One of the big highlights was meeting Linda MacPhee, a patterns designer, teacher, sewing enthusiast, vendor, among other talents. Here is a jacket kit I purchased from her after seeing the kit and the finished product. From the list of presenters for 2014, I don’t think Linda attended this year, but she still offers the pattern in two color choices on her website here. If you have a moment, check out the website for the Expo for 2015. It is fun to look at the sight to get a taste of all that is available. I highly recommend attending if you want to be surrounded by sewing enthusiasts, great instructors and an ‘seamingly’-never-ending supply of vendors and supplies. It’s exhausting!The catchy title of ‘Shades of Gray’ was a deliberate attempt to get the attention of customers and cause them to stop by the booth and ask questions about this art-to-wear jacket. Here we are at her booth and advertising her gray jacket kit. She was such a delight to meet in person. I have been a member of the American Sewing Guild, Tucson Chapter in years past and had heard that she had come to our city of offer classes and demos, but for some reason, I never attended. It was my loss. She is so friendly and warm. My mom and I must have said the right things because we were asked to be models in Linda’s fashion show on the main stage!
After getting to talk to her, Linda conveyed that sewing needs to be to simplified, making it as easy as possible to open up to new and different ways to be creative. Sometimes, we get in our own way and complicate a pattern’s process, or get intimidated before even starting something and as a result, never get it off the ground and finished. So…….this jacket has taken a year to complete! More about why later in the post.
Linda prepares the kits herself by providing various remnant squares of fabrics from her suppliers. The kit fabrics have the weight and feel of home decorator and stretch woven fabrics. The additional fabric needed is the sleeve fabric of your choice. Linda chose a heavy sweater knit for her sleeves because she lives in Canada and wanted extra warmth. I selected a black cotton/poly knit remnant from my stash. This kit requires some planning and prep to make this jacket come alive.
Somehow, she knows how much fabric to provide as well as a zipper, pattern, and creative suggestions in the instructions. The idea is to come up with your own configuration. Basically, you are creating the fabric for the jacket like a puzzle. The placement of all fabrics need to look right and balanced and pleasing to the eye. It can also be a great way to use up some laces and trims as well as any other fabric remnants from the stash.As you can see, she added lace, stitching, a rhinestone encrusted zipper, and a creative assortment of related and coordinating fabrics Below is Linda’s sample of the olive jacket to help customers see how the pieces can come together. In the background, you can see all of the MacPhee Workshop patterns stacked and ready for sale. There is so much to take in! There are great garment samples from her various patterns made up for the sole purpose to try them on for size and fit. She offers guidance with pattern selection to suit your lifestyle needs. Some garments hang on racks for sale made up out of fabrics available at her booth. She is so generous with her techniques and tips it is hard to not get so excited and grab the next available sewing machine in sight and get started. Here, Linda used the selvage and lace to add interest and texture to the back. It can also be a way to hide the butting of a seam or blend two fabrics together. These two fabrics were very different and yet coordinated nicely. One is a flocked printed denim and the other is a scrolled design with a reversible side. The pattern Linda chose to include in the kit features the two pieced sleeve and princess seams to not only allow a better fit, but another opportunity to combine more fabrics in small doses to add interest.
So here is my jacket. At a glance, they look alike, but they are very different. My mom provided a scrap of fabric that I used throughout, like on the right pocket. I also added laces of different widths at seam joints. I suppose no two jackets could be the same because the fabric in the kits may vary and the arrangement of them will be different for every person.
You can see the back side pieces are from the same scrap fabric from my mom, only reversed. It has a slight gold fleck in it and looked great on both sides so I had to find a way to show both sides. Plus, it blended well with all of the other fabrics.
So why did it take me a whole year to complete? Well, I was moving right along without a hitch with the fabric piecing, but had difficulty getting the sleeves to set properly. I’m not sure if I didn’t mark the reference points right or what, but I didn’t notice they weren’t in correctly until they had been sewn and serged. They didn’t hang properly and had to be ripped out. I got discouraged, and frankly, allowed myself to get distracted by other sewing projects. It sat until I forced myself to tackle some of my UFO’s (UnFinished Objects).
I hope this post inspires you to look at your patterns and fabrics in a new way. Maybe there is the possibility of a hidden jacket ‘kit’ in your stash.
Now, for the lariat necklace. If you want to know more about it, click here to get the details.