Red and Brown, Simplicity 2188

The vest in Simplicity 2188

has become a staple in my wardrobe. I love that it is slightly fitted, giving my shape a little shape; and I love that deep V (whether collared or not).  A V-neck is the most flattering shape for my own face.  Such a deep neckline shows my blouse/top which is beneath and allows me keep my personal-best colors next to my face.

My fabric is another Hancock’s table-dive find.  It is an upholstery fabric primarily of cotton but I think the red, velvet squares are rayon.  I didn’t do a burn test and table-dive fabrics have no fiber content listed.  This particular fabric attracted me with it’s combination of very light tan, dark caramel brown and RED. I don’t generally think of combining red with brown. I was surprised at how attractive the colors are together.  I hesitated to purchase and at the last minute decided that the slightly over 1 yard fabric would be great in a handbag of some sort.  Once home, I kept thinking and thinking and finally decided it would do much better as a vest than as a handbag especially if I could add a variety of reds.  What I’ve noticed is that if I have two garments of close by not exactly the same colors, I’m sort of… put off.  It’s feels unbalanced and at odds to me.  Multiples of several similar colors, OTOH, are satisfying.  My thought was that in adding a variety of reds to the base fabric, I would be able to wear the vest with a variety of red tops.

So I hunted through my embroidery designs and chose a simple celtic swirl that would stitch out in 15 minutes or less.  Then I selected 3 different reds from my stash and started embroidering. I was embroidering for 3 weeks. To be fair, there were days I wasn’t able to run the machine at all and a few days when I needed to concentrate on other things.  The constant rehooping  was time consuming and at one point the project became a WIP sitting in my closet on the verge of becoming a UFO.  But after cleaning out The Closet, I realized the embroidery was over half done and started it up again.

I finished the embroidery 2 days later and then cut the fabric to the pattern shapes.  I also cut a lining of brown rayon. I applied deep, patch pockets to the lining and then stitched the pieces together in a sequence that still annoys me.

I don’t know why I have suddenly reverted to a sewing sequence that results in awkward interior finishing. See the lower corners of the vest?

They had to be carefully folded inside in order to keep the lining from showing on the outside and to keep the line of the garment. Unfortunately I ended up rounding both front corners at the hem. Since that is symmetrical it probably won’t be criticized by anyone but me.  I did have a think.  I decided the reason this went wrong was because I was trying to eliminate the bulk at the seams.  I heavily interface and this is a heavy home-dec fabric.  I wanted to overlap the interfacing on top of the seams instead of stitching the interfacing inside the seams. This changed the order in which I sewed adjacent pieces together and resulted in the awkward bottom corners.

Even though the lining and shell were cut the same size, the lining is too long on the back piece. I attribute that to rolling the shell slightly towards the inside so that the lining would not show but also to the fact that I essentially bagged the lining. Had I hemmed the bottom edge separately, the lining would have been adjusted slightly and worked well. As it was I needed to take a tuck across the back to shorten the lining. Awkward, but it won’t be seen.

I contemplated a buttonhole for the closure but decided on an elastic loop instead. A buttonhole would have been tricky since I had thick fabrics and layers to deal with. Besides I like the loop-and-button closure.

My invisible ink pen wouldn’t mark this fabric (a first ever) for embroidery design placement so I used chalk.  The chalk wouldn’t brush off so after the embroidery, the vest really needed washing. Unfortunately it may have shrunk the fabric just slightly even though I washed on delicate and hung on the hanger to finish drying.  I pressed inside and out, twice. Pressing was not an easy feat.  The fabric is thick, cushy and insists upon retaining at least part of its after-wash configuration.   The garment feels comfortable; front and side look excellent.  The back however is crumpling giving a sway-back appearance and  my top’s sleeves have drag lines suggesting that the vest armscye is too short. I’ve used the pattern multiple times, so I believe it’s a fabric issue not a pattern issue.  I’m hoping that as I wear and press the fabric again and again that it will expand just slightly.

I can aways tell when I’m not wearing a belt. The pants, not the subject of this post, look like they have excess ease on the back thigh. Problem is at the waist, which is drooping since a belt is not holding the pants in place. My bad.

This is 2012 WIP #1 finished!

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