Last August I bought a very interesting novelty fabric – a black chiffon fused with quarter-sized denim dots, making the dots very rigid but also taming their raw edges. This narrow fabric was more expensive than most at my favorite discount fabric store – I think it was $13 per yard – I did not know how I would use it, so I bought two yards. On one side of the selvedge there was a 4" strip (approx) of denim. I bought the beginning of the bolt, so there was another 8" of denim at the start of the bolt.
I loved the fabric's drape with the slightly fraying denim circles but, when I got it home, I was very perplexed by how to use it. I wanted to somehow frame the dots with the included denim, but was having trouble imagining the right pattern. I realized I needed more fabric for the type of design I was considering, especially given the fussy cutting I wanted, so I went back to the fabric store, but the remainder of the small bolt was gone. I asked and it turned out that they had another bolt they hadn't brought out yet. This time the beginning of the bolt had about 10" of denim – yay for me! I bought another couple yards from this second bolt and let the fabric sit while I auditioned patterns in my head. I finally narrowed it to two patterns – the Sewing Workshop's Plaza jacket and a cropped, funky Mizono from Vogue.
In the end, I decided to go with the Plaza jacket, and I tested that pattern out using a handwoven-like fabric. I tweaked the pattern to remove the fullness at the back and to straighten out the back hem so I could include the denim selvedge.
For this particular jacket, I also removed the self fold band from the front pattern piece and omitted the neck pattern piece. Instead, I used the full width available from the narrower piece of denim from the beginning of the bolt (it wasn't much) to make the front band, which is just a long strip, seamed at the CB. The front and back pieces were cut to use the full width of the selvedge to include that perfectly coordinating denim. I used most of the denim from the other bolt cut for the sleeves.
This fabric was not easy to sew or iron. Alternating every few stitches between insubstantial chiffon and the very rigid glued denim could have confounded a sewing machine, but my old Bernina handled it just fine. It was very difficult to turn under edges and iron open seam allowances – just pinning into the denim circles was very difficult and I had the pricked fingers to prove it. But I think the end result was worth it.
I am happy with how it turned out. It's fun to wear – I've worn it to Thanksgiving, DD2's Winter Concert, my sew group's holiday luncheon, and I plan to wear it several more times this holiday season.