11 November, 2014

Making a fringed trim

So.  First, to answer Ann's gentle query of last post, I've been AWOL for most of the year because of the big C.  It's been quite a ride:  a year of various chemo regimens, then high dose (aka "killer" aka "apocalyptic") chemo immediately followed by a bone marrow transplant, and lastly, a month of radiation.  Unexpected detours aside, the treatments are finally over (hah, says the skeptic, for now), and I'm still standing.  So, since it looks like I'll be around to have a bit of fun in the near future at least, I decided to celebrate by - what else?! making myself a new jacket.  Ta-da!

For this one, I used the grey/pink/blue wool boucle I described way back in March 2012 under "Anatomy of a boucle".  It's truly a beautiful fabric, and of course it begged to become a Ch*anel or Little French Jacket.

I decided to use the same pattern, New Look 6516, and technique (quilting an underlining and sewing a regular lining) as I did for my Rainbow Jacket.  I'm promising myself that one day I'll make a LFJ using the classic quilted lining method, but that day hasn't yet come.  To tell the truth, I like a loose lining because it floats free of the fashion fabric, thereby adding a layer of air and thus making a warmer garment.  Especially in wool with a silk lining, for a winter jacket.  Along those lines, I'm rationalizing that a cotton or some other non-wool tweed or boucle, paired with a quilted bemberg rayon lining would be a very fine idea for a summer garment.

To make this one a little different from my previous LFJ's, I opted for a fringed trim.  We-heh-helll. Talk about a make-work project.  Separating these curly, tightly interwoven fibres was a major PITA. I thought I'd die of tedium and boredom.... but as the Chinese proverb says, a journey of a thousand leagues begins with one step.  Hence the trim-making process:

At the top we have a me-made ribbon:  it's made from a silk twill that's also destined to become the jacket's lining plus a matching top.  The ribbon strips were cut on the bias, sewed wrong sides together, and pressed so the seam is concealed underneath.  Since the ribbon will be sewn down on top of the fringe (as shown above), I saved myself the effort of turning all those tiny narrow tubes inside out.  The top two fringes are already trimmed; the third is not. The fourth strip from the top is in the process of being fringed.  Each of these fringe strips is made up of two bias strips of the fashion fabric, laid on top of each other and sewed together down the middle, as in the second strip from the bottom. The bottom strip is just a singleton - a spare.  I used the blunt end of the largest darning needle I could find in my needle collection to separate those pesky curly fibres:  YAWN!

Here's a closeup of the fringes in progress:

...and here's an even closer closeup that shows how the silk ribbon looks just lying on top of the fringe.  

To be honest, I'd have used a manufactured trim if I'd been able to find one in the correct (narrow) size and matching pink colour.  But these criteria couldn't be met in my little town - so the me-made ribbon is the only solution, otherwise the jacket would've become a UFO till my next trip to NY NY. I'm just not willing to wait that long. 

The jacket's coming along.  The outer body, with its fine cotton broadcloth underlining quilted on, is already constructed, and the pockets - one big and one little on each side - are already attached.  Sleeve trim is only basted on at the moment:

I made some effort to match the pink stripes on the pockets to those on the jacket itself.  And, despite the mind-numbing tedium of making them, I really, really like these fuzzy grey caterpillars. They're whimsical and feminine.  I'll also be adding fringe around the neckline and hem, and down both sides of the front opening.


  1. Thanks for the news. I am so glad that your health issues are behind you and that you are able to sew again. I love the colours of this jacket.

  2. Your fringe looks good on this jacket. And it sounds like you have been through a real ordeal and have come out on the other side and on the mend.

  3. Oh my. What a year! I'm sorry that you had to go through such an ordeal, but am happy that you are doing well, and feeling up to sewing again! Your jacket is going to be very special. Looking forward to seeing more.

  4. Digs, it's so wonderful to see what you've been up to sewing-wise. I'm happy to see that you're doing well after an awful challenging struggle. ((hugs)) to you.
    Love the fringe on that jacket. The self bias ribbon trim is a stroke of genius. May borrow that idea some time. Best to you, Marji

  5. I'm happy that you're treatments are over and hope that you're doing better soon!