My New Blue Vest

Time out from that frustrating Ponte — no you haven’t missed a post. I haven’t finished writing it — but time out for something fun, a new Vest.

Vests are my 3rd layer in the winter because I’m mostly inside.  Where it is heated and warm. However downstairs, the location of my sewing studio, is not kept as warm as upstairs. I use it 3-4 hours per day, 5-6 days a week. I’m sure most people trying to keep their personal budgets under control will agree that NOT heating 900 square feet could help. With the budget. So when I take the stairs to sew, I enter into a very cool but not freezing zone.  For the first 20 minutes or so, I’m uncomfortably cool. A jacket or sweater turns out to be too warm. I’m moving about. Waving my arms. Stuff like that. Jacket and sweaters restrict movement and cause me to overheat. Vests are my perfect solution.  The downstairs can remain unheated until it is needed. During the time it is heating, I’m free to move about. Do that arm waving. Comfortably.  If I become too warm, it’s easy to hang the vest on a hanger or even just drape it over a chair.

So vests are essential for my fall/winter/spring wardrobe.  But they are also a great surface for fabric embellishments.

My fabric is a 100% wool.  It marinated in one of the local farm wife’s stash for years. Marinated in mine another 9.  Wool, when properly handled, has a long life span.  I chose to use it now because I needed a rather basic navy blue vest to complete my winter blue wardrobe.  Can’t tell you how many times I looked for and then realized my previous vest had worn out. I wanted basic but at the same time it felt like such a shame not to use this opportunity for embellishment. I had visions of beads and metallic threads. Even a splash or two of paint.

But first I needed to define my canvas. One of things I love about vests is I don’t worry about fit. It’s all about style.  I wanted a soft silhouette.  Really love this little number that ModelistA drafted out (PS link goes to the site not to the pattern. )

I chose to use an old old pattern. So old that when you look up NL6538, you get a different pattern:

Even though ModelistA shows the darts, I think they are unsewn. So it was really just a matter of extending the front to create my pattern.

I extended the hem 8.5″. Chalked a vertical line straight up to the edge of the fabric. Then drew a line perpendicular to the vertical line and touching the neck about 1.5″ down from the shoulder.

I fused interfacing to the back  and front. Covering  from neck down to about waist and over to the side seam about 2″ below the underarm. The front interfacing was cut 2″ inside the original center front all the way to the hem.  I like to give the center front extra support.    I cut a lining from a home dec fabric which I think is rayon but no promises on that one. My lining is 2″ shorter. In back it is 1″ below the neckline but otherwise covers the back. The front, also 2″ shorter, is slightly smaller than the original pattern front. The lining was serged together. The hem and outer edges serge finished and set aside.

Then I played. I played with beads and threads. Cords, ribbon  and yarns. Slowly my exuberant plans distilled and I put away everything except the skein of Red Heart Boutique Sashay in Rumba

I spent time asking did I want to use it vertically? at an angle?


short or uneven lengths?

On the front only? Pressed open or left as a ribbon?

Did I want beads? Maybe weave a bit?

Or braid? So many questions.  So much fun.  This is the type sewing I love. All playful.  All creative.  All fun.  Sigh. Eventually I decided pressed open except when used  across the shoulder seam.  I put 7 strips in back and 3 on each shoulder.

I secured them using Madera’s Glamour thread and Stitch 2-17 on my Dream.  2-17 looks like a lower case ‘e’.  I changed the width to 2mm and length to 3mm.  The result looks  like a narrow ribbon.  Annoyingly, the thread bent the little wire in the automatic threader.  Until I can get into the dealer (2-3 months) I will be using an old-fashioned manual. threader.

There are no facings.  The lining was stitched around the armscyes and inverted. Then top stitched to the shell. The top stitching blends really well and is not noticeable even when up close. To finish the edges, I stitched it to the inside about 1/2″ away from the raw edge. Wrapped up and over stitching again 1/2″ from the edge on the front side. I think that’s equivalent to binding except I used yarn.  At one point I realized that stitching to one side and leaving a free edge was rather interesting.

However I wanted to finish the raw edge.  The edge-wrapped yarn is fabulous:


Back Neck

I just love the finished vest.

I could not be more pleased



One thought on “My New Blue Vest

Comments are closed.