Kantha Jacket – Completed

Just finished the jacket. Yesterday, I assembled the double-welt pockets, stitched the shoulders, added the collar, pinned in the sleeves. This morning, I sewed the sleeves in (bound the seams), stitched the sleeve underarm and jacket side seams (bound those seams), and finished with a hidden binding on the bottom edge.

The buttonholes took a bit of crafting – in the end I used a double thread (a black combined with an almost navy) to provide a bit of definition to the buttonholes so they show (a single thread wasn’t really visible). Last the buttons.

Kantha Jacket – Front

Then I tried the jacket on – it fit, but the sleeves were about an inch and a half too long. I removed the cuffs, shortened the sleeves and restitched the cuffs. The sleeves are now a little longer than 3/4 length – I can bring them down by lowering the cuff should I want to.

Here’s the jacket back:

Kantha Jacket – Back

I’m pleased with the result. It fits like the jacket I bought in San Francisco three years ago – a useful addition to my wardrobe.


Double Welt Pocket

There are lots of ways of constructing a double-welt pocket. I never attempt one without first doing at least one test run! Here’s a sample I mocked up late yesterday.

I want the pocket opening to be on a slight diagonal rather than cutting straight across (this way I can make a wider opening in a shorter width distance). The 1/4″ welts are small but set up a stabilizing contrasting detail against the very busy fabric.

Double Welt – Front of Fabric

In this practice pocket I didn’t interface the welt fabric – I need to do that and I need to use a small (slightly stiff) interfacing on the jacket fabric itself so that the pocket opening is crisp and flat.

A normal double-welt pocket uses a pocket bag – but because I want to use patterned fabric on the inside as an accent to the solid of the reverse of the jacket fabric that won’t work – too much bulk. Instead, I’m going to cut out a single piece for the pocket, do a Hong Kong finish around the edges, attach it to the inside of the top welt fabric, then straight stitch the pocket piece to the front forming the pocket. In addition, I’m going to position the top of the pocket piece to match the angle of the double welt and align the pocket piece on the vertical.

Pocket on Back Side of Fabric

I used the dimensions suggested in Andrea Brown’s tutorial – begin with 7″ x 3″ welt pieces. But the resulting 5″ opening is a tiny bit too narrow. I want to end up with a  6″ opening which might actually bring the pocket to the side seam – or very close to it. But because the welts are small, that should look OK.

Now to add the pockets to the jacket front pieces – easier to do before they’re attached to the jacket than after the parts are sewn together.

Kantha Jacket

Last spring in San Francisco, Sheila and I visited Gumps. At the front of the store was a rack of lovely casual bright print jackets by Meiko Mintz constructed out of Indian Kantha cloth. I didn’t bother trying them on – the price deterred me. The jackets were something I could easily make for myself (if I could ever find the quilted Kantha cloth).

A couple of weeks ago, I came across an inexpensive king-size Kantha bedspread on Amazon which I ordered. It arrived amazingly fast – within 10 days. More than enough fabric to make a jacket.

Kantha King-Size Bedspread (folded in half)

First it had to be washed… I thought about the process for more than a week – I knew the indigo (or whatever dark blue dye had been used) would run and likely kill the white stitching which I didn’t want to happen.

I was able to fit the large bedspread in my home washing machine. I added colour collector sheets to the wash.

Colour Collector Sheets

I used four just to make sure I would catch as much loose colour as possible. I added some Oxyclean (to get rid of whatever dirt was in the fabric), and an unscented detergent to cool water. (I probably should have added a cup of vinegar but I wasn’t sure how it would react with the Oxyclean – I will hand wash the jacket with added vinegar once it’s done to stabilize the colour before wearing it).

I caught a LOT of dye:

Colour Collector Sheets – After Washing

I started the garment by making a pattern from an existing jacket (which I happen to have bought at Gumps three years ago). A simple style with a Mandarin collar, turned up sleeves, pockets (too small to be useful – mine will be quite a bit larger). The thing about the jacket, which is reversible, is it’s finished with a hidden binding. Because my fabric is already quilted I will do a hidden binding finish using a batik that complements the plain fabric on the back of the bedspread fabric.

Here’s the jacket cut out and ready to begin sewing (I’ve already added the turned up cuffs to the sleeves – I constructed them separately and attached them to the sleeves so the print shows when the cuff is rolled back).

Jacket Front – Cut Out

Because of the way I’ve incorporated the the fabric detail, large patch pockets would obscure the design. Instead I’m going to make double welt pockets and use a single layer of printed fabric for the pocket on the inside of the jacket, blind binding the pocket fabric, then stitching it to the front, leaving just the double welt showing on the outside of the jacket. I’m still not sure whether I want to add a solid, darker blue strip to the bottom of the jacket – I have enough fabric to do that, although it would be an add-on and an extra seam – still thinking about that.

The finished jacket will be just a single layer, with machine stitched buttonholes. I’ve so far not looked for buttons – have to check my button collection before I go shopping.

More as the project unfolds over the weekend.

Sewing Tools Organizer – Finished

Here it is – just completed. A tiny bit wider than the original tools organizer but I was reluctant to make it narrower since I wasn’t sure how much width I was going to lose when I added in the zipper sides. Big-ish isn’t a problem, too small would have been.

