Beaded Vest

I was straightening up my fabric stash, contemplating the next step in my beloved Loes Hinse patterns when I realized I needed to sew my winter vests.  I love to wear vests at home. They are just the perfect amount of extra fabric to keep me warm and completely unrestricted. In the back of my mind, I knew I had been collecting vest fabrics because several of my vests are nearing 8 years old and frankly, they look worn. Much older than 8.  So I knew I needed to replace them; and was collecting fabrics; but I kept thinking I was waiting for cold weather.  It’s been cold a few months now. I’m actually short on vests because I have discarded the worst worn. But I was kind of hurried – wanting to return to the deep black depressing hole of “fit”.  I quickly sorted fabrics. First pulling out fabrics that had always been designated “vest”.  Then sorting into soft vests and tailored vests.  I’m learning about fabrics. It is pointless to choose a pattern shown with drapey fabrics, recommended for drapey fabrics and then match that pattern to a firm or even stiff fabric.  I’ve learned I’m just not going to end up with the garment I envision. One thing about the soft fabrics (aka drapey) is that the patterns are usually require little or no fitting  (i.e. just get one big enough to go around) and they sew up quickly. From my stack of soft fabrics, I selected a yummy velour. I’m sure I’ve seen it made up as both long sleeve T-shirts type tops and (heh heh) bath robes.  It is embossed in an alligator pattern. Positively fabulous, IMO.

I wanted to make Otto’s Jacket #9 from 02/2012.

Being intended for a vest, I would simply eliminate the sleeves. Being lazy I didn’t want to trace the pattern. So even though the hem is not exactly the same, I decided to use Vogue 1058  instead.

When I pulled the pieces out and sorted just to the “jacket” pieces, I found this was a really interesting pattern.  It is an inset waist with ties only on the front piece. So the back is one piece, but the front is divided into upper bodice, waist/tie and lower bodice. While interesting, it can also be challenge to sew the inset waist, the tie and then turn the tie. Besides I didn’t really want a tie.  I really wanted a quick and easy, not challenging pattern.

So I decided to use my TNT NL 6538 and morph into the vest I did desire. Other advantages are 6538 already fits me. I know because I’ve made a dozen vests and morph it several times. I won’t have to adjust the armscye.  6538 is already drafted as a vest. A jacket is drafted just slightly differently to slide over blouses and/maybe accommodate a shoulder pad. Not huge problems but since they are already addressed, it’s faster for me to use 6538 than it is to use 1058 or 9 2/2012.  I did want the hem shaping and wasn’t sure how deep or acute that front angle would be.  My solution was to lay my front pattern on my cutting table, align the bodice bottom on top and then add a sheet of tracing paper over both.  I traced the two onto my fresh paper.

I noticed that 1058 and my TNT didn’t meet at the center front. 1058 is meant to be open at the front; lightly joined by the tied tie.  I like the slightly open look and decided when trimming the excess tissue to also trim 5/8″ from the CF  this new front piece.

Then I hit a road block.  I was thinking of using a center front closure of button and pony tail band (hair elastic). But couldn’t find a button that I thought would be worthy.  I was searching through beads thinking I could make something, when I saw my packages of prebeaded ribbon.

Sample of prebeaded ribbon


Suddenly, I wanted to bead the front edges of my vest. I was concerned about the weight. My fabric is not especially light, but it does stretch. I didn’t want mt beautiful vest to be stretched shapeless.  Fortunately a dinner break was declared and I left the project overnight.  When I returned I applied 1-1/4″ fusible tricot interfacing to the inside of the front edge. As usual I used plain fusible tape on the back shoulders.  I’ve found that applying fusible tape to the back shoulder keeps the shoulders from sagging. It’s easier for my to handle than clear elastic, the industry standard.  I basted my beaded ribbon to the front of my garment.  I used the zipper foot to get close. My needle was in center position so even though the foot would ride close to the beaded edge, the stitch was about 2mm away. I was hoping to achieve the look of hand beaded by completely covering the ribbon.  So when I stitched the bias tape into place, I changed my needle to far left position and rode the zipper foot up to and almost over the bead itself. When I folded the bias tape inside and pressed, the ribbon was barely visible.  To further secure the beaded ribbon, I top stitched the other edge of the bias tape.

My installed beaded-ribbon

I used bias tape to finish the armscyes before stitching the side seam and I also top stitched the bias tape around the armscye to match the CF top stitching. I also understitched the bias tape, treating it like a facing.  For bias tape, I press first. I press closed, then open then towards the bias tape. Maybe there is a better way, but this is the way I can create a nice crisp edge that doesn’t want to roll towards the public side. It’s possible that I didn’t need to also top stitch.

I serged the side seams, then serge finished the bottom edge before turning it up 1/2″ and top stitching into place. Had I not made so much effort with the beaded ribbon, this would have been a very quick-to-sew vest.  However, I’m so glad I made the effort:

I have only one regret. I’m seeing a fitting problem develop:

I’m really seeing the rounding of my back.  Usually I put shoulder pads in my blouses/top but not my vests. This time I don’t have shoulder pads in either garment. The rounding of my back is very apparent.  Beyond shoulder pads, I’m not ready to address this issue. But I can tell it will be a future issue.




2 thoughts on “Beaded Vest

  1. Nothing better than a big warm happy smile to take the chill off a cold miserable winter’s day. A heartfelt thank you. : )

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