A Totally Frivolous Floral Lace Jacket

Many people in the sewing world have heard of the concept of sewing “icing” versus “cake” (an analogy that originated with Tasia of Sewaholic, I believe).  This project is pure, sweet, luscious icing.  It’s not something I would ever buy in a million years.  But if we can’t sometimes make things purely on a whim, then what is the point of sewing?

This jacket is definitely a fabric-inspired project.  I first spotted the fabric on Mood’s website and was drawn to it.  Why, I can’t say.  It is not like anything I usually sew with: it is polyester (I am a total natural fibers snob), it is lace (something I have never sewn with), and it was pricey.  It probably would have stayed on my list of beautiful fabrics that I can’t have if it weren’t for Mr. Kiri Knits.  He is definitely a stash-enabler, even going so far as to buy me fabrics which I can’t justify buying for myself.  (It’s terrible, really.)  He bought me quite a bit since I wasn’t sure exactly what it was going to be yet, and I have enough left over for another project– maybe a princess-seamed sheath dress?

The fabric is really cool; it is a floral lace that then has a colorful floral pattern printed on it.  The print does not match up with the lace, giving it a lot of dimension.  After I bought this fabric and planned to turn it into a jacket, I actually saw it used in a totally different way by Lauren of Lladybird.  She used it in a bra, which may be something that I have to steal, as it would be a great way to use up some of the scraps from cutting out my jacket.  (You better believe I saved every single scrap!)
My pattern, minus that stupid bow (seriously, who would want that?).
Although this fabric definitely does not seem like a fabric one would normally make a jacket out of, for some reason that is what I saw.  My first decision was whether or not I wanted to underline it (thus making it opaque) or leave it semi-see through.  I also considered underlining it in silk organza. To facilitate my decision, I draped it on the dressform and played around with it.  I ended up deciding that I really did not want to underline it.

Sorry for the blurriness; I was using the self-timer and there were no non-blurry pics of the back.
I used the edge of the lace as the sleeve hem.

I also decided to go with a collarless jacket (Lekala 4082), because I felt the fabric needed really simple lines.  However, this still left the problem of what to do about finishing the edges of the jacket.  I decided to use white silk organza for the facings; it is transparent enough to maintain the see-through-ness of the jacket, but it has enough structure to support the hems.  I straightened out the sleeve hems and removed the hem allowance so that I could use the edge of the lace to finish the sleeves.  Lace doesn’t have a grainline, but in order to keep the orientation of the pattern consistent, I placed the grainline of the pattern pieces roughly perpendicular to the edge.  This was also very efficient in terms of fabric usage.  The seam allowances are finished with silk-organza bias strips, which I then catchstitched down.  (I was hoping that serging would work, but it just looked really terrible.)  Working with the polyester reminded me of one reason I hate it; it doesn’t press at all!

Although this jacket does not seem very practical, it is actually pretty versatile.  Since it is so colorful, I can wear it with almost any of my dresses.  It can easily dress up jeans and a t-shirt, or add color to an outfit.  It’s light enough to wear in the summer, but could be worn over long sleeves in the spring or fall.  What I like most about it is that it is unique.  It is something that I get to wear because I dreamed it up and made it.  Yay for sewing!

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