I always plan my signature style outfit around my machine knit fabric. Those items require so much time and effort (swatching! machine messing everything up! designing! problem solving! cutting! sewing!) that I tend not to work on them outside of Project Run & Play. Faster projects always seem to get priority. I’m incredibly thankful for the push to do it though. I always end up with more ideas as I’m working.
This time, I wanted to work on a sweater jacket that I’ve had in mind for a long time. It was inspired by a friend of mine from school, Rousskine. She had made this fabulous fabric where she combined feltable yarn with non feltable yarn. I think. Might have been someone else but I’m pretty sure it was her. Anyway, once you felt the fabric (hot wash, cold rinse will do it), you get this wonderful texture. The feltable yarn shrinks up while the other yarn stays the same. The non felted yarn elements end up puffy. Way cool. So. I’d made a swatch for a bark inspired fabric in olive and magenta. It’s awesome. But not souricette 2’s style at all. Too edgy and not sweet enough for her. So I created a new pattern with her in mind. I tried some irregular patterns but they didn’t look quite right. I ended up with an argyle inspired pattern of circles and hearts, light pink and chocolate brown.
Now, the one thing that happens with these types of fabrics is that you absolutely need a lining. The floats from the non felted yarn are atrocious and need to be covered up.
Since I was sticking to stash, I chose a pink quilting cotton that I’ve had for a while that I knew the souricette would love. Honestly, I would have gone for brown if I’d had it but pink works too.
For the pattern, I used the jacket download from Pattern Making for Kids’ Clothes. The smallest size is a 3-4 which is a bit big. I used 5/8″ seam allowances to slim it down a little.
I added in seam pockets because souricette 2 requested them. They’re actually nothing more than rectangular pockets, inspired by the Albion jacket!
My original idea included ribbed sleeves, waistband, and collar. The waistband and collar were supposed to have a section knit in plain jersey in the round. That would have created two flaps of jersey to enclose the raw edges. And I tried but I couldn’t get the cast off right. Maybe I need to do a sewn one… Something to work on. Instead I just did some plain ribbing, the length and width I needed.
For the front, the original plan was a plain brown edge and a zipper. Only I didn’t feel that worked quite as well with the sweeter look I was going for. I made two crochet edgings that were then sewn on. Underneath is just a few rows of single crochet. On top, I made a base with two rows of single crochet topped with the oval small pearl pattern from The Finer Edge.
The holes would have made perfect buttonholes but I realized I didn’t want to have any visible closures on this jacket. I used 5 sew on snaps instead. No need to do any stabilization of the button bands either. The felted fabric is quite thick and sturdy and there’s the pink cotton and crochet band for added strength.
To go with the jacket, I wanted a pleated skirt with a bib. I know, I know, that’s more of a dress but it’s a dress that requires a T-shirt.
I started with the T-shirt. I made Jalie 2806 with long sleeves out of white organic cotton jersey. Nothing fancy here. After all the jacket is quite a statement piece. No need for the tee to fight with it.
Then, the dress-skirt thing. I was starting to feel burnt out by then and I still had to design and make it. I had picked out this gorgeous brown corduroy from my stash. It had pink and red flowers on it and the pink went well with the pink from the jacket. When it came down to it though, I felt like the browns clashed and the prints weren’t getting along. I went back to the stash and found some soft grey corduroy. Much better.
The whole thing is basically a bunch of rectangles (except for a square bib). The skirt was cut from the whole width of the fabric (so half for the front, half for the back). I didn’t really plan the pleats. I just played with the pleating until the width of the skirt matched the waistband.
I felt like the grey corduroy was missing something. It wasn’t calling back to the jacket at all. That’s when I thought of embellishing the bib a little. Needle felting! I have this book called Simply Needlefelt. I used to think needle felting only worked with wool on wool. Turns out you can needle felt wool onto a lot of different fabrics. I used the cookie cutter technique to needle felt a white heart onto the center of the bib. I outlined it with some deep red merino (same kind as the pink) and then made an argyle x on top out of the same pink as the jacket.
I finished assembling the dress-skirt, using that same pink cotton to line the waistband, straps, and bib. Buttonhole elastic through the back to adjust the skirt and buttonholes on the bib. That way I can move the buttons on the straps as souricette 2 grows. I finished with some pink topstitching along the top of the dress and at the hem.
And… I’m very happy with how it all turned out! Especially since the souricette is actually quite willing to wear it all!