Brown Vest, Blue Vest 2908’s too


The Brown Vest is almost done.  I have to finish the hem today but you won’t be seeing pictures for a few more days.  The fronts took  6 hoopings each. All those chalk marks and WSS didn’t completely disappear.  Meaning that the vest will have to be washed and dried before I can wear it…… and photo it.

I wimped out on fitting the pattern.  At first I was altering it at the shoulders taking equal amounts from both sides.  But the vests just looked large for some reason.  I pinched about 3″ out from underneath the armscye and said “Ummmmmmmmmmmmm”.  Fortunately it was dinner time about then so cleaned everything up, shutoff the power to everything and went upstairs.  Overnight the left brain gave me the solution.  See my Kwik Sew tops are fitting by tracing a size large and doing a narrow shoulder adjustment plus shortening the backwaist length above the waist.  Two simple adjustments and Kwik Sew patterns fit me on top.  I was sure I had traced a size large. Yes a vest should have just a little more ease so it can slip over a blouse or other top, but this much ease seemed, well too much.   Well left brain was paying attention and pointed out to me that I trace the size large, right on the line and after I fit the pattern I remove 1/4″ all the way around so that I can use 3/8″ seams.  That’s my favorite.  It happens to be exactly the width of my Bernina’s #1 pressor foot and I’ve adjusted my serger to a scant 3/8 or generous 1/4″.  The two machines work in harmony.  The 3/8″ is my own decision because I like the way pieces will ease together with 3/8″ seams.  A 5/8″ seam just fights you and then when you’re done you have to take the time to trim the 5/8″ down to at least 3/8″.  So why not start with a 3/8″ seam?  Well with a new pattern you have an idea how it might fit, if it came from a pattern company that you are familiar with and who uses standardized blocks.  But you’re never 100% sure. Design ease is the key.  The designer adds ease to create a “look”.  Sometimes the “look” they are trying to create doesn’t translate to your body and you need to add or remove some of that designer’s ease.  Removing is possible, adding?  If you’ve already removed 1/4″ from the seams?  Probably isn’t going to happen.  So when I use a new pattern, I use it with 5/8″ seam allowances.  But I basted this vest with 3/8″ SA’s.  It has 6 seams each adding 1/2″ ease and 2 seams adding 1/4″ ease.  That’s why it looked 3″ too large. Next day I stitched in 5/8″ seam allowances.  I ripped out all the fitting I had done and stitched in 5/8″ seam allowances.

I was bothered by the way my fitting was changing the proportions of the front embroidered panel.  Maybe if I hadn’t embroidered the panels, I wouldn’t have minded.  But I wanted those panels to show well and they showed their best at full width.  Instead of fitting at the interior seam – which is usually the best thing to do –  I removed a 1.5″ wedge along the side from the armscye to the waist. Of course that messes up the armscye.  I trimmed it out and because the shoulder was still to wide I trimmed 5/8″ off the shoulder as well.  As is, the Brown Vest looks nice on me.  It’s still a little large across the shoulders.  Just a smidge which I think most folks won’t even work.

But I don’t want to transfer to pattern those fitting adjustments.  I do have an idea now as to how much needs to be removed.  I will use the method of cutting out the armscye and moving it inward the estimated amount and then smoothing out the side.  Although normally I would have removed equal amounts from both sides of the interior seam, this time I want to maintain the original width of the center panels.  I just think that’s what makes the pattern KS 3619

I was using the remnant left from my TJ906 pants and didn’t have quite enough fabric to cut the asymmetrical top or the band.  I was about to discard the notion of using this pattern, when I spied the vertical line which marked the center front.  I folded it out of the way and B-I-N-G-O, more than enough fabric.  I’m also not using the front band.  I cut facings instead.  I’m tickled pink about this garment.

  1. I’ve used a remnant
  2. I’ve altered a pattern to create a completely different design
  3. I limited my use of Machine Embroidery.  I did use ME as the embellishment, but tried to keep it simple (tone-on-tone) and limited (only on the front center panels)

I am at least making some progress towards my goals


I’m continuing to contemplate the blue vest.  I’ve decided I want to use the blue serge even though it has the fade marks.  The are large boomerang like marks; faded from dark dark navy blue to a purple.  I remember where this came from.  One of our new friends gave a box of fabric to me and said “Take what you want. Return the rest to me.”  She and her husband are farmers.  They are very thrifty.  They have several huge barns and can store things forever- I mean until the things break down and return to the earth as nutrients.  I don’t have that kind of storage room.  If I think I have something that might be of value, I sell or donate.  If I think it’s trash, I put it in the trash.  They never throw anything away and are highly offended if they give you something and you pass it along because you can’t use it.  Therefore the instruction “take what you want BUT…”  So I took this blue serge (along with several other interesting pieces ).  I can guess what happened.  Someone purchased a large length of a good quality fabric.  Used all but a little over a yard (there might be 1.25 yards).  Then because it was good quality, probably expensive, it went into some sewist stash.  I don’t know who the original sewist was.  My friend doesn’t sew.  I’m not sure how the fabrics came to be in her possession.  But my guess is this serge languished, half protected for years in various places before coming to rest in my friend’s barn.  I know she’d had it for quite a while.

