Saturday, January 25, 2014

Vogue 7975 wool Jacket with Avoca handwoven fabric from Ireland

Do you recall back in October that I said I was making my faux French jacket as a test version for another project? Well I really was. I am using that same pattern, Vogue 7975, to make a classic jacket with this gorgeous fabric which has an interesting backstory.

Avoca closeup with indicator
A sewing client/friend found a piece of fabric folded up inside an old suitcase when they went to clear out the house of her cousin. The woman who originally bought it had been a traveler and a hoarder so it probably was tucked away for 20 years or more. Here is the card that was included with the fabric.  I think the purchaser wrote the $ 23.98 on it, perhaps that was the amount it cost in dollars at that time. Note "frock length", this would be one itchy but warm dress!  
Editing note:  based on the comments so far I realize I wasn't clear on this project, I am making the jacket for the person who found this fabric during the house clean-out, so not for me. Despite the fact that it is definitely my color.  I am on a jacket moratoriam for the time being :)

Avoca card

Of course getting my hands on the fabric plus this fantastic typewritten card sent me down the internet rabbit hole to do all kinds reading on Avoca Handweavers and their interesting story. They have a fantastic website and if you like fiber, wool, history, Ireland or any combination thereof you will enjoy it. Here is the link to their website for more loveliness. 


The Story of Avoca from Avoca Ireland on Vimeo.

Have I said it before? I love Ireland! I guess in typical American fashion I am drawn to the lands of my ancestors, and both my paternal grandparents were born there. So green, so pretty, such great food and drink...you knew about the drink but yes, the food is fantastic also.  I can't wait to go back and you can bet that the next time I will go to Avoca.

This fabric is so springy, so alive, if that makes any sense.  There are lots of little wiggly fibers sticking out in the weave, and so far I have just let them be but perhaps they will need to be snipped off once the jacket is finished. If you look closely in the middle of the photo below you can just see one of these grey fibers. I have never worked with a handwoven fabric and it is a learning experience, the actual threads are larger than other wools, the edges to tend to fray but the weave is very tight and there are actually 3 colors going on in this, a royal blue, an aqua-y green and a grey that blend to make one of my favorite color combos.

Avoca closeup2

Before I cut out the fabric I steamed it thoroughly to pre-shrink but it did not seem to shrink at all which was great. At that point I gave it some serious scrutiny and came to the conclusion that both sides were exactly the same in color and texture, however I still wanted to treat it as a fabric with a right and wrong side so that is why I have the yellow thread on the left. On the upper right you can see a pin pointing out a big knot in the fabric, I don't think it is a flaw but more like a join ? or just a spot where the blue fibers overlapped?  I don't know anything about weaving and it wasn't horrendous however I didn't want it to show so I cut around it.

under sleeve Avoca jacket
Here is the pattern used for this jacket. Such a great basic pattern and I used the sleeve on my recent Burda wool tweed jacket. Useful ! Try to ignore the less than stellar illustration art. Those women look very grumpy.
V7975 pattern envelope

I used Fashion Sewing Supply interfacing, the Pro-Weft Supreme Medium-weight Fusible which I find is perfect for most wools. And it helped to keep the edge fraying to a minumum. Conversely if I had decided to use silk organza underlining for the whole jacket I would have hand basted that along the seam lines and left it at that.  Now for an editorial comment:  step away from the serger!  Once in a while I see a sewist has serged all their pieces for a garment prior to sewing it together, to overcome the fraying edges. eek!  I would not do that as I am sure it would distort the shape of the pattern pieces or mess up the careful seam allowance I just cut out. Or slice off all the edge markings.  Or something more dreadful, like inadvertently cut the fabric (which we all have done, right?)  anyway to me a serger has almost no place on a lined garment.  OK, off the soapbox for now :)

Being in a family of string-savers and old button-keepers I retain the selvedges of nice linings to use as stays in place of twill tape. Its basically free, very strong and yet soft so when you press the shoulder seam open it disappears. Plus any color will do. 

Avoca jacket shoulder stay copy

This jacket is nearly done, I have the lining assembled and it is just ready for a try-on and final fitting before hemming. 

Avoca jacket inside with interfacings

I had a little buttonhole trauma before I made these as I originally tried to make them smaller. OF COURSE making test ones on scraps before the final versions and these were the smallest I could make that would be nice and even and flat. This fabric is so springy and when you get down to little 1/4" cuts such as on the inside corner of the buttonhole slice there was no way that it would not become a frayed little mess. So these are about 1 inch by .5 inch and I found some fantastic buttons as well. After the fact which is not how I usually do it but this time it was necessary.  The sleeves are just basted on here in anticipation of the fitting.

Avoca jacket front 1

So later next week I will have a finished jacket to show you. Meanwhile I am finishing my crafty worktable project and thinking about sewing a knit top.

