Saturday, 16 July 2016

Listening to the fabric - Felted Wool Jacket

I love this jacket.
A couple of years ago, Helen mentioned that a small local fabric store was closing down. I managed to go in during its final days and after chatting to the lovely proprietress, I left with some very lovely pieces of fabric.
And every few months I pulled the fabric from my special stash, patted it, dreamt of what it would like to be, and tucked it away again in its tissue paper.
This amazing felted wool is part of that small collection.
I finally settled on a cape last winter, and amped up my collection of all the cape patterns, vintage and contemporary, Japanese, French and English, jacket-cape styles, raglan or circle, arm slits or arms underneath, I have them all.
None of them were 'just right' for this wool though.
So I made my own.
I love that I have raw edges wherever I could. I especially love that the entire jacket is cut from one piece, with zero waste and no interruption to the border print.
Want to know what I did?
It's simply a rectangle of fabric, with 2 slits vertically at my shoulders. I then inserted 4 triangles, cut from a rectangle along the non-border print edge, as raglan sleeves along this slit. I have considered inserting godets in the diamond shaped underarms, however the open diamonds are working very well.
Ok, so I do have 2 spare triangles, but they aren't waste ;)
The felted wool isn't perfect - although it's perfectly striking. I had to reinforce each seamline as it's not particularly strong. I started using rayon seam tape, then changed to strips of charcoal silk. The back neckline is faced with silk as well. Each seam is top stitched on each side for added stability.
Apart from a rather high level of satisfaction that my concept worked (YAY!), what I adore and makes this a 'throw on every day' jacket is that it's perfectly versatile. It is delightfully snuggly when pinned closed high on my neck, perfectly warm when worn with a V-neck - with either a casual exposed facing collar, or with them tucked in for a neat version - or open and breezy when I only need my back and shoulders covered. I've not put any permanent closures on, my everyday bag style is a messenger bag/cross body satchel and it holds it in place perfectly when I'm not using a shawl pin.
And the fabric, I am SO glad I took that deep breath and nabbed my 1.5m of felted grey wool with felted black foliage.