I do appreciate the beauty of this fabric.  It is finely woven and has a high wool content. I’m not sure how much because it didn’t shrink during the washes.  (I discovered some suspicious stains and washed these fabrics multiple times.) But the fade stains are irregular.  Not enough to be an over all pattern, too much to cut around.  So how to use it?  I considered using a second fabric.  But would still have problems getting large enough unfaded pieces.  Piece is my next best thought.  I’ve seen fabric print errors just disappear when you put the fabric into a pieced item.  I’ve got a jacket now that was a bargello piecing experiment.  Turned out really well but is too hot to wear most of the time and too cold to wear the rest of the time.  I wear it once or twice every 2-3 years.  But during construction one of the fabrics was horribly off during the printing.  Cut that up into strips; cut the strips to make bargello; and the off printing can’t even be found by me.  So this is a good possibility.

  1. I could cut the serge in 2-3″ strips and sew them back together.  I’d probably arrange the strips so that the fading is equally spread.
  2. I could cut the serge and at least one other fabric into strips and do the same thing.  The 2nd fabric then could be used for the facings and pockets.

I also want to challenge myself with embellishments.  I’m looking into silk screening.  I know I mentioned this in a post or two ago.  I have purchased inks and a kit

from Circuit Bridge and in my mind’s eye I can see vertical bands of a complex scroll printed in the same purple as the fade.  I like this idea but have some questions.

  1. Can I actually do silk screening?
  2. Can I create the same or nearly the same purple as the fade?
  3. Will I do that much?
  4. This was to be a neutral vest to coordinate with many pieces in my closet.  If I stencil it purple, will that limit it’s usefulness.

  Maybe this is all moot.  I have yet to attempt silk screening.  I do want silk screening to be a viable embellishment for me. Yes it’s fine, it’s wonderful for others.  Many of the garments found in stores are screen printed/ screened.  But will it be something that I like to do?  I’m hoping so.  I find limitations with machine embroidery.  Frankly there are designs that translate very well to ME and some that don’t.  I’m thinking of those with many disconnected elements. Which means lots of thread trims.  I don’t have a machine that automatically cuts jump stitches.  That means lots of trim trim trim for me.  But even those who have machines that will automatically cut the jump stitches say they turn that feature off.  These machine trim and then pull a knot to the back.  Their owners say it’s wonderful when you have a design that needs lots of trims, but the knots are ……   I’m also thinking of the size limitation of ME.  The Brown Vest took 12 hoopings, 6 each side.  I can do that.  I can align up a design that has to split.  I have done it and will do it in the future.  Many ME’rs, keeping buying the next machine with the larger embroidery field.  I’ve decided that I’m not spending $10,000 or more for a machine.  Other than the thread trimming and a larger embroidery field, I don’t want another machine.  I’m not paying $10,000 for those 2 things.  BTW yes I know these newer machines come with much more such as internal software to edit and digitize, easier frames etc etc etc but I’m not interested in purchasing those features.  Thing is once you learn your machine and your software, you can operate as fast and as easy as the new $10K machine.  Anyway, I actually envision using silk screening and ME in conjunction.  But I don’t know for sure until I try out the silk screen process.

2908s too

When the Brown Vest is hemmed, I’ll start another pair of 2908’s (Jalie jeans pattern 2908). Hopefully that will be sometime later today.  I have now purchased fabric online from two places: Gorgeous Fabrics and Denver Fabrics.  I was dissatisfied with my shopping trip in March.  Oh I found some nice fabrics and spent about $100.  But I wanted fabrics for summer pants.  I wanted a little lycra.  Didn’t find what I wanted in the stores.  So reluctantly I purchased online.  I’d been looking online, just not getting out my plastic.  But as with so many of my hobbies and dh’s hobbies, it’s getting harder and harder to find what we want anywhere.  Online becomes a mecca.  Oh and Denver fabrics is 7th heaven.  (Gorgeous Fabrics is even higher)  Denver fabrics had what I wanted.  I set a budget for myself lycra.  Yes I’m happy. There is one length of a light yellow microfiber twill which feels like butter soft doe skin.  I intended it for pants, but it might just have another life.  Oh and know what’s really neat?  As I start to check out a screen pops up and says do you need coordinating thread?  Sure enough I got 2 spools.   My fabrics are being prewashed.  This time I’m following the advice to prewash jeany fabrics at least twice.  My last version “learned me a lesson”.