My project is a wearable. When I first started quilting back in 1988, it never occurred to me to make wearables as a quilted project. At that time, rotary cutters were not even a widely used product in the quilting world. I had already been using a rotary cutter for cutting patterns with for clothing. I used drapery weights instead of pins for my patterns and then cut around those patterns with a rotary cutter. Suffice it to say when I took my first quilting class in January of 1988, I blew everyone in class away with how fast I cut out that Log Cabin quilt for the shapes needed. Even my teacher had never heard of a rotary cutter. As time passed and I grew stronger as a quilter, I started taking classes at some of the shops in Washington D.C. and Pittsburgh. Back then we lived in Cumberland, Maryland which is situated about 2 1/2 hours from Pittsburgh and D.C, even tho they are in opposite directions. I didn’t go to Pittsburgh quite as often as I did D.C., but I did love the shops there and the one thing that got me there was a good class. The project that I’m showing today is from a class I took in Pittsburgh back in 1991.
Back in 1991, quilted wearables were all the rage. I took two classes back then, one for a quilted jacket I can no longer find, but in that class we actually made the jacket from start to finish. I did that jacket in Brown and golds with a large block on point in the back. I wish I could have found that jacket to also show off, but it wasn’t really a crazy project like this one was.
This one is done with a sweatshirt. We had to buy a sweatshirt, but if I’d had my druthers I would have preferred to make my own sweatshirt for this class, but we didn’t have any instruction prior to the class that a sweatshirt was even needed, nor was the pattern even available to purchase. We were told simply to bring strips of fabric cut on the bias that were 2 1/2 wide, and that length was not an issue. The odd thing about this class was that when we got there, we were instructed to go to the nearest clothing store and buy a sweatshirt. I still don’t get why we just couldn’t have brought the sweatshirt with us, but ok, I suppose that’s how the teacher liked to do things.
When we got back to the class, we then had to cut the sweatshirt on the sides down to the sleeves. I had an issue with this and took my seam ripper out and just ripped out the serged seam. That’s the cool thing about serging is that it is really easy to rip out a seam. The idea being that you then have your sleeves open to sew the strips on and you will then stitch the seam and sides back together when the jacket is done.
The next step was to create the strips that would go on the jacket. We ironed them to a fold like you would with binding, then cut them in sections of 5 to 7 inches each. You then lay them on your jacket to get a look you want to display. You can’t really tell that I followed a color routine with this jacket, but I did. You start sewing the edges onto the jacket. She didn’t have us finish the raw edges, or even turn them under. While I didn’t like this idea, I realized that fraying wouldn’t be such a big issue because they were cut on the bias. If you’d cut straight strips you’d want to finish those edges.
So, you then start to lay your strips on, and start stitching a 1/4-inch seam onto the jacket and at each adding of a new strip, you also lay a ribbon down and that’s why you also see those satin ribbons hanging from the jacket. Once you finish a row, you then go back and cut into your strip with 1-inch wide slits, thus over the years your suppose to get this little frayed edge and after all these years they are there.
This is the back of the jacket, I think you can see the ribbons better with this and you can also see the fraying a lot better also. This jacket is finished with a placket on the front, buttons and buttonholes.
Everytime I wear this jacket people stop me and tell me how much they love it. I get all the normal questions of did you make it? Where did you get it? How did I do it?, etc… It’s been widely popular this winter being here in Colorado Springs as I do not think I’ve ever been stopped as much before and I have worn the jacket a lot this year. It’s been washed over and over and it’s still wearable, even tho the sweatshirt material has become a bit droopy at the neck over the years.
If I’d made the sweatshirt, I would have had better material, I would have lined the jacket, and my strips would have a serged edge on them even tho I cut the strips on the bias.
Still, I think it’s one of the craziest projects I’ve ever made, I love to wear this jacket as it is very warm even in the coldest of weather, and it is comfortable on top of all that.
This class was done in two days a week apart, what we didn’t finish the first day, we had to go home and finish our strips, then bring the jacket back to finish it for the second class.
When I got home from the second class I used the serger to finish the inside seams on the edge of the seam. I used the sewing machine to create the seam itself, but the serger just helped to reinforce the fabric. Its interesting to see how over the years this jacket has changed. I’ve never had to fix a single shape, a few ribbons have fallen off, but never one of the strips, and the seams have remained in place. I think the only thing this jacket is missing is pockets. I love love love pockets in all my clothing.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my project for today…
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