My first Patchwork Jacket

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I purchased my very own ‘first-ever’ sewing machine in in 1998; it was a little bottom-of-the line Bernette. I wanted  to make Christmas stockings for my boys, and patch their jeans… maybe do a little bit of other clothing construction.  Frankly, I was not impressed with it!  So within a year, I traded it in for a little Activa model.  I still think the  Bernina Activa line is wonderful, especially for beginners.  It was definitely a catalyst for my wanting to know more.  Now, 13 years or so later, I am fortunate to enjoy a model with many advanced features, but I still have and use that machine still!  And who knows … maybe someone in my family will want to sew on it … someday.

 The jacket pictured above is one of the first projects I made on that little Activa machine. I learned SO VERY MUCH about my machine doing it, and I have this jacket as a fun example of that time in my creative sewing life.  It’s fun to look back on it and … smile!  Smile at all the goofy things I tried… the awkward stitches, the tension issues, couching, and just plain experimentation. Why not?  What better way to look back and see how much I’ve learned.  I hope you too, have something you treasure!  And are still enjoying the learning process.  Loving to learn and learning to … LOVE!

My initial intent was to fill up all the little squares on this jacket with something different. I thought of as many (nice) four-five letter words as I could, and I quilted them!

When I tired of that, I went to the zig zag stitch (pictured above).  I needed to do ‘something’ over these little random fusings I put on this jacket.  I call this zig zag technique “The Lightning Bolt” … does it look like it to you?  And it’s done free motion. Left to right, your stitches are straight… top to bottom they are zig zags, and angled in any other direction you decide to go!

ART! I love art! I love beading.  I love fabric.  I love threads!

This is where I used my little “thread nests!”  I think I may have first seen this idea in a Sulky book from many, many years ago. If you look at the first picture of the entire jacket, you may be able to see where I applied them on the front of the jacket, on each side.

The bold and the beautiful!  Some of my first awkward attempts at couching, bobbin play… and applying metallic threads using zig zag stitches… I tried everything and anything on this jacket just so I could play with my new machine.   

Perhaps you can see from the fabric, how worn the batik squares are?  I have worn it often… and it’s been hauled to many teaching classes as part of my trunk show.

I often comment to my students… “can you tell I’m a girl raised in the 70’s?”   YUP…. that’s ME! “LOVE and Peace Baby!”

Just take a look at that stitch tension!  That was the catalyst of when I started to dig in… to learn more, and find out why and how it could look better than that. But I also didn’t let it STOP me from keepin’ … keepin’ on!  To PERSEVERE – but to march forward and figure it out.  Have a little tenacity, persevere, ask questions.  Just keep on learning!

Beading Detail from front of jacket
Close up detail from front of jacket – Thread Nests and Beading by Machine

I treasure this first ‘out of the box’ piece for me!  It’s a treasure-trove of beginnings, stepping stones, and finding out what you love…    

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