In praise of Armani

I remember, back in my tailoring days, reading articles in my stash of Threads magazines about Armani's construction techniques. Even though his suits looked simple and elegant, the insides of an Armani suit were a wonder to behold. So many of the construction techniques that made the garments hang properly were hidden to the naked eye.
Inside of an Armani jacket from Threads Magazine

Interfaced background fabric

Remembering this I decided to approach one of my pieces this way- to pay extra special attention to some of the techniques that I might not ordinarily use.

The first thing that I did was to interface the fluid linen cotton background that Jayne had painted. I very rarely interface quilting fabrics unless I want to make sure there is no movement. I used a very light weight fusible interfacing and slowly ironed it on, making sure there were absolutely no bubbles.
Since the fabric was stiff it made it easier for me to inset my circles.
Pressing cloth used on the
backside of the quilt. 
Since I had interfacing on the back of my fabric I had to use a pressing cloth to make sure the interfacing did not melt or move. My sister has been collecting beautiful vintage napkins, so in her honor I used one of my lovely linen napkins as the pressing cloth. It was just translucent enough so I could make sure I was pressing all of my seams in the proper direction.

Instead of simply applying a layer of batting, I decided to insert another layer of wool batting in the line areas. This involved machine basting a line along each of the inset lines- an exercise in madness and control. Then I flipped the quilt over and closely cut nest to the line removing the areas that I did not want batting.
Basting stitch along the inset lines
Reverse side of quilt where I removed batting. 

Once I finished surgically removing the unwanted batting, I pinned along each of the stitching lines to hold the batting in place. 

Then the fun part. I did lots of tests but ultimately decided that hand stitching was the best choice.  And I decided to use a variegated cotton thread- which I almost never use. I wanted the stitches to sometimes be visible and sometimes fade into the background. Thankfully I am not working on any kind of schedule since I really underestimated how long it is going to take me to stitch this piece. 

So, does it make a difference? All these extra steps? Well I can see that my lines are plumper. But is that worth so much more time? I guess I will have to wait and see how the entire piece looks- but honestly that is probably months away.

Looking at an Armani suit with its signature lines, sublime drape and exquisite materials, one might be tempted to ask why the price tag is so high for what appears to be so simple. And while I am not in the market for an Armani suit, I do think it is worth every penny. 

by JudyK