• Making a Sweatshirt Jacket

    Question: Someone told me about a quilted jacket made of a sweatshirt and torn strips of material. can you tell me how to do this.
    Making a Sweatshirt Jacket

    First you need to buy a sweatshirt at least one size larger than usual. This will allow for seaming and take-up in quilting. Choose one in a color that you will be using in your jacket or a neutral color. A 100% cotton sweatshirt will work best for the machine but you may use any kind.

    You will need a variety of cotton quilting fabric, prints or batiks. Fat quarters or 1/8 yards will be plenty or use scraps from your stash. You will also need sewing thread, buttons, and chosen embellishments.

    Prepare the sweatshirt

    Machine wash and dry the sweatshirt to pre-shrink. Sweatshirts shrink a lot and after all the fabric is stitched on you won't want your jacket to be too small.

    Two methods to cut the sweatshirt apart - Cutting the seam allowance off is faster and easier than taking out the seam stitches. You may pick out the stitches if you wish, but cutting is faster and you are only losing the seam allowance. Since you purchased your sweatshirt in a larger size you will have enough fabric for seams later.

    Method 1 - Cut the bottom and sleeve cuff ribbing off. Save for later. Cut both side seams from the bottom hem up to the underarm and to the bottom of the sleeves. The entire sweatshirt will lay flat. If there is no side seam, cut it at the side anyway. Your entire sweatshirt is still in one piece and you can work on it as a whole. You may cut the center now or later. When having the sweatshirt in one piece you might be able to make better design choices for the front and back especially where they join at the shoulders.

    Method 2 - Cut the bottom and sleeve cuff ribbing off. Save for later. Mark each piece before cutting. First mark a center line on the front and cut open. As you cut your sweatshirt apart, you will have a back, front left, front right, left sleeve, and right sleeve. If your sweatshirt has no side seams you don't have to cut at the underarm and you may keep the front and back all in one flat piece. Cut the underarm of the sleeves so they are flat.

    There are different styles of sweatshirts so the actual cutting will depend on the style you have. Your sweatshirt should be cut so you will always be working on a flat piece to be stitched together again later. When you cut the sweatshirt into separate pieces and add fabric and embellishments you will be working on smaller pieces and they might be easier to handle.

    You will always be adding your fabric and embellishments to the right side of the sweatshirt fabric. The right side is smooth and the wrong side is a rough texture.

    Four methods of piecing

    Piece fabric and quilt - You can 'make fabric' about one inch larger than the sweatshirt piece you need to cover. Make blocks or use orphan blocks. Add pieces as necessary to make the size of pieced 'fabric' you need. You may manipulate your fabric into tucks, pleats or gathers. Anything goes. When you have pieced enough to cover your sweatshirt pieces, lay the pieced fabric right side up on the right side of the fleece piece and spray baste or pin baste. Machine quilt either in the ditch using a walking foot or even feed foot. You may also free motion quilt. Repeat for all pieces. Trim each piece the same size as the sweatshirt fabric.

    Flip and sew strips

    Begin by pinning a strip of fabric to one edge of the right side of sweatshirt piece. Place another strip, right sides together with the first piece and stitch using a 1/4" seam allowance. Flip the new strip to the right side and press. Add more strips, working across to the other edge. You may also start the first strip in the center and stitch new strips in both directions. Trim each piece the same size as the sweatshirt fabric.

    Crazy patch

    Spray basting spray or aerosol spray glue on the right side of sweatshirt pieces. Then lay various size and shape pieces of fabric on the sweatshirt fabric, overlapping slightly for coverage. Zigzag the edges of the scraps down. Then free motion quilt and embellish as desired. Trim each piece the same size as the sweatshirt fabric.

    Raw edge or torn strips

    You may tear strips any width you wish and simply straight stitch them vertically, horizontally, or diagonally to the right side of the sweatshirt piece. This will leave two edges of the strips loose to give texture to your jacket. You will want to place the strips close enough that you don't see the sweatshirt fabric underneath. Be sure when stitching the next strip to the sweatshirt fabric that you don't get the previous strips caught in the stitching.

    To assemble jacket

    When all pieces are covered with quilting fabric, simply zigzag or serge the sweatshirt back together. Check the length of the sleeves and trim if necessary. You may put the ribbed band back on the bottom and sleeve cuffs or simply bind your sleeves and bottom with bias binding as you would a quilt.

    Closures - If you wish to have buttons or other closures on the front of your sweatshirt, consider large decorative buttons with loop closures. Buttonholes might not work well with the thickness of sweatshirt and quilting fabric. You might find some large hook and eye closures at your fabric store or specialty decorative closures.

    Enjoy your new quilted jacket.

    Question: I purchased two 24 x 36 green cutting mats and the petroleum smell is quite strong. Any suggestions on how I can get this smell out of these mats. I know the mat is made of petroleum products but the smell is very offensive.
    To get the petroleum smell out of new cutting mats, try wiping them with a soft cloth moistened in a mild solution of hand dishwashing liquid and warm water or a solution of baking soda in warm water. Then rinse and dry. That might help take away some of the smell and at least leave the perfume of the dishwashing soap.

    The odor may diminish with time if the mats are left where they will receive some air. Don't store them in a closet or a closed container. Mats should be stored flat or hanging on a wall. An optional way to store a mat would be to hang it on a spring clip skirt hanger.

    DO NOT put your cutting mats in a hot car or in the sunlight or they will warp.

    If you have not used your new mats you might want to return them to the store where you purchased them for an exchange for another brand that might me made from different materials. Some brands may retain the plastic smell longer than others do.

    Subscriber comments:
    Try a little baking soda, some water with lemon juice in a spray bottle for mates and hang on hanger to air dry or spray with fabric fresher.
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