Last spring in San Francisco, Sheila and I visited Gumps. At the front of the store was a rack of lovely casual bright print jackets by Meiko Mintz constructed out of Indian Kantha cloth. I didn’t bother trying them on – the price deterred me. The jackets were something I could easily make for myself (if I could ever find the quilted Kantha cloth).
A couple of weeks ago, I came across an inexpensive king-size Kantha bedspread on Amazon which I ordered. It arrived amazingly fast – within 10 days. More than enough fabric to make a jacket.
First it had to be washed… I thought about the process for more than a week – I knew the indigo (or whatever dark blue dye had been used) would run and likely kill the white stitching which I didn’t want to happen.
I was able to fit the large bedspread in my home washing machine. I added colour collector sheets to the wash.
I used four just to make sure I would catch as much loose colour as possible. I added some Oxyclean (to get rid of whatever dirt was in the fabric), and an unscented detergent to cool water. (I probably should have added a cup of vinegar but I wasn’t sure how it would react with the Oxyclean – I will hand wash the jacket with added vinegar once it’s done to stabilize the colour before wearing it).
I caught a LOT of dye:
I started the garment by making a pattern from an existing jacket (which I happen to have bought at Gumps three years ago). A simple style with a Mandarin collar, turned up sleeves, pockets (too small to be useful – mine will be quite a bit larger). The thing about the jacket, which is reversible, is it’s finished with a hidden binding. Because my fabric is already quilted I will do a hidden binding finish using a batik that complements the plain fabric on the back of the bedspread fabric.
Here’s the jacket cut out and ready to begin sewing (I’ve already added the turned up cuffs to the sleeves – I constructed them separately and attached them to the sleeves so the print shows when the cuff is rolled back).
Because of the way I’ve incorporated the the fabric detail, large patch pockets would obscure the design. Instead I’m going to make double welt pockets and use a single layer of printed fabric for the pocket on the inside of the jacket, blind binding the pocket fabric, then stitching it to the front, leaving just the double welt showing on the outside of the jacket. I’m still not sure whether I want to add a solid, darker blue strip to the bottom of the jacket – I have enough fabric to do that, although it would be an add-on and an extra seam – still thinking about that.
The finished jacket will be just a single layer, with machine stitched buttonholes. I’ve so far not looked for buttons – have to check my button collection before I go shopping.
More as the project unfolds over the weekend.