Sunday, January 27, 2008

Animal Applique Jacket

Continuing on with the animal applique motif, I made a jacket, too.

This pattern is also an old favorite, McCall's 3073, which I have used over and over again. In its' original form it is super easy to cut out and sew. The pattern has only five pieces; front, back, sleeve, neck facing and front facing and it sews together really fast!

Have you ever used the permanent pattern material that's available? I really like it! Once you have made a copy of your favorite pattern with all the changes you want, you have a pattern that doesn't rip, wrinkle or tear like the tissue paper found in most clothing pattern envelopes. AND, the best part of all - it doesn't move around on the fabric once you've placed it. No Pins! I use a few large washers to keep it on the straight of grain, but that's all. It's so easy to cut the pattern out, I just zip right through it.

Since the black linen/rayon blend provides such a nice contrast to the colorful applique, I sewed these animals on as if they are tumbling down from G-d's own hand to find a place in this part of the universe. I like the way the colors really stand out.

The back of the jacket shows a styelized(spelling?) Tree of Life giving this art to wear a hint of Genesis 1:1.

One of the things I did to this pattern before I made this jacket was to take it apart so I could sew together blocks of contrasting color.

Of course the front is easy, just cut one of each side from two different colors. For the back, I made two half patterns by adding a 5/8 inch seam to the middle fold line. I did the same thing with the sleeves. I folded them in half and made a half pattern with a 5/8 inche seam along the top edge.

Since this is such a easy fit pattern, I didn't have to worry about how the sleeve would sew into the front and back. It's not at all fitted, so it sews in perfectly if you add the sleeve right after you sew together the front and back at the shoulder.

To add more color and to make the thing look more rustic, I sewed all the seams facing the outside and finished them off with red thread in my serger. This took a little planning because I am so used to sewing everything right sides together. In fact, this was one of the few projects that I actually planned out before I cut and sewed. I did sew the facings on in the standard fashion, but I used red thread to top stitch all around.

When cutting, I had to make sure the colors would be opposite when the parts were sewn together. I drew out the jacket on a piece of paper and then numbered the pattern before I cut out each piece. That will save me time in the future when I want to make another version of this piece.

This is a closeup of the sleeve cuff. After folding it up, I added this heart applique to keep it up and I really am proud of myself... I didn't fold over the patch, I just sewed it on as is. As it frays it will be more "interesting".

Even my husband was surprised to see all of these unfinished edges. With threads already coming loose, he said, "Did you mean to do it like that?"

Mission Accomplished!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Animal Applique Skirt

It seems I am now obsessed with applique.

This bias A-line skirt is a nice linen/rayon blend that is really easy to sew. I've made several of this McCall's 2172 and I like it because it's a bit narrower at the hem than McCall's 2255.

This is the front.

My usual approach to things is to try to make whatever it is in the usual way; neat, clean- edged and perfect. No messy, untrained or unkempt look to the project at all.

However, this past year or two I have been trying my darndest to loosen up! This skirt is one of those projects. Instead of trying to applique these animals onto the skirt itself, I just slapped them on some gorgeous batik rectangles and zigzagged in a loose stitch setting.

This is the back of the skirt.

One pass around the unturned edges with an open zigzag is really enough to keep the applique in place. And, it takes a whole lot less time to get each motif done. Nice!

After I had a pile of animals sewn onto the four different batik prints, I just sewed them onto the skirt with a straight stitch. I didn't even hem the rectangles.

I am so proud of myself! I am letting these fabric squares ravel and wrinkle and just do what soft cotton fabric likes to do.
And, boy oh boy, do I like this skirt?


It looks almost as if a newbie made it and that is just what I was going for.