Sunday, May 20, 2012

Painted Lapis Ponte Jacket

Whew - where did the past month go? It seems time just flew by. I've been busily sewing, finishing two garments a couple of weeks ago, and in the midst of two more at present. A photo session before Mother's Day weekend was a failure, but DH took some good shots this week. Now I can blog about my new jacket.

I started this project back in March, when the unseasonable 70f+ degree temperatures were interrupted by some days that topped out at 50. Back then, I thought I might finish it in time for spring wearing, but several changes I made in the process of constructing it put the kibosh on that prospect. No problem - I now have a jacket I really like, and come September, I'll wear it a lot.

This was made from a rather stiff ponte from Marcy Tilton, in a gorgeous color she named lapis. The color is a rich blue that is accurate in the photo above, but not as much so in the photos that follow. I really like the fabric, and pondered quite a while before choosing to use this pattern, also Marcy's, Vogue 8693. I love the size of the collar, the curved seam lines, and thought I would like the pointed hemline:
Vogue 8693
(Tiny Image for Some Unknown Reason)
This looks so elegant on the model! The side drapes flatter her so well. Little did I know the fabric I had chosen was too stiff to drape nicely, and I would feel like I had wings a la The Flying Nun when wearing it. What looked like nice drapes in the photo looked like airplane wings on me! A softer ponte would have helped, but I finally concluded this style just won't flatter me at my current size.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Not one to be content with a "plain" jacket, I decided to add some paint using several of Marcy's silk screens. I thought I didn't want to add much color, so at first I used only pewter Lumiere. After looking at it for a few days, I decided it needed more depth, so I added two shades of purple.

I painted on the cut out pieces, rather than on the garment after it was constructed. Sometimes this works well, and sometimes not so much. I like to group motifs together, so I really need to make sure which seam joins which, in order to place the elements in the right place. I'm fairly happy with the results, although I always see room for improvement.

So how, you may ask, did I alter the pattern to get rid of the wings? The piece for the side front (which continues to the side back) is basically a long rectangle with shaped ends. I was able to cut away part of the rectangle - the part that draped. I laid the jacket out and figured out the shape required to fill the empty space created when I ripped out the side piece. Then I trimmed away the part of the piece I didn't need. It turned out quite well, I think. The curved seams are still there, and it's roomy enough to accomodate my lower torso.

The pattern has optional welt pockets that are inserted in the draped area. Having cut away those draped sides, and not one to own a jacket without pockets, I decided to insert them into the seam. I didn't want to add bulk, so I used lining for both sides of the pocket, rather than using ponte for the the back piece. That means the lining can show, but I kind of like the peek at contrasting fabric.
I could have used a color that matched a bit better, but I had this great Hang Loose lining left over from another project, and it is a close color match to the darker purple paint. It's static-free, which will be a great benefit when I wear the jacket in cold, dry weather. (I tend to be a magnet for static cling, for some reason.)

The jacket is partially lined, in the center front, upper back, and sleeves. I was hesitant to line a stretch fabric, but really wanted the slipperiness a lining offers, as it helps the jacket to lie smoothly against other garments. The fabric doesn't stretch without being tugged at, so I took a chance. At first I sewed the bottom edge of the front lining pieces to the hem of the jacket. One side of the jacket bagged, so I took out the stitches and hemmed the lining pieces separately from the jacket hem. (Sorry I couldn't get the colors in this shot more true to reality. The fabrics are a bit bluer and cooler looking than this.)
In the pattern instructions, Marcy discusses whether or not to interface the collar. I chose not to interface it, as I wanted it to be somewhat slouchy. Interfaced, it would stand higher than my ears - not a flattering look. It's taken a bit to get used to, but I do like the soft folds in the collar.
The final touch for the jacket was the button. I had a difficult time finding a large button that matched the fabric well, so I decided to opt for a colorful one. This coconut button was in my stash. I liked the shape, and the cutouts seemed to echo what's going on in the silk screen designs. The button had been on display at Sawyer Brook for years, and fluorescent lighting had faded it to a dull pink.  I gave it a few coats of one of the purple paints used in the silk screening. I regret not having taken a "before" image, as the "after" image is remarkably different.
One last item - a warning for anyone who owns this fabric. It crocks. That is the industry term for when the fabric dye rubs off - like some blue jeans do when new. Just a bit into working with the fabric, I noticed my fingers were blue. This continued throughout the construction process. I had washed and dried the fabric, but apparently it needs another washing or two before the dye quits transferring. If you have this fabric in your stash, you might want to wash it a few times before working with it, and definitely before wearing it, as it could rub off and show on lighter colored clothing.

I really like this jacket, and I'm looking forward to pulling it out in September or October, when the air cools down again. Just think - I'll have a brand new coat!


  1. Dixie, this is a pattern I made a year ago and it did not work for me, so I never finished it. You did a great job of salvaging it and making it work for you! I especially love the silk screening you did. It looks *great* to me!! (I haven't developed the knack for silk screening...) I love how you collaged the different colors and shapes of the silk screens - you really have the eye of an artist.

    I hope you get a lot of wear out of this jacket come fall!

  2. That is a beautiful jacket and you have made such a lovely job of sewing and silk screening it. I am envious. Jo

  3. Lovely jacket. The silk screening really gives makes it special.

  4. That is one of the few Marcy Tilton patterns I didn't even have a second glance at, I think I must have intuited that it would be unflattering on me. Your changes have made it work. I really hope Marcy has silk screens at 2013 Puyallup, cause I want some.

    1. ElleC, I would expect Marcy to take silkscreens to Puyallup, but I've never been, so I don't know. Now that I know you're going next year, I just might have to put it on my to do list!

  5. What a great jacket! You really made it yours, Dixie. Hope the crocking issue goes away with the next laundering. So annoying!

  6. Once again, your embellishment artistry really shines! Love what you've done with the jacket to make it work for you, and work well it does!

    I'm finding my way into other people's blogs on occasion again; this means I'm finding my way back to my sewing room and into my blog as well....soon!

    1. Jilly, I've missed you greatly in the sewingsphere, and I hope you're back very soon!

  7. Dixie, this jacket is gorgeous and I love the silk screen printing work you have done - you have inspired me. I also have this pattern, but I always liked the idea of doing it in the cream/white like your little picture - I guess I need to make sure the fabric is soft enough to drape.

  8. Thank you all, for your kind comments. This turned into a larger project than expected, and it seemed like it would never end, so I'm really glad I like the coat enough to wear it.

  9. Fabulous jacket! I like the silk screen swirls and dots.