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Sewing a quilted jacket from scratch - Patchwork and big stitch quilting

Do you ever find yourself with a gorgeous fabric collection and you just want to wear every print all at once? Or is that just me? Well if so, this is the perfect solution! The Natural Collection from Craft Cotton Company is a 5 piece cotton range in soft blues and mustard colours featuring dried flowers and birds. It’s very much on trend and is great for summer sewing projects. I was kindly given a fat quarter pack from this range, and with quilted jackets on my mind, I thought what if I could make one using fat quarters?

I chose a plain cream cotton to use as a contrast to make the prints really stand out, and to also bulk out the quilt making it large enough to become a jacket. I had lots of beige gingham cotton left over from a previous project which I thought would be perfect as a lining, matching the natural colours of the printed fabrics.

For the sewing pattern, I used the All Well Cardigan Coat. This pattern is a versatile, yet simple one to use and comes with many different versions and hacks depending on the style you decide to make. If you also choose this pattern for a sewing project, be sure to set some time aside to read through the instructions and guide provided to get a sense of how to use it and decide what kind of version you’d prefer. There are some great tips and ideas so you may change your mind after seeing them! I chose the shorter length, but once my pattern pieces were cut, I didn’t refer to the instructions for the rest of the sewing as I constructed the jacket as I wanted (basically the easiest way I could!)

For sizing, I went for an XL as I like the oversized look. If I was to make this jacket to fit, I could have gone down 2 sizes as it is a boxy fit and very roomy! This is a PDF pattern so once you’ve printed and stuck the pages together, you can choose a size and cut the pattern pieces out.

Onto fabric cutting. As I had 5 fat quarters of fabric, I started by cutting those into 5” squares. Any shorter or left-over pieces I kept to one side as these can be used to fill in any gaps around the sides. I also cut squares of plain to the same size. I had about 90 squares cut in total including the plains.

I began laying the squares in rows, using the pattern piece as a guide as to the shape and size of the panel I was working on. In this picture below, I am constructing the back panel. This pattern piece is a ‘place on fold’ which means I’d need to have enough squares to flip the pattern to the opposite side too. I gave myself a couple of inches around the edge of the pattern pieces so that it could be trimmed down, rather than trying to add extra squares later. The smaller squares came in handy here to fill any gaps, mainly around the arms.

Once I had enough squares for the back, I began sewing the rows together as you would with a regular patchwork quilt. Sewing the squares in horizontal rows first and press the seams, then sew the rows together vertically. I wasn’t extremely accurate when sewing the squares and I didn’t always have the perfect matching seams. For this project, I like the more relaxed, homemade finish and with some squares slightly shorter than others, I wasn’t going to have the perfect seams anyway!

I repeated the same steps with the front of the jacket pattern making sure I created 2 mirror image quilting panels. Arranging the squares to the size of the pattern piece is a great way to get exactly the right layout on the jacket. You can move squares around to your liking and make sure the different designs are positioned evenly across patterns too.

Once the squares were sewn together, I laid each patchwork panel over my wadding using an adhesive spray, sticking the wadding to the back of each one. I cut the wadding slightly bigger than the patchwork to allow for any movement whist quilting. The wadding I used for this jacket was 80/20 quilt wadding.

For quilting, I began to ‘stitch in the ditch’ around each square using my sewing machine. Once I had finished, I actually wasn’t happy with how it looked! The quilting wasn’t as obvious as I would have liked it to be, so I decided to hand quilt the jacket as well. This technique of quilting is called ‘Big Stitch’ quilting and it uses a heavier thread such as embroidery thread and long, hand sewn stitches. The slight imperfections of the stitches give a lovely handmade look to a quilt which is exactly how I imaged this jacket to be. Again, I wasn’t overly accurate when stitching to add to the homemade look.

Before hand stitching, I used the paper pattern pieces to cut each panel to the size of the coordinating pattern. This meant that as I was quilting, I knew how close I could get to the edges without them being trimmed off. This method of quilting does take more time than using a sewing machine, but I really enjoyed taking my project out into the garden and sitting and enjoying the process. I used DMC embroidery thread number 932 which was a perfect match to the paler blue tones in the fabric.

Once each panel was quilted, I used them as guides to cut a matching lining piece from the gingham fabric. I then laid the 2 front panels of the lining right sides together over the back lining, making sure to line up the side seams and arms. I sewed the side seam round to the underarm cuff and sewed the shoulder seam down to the cuff.

I sewed the outer patchwork panels in the same way right side together. I didn’t want to use an overlocker to finish any seams as this might cut the embroidery stitches and cause them to come loose. Using the lining inside will hide raw edges.

Then I slipped the lining wrong sides together inside the outer and pined in place.

To finish the jacket, I used a blue 25mm bias binding and attached it around all of the raw seams. Starting from the back at the bottom of the jacket, I sewed around and up the front, around the back of the collar and down to where I started. This kept the join in the binding at the back of the jacket where it is less visible. With the cuffs, I started at the under seam to keep it looking neat. I like to machine sew the binding first, then fold over the edge and hand stitch the back with a running stitch.

A quilted coat is also a great was to use up srappy or small pieces of fabric. This version is in similar colours and tones, but it would also look great with mismatched prints for a bright and fun style. This was a really enjoyable project to make and yes, I’m already planning my next one!

Thank you for reading and see you on the next blog, happy sewing!

Looking for sewing supplies and some gorgeous fabrics for your next sewing project? Why not visit my online store

(fabric commissioned by The Craft Company to create this project)


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