Wool Knit Biker Jacket
G’day, it’s Australia Day. Today, despite it being the middle of summer in Australia I’ve made a biker jacket in some fabulous wool knit suiting from Mood Fabrics NY. I have a tendency to sew out-of-season, at least I’m ready for the cold of winter or heat of summer when they arriving.
This jacket is another adventure into fabrics I’ve never sewn with before! A wool knit blend, this particular one is sold out – however this heavy black wool stretch suiting would be perfect and this wool ponte would also be a dream to sew with.
I spend FOREVER researching patterns for the fabric. I choose the Style Arc Ziggi Jacket as I wanted an edgy jacket to pair with this charcoal fabric, a corporate-like fabric with a funky pattern design. I liked the idea of zips in the charcoal and grey top stitching. Yes, it’s plain but it’s also timeless.
Style Arc Ziggi Jacket pattern does specify a woven. However this fabric has that special magic where is looks like a woven but behaves partially like a knit – there is stretch but not too much. Ponte and suiting type heavy wool knits are also a nice weight, making them perfect for a wide range of garments from jackets to skirts and dresses.
I was also pleasantly surprised by how little bulk this fabric created in the seams. I had some concerns about top stitching through all the layers – but it was ill-founded and it was a breeze to sew.
I was also concerned that is might not support the zips. I was wrong. I thought I may need to interface more than just the front panels as specified by the pattern - I was wrong. This fabric is very well suited to this jacket.
I can’t imagine battling this pattern with a fabric that frayed too easily – and I can’t imagine creating these seam zip pocket opening as well with any other fabric. There is just the right amount of stretch to enable you to turn those raw edges to the wrong side to create a window for the zip. Yet it is not so stretchy that the corner is distorted. I found it very easy to pull the window into a nice sharp shape. The nature of the fabric also means that you can fiddle quite a bit with a seam or an opening – without fear of the fabric disintegrating as you work. I used some scrap silk organza from my stash to turn the raw edges of the window to the wrong side.
I sewed up the jacket using a standard ball point needle on my machine.
I used a regular straight stitch for all my seams. I didn’t need to neaten the seams as I lined the jacket with some ‘jungle’ stash fabric – because it was Jungle January and I could not resist!). However with this fabric you really do not need to neaten the raw edges at all – it simply does not fray!
I used an upholstery thread for my top stitching. I like this type of thread for top stitching as I find I don’t need a special needle for the thread thickness or to adjust my machine’s tension. It’s not quite as heavy as top stitching thread but you get much the same look without the drama. I lengthened the stitch to 3 for all my top stitching. To create the ‘quilted’ yokes and upper sleeves, I fused some lightweight Pellon to the back of a large piece fabric and then chalked a grid onto the fabric. After top stitching the grid, I then cut out the upper sleeve and yoke pattern pieces. I did this as I wasn’t sure if the quilting/top stitching would shrink the pieces slightly.
I used four different sewing machine feet to create this jacket. My standard foot, a walking foot, an edge stitching foot and a zip foot. Having the right tools when sewing makes the world of difference to your sewing experience.
If you want to make this jacket – the sleeve and pocket zip features are drafted for 5 inch long zips - not 6 inches as the pattern requirements state. I’m just telling you to save you the pain of shorting four metal zips – or redrafting the pocket bags and facings to fit longer zips. I’ll write more about my pattern experience on my blog in a few days. There is a lot to say about this pattern.
This fabric was incredibly easy to work with and easy to wear – if you haven’t sewn with this type of fabric, wool pontes and wool stretch suitings…. then give it a try, you will be pleasantly surprised at the ease with which it sews up into a finished garment.
One of the toughest elements of this project was taking the photos… I had to hide in the ‘bush’ to take these photos as it was a searing 30+ degrees and HUMID… not the best day to be wearing a wool jacket and jeans. If I looked flushed or hot and bothered… that is why! And today? It’s pouring rain and the town is experiencing minor flooding – typical!