Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Chenille Jacket

Since I was pregnant with my baby girl, I've been obsessed with sweaters and jackets for her. For some reason, I've been convinced that this little desert baby was going to be cold even in August. As a result, she's got enough sweaters and jackets to keep all the babies in any Alaskan nursery warm. (Ok, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration but I think you get the picture.) …When I ran across Pat Liu's jacket designs which included creating your own chenille fabric, I knew this was something my baby girl needed to have. I had never considered creating my own chenille fabric and was concerned that it would be quite time consuming. Perhaps because the jacket was small, sized to fit an 18month old, the chenille process was rather relaxing and did seem to go by relatively quickly. To create the chenille in this jacket, I used regular plaid fabric. However, gauze type fabrics work best, as they "chenille-up" quite nicely. Other fabrics that will work are Osnaburg and even denim. The trick to getting your fabric to chenille is sewing and cutting your fabric on the diagonal. In other words, your stitching will be done on the bias or using the plaid fabric as an example, your stitching would NEVER follow the vertical or horizontal lines of the plaid. For this jacket, I stacked 4 layers of green plaid, a ecru cotton which would be used as a base for the green plaid (chenille) fabric and the bottom layer was the lining fabric (purple pansy fabric). I chose ecru because it matched the purple pansy fabric I used. I could of used a green cotton but I would of had to work and searched a little harder to match the green in the plaid. And as always, I was in a hurry to get this project started and didn’t want to keep searching for the “right” green fabric. I was also having a hard time finding a matching green gauze fabric to match my lining fabric. (I had started with the pansy fabric because I really like it and I love the green and purple combo.) In the end, the green plaid was a good choice for the lining fabric. I basted around the edges to keep my layers together and then cut out my pattern pieces and sewed the jacket together. Any jacket pattern with raglan sleeves works nicely when creating your own chenilled garment. Once the main pieces of the jacket were stitched together, I stitched my diagonal lines ½ inch apart. Once my diagonals were stitched, I carefully cut through all layers of the plaid withOUT cutting the ecru cotton backing or lining fabric. Each cut was made in between each stitching line. I also quilted the pansy fabric and then added the purple bias tape trim. The last step was to wash the jacket to help the plaid fabric fray which gives the look of chenille.




Here's the back...

View of the lining fabric...

Close up photo of the chenilled fabric...

With each machine washing and drying of the jacket, the fabric continues to "chenille-up" very nicely. Please let me know if you've tried to chenille your own fabric. I'd love to see what you've created.

Credo,
Lisa