My latest quilting effort is a conglomeration of fabrics and patterns. The exterior fabrics are from Akonye Kena, a cooperative effort in Uganda. This organization is helping women support their families by teaching them to grow cotton, process, weave and dye it. It was such an honorable effort I couldn't help but buy two fat-eighth packs and a one-yard piece for the sleeves. The lining fabric is from the fabulous Marcia Derse and it was perfect for the inside of this colorful jacket.
The Beads, Buttons, and Bling jacket pattern that I got from Akonye Kena called for using a sweatshirt for the pattern pieces and layer between the outside and lining fabrics. I didn't want to do that so I scoured my pattern stash and looked hard for the pieces for the wool jacket I made last Spring for our guild's wool challenge. No can do, couldn't find them - found all the pieces that I didn't use but not the ones that I did use. Ugh. Undaunted, I searched through a box of 'must have' patterns that I've never used and found the Block Party jacket from Indygo Junction.
I took the advice of the original pattern writer and pre-washed all of my fabric, even Marcia's. The Ugandan fabric bled quite a bit in my sink so I was careful to wash each color separately. So thankful I didn't wait to wash it until after the jacket was sewn!
That jacket called for exposed seams, which I did not want, so I pieced the jacket according to the layout of the Uganda pattern but used the pattern pieces from the Block Party jacket. Confused?!! It was a perfect blending for me.
I found some Pellon Fusible Fleece in a pretty lightweight version in my stash and used that for the interior of the jacket. Worried that it would be too stiff I didn't want to quilt it too heavily, so I used simply wavy lines on the body and straight lines on the sleeves. After I was done I wished I had done the sleeves with the wavy lines (I had done them first with my even feed foot) but not enough to pick out the stitches and re-do the quilting!
This is my first start-to-finish effort on my new Juki TL2010Q machine and I am completely happy with my end result. I used Aurifil 50/2 weight cotton in a taupe color to piece the jacket and Superior Bottom Line 60 weight polyester in silver to do the quilting. I had very little lint from the Aurifil and virtually none with the Superior thread. I did have a couple of thread breaks with the Superior but nothing I would call disastrous.
I machine washed the jacket in cool water on the handwash cycle so it wouldn't spin too hard. Once dried it didn't seem to shrink much at all. My roommate says the colors are 'so '80s' and 'do people really wear that stuff?' but I know better. I think natural dyes were used for most if not all of the Ugandan fabric and while I probably wouldn't wear the jacket to a job interview, I think I'll get some good wear out of it for quilty events. What does he know??