Sunday, October 25, 2015

Jean Cacicedo Coat and DOL Recap

I spent last week in Ashland, Oregon, attending Design Outside the Lines and it was great!

At the retreat I made this coat, the "Jean Cacicedo Coat". First, I'll talk about the coat, and then give a brief recap of Ashland DOL, Oct 2015.


Jean Cacicedo Coat

Diane Ericson is (very soon) releasing a new pattern in her Revisions line, called the Jean Cacicedo Coat. She made an early copy of the pattern available to interested DOL participants. (It's not yet on her site, so stay tuned.) You may recall that I purchased three remnants of double-sided wool when I visited the Mill End Store in Portland last spring.

Three remnants of double-sided wool coating.
Note that the cellist is wearing a black tux and playing a white cello. For my coat, I preferred the other side, where the cellist is wearing a white tux and playing a black cello. That makes my cellist left handed, but I'm left handed, so that is fine by me!

I wanted to use these in a coat, but I was not sure how to go about it. I brought them to DOL, sure that I would use them somehow. I was not sure which companion fabrics to include, so I filled the back of my van with many possibilities—lots of black and grey fabrics, and a few reds. Only one fabric worked—a charcoal grey textured wool with a pretty selvedge. It was a relief to use a fabric that I brought—I was about to give up and buy something from the fabric store across the street, when Carol Lee helped me look through them again.

I had also brought a tote bag full of coat patterns, just in case, but the second I saw the Jean Cacicedo pattern, that was it. Love at first sight.

If you are not familiar with Jean Cacicedo, she is a well known fiber artist. I took a "puzzle coat" class from her, back in the '80s when Marcy Tilton owned the Sewing Workshop in San Francisco. The Cacicedo coat features:

  • Set-in sleeve with a square armhole. Because the bottom of the armhole is low on the body, the sleeve creates a dolman effect, but it's a fairly raised dolman. (If you have a large bicep, you should probably check the fit of the sleeve.)
  • The sleeve tapers pleasingly at the wrist.
  • No center back or side seams—the body of the coat is one large pattern piece and forms a cylindrical shape. (Yay! It's not a swing coat!)
  • Shawl collar
  • Patch pockets
  • Appliqués
  • The coat is unlined, but it would not be hard to draft a lining.
  • Two lengths are provided
  • I did not do an FBA
  • I did not narrow the shoulder and I usually do! (The shoulder was in the perfect spot.)

The coat runs from XS to 3XL. I traced off an XL in the longer length. I omitted the patch pockets and appliqués, so only three pattern pieces were required: body, sleeve, and collar facing. Because I was collaging my coat, I needed a base fabric. When Diane made her version, she used Thinsulate batting as a base, but my coatings were heavy and I didn't want anything as beefy as Thinsulate. I didn't bring a suitable base fabric, so I ran across the street to the fabric store and bought 8 yards of sew-in Pellon interfacing. Pellon is not particularly wide—about 24"—I seamed it together to make a single piece of fabric large enough for the coat body.

Auditioning fabrics for the front of the coat

I made a few alterations:

  • 1/2" forward shoulder adjustment.
  • Generous dart at the bottom of the armhole where a side seam would be, if there were a side seam. Because of this, I took the sleeve in by an equivalent amount. (I removed about 4" total.)
  • Omitted the patch pockets. On the left side of the coat, two fabrics were joined in about the right location for a side seam, if there had been a side seam. I used this opportunity to insert a single-layer side pocket. I did not put a pocket on the right side of the coat.
  • The collar facing has a 1-1 correspondence with the coat collar—there is no allowance for turn of the cloth. Be sure to allow for this if you are using a beefy fabric.
  • I did not read the instructions, so I am not sure what kind of closure the pattern calls for. I closed the coat with a large snap.
A generous inside pocket

I cut the body of the coat from the seamed Pellon and began laying down the fabrics, starting with the cello (or is it a bass?) at the center back. The fabric had a nice selvedge, so I placed it 3" from the bottom of the Pellon, where the finished hemline would be. I filled in the gaps with the charcoal wool, using the selvedges wherever possible. Once the coat body was pieced, I ripped out the Pellon and discarded it.

Cutting the base layer from Pellon

Positioning the cello at center back

After the body of the coat was complete, I evaluated the remaining pieces of the coating. One remnant was woven with the words "Big Steve &". Who is "Big Steve", exactly? I googled but was unable to figure it out. Based on this coating, "Big Steve &" is a musical group that includes a cello (or is it a base?). I wanted to use the text "Big Steve" on the sleeve. Once the sleeves were completed, I had only tiny pieces left of the coating. I considered putting them on the facing, but decided it would be too busy, so the facings use only the textured grey wool.

