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An Ottoman Pearl by Janet

I'm a cold fish.

I always need a vest, a jumper, another cardigan.  But then I prefer not to look like a rag bag, so I’m always on the lookout for stylish layers.


I found it with The Sewing Workshop’s Pearl and Opal Jacket pattern.  There are two quite different patterns in the envelope



Both can be sewn in wovens, and the Pearl can also be made in knit fabric.

Meet Milk Ottoman Rib Knit looked like a likely candidate.  It is soft rib knit made from 84% ECOVEROTM  Viscose, 14%Nylon and 2%Lycra.

I thought the horizontal ribs would make interesting patterns with the unusually shaped panels, although it was hard to anticipate exactly how it would work.



Studying the pattern instructions left me no wiser, I decided the only way was to make a full blown test version, even before my main fabric arrived.  I had some heavyweight cotton/polyester single jersey in my stash which was a similar weight to the specification of the Ottoman Rib (but sadly a rather dull grey)



I made up my grey Cotton jersey test version, the only alteration necessary was to reduce the shoulder width, and in wear I decided the narrow sleeve hem wasn’t a suitably classy finish and needed changing, and the sleeve got into the washing up water so would be better narrower.  The pattern went together easily and quite quickly once I got my head around how it as constructed.



There are some good colours to choose from on the Lamazi website, Deep Green is a good choice for me, there are other fabrics available in the same colour, so in addition to the gifted fabric for the blog I bought two other pieces to make a complete outfit (looking forward to post lockdown days when we can go out looking smart - and warm).

However when the parcel arrived my first thought was ‘Anne of Green Gables’ (boarding school uniform)

Two matching items ok, but three maybe a step too far, so one of them has gone into my stash.

It is however a real treat to be able to buy matching fabrics and opens the door to many combination variations.



When I handled the Ottoman Rib fabric, it felt quite different to my single jersey despite being a similar weight, it was much stretchier and more drapey than my test fabric.  I was concerned that it wouldn’t be suitable, and might stretch out of shape.  Perhaps I should cut a smaller size.  Perhaps I should choose something else.

Luckily I have a RTW fine merino wool cardigan that feels similar in weight and stretch, interestingly it has a semicircular facing below the back neck, and the shoulder and back neck seams are bound with jersey tape, thus giving plenty support.  

Taking inspiration from my well worn garment I cut a pattern for the back neck facing, and made some binding tape.



The only problem I had with the finish was the flat fell seam on the back neck.  It was easy in the test version, but the lighter stretchy nature of the viscose Ottoman Rib made turning over the small seam allowance for the flat fell seam difficult, and I didn’t like the end result.  I got over it by using some of my home made jersey tape and hand sewing it on top of the offending seam.



The back neck facing on the RTW jacket was sewn with a reverse coverstitch, I chose a matching viscose Ponte di Roma for my patch, also from Meet Milk,  the edges really didn’t need finishing, but to recreate the look of the original, I serged the outer edge of the facing then stitched it on the back piece with one of the jersey stitches built into my Juki DX7.  Many modern machines offer a similar stitch.



Had I enough time I would have bought ready made jersey tape as the Ottoman rib wasn’t easy to handle in such narrow strips.  Steam pressing it hard made it easier though.

Interestingly, when I pre-washed it and hung it over my drying rack to dry the ridges in the fabric were flattened by its own weight, but the mark disappeared with steam from the iron, which encouraged me to press with confidence.

The fabric pressed really well, but I did use a press cloth to protect the surface.

It needed some care when cutting out as it has a tendency to stretch, it sewed up easily and is very comfortable to wear, but doesn’t offer much warmth. It does have a nap as the raised ridges all go in one direction, so you have to be aware of the direction you lay your pattern pieces.



Sewing was surprisingly straightforward.  I used my walking foot throughout, in case there was any tendency to stretch the seams.  I used polyester thread and a Universal needle.

The only other alteration I made was to narrow the sleeve by 5cm and to finish the bottom with a narrow (2cm) cuff at 90% of the width, with the ribs running in the opposite direction.



The neck strap was made from my co-ordinating viscose check fabric.  I used my bias binding maker to fold and press the long strip into the shape for sewing, which saved burnt fingers and much frustration.



I am really happy with the end result.  The stabilising effect of the back facing and the taped shoulder and back neck seams support the weight of the fabric, which hangs and moves really nicely.



The finished jacket has two faces, it can be a waterfall cardigan, or gathering the band on the front casing gives a quite different look. 

The ridges of the Ottoman Rib catch the light and really highlight the interesting shapes of the jacket construction.



I look forward to trying the Opal jacket, maybe in one of the other Deep Green fabrics I bought at the same time.

Thank you once again to Lamazi Fabrics for giving me the fabric to make this Pearl Jacket, and for stocking such a great choice of high quality fabrics to inspire our making.



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