Category Archives: Fabric Shopping

Embellished Sleeve Jacket

Jacket Front

This jacket was inspired from a Chanel couture collection.  For the jacket body I used a lovely open weave boucle from Mendel Goldberg Fabrics. The fabric is a very open weave and needed to be backed with another fabric for construction. I used a lightweight ivory wool crepe and quilted the two fabrics together along horizontal stitching lines. Thank goodness I used quite a bit of steam on the fabrics before quilting as the boucle tightened up with steam.

Steamed boucle  Wide seam allowances prevent too skimpy seams and the walking foot kept the layers from shifting during the quilting process.

The fun part of this jacket was designing the sleeves. I used two layers of silk organza as a base for the trim.  Scouring NYC’s garment district turned up nothing for a ruffled trim. I had planned on using butterfly pleated organza ribbon but absolutely no one had any. One store offered placing a custom order but the minimum was 100 yards and 6-8 weeks time frame. No choice but to make it.

I decided polyester organza would actually work better than silk. Silk fabric creases and presses much better than polyester but I wanted the ruffles to hold their shape so the wiry nature of polyester was an advantage. I cut strips of organza along the lengthwise grain and finished the edges with a narrow ziz-zag stitch; stitch width of 1.8mm and length of 0.5mm on my machine worked well.  The strips were gathered down the center and drawn up to a 2:1 fullness.

A narrow beige ribbon layered with gold tubular yarn from Linton was sewn down the center with a serpentine ( width 5.0, length 1.25) stitch.

Make organza trim Place Ribbon Linton Yarn

The garment district did yield several suitable trims, including a gorgeous sequin banding. The double organza sleeve was sewn along the back seam, leaving the less obvious front seam open. Seam and hem lines had been thread traced to ensure the trim fit the finished sleeve. Trim was arranged, keeping the sequined trim and ruffles out of the underarm area. The sequin banding was catch stitched on the wrong side to prevent sagging as the jacket was worn.

Trim Placement Sleeve Underside

Excess sequins removed from the seam allowances and ends of the braids are steamed and flattened before sewing the seam.

Finished sleeve trim

 

Jacket Sleeve

The black jacket is also complete. Fringe from the selvages was paired with a soft, flexible braid. I opted for a custom made zipper from Botani.  They use Lampo (Italian) zippers and you can choose tooth color, tape color, pull and length. The small 3mm size works well for this.

Black Jacket Black jacket closeup

Next project is a Chanel inspired summer tunic and playing with more trims. Thanks for reading.

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Filed under Cloning Designer Garments, couture sewing, Fabric Shopping, French jacket trim, French Jackets, Uncategorized

Scottish Tartans

What do you do after visiting Linton Mills? Head north into Scotland in search of authentic Scottish tartans. Our destination was Lochcarron in Selkirk, Scotland. After a detour to the Barbour outlet in South Shields, we (actually hubby) drove for hours through the Scottish countryside. These places aren’t exactly located in the most metropolitan areas.

Lochcarron weaves their tartans at their own mill and stocks hundreds of tartan patterns in all weights. It is one of the few remaining mills to keep production local rather than outsourcing. The factory shop isn’t the easiest to locate, even with GPS help, so we were thrilled to finally see the Lochcarron shop. A near disaster ensued! I had emailed the shop prior to our trip but somehow the “closing for inventory” day was missed.

My husband is not one to be put off by a “CLOSED” sign, pleaded our case of flying all the way from the US, driving for hours and persuaded the staff to open the doors. What a wonderful experience! Jill and her staff couldn’t have been more accommodating. I was shown book after book of samples. The various weights of tartans explained and we browsed through a wonderful selection of goods. I finally selected three pieces of Reiver (the lightweight):

Locharren Tartans

The top fabric is a black tartan. The weave is formed by alternating stain with plain stitches and then the piece is dyed black. It results in a subtle plaid. I have seen it referred to as Dark Island; Lochcarron calls it Dark Douglas. The middle piece I haven’t yet decided what to do with. The bottom tartan will be made in some variation of an Alexander McQueen design from his Widows of Culloden Collection.


I’ve done variations of other McQueen designs. Some need to be modified to be wearable.

 

 

Some combination of the plaid cut bias with black lace.

Tartan Drape
Vintage looms are still in use.

After a very long day of driving, shopping and more driving we finally arrived at the West Plein House, a delightful B&B just outside Stirling. Our hosts, Moira and Tony, greeted us with tea and a comfortable room. Next morning, haggis was served at breakfast. If you want the recipe, I’ve included a link. Haggis is best eaten after you’ve consumed sufficient whiskey! I tasted a bit but preferred Moira’s eggs and oatmeal.

The remainder of our trip was filled with the sights of Stirling (Stirling Castle, Bannockburn) and Edinburgh complete with watching a rugby match in the pub.

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Visiting Linton Mills and Meeting Kate from Fabrickated

I’m sure many sewers have heard of Linton Direct, the fabric mill in Carlisle, England, where many Chanel fabrics are woven. It is one of the few remaining sources of artisan quality fabric. Many fabric mills have relocated to Asia and this was a rare opportunity to see where the fabric is actually made.

My husband knows very well my passion for sewing and Chanel (I’ve dragged him to Chanel in Paris a few times) so when I mentioned Carlisle was ONLY a 4 hour train ride from London, he replied with “Why don’t we go!” How many men would allow themselves to be dragged across the pond, catch the morning flight to Edinburgh, rent a car and drive (on the wrong side of the road) 2 and 1/2 hours to Carlisle?

I had emailed Jenny at Linton and was dismayed to learn that the town had been horribly flooded in December. Cumbria in the English Lake District, had torrential rains and the River Eden had overflowed. Many shops were damaged, including the Linton retail shop. The actual fabric mill had been spared. Jenny and her staff had set up a temporary facility across the street and I was welcome to visit. They are presently repairing the damage and hope to have the retail and coffee shop open in early March.

Shop manager Jenny Bell and Tracey were amazing. Even though they were working under less than ideal conditions, the all fabrics were displayed and they helped me select several fabulous pieces. (I’m a little ragged after 24 hours of travel). Tracey left, me center, Jenny right.

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My acquisitions. We all know about the ever growing fabric stash! Hubby was very happy they were being shipped home and not taking space in the luggage

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Inspecting yardage on the light table. Every inch of fabric is examined for flaws and any found are corrected. Notice the heater and down vest. They certainly pushed on through not optimal circumstances.

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When my fabrics arrived home Jenny had included a massive stack of swatches for future purchases.
Swatches

The next day we headed north on a long, circuitous route to Selkirk and Stirling, Scotland where I had more trips to fabric mills and tartan shopping planned. More on that journey in the next post.

Our trip ended in London where I met Kate of Fabrickated. We had arranged to meet Kate and her husband Nick at the British Museum. Have you ever dragged your husband to meet another sewing blogger and her husband? Kate and Nick were fabulous. After tea in the members lounge we toured the exhibits. The men were so engrossed in conversation we almost lost them several times in the museum. We were invited back to their flat for some wine where I saw first hand Kate’s sewing space (it was much neater than mine!) and then treated to dinner at a neighborhood restaurant. I certainly hope we can meet again. Kate, please feel free to share the photo of us at the Rosetta Stone.

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