Dawn's Diary: Kaleidoscopic Galaxies Scuba

Dawn's Diary: Kaleidoscopic Galaxies Scuba

If like me you’re a colour junkie, you will surely be wowed by our amazing scuba: Kaleidoscopic GalaxiesThis medium weight soft and squishy, buoyant and bouncy, super stretchy, finely knitted fabric has a plethora of plus points. Even though I’m not normally a scuba wearer this fabric, definitely gets my vote because of its unbelievably mesmerising and colourful design.

This wicked scuba fabric is our Fabric of The Month for May, which means that the price has been reduced to £5 per metre. But only until 31st May!

Check out all this fab article we've written everything you need to know about it, from pattern recommendations, to sewing notions, display photos, behind the scenes bits, and plenty more!

Being the Fabworks Product Specialist allows me to get my hands on so many beautiful and interesting fabrics, and having worked in textiles for 37 years there’s rarely an occasion where I don’t know what to do with a fabric. Here, I'll let you inside my creative sewing mind...

Sculptural Bucket Coat:

The one thing, apart from the stunning colours, that caught my immediate attention was the angular and edgy aspect of the fabric's design, where diamond shapes intersect and create the kaleidoscopic effect. My initial thoughts turned to one of my favourite patterns; The Sculptural Bucket Coat (SBC) by Stitchless TV (available to buy online at Fabworks here and from Sew Different). This clever Japanese inspired coat design can be made in a variety of medium to heavier weight fabrics to create the sculptural scoop and drape details at the sides, and when you are ‘rich in fabric’ but ‘poor in time’ this pattern makes up very quickly with fantastic results! (As we will show you shortly).

Kaleidoscopic Galaxies scuba fabric in its original form on my cutting table at home Sculptural Bucket Coat pattern (with online tutorial)

 

I took 3.5m of the Kaleidoscopic Galaxies fabric because I wanted to place my pieces strategically, creating maximum impact with the pattern placement. I loved this part of the process. You can spend ages poring over your favourite parts of the fabric design, choosing exactly where each colour will appear on your finished SBC, just remember to allow a little extra fabric. If you have some fabric left over, add sporty accessories such as padded snoods with toggles and bungee elastic, duffle bags and gilets.

My influences when using the Kaleidoscopic Galaxies was the sports luxe style, which has firmly taken root on the streets, popularised in recent seasons by the young and also not so young because of its versatility, edgy style and extreme comfort factor. The sports luxe effect showcases cutting edge design, technical fabrics and hard-wear (chunky zips and reflective tape details etc). You have only to look on the high street to see how athletes aren’t the only ones donning the sports luxe style as everyday wear.

 

As I have said before the SBC pattern is a quick make for me, so extra time used on pattern placement and finishing touches makes all the difference. If you saw the technical fabrics episode of the most recent GBSB series, you may recall how Mercedes overstretched her tracksuit tops’ zip opening. Disaster! Although this is easily done, especially when using chunky zips, my tip is to use a 1cm strip of medium weight interfacing down the front zip edges and pin or tack the zip into place. When you’re sewing it on do not stretch the fabric, just gently ease it under the machine. I found this the trickiest part when making my coat especially as I wanted the pattern to match perfectly! (see photos above & below). The instructions for the pattern are online in the form of a video tutorial on YouTube where Tree (founder of Stitchless TV) takes you through all the steps, holding your hand along the way.

The coat is unlined, so it is recommended that you use Hong Kong seams, which is basically bias bound edges which are then stitched together at the seams, giving a professional and polished look. You don’t have to finish it this way, you can simply overlock the edges. Overlocking is perfect and works best with knitted fabrics such as scuba. As all my seams are overlocked, the construction (after inserting the zip) came together quickly. The finishing details were the collar and hem, where I inserted some light padding (a bit extra on the collar!). This did require lots of pins, patience and determination, a little light interfacing also helped to stop these areas from over-stretching.

The Sculptural Bucket Coat is one of those garments that instantly creates impact, so when my Kaleidoscopic Galaxies version made up so well it inspired me to think of other sports luxe styles of my own.

What an absolute riot of colours! Here you can see George sporting my Kaleidoscopic Galaxies SBC in the Fabworks warehouse the morning after I'd made it. I think he likes it too much! It's safely back in my possession now, although the size was more suited to him than me.

