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Refashioned Rhett Jacket from Seamwork

Sometimes we acquire fabric in fun creative ways because folks truly understand the importance of not wasting something wonderful. This Rhett jacket from Seamwork was created from fabric gifted to me from The Royal BC Museum. As Victoria is a capital city we are very lucky to have such an amazing museum in our lovely city. This fabric had been used for a display at the museum along with several other top quality stunning fabrics. I was very excited to receive them and to begin a collaboration with the museum that will result in the making of several coats that I will share with you. This is the first of my "Museum Collection".

The fabric is a heavy woven fabric, most likely an upholstery fabric. The stripes are raised velvet which creates lovely texture and interest. I have used upholstery fabric several times for coats and jackets, I really like the structure and stand that a heavier woven fabric offers for the clean lines of a coat. As soon as I saw this fabric I knew I wanted to create a Chanel inspired cropped jacket. Meg from Sew Liberated recently stated the process of creating in this way doesn’t just feel like sewing, it is Fibre Art, a productive and worthy form of artistic expression. I see it as a process that couples creative expression and design with fabric and fashion in a sustainable way.

I definitely had to play pattern Tetris to cut out the pattern. The Rhett pattern is a minimalist pattern which makes it easy for layout, but I was very limited by the amount of fabric so I had to do some creative piecing together. I really liked the raw selvage of the fabric and wanted to use it for the front closure and the cuff so this determined which direction the stripes would run!

I cut the left front bodice along the selvage eliminating the built-in interfacing for that particular side. For the opposite front piece I kept the built in interfacing so the front edge would have a finished edge and a bit more structure for the attaching the vintage buttons I wanted to use. Based on finished measurements, I cut out a size 8. I shortened the bodice by 2" for the cropped style. The sleeves were lengthened by their prerequisite 2" because I am 6 feet tall. The back panel is designed to have a seam down the center but I wanted one piece, so I simply laid the pattern piece out along the fold.

For the pockets I literally pieced together bits of fabric that were left over and created two front breast patch pockets. I used the inside pocket pattern piece and added a 2" strip of fabric with raw selvage along one long side to create the top band for the pocket. I sewed this strip to the reverse side of the pocket and folded it over to the front. This creates a nice finish for the top of the pocket and it utilizes more of the raw selvage for a textured finish. I chose to overlock the edge of the pocket in keeping with the raw edge finish because the fabric is so thick I thought the pockets would look too bulky and take away from the finish I wanted for the front. I thought the overlocked edge design added just the right detail and blended in nicely with the raw selvage finish.

I didn't have enough fabric scraps to cut out two collars so I used a lovely vintage velvet for the under collar. It was a perfect match with the stripes on the main jacket and the velvet adds textural detail and a luxurious finish to the collar. The final touch was a set of vintage buttons from my button collection, a perfect addition to a sensationally sustainable garment that will be worn for years to come.

I am so pleased with the finished product. It shows that reused fabrics coupled with creative design elements can create a one of a kind garment. I am grateful that the Royal Museum team has a sustainable mindset so I have an opportunity to use refashioned fabrics in a sustainable, creative way...

After all..... There is Sew Much To Design.

Happy Sustainable Sewing,

Lou Sheffer

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