Picking Up the Pieces

Burren Garment

On the day I returned from a “Design Outside the Lines” retreat in Sisters Oregon in June of this year, I found out my mother was very ill and was not going to make it. She passed away in Ireland less than three weeks later just two years after my Father. It was a huge shock as it all happened so fast.

A few days after her funeral, as I was leaving the farm I grew up on, I stopped and took some photos of the land that I had just inherited. It is in the area called the Burren in the west of Ireland. While looking back at those photos recently I remembered at one of the first sewing retreats that I attended, Diane Ericson spoke about ‘Memorial Garments’ to mark some major life moments. It could take many forms but I used fabric, beads, etc. from my stash that I thought gave life to my idea. I used Diane’s FaultLines pattern which I had wanted to make for a long time. While somewhat indulgent, I feel I made something meaningful that I would like to share. First some of my pictures and then a short tutorial of the sewing process.


I was inspired by the colors and I already had everything I needed to make the garment. The main fabric was from a personal home decorating project. It’s rayon and had the weight and texture that I liked. The undershirt is a poly blend that I had for a while. And the hand painted silk is from Fabric Depot in Portland. I only had a yard but I did not end up using it in the garment, but it works great as a scarf. I finished the edge on my Serger and I may make a camisole eventually as I really love the print. The whole garment is lined in green dupioni silk.


I lined the main Jacket pieces leaving only the armhole edge open.


I then hand-sewed the jacket together overlapping the seams. It was easier to manipulate the design and fit while hand-sewing.


I lined the collar piece and played around with it and liked how it looked using the back side. I can still put a scarf through it. I love to use different embellishments in one garment. Beads are one of my favorites. (The silver ones reminded me of the rocks on the Burren.)


I used the same beaded treatment on the back and on the sleeve opening.


I used two layers of fabric for the undershirt and the rolled edged on my serger to finish the edges. I went over the edge a second time without using the blade and I liked how it looked. I will definitely use this pattern again; it has so many options. Check out more ideas on www.dianeericson.com

I hope you enjoyed my little piece of Ireland.

About maryglenn

I lived in Ireland for the first half of my life and Philadelphia for the second half--so far! I have always loved Sewing and all things creative . I am starting an inspired sewing and design Blog to connect with like minded friends.
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5 Responses to Picking Up the Pieces

  1. Mary Glenn says:

    That was so sweet Martha. Thank you.

  2. KathleenC says:

    I have only just discovered your blog so I hope you will forgive my response to an older post.
    I am so sorry that you had such a sad loss. But your jacket is a lovely memorial piece… it not only captures the look of that amazing land, but the beauty, complexities and richness of your memories. As you slide your arms into the sleeves may you feel your mother’s arms wrap about you, and, as the beads on the cuffs glint in the light, may the happy times too sparkle long in your mind.

    • maryglenn says:

      Thank you so much for those kind words. It’s been an interesting year and I have not been back to Ireland since Mom passed away. It’s really life changing. It’s nice to see that my post meant something to you.

  3. mrsmole says:

    WOW what a dramatic jacket with all the love and feelings attached. I hope it will console you and keep her near as you wear it.

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