will be featured in a magazine and worn on a model who is not available for fittings, my stress level rises.

Such was the situation I found myself in this past May with a looming due date for Tabula Rasa Jacket (TRJ) samples that would illustrate a soft piecing article for Threads Magazine.  I had blocked out a couple weeks on my calendar to focus on the 3 different jackets and the accompanying step out samples.

My copy came on Saturday!

The materials had been gathered during our travels in the spring and they were so beautiful.  Some of my favorite fabric vendors helped me put together each fabric collection.  Special thanks to Laura Murray Designs, June Colburn, and Susan McCauley of Mekong River Textiles for their contributions and eye for color and texture.  The pressure escalated because I wanted to honor the materials in a beautiful way.

Each technique was tried and true.  You can read about foundation piecing and see the “Blue Geisha Jacket” and the cotton jacket “Inspired by Ruth” in previous blog posts.  Sashing and strip piecing jackets has been in my repertoire for many years, and yet the pressure mounted.

Designing in my messy studio.

Carrie was on vacation so I called upon my colleague Edye, who offered opinions, advice and photography.  She shot this photo as I fiddled with the design of the green jacket.  Once the designs were finalized I started sewing.  The sewing always feels like a relief after the indecision of the design process.

The Foundation pieced jacket.

Once the jackets were complete, I photographed them, wrapped them in tissue with descriptions taped to each package, and sent them off to Threads.  Make sure you check out this current fashion packed fall issue to see the lovely model and the colorful jackets.

The sheer strip piecing jacket.

I confess that I once forgot to photograph a jacket sample that had taken a couple weeks to complete for a Sew News article.  The box, with the jacket and sample step outs was shipped to Sew News, but the box got lost.  It was missing for several weeks.

The jacket that went missing!

Those were tense and worrisome weeks and I did not even have a photo for the shipper to track the contents.  It all turned out ok, but I learned how important it is to make a record of my work.

The gals who were at our Summer’s End Sew-In last Friday got to see these samples up close and personal.  We will have them on display in our booth at the Original Sewing and Quilt Expos in Schaumburg and Fredericksburg, so please stop by to see the details yourself.

Threads did a wonderful job editing and laying out the article so you can learn from these jackets and their technique samples.

The back of the sashed jacket.

There is also a nice web extra on Intriguing Details for Pieced Garments.  Hopefully it will inspire you to stitch up some of your stash into a TRJ.  Don’t forget, it will be a little stressful trying something new, but I cannot wait to see the softly pieced TRJs you create.

Happy Sewing, RAE


8 thoughts on “Samples For Threads

  1. I read the article as soon as the magazine arrived in my mailbox! It is very informative and I’m anxious to try piecing. The muslin of my Tabula Rasa jacket has been on my dress form since I made it in your class. It’s about time to shed my fear and make a pieced one.
    Thank you for the encouragement!

  2. LOVE the first and last jackets in the photos!! SO beautiful! I have many pieces of vintage Japanese kimono fabrics – now I know what I’ll make – one of these jackets!! Thank you for the heads up on the upcoming Thread’s issue too. Best, Ann in NC

  3. Congratulations, Rae, on a spectacular article in Threads. It is obvious that it took an enormous amount of work on your part, all to our advantage. Thank you for such an inspiring and creative publication. Seeing the photos in the large format of the magazine is an added plus. You are always on top of things!

  4. Love the Threads article!

    1. THanks everyone for your nice comments. It does look great and I am so glad it is inspiring you to sew! RAE

  5. I got my copy of Threads in yesterday’s mail and was thrilled to see and read your article; such an inspiration. I think, as always, that you did a fabulous job and the jackets are so beautiful. Congratulations!

  6. Hi Rae, I have lost weight and am down a size. I need to know how to change the darts. I made a jacket one size down without changing the darts. Something just doesn’t look right. Do you have a catalog for all your patterns? Nancy Fritz 979 Kensington NW, Grand Rapids MI 49534

    1. Hi Nancy,

      Why don’t you send me a photo of the mock up to and I will take a look. I will also send you a catalog but I am not sure it will help you, it is just a product flyer. RAE

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