So you can see the welted zipper opening on the front. What isn’t obvious is my name in the lower right – I chose the wrong colour embroidery thread! Instead of the lime green I should have used a golden orange (up close you can see the name, it just doesn’t hit you in the face).

New Exterior Case

The pattern (which I linked to yesterday – scroll down the blog entry) was helpful for dimensions and some overall construction suggestions, but because I wanted elements between outer and inner fabrics I couldn’t quilt the pieces and had to carefully think my way through construction. Not having the outer and lining fabrics on the sides not quilted was a bonus – it helped with zipper installation because I could apply the zipper to the outer fabric, then add the lining enclosing the zipper seams.

Applying the binding was a slow process – having to stitch through anywhere from 8-12 layers of fabric meant I needed to take my time although the machine handled the job perfectly well (with a new sharp universal 90 needle). In the end, I’m happy with how the binding turned out.

Here’s the interior:

Interior With Tool Pages From Original Organizer

The point of this project was to create a new case for the tools organizer – the original “pages” of pockets were fine – they just needed a new cover. Since the pattern has directions for making these pages, I may actually attempt one more – the cover is loose enough to accommodate another. What isn’t visible are the two pockets on the inside of the organizer covers – one zippered, one closed with some velcro.

Although I suspect many of the sewing ladies at Sew With Vision would be interested in making an organizer for themselves I have a feeling the sewing around these small round corners to apply binding is more difficult than many of them would be willing to attempt. I’ll take my organizer into the shop to show it off and ask what that the staff think.

Don’t know what’s next.

Drawstring Bags – Done!

Just finished the last of the drawstring bags for Christmas gifts – eighteen here, twenty-one in all. Just in time for tomorrow’s Friday afternoon knitters get together.

Drawstring Bags – Eighteen Completed

For the most part I was able to fabricate these bags using fabric for the outside and lining, for the drawstring channels, buttons, wooden beads, from the supplies I had on hand. I did have to buy 6mm grosgrain ribbon and a few wooden beads to finish the last few but for the most part I used what I had. That doesn’t mean there was no cost associated with the bags but it feels differently (like free) when I don’t have to go out and buy specific supplies for a project.

Now back to quilting the Layer Cake Quilt. Hoping to finish it this weekend.

Seven Done – Fourteen To Go

Just finished the seventh shoe bag – fourteen to go.

Shoe Bags

Here is this year’s Christmas gift (last year I gave small zippered bags) – a drawstring bag for carrying shoes during the winter. They’re not large enough for sneakers/running shoes, but if it’s a snowy day and you’re wearing boots, then this bag is perfect for bringing along a pair of “lady’s” shoes. It’s also a great size for carrying knitting or a hand sewing project, a book, art supplies, even makeup.

I was originally given a drawstring bag by a Japanese friend and it was immediately obvious the design was better than any I’d ever made – it was lined, made with separate channels for the drawstrings, and a buttoned pocket on one side.

I was limited by the width of fabric strips I was using – I’d pulled from the 9″ scrap bags (Keepsake Quilting puts together sets of coordinating fabrics using twelve 9″ width of fabric cuts of both printed and batik fabrics) fabrics I didn’t think I’d want to use in a quilt. So the final size of each bag was limited to 8 1/2″ x 16″ (don’t forget 1/4″ seam allowances). The drawstring channels are constructed from two 2 1/2″ x 17″ strips of fabric, sewn to form a circle, turned right side out and folded – long, raw edges together – and pressed. Each channel is inserted (raw edges to the opening) between the outer bag and the lining (which is placed right side together over the stitched outer bag). The top edge is sewn with a 1/4″ seam. The lining is pulled over the bag, the bottom end serged and the lining pushed inside the bag. I used narrow grosgrain ribbon for the drawstrings, used some smallish wooden beads (with large holes) to secure the ends. The drawstrings are strung through both channels, one from each side.

The first three bags have already been gifted – they were samples to establish size and production details. They lacked front pockets – didn’t think of adding the pocket until I started cutting the scrap bag fabrics – after cutting the two 17″ pieces for the length of bag I had just the right amount left for a lined pocket!

So now back to the sewing machine to assemble another batch – it’ll probably take me one more day to finish up the twenty-one bags I need.

Moth Holes

Embroidery to hide moth holes

Friday afternoon Joyce showed me the wool sweater she was wearing – a couple of moth holes in the front. She wondered whether they could be repaired. I assured her they could (there were two smaller holes near the first one as well) with a well placed machine embroidery.

I spent some time locating an embroidery design that would sit over the holes, not be too dense, and I could set up to curve toward the shoulder. I turned the sweater inside out, used “Whisper Web” interfacing (a light, cut away), hooped the right front side, chose mauve/rose rayon embroidery thread, then stitched out the design. I added two small sections of close zigzag to obscure the larger hole further, and stitched out a single leaf over a second small hole nearby.

The completed embroidery is subtle but it does the job.

PS: I just returned the sweater to Joyce, she tried it on, and she’s thrilled with it! I’m happy she’s happy.