I started talking about the wool jacket project a while ago. I bought the fabric just before Christmas and it sat on my kitchen table during the whirlwind Winter of 2011 clean up project in the laundry room. Once I got the two collections of Aurifil Lana thread last weekend I was ready to put my plan into action.
I wasn't sure about the correct size to use to cut out the Vogue pattern so I took a jacket that fits well (except for the horribly long sleeves) and matched it up to the pattern pieces. Never mind that I lost page three of the pattern during the major clean up effort. After I cut out all of the pieces I noticed the pattern instructions called for 'moderate stretch knits'. Hmmm. This fabulous Donna Karan wool is definitely not a stretch knit but I moved forward anyway. Tim Gunn spoke to me -- 'make it work'.
It took me a while to settle on the applique pattern, changing gears a bit, and deciding on a pattern from the Whimsicals' book, Out the Back Door. After cutting out the templates I set about to gather the required wool. This is where I really struggle. Maybe if I didn't have so many options I would be able to get to work sooner. Then again, isn't it nice to have a lot to choose from? Catch-22 here.
I've found it's really best that I pick out the colors in the daylight and match thread colors at the same time. Some of my choices must have been made at night. Sigh. I used my small rotary cutter for most of the pieces, with my super sharp Ginghers snipping the rest, and my Clover glass head pins to hold the various pieces in places while I assessed the layout. I sent a text message to my Chicken friend Mary to get her opinion on the correct needle size for my machine. Size 90, she said, unless the thread keeps breaking.
Notice something? Yeah, me too, the heart was slanted so much that the right side was out of balance. Easy to remedy. I wrote out the order that each piece needed to be stitched onto the jacket back. I had no intention of ripping anything out. I did have a bit of trouble with threading some colors and a little breakage while stitching but overall, I love the thread. Next time I think I'll use size 100 needles on my machine. Here are close ups of the flowers:
Close ups of the hen and rooster:
The finished back:
What did I learn?
- Select your wool and Lana thread to match or coordinate as closely as possible.
- Plan the piecing order carefully.
- Medium weight wool works best -- the pieces that look the most wonky were thick felted wool.
- Practice, practice, practice - buttonhole stitching on scraps to 'warm up'.
- Get a Lana threads color chart and stock up!
Don't look too closely -- remember the galloping horse rule.
Now on to the front pieces!