Saturday, November 12, 2011

Adventures with quilted clothing

I'm not much of a one for doing clothing.  A garment has to curve around a body.  Quilts are so much simpler--they just have to lie flat.  My mom was an excellent seamstress in her day--she could use the Vogue designer patterns.  I couldn't even read their directions.  :o  But, I bought a lovely batik panel with fish on it and a packet of nine smaller batik squares with sea creatures at the Houston  show one year.  So, I set out to make a swing coat that just had 2 pieces--front and back.  I can't remember now where the pattern came from, but it was a multi-sized one suitable for us fluffy ladies.  It's probably still in my messy studio somewhere.

A few years earlier, I had purchased a kit for doing marbled fabric at the show in Paducah, after I took a workshop on doing it at my quilt guild in Kalamazoo, MI.  When I got home with the kit, I called Agnes, the friend who quilted A Midsummer Night's Dream (the quilt from yesterday) for me, and we spent a lovely afternoon doing small pieces of marbled fabric.  I could see why it's so expensive to buy!  It's very labor-intensive, and the materials are costly.  At any rate, when I decided to do this coat, I dug out all the marbled pieces, lots of batiks, and the panels.  To give more interest to the large back panel, I sliced across it with a rotary cutter and sewed two 1" strips of black fabric in to make a 1/2" line through it, then sliced it the other way and sewed in three 1" strips crossing the first ones.  It was a bit finicky, making the severed fish bodies match up, but I liked the effect.  Instead of batting, I cut up an old flannel sheet into two fronts and a back, making the pieces extra big to allow for shrinkage as the quilting happened, and stuck them up on the design wall.  Then I began building the fabric.  I made some wonky 9 patches, cutting the fabrics on angles to sew together, and added triangles to them and to the 9 little batik panels,  tossed in lots of other shapes to bring the pieces together, and eventually had large enough fabric pieced to cover the flannel pieces.  Tomorrow I will discuss the quilting and construction of the coat.


  1. Normally I don't care for quilted clothing (I don't need any extra "batting" thank you! :D ) Having said that, that jacket's shape is flattering! The colors are really pretty on you too. Nice job!!