Category Archives: Vest

The 3rd Layer

I had given up on making a 3rd layer for my Spring 6PAC.  I couldn’t choose from amongst the large number of possibilities. Every time I imagined my fabric in one of those, I’d see a big blanket somebody forgot to leave in the bed. I’m a short woman, but no longer small.  Like most of my ancestors, OK maybe only the aunts and uncles I remember, as I have aged I’ve added width. While not the biggest in the room, I’m still substantial. A very bright fabric will make me look like a walking easy-chair or bed-blanket. Normally, I mull things over, make a decision and cope with the result good, bad or ugly. Partly because I love this fabric and want to use it to best effect, this time I just couldn’t reach a decision.

So one slapped me in the face. Well, what happened is that I love the Fit For Art Jacket and Tee patterns so much I’ve been contemplating what would be necessary to convert them to sleeveless versions. I’d come to the point of realizing that I would need to ditch the sleeve and reshape the side piece. Yes the side piece would need to be longer,  raised to a decent point in the underarm area, but would also need some changes so that it filled in the side-boob area. I don’t know how many times I looked at and dismissed the Swing Jacket alternative

Swing tops have a limited presence in my closet. They are a nice variation but I don’t want them to dominate. Just don’t.  So I skipped over this swing version until I realized that with the vest,  FFA has already done some of the work needed for converting the pattern to sleeveless blouse.I saw enough here to make the purchase. Cha-ching!

I think there is a 1/4 pattern-sheet. Not much tissue and not many pieces.  I’m not interested in the neck and sleeve flounces. Because of the alterations I make, the flounces will need to be redrafted. It is a waste of time for me to copy the flounces when I’m going to redraft anyway.   I’m not interested in guides for cutting bias or a straight band.  Hello?  I make a better cut with rotary cutter, ruler and dimensions that a light, easily blown about and small tissue piece. (Long skinny tissues are even worse. I can knock them to China and back with no effort at all.)Honestly,  if this doesn’t work for me, I’m going to feel I paid much too much.  Especially since there wasn’t a straight side piece. Why was I thinking there would be?  My bad. Definitely my bad. But I was able to figure it out how to create a straight side piece for the vest.  I pressed the tissue and pulled out my side piece for comparison.

I think my side piece is 2″ shorter than the swing side for the vest.  I traced the upper oh 4″ of the vest piece then laid my side piece on top to trace its long sides

Finally, I trimmed the excess from my tissue

I marked both the large and medium sizes and measured the difference (1/2″ on each side) because I plan to use the large for vests and the medium for blouses.

Now it was a matter of cutting and stitching fabric. I used the originally selected boucle. I want my vest to last. I’ve noticed the vests which wear the best; the vests that look good year in and year out, are heavily interfaced and lined.  Well, I didn’t want this heavily interfaced.  I don’t want to stiffen the boucle.  I want a relaxed vest. I looked for lining but didn’t find anything I thought would work well with my 6PAC plans. I opted to fully interface the vest pieces with fusible tricot.  I was looking at a lighter fusible (I wanted to retain the soft drape of the boucle) but decided upon this slightly heavier interfacing because I’d already decided no lining and this tricot was slick. I want a slick lining.  Well what I want is a lining that slips over whatever is underneath and doesn’t catch or cling. The tricot was a better match for that characteristic. I cut interfacing first so that I could immediately fuse the boucle when it was cut.  I returned the boucle to the cutting table after fusing; placed the pattern tissue back on top and trimmed boucle+interfacing back to pattern dimensions. Then I stitched darts and shoulder seams.  I finished the long side seams (front +back) with a quick run through the serger.

I mucked about with the front band.  Part of me saying “Hurry so this will be done within the 6PAC time-frame” and part of me saying “Relax. Lot’s of 6PAC’s  are posted after the end date”.  Part of me knows the real ‘win’ is getting a coordinated wardrobe; but part of me wants to beat the deadline at all costs. The logical side won. So I mucked about, eventually deciding I wanted a band that wrapped the front edge with a 3-button closure.  I cringed when it came to cutting bias from the boucle.  I know that cutting the band will leave large remnants of fabric virtually unusable. Least, I never seem to find a use for them. I considered cutting a band cross-grain but this band must follow the curved neck.  I know from experience that a woven fabric, especially a woven without any Lycra, will not stretch around the neckline and I will have an uncomfortable neckline. Eventually, I remember the 1+ yard of fabric left from my Second Blue T. I had gleefully placed it in the stack I think of as “Summer Tanks”.  It’s a wonderful weight fabric that works 4 seasons of the year.  I cut a small strip and started experimenting with wrapping the edge.  I wanted a french binding. You know, one large strip folded in half sewn raw edges together; wrapped and top stitched. The small strip (1-3/4″) was widened to 2-1/4″ and finally 3″ before I liked the results.

