Thursday, October 29, 2009

Felted Vest

When I had my last visit to No. Andover, MA, I spent one fun day just hitting a lot of the pricey little shops there. My fashion viewpoint really needed updating and this was a great help. My favorite place is called Clay's and there I saw lots of great easy to copy possibilities. One thing I fell in love with was a felted one lapel wool vest. It had raw edges, ok when using felted fabric, and all of the seams were lapped at the seamline with the inside SA cut back to almost an 1/8th of an inch and the outer SA a healthy raw 3/8ths of an inch just hangin' out there. It had shoulder princess seams front and back, a shirtail  hemline (no hem) and one lapel. It was fabricated in a heathery green felted wool. What it cost, can't remember but definitely out of my budget. I really wanted to make this and have started.

A trip thru the pattern resource center came up with this circa 80's Nancy Zieman Creative Vest pattern. I could work with this. It had the shoulder princess seams but only in the front. I didn't like the hemline but that was going to change anyway. I did a muslin this morning. Here was the muslin out of the envelope:
I'm not showing the front because it was just fine except for the shoulders and underarms which you can see from the back. I am VERY NARROW in the back and have a smallish waist and full hips. The first thing I did was let out the side seam from waist on down. I pinned out a little on the shoulder seams, an issue I only ever seem to have on vests. I guess its lack of some shoulder pads. I pinned out a lot under the arms. Then I did a fish eyr dart at the waistline. My mother always told me I was swayback. I guess I am. Here is the next solution pinned out:

Getting better!There is still too much width in the back. Next I took it all apart and did a shoulder princess seam in the back. Here is that one:

So we are close. I will do the final tweaking when I sew the actual vest. Any comments are GREATLY appreciated so don't hold back. This last muslin looks like I need to increase the fish eye dart at the waist and maybe a little of the hipline too. One thing that concerns me is that I will wear this over maybe a couple of turtlenecks. I have one on here. I am also wondering if I should take out that sloping shoulder in order to have room for other garments underneat. Whatcha think?  Now it was on to adjusting the pattern and doing a few style alterations as well. (ETA: the neckline and armscye seams HAVE NOT been cut off yet. I am going to wait on that till construction is near complete. I don't want the armscye too low. I have already adde an inch and a quarter and will wait too all is complete before cutting off what I want.)

On the back I split the pattern down the dart and up to the shoulder seam where it  would match with the PS on the front. On the front I added my lapel after playing with it for a while on my muslin and also rounded the hemline. I am not sure I will round the back hemline. I am afraid it will sit on my swayback rump. So tomorrow I will be ready to start sewing.

Here is a closeup of the fabric. It is an Irish Tweed that I felted. It is really nice and soft. One of the internet sewing angels out there sent me this after finding it at a thrift shop for less than a dollar. Thanks, Ms. M. ! It came with the label you see which I think is so cool. My plan is to use one of Ima's fabulous buttons on the lapel or some felted roses, not sure yet.

So now you have seen my two current projects. I may cheat and pleat up some fabric just to have more handwork when I get home from the hospital. Hate to break my rules but that v. rarely happens and I think I have good reason this time.


I have been itching to make a Chanel jacket and doing all the research. It seems every boucle I find that I like is sold out. Well, today I found some in the clearance section at Joanns and also some sweet trim. It is acrylic which in my book is a major yuk. But, I have decided that this will be my introduction to the concept and I will keep searching for the perfect wool  boucle on line. When I find that I will start a couture version, which is what I really want to do. In the meantime I have my Threads magazine at the ready with its lesson on making the faster and easier Chanel jacket.More lata'....Bunny


  1. I have really been wanting to felt some fabric and make something for my grands. The vest is a great idea! I love your fabric.

  2. I am very interested in how you go about handling the felted wool. I am taking a class next month--making a felted wool jacket.

  3. Vests must just be in the air this month! Your fabric is gorgeous, what a sweet internet pal to share a great find with you!

  4. I wish you well on your surgery and hope your recovery will be quick. The little dress and red coat are going to make a fabulous outfit for your granddaughter. I'm interested in the fish-eye dart you're using to fit your vest muslin. Can you explain at some point how you translate that adjustment onto your pattern?


  5. Bunny, I learn soooo much from reading your ruminations on how to achieve the perfect fit. Things I never would have thought cutting back the shoulder area so it will fit under jackets better.
    You are SEW talented, woman!

    I hope your surgery goes well & you make a speedy & full recovery. I will keep you in my prayers.

    ♥ Rettabug

  6. That fabric is wonderful. I think you've got the fit right. As long as you're fitting the muslin over what you intended to wear under it - or close enough, then it should fit. I wouldn't take out the sloped shoulder adjustment, but that's just another sloped shoulder talking here.

  7. I want your fabrics!!!
    Can't wait to see what this fabric looks like felted.
    I'm always curious how people "translate an adjustment unto a pattern" as well. Or do you use the muslin as your pattern?

  8. Looks pretty good - just a bit more swayback like you suggest. Best wishes for the surgery!


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