Sewing Savvy Newsletter
Tips & Advice
|Notes From the Sewing Room|
|Now that you have created so many miniature outfits for Dolly, it is time to create something classy and elegant for yourself.|
By Barbara Weiland
Interlocking points and oriental prints create the patchwork panels in this simple cardigan. No need to shy away from the inside points in this pieced marvel when you follow this foolproof method.
Patchwork with inset corners
Project Note: Jacket shown and yardage given is for a size medium cardigan-style jacket with a back length of approximately 29 inches, not including the stand-up, cut-on collar; smaller sizes and different styles may require less and larger sizes may require additional yardage for the chevrons.
- Cardigan-style jacket pattern (no front overlap or buttons)
- 44/45-inch-wide cotton prints:
- 7/8 yard each 6 or 7 coordinating Asian prints (or other theme)
- 1/2 yard contrasting print or solid for binding
- Lightweight cotton flannel in the yardage listed for the jacket on the pattern envelope, plus 1/2 yard
- Coordinating print or solid fabric for lining/foundation in yardage indicated on the pattern envelope, plus 1/2 yard
- 1/4-inch presser foot
- All-purpose thread to blend with fabric colors
- Notions as directed on the pattern envelope
- Air- or water-soluble marking pen
- Optional: temporary spray adhesive
- Optional: approximately 5 yards narrow flexible braid trim
- Rotary cutter, mat and ruler
- Basic sewing tools and equipment
- Preshrink all fabrics before you begin. Press to remove wrinkles and trim away the selvages.
- Measure the width of the fabrics. If your fabrics are not 42 inches wide at this point, you will probably need to cut an additional strip from each fabric in order to cut the required number of rectangles from each strip. It will depend on the jacket length and size. After creating the patchwork panels for the fronts, you will probably be able to determine if you will need additional rectangles.
- From each of at least six coordinating prints, for size medium and up, cut four 6 x 42-inch strips. Cut 6 x 10-inch rectangles from each strip. For smaller sizes, cut four strips each 5 x 42 inches and cut each strip into 5 x 10-inch rectangles. Depending on the size, style and length of your jacket, you may need to cut an additional strip from each fabric for additional rectangles. Determine this as you work through the patchwork design and assembly steps.
- Position a folded rectangle on the rotary-cutting mat with the long raw edges even with the 45-degree-angle line and the corner at the cut edges located at the point of a square as shown in Figure 1.
- Cut away the corner as shown in Figures 2a and 2b.
- Adjust the piece so the lower corner of the folded rectangle is at the intersection of two lines on the rotary-cutting mat and the cut edges are aligned with the 45-degree line. Cut away the corner (Figure 3).
- Open each rectangle to reveal a chevron (Figure 4). Discard the triangle cutaways or set aside for another patchwork project.
- Repeat the above steps to cut chevrons from all remaining rectangles.
- From the coordinating fabric for the lining/foundation, cut a rectangle large enough to accommodate each of the jacket pieces plus a little extra all around -- two sleeves, two fronts and one back (Figure 5). Each rectangle should be slightly larger than the length and width of the pattern piece and cut on grain. Repeat with the lightweight cotton flannel.
- From the binding fabric, cut five strips each 2 1/2 inches wide, cutting across the fabric width.
Note: Fold the rectangles in half lengthwise with wrong sides facing and raw edges even. Press lightly to create a center crease in each one. If you have cut the rectangles in a double layer, you can fold them together carefully rather than separating them for this step. Do not fold more than a double layer of rectangles to preserve accuracy.
Note: Do not press the rectangles to remove the center crease.
Note: Use 1/4-inch-wide seam allowances for the patchwork.
- Adjust the stitch length on the sewing machine to 15 stitches per inch and attach the 1/4-inch presser foot if available.
- Beginning and ending 1 inch from the inward point on each chevron, stitch exactly 1/4 inch from the raw edge and pivot precisely at the pressed crease line.
- Draw a line 5/8 inch from the front edge of the jacket front pattern piece and trim away the pattern at this line; repeat at the back neckline edge. This eliminates the seam allowance, since you will be binding the edge instead of adding a facing.
- Adjust the pattern to fit your figure before proceeding. Place the right front pattern piece face up on the work surface and arrange a row of chevrons along the front edge of the jacket pattern; use enough chevrons to completely cover the pattern from the upper to lower edge plus a few inches extra to allow for seaming loss when the pieces are sewn together. For most sizes and styles, each vertical row of patchwork will require five chevrons to adequately cover the length of the pattern pieces.
- Add a second row of chevrons with the point in the opposite direction (see completed patchwork panels in Figure 8). Note that the upper and lower edges will be jagged. Add a third row of chevrons (necessary for most sizes from medium up) with the points in the same direction as in the first row. Pin the chevrons to the pattern tissue temporarily.
