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Kathy’s Award Winning TRJ

This week we invited our friend Kathy Levy, a retired dressmaker and alterations expert from upstate NY, to write about a wonderful Tabula Rasa Jacket she created for one of the Threads Magazine Challenges.  Her ensemble was given the Most Innovative Use of Lace Award and featured in a 2013 issue of Threads Magazine.  Enjoy her wonderful description of this fun jacket.

The jacket from the front with matching blouse and pants.

“When Threads Magazine announced that the 2012 Challenge for members of the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals would center around lace, I knew I would enter. I own a vast collection of lace, both new and vintage, which I have acquired from eBay, vintage shops, friends, family and leftovers from bridal alterations and christening gowns.

Original lace

I decided to create a picture composed of bits of lace and place it on the back of a jacket. The back of the Tabula Rasa Jacket was the perfect canvas because it gave me the boundaries of the back seams and it was a workable size for the design. I had used the pattern before so I already had the fit correct. I felt I was far ahead of the game since did not have to concern myself about making fitting adjustments as I went along. The pattern goes together quickly which was a bonus.

Planning and cutting out the jacket.

As I played with the bits of lace a picture began to form, but I needed a background. Brown wool tweed was my choice for the jacket, but I wanted a colorful background for the lace. Since my design had an Asian flare I pulled kimono fabric scraps from my stash and created the essence of garden, mountains and sky. A sun was added along with the allusion of clouds. A long section of dark crinkled kimono fabric served as the trunk of the tree and some low branches. Petals and leaves from lace formed the long weeping branches and leaves. Many of the laces contained flowers of various sorts which now lead up to the pagoda which was created by a large corner of lace and two long swirls. The lace fence is surrounded by more flowers and set on a frayed piece of green kimono fabric which appears as grass.

Lace work up close.

When satisfied with the design, the kimono fabrics were hand stitched into place as were all the lace elements. A piece of dark brown tulle was laid over the entire design to dull the contrast of the white lace on the darker background.

The finished back of the jacket

As the jacket was assembled a flat piping was inserted around the main back piece to frame the design. The band was embellished with random cuts of kimono fabric and lace which wrapped to the inside of the band and was also covered with tulle. The lining’s brown, black, gray and white geometric pattern compliments the colors of the tweed fabric. A large coat hook sewn to the inside of the band at waist level discretely serves as the jacket’s closure.”

Doesn’t this great jacket inspire you to try this technique?  What a great project for our Sew! Let’s Get Dressed Retreat.  Sign up for a day or two so you can have some focused sewing and design time.

Have you made a unique TRJ you would like us to feature?  Send us a photo and a few paragraphs and you might see yourself in a future Sew! Let’s Get Dressed blog post.

Happy Sewing!  Rae and Kathy




4 thoughts on “Kathy’s Award Winning TRJ

  1. What a stunning, elegant jacket
    Thanks for sharing it with us = great inspiration

    1. I agree, I want to try the technique myself.

  2. Beautiful jacket. Made in 2013 and timeless.

    1. You are certainly right, classic style, classic fabrics, easy and comfortable fit.

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