Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Chenille Autumn Leaves Duster

This fabric has been marinating in my stash while I've been pondering the right project. It is a very delicious, drapey, reversible brocade and I wanted to use it for something special. The leaves are created as a woven texture – the fabric reverses to black. I suspect that it contains mostly rayon, though it was unlabeled. It has the drape and feeling of a chenille throw.

After making the Geisha Faces duster, (thanks for all of the feedback!) I decided that it would be a great pattern for the brocade. I dithered on whether to sew it now, or to wait for cooler weather, but we have had some chilly summer weather here in San Francisco, so I decided to strike while the iron is hot.

I did make a few changes to the pattern:

  • First, I had an idea that I wanted to use the black side of the fabric, as well as the coppery brown side. I redrafted the front and neckline facings. My idea was to sew them on the outside, exposing the black. But when I auditioned this idea, I didn't like it. I did use my re-drafted facings, but they are on the inside, as usual.
  • Redrafted facings.
  • Second, I had the idea that I wanted to put giant welt pockets on the front, instead of the layered patch pockets. I decided against this, for two reasons. First, the fabric ravels like crazy. In fact, it virtually shreds, so it is not a great candidate for welt pockets. Secondly, I decided that I really wanted the fabric to be simple and uninterrupted, so I ditched that idea, too.
  • Ravel ravel. I had barely touched this seam.
    The shreds after trimming one armscye.
  • I changed the neckline from round to a v-neck.
  • I had previously shortened the sleeves by 1-5/8", but they were still too long. I shortened them by another 1-1/2".
  • I widened the armscye on the sleeve, so it would fit into the armhole better.
  • I omitted the placket closure. Instead I used two (stacked) buttons and inserted elastic loops into the front seam.
  • I purchased 4 buttons from Britex. The polka dot buttons fit inside the cup buttons.
    Front closure detail
  • I finished all raw edges by turning them under and hand sewing them down. I only used bias binding on the armhole seam.
  • The sleeves, with all seams finished by hand.
  • I did want to have a pocket, so I created a 3D bellows style pocket and hand sewed it to the inside on the right front. I sewed it by hand, so it would be invisible from the front, using a double thickness of the thread, so it would be stronger.
  • Inside of pocket
    Outside of pocket.
    Pocket detail
    It's hard to see, but I am sticking my fingers into the inside pocket.
On my Geisha Duster post, Jackie G asked how I did the FBA, so here's a pic. Because the original dart was rather small, I didn't bother moving it - I just ignored it. Note that I usually wouldn't be so casual. Normally I would lower the dart and then enlarge it. ;)

Because all of the raw edges were sewn down by hand (and the fabric did not cooperate) and the pocket was also sewn in by hand, this duster took me longer to make than the last one. But the result is very cozy. I can definitely see wearing this out for the evening in cooler weather.

If you celebrate July 4th, I hope you have a nice one! Myself, I am looking forward to a long sewing weekend. ;)