Sports Luxe Gilet:

I had about 1.5 metres left over including the scraps. This would be perfect to create a sports luxe gilet! The angular lines of the diamond shapes in the design are perfect for outline quilting, so that I was able to create a padded duvet style gilet. Binding the armholes in a plain scuba fabric and using zigzag stitching creates a very sporty / surfer inspired style (see O’Neills zigzag stitches for background on the zigzag). I don’t have a pattern for a gilet but looking at a few (on good old Pinterest, for design inspiration) I decided to use a hoody style jacket that I already had as a rough pattern and added a little extra to the width. Let me tell you, I am far from sporty, but in this case the sporty aspect only applies to the garment’s design, phew!

I am no stranger to outline quilting, in my former years I developed and created new products for a prominent soft furnishings company and the job gave me the freedom to experiment. Outline quilting is a brilliant technique for showcasing interesting areas of a printed designs, creating a wonderful 3D textural effect.

To make the gilet, first I had to make the quilted fabric piece. I roughly estimated my length plus some room for shrinkage for when the fabric has accommodated the wadding and stitching. I used approximately 70/75cm of full width Kaleidoscopic Galaxies, and the same amount of complimentary True Blue Slinky Soft Touch Jersey for the reverse. To pad the gilet, I used the same amount of 1cm thick (4oz) polyester wadding. The construction order went in this order;

  • Lay the lining fabric wrong side up (smoothing all wrinkles out).
  • Place the wadding on top. (taking care, to not disturb the lining underneath.)
  • Place the Kaleidoscopic Galaxies Face side up, evenly on top of the other two fabrics and pin at regular intervals to create an even texture.

When pinning all three layers of fabrics together it gave me the opportunity to decide where I would choose to outline quilt. You can quilt as little or as much as you like, but the more you quilt and the closer together you quilt, the flatter your fabric will become- likewise the less you quilt the thicker the quilted fabric will be once finished. I recommend trying to create an even design with an evenly distributed padded effect. I basically picked out three rows of the design (horizontally) and started from there, adding extra details where I thought necessary.

When I was happy that I had quilted my fabrics enough, I placed my hoody template over the top and chalked round, creating a back and two front pieces. As Kaleidoscopic Galaxies has a design that is not centralised to the full width, I had to be careful that the front pieces did fit across one width and were pattern matched. Obviously the back piece had to be centralised also. Thankfully all the pieces did fit and I was left with a quilted remnant of about 25cm down the edge. This will make a cute make up bag or pencil case – no wastage!

I decided that my gilet was going to have a quilted stand-collar, so I reserved enough fabric for this at the cutting out stage and it was quilted separately from the bodice pieces.

After cutting out the body pieces I then overlocked around the raw edges, making it easier to join the pieces together and bind the seams and armholes. I cut my binding strips from a contrasting plain scuba fabric at 6cm to allow for the thickness of the quilted pieces. After making and attaching my padded collar, which is simply a padded rectangular strip of fabric (with buttonholes at either end for the bungee elastic and toggles), I added a chunky red nylon zip to the front edges. To give a super neat finish to the inside of my gilet, I used my extra binding strips to create facings, on the inside zip edges, armholes and hemline. The end result is one that I am extremely pleased with. This Kaleidoscopic Galaxies gilet and will definitely be making many appearances this summer. (Remember the versatility, edgy style and extreme comfort factor?!) I’m unsure which scuba fabric to use next however I am considering a little quilted bolero, for that boho ‘70s vibe..

Colourful fabrics like Kaleidoscopic Galaxies put my imagination into overdrive, it’s like dipping into a box full of new colouring crayons when you’re a child. With that thought in mind can you imagine how many contrasting and complimentary colours you can pick out from Kaleidoscopic Galaxies, allowing you to have fun and play with fun creating striking effects.

If you enjoy experimenting with colour and design then scuba fabrics are ideal, think outside the box and try mixing not only plains, but stripes, textured knits and polka dots to great effect. Florals and stripes are really striking together as are florals and polka dots. These projects can be great stash busters too!

Here's me pretending to look all sporty, donning finished sports luxe gilet. Can you tell that I'm happy with it?

 

If you fancy the challenge but aren't taken by Kaleidoscopic Galaxies, there are over 50 other fab designs, from florals to stripes & much more all available at Fabworks Mill Shop & Online here.

Dawn R-S

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