Iconic Tweed Jacket Lesson 6 – Quilting

This lesson is all about attaching the lining to the jacket and quilting it in place.

In order to quilt, the first thing we must do is baste the lining fabric to the jacket fabric.

Basting

There are several ways in which you can baste. The first step is to put the lining and jacket pieces together, wrong sides facing each other (right sides out) and match the seams. Once the pieces are lined up, pin the seams of the lining to the seams of the jacket to hold them in place.

Something I noticed is that the seams in the lining of my back panel (panel = center back sewn to the side back pieces) did not match the seams in the corresponding jacket panel – not exactly. The lining piece was slightly larger. Nothing major as the seams were only off by a scosche.

I believe this is because the jacket panel, being made of much thicker fabric was a little smaller once the seams were sewn and pressed open. I figured the slight discrepancy in size was a good thing because, as the instructor tells us, the lining pieces can shrink up a bit during the quilting process.

ALERT: If you cut your lining fabric pieces 1/8″ – 1/4″ larger than your jacket pieces (like our instructor suggests), this will further increase the size of that center back panel in the lining if you continue with the 1″ seam allowance (if you sew your front and back panels together as instructed). Cutting your lining pieces larger than your jacket pieces is not an issue at all if you quilt each piece individually. In that case, you have complete control of your seam matching when you assemble the jacket.

Regardless, your lining is on the inside of the jacket and no one but you will know (or care) if your seams are not matched perfectly.

Pinning

This class uses a pin basting method. Ms. Knight bastes with pins from the front of the jacket using her fingers to feel underneath that the lining is not wrinkling. I think this is fine, however she does get a tiny tuck on the inside of her lining after the quilting. I believe this can be avoided by at least checking the back and verifying visually that everything is lying flat before quilting.

Initially, I did as the instructor said and pinned the front feeling for wrinkles in the lining on the back of the jacket. When finished, I felt that my lining was at risk of getting wrinkles caught in the quilting stitches with the pin basting method, so I decided to go ahead and thread baste the pieces.

It appears as though I will do anything to create more work for myself.

Thread Basting

Once I laid my pieces flat with the lining side up and smoothed out all the wrinkles in the lining, I pinned the edges of the lining to hold it in place. I then did some hand basting stitches along the length of the piece. You will see in the picture below that I have at least two lines of diagonal basting stitches in order to keep the pieces stable.

Once everything was basted I was going to be working from the front of the jacket so it was important to make sure all pins were removed from the back.

Marking the Stitching Lines

In order to see how my quilting lines would look on the finished jacket, I pinned the entire way down my quilting line (see photo above). I did this on the front of the jacket (the side we quilt from) so that I could follow the lines in the fabric. I then flipped it over to see the effect on the lining.

The key here is to be sure there is enough room between the edge seams and your quilting lines.

The following photo is for demonstration. I felt it was too difficult to see these things on my dark fabric.

Quilting Options

It appears to be consensus that the best spacing for quilting is to leave a minimum of 1″ – 1 1/2″ between the edge of the garment and the quilting line and to leave at least 2″ above the hem line where your quilting lines will end. Within the jacket pieces, Ms. Knight says that we can have 1 1/2″ – 2″ between quilting lines. Closer quilt lines are fine but you should not make your quilt lines further apart than 2″.

Quilting can be done by machine or by hand. Hand quilting will not be as stable but is completely acceptable and can look quite nice. The quilting lines can be vertical or horizontal and I’ve seen jackets with zigzag quilting as well (although this type of quilting is certainly not traditional).

The goal with your quilting line placement on the front of the jacket, is to place them so that they do not stand out and are not seen. Matching the top thread color to the lines you will be following while quilting from the front of the jacket will help. For my jacket, I purposely chose an ash grey lining color so that I could use the same thread in both the top and bobbin for stitching. Both top and bobbin thread blended well with my color choices.

One of my friends had a very challenging situation with her quilting. Her jacket fabric is black and white but the pattern breaks in such a way that using a black thread following the black lines didn’t really work because the black had to cross the white areas in the jacket. This resulted in her black quilting lines being visible in the white areas which was not desirable to the overall effect. In order to remedy this issue, she tried finer threads. The quilting lines were still visible. The final solution that produced the best results was to hand quilt.

Quilting stitch length should be tested prior to starting your project. I highly recommend putting together a sample block of your fabric and lining and testing your stitch lengths and tension – especially if you are using a different colors in your top and your bobbin. Test several stitch lengths and choose the nicest one.

Ms. Knight recommends quilting in the same direction (always start at the same end) so as not to risk “twisting the stitches in the quilting”. Before I really paid attention to this section of the class, I had quilted several pieces – in both directions (oops). I really didn’t really see any kind of twisting at all but that could be because I’m using a silk dupioni which is a very durable lining.

Starting to Quilt

ALERT: There is a potential “gotcha” when quilting. First of all, you never back tack to secure your stitches in your quilting lines. Instead, you begin and end your quilting with very long thread tails. The goal is to have nice smooth, blemish free quilting stitches so tying off the ends (both the beginning and the end of your quilting) is done between the lining and the jacket pieces.

ALERT: If you quilt a partial line in between two full lines of quilting, you will quickly realize that you will not be able to get to the threads of that half line for tying off – unless you tie off as you go. If you quilt half lines, you must tie off after each line of quilting rather than waiting until the end to tie everything.

Once all your pieces are quilted you will tie off all the quilt threads. All basting threads can be removed at this time as it is now time to assemble the body of the jacket and finish off the lining.

The following photo is for demonstration. I felt it was too difficult to see these things on my dark fabric with its crazy lines and variegated threads.

The photo below is of one of my quilted sleeves.

Next up. . .

Lesson 7 – Constructing the Jacket

Finally it is time to put our jacket pieces together. In the meantime, enjoy your quilting.

Thanks for Reading.  V

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