Sewing new summer clothes is high on my list this time of year. It seems that my summer garments need to be replaced or refreshed because they are washed so often. I take this as a license to purchase light summer fabrics whenever I find them.
Two summers ago while visiting my favorite fabric store in Ravel France, I found this refreshing cotton voile. It is rare to find voile in such a dramatic print, so I purchased some for a new summer Tabula Rasa Jacket (TRJ).
Last year I washed it and began planning an unlined, breezy topper. Because the print was large, I wanted to break it up with solid side panels and a narrow band finish. I even found some silk in the stash that matched the fabric. The two pieces hung on my dress form the entire summer but were never cut and constructed. In the fall I folded them up and put them away, retrieving them for further consideration this March.
On further reflection, I pondered the choice of the bright yellow/green silk to accompany the red print. It definitely worked, but I decided that the brightness of the resulting jacket might mean I would not wear it often.
I returned to the stash for a more mellow companion piece. There were lots of options including some lovely glass buttons Anna (my daughter) gave me for Christmas one year. Now I wanted the new fabric to complement the buttons and the print!
Each option had its pluses and minuses:
This was a great color match, but the fabric was a bit to heavy and there was not enough of the purple.
This grey coordinated but did not energize the fabric or the buttons.
The cotton eyelet and silk noile took the print in an entirely different color direction, but were not luminous enough.
Carrie brought me this piece of silk ikat from India and it was quite interesting, but subtle, allowing both the voile and the buttons to shine.
Making the jacket was quick and easy when compared to the design process. My TRJ pattern was opened up about 1” around the neckline and the entire jacket was extended about 4 inches. Fussy cutting the fabric allowed me to position my favorite flowers judiciously. I cut a long bias strip of the ikat to use as the front band and interfaced the band only at the button openings.
I choose French seams for the construction since serger finishes would have shown through the voile. I added a selvage edge cuff under the sleeve hem to support the sleeve and use the silk in one additional place on the jacket.
Finally, I recycled a too-short tank top that was the perfect color green, adding fabrics to lengthen the top and complement the light and airy TRJ.
This past weekend I wore it to an outdoor wedding and I felt great in it. I know I will enjoy this fun jacket on many a hot summer day for years to come.
Do you have beloved fabric that is languishing in your stash? Find some companion fabric, trim, or buttons and bring it to life to brighten up your summer. Or bring it to our August retreat, and we can design it together.
Happy Sewing, RAE