You might remember seeing the lovely swing jacket that our Langley Vacuum & Sewing customer, Irene, made recently? I featured it in a recent blog post. Click this link to revisit that blog post. Irene used Peggy Sager’s Silhouette pattern: Nina’s top.
I recently used the same pattern to make a rather different jacket. I used a very soft, thin fashion knit with an African print design – just perfect for a Spring & Fall jacket when you need a little – but not a lot – of warmth. I decided to use the knit fabric to make little circle appliques to apply to the neck band or “lapel” of the jacket – and I made this band a contrasting solid colour: black. See below how I dealt with a “floppy” soft knit for the appliques. I knew that if I tried to (a) cut circles from the soft & slippery knit fabric they would end up as anything but perfect circles and that (b) this would go further downhill when I tried to sew the appliques onto my band. So I first ironed a fusible tricot interfacing onto the back of the knit to stabilize it. This firmed it up a little. Obviously I did not want it stiff as a board as that would not work with the soft, flowing feel of the rest of the garment. I also fused knit interfacing to the back of the black band. I then fused fusible web (Wonder under or similar product) to the back of my applique fabric that already had interfacing. Then I drew little circles using a template – finally cutting all the circles out & peeling the paper backing off each one. These were then placed onto my band in the desired positions & fused in place with my iron & pressing sheet.
I tried out a few different applique stitches for my circles using the same black & African print knits. I did not want the stitching to be too obvious, nor did I want the stitching to distort the edges of the circles. In the end I preferred to use a small zig-zag stitch and a charcoal coloured INVISIFIL thread to secure my appliques. Everything went according to plan as the fabric was suitably stabilized and my circles remained….. round. I do like it when a plan works as it should!
TIP: I am now using a piece of SILK ORGANZA as a press cloth and applique pressing sheet. I actually have one that I use for applique only (so only one gets the little glue’ey bits from the fusible web). I was told this was the very best thing to use and it took me a while to find some silk organza yardage – “high end” & specialty fabric stores usually carry it. Some quilt stores might but it is not generally something you will find at a fabric chain or “big box” store. It costs quite a bit more than polyester organza but the 2 are simply not comparable. I then cut up the yardage into several suitable sizes for pressing cloths and neatened the edge with the wavy blade on my rotary cutter – so the raw edges would not fray. You don’t want to hem the edges as this will make a ridge on the pressing cloth which is not desirable. I LOVE my new silk organza press cloths – I can see through the fabric so I know exactly what is going on underneath as I press and that way I get no surprizes.
Well, back to my version of this lovely swing jacket pattern: it all sewed together very easily & quickly. I decided to hem the sleeves but not the lower edge of the jacket. Yes, I could have hemmed it the way I usually do with my knit garments: stay tape fused to wrong side , fold over & stitch down with my JANOME CPX Coverhem machine on the right side of the hem. However, I decided to sort of “cheat” this time and just leave it as a raw edge. The knit is not going to fray and being so soft with a fairly curved lower edge, I figured I might affect the lovely soft drape of the garment if I hemmed it. I am very happy with the garment and I know that I am not going to “bump” into anyone else wearing the exact same garment!