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

Fanny Pack Pattern Using Garment Designer

Patterning With Garment Designer: Fanny Pack

Hello Fellow Crafters!

My latest Garment Designer project (if you couldn’t tell from the title) is a fanny pack!

To me convenience never goes out of style and I will always love fanny packs. I can remember my first neon green fanny pack my mother bestowed upon me in the 90’s for airport travel…*sigh*

Isn’t carrying around a purse SO heavy and just always getting in the way swinging around willy nilly from your shoulder?! Why not try making a fanny pack? 😉

I needed to make a quick pattern and I wanted it to be big enough to fit cash/cards and a phone so I used my dress form to gauge how wide and tall it would be.

I also wanted it to match a western jean jumpsuit I had previously made out of the same fabric, so I made it V-Shaped and added piping to the bottom (still wishing it was fringe!)

The pattern is relatively simple with 1) outer portion of the pouch 1) back piece and 1) top piece (semi circular piece).

I made sure to interface everything and I am still wondering whether a cute lining was in order… but I was on a time-limit and a mission!

If you ever want to test your Garment Designer skills, making a shape from a style set is challenging but fun!

I went through the different skirts and tops to try to find a style I could make my fanny pack pattern shapes from easiest and the winner was the flared skirt pattern.

I chose this style since every point had a bezier curve I could use.

I had the front of the skirt pieces displayed as joined (mac keyboard shortcut: click inside the pattern to highlight all and type ‘j’) and the back skirt displayed as independent (click inside the pattern to highlight all and type ‘i’).

This way I could have all my pattern pieces displayed at once. The top of the pouch being the front of the skirt and the back and front of pouch being ‘cut on fold’ as the back pieces.

To do this I turned front/back symmetry off (mac keyboard shortcut cmd+6 to pull up symmetry options)

I made the top of my pouch pattern first by manipulating the points to my predetermined measurements.

Then I drafted the very back of my fanny pack pattern. Mind you I still had left/right symmetry on so they were symmetrical…but I forgot to take a picture, sorry!

Next I knew I had to match the front pouch pattern top to the measurements of the curved part of the top of the pouch (highlighted in pink below) but I needed to keep the seams highlighted in red the same measurement as much as I could.

Which is why I stretched the outermost point of my front pouch piece outwards first to match the semicircular top pouch piece (pink). Then adjusted the same point downwards and adjusted the curves to match the measurement of my back pouch pattern piece again (red).

Also, to do this without effecting the back piece, I needed to turn left/right symmetry off by just disabling symmetry altogether… Did you know you can do this by just clicking on the green ‘S’ at the bottom left of your window? See how it is not highlighted anymore? You can also double click it to bring up your symmetry options 😀and that was that! I made my adjustments and my pattern was complete.

The pattern has a 3/8 seam allowance, so I had to take off 1/2 to insert my exposed zipper onto my front pouch piece.

I sewed this to the top of the pouch, then the back piece(which I had already added piping to) to both sewn pieces and turned.

Then I added a couple 00 grommets, made a waist strap to attach to my hardware and it was complete!

 

 

 

 

 

Hands free is the way to be! I was happy to have a fanny pack instead of carrying around a purse, especially in a crowded venue.

If you are wondering where I learned the shortcuts I used for this project, take a gander into your Garment Designer folder. It will be within the Help Sheets folder and saves you so much time while working on a project. This is what that folder would look like on a Mac:

Just pick one or two shortcuts to focus on during a project and soon you will learn all your favorites!

I’ve included my fanny pack pattern in an 8.5 x 11 .pdf file below, enjoy!

Western Fanny Pack

Garment Designer File:

Fanny Pack.gds

 

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