Sewing a coat from a quilt is quite on trend this spring. Even the New York Times is talking about it. Fit for Art did not want to fall behind, but we already have lots of fun quilted Tabula Rasa Jackets in our closets. So when my friend Sally asked me to make her a Tabula Rasa Jacket from a vintage quilt, I said yes, of course. First I began saving quilted jacket styles on our Quilting Ideas Pinterest Page.
Get the Quilt Ready
The quilt was in pretty good shape but needed to be freshened up. I washed it on a sunny day early in March and hung it in the sun to dry. The white sections definitely brightened up and some of the spots and yellowing faded.
Sally is quite small, so I knew that a jacket could be cut from the best sections of the 70 X 70 inch quilt.
What made this quilt special was the contrasting spring colors, the matching green backing and the striped border with pieced corners. Two of the corners were faded and worn, but the other two well maintained corners were slated for the front openings.
Get the Pattern Ready
Sally’s Tabula Rasa Jacket pattern had already been lengthened for a previously made duster length jacket. It seemed logical to attach the band to the front pattern to allow the striped edge corner to be featured without cutting the entire band separately. The coat was to have a wide overlap and could easily be made with a shawl collar using the quilt’s finished edge as the edge of each front.
Because the band had to be cut straight while the front of the jacket curves away toward the shoulder, a dart into a seam was planned to attach the band around the remaining front to the back. This technique is not in a variation yet, but it works well to create a rolled back continuous neckline with minimal extra bulk in the neck area.
Add Fabric and Notions for Details
Inseam pockets were cut from a closely matching fabric and inserted between the front and side panel. The seams were bound using the method we recommend for a reversible quilted jacket in our Quilting Tips Book. The paisley cotton bound the seams decoratively so when the seam shows, such as at the rolled center back and the turned back cuffs, it looks great.
The jacket’s owner has a fabulous collection of buttons and these pink ones were the perfect accent for this fanciful coat. They are purely decorative, strategically placed on the green stripe. Large plastic snaps are hidden inside so the coat will close when she needs to be buttoned up. Read more about her buttons in the previous post Button Quandries.
Then Make Another One!
This coat looks just like spring! The colors have an appealing dusty vintage patina and it was easily crafted into a fun coat for cool spring days. Sally has a couple similar quilts in beige, brown and red. Perhaps they will become a quilted fall Tabula Rasa Jacket… stay tuned!
Do you have an old quilt that will make a fun Tabula Rasa Jacket? Wash it first, assess it for wear, place your pattern to honor the design, and take advantage of the quilt’s highlights. If there are only small portions of quilt available, make a vest instead. It is the perfect project for a rainy spring day.
Stay Well and Sew Happy, RAE