Two-Piece Felted Jacket with Garment Designer Software: Tribute to Kath Taylor

I recently finished a jacket that had been in the works for a long time, the idea started in 2013 at a Cochenille Workshop here in southern California. It took seven years to complete this project and, in the end, it is a dedication to the person who inspired it, Kath Taylor. Kath was recently taken by cancer, and thus, the completion of the garment was a way to work through sorrow and honor a friend.

The Kath Coat
Kath, shopping for fabric in Verona, Italy with our Retreat Group

Meet Kath Taylor. 

Kath was completely lovely. She was from New Zealand, and lived here in the U.S. working as a nurse. She was a giver; always wanting to help and care for others. Kath joined us on an Italian retreat and had also taken several other workshops here in southern California.

Inspiration Garment

The Inspiration
At one of the So Cal workshops, Kath worn a great jacket-coat, made with a felted fabric. I loved it. It had this wonderful neck treatment and design details.

The Design
With permission, I took a sketch of the garment, and then rebuilt it in my size in Garment Designer. I used Top Mode and a princess line to make the top, and then added the skirt in Bottom mode. The garment has a slightly raised waistline.

Jacket Bodice of pattern using Princess Style
Jacket Skirt

Often at our workshops we take a day to go up to Los Angeles to the Garment District, often followed by a trip to Mood Fabrics. It was at Mood that I found my fabric which was an orange bouclé single knit. It had a hole in it, so Mood offered to give me extra fabric, and all was good

I prepped the fabric by washing and drying it in the laundry, with the goal of felting it lightly.  This took two attempts.

Wool Bouclé Knit Fabric, slightly felted

… time passed

Then, came the cutting out and construction. I had no problem with getting the bodice base sewn and the fit cross-checked, but I soon realized that it would be very helpful to see how Kath’s garment was put together, so a quick email resulted in a variety of images being sent. As you can see from the image above, the neckline required some additional treatment.

… time passed

I attempted my first round of the neckline treatment by pleating a long strip of the wool. Once sewn on, I realized that the neckline has stretched. And now, we have discovered my weak spot. I hate undoing, and so..

… time passed. This time a lot of time, as live got busy, work increased, and other ‘quick’ garments were made when I did have the time.

At one point, I was searching for the right trim (a good excuse to delay)… and indeed found it, once again at Mood Fabrics in New York, where I had gone to attend Vogue Knitting.

Zoom ahead to 2020,
and the garment is still not quite done.

Then two major tragedies hit at about the same time. First was the pandemic. And second was a phone call with news that my friend Kath had passed away, taken by cancer.

So, this was it. I wanted to complete the garment in tribute to my friend Kath who was always the happy, up person in any group. She was a nurse, a giver, and a lovely soul.

So, I dug into the task and completed this Jacket.  The neck trim took some ‘twiddling’ but I finally got it. I believe that my fabric is not as stiff as the original jacket so it took some extra hand-stitching in places to get those pleats to hold. 

Here are some images of the jacket, from the wrong side. You can see the construction a little better from this view.

Wrong side of the garment for a better view of the construction

The last two steps were the buttons and adding the trim. I must have tried up to 10 options for buttons. And the trim sorted itself out because only one of the three pieces was actually long enough to go all the way around.

I could not make up my mind….

And so… I present here, the Kath Coat. It always had that name, but now, it is even more special.

The Kath Coat

Adinkra Cloth Inspired Fashion with Garment Designer

One of my most recent projects was to design both fabric and garment with an Adinkra influence. The Adinkra is a hand-printed cloth created by the Ashanti in Ghana, Africa. The Adinkra cloths were traditionally made for royalty and religious purposes. The motifs in the cloth communicate meaning. Most of the cloth is white with a black print, but red cloth can also be used.

I have a lot of images of Adinkra textiles on my Pinterest page which can be found here on my African Textile page.

I decided to design an original print in the Adinkra style using black motifs from their alphabet.

Examples of Adinkra symbols

 I created the design in Illustrator and tried two options, black/red on white and brown on gold.

Experiments in color

Then, an upload to Spoonflower.. and wait for the fabric to arrive.

Meanwhile, on to Garment Designer to create the sewing pattern. I am a fan of asymmetry, and thus chose to create a two-piece dress with a slightly raised waistline that runs on an angle.

I added a pocket as you can see below.

Garment Designer Pattern

And, the final dress.

Finished Dress

Here are a few references should you want to learn more about Adinkra cloth.

Pocket Design

Here are a few resources

https://www.pbs.org/wonders/Kids/cloth/cloth.htm

https://www.thoughtco.com/origin-and-meaning-of-adinkra-symbols-4058700

https://africa.si.edu/exhibits/inscribing/adinkra.html

Garment Designer Face Mask

Garment Designer Face Mask

Designed by Lisbeth Wahl

Lisbeth used her past training to develop a face mask pattern and sewing instructions. This pattern is unique in that the front panel is made of two layers which provides the opportunity to insert a barrier fabric or insert. In addition, the front panel is pleated on to the sides which allows for more fullness across the face.

Click on this link to download the pattern and instructions.

Garment Designer Pattern
ToDo/NewDo Downloadable List for Creative Projects

ToDo/NewDo Downloadable List for Creative Projects

A ToDo/NewDo list one can use to create a listing of items to complete.

Creativity vs. Corona Virus Creative Challenge
Included below are two forms which you can download to make lists of your creative projects that you plan to tackle during this time of uncertainty with the Corona Virus. We might be confined to our homes, but we are not without creative juices that need to be exercised.

There are two forms:

This first form is an editable PDF so you can fill out your ToDo and ReDo items on your computer and save them.

https://www.cochenille.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/ToDoNewDo_editable.pdf

This form is a two-up printable PDF so you can print out form.

https://www.cochenille.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/ToDoNewDo_2up-1.pdf

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