I have been wanting to make this Tabula Rasa jacket pattern for such a long time. So many of my friends have turned out version after version of this wonderfully-drafted, casual fit jacket (with a fabulous square armhole!). Plus, I really love the gals who designed this jacket and who have come up with so many variations that it never looks like the same jacket twice. Rae Cumbie and Carrie Emerson are the gals behind Fit for Art Patterns, the independent pattern company that produced the Tabula Rasa Jacket and variations, plus several other patterns. Not only have they designed a stylish jacket with exceptionally good instructions, they also provide fitting services through their booth at the sewing expos they frequent. When I purchased my pattern at one of these shows I was able to try on a muslin version of the jacket to determine the correct size. Then Rae offered other suggestions for me to try (move the shoulder line forward 1/2-inch, shorten the hem lenght 1", etc.). This gave me enough confidence to cut out my first jacket from some good (though not precious) fabric.
I chose a brown silk noil which has been in my stash for years. I knew that the fabric would need some help to keep the jacket from looking flat and boring. I decided that the band and optional cuffs would be the perfect place to add a little embellishment. I love hand stitching and decided to pull out my sashiko stencils and return to a technique I learned years ago from Nancy Shriber. I traced the design onto a layer of flannel that I then used to underline the various pieces.
The thread I chose is a beautiful, hand-dyed perle cotton with a wide range of colors from cream through camel to dark brown, with some pink specks and even occasionally some aqua. As many of you know, I like a very tone-on-tone look and this project is no exception. In fact, this stitching is extremely subtle, even for me.
I also decided to stitch the same design on the side panels, and used the same thread to saddle stitch the hems and around the bands and cuffs.
I am very pleased with how this jacket turned out and have another planned using a lovely kimono panel I bought at a sewing expo last fall. I think this versatile pattern will see a lot of use from me.