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Daily Archives: February 8, 2018

the striped jacket

I have always had a thing for stripes. Talk about charming and interesting – and don’t get me started on the potential for playing with directions and angles and placement. Stripes are one of those prints that always catch my eye (along with gingham and florals), and over the years I’ve logged hundreds of hours making garments using striped fabric. Most have been successful, like today’s jacket, and some have been massive disappointments (I still cringe when I think about this dress). One of my all-time favorite things ever is this skirt I designed a few years ago. Essentially, It’s just a half circle skirt with pleats that I separated into sections to create the stripes. So striped fabric doesn’t always have to be something you buy – you can absolutely create it yourself. At the end of this post, I’ll include some photos of a few things from the archives that are great examples of that. But first, back to the reason we’re here today: the black and white striped jacket.

I mentioned last week that I’m currently working on a group of garments that are all black and white. The collection is just about finished, and with only two exceptions, it is exactly what I planned – and this jacket is one of those exceptions. After cutting a black and white striped dress, I had some fabric left over. I’m making a concerted effort to use every inch of my fabrics, and when I saw what I had left to work with it came to me that this jacket would be a perfect use for it.

Also, side note: the black and white striped dress is the other exception. It turned out to be a disaster with a broken invisible zipper and a so-so fitting bodice. I scrapped the bodice entirely, but I saved the skirt so I was able to turn a negative into a positive, and the skirt is a great basic. I’ll probably get more use out of the skirt than I would have the dress, so it worked out. But then I had a group of separates and no dresses, so I added a white linen shirtdress to the lineup and called it good. I’ll probably have the collection finished in about a week or so. Finally, yay!

I post progress pictures on Instagram a lot, and when I posted a shot of the front of the jacket last month, someone asked me what view of the pattern it was, or how I knew to cut it like this. The answer is that there is no “view” for this jacket – I just knew it would work. The jacket is designed in sections which is a great canvas for something like this, and it’s also a great showcase for embroidery (you saw that in its sister jacket in December). That’s the thing with patterns: look at them less for what’s presented to you on the envelope and more with an eye for what you can do with it. This pattern is also a great opportunity to mix prints together. Pair a stripe with a floral or go with a solid and a coordinating print. Another option is something like view B, with the same fabric in a different scale. So, a larger scale eyelet for the middle pieces and a smaller scale eyelet for the yokes and lower bands. Instant interest!

I cut the front, back, and sleeves on the bias, and the yokes and lower sleeve and jacket pieces are all cut on the crosswise grain. The front band is cut on the straight of grain. This fabric is something I found at Ikea of all places (happened to see it when I was there for a couple lamps and storage boxes), and it’s 100% cotton duck. It would also be great in home dec applications, but there’s no finish on the fabric and it’s not stiff or scratchy – making it just as useful for certain garments. I never considered shopping the home dec department for fabrics until I was in college. A girl came to tailoring class one day with her project, and she was using the most gorgeous yellow and white damask that she’d gotten at from an interiors showroom. It was soft and all cotton, and seeing that jacket was all it took for me to look at fabrics differently. Now, not all home dec stuff will work for garments, but a lot of it will.

Front pattern piece with bias grainline.

I made bias tape from scraps of the black and white gingham I used for a blouse, and sandwiched those between the yoke and lining. It’s a nice detail that uses scrap fabric and elevates the inside of the garment nicely. I love doing things like that. (The wrinkles on the lining will happen after a good pressing or steaming. It’s normal and no biggie.)

I cut two of the middle back piece instead of cutting it on the fold, because I wanted a chevron down the middle. has a great black and white stripe, and it’s very similar to what I used to make this jacket. It’s part of the Premier Prints Collection, which are traditional home dec fabrics. Just be mindful of the care instructions when shopping for this kind of fabric. Always pre-shrink, and avoid anything with a special finish on it.


Because there’s so much potential with this jacket, I’ll probably make it again later this year. It’s very, very easy to make, but the fit is boxier so keep that in mind. I’ll have more photos of this jacket on me in a week or so. Things are just so crazy here right now (as I type this our countertops are being installed and we just got a delivery with the powder room toilet and sink, as well as our kitchen faucets and disposals). Taking pictures is already such a hassle, so I’ve had to put that on the back burner until I have a big group of things to photograph all at once. Sorry about that, guys. I know how helpful it is to see these things on a real person. I’ll be back on my photography game soon.

Now, for the archived projects for a little stripes inspiration. I designed this dress a few years ago for a spring collection, and I love it. I’d actually like to make this one again. Love the baby blue and white together too. Each section/stripe is its own pattern piece, so this dress took quite some time to make. The pattern took a while, and so did the construction. It’s all worth it though, because practice and experience is what makes us better.

This is another striped dress I designed back in the day. I think some of the sections are a bit wide and so much white right across the bust is a bit distracting, but I still like this. Funny side note: I entered the navy version of this dress in a contest sponsored by Threads a few years ago and won. It’s how I got my DESIGNER TOPAZ™ 25!

This dress is from Spring 2013. I’d really love to have some of that fabric again!

I designed an apron collection for holiday one year, and this was one of them. This was called “The Gourmet” and as soon as I remembered this apron I immediately put on my list of things to make. This is so charming! I’ll have to add some pockets for functionality this time though. Ha!

Striped projects are always such a fun challenge, and I’m excited to tackle a few more throughout the year. The next striped project you see will probably be out of this raw silk. Love those colors!

I want to end today’s post by mentioning something that’s been on my mind for the past couple of days. The admin dashboard for this blog shows me all sorts of data, including referring sites. The other day, I noticed a new link that had directed someone to my blog. Out of curiosity, I followed it and I was led to the ugliest, most absurd discussion amongst fellow bloggers and readers about the people and things they hate in the sewing community. I was stung by some of the things that were said, but I was also simultaneously disappointed and not surprised that there’s a group of folks out there who delight in taking others down. What kind of person must you be to intentionally sign up for a site like that and then take time and energy to actually post on it?

I mention this because I know there are a lot of you who follow this blog because you’re on a journey like mine, and you’re also putting yourself out there every time you write a post or present your work to the world. It’s so sad that the jealous, talent-less wannabes come out of the woodwork and bond over their shared disdain for someone, and turn what is supposed to be a supportive, encouraging community into something nasty and lot like a high school cafeteria room. I’ve developed a pretty thick skin over the years (I’m getting better, anyway), so the initial sting of the comments has worn off. I have to laugh at these parasites and the toxicity they are carrying around. What a burden that must be! The funny part is that I know who a few of these people are and, ultimately, I’m sorry that they feel the way they do. You know how I feel about them? I don’t. I am too busy living life and trying to do good work to even worry about it.

One of my goals with this blog is to encourage fellow sewists to keep learning, try new things, and enjoy the process of being creative. The minute the joy is sucked out of that and we start to worry about what everyone else thinks, especially the morons hiding behind fake names and a computer screen, is the moment we join their ranks. I choose to live my life and present everything I share in a positive, fun way because I can’t imagine doing it any differently. You should do the same. And remember, if you ever stumble upon the haters, let that serve as your motivation to keep on keepin’ on.

I hope you have a great weekend, and I’ll be back next week with a fun post for Valentine’s Day and another piece from the black and white collection. But first, I’m headed to JoAnn for some white linen and black buttons for my shirtdress. Happy sewing!