Over the last few months social media has been full of quilted jackets, a lot of shops are selling them and since they were featured as a challenge on The Great British Sewing Bee they pop up regularly on instagram and pinterest.
I’ve been mulling over whether to make one or not all summer so when a blog I follow called From My Carolina Home announce a stitch-a-long to make a quilted jacket it gave me the impetus I needed to do it.
Over several weeks there were posts about choosing a pattern, making the quilted fabric if you needed to, cutting out, finishing the inside etc, lots of helpful information to help me on my way. Whilst I didn’t managed to do it at the same time, it did prove a very useful resource.
One of my early quilts was a king size one based on a stained glass window we have at home. It’s a lovely quilt, but being an early one I can see all the mistakes, I made it before I had any cutting equipment, so pieces were measured with a tape measure and cut with scissors! It was on our bed for several years but the gold patterns on some of the squares had gone green and to be honest it got usurped as my quilting improved. I made another three king size quilts and even having given one to family, there is a limit as to how many king-size quilts I need.
I decided it could make a stunning quilted jacket!
I chose a pdf pattern from Clothworks Collective on Etsy and spent an evening sellotaping all the pieces together. For sizing I measured my standard winter jackets and made it a similar size and it does fit nicely.
It was with some trepidation and a lot of prevaricating that I finally cut out the pieces. I spent quite a while deciding which parts of the pattern I wanted to use and how it would work. My original plan was to have the bottom border of the quilt as the lower hem of the jacket. I decided against patch pockets as it would spoil the line of the pattern. The pattern also had the collar cut on the bias, where as I wanted the quilt pattern to be straight across the collar.
The making of the quilted jacket wasn’t exactly the stress free experience I was hoping for! I did find a few areas of the instructions difficult to follow; I couldn’t follow their method for stitching the collar on at all, in the end I just stitched it as I have done in previous garments. The collar was a tad small as of course I hadn’t cut mine on the bias so I had to fudge bits. The sleeves also caused some consternation, the jacket in the pattern had turn up cuffs, I didn’t want the quilt backing as a turn up as it’s quite a bright gold colour so I was using some of the border strips as a cuff. I tried to follow the instructions but again I struggled to understand how they were creating the turn-up. In the end I just cut off the turn-up and stitched some binding round the hem. Fitting the sleeve into the armhole also caused stress as the sleeve was smaller than the armhole. I was anticipating easing the sleeve head into the arm scythe as usual, but instead I had to ease the armhole onto the sleeve!
Trying it on I was a tad disappointed, it just didn’t look balanced…
It may have improved with a bit of bias binding along the border seams but I decided it was the length that was wrong for the quilt design. I decided to cut it off at the green border at hip length and I think it was the right decision.
One question that often comes up with quilted jackets is how to finish the seams on the inside. I started off doing what I think are called Hong Kong seams, binding each side with some bias. It made for a pretty bulky seam too. Later seams I just zigzagged, partly as by this time I’d run out of binding! I am tempted now to buy some more bias and cover the seams more neatly.
I used some black bias binding to finish the bottom edge. The buttons are from my stash and have a pearly purple and green finish, sounds strange but they seem to work. Buttonholes were a nightmare, despite a practise run that went smoothly, my machine decided to play up half way through three of them, in the end I just stitched another buttonhole over the top!
Well I am pretty pleased with the finished jacket, I just have to pluck up the courage to wear it in public – it is quite striking!
I wore it for the first time last weekend when I went to the Northern Quilt Show in Harrogate. I decided if I didn’t have the courage to wear it there it would end up just sitting in my wardrobe!! Luckily I got quite a few lovely comments from other ladies wandering round the show which was nice. I’ll probably find I mainly wear it to places such a quilt shows or embroidery events, I’m not sure it’s quite the coat for wandering round Otley Market!