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Band Variations call for Creative Closures

You will get a lot of mileage out of Band Variations for the TRJ!  This set of variation ideas, patterns and templates provides many ways to alter the look of a Tabula Rasa Jacket by changing just the front band.  You can explore photos of Band Variation options in our photo gallery and video trunk show, or by searching our blog archive, where you will find lots of detailed instructions in addition to the pretty photos.

This post celebrates the addition of Band Variations as a digital pattern from Fit for Art, so you can download the patterns and instruction book to get going right away.  We have updated the instruction book for this release and added several direct links to samples and articles in the photo gallery and blog archive to inspire you!  Find more details about our new digital patterns in Frequently Asked Questions.

Maple Leaf Vest - front
Maple Leaf Vest with selvage band

The Variations

The options in Band Variations go from very narrow to wide and full.  The narrower options include a simple binding and a pleated or ruffled edge.  These styles are especially appealing for warm weather as they allow the jacket to sit farther away from your neck.  We also like to use fabric selvage to create a lightweight single layer band when one of the fabrics in the jacket has an attractive selvage.

The fullest band options include a 3” or wider band that can be styled as a faux shawl collar, a ruched band, and a softly gathered or pleated collar finishing into a straight lower band.  These bands are especially great for cool weather as they can cozily cover the back of your neck.

In between, there are several options for moderately sized bands.  You can manipulate the width of the basic band as desired with our handy formula to make it just the right size to suit you or to accommodate an inseam buttonhole for a special button.  Add opportunities for more fabric play by facing a band with contrasting fabric and inserting piping.   Design a split shaped band to accent piecing of the jacket front or feature a special button.

Of course, fabric selections will also influence the resulting effect!  For example, a ruched band in cotton lawn produced a breezy summer top, while an extravagant silk ruffle created a much fuller neckline.

Creative Closures

Because several of the band variations aren’t suitable for a traditional sewn buttonhole, they offer an opportunity to incorporate unusual and creative closures.  Our instruction book offers suggestions and instructions for several possibilities:

  • A frog or other tied knot closure, whether purchased or handmade, sits on top of the garment and spans the space between fronts, holding them together.

    Mekong Comfort - front
    Mekong comfort features a gathered band and frog closure
  • Ties can be positioned on the inside or outside of the garment and can be made from a fabric tube or with purchased trim, ribbon or cord.  Make them long enough for a big bow or short enough to just knot.  Add decorative beads and baubles to the ends of the ties for extra weight and emphasis.

    Handloom Batik Foundation Piecing
    Foundation pieced cotton jacket with binding and ties
  • Button loops can also be positioned inside where they barely show, or on the outside of the jacket. They can be crafted to accommodate the tiniest of buttons or buttons too large for a sewn buttonhole.  Loops may also be made from fabric tubes that repeat one of the fabrics in the jacket, or with purchased trim, ribbon or cord.

    Sashed cotton with split shaped band and button loop
  • Inseam buttonholes are another great option for buttons too large for a typical sewn buttonhole. The opening can sit discreetly in a band so its barely noticeable, or can be a very visible feature with contrasting fabric.  Just remember to make the band itself wider than the hole needed to accommodate your buttons!

    Tree of Life Woodcut - front
    Tree of Life cotton jacket with inseam buttonholes and shawl collar

We’ve included a few photos of these bands and closures here in the post, but you’ll find many more samples to inspire you in our photo gallery, so browse through it.  Look also at the Rain or Shine variation samples as we frequently use loops or ties to close that center front.  You’ll notice that we often combine Band Variations with Sleeve & Cuff Variations or Swing Variations to create unique combinations; these patterns are also now available as digital downloads from our website.

We would love to see your creative closures, too!  Send us a photo or post it on social media with our hashtags #fitforartpatterns, #tabularasajacket, and #bandvariations.  You can inspire me and Rae and our entire community!

Happy Sewing, Carrie

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