The Big Steve Sleeve

As I mentioned, I closed the coat with a single large snap. I found a large pendant in the bead store in Ashland, and decided to use it on the coat. I attached a button-shank to the back of the pendant and sewed it to the coat as a non-functioning, decorative button.

2-1/4" pendant that I used as a decorative button

Finally, to create a better line, I inserted 1/2" shoulder pads.

And that's it! The coat pattern is a quick sew but, because collaging took time, and I included lots of handwork inside the coat, this was my only project of the retreat.

Worn closed

Worn open

Ashland DOL 2015

Diane Ericson and Carol Lee Shanks

You may recall that, almost exactly three years ago, I attended Taos DOL 2012. It was the last Taos DOL where Marcy Tilton and Diane Ericson taught together, and I was so glad to experience the team who originated DOL.

Opening circle with Marta, Diane, Cathy, and Gwen.
The retreat took place in the historic Ashland Springs Hotel.

After Marcy retired from DOL, it was hard to imagine who Diane would bring in as a replacement, but she had a brilliant idea: For each DOL, she invites a different fiber artist to join her as guest teacher. Her list of past and future guest teachers includes Nancy Shriber, Holly Badgley, Jilli Blackwood, and Karen Nicol. The guest teacher for this DOL (and also for last fall) was Carol Lee Shanks. Carol lives in the Bay Area and, while I had heard of her, we had never met. The theme for the retreat was "My Coat: Creating a Personal Shelter." Since coats are one of my favorite things to sew, and I'd heard great things about Carol as guest teacher, I signed up.

I'm so glad I did!

The general format of a full day at DOL is this: we ("we" being the 20 participants and "angel helper", Gwen Spencer) convene in our temporary studio in the hotel at 9am. Part of the room is set up for lecturing with a rack of clothing and a dress form that the teachers use for show and tell. Diane speaks for about an hour on a topic designed to inspire creativity. The guest teacher talks for about an hour on her process. We settle in to our sewing area and get working. Several times throughout the day, we reconvene for a quick talk or demo. Topics included a stenciling demo, and Diane's approach to refashioning. One day Diane's son, Miles Frode, came by to demo how he creates his painted and stenciled textiles. Diane had a number of his pieces for sale.

Diane talks about stenciling

Diane showing one of her patterns

Such beautiful bark-like back detail!

Carol is about to speak about her process

Carol, next to one of her pattern-less designs that makes beautiful use of selvedge

Carol showing us one of her designs that combines a stiff-ish fabric with a drapey fabric.

A better shot of the jacket, which includes a variety of textures

Another of Carol's pieces

Miles demonstrates his techniques

An entertaining mother-son duo

Carol's approach to design uses simple shapes—rectangles, triangles, circles—combined with her deep understanding of proportion. She walked us through how she works and showed us pieces made from the same fabric, using the same technique, but resulting in very different garments. This approach to design intrigued many at the retreat who used her technique to create beautiful (and very different) garments.

Diane's studio is several blocks from the hotel, and most of us walked over to visit at lunchtime. Diane shares her studio with Nuno felt artist, JoAnn Manzone. Some of her work is for sale in a corner of the studio, as well as Diane's patterns, books, cards, and supplies.

Diane in front of her studio

Inside the studio

Some of JoAnn's felted work for sale

I purchased two pieces of fabric from Diane:

Diane knows a woman in New Mexico who raises alpacas. She has their wool needle felted into gorgeous yardage. I am thinking of felting this fabric further, to make it more stable.

Miles free-hand painted this black stretch woven fabric with metallic paints

A few final pictures from my time in Ashland.

Across from our hotel were two, TWO, independent fabric stores! In the same block! Along the same street is a bead store, and a couple consignment stores. At the end of the street is a fabulous yarn store that also sells wearable art in the front.

Lobby of the Ashland Springs Hotel

Sandie, my sewing table neighbor. Sandie's talents extend to metal folding. She made the pendant she is wearing.

Sandie works on a collaged piece

Cathy from Montana

Jean Elaine

Marta, wearing one of Carol's vests

Diane, Grace, and Marta. Grace, my roomie, makes beautiful art quilts

JoAnn, wearing one of her gorgeous nuno felted creations

Carol, Victoria and Gwen

Marcie and Gwen

Ashland, and especially Lithia Park, was wonderful for this fall-foliage-deprived San Franciscan!

Lithia Park


Playground at Lithia

Leaves in Lithia

Walking to Nobel Coffee, one of the better coffee shops

In front of the Co-op grocery store, where I purchased many of my meals

This pic is getting me in the mood for Christmas!