Wednesday, January 13, 2021


Peony vest in silk-cashmere, Swing tee in cotton knit, Helix pants in ponte

Back in Lubbock TX (USA), my first BFF and I loved to play dress-up. I expect we played other games, but my clearest memories are of dress-up. Our mothers and maybe our grandmothers supplied us with their castoffs and we had a blast. Our favorite item was the purple skirt. There were many negotiations around who would wear it on any given day, but I think I owned it. Or maybe she owned it and I bullied her into letting me wearing it. 

Peony vest, Odette shirt, Picasso pants

When my family moved to Dallas TX for my father's job, I ceremonially bequeathed it to her. I was sure that I would be too sophisticated in Big D to play dress-up any more. I was 8 years old.

Peony vest, Odette shirt, Helix pants

I have no memories of playing dress-up again. But today I'm thinking maybe I never stopped. I called it going-to-class, or date-night, or going-to-work. More recently I called it going-to-lunch with friends or DH, or maybe attending-a-meeting, and certainly going-to-church, as that has been a constant for me.

Peony vest, Now shirt

Now that we've been in lock-down for about 10 months, I guess I must come clean. I still like playing dress-up. I enjoy dressing my dress form, and most days I enjoy dressing myself, even though I generally stay at home.

Peony vest, Detour jacket

I have just finished a Peony vest (TSW the Sewing Workshop) in a silk-cashmere blend double cloth. I bought this at our wonderful local fabric store, Gail K. It's a scrumptious color that is hard to nail down. It is orange but also deep raspberry.

The Peony vest is super simple - three or even two pieces. TSW's gallery has some lovely artful examples. The pattern is no longer available in print form but is available as a download. The original envelope includes a second very different vest, plus lining pieces for the Peony. The left and right fronts of the Peony are different, creating an asymmetrical closure. I have made it with two right fronts on occasion. For this one I used the original and added a collar by cutting a rectangle the length of the neckline.

The fabric is very soft, yet quite firm. I initially convinced myself I could go with completely raw edges, making this a very quick make. I seem to be cold all the time right now so I looked forward to being warmed by this layer of clothing.

But once I had made some real progress, as in I almost completed it, I realized that I was wrong. This fabric will always look a bit shaggy if the edges are not finished. I had layered the center back seam that I added to the pattern. I had layered the shoulder seams and a collar I had drafted for it. Oof! Lots of reverse sewing. 


The more I ripped, the more I re-sewed, the more I knew it needed more finishing. First I cut up a piece of kimono silk purchased from Anne Williamson to use as a bias binding on the collar and front edge. That was a fail. It was too stiff and the print did not show well in bias.



I found some fabrics in stash that would blend with this interesting color. I chose the orange silk-cotton remnant for the interior edges, and the burnt orange silk dupioni for edges that would show. The pink-red batik was not used.

I machine stitched the hem and hated it, so back to the seam ripper. My favorite running stitch (sashiko) to the rescue.

I may add some more hand-stitches and I definitely want to add a little something to the back neckline. 

After wearing it a bit, I think I might like a closure or two. It is totally yummy to wear. I do not think I've sewn or worn a more comfy fabric. 

For now, I'm enjoying playing dress-up with it.


  1. Oh, my. This is beyond gorgeous. And, I love your dress up story! You made my day!
    Have to run back to the sewing loft to dig out my Peony vest pattern

    1. I need to dig out my Peony Vest pattern too.

    2. In digging out the Peony Vest pattern I found 2 unopened Liberty Shirt pattern. Anybody want one?

  2. Love hearing about your patient process. Adding the collar was a great idea.