Thursday, April 8, 2010

Jacket called Surprise

Here's a picture of the fabric that was calling my name for my current project.  I found this fabric at a local "antique" store on Middle Street - called appropriately enough Found.  I was so excited when I saw it, I couldn't pass it up.  It is a hand-dyed Japanese Shibori - 100% cotton.  Tom, the owner, knew I'd put it to good use and sold it to me for an amazingly low price.  If you happen to be in downtown Lowell, check him out.  You never know what you're going to find there.

I'd been thinking about this fabric for a long time trying to decide how to use it.  It's such a bold pattern that it doesn't fit just anywhere.  I like to use unusual fabrics and unexpected combinations, but I also like to make jackets for "real" women to wear in their "real" lives--jackets that make subtle statements rather than screaming at you.  This fabric could easily be a screamer so I was stumped for a long time.

I finally realized it would be a good candidate for my "peek-a-boo" technique where it could spice up an otherwise bland fabric.  I have paired it with a subtle woven pattern of white and light gray.  The gray and white will be the outside of the jacket and the Shibori will be the lining.  When you open the jacket you'll get quite the surprise of the dramatic patterning, although it won't be totally hidden.  I cut holes in the outer fabric to allow some of the pattern to peek through.  To make sure that the pattern would show through in a pleasing way, I laid the pattern piece over the Shibori fabric and drew in the boxes and rectangles where I wanted them.  I then transferred the pattern for the holes to the back side of the outer fabric using tracing paper.

Once I got all the holes cut and faced, I laid the outer fabric over the Shibori pieces again to check the design.  I liked what I saw, but felt that it needed something a little more.  I'd topstitched around each of the openings in a matching thread and it just seemed a little bland.  I'd originally imagined creating little "frames" around each hole using bias strips of shot silk in shades of blue and green, but had discarded that idea as too difficult to implement.  I decided to try couching threads around the openings instead.  I had a nice thick and thin thread in shades of blue, green and purple and thought I'd try it.

Here's the result.  I'm very pleased with it.  I love the way it echoes the Shibori pattern and really makes it pop.

 I finished all the holes today, so now I'm ready to start putting all the pieces together.  That part will go along more quickly, but we'll see what other design changes I find I need as I put it together.  That's for tomorrow.

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