Christmas Jackets 2009

For the last few years, ladies in my quilt guild have been turning out these amazing lightweight jackets made from sweatshirts. I knew I wanted to try, but only got to it this year. The technique involves cutting open a sweatshirt up the side and down the sleeves seams, then sewing fabric of your choice and color to the fleece side of the sweatshirt until the whole thing is covered. You finish by cutting open the front (gee, the patches automatically match perfectly!) then resewing the side seams. I used extra wide bias tape to finish the raw edges ,added pockets and embellished each jacket somehow. I also left the sleeve seams open up about three inches and applied a liner fabric to the underside of each sleeve so the jacket could be cuffed and worn at a 3/4 length.

I began making something for myself out of scraps using a sew-as-you-go patch technique. I chose blues and greens as I wanted a casual jacket to wear with jeans. Essentially, I began with one piece of fabric and added scraps, sewing right sides together and turning them out as I went. I then embroidered a feather stitch over all the seams. Here is the product:

I am wearing my crazy jacket all the time and love the weight. It is perfect over a shirt and lightweight sweater! I had finished this jacket just in time for our annual quilt show in October, where lots of vendors offer a marvelous variety of nice fabrics. I had the presence of mind the week before the show to ask important women on my Christmas list to tell me what colors they liked to wear and in what combinations. Then I proceeded to go "nuts" moving from vendor to vendor selecting a combo of fabrics for each of them and made up four more jackets as Christmas gifts.

Two jackets are complete, two need final fittings involving a trip south - watch for more results as they come in ~ clearly the possibilities are endless! These jackets can be made to be casual or quite elegant depending on the fabrics and patterns you choose. The originals were simple 4-6" squares sewn on a grid to the sweatshirt with raw edges and looked great. You can make them quickly or ... not! I admit, I went for "not"(yup, just about killed me to finish them in time!). I liked matching the basic sweatshirt colors to the color each woman chose...

Each jacket taught me how to do the next jacket more efficiently...

not to mention showcased the color sense of each woman!

One day, I hope to get a group shot of us all in our jackets - we will definitely stand out...

~

Interesting opportunity... a friend went to Thailand and got to see unique, original fabrics being woven as she watched. She brought me back yardage, I made her a memento ... Win Win! Note the bottom borders built into the fabric design... Especially exciting was how by using a sweatshirt as a liner, very light weight fabric takes on a whole new personality that will withstand the chills of San Francisco fogs.... On this jacket, I created pockets on the outside and added buttons so the cuffs could be turned up neatly - now I get to make another one for me!