Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Vest Revisited

This is my second vest using Mary Ray's techniques. I think it may be my first success. I just realized that I never posted the finished first vest. I think it may be related to my dissatisfaction with that one. Both use Nancy Erickson's FSG 1945. This is a TNT pattern for me after taking a fitting class with Pam Howard in 2010.
This one combines my better understanding of Mary Ray's techniques with a piece I made in order to teach Sewing With Curves in my ASG neighborhood group. It was my demo piece for brute-force-curved piecing. I had imagined it as a summer top. The brute-force-method threw off the grain so much that it was never a satisfactory piece for a top. Following Mary Ray's class here for ASG, I realized it might work using her techniques.

Mary's quilting technique requires that only the lining layer be on grain. The top-layer may be in any direction and the quilting process stabilizes it all. I used a quilting technique - foundation piecing - in my first quilted vest. Way too stiff.

Back After
For this one, I cut up the curved pieces from my demo so that I could distribute those meandering rivers over the vest in a somewhat balanced manner. Then I worked on the center back pieces. I found that my choice of fabrics to piece was too busy.

So after simplifying that, I moved on to the other pieces. I had to adjust in a few other areas too. The vest is lined with Berberg Ambiance. This is great stuff for a bottom layer in a quilted garment. Fluid. Light. Especially with Mary's recommended batting: Hobbs Premium Wool. 

But the lapels fold back and it would not do as a surface fabric. Initially I thought I'd use the cotton batik that is dominant on the piece for both the top and bottom layer in quilting the lapel. This felt heavy and stiff, so I pulled out a remnant of a solid brown linen-rayon blend. It is soft and the solid color provides a nice resting place for the eye. It also shows the curved quilting nicely.

Using Mary's version of the Hong Kong seam, I finished each seam with china silk. I also used a larger bias strip of this to finish the hem. The armholes are finished with a narrow bias strip in the dominant batik fabric so that it blends. The front edge is finished with a different batik - sort of a curved stripe. I included a bias loop on one side of this edge so that I could use a large button as a closure.

Mary covers a great technique for single layer jackets with collars and lapels. It is in Threads issue #100. I used this on my previous vest, but decided I'd rather omit the collar on this one. When the weather is cooler, I think I'll like it with a turtle neck. 

Now I'd better get started on back-to-school sewing for my grandgirls!