Argh! On finding the right fabric

I always knew what fabric I was going to make my quilted winter coat out of: a silver foiled denim that I’d previously used for a pair of jeans. I had a couple of metres left in stash and it was still available from the original website so I was planning to buy a bit more to make up the necessary length. This is my original sample from when I made the jeans. It’s really bright silver on a black denim substrate.

Sample of foiled denim fabric

I’d carefully worked out the exact amount of extra to buy by laying all my pattern pieces out according to the width of the fabric and crawling around with a measuring tape.

Then doubt set in. The pattern recommendation is for ‘technical fabrics backed with batting’. I take ‘technical fabrics’ to mean those lightweight water resistant polyester and nylon things. Here’s the line drawing for the pattern so you have some idea of the sort of garment I’m talking about.

Burda 114/11/2019 quilted coat technical drawing

The denim is medium weight and not at all drapey. Would the quilting lines even show up? Would the whole thing be too heavy and stiff? I sent off for some samples of alternatives.

Sample of lame fabric from Minerva crafts
Sample of lame fabric from eBay
Sample of foiled viscose from Minerva Crafts

Here are all four fabrics together.

The three new ones are at the top. They are all described as lame, but in the top two the shine comes from metallic threads in the weave and the third one is a plain white fabric that’s been coated. The fourth (bottom one) in the picture is the original foiled denim.

The first two are definitely not suitable. They have a very crispy hand and are almost transparent.

The third one is very drapey – the base is a lightweight woven viscose – but at least it’s opaque. I was concerned about the lack of body through – I’ve got to sew a heavy zip and snaps to this thing. I’m not sure how you measure drapiness scientifically, but hanging it over a chopstick demonstrates the problem.

At this point I was seriously considering going in another direction altogether. Burda had made up the jacket length version of this pattern in a gorgeous velvet which seemed like a good alternative. I went down a rabbit hole searching for the perfect grey woven velvet but nothing quite fitted the bill.

So after days of agonising I went looking on Pinterest to see if quilted denim coats are even a thing, and if so what they look like. And actually I found quite a few. They aren’t as super puffy as the nylon sort, but they don’t look ridiculous. (Yes I appreciate that a silver coat is a fundamentally ridiculous garment. But I want the particular ridiculous look I’m aiming for, not a different one.)

So, greatly relieved to have made a decision, I went back to the original plan. You can no doubt guess the next bit. I went online to order the foiled denim fabric, only to find it has sold out. And I still hadn’t found any alternative I really liked.

Finally I came across an old sample I’d acquired last year of what I think is called a tonic fabric: it combines black and white yarns in a twill weave to give a shiny, almost metallic effect. It’s a cotton/acetate blend, it’s opaque, it has more body than the viscose, and most importantly the supplier still has it in stock. I leapt on it! It should arrive next week.

16 thoughts on “Argh! On finding the right fabric

  1. After your long search I’m happy that you finally found a fabric that fulfills your vision. Isn’t that what sewing garments is all about?!

  2. Good luck! Finding the perfect fabric for the vision in mind is always hard. Doubt keeps me from starting many projects. Can’t wait to see it!

  3. I love the way you phrased that … “I want this particular ridiculous look, not a different one”. Isn’t it amazing how different one person’s best look is, versus another? I look at the wide variety of styles, colours, silhouettes, and so on…. and I find I like most of them, as long as they suit their wearer. (and are well made)

  4. Glad you found a fabric you’re happy with. It’s so frustrating to have a vision of what you want and not be able to find it. The coat should look great 👍

  5. I love that you want a one-of-a-kind spectacularly awesome silver coat, and now have the perfect fabric to make it happen. Will be following along with interest!

  6. Congratulations on finding your Goldilocks fabric sometimes in can feel like searching for the unicorn. Our imaginations are the positive and negative of sewing – we can have what we want in whatever colour we want if only we can find the right fabric. It will be such a wonderful uniquely you coat that your story just had to have a happy ending.

  7. Hooray! I think this will be a great fabric for the particular flavor of ridiculous you are going for… 😉 It’s always fun when you have a mental image of what you want and you finally find a way to achieve it. Can’t wait to see the next steps on this project!

  8. Good Luck, I can’t wait to see your progress, the idea of a silver puffy coat is just awesome! I’m already in love with the image in my head! 😀

  9. O what a journey! I think often finding the perfect fabric can be the most time consuming part of a project. I think you’ve made a great final choice though. Maybe the denim wasn’t meant to be! Can’t wait to see the coat

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