Lets face it Vancouver, it is cold! So I recently decided my fall 2014 mission would be to design warm clothes. I began my journey with a dolman quilted top inspired oddly enough by my husband who was fascinated by a quilted sweater he saw recently. Little did I know that quilting takes more time than I anticipated.
In this post, get an insider look into the process of creating this sweater and the construction details involved.
No new fabric was purchased for this sweater. The exterior black knit fabric was left-over from the little black knit dress tutorial during the summer. The black inter-lining I had in studio as I do work with black often.
The sweater was fairly simple to draft as it is a two dimensional design. The front and back are identical except for the neckline where it dips down in the front.
Majority of the time was spent top-stitching lines to create the quilted look. Once that was complete the sweater was able to come together quickly.
Taking plain fabric and creating a textural look was extremely satisfying, but as you can imagine time consuming. I lined the stretch knit fabric with 100% cotton (woven) to give a bit more shape to the sweater and to hold the quilting lines with ease. I began with marking the lines in one direction on the 45 degree angle, then sewing each line. After one direction was complete I moved on to the intersecting lines to complete the 'quilt' look.
This process was applied to the front and back pieces separately. In total 120 lines where sewn on. Below shows the complete quilted surface. By the way, sewing black on black along a grid is very dizzying. Each box has the dimension of 1" x 1".
A dolman sleeve or a bat-wing sleeve is fitted at the wrist and not so fitted along armhole as you can see. It brings together the bodice and sleeve with no additional seams, hence the two dimensional look.
I will admit this was my first time designing a garment with dolman sleeves. I have felt in the past that this type of sleeve is shapeless and unflattering, but I think done with stiffer fabric it creates a nice structural feel and silhouette that is fresh.
On purpose I did not quilt the cuffs. I did this to create balance in the garment and to bring attention to a fitted area (show that I still have a figure, even on my wrists).
To complete a balanced look, I kept the neckline simple and quilt free. I bound the neckline in the black cotton lining fabric, hand slip-stitching the inside to avoid top-stitching.
Hand Sewn Hem
Finishing touch was to hand sew the hem in place. An invisible looking hem was necessary to keep the focus on the quilting. Can you imagine a silly top-stitching line intersecting the quilting lines? NO thank you!
Being the first time I ever quilted fabric, I am extremely pleased at how equal each square turned out. As time consuming as this project was, it was rewarding to see the final product. I will be making another quilted sweater for my husband in grey, minus the dolman sleeve.
Written & created by Sheila Wong.