Saturday, April 29, 2017

A vintage and yarn-dyed fabric mix jacket—part 1

Jacket collar detail: a vintage and modern fabric mix.
Another vintage fabric revival!

The inspiration from a recent workshop with author and quiltmaker Mary Kerr that my guild hosted, continues to infuse my creative path. The workshop was called "A Wonky Star, Improv with a Vintage Twist," and it offered techniques and ideas for using, reviving and upcycling vintage textiles into modern quilts.

For this project—a jacket—I paired vintage fabric bits and orphaned 4-patch units with a lovely textured yarn-dyed cotton from Diamond Textiles. This creamy textured cotton fabric is PRF-715 from the Diamond Textiles Primitive collection. I think the yarn-dyed and the vintage make a perfect couple. Don't you?

I've documented the process with photos which will be posted over two blog posts. Let's begin.

The Jacket Pattern
I have a go-to pattern for my jackets. It's Simplicity 4826 (an older pattern that you probably can't get anymore but I mention because people ask). I've got this pattern fitted to my body and I've created several neckline variations, sleeves and jacket fronts for it over the years that I keep in the pattern envelope as well. I also write notes with dates (when I remember) on the pattern pieces, so I know which front or sleeve I used for which jacket. Putting dates beside this information is very helpful—especially when it's been awhile since the pattern was last used.
Jacket pattern: Simplicity 4826
Fabric Prep
The vintage textiles were soaked (washed) by hand in a sink with Vintage Textile Soak. They were air-dried and then pressed.
Soaking vintage textiles.
I tried to keep the patchwork intact as much as possible to preserve the original quilter's handiwork. However, depending on the fabric combination (if it fit the project's color palette) or if the pieces had narrow or frayed seam allowances, the patchwork was dissected and re-stitched.
Examining the pre-washed vintage pieces
It was interesting to see the hand and machine stitching on the vintage patchwork. This quilter used a "backstitch" to secure the threads.
Backstitch by hand to secure the thread.
Working with yarn-dyed wovens
The yarn-dyed fabric, silk lining and flannel (center layer) were also pre-washed and machine dried. I always pre-wash and pre-shrink yardage if I'm making a garment. It's just good policy.

With yarn-dyed wovens, there is no "wrong side" to the fabric. So, you can use either side for the public-facing side of your project/garment. Although the woven pattern on this fabric is geometric, there was a slight difference in the look and tone of the textured windowpane pattern from one side to the other. I marked the side I preferred as the "front side" with a piece of painters tape... to make it easy to remember.
Marking the "right side" of the fabric with a piece of tape.
Improv Piecing with Vintage Textiles
The initial plan was to use the vintage fabrics to create a back yoke for the jacket. Strips of the yarn-dyed woven were improvisationally pieced with the vintage 4-patches.
Possible improv patchwork yoke.
I was not satisfied with how the patchwork looked as a yoke, so it was turned into a lapel/collar. I made a second similar piece to complete the pair—one left and one right lapel.
Improv pieced collar with vintage textiles.
For me, improv piecing is fun. I decided to take the leftover collar trimmings and other vintage bits to make something for the jacket back.
Improv patchwork insert for the jacket back.
The vintage fabrics were auditioned (left) and then a patchwork strip was inserted into the jacket back (right). In the next blog post, I'll talk about the quilting, threads and finishing. Stay tuned.
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