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One of my sewing goals for 2018 is to challenge myself and try new things. This means exploring new fabrics and patterns so I can really hone in on my personal style. I’m coming to realize that just because a pattern is easy or the fabric looks good on someone else, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is my style or that it will look good on me. I’m not really sure what my style is quite yet so this year is all about discovery and getting to know myself/my body and of course lots of sewing!
I received 3 yards of fabric from Laura Ashley USA to review. Laura Ashley has been in business since 1953 and they offer a wide variety of fabrics, home furnishings, clothing, accessories and so much more on their online store. The fabric I received is the Clarissa Amethyst Fabric, which is a heavy weight, 100% cotton ideal for curtains and blinds. This fabric is off white with amethyst flowers and a hint of grey. Yes, this fabric would probably look nice as curtains or can be used for accent pillows in your living room but I decided to go in a different direction… a jacket. The fabric is 54” wide and the amethyst flowers repeat at 17.5”. It currently retails for $10.20 and it is available in whole yards at the online store. I was pleased that the online swatch is exactly what I received so no surprises there. Online shopping can be a bit difficult because you don’t always know that the online swatch will meet your expectations. However, you may order up to eight free swatches so you can be sure of your decision. I also like that the online fabric shop has the item description, care instructions, suggestions of what you can make and fabric dimensions. If you are outside of the US, you can also check out their international website.
I know upholstery/home décor fabric is not ideal for garments but I decided to use the three yards I received for the Kwik Sew K3930 Misses’ jacket. The Clarissa Amethyst Fabric is heavy weight cotton so I knew the jacket would have the structure and sturdiness I was looking for. I prewashed the fabric at my home (Ok, I didn’t follow the care instructions) and the fabric survived the wash. Afterwards I used a low heat setting on my iron to press the fabric to get it ready for cutting and sewing. Because the fabric is heavy weight, it is easy to cut using a rotary tool or scissors. It is also fairly easy to sew with. The only issue I had (I always have an issue when sewing with heavy weight fabrics such as denim or duck canvas) was with my bobbin tension. The top stitches were too loose and so after a few minutes of adjusting the tiny screw on my bobbin, I was back in business. I will set this bobbin aside and use it specifically for heavy weight fabrics so I don’t have this issue again (hopefully).
This was my first time using a Kwik Sew Pattern so I wasn’t sure what to expect. A few days prior to working on this project I read the instructions and I like how simple and informative the instructions are. I chose view B (with sleeve option) so there were a total of 16 steps. From cutting to final press it took me about 9 hours (combined 2 days work). I chose the biggest size, XL, based on my measurements but the final garment is a bit big. I had to cut the sleeves about 3 “ to adjust the length of the sleeves. I would say the difficulty of this pattern is easy/intermediate. I’ve never sewn sleeves so the instructions were very thorough and I was able to successfully sew the sleeves. There is also a dart on the sleeve, but I had previously sewn a dart so it was fresh on my mind and I zoomed right through that step. The pattern called for basting at the sleeve caps and I wasn’t sure of the purpose of gathering the fabric at that point, but It helped so much when attaching the sleeve cap to the facing. That is a new technique that I will incorporate into my next project with sleeves and I’m no longer intimidated by sleeves. As long as you transfer all your notches/marks to your fabric, you won’t experience too much trouble with your sleeves (I also pinned A LOT).
The jacket has wide lapels and I was definitely intimidated by the different pieces of the jacket but again, the instructions guided me through the construction process successfully. I opted out of the draw strings on the neck area but I did add the optional draw strings to the waist. I definitely don’t like how the draw string option looks on the finished garment, though. I must have skipped a minor details somewhere along because the wide lapels flap around instead of holding their shape on the jacket. I went back and secured the lapel to the body of the front jacket so they wouldn’t move around, but I don’t know if that was the right way to do this. I also appreciate the hemming technique offered in the instructions. At the corner of the front lapel, it asks you to sew a 1 “ hem on the wrong side of the fabric. When you turn the fabric to the right side, you have a hidden stitch and a perfect crease to create your hem. I used interfacing for the lapels and I’m not sure if this helped or not as the fabric was already pretty thick. The jacket has a neck band that was easy to sew on but I am not fond of it. There are a lot of small steps to this pattern and I took my time with every little step. I was especially proud of the pockets because these required a lot of detail and they actually good on the jacket.
I picked up the pattern thinking that I was going to like it but after sewing it, but I am not fond of the pattern itself. I think it is a combination of the size being too big for me, wide lapels and awkward neck band. I also don’t see the point of having draw strings on the neck band. The front of the jacket has pointed edges and maybe if it was a smaller size, it would have been ok. I realize that the fabric wasn’t the best choice for this pattern. There is nothing wrong with the fabric but the style of the jacket combined with the fabric gives it an older look. After searching online for similar jackets, I did find a variety of jackets under “oversized tapestry jackets” so I felt a bit better about my choice. At the end of this project I learned a bit more of my personal style and that the pattern and fabric don’t always work out for you. However, we all have a unique style and just because you don’t like something, it doesn’t mean that it is ugly or that someone else may not like it. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? Today, I proudly wear this jacket because the bottom line is I MADE A JACKET WITH POCKETS!!
Supplies used: Universal needle (red shank/purple shaft), 3 yards of fabric, white Gutermann thread, interfacing, Fiskars rotary cutter, Loops & Thread scissors, chalk and Fiskars Mat