Time to get the first thing off my UFO pile! I started these quilted jumps, a kind of casual 18th Century substitute for stays, back in 2015, using an older sewing machine. I re-found them in 2017, and put them in my working pile again, and now I am finally done! (Just as Spring arrives and I have no reason to wear them for months!)
As usual, switching to present tense for the Project Diary.
QUILTING WITH BOUDICA
Boudica, my machine, is designed with a long arm for quilting, so I attach her quilting foot. After my housemate and I fiddle with the quilting foot attachment and tension, I begin to get better results on my sharp turns. My stitch length is still all over the place, but I'm embracing it and having fun with the process of quilting. I echo quilt around the flowers:
And so finish the two front panels.
The flowers I drew in pencil are spindly and have single lines of stitching for their stems, so they sort of fade into the confusion of the background quilting. I like it well enough, but in a future project I will more likely draw my quilting pattern in a cartoony, bubble letter way so the finished motifs stand out.
To test that idea, on the back I decide to put a monogram. I don't normally sign my work, since I consider the work itself to be my signature (who else sews like me?), but in this case a monogram goes with the historical theme. Historically, handworked clothing often had some personalized detail, either to please the owner or identify the garment in the laundry. To make the monogram on the back, I first chalk the letters in a simple block style, then hand-sew the outline in white thread with basting stitches. Then I stipple quilt around the white thread, getting up nice and close to it to define the edges. When I'm done, I remove my basting, and the block letters emerge from the stippling.
THOUGHTS ON QUILTING METHODS
This project is a fun stretch of my quilting muscles: I try several new-to-me techniques of filling the space. Echo quilting is super easy and makes a neat Japanese-rock-garden effect that I like. The stippling is not too hard-- just make a wiggly line in wiggly loops, trying not to cross itself-- but I don't care for the visual effect of it... it looks like blistered skin or an orange peel. I think the biggest problem is the aimlessness of the lines: it doesn't give the eye anything to do. More purposeful quilting lines give the project a sense of movement and direction. Contrast, for instance, the stippling at the top of the back panel with the straight diagonal lines in the middle:
Don't the diagonal lines seem to do more for the design? That leads me to the diagonal line quilting: I only do it because I am once again running low on the light green bobbin thread and I want to cover a lot of ground with a little thread, but I find I quite like it! I just chalk the stripes, pin the fabric at intervals, and quilt right over my chalk lines. The lines run on the bias of the material, which could lead to weird bubbles as the fabric stretches, so I have to "tension my sandwich" as I sew, to keep the excess fabric from folding or puckering.
I think in future I'll plan out my quilting a little more, and opt for more precise designs that require chalking and marking and such. There are so many beautiful options!
SEAMS AND CLOSURES
I close the jumps with buttons and buttonloops, and cover the points of closure with incredibly cute but also dorky wee bows. (What can I say, I'm cute but dorky!) The shape of the Center Front is a little too straight and ends up gaping at my neck, so I offset the upper buttons to make it close right. This means the dorky wee bows end up end up a little crooked, but I don't mind.
I can with pleasure report that the jumps fulfill their intended purpose in my life: when I'm chilly and a sweater isn't warm enough, I add the jumps to my core and immediately feel better without adding bulk to my arms.
The flared bottom pieces, which are designed to spread over the large skirts of the 18th Century, simply overlap each other at the sides and back when I wear it with modern garb. At the sides, I can get in my jean pockets through that slit, so that's a benefit.
The first time I wore this garment outside, someone said "I love your vest", which tells you how non-historical-costumers perceive it.
Quilting, dressmaking, and history plied with the needle...
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