I chose Marcy Tilton Wearable Art Vogue pattern V8599 to make the vest. I know, my mom always told me, “Use Simplicity! The name, Simplicity says it all!” In my defense, the back of the pattern envelope said EASY/FACILE. At different points in the project, it hit me that “facile” rhymes with “imbecile” –but anyway, if this pattern is easy, I shudder to think of what
the advanced ones have in store. Another bad thing–I got a pattern in a smaller size than I wear, because they didn’t have my size. No matter, I figured I would make it for someone. Someone small. I only had 2/3 yard of the microsuede, not enough to make a vest for even the smallest of persons, so I needed to add some contrasting fabric. I chose a black rayon-type (don’t know, really) silky material with a raised rose-pattern all through it, which has been languishing in my fabric stash for years. Beautiful, but as Poison sang, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” and this fabric turned out to be no exception to the rule. Its cut ends wanted to ravel quickly, and it seemed to “grow” in length as I stitched it. Definitely a contrast to the microsuede, which was firm and very crisp.
The pattern has LOTS of darts in the front and back. Pretty, and useful to add shape, but not such a great feature if you want to machine embroider on the front of the vest. Oh, that green velvet that you see on the back vent in the picture of the back? I thought it was black velvet. It looked black until I sewed it on there, then it was unmistakably green. And do you see the seam on the back of the vest, it’s got a Hong Kong finish! Method given in the pattern instruction! Those are little designer details you get in a Vogue pattern. I was exultant until I Hong-Kong-finished one of the facings on the wrong edge and had to cut it off when I graded the seam allowance. Sigh.
I decided to use 2 embroidery designs that came with my machine, a hummingbird and a flower vine. I always check in the Sulky Secrets to Successful Embroidery book to see what sort of stabilizers, size needles, etc. the authors recommend. They usually have a great write-up with pictures and explanations that I can use. However, I happened to put some sticky stabilizer in the hoop backwards, and forgot to score it and remove it. That turned out to be BAD news for the first motif. I ended up changing needles about 4 times, and the thread broke about 20 times.
Putting this fabric in the hoop was all right to do. You’d think it would get hoop burn, but no. The microsuede is very iron-able. Any wrinkles, etc., iron right out. Yay! But embroidering on top of multiple darts or seams is not recommended: skipped stitches, etc.
If I knew someone who had a waistline measurement of 25″ or less, I might ask if the person wanted this, with or without the buttons I bought to put on.
Overall, it was a worthwhile project! Had I not purchased this pattern on sale at JoAnn’s for $3.99, the retail cost would have been $27.50. The microsuede would have been $21.99 per yard, but as you know, it was a remnant and therefore was half price. So including the fabric, fusible interfacing, thread, etc., I probably spent about $25 making this vest. As for the experience, worth it to me! I like this quote by Kenneth D. King from the Threads web site:
“When learning the craft of sewing (which I believe is absolutely necessary in order to know what’s possible when designing), you should expect to destroy several acres of fabric before you get good. This is an acquired skill which can only be perfected by means of repetition—practicing over and over, learning from mistakes, learning when you can save something, and when you need to cut your losses and start over. If you are afraid to make a mistake, afraid to ruin some fabric, or afraid to waste some time, you won’t ever get really good at this craft. It’s the dues you pay for becoming proficient.
However, if you are willing to charge forward, cut into that fabric, try something different, and risk making a mistake, there will come one day when you realize that you’re sewing without that knot of worry in the pit of your stomach, and the process effortlessly glides along.”