Tis the sea-sun! Our latest sun worthy design is a couture cropped jacket featuring contrasting stripes (vertical vs horizontal). This design might look familiar and that's because we used the same pattern as our denim jacket series. Only this time, we went full-couture (almost)! In this blog post, we discuss how we adjusted the pattern so we applied couture sewing techniques to this design, as well as highlighting our favorite design elements.
Pattern adjustments were made to accommodate for the thread marking application of this fabric. Adjustments included removing all seam allowances off the original pattern so we can easily thread mark around each pattern piece, directly on the fabric. Thread marking is the process of basting around each pattern piece or the stitching lines in contrasting thread color. Thread marking stitches are inserted in prior to cutting out fabric, as they frame each pattern piece. They are also used to clearly display any notches. This allows you to construct the garment with precision. The thread markings come out after your permanent seam is installed.
Fun Fact: In the last 5 years, we have explored over 15 garments with full couture sewing techniques. You can find some of these designs on our Blog Archive.
One of my favorite textile shops in the world is Nagato Fabrics in Nippori Textile Town in Tokyo, Japan. They have 3 shops within one block of each other. Each shop specializes in specific categories of fabric. One shop for knits, one for heavy weight woven's like wool, and the main shop has a variety of garment fabrics.
Originally, I picked up this striped organza fabric in 2017 with the intention of using it as an overlay for a full mid-calf length skirt. But as you know, designs can change and its now 2020. This fabric is a mixture of cotton, silk and polyester. Base is silk organza.
Want a mini glimpse into the streets and textile eye candy of Nippori Textile Town? Check out our video below.
This jacket is made up of over 10 pattern pieces, so yes there are a ton of design elements involved. Below, I highlight my favorite elements and share my thought process on new techniques you might want to try.
Playing with Stripes
Perhaps a visual assault to the eyes, but playing around with vertical vs horizontal stripes from one panel to the next lets you see all the seam work involved in this design. When you have a look at this exact design with just solid color fabric, you miss out on noticing the 2 piece sleeves, the cuff or even the box pleat pockets.
Looking at the final design, I am contemplating changing out the cuff hem facing to be horizontal instead of vertical. What do you think? Maybe I am overthinking it!
This fabric is slightly shear, so we could not cut the under collar in the same striped fabric. We used a solid color of ivory silk organza as the under collar and under the pocket flap to ensure the stripe does not get compromised visually.
Something really special about using see-through fabric is the ability to see the inside workings of a garment. You can see the graded seam allowances around the neckline and the clipped areas around the curve. Great as a visual aid for teaching my clients!
Box Pleat Patch Pocket with Flap
One of the most traditional pockets found on a denim jacket— a box pleat pocket with a flap. Due to the delicate nature of the fabric and the hand sewing techniques applied, we had to avoid traditional denim jacket techniques such as top stitching and buttons.
Pocket components were basted, then slip stitched down to front panel. The pocket flap received an extra step with a false French seam finish to avoid any exposed raw edges under the flap. In addition, each corner of the pocket opening and flap opening received extra slip stitches as back stitching for strength.
Originally, I had intentions of placing buttons and button holes on the pocket just as a traditional denim jacket would have, but once a button was placed down it didn't make sense. The button would take away from the playfulness the vertical and horizontal stripes had going on. There is a possibility the weight of the button would be too much for the pocket as well.
Time for some truth. This jacket sat on a rolling rack for weeks because the thought of buttons and button holes on this not so stable fabric terrified me. Many factors were involved where...
Have you ever stabilized a button with another button?! This was the perfect solution to my delicate fabric vs button weight concern. Main (larger) button on the exterior of the garment and a secondary (smaller) button on the interior of the garment but stitched together. This ensured the buttons do not tug or weigh the fabric, but rather balance and stabilize each other. Below you can see the exterior and interior view.
A fun little side (but still related) story is that all the buttons used on this jacket were of different colors but same style/family of buttons. Button colors ranged from brown, blue, green, black, white and grey. All kinda worked with the multi-colored stripes going on.
We're ready to wear our design out and about! How would you style with this jacket? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
If you would like to learn more about couture hand sewing techniques, feel free to CONTACT the studio. It is easy enough to inject small bits of couture techniques in a project or go full out on a fully hand stitched garment. You decide!
Designed, photographed and written by Sheila Wong Studios.