Even with the sample, I wondered if it looked OK.  Did it look cheap?  I double checked with DH who wouldn’t know couture if it bit him in the rear. But, he does know when something looks cheap, haphazard or other wise not flattering.  With his approval given, I trimmed the back neckline 1/2″ deeper.  My rounding back results in necklines creeping forward and being uncomfortable. I was afraid that between that and having 2 necklines fighting for dominance (vest and blouse/sweater), I would be unhappy. So I trimmed the neckline and then bound the entire edge from hem up, across neck and down the other side to the hem.

The pattern comes with extensive directions. Enough to make me fall asleep. I’ll give it to them. They are thorough and I should not complain.  I skipped over most and went directly to the vest instructions. Reading carefully before I even adapted the tissue for a straight side from the flared side.  I was surprised at how the armscye was finished. If I read this correctly, the underarm of the side piece is bound; the side piece sewn to the front and back and then the armscye bound. Well this could be useful for some artistic touch but I wanted an easy clean application with emphasis on easy.  I bound the armscye edge of the side piece  and serged its sides before stitching to the  back and front sides.  I added a little SAS in the armscye area of the back and front, folded to the inside and carefully pressed. Using the cover-stitch I topstitched nailing the side seams and the armscyes into place. I should mention that I used the coverstitch to top stitch the long front binding and again when I hemmed the vest.  I used the coverstitch more than the serger and sewing machine put together.  But I didn’t do anything new or unusual with it. I like the way it nails things into place and catches the edges.  Had I used the sewing machine, there is a chance a few edges would have escaped.  My thread matched so well that you won’t see my topstitching in any of the pics.

As shown earlier, I had attached pony-tail holders on the right to function as button loops (I hate making buttonholes in boucle even interfaced boucle) now I added the 3 buttons on the other side.

These are fabulous buttons. Fabulous enough I wish I was a better photographer.  They are artist glass. A half-globe set onto a gold ring. They change color as the light strikes and could easily have been used with a different colored fabric – like purple. However my photo skills are lacking and of the 3 pics this is the best which is wholly unsatisfactory IMO. At least it is clear and you know you’re looking at buttons.  Total time start to finish, about 3 hours. I did note that the side piece is curved, but the finished armscye looks very square.

I made one big mistake with the vest.  Sort of an oversight.  I’ve noticed that all my vests really need to be refitted. My back is rounding so that my vests pitch forward as well as creep up the back of my neck. This is corrected somewhat by adding an RBA (already done for the TRJ and TRT). I also think that I should add a front closure to all my vests so that  my vests won’t hang oddly in the front especially noticeable in side views. Well, I added the front closure but I didn’t think to compensate for the smaller, vest-circumference.  My vest, when closed is obviously too small across the waist:

Left open, It fits fine from either side

No falling forward or back front wrinkles. I am once again surprised at the back

having those 2 diagonal lines. Swear, I haven’t been noticing them on other versions of either the jacket or tee. Was I blind?  Did I pull things out-of-place when taking pics?  Do I need to make further pattern alterations?  For now, I think I’ll make it a point to take pics during subsequent wearing of these troubling garments (vest and T2).  I’ll gather a little more data before making changes.  It is possible that I have fabric issues but I hate to fall back on that old excuse. Especially since I’m complaining about 2 very different fabrics.

I have to say I don’t love the vest with my Print T

My Print T doesn’t contain this bright blue. The vest looks fine with both my blouse and T2 because they contain the same color.  Again, my mistake. However, I don’t hate my vest either. Plus, I have another vest in my closet that I can wear with the Print T. So not a big loss. Just not a big win. Well, except that I did complete my Spring 6 PAC on time!!!!