Saturday, October 31, 2009

Felted Vest, Part ll

What wrinkles you see here are postural, a result DH taking the pic when he wants, not when I am ready....I am really happy with this vest fit. I want to make a very big point here...I have made no adustments to the last muslin you saw. You may remember I said I would do the final tweaking on the fashion fabric. This is a perfect example of different fabrics fitting differently. My muslin was actual muslin. The vest is a felted Irish wool tweed. I guess the moral of the story here is be aware that every type of fabric will drape on your body differently. Just wanted to make that big point here. I will answer a few questions, show you some process  and then hopefully tomorrow will be able to show you the completed vest.

 Gwen wanted to know about handling felted wool in general. The tweed you see here has been put thru the washing machine on hot water, with shampoo, and then into a hot dryer, twice. You determine how much you want your fabric felted and pull them out of the machine accordingly. Different fabrics can change in different ways. I did a Pendleton wool this week that felted up so much so fast I had to pull it from the machine.When you are felting you need to check your fabric so you get it to the stage that you want and no more. This tweed is not overly felted. If I cut it, it does not ravel. It also became quite "lofty" in the process, rather spongy, something I really like. If feels like a cozy wool sweater now. Above you can see how I have done the cutting with a rotary cutter. It does not ravel even if I pull at it. That's what I wanted. Because it does not ravel you need no seam finishing and can get fairly creative with your seams. What I decided to do with my seams was use a double needle. I interviewed several different thread colors as I wanted the stitching to pop a bit. The vest needed interest. I ended up using a deep maroon color thread for all of the double needle topstitching. First I marked all the seams with my chalko liner of the right sides. Then every seam was overlapped and pinned with the marked lines being the pin lines.

 So the entire vest was pinned this way, tried on, then pin fitted to myself.  I liked the fit.  I went back to the machine and using the double needle and the maroon thread stitched on the marked seamlines on the right side of the garment. I made sure all the seams pointed to center front. I decided this vest needed a little more interest so I pinked the seam on the right side leaving a 1/4 inch before the stitching. The seams on the wrong side were cut back to the stitching, like the original.  I did the whole vest up like that. It went very quickly. Then I did some more samples and decided I would do the same double needle stitching on all of the outside seams, armscyes, hem, and neckline. In the first picture I have not cut off these areas yet. I will stitch them on the to be marked line, then cut them back to the stitching with the pinkers. To finish it off I hope to have a killer button from Ima. We will see what turns up.

Joan asked about the fish eye dart. I will show you that in the next post. It's my unofficial way of dealing with swayback. It works for me. There are so many ways to treat this issue and many question whether the swayback is an issue. Could be a shelf butt? Could. It could be a lot of other things too so this is a rather controversial fit area. I am just showing what works for me and works easily.

Cissie asked about "translating the adjustment to a pattern or did I just use the muslin". I may do either. In this case I transferred all the adjustments to the actual pattern. Sometimes I use the muslin. But I do like having the feel of the paper to use my pencil on. I just seem to see my changes better in the paper pattern. Often I will trace the muslin to Pattern Ease, not the original pattern. Here I went to the original pattern.

I hope to finish this up tomorrow. The techniques evolved as design decisions were made along the way. Sometimes I really enjoy the spontaneity of doing it that way and that was certainly the case here....Bunny


  1. I DO like your new vest and the info you've given us about how you developed it. But the very first thing I said when I saw your first photo was "She's got my SHIRT!" :)

    Seriously, I love this soft cotton shirt and it's print and only wish I had had the sense to get another one while they were still available....

    I have a beautiful vintage red Harris Tweed coat that has gone through the washing machine/dryer twice now on it's way to being made into SOMETHING else. Thanks for the idea of using it for a vest; now to choose a pattern. Actually I should probably follow your lead as I get shorter waisted every year, it seems.

  2. Thank you for posting about how you're seaming the vest. In my upcoming Felted Wool Jacket class, the instructor advised us to use Sulky 12wt. cotton embroidery thread for the decorative stitching we're going to do on the jacket. If you're not familiar with that thread--it's really nice. Heavy, but not quite as heavy as topstitching thread. Comes in lots of colors, solids and variagated. I ordered mine through . I am going to keep it in mind for topstitching on all my garments.

  3. This is coming along nicely! And you have wonderful pointers on felting is a process and YOU are in control of the process! Again great tips!

  4. Looks great! I leave the final tweaks to the real garment, too. That's why I waited on the shoulders of the red jacket. I knew that the red would react a bit differently than the muslin. The wrinkles were worse in the muslin.

    Sometimes these "simple" projects are actually much more fun because you do make the choices along the way as things happen. Enjoy the process!

  5. Oh Bunny - this looks wonderful. I love all the interesting techniques to add so much interest to the fabric and the vest. Can't wait to see this finished


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