The fabric I chose is a truly fabulous piece of bright yellow satin, panel printed with an oriental design and woven through with coral, black and green. It appeals to every magpie sense I have in that it is colourful, shiny and bright with tons of unusual detail all at once. This is not a jacket for sneaking around in hoping not to be seen. It does not blend politely into the crowd. It absolutely is not subtle in any way.
I have had the piece of cloth folded carefully in a linen chest for nearly ten years, after it was given by a relative who brought it back as a holiday souvenir from somewhere in the far east. It briefly saw the light of day as a bed spread in our old house, but it was really too loud to induce sleep or relaxation and also too slippery to stay on the bed in a functional way, so back into the darkness it went. Until now.
Just look at the detail! There are lush bamboo gardens and temples and rockeries! There are tiny figures hurling spears at each other! Children are playing table tennis in traditional costume! Children are practicing martial arts on each other! Turn around and my astonished onlookers are bathed in the warmth of a setting sun as I leave them speechless with jacket envy!
The fabric is probably a synthetic mix and it slipped and wriggled around like a live thing under the needle as I pieced it together. It also hated the iron and I very nearly melted the front right panel even on a cool setting. Note to self, don't use the front pieces of your garment to test the heat of your iron. This very nearly ended in disaster, as I'd carefully cut out each piece to show a different scene in exactly the way I wanted, and also to balance the colours across the whole garment. There was very little fabric left after I'd randomly cut out each cameo scene.
The lining is a simple black lightweight satin for the front sections, with cream satin for the sleeve lining and back to add some contrast. The black stretch knit for the neck, waist and cuffs was from Plush Addict, who supply some really nice quality ones in many different colours.
It has been a source of some wonderful and uplifting moments, one of which inspired me to finally get around to starting this blog properly. I was travelling to London for a meeting recently and arrived into Kings Cross St Pancras station, London when I met, quite by chance, a fellow sewist and creative soul who stopped me to ask about what I was wearing. After half an hour of chat with a completely lovely stranger about personal style, living life creatively and the wonderfulness of the colour yellow, I went on my way feeling totally inspired. In various moments during that day of meetings (and moments snatched between workshopping my brain into loops in a gloomy, sunless basement) I had vowed to finally put pen to paper and write this post about how thoroughly happy sewing and style can make a person.
It is a coat of double happiness, a golden coat of many colours and a bit like the equivalent of actually wearing a smiley icon.
Sunshine in every stitch.