Indigo tamarack: part IV

Indigo Tamarack 1.jpg

All the while making this jacket, I thought to myself: this will either look crazy, or crazy good.

As I rounded the home stretch of binding the jacket edges, I knew that the latter was confirmed. Introducing my indigo Tamarack jacket: hand-dyed, patchwork-pieced, hand-quilted, lined in upcycled flannel, filled with locally made wool batting, bound by hand, a supremely cozy feat of skill-building slow fashion.

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It just feels so good — crazy good — to finally wear something that has been growing and evolving, stretching and reflecting over a year of creativity. In a way, this jacket charts my trajectory in style and skill, explorations and impulses. In a way, it’s less a statement jacket and more a summary.

In nearly any incarnation, the Tamarack Jacket pattern by Grainline Studio seems like the perfect transition-season outerwear. For mine, I lengthened the body by 1″ and the sleeves by 2″, my standard adjustments, and the fit is perfect for lightweight layering. It’s a little crowded with my Exeter cardigan underneath, but just right over a fingering-weight sweater or simple sweatshirt (may I suggest: Liv light or Linden). It doesn’t yet have any form of closure, though I plan to add a few hooks & eyes, which I’m waiting to see if I can find at a textile recycling event later this month, and the updated version of the pattern includes a delightful looking snap option.

Indigo Tamarack 4.jpg

Should you choose to make a Tamarack Jacket in pre-quilted fabric, or perhaps a vintage quilt (yes, please do that!), you could probably have one in a day. Should you go for custom machine-quilting, you can probably still finish it in a weekend. Should you wish to make an indigo vat, cut apart and patchwork together your pieces, source your batting locally, quilt it together with sashiko thread, bind all the interior seams, finish the exterior binding by hand, and embroider your heart into painstaking welt pockets — well, it might just take you a year and a half.

And it might be a crazy-neverending WIP, but the payoff might just match the persistence.

Indigo Tamarack 2.jpg

Worn with: vintage silk tee & jeans, handmade shawl, favorite necklace & clogs.

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uptown grl

uptown jacket backFinally, photos! As mentioned before, photographing my makes is proving to be a struggle. Last week I woke Jenn up from a nap (she is a baker and works very early hours) to catch the last of the California golden sunshine and snap a few photos of my new jacket, which I love to pieces — it’s architectural & textural but goes with everything, warm but not heavy, perfect for the weather here, I could go on and on!

The uptown jacket is my most advanced project yet, and I’m so grateful to Tasa Gleason at AVFKW for (1) making this awesome pattern and (2) hosting a fantastic pattern-hack class to turn the top into a jacket!

I was stalking the AVFKW calendar online, as I often do, and was intrigued when I saw this 3-part class listed. It seemed like a perfect way to build my sewing skills, and then their blog posted a sneak peek of the finished jacket and I was sold. Yet, I waffled back and forth for several weeks trying to determine if I could carve the time out of my work schedule to make it to class on Wednesday evenings. The tipping point was when I just happened to google vintage Pendleton yardage on my lunch break, and found the steal of the season: 2 and some yards virgin wool Pendleton for $35 on eBay, and the seller was based in Northern California, so it didn’t even travel too far! Win. eBay?! An interested idea for dead stock/remnant fabrics (which I would love to work with more often) but I haven’t found much else of interest. The fabric had no proof of being true Pendleton, but I did find some finished garments online with what appears to be the same fabric…

pendleton tag
pendleton jacket 2

worn with: Madewell jeans; Sven clogs; thrifted knit tank top; Marisa Mason necklace

Pendleton is dreamy from a fashion perspective (their Portland collection is swoonworthy), but also from an economic perspective. They’re a successful example of domestic textile production, sourcing much of their wool from here too. Seamwork Mag has a quick overview of Pendleton that past & present that is worth a read. Growing up in New England — near the birthplace of the industrial revolution (!) which began with textiles, duh —  I was intrigued by old textile mills, and today my nostalgia for that industrial brick & forested landscape meshes with my ideas of revitalized domestic textile production, so Pendleton is inspiring in many ways!
pendleton uptown jacket sleeve

Check that plaid matching!

Pendleton in hand, I bit the bullet and registered for class, unsure whether a work deadline would keep me from attending the 3rd session. I am SO GLAD I did this, y’all. It was a very small class (just 3 students) and Tasa shared terrific tips for how to hack a pattern, draft new pieces, and her help with the plaid matching was invaluable.

The basic overview is that we took the uptown top pattern and drafted new front pieces. We drew a line down the middle of the front and added a 1″ seam allowance to create the new piece. We extended the existing neckline facing to create front facings for the inside, split the hip band into 3 parts (two front, 1 back), and drafted patch pockets. From there you basically just make 2 tops, one in the lining and one in the shell, and then bag the lining.
pendleton uptown jacket 3
I was especially glad to have help with cutting my shell pieces because the houndstooth repeat made my eyes a little dizzy after too much staring. And bagging the lining was a first for me, so it was super helpful to walk through it in class (I’m a visual learner). Unfortunately we ran out of time in the last class so no one was able to finish their jacket – we all had to install our zippers on our own, but Tasa gave us detailed instructions and showed her preferred way of basting it in before machine sewing:pendleton jacket installing zipper

After I finished the jacket, I literally wore it every single day for several weeks. I love the fabric, the silhouette is a perfect complement to my wardrobe architect core style, and the weight of the wool + elbow length sleeves is perfect for the Bay Area “winter.” Lately I’ve swapped in my (p)leather moto jacket, especially if I’m wearing a fuller skirt, but my love for the uptown jacket is still going strong, and I have plans to make several Uptown tops. As an aside, I’d venture a guess that the pattern is named after the Oakland neighborhood or maybe even the Uptown venue (which sadly just closed), and I fully intended to photograph the Uptown jacket in the Uptown neighborhood, but we were running errands elsewhere so this is actually a wall in Berkeley, for all you bay area locals out there 😉
pendleton jacket close up
In addition to the Pendleton wool, I used 2 yards of organic cotton for lining, purchased at Verb, a spool of polyester thread (also from Verb), and a metal zipper graciously gifted to me from a classmate who bought several options at Stonemountain Fabrics in Berkeley. I spent quite a while pondering lining fabrics because I knew I didn’t want a solid, even though the houndstooth is so busy. I fell in love with the idea of unzipping the jacket as if flocks of birds were flying out, and ended up spending more on the lining fabric than the shell! I have a good amount of scraps leftover so expect to see more birds flying round here soon.
pendleton jacket 4
Working with dead stock/remnant/leftover fabrics is something I want to explore more (you know, reduce, reuse, recycle) — do you have a favorite source for secondhand fabric?