Create a Wearable Art Garment!

If you are looking to create a Wearable Art Garment this pattern (Kwik Sew K4104) gives you space to play.  The Lined Open Front Jacket is pretty easy to construct.  It took me longer because of all the embellishments and Quilting that were added.  When I plan to Quilt on a garment constructed with Hand Dyed Cotton Fabric, I always use Flannel as batting.  The Flannel has been washed and dried a minimum of three times in very hot water and dried in a hot dryer.  This is done to get any possible shrinkage out of the way. 

Kwik Sew 4104 Open Jacket

First Cutting

Because I planned to Quilt on this garment, I initially cut the fabric out one-inch larger than the pattern pieces.  This allows for any shrinkage that occurs during Quilting and Embellishing. 

Paper pattern showing the extra one inch added.

Accent Designing 

Accent colors are Hand Dyed Lavender, Sky Blue and Marbled Cerulean.  The strips were made using a ¼” Bias Tape Maker.  The Ultimate Marking Pencil (UMP) was used to draw the lines for strip placement.  After sewing down the colored strips, I used a hot iron (Steam or no Steam, works both ways) to remove the UMP lines.  At this point I felt a little stumped, things didn’t look right, my creative eye was not happy.  Thinking it was time to put the project into a Time Out.  My sister suggested that I hang the jacket on my new dress form to see what I thought.  Realized that I had been constructing in 2D and my brain had been dreaming in 3D.  With a few minor adjustments and I was ready to move on. 

Shows the drawn lines and color placement.

Quilting Design


The Ultimate Marking Pencil is used to draw very basic Quilting outlines.  I always allow myself the freedom to create and adjust as I am Quilting.  The beauty of the UMP is if you are not pleased with the design you can iron it away.  I love the face that once I am done Quilting, I can iron away the markings and no one knows that I Quilted outside the lines.

Shows proposed quilting lines drawn with UMP.

Quilting


Quilting takes time, give yourself time to Quilt.  I always use extra pieces of Cotton and Flannel to do a sample to find the right thread, needle, stitch length and tension.  Remember everything is a huge adventurous experiment.

Close up of Tone on Tone Quilting.

Second Cut


My Fabric has been created.  Time to cut out and mark everything.  Construction of the jacket took less time than making the fabric.  The pattern called for tons of Understitching, so I chose to leave an opening in the lower center back of the lining.  It made it easier to get to all of the places to Understitch.  I sew it up by hand when everything was finished.

Paper pattern piece on quilted and embellished fabric.

Finished Wearable Art Jacket

This is View A, but with all of the Embellishments and Quilting I chose to put pockets in the side seams instead if the Welt Pockets.  Jackets need pockets in my world. This is how I Create a Wearable Art Garment.

Front view of finished jacket K4104.
Back of finished jacket.
3/4 view of finished jacket K4104.

Dress Form Fitted

My garment making career started in seventh grade.  The only place I could find clothes that sort of fit was in the Boys Department at JC Penney, because I was a very tall skinny kid.  A lot of years have been spent dreaming of having my very own Dress Form Fitted to my shape.  Then one morning I woke up and thought, “What am I waiting for?”  This article is not about how to fit your dress form (it will include some helpful YouTube video links), but about my adventure and things that I know now that I wish someone had told me before I started.

What to expect –

  • My first consideration was budget.  I would have loved to say I have unlimited funds and could purchase a Professional Dress Form.  In the real world I have a Mid-Range Budget. 
  • Look at reviews to get an idea of what will and will not work for you. 
  • Do Not expect you dress form to come out of the box and be a perfect double for your body.  Every woman is unique.
  • Do some basic measurements of yourself, it will give you a good place to begin.  Bust, Waist, Hips, Hip to Waist, Neck, Back Waist Length and Height from back of Neck to floor.  
Adjustable Dress Form

Selection –

I had narrowed my choices down to two Adjustable Dress forms.  I then compared my measurements to the two dress forms.  I went with the one that my measurements fell into the middle of their size categories.

