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  • Writer's pictureLonda

Jacket Pattern Design Process

It occurred to me while in the mess you see to the left, that it might be interesting to ‘sewing crazy ladies’ like myself, to follow along in the creative process. My ‘system’ is not real pretty – but the ‘trip’ is sure fun. Sew….. follow along with me. I hope doing so will encourage your own creative sewing for 2008!

  1. The first photo at the left … well, it was MORE of a mess before I snapped this picture. YES, it is the floor – in my basement. What you see is my ‘piles’ of a sweatshirt, with coordinating trims, my favorite “Crone Art” button/embellishments (thoseon the white cards), etc. As I ‘piled’ goodies, I also envisioned what design they might best become.

This 2nd photo is really the ‘pattern reject’ pile – at least for now. These will likely become KITS – this great idea that my friend, Bev – who accompanied me to the Houston Quilt Festival – talked me into. My ‘mantra’ has been ‘ONE-OF-A-KIND’ jackets – so how can I hold fast to that and still do ‘kits’??? Well – I have drawers and drawers and boxes and boxes of fabrics and goodies, so my current ‘plan’ for kits is to just start grouping them together and come up with ‘skeleton’ design guidelines. I’ll sketch on a sweatshirt ‘blank’ for the front of the ‘Kit’, suggest one of my basic (growing collection) of my Creative Sweatshirt Jacket patterns. Price according to the ‘goodies’ included. Number the kit, take a picture for my files. Da da – a “Kit”. Bev tells me that quilters LOVE kits. OK – so these will be my kits. With my files, it will be easy for me to ‘consult’ with the Kit owner as she designs – because I’ll be able to refer to the specific ‘Kit’ she has purchased and is working with. If all goes well, I’ll premier these ‘Kits’ at the Puyallup Show at the end of Feb.

What you see here in the 3rd photo are ‘baskets’ of projects. I have approximately 4 baskets for each of the 4 new patterns I’m working on. The yellow sheet in each basket gives my beginning ideas for designing with the goodies in that basket. It was both fun and challenging to ‘envision’ a stack of goodies into just one of my pattern concepts. Right now those pattern concepts are:

  1. UNITY – a design where you slash the sweatshirt through the middle horizontally – like an Empire line – below the bust, in the midriff. Below then can be any other fabric, sweater, jeans, even the same sweatshirting fabric, but embellished, fitted, etc. An example is the maroon jacket with floral trim around the neck on the front of my Vol II.

The ‘line’ to which I am referring is at the bottom-most button.

  1. REFINED – a design that actually guides you in removing the sleeve, cutting a ‘cap’ to the sleeve (as much as possible), creating an ‘armscye’ by cutting and fitting the remaining ‘jacket’ in that area, and re-inserting the new sleeve. This will even further ‘refine’ the fit of the ‘sweatshirt being used as fabric and matching ribbing’. Other ‘fitting’ techniques will also be included – darts, seaming, etc. to further ‘refine’ the sweatshirt into a great jacket!

  2. PATHWAYS – is the angled design, where a strong diagonal crosses the body. I’m ‘real excited’ about this one. I’ve done several of these over the past 2 years, and they always cause great comments – and “HOW did you DO that?” questions. Many of the ‘piles’ you see above just ‘said’ this design to me.

  3. FRUITFUL – is another pattern. It is probably the first of many like this – in which I pack embellishment ideas.

To the left, you see the ‘organization’ of my ideas. I’ve set up a folder for each of the patterns, plus future pattern ideas. Scibbled on the front are some of my favorite ideas. Above, are the color charts for my ‘blanks’ – my ‘fabric + matching ribbing’ – better known as sweatshirts. I’m especially excited by the numerous great colors in the USA Comfort Color line of sweatshirts. Though I love the Authentic Pigment Brand, the quality and supply seems to remain increasingly ‘iffy’. Give me ‘MADE in the USA’ any day!

Over at the right, you can see ‘inside’ ond of my files. This is inside the Fruitful file. You can see notes from my skimming through favorite books like “Options” from Lois Ericson – one of my all time favorites, magazine and catalog tear-outs…. see on the lower left a home dec bed with pillows? That one grey pillow there has a brilliant use for these wonderful dyed wool strips of selvage I’ve found! Ooooooo – can’t wait to get started. Time to ‘publish’ this, write a newsletter, and get started.

By the way – I’m looking for about 5 more of you willing to be ‘TESTERS & REVIEWERS’. I need people who will both test my directions, give me suggestions for increased clarity, and also review my end products and post about them on sewing boards, blogs, etc. I’m looking for a good variety of sewing expertise ‘levels’. If you’re interested, please let me know with a quick email to me at

I invite your comments on this creative process blog. Thanks for reading…

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For Londa’s books, patterns, and supplies as described in her sewing escapades, please see Londa’s Creative Threads –

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