Happy winter weekend,  Beth

33 comments:

  1. What a fun story about your fabric! It'll make the jacket even more special!

    I am tackling my first ever lined jacket right now. I have this pattern and can't wait to work up to it :)

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  2. This fabric looks divine and I can't wait to see it completed and on!

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  3. Thanks for the video link it was fun to watch. And I always learn something new when I come here. I'm one of those sewists that's guilty of serging the seams of a lined garment right after I cut them out. This explains why sometimes my necklines are wonky. Don't know if I can break this terrible habit but you've given me food for thought!

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  4. Can't wait to see your beautiful jacket finished and see what buttons you have found. I love this pattern as well and have only over locked the cut edges once as it was during a workshop but it it not something I normally do.

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  5. Oooh I can't wait to see this finished! I agree about the over locking point. I think it can also stretch edges out. Cute story about the fabric...it makes all so much more personal.

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  6. What a great score! And the colors in this fabric should be fabulous on you :)

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  7. Beautiful fabric with a great story! I'm sometimes lazy but don't ever overlock all edges - I also think it stretches it out.

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  8. What a wonderful story and I can't wait to see the finished jacket. Thanks so much for sharing this.

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  9. That is going to be a beautiful jacket, Beth. And what a cool story about that fabric. A beautiful handwoven fabric! I'm glad it fell into your hands, as you will do it justice.

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  10. Using "forgotten fabric" is so satisfying! Your jacket is beautifully made and the fabric itself is gorgeous. What rich colors!

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  11. Gorgeous fabric and it is looking wonderful!

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  12. Such beautiful fabric, and an interesting back story!

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  13. thank you for sharing: i've been reading various blogs about this jacket and its iterations. might almost be ready to try a toile...

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  14. Beautiful fabric and you have done it justice.

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  15. This fabric is to die for! Love the colours so much and what a nice story behind it!

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  16. That fabric is so beautiful! I love the story as well -- thank you for sharing the link.

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  17. Being from Ireland I loved this story. I have a piece that I have since I came to live here in 1987. Avoca is a lifestyle store now very similar to our Antropologie except with the best coffee and baked goods.

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  18. Beautiful fabric and a gorgeous looking jacket. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and pictures.

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  19. Your jacket of handwoven fabric will be beautiful and has such a lovely story. I totally agree about not serging seams in lined jackets. I do, however, serge seams on underlined (not lined) jackets but only after the seams have been sewn. I find this a great time saver over hong kong finished seams. They are not as pretty but serviceable.

    Karen

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    1. BTW, I love V7975 and have sewn it at least a dozen times. It's an easy pattern to alter for all body shapes.

      K

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  20. Gorgeous fabric and such an interesting story Beth... I´m off to find out more about the Avocado website.
    That jacket looks terrific! Love watching how neat the inside is!

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  21. It really is very special to work with fabric that has a history..., looks great.

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  22. I am currently having a one sided love affair with Irish tweed, and I do love that fabric! My mothers family is from County Wicklow, and it's lovely. Thanks for the back story. The jacket will be beautiful, I hope we get to see it on your friend!

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  23. What a neat fabric! Pretty color.
    I serge raw edges of wovens before sewing--I learned that in a PR class--I adjust the DF for curves/bias and then press afterward. Whatever works best for each individual person!
    I wrote about the renfrew and how you helped me on my blog. :) I made another one this weekend and will post that before the week is out. Third one will be this coming weekend! Thanks again!!!

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  24. Oh, you must check out garments handspun, handwoven, and (possibly hand?)sewn by Sara Lamb. She does AH-MAZ-ING work, just jaw dropping. http://saralamb.blogspot.com/

    Agree that handwoven fabric is so different. You can sense the same "alive" feeling if you use handspun vs millspun yarn for handknitting, too.

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  25. Ellen January 29, 2014
    I am the lucky person for whom the Avoca Jacket is being made. I had a fitting today and it looked fabulous. I can hardly wait until it is finished. shopping for accessories.

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  26. That fabric is gorgeous, and my guess, having been a weaver at one point, it that the knot is the place that one shuttle of wool ran out, so the end was tied to a new shuttle. Plus all things woven are supposed to have a "mistake" for luck. I've made several French jackets by a variety of methods, and I like the silk organza method the best, though I dealt with the seam allowances by catch-stitching them down. Very time-consuming and fuzzy!

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  27. lovely jacket and the fabric is gorgeous. well done.

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  28. gorgeous fabric and jacket. i have this pattern but have not yet tried it--will do now

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  29. What an exquisite fabric and what a gorgeous jacket. The colors in that fabric are "my" colors too but I never seem to be able to find anything like that locally. Guess I may have to search in Ireland!

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