Sunday, March 11, 2012

Hooded Raven Rapture

I am going to mix things up a bit.
Normally I show you how to make a garment and then do the big reveal.
Not this time because I want you to see it and want to make it and then any fiddly bits will be worth it!
Sneaky aren't I?
How cute is this top?
I made it from an old suede jacket I purchased for a few dollars from E-bay and I lined it with a remnant of Tula Pink Prince Charming.
Suede is great to sew with,its softer and more flexible than leather and you can machine wash it in wool wash to maintain it.(It will dry stiff but rub in together and it softens immediately).
Suede is a little trickier to sew than your average fabric but the results are so worth it!
So,a few suede tips.

  1. Leather needles are a bonus but I just use a heavy number 16.
  2. Pinning can be tricky but scotch tape works well.
  3. It presses quite well with an ironing cloth.
  4. Use a gentle but firm hand when stitching-it can stretch but that is a bonus with curved seams!
  5. Consider topstitching the seam allowances down for a neat finish.
Convinced? Off we go....
Cut out your pieces. If you are clever and cut evenly you can use the original lining if you wish.
There will probably be seams that cannot be avoided-use them-make them a feature but do try and cut evenly.
Sticky tape is handy for holding pattern pieces in place.
The sleeves often have a lot of fabric in them.
Construct the lining as directed in the pattern.
Clip all the curves and press the seams open.
Sew the shoulder seam and press open.
I chose to sew the hood before the side seams.
Stretch the seam gently as you sew and it will go together beautifully.
Press the seam and then clip to the stitching line.
Press the seam open.
Sew the side seams.
Clip the seam and press open.
Consider pre-pressing the sleeve opening at this point.
Sew the shoulder seam and the hood as before.
Sew the side seams of the outer jacket,clip and consider topstitching the seams from the inside to keep the flat,neat and sturdy.
The topstitching blends with any existing stitching and gives great strength.
I fiddled with the design and added a casing to the back of the top.
Using some scraps I made a tie.
I trimmed back the rough edges to the stitching-no fraying with suede!
To encourage it to take on its new shape I put in on a sunny window sill to rest.
A wwwwww......
Pre-fold the seam allowance on the outer top.
A bit-o-sticky will help!
It won't affect the top at all if you leave it inside the lining.

Pin the outer and top lining wrong sides together-matching seams.
Pin in the seam allowance,use sticky tape where it is too thick to pin.

Sew the two together.
Trim the seams.
Pull the top through the sleeve holes very carefully.
Press the seams well rolling in slightly towards the inside.
Stitch around the edge.
Use a hammer to tap any thick seams to make them easier to sew.
Pin or tape the lining to the outer top and top stitch together.
I like to sew on the inside.
Grab the tie.

And thread it through the back casing.
I used a big nappy pin.
A ravishing Raven hooded top.
Sumptuous in suede.

I hope I have whetted your appetite.
A versatile little top.
Smart over a white shirt with ballet flats and jeans(Raven)
Equally elegant over Tilly's coral linen Village dress when the evening cools.
Thanks for popping by!
x N

Next,another Raven top in wool with an adjustable back.


  1. Gorgeous, Nicole!! Thanks for the tips on suede too!

  2. Thank you Sweetheart!
    I must say-my own tips through trial and error-not professional ones!
    x N

  3. This is great! It would be fab for fall! And it is so cute on your little one.

  4. Gorgeous. You can bet I'll be revisiting this tutorial for the extra help!

  5. Super Sweet in Suede! How's that for alliteration?;)

  6. Thank you!
    I love the results with suede and would dearly love to sew a Kestrel coat for Matilda in chocolate suede
    Vey good Cindy!
    x N

  7. Nicole: I love picturing you in your sewing area with your hammer in hand--you are so clever ;) Love your refashioning too!

  8. Oh,Thank you Erin.
    I bash,bash,bash with my hammer and ''You,okay Mum''?echoes from around the house.

    I felt a bit ill the first time I cut up a coat-but the wear my child got from that item soon quelled any guilty feelings.

    What a great pattern and sew quick to sew!
    x N

  9. Thank you!
    With plenty of bits left for purses and pretties!
    x N

  10. Wow!! I'm so impressed. I'd be totally intimidated to sew with suede, but you've made it look pretty easy here. And the results are absolutely stunning.

    1. Not hard at all-just a little more time consuming and not a project to rush-but so worth it!
      Thanks Inder
      x N

  11. Nicole..It is amazing! The suede is so buttery looking.

  12. Thank you Millie,all the better to cuddle her in!
    x N