And so it is….the Year of the Ox begins. I'm ready for the world to unfold for us all in this new year!!!
Time for a new jacket, celebrating the spring, to wrap myself in. Hand-stitching in white sashiko thread on blue gauze with a light layer of batting was the evening project that called me as time moved us forward. Staying with the white, I found new ways to accent with multiple threads and cover areas with single threads like small lights in the night sky.
I do love traditional Sashiko stitching patterns…but what you see here is my intuitive calling to trust the direction my needle would take and add stitches where they feel right. I find this way of working more personally revealing...letting me feel a deeper way without the intervention of conscious thought and decision making. After a session of stitching, I get to be surprised by what had come to the cloth. I used my I-Ching Pattern for two, new garments. The jacket, is finished with a soft lighter blue cotton lining, and the grey vest is reversible with an ochre color second side. Here are some highlights about designing and making these pieces.
DESIGNING to CLOTH-
Materials are first…only work with things you love. The cotton/ gauze blue fabric was perfect for the jacket …and linen in 2 colors was just what I wanted for the vest. With a thin layer of batting for both the jacket and vest, it was a joy to hold and stitch in the surfaces.
JACKET- Using my I-Ching Pattern, I cut the jacket fronts and backs with batting. Sewn across the shoulders next and started stitching! Seeing it on the dress form after each stitching session, I found myself ‘looking for’ what was next. Soon I started trading off working on the bodice pieces and the sleeves too. The space on the back called for something bold…I soon knew I wanted a dragon there…watching my back and looking over my shoulder as I move out into the world again. As a water Dragon, these images and sketches would be enough to get me started.
Want to create a wavy shape in stitches? Here is an easy way to create a beautiful shape with dimension: Draw a curve with 3-4 pens in your hand at one time! It is very fun to create text too. Translated to thread, the curved shape was accentuated by using different thicknesses of thread.
Once stitching is complete: Each piece was lightly steam ironed on a towel, then compared to the pattern pieces and trimmed as needed. With the sides open, the sleeves are easily sewn in place and the lining finished at the armhole edges with the garment flat. I added a smaller version of the collar before finishing the front and bottom edges all around with the lining.
TURNING & PRESSING-
After stitching the lining all around, trimming the batting and clipping the edges and corners is super important and will reduce bulk along the edges.
After adding the sleeves and finishing the armhole edges while the pieces are flat, The side seams are sewn up continuing out the sleeve seam. The lining can fold over and finish this seam. After the sleeves are sewn to the garment the seam allowances can be pressed and enclosed in the lining.
Simple stitched ties are perfect for this jacket.
The reversible I-Ching vest in grey and ochre linen is also lightly padded which gives more dimension to the stitching. The asymmetrical fronts add interest. I used the concept of Boro patches for my stitch design. Love the effect of stitching with different number of threads for design contrast on this garment.
The armhole edge was cut away (measuring out the shoulder seamline: 4 1/2" from the outside edge was removed for a deeper armhole as shown above. This garment was lined by sewing all around then turned (through the back, bottom edge before the hand-stitching was added through all the layers.
The side seams were overlapped last to make the final fit. I love the second color peeking along the edges from either side!
Staying with one pattern for multiple garments deepens our experience in unexpected ways....so this pattern is on my table for a spring shirt too! These new pieces feel so good in my wardrobe.
What will create more meaning and joy in your work? Diane