- Move the right front pattern and the chevrons to your sewing machine or a location nearby so that you can sew the pieces together in each row to create the patchwork strips. Remove the pins, leaving the chevrons in the established positions.
- Working on one row of chevrons at a time, join the chevrons; press all seams toward the outward points in each strip. Replace the completed strips in position on the pattern piece.
- Sew the chevron rows together for the right jacket front, taking care to match the chevron seams at each 1/4-inch seam intersection where they cross. Return the pattern piece with patchwork strips to the work surface, and check the upper areas to make sure that the entire pattern piece is covered. If necessary, add another chevron to the upper end of the row where needed. You will need to undo a bit of the vertical seam to add the extra chevron and then re-stitch (Figure 7).
- Arrange chevrons on the wrong side of the jacket front pattern piece in a mirror-image arrangement of the right front patchwork panel you just completed. Sew the chevrons together in rows and sew the rows together as you did for the right front (Figure 8). Set the completed front panels aside.
- Working on the sleeve pattern piece, create the chevron rows for the sleeve as you did for the jacket fronts. This time, though, begin with a row for the center of the sleeve, and then add the required number of rows at each side of the center row. Most sleeves will require three rows of chevron strips. Press the long seams toward the underarm edges (Figure 9).
- Repeat the process for the jacket back, creating five rows of chevron strips with the first one centered over the center-back line on the jacket. Sew the strips together when you are sure they are long enough to entirely cover the back pattern piece. Press all seams away from the center strip of chevrons toward the side seam edges (Figure 10).
- Apply a light coat of temporary spray adhesive to the wrong side of one rectangle of lightweight flannel for the jacket front, and smooth the adhesive-coated side onto the wrong side of a matching lining rectangle. Repeat with the remaining rectangles for each of the jacket pieces.
- Apply a light coat of temporary spray adhesive to the wrong side of each patchwork panel and smooth in place on top of the flannel. Check the vertical seam lines and make sure they are parallel to the straight-grain edge of the rectangle. Use a long rotary ruler to help with this step. If you prefer not to use the spray adhesive, carefully arrange the three layers, smooth out wrinkles, align the vertical seam lines, and then place straight pins across the vertical seam lines to secure the layers for the next step.
- Stitch in the ditch of all vertical seams to attach the patchwork to the flannel and the lining in one step. Stitch in the ditch of all remaining seams of the patchwork that cross the vertical lines (Figure 11).
- Repeat the above steps to apply the patchwork panels to their corresponding layers of flannel and lining and add trim if desired.
Note: Do not press to remove the crease line; you will need it to assist in positioning the pieces for perfect pivots at the points.
Clip the threads and clip the inward corner of each chevron to within a thread of the stitching (Figure 6).
Jacket Cutting & Assembly
- Position the pattern pieces on the panels and cut out. When cutting the jacket fronts, place the lower edge along the inward points of the chevrons as shown in Figure 7. Take care to match the chevron seam lines at the center front and be sure to cut a right and left front (Figure 12).
- When cutting the back, place the lower edge at the inward points of the patchwork panel and position the center-back fold at the center of the middle of the strip of chevrons. Cut the first half, and then flip the pattern piece to cut the remaining half of the back (Figure 13).
- Center the sleeve on the patchwork panel and position the pattern piece so the chevrons will line up across the sleeves and jacket front and back as closely as possible (Figure 14). Cut out one sleeve. Flip the cutout sleeve facedown onto the remaining patchwork panel and line up vertical and horizontal zigzag seam lines before cutting.
- Sew the jacket side and shoulder seams and insert the sleeves following the pattern guidesheet directions. Press the shoulder and side seams open and finish seam edges with serging or a Hong Kong finish.
- Try on the jacket and turn up the lower edges of the sleeve and jacket to the desired finished lengths. Pin in place, and then press and remove the pins. Cut away the hem allowances to prepare for the binding.
- Sew the 2 1/2-inch-wide binding strips together using bias seams to make one long strip. Press the seams open.
- Fold the binding strip in half lengthwise with wrong sides facing and raw edges aligned; press. Use the strip to bind all raw edges of the jacket. Stitch to the right side with a 3/8-inch-wide seam. Press the binding toward the seam allowance and turn to the inside. Hand-stitch in place or pin in place and stitch in the ditch from the right side. Miter corners as you reach them.
- Optional: If desired, position flexible braid trim along the inner edge of the binding and stitch in place. Outline the sleeve seam in the same manner.
Note: For best results, cut the right front first and then remove the pattern piece. Place the right front facedown on the remaining front patchwork panel, matching chevron points throughout and especially at the front edge to ensure that the chevrons will line up straight across the jacket fronts in the finished jacket. Cut the left front.
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