Finding Creative Inspiration through Fabric
As a creative person, inspiration can come from anywhere. But one of my favorite sources of inspiration is fabric. The way the texture feels against my skin or the way the colors blend together can spark new ideas and ignite my imagination. Recently, I was asked to try a fabric from the new JOANN x Eddie Bauer fabric collection.
"Eddie Bauer was created to inspire, enable, and empower everyone to experience the outdoors and live their adventure. We believe adventure is personal, and more than a passing event. It’s a way of life." -Eddie Bauer
I knew I had to create something from this collection that would embody this spirit of adventure, while also fitting into my personal style. So, I decided to use an older garment as inspiration and recreate a similar jacket using a camo water-resistant polyester fabric from the collection.
Using an older garment as inspiration can be a great starting point for creating something new. In my case, I had an old camo jacket that I used to wear constantly. I loved the style and fit of the jacket, but it was starting to show its age (and had become much too small), so I decided to recreate it. This way, I could keep the features I loved while giving it a fresh, modern update. By using this new lightweight fabric, I could ensure that the jacket would be functional as well as stylish. Plus, the fabric's water-resistant quality was perfect for the rainy weather we've been having lately.
To create the jacket, I turned to the Simplicity S9052 sewing pattern: Misses' Men's and Teen's Jacket. This pattern offered the perfect unlined combat or parka jacket with a front separating zipper and button placket, drawstring waist, four front pockets, two length and hem-style options, and a detachable hood. I chose the shorter length and left the hood off to match my inspiration jacket.
At first, I was set on using black notions, but then I got to thinking - why not use what I already have instead? The fabric's selvedge had these cute little colorful stripes with a wide, white stripe edge. That being said, white seemed like the next best option to add some pizzazz to my camo creation. A quick search through my stash supplied a tan separating zipper and cord stops, along with some white snaps and drawstring. To tie it all together, I decided to go with a stylish white topstitching. Also, why not use the selvage as a trim?! Great idea...but cue dramatic music: I was in a rush and completely forgot to insert it into the seam. Devastating, I know.
Sewing the jacket was a labor of love, but also a great learning experience. I hadn't worked with water-resistant fabric before, so I needed to adjust my techniques slightly (see notes below). But as I worked, I found myself becoming more and more inspired. Each stitch brought the jacket closer to being finished, and each new detail added to its unique style. It was like watching my favorite camo jacket be reborn.
A couple notes on working with the fabric:
After testing needles, a micotex needle gave the best result.
Initially I was concerned about pressing, but the fabric took the iron and fusible interfacing perfectly. (I used a black, fusible tricot knit interfacing.)
This fabric seems to "pull up" slightly in the seam lines, so I recommend choosing a pattern that doesn't involve a lot of seam lines and topstitching (like I did), although in the end it all worked out.
I used a 3.0 stitch length for construction, and a 3.5 length for topstitching.
Pre-washing is needed. Even when pressing, some of the dye came off on my ironing board.
As I finished the jacket, I couldn't help but think about how much joy and adventure it would bring me. It was the perfect lightweight jacket to throw on for a quick hike or an outdoor adventure, and it fit perfectly into my personal color palette. Plus, it felt like a true expression of who I am as a person. I'll definitely be getting more of this fabric...a cargo vest maybe, or an athletic set like Mccalls M7668? What do you think?!
Using fabric as a source of creative inspiration can be a truly rewarding experience. By taking an older garment and recreating it using new fabric and a pattern, I was able to create a jacket that not only felt like a true expression of my personal style but also had a deeper meaning. The camo water-resistant polyester fabric from the JOANN x Eddie Bauer collection embodied the spirit of adventure, and by using it as the foundation for my jacket, I was able to channel that same spirit every time I wear it. So, next time you're feeling stuck in your creative process, try turning to fabric for inspiration. You never know what unique idea it might spark!
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