Waiting for my dress form to arrive was the worst part.  I tried to “Buy Local” but no one carries Dress Forms locally.  She arrived in one box.  Assembly required.

Help!

The thought of trying to measure and adjust everything all by myself was daunting, so I call in reinforcements to help get my Dress Form fitted.  My sister Karen was up to the challenge.  I found two handouts that were helpful with measuring and having a place to write all of those measurement down. Here are some of my thoughts: 

Front Bra & Padding added to Form
Dress Form with Padding

Then it come down to adjusting here and there.  Measure, adjust here and there.  Padding, measure, adjust here and there.  Total time 4 ½ hours and a lot of laughter.  It was really interesting to see my shape in 3D, as opposed to 2D (Flat) in a mirror.

Finished off with Snug T-shirt

We added a snug fitting T-shirt, so I would not get frightened every time I look her way.

My Only Issue –

The only real issue I had with the Dress Form that I purchased was the base. If you look at the very first photo of the Dress Form it has a silver base that was worthless. Flimsy, if you breathed on the Dress Form it would fall over.

Found a great office chair at the Goodwill for $4.99. When I got it home discovered it was in much better condition than the one in my Studio. Swapped them and gave the office chair and Dress Form to my husband Mike (man that makes all things you cannot buy at the store). And this is what I got back.

New Office Chair Base.

A stable rolling base for my Dress Form. She has her dancing shoes on. Works perfect!

Mandarin Collar

Finished my Marbling and have move to making samples of new Patterns. Mandarin Collar is Kwik Sew K4195. This is the Vest Version. Personally I think it is a Sleeveless Top. Went for bright and fun fabrics, Snowed Dyed Fabric, one Yard piece and 1 5/8 Yards of Hand Dyed Forest Green for size Large.

Mandarin Collar Kwik Sew Pattern K4195

I found the Mandarin Collar to be a fairly easy pattern to put together. As I have a new sewing machine there was a bit of a learning curve and just getting used to the machine.

Completed  Mandarin Collar Top
Back View

When I do samples for my booth I try very hard to sew as the pattern is written. But the way the directions had you do the Sleeve Opening, was not to my liking at all. Instead I found my self using hand made Bias Tape (Snow Dyed Fabric) for the finish. I also had five of the Copper and Silver buttons, so five buttons rather then the suggested four.

Close up of Sleeve Bias Band

Loved using my Snowed Dyed fabric for the Contrast.

Snow Dyed Fabric

Inspiration!

When I attend Quilt Show, I take photos of quilts that inspire me and post them on my Facebook page. Think of it as spreading the inspiration around. Pam Seaberg is a frequent visitor to my booth and website. She shared some of her creation with me so I thought I would pass them on.

Spoiled is off to the Fall Show in Paducah, KY. The lovely Cobalt Blue background is one of my Hand Dyes.

Lady Indiscretion is off to Houston, TX. The Blue Green Background is one of my custom Hand Dyed pieces. I remember Pam saying she wanted lots of variation in the color.

Belle Story is also off to Huston, TX. I forgot yo ask, but I have a feeling that a whole lot of Belle Story is my Hand Dyed pieces.

The Rug that turned into a Bowl

I am lucky enough to live near Bellingham, WA the home of Ragfinery. I was feeling in need of inspiration and something to get me out a creative rut. Signed up for their No-Sew Braided Rug Class. Great class I might add. Once I arrived home and continued working on my rug, I discovered that it really wanted to be a bowl. So here it is. Either way it is a great way to keep fabric/textiles out of the land fills.

I can feel a few more starting to bud in my creative mind. I will keep you posted.

Life is an Experiment

Somewhere along the line I have come to view my life as one big experiment. In my studio if something sits still to long it could end up in a dye bucket. Recently I received a bolt of Tone on Tone Cotton Fabric and I have questions.

What happens if you throw it into a dye bucket? What happens it you use paintstiks on the printed part of the fabric? Will it stick?

I tossed it in with some Pansy Purple Scarves that I was dying and a whole new look appeared. Added some Iridescent Gold Paintstik, that had been cured, heat set, washed and dried.