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Wool Felted Zen Shirt Instructions

The Now and Zen shirt pattern (Zen Version) from The Sewing Workshop Pattern Collection was the inspiration for the white jacket on the cover of Threads magazine, March 2010, Issue 147. From there, the design morphed into something quite different.

To cut out some of the straight boxy shape of the shirt, I drew and then sliced a curved princess line in the pattern tissue from hem to front armhole and repeated that on the back. I shaved a little more shape into the waist on the tissue. Because of the size of the washed jersey piece, I also made a back seam and shaped that a little at the waist. Then added the necessary seam allowances to the split edges of the pattern tissue.

I rounded off the corners of the neck edge and lower front.

The Zen shirt pattern departs from the traditional right-over-left buttoning and buttons left over right. But I buttoned right over left for this jacket.

The ruffle came out very different than first planned. I set aside about 1/2 yard of wool jersey before washing to use as the thinner layer of the inside ruffle. I thought the selvedge edge of this yardage was a finer finish than most jerseys, so I used the selvage edges for both of the ruffle edges – both washed and unwashed layers. I cut the one strip of unwashed jersey 3 1/2” wide and one strip of washed jersey 3” wide – both on the selvage if possible.

I placed the unwashed strip over the washed strip with the right sides together and stitched them together using a 1/4 inch seam allowance along one edge. I then wrapped the unwashed jersey around the stitched seam allowance. This is the same technique as a Hong Kong finished seam allowance. I stitched again on the washed side along the seam line (in the ditch) to secure the "wrapping", making it look like piping. The wrapping process makes the unwashed jersey a little narrower than the washed ruffle side.

I placed the ruffle on the 5/8 inch seam allowance of the neck, front and lower edge. The ruffle was "stitched in the ditch" of the previous stitching to make the piping. This attaches it to the garment. The inside seam allowance was then trimmed with pinking shears on the inside. You can barely see this on the picture on the front cover of the magazine.

One of the fun aspects of the washed wool garments is they can sometimes develop into something completely different in the construction. On the white jacket, I was just going to add a single ruffle to it like a garment I saw in the Neiman Marcus catalogue, and somewhere the thinner wool got into the act and a double ruffle was the result.

Hope you are able to start a fun project with the washed wool. It is one of my favorite fabrics.

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