Ultra Light Fall Tamarack Jacket
The Tamarack jacket was made for fall—the perfect layer to throw on for those chilly mornings when you aren’t quite sure what weather will do. Last fall I sewed up my first Tamarack, quilting and all, in a sueded coating and flannel combination. While I want nothing more than to pull this out of the closet to enjoy again this season, the weather just isn’t cooperating! Hovering right around 60° F, my cozy quilted Tamarack is a bit TOO cozy…
To get my Tamarack fix I thought I would sew up another version, a little lighter this time, that I can wear now as we continue to transition to cooler weather. Thinking about my favorite RTW ultra light puffy jacket, why not try to create something similar? I know… a handmade down jacket… not really something you just sew, right? Lucky for me, we found some amazing quilted nylon coatings to have in the shop this fall. They aren’t real down, but they will do the trick AND the quilting is all done for me!
Keeping with the navy kick I have been on lately, I picked a coating that has a soft navy matte nylon on one side and a black ripstop nylon on the other. It is the perfect weight for the jacket I have in mind—light but warm! Since we don’t have un-quilted nylon to match, I experimented with a few different pre-made bias tapes to pair with it—jersey knit, denim chambray, leather. So many good options, but I kept coming back to this “Liberty inspired” floral lawn bias. I love the feminine touch that it adds to the more utilitarian fabric and the background color matches perfectly!
Since I was saving so much time on this project by using pre-quilted fabric, I decided to go the extra mile and bind all the seams with the gorgeous cotton lawn bias tape. This project is actually perfect for Hong Kong finished seams, you can actually bind almost all of the edges BEFORE you sew it together! The only seams I did not finish were the armholes (front and back), sleeve caps and sleeve hems. Note: This method does require twice as much bias binding as the pattern call for—about 10 yards.
As an experienced quilter, I always finish my binding, even on garments, like I would a quilt with diagonal joins. Check out this tutorial I did over on Sew Mama Sew blog a while back for lots of great bias sewing tips on garments. Being a glutton for punishment, bias binding means lots of hand sewing! I just can’t bring myself to finish it by machine… I like the clean look of hand tacking it down on the reverse site. Bright side? It is a great TV project and with all the great new fall shows I am ok with that!
PRO TIP! When binding my pieces ahead of time, I actually planned out my front pieces and neckline so that I could finish the binding all the way around, catching the shoulder seams inside. I finished the binding across each shoulder and around the sides, hems and fronts and the left enough bias unattached to go around part way around neckline. Once I stitched the shoulder seams and pressed the seam open, I attached and finished the binding the rest of the way around the neckline joining the two ends at the center back.
Once I had all the seams bound the jacket went together really quickly. I decided not to bind the arm holes, but elected to serge both sides of the seam allowance instead. Once the side seams were sewn I finished the sleeves off with a bit more bias binding and I was done! Now for the pockets… I wasn’t going to attempt welt pockets with the nylon fabric. The standard pockets on the Tamarack also aren’t my favorite design. Using Meg’s version as inspiration, I elected to use the pocket pieces from Seamwork’s Denali vest instead (Pages 42-43 and 50-51, if you have the pattern!). I bound the open edge with binding, serged the remaining edges, turned them under and topstitched each pocket in place.
A couple of notes on the nylon quilted fabric. First, this fabric was a breeze to cute and sew! It was actually less slippery that I thought it was going to be and even the more difficult set in sleeves went in easily. Second, I did notice that with little resistance from the fabric, the quilting stitches were tempted to come unstitched along the edges with all the handling. This wasn’t much of an issue since I bound all the seams but it might be a good idea to Fray Check the edges where you cut thru the quilting threads to hold them in place. Last, pressing was a bit of an issue. I didn’t want to risk melting the fabric and kept my iron settings on low. I did have a hard time getting seams to stay pressed open. I think it is just the nature of the fabric, but I might experiment with the iron setting a bit more and see if I can add a bit more heat.
All in all, I LOVE this jacket! I achieved everything I wanted, a light weight jacket to throw on everyday this fall until the colder temperatures arrive. I love the floral bias detail on all the edges and the pockets. Just enough interest added the “black canvas” of the quilted solid. P.S. I highly recommend this pocket alteration. I love the angled opening!
What do you think? Ready to try some alternative fabric choices, like quilted nylon? I couldn’t be happier with my results and it is totally unexpected to be memade!
Happy Fall Sewing!