Janelle’s Journey into Kantha

Submitted by Janelle Brantley

My sister Jacki called me on a Monday, from a Tues. Morning in East Texas, telling me about some Kantha throws she’d found and how wonderful they were.

They reminded her of  jackets she’d seen on Pinterest and in magazines and thought the throws would be perfect for a project. I wasn’t familiar with the term Kantha but looked on Pinterest and saw all kinds of jackets and thought it looked fun.

What is Kantha? Check out this explanation.

She bought a throw she liked and I started looking in the Dallas area for a throw I liked. I went to all the stores I could find in the North Dallas area and only found 2 throws that were the same. They were navy and white with definite patterns, almost like a quilt. I passed those up and finally found 2 I thought would work for me.

Since we wanted to turn those amazing throws into jackets and typical jackets have numerous pieces, I started looking for a pattern. Kilgore, where my sister lives, doesn’t have anywhere to buy patterns so I took several basic jacket patterns with me when I went there on Monday plus we looked at several patterns on-line when I got there.  We were hoping to start cutting out on Tuesday morning but we still hadn’t picked a pattern when we went to bed Monday night! Finally by Tuesday afternoon we had made our selection and were ready to get started using a digital PDF pattern. We had never done that before and were so surprised at the work involved in printing and taping all 46 pages together!

The throws had definite lines and patterns and the grain lines had to be correct. Also, Jacki wanted to use the finished edge of the throws as our hem. It took forever cutting the pieces out, matching the pieces together correctly for our jackets.  The pattern paper was so heavy we couldn’t see the fabric underneath. I don’t ever want to have to do that again!

If we had realized how involved the jackets were, we would have planned it out in advance and had the pattern ready to go when I got there but it happened so fast and we could both get together that particular week so that made the process complicated. Ultimately, we used the digital McCalls pattern we purchased in combination with one of my basic patterns for the actual jackets.   I can’t remember why we did that unless it was for the finished length.

Draping is important for aligning the fabric just the way you want it

It was fun but definitely a challenge cutting out and getting pieces and colors where they needed to be. We started out draping the throw on her mannequin to decide what colors and patterns we wanted next to our faces. We only had 1 throw per jacket and had to cut each piece individually. The front, back and sleeves were all different but needed to look balanced. It was a lot of trial and error. We’d cut a piece, put it on the mannequin, study it, decide if we liked it and go to the next piece if we did. We did that over and over. Sometimes we used the back side of the throws to achieve the look we wanted. Kantha fabric is layered, sometimes matched and sometimes has bad places in it. And sometimes there were patches covering holes, which also made a difference on placement.

We started on Jacki’s jacket first, sewed on it for several days, needed a change so switched to working on mine. I get a chance to sew more so after my patterns/colors  were picked we stopped and started on the vest. By then we knew what we wanted, how it would go together, etc. and it seemed very simple. We used a sewing machine and serger. I kept sewing on my jacket while Jacki worked on her vest and we took turns pressing in between. 

We sewed all week and were both worn out but it was so much fun. We love to sew together but it’s been quite a while and we’d never done that kind of project before. We had to plan and think out each piece. Jacki stopped me several times just in time to stop me from cutting something that would have been wrong. I couldn’t have thought it out by myself without making mistakes plus we weren’t able to buy more fabric.  But we did end up with a few scraps that we used to make pockets.    

Jacki has a very understanding and wonderful husband.  He also knows how we operate. Most evenings he brought dinner home so we could keep sewing and then he went to the golf course to hit balls. It was a win-win situation. 

Jacki’s cat, Gracie, wanted to help and lay on the pattern and play with the pins. 

Jacki and I both sew but she’s an artist and can visualize how something’s going to look. I may have more sewing experience but not the creativity so it was a very nice balance. I just did what she told me to do. Our mother was quite a seamstress and she would be proud. 

I went back to Rockwall Friday afternoon with my eyes nearly crossed. What fun! I can’t wait for another one of Jacki’s projects. 

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6 thoughts on “Janelle’s Journey into Kantha”

  1. Your projects are beautiful. I have never heard of Kantha throws. Do you know where they are made? Is Tuesday Morning the only place that you can buy them? I will have to go check and see if I can find some.
    Do you need 2 throws to make a jacket like yours?
    Again, beautiful jackets & vest.

    1. Not sure where else you can find these throws. I saw some actual kantha fabric sold in a fabric store near Seattle and it was quite expensive, but these throws at Tuesday Morning sound like they were a steal. I believe they were able to make 1 jacket with each throw.

      1. At the Tuesday morning in Murphy I found 4 of them, but I didn’t like the colors. However I found (& bought) a woven throw ($25.99) with bright colors & great fringe.

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