When my friends at Vlieseline (major producer of interfacings etc) asked me try out their new wadding I had a definite project in mind. The Tamarack by Grainline Studio. I have admired the company's minimalist style for some time, and have also been lamenting the lack of time to quilt, so this seemed like the perfect project.
The jacket is simple in shape and the sleeves don't need to be set in. However, it is rated as an intermediate level because you do need to quilt all of the pieces, add welt pockets if you want to, and bind the edges.
It took me approximately 8 hours to sew up - though I didn't add welts in this case as it is a sample garment for display at shows and I thought it was best to show off the quilting as much as possible ( I wasn't just been lazy, honest!!).
The wadding I used is light-weight, 80% wool and 20% polyester with a non-woven cover on one side to prevent fibre migration. It is quite lofty and gives a padded look to the jacket. I secured it between my outer fabric and lining with large basting stitches and the non-woven cover next to the top layer. This meant that the sewing machine needle went down through it before hitting the wadding and it seemed to work perfectly well.
I used quilters tape (washi tape would work fine too) to mark my stitch line and ensured they matched across the jacket whilst it was laying flat.
I am lucky to have a Janome Horizon with large throat, walking foot and stitch-length regulator so I am sure this helped enormously. I used a 70 needle and Aurifil 100% cotton 50 wt thread to quilt it. I would recommend a stitch length of at least 3.5 here for nice, clean lines.
Top Tip I ensured the top thread matched my outer fabric and the bobbin thread matched my lining, then checked my tension before I started.
I had a tiny bit of movement between the layers when quilting, but I simply trimmed any excess wadding away, and ensured the pieces were symmetrical before sewing up the seams. For this step I used a Gutterman sew-all thread.
The seams are obviously bulky with all those layers of fabric and wadding. You could overlock them, or use a herringbone stitch that only goes into the inside layer of fabric and wadding, and helps the seam to lie flat.
I found wonder clips more useful than pins, again because of the number of layers of fabric.
I would say that the sizing seems accurate - I cut out a 14 (US) for the sample and it is a little big on me. I am a UK 12 so I will make my own version smaller.
The most laborious part of construction for me was applying all of the bias binding. I bought the tape as I wanted a contrasting colour and to save a little time. I machined it on first and then top stitched to secure the inside. The fact that I have bound many quilts in my time definitely helped with making neat corners, but Grainline do have a helpful guide on their website. There isn't really an alternative finish you can achieve, because the layers are quilted together, and it wouldn't hang right if you turned back a hem. You just need to take your time, have a coffee break, and work through it.
Top Tip I only added one sewn-in snap for a fastener at the front edge. However, if I was applying set-in snaps I would be tempted to add a layer of iron-on interfacing between the wadding and fabric to strengthen it (this would need to happen before you bind the edge). I was worried that, over time, the snap might work loose.
And that is it.
The Tamarack is never going to be a cheap garment to sew up because you need approx 4 metres of cloth and the wadding, and binding. However, at the studio I love the challenge of persuading dressmakers to quilt, and quilters to try dressmaking. This is a fantastic crossover project, and really cosy to wear. I also love how the back sits a little lower and covers your bottom.
I fancy some Liberty print for my own version, so watch this space.
If you have sewn up the Tamarack too I would love to hear all about it.
Click here to read my top tips for sewing with Double Gauze fabric.