Friday, January 10, 2020

Getting Unstuck

It happens, even, and maybe especially, after a super fast first make of the year. I start something that seems pretty straight-forward, and then it becomes a project. My evil twin keeps telling me to just throw it in the trash can. But my other evil twin - the persistent (read, stubborn) side - wins and I keep plodding along.

Almost 3 years ago now, I made some red wool pants. Now I have made and worn and felt good in red pants many times. But these were not good. I felt like a huge red flag. I do not think I ever wore them outside of my house.

And at some point, I dismantled them. It's a deep rich shade of red with blue undertones. My stash contained the pieces of the pants, plus the remnants. It was just enough to make a vest, I thought.

I chose a very old pattern from the Sewing Workshop - the Mimosa. The pattern includes fitted pants and an Asian-styled wrap top. I made the top many times years ago and the pants at least once. I've been meaning to pull it out again and so decided it would make a fun vest.

The two main pieces fit nicely on the deconstructed pants and the band came out of the remnants. I had to re-cut the armscye to accommodate tops and shirts.  And I decided to make a two-piece band so that I would not have wool right against my neck. The back side of the band is silk shantung. This is not only easier on my neck but provides a nice stabilizing effect too.

The silk looks lighter in the picture than it is IRL. It's very close to the color of the wool.
I found two lining remnants to use for the lining. The back lining is a gray Bemberg ambiance and the fronts are lined with a fun silk print.

Things were moving along nicely until I noticed a tear near the hem on one front, and two tears on the other front.

My first reaction was to add pockets to each front. But that looked odd, given the location of the tears. After seeing a beautiful red dress on Instagram, I was inspired to applique circles over the tears, adding a 3rd at the back neckline.

Sue Stoney's upcycled wool shawls
I played around with several circle sizes and finally decided on this, first lining with the silk shantung. Later, I removed the silk for less bulk.

My next little challenge was how to handle the lining at the intersection of the front band and the front hem. This is where a bit of slack is often built into a lined jacket. I'm not 100% happy with the result,

but then I'm not 100% happy with this vest.

It's too short - at least for this gray tee shirt.

I don't think the silhouette is very flattering.

I have picked out way too many stitches on this little piece.

I had thought I'd add meandering red sashiko stitching to it. But I won't, at least now. It's time to move on.


  1. Sometimes you have to cut your losses - I agree 100%! Beautiful color and fun project but if it just doesn't work, it just doesn't work. There's something better waiting to be made!

  2. This is such a beautiful canvas begging for embellishment, but I agree, a little more length would probably be more comfortable. Sigh.

  3. Such a beautiful vest in such a gorgeous red colour. Sashiko would enhance it but it has to be worth the effort. Would it look better shorter? I'm sure you will find a solution after a bit of timeout and distance from the struggles so far.