The French Jacket – Quilting
On Sunday afternoon I cut out all of the pattern pieces & started to quilt the lining & facing panels together.
In all my reading on the quilting of jackets I’d heard that the quilting can shrink your pattern pieces. I was really unsure how to cut everything out & then quilt it to account for the size reduction. I thought I could cut out panels & quilt the whole thing & then cut it out, but then I worried about having to unpick all the stitching to reclaim my seam allowances, given that the facing material seemed quite delicate once cut, I was a little concerned about this.
In the end I decided to cut out a sample patch that I would measure before & after quilting to determine the effect on the dimensions. I also used this to check on the colours of cotton I would use for quilting. Here is the piece I cut before quilting.
Here is the piece after quilting. You may notice the little white pinpricks that now appear. This is the white bobbin thread. My sewing machine is on the fritz & the tension is stuffed, it’s holding the upper thread flat against the fabric & pulling the bobbin thread all the way through regardless of upper or lower tension. Which means it’s off to the doctors for my sewing machine! The good news is my Mum is too busy to sew at the moment so I am temporarily commandeering her machine (thanks Mum!). Despite this I actually like the way the navy thread looks on the white lining so I’ve decided to go with a navy upper & lower thread. The real verdict here was that if I quilted with the grain (i.e. in line with the checks of the fabric) the fabric retained it’s shape quite nicely, however if I quilted against the grain (the diagonal quilting) it warped the fabric quite significantly.
After my little experiment I confidently cut out all of the jacket pieces in both the facing & the lining. Cutting out the facing took quite a while as I had to cut out each piece individually to make sure the checks on each piece matched the checks on the pieces I would join them to. Hopefully this will work out…
There was a minor alteration I made to the pattern to incorporate the Chanel-style quilted construction. Instead of using the centre front & back lining pieces provided, I altered the centre front & back facing panels to create lining pieces that could be quilted to the facing piece. This was a very simple alteration, I simply took a little length off the pieces so that they were the same length as all the other lining pieces.
Once everything was cut out, I embarked upon the monster task of quilting the panels. I couldn’t just launch straight into quilting, I had to prepare the panels first! I started by pinning the wrong sides of the facing & lining together.
Next I used my tailors chalk to mark a line 30mm in from the edge. This was to mark the boundary of the quilting, ensuring that there would be sufficient room to sew the seams & press them flat, (I plan to show this more clearly in a later post to explain).
Finally I was ready to start quilting! I had decided to use the features of the fabric to create my quilting lines, you can see this thanks to all the little white dots on the sample section. This actually result in much straighter lines than previously expected! I started quilting all the lines across the narrower part of the panel. This was to ensure that the lining & facing pieces were well aligned.
Then I quilted along the widest section of panel, before finishing the panel off by quilting around the 30mm line I’d marked. There was no functional purpose for this final seam, I just thought it looked nicer. Plus I didn’t want to have to spend hours hand stitching my quilting to meet up at the seams once I’d sewn the seams – yes some people do this, check this out. If only I had that much patience. *Side note* How awesome is that person’s straight stitching! Man, I’m jealous.
I finished by trimming off all the loose threads.
Panel number 1 complete. All in all it took me about an hour. Now, I only have 10 to go.