You have probably noticed that my projects tend to utilize unusual combinations of fabrics and textures, and wondered, “how did she come to that arrangement?”  … well, the answer isn’t simple … it’s complicated.  In this post, I will discuss my current project and how I selected the fabrics and color-way.

For starters … I don’t use a color wheel, pantone cards or any type of electronic design media.  I usually start with a piece of fabric which I want to use as my focal piece.  From there, I locate a pattern appropriate to show off my fabric.  Sometimes, the pattern does not indicate that the fabric is a “recommended” type – I usually ignore this.  And often, I don’t have enough of the fabric for the entire piece.  This is where the fun begins.

Have you ever made an outstanding garment, but it doesn’t coordinate with anything in your wardrobe?  I’ve done this far too many times to count.  When I get carried away and obsessed with a certain design or fabric, I immediately start to envision how it will be worn, and what other elements are needed to showcase the focal piece.  So once I’ve selected a pattern and fabric, I now need to locate coordinating fabrics and patterns.

This is where my Sherpa dilemma started.  I have a new batch of fabrics from Emma One Sock, and I was eager to turn them into fantastic pieces.  Since we hit a cold snap in San Diego, I was very drawn to the faux Sherpa I had purchased (don’t ask me why I bought Sherpa if I live in San Diego, CA).  I also had this beefy jersey with a tribal woven design that has been calling to me since I found it at the swap meet in National City.

Flipping through my patterns in my “to do soon” pile, I found Vogue 8946.  Lucky me, I had enough fabric for either View B or View C, both of which I loved! The horizontal pattern in the jersey fabric would work very well with the pleating detail and it would look fab in some tall suede boots! For the Sherpa, I picked Simplicity 1070.  I had the PERFECT coordinating pewter faux leather to go with it (also from the swap meet).  I know this pattern was not designed to be lined in Sherpa, but I can make ANYTHING work.

So now, about the dilemma.  I was struggling to find coordinating fabrics for the outer shell of the jacket.  I pinned my fabric to my form and started draping the options on the form to see how they worked together.  The slate grey was just not working with anything in my fabric stash – except some wool scraps I have been holding on to since 2006.  These wool scraps are vintage 50’s or 60’s, and had come in a lot of sewing patterns I had purchased.  The previous owner had cut floor length skirts, but never assembled them.  I didn’t have enough of either fabric, but the blue-grey herringbone worked SO WELL with both the Sherpa and slate blue jersey.

I decided to start modifying Simplicity 1070 for Sherpa – and worry about the rest later.  Am I an eternal optimist? YES!!

So the problem I found with Simplicity 1070 is that it is not lined – and you can’t have a partially lined Sherpa coat! I went to work drafting the lining, using the outer shell as my templates.

  1. the first thing I had to figure out was how the facing pieces interacted with the outer shell.  I pinned the outer shell together above the bustline and overlayed the facing
  2. Once I identified the alignment, I transferred the facing pattern lines onto the shell pieces.  Whatever was not faced would be my new lining piece.
  3. I traced off the new lining pieces and noted any darts that would need to be incorporated.

Now the fun part! Cutting the pieces out. I started with the herringbone wool, cutting the focal pieces first: front panels, sleeves.  I wanted to get as much use of this as I could before I started filling in with another fabric, but still checked to verify that I could at least get them all between the two wool scraps – if needs be.  As I cut them, I pinned them to the form to see how they interplayed as a garment.  I was able to also cut the center back and loops for the D-rings and snaps, but that was all.  The undersleeve and side backs would need to be a dark grey wool.  Once I cut all of the pieces, including the faux leather, I draped the Sherpa lining on the form.

I noticed that I really liked the way the raw edge of the faux leather draped.  It was very modern and edgy.  I also still liked the Sherpa, but the clean line of the faux leather was sooo Helmut Lang!  I cut a piece of the darker wool for the facing, and observed the two options.

The dilemma, “To Sherpa or Not to Sherpa?”

I decided that I would sew the shell together, and then try this exercise again.  It was hard to see the shape with the pieces pinned to the form.

Stopping short of the Sleeves, I repeated the wool vs. Sherpa exercise.

I ditched the Sherpa and went to JoAnn’s for some Wonder Under.

I am going to FUSE the wool to the faux leather and see what happens.

Wish me luck!