A Little Sampling

I am so pleased!  I actually finished one of the projects in my Spring 2016 line up!  (and it's only April 4!)  

I really didn't need to hurry up too much since this was the view out my window this past weekend!  Yeah!  April Fools!  If you look closely you can see my poor daffodils with little snow caps!   So I hunkered down in my workroom and when it does get warmer, I will have at least one new piece of my spring wardrobe waiting.

I used a gray Ibex ribbed wool knit to make a sweater/jacket.  It is a really nice, soft knit with a lot of stretch, but holds it's shape well.  I got it at my favorite local fabric store Fabrications  They got a bunch of Ibex mill ends last year that are wonderful and washable!  The color is one of my closet basics and will work with lots of stuff.  Even in the middle of the summer I need a sweater or a jacket or something to put on when I go INSIDE, because the air-conditioning is always way too cold for me.

I love working with and wearing knits.  But every one is different.  Some stable with barely any give, others loose and super stretchy, thick, drapey, all over the map.  And that is why the first thing I do when I start a new project with a knit fabric is make tons of samples! (I love samples!  The little tastes you get at the grocery store, little jars of face cream, movie trailers, wine tastings, oh yeah...)

I can spend a whole day just trying different stitch lengths or seam finishes or hem treatments...I have to be careful not to use up too much of my yardage on the samples and end up shorting myself on the actual garment!  Even an edge finish that I have used a hundred times will turn out differently on different fabrics.  

Here are a few of the things I learned from my Ibex wool samples...  
  • What serger settings I needed to use so I didn't get that ruffly edge thing 
  • What thread color I liked for top stitching
  • Whether I liked top stitching!
  • How much smaller to cut neck ribbing so it would lay flat.
  • Whether I wanted to use the raw edge of the knit.
  • What width of ribbing I wanted to use
  • How to finish the center fronts
I'm not even sure if I ultimately used any of these, but I always learn something from my samples.

The other idea I wanted to incorporate was  Petersham ribbon.  I had a piece of ribbon that was a perfect match and it had to go on the jacket somewhere.  Here are some of the thoughts I had about that...
  • Use is as a button placket
  • Trim the hems
  • Some kind of belt
  • Pocket edges 
  • Neck facings

And of course, I made a "Trial Balloon" of the pattern to check fit etc.  (I needed to cut the neck opening smaller!  Good catch!)

It's a wonder that I ever get anything done with all the trial and error and sampling going on!

Ta-da!   The finished product.  I decided not to use the raw edges.  The wool didn't curl at all when it was cut so the raw edge just stuck up and looked naked. I like the much-narrower -than-my-samples choice on the neckband.  I found some snaps that were the exact shade of gray, so no buttons. (and no buttonholes in stretchy knit, whew)

 I used the ribbons (1" and 5/8") to make a casing and tie on the back at the waist.  I love the little bit of shaping it gives the boxy shape of the jacket.  

Pretty happy with the results.  
For those of you who don't know me, the jacket is not extra short, my arms are extra long!  Yes I have orangutan arms!  The proportions may seem off a bit to 'normal limbed' folk.
Baby orangutans at the sanctuary we visited on Borneo.

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