It's about exploring and sharing my creative adventures (mostly sewing these days) ~
~those activities that sometimes obsess, usually inspire, occasionally frustrate
~and always provide a delightful maze to wander through.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Growing the Relationship (Peony Vest)

I'm getting to know more about my new friend, and it's going well so far....lots to learn, but going well :)

Some General Pattern Notes ~ 

 If you look at the envelope renderings, you can see that the rounded front is on the left side of the top, the right side of the vest.  The pocket (should you choose to have one) is attached to the rounded front piece, so lay out & cut according to where you want the pocket.  I'm right-handed, so I wanted it on the right side.  There is no mention of this in the instructions.  Actually, there are a LOT of construction details that aren't mentioned in the instructions, but they are LOADED with creative ideas, suggestions, & helpful hints in the artistic/design end of things.

So, if you want your hand held with fitting & construction details, Diane's patterns are probably not a good fit for you.  If, however, you like the jump off a diving board into a lake full of unknown & fabulous possibilities, Diane's patterns just might be the perfect platform for you!

Some notes about the fitting process ~

I cut out a straight size Small, but made quite few alterations right off the bat, before sewing up the first (of two) muslins:
  • Forward shoulder & sloping shoulder (usual adjustments for me, but I ended up doing both of these adjustments even more extremely on the second muslin)
  • Some darts in the front side pieces, and nipping the waist in, for a bit more shaping.  (Note:  the description says "The top and vest are easily fitted with bust darts included in the front seamlines."  Since there is no further mention of bust darts anywhere in the pattern, I guess she means that YOU can include bust darts if you want to.   Which I did do.)
  • Much shorter.  3-5" shorter.   Each of the pieces, back, side backs, side fronts, & 2 fronts, have creative room for varying the lengths & hem shapes - I made them all shorter, and played around with the hemline shapes a bit too.
  • Cut the armscyes in by quite a bit, & rounded the top of the outer shoulder piece, to avoid the Gladiator Look.
  • Rounded off the neckline of the side with the point.
  • Made the pocket a bit smaller, in order to fit the shortened piece.

The Piping Process:

The first step was cutting out yards of bias strips from my silk charmeuse.  Diane includes instructions on making continuous strip bias - I've been wanting to do this, so I tried her instructions.   The slippery nature of the charmeuse presented some challenges, but I'm OK with what I ended up with; I'm sure it would be much easier with a more stable fabric.  These pictures show what I did, but since they're the only pics I took, it's not designed to be a detailed tutorial.  That said, my hint about using a smaller cutting mat may be helpful to some of you :)
Cut a rectangle of fabric, and fold the opposite corners over to meet in the middle.
Sew this seam up (RS together), creating a tube.  Note:  Since each end of this seam has one corner end of the fabric, and one straight edge, the seam end isn't a clean ending.   I didn't worry about it...the triangular ends of your fabric end up as scrap pieces anyway.  (Which the frugal me, of course, saves for future use!)
Diane's instructions say to use scissors, & basically, just keep cutting a strip of fabric, flipping your tube over & over. If I tried doing it this way, I would have ended up with a ridiculously wavy, uneven, strip of fabric that would need to be cut again in order to even it out!

I wanted to use rotary cutters and an edger, in order to get some semblance of an even strip.  Since you're only cutting one layer of fabric, but a tube automatically gives you two layers, my solution was to insert a small cutting mat inside the tube.   This way, I could use the rotary cutter, and I just kept adjusting the tube of fabric by setting the cut strip to the side, and rotating the tube to the top of the cutting mat, evening up the cut edge, placing a clear straight edge over the fabric, and cutting the next bit.   Hope that makes sense.

Here's where I'm at with the Piping Process, so far:

The 2 left samples are the seams between the pigskin & the silk/cotton.  On the left is a sample with unfilled bias strip.  The seam allowance is pressed to one side (the silk/cotton side) & topstitched.

The center is filled piping (filled with a nylon cording...I need to get some proper cotton welt/filler cord - any suggestions about brands, suppliers [JoAnn's, which is close to me...?], etc?)

What I know I'll do with these is:

  • Remove the interfacing from the SA on the pigskin.
  • Press the SA to the silk/cotton side.
  • Grade the SA
What I think I want to do is get some proper filler for the piping & use the filled piping option, even though it makes for a bulkier seam, but I'm open to suggestions/opinions from any of y'all....?

The right side sample shows filled piping on the edge of the pigskin.  I understitched this, & graded the SA.  I like this option for the front edges & neckline; don't know yet if I'll carry this through to the bottom hem.  I could topstitch this edge as well, but I think I'll wait to decide on that.

I'm definitely committed to this relationship; I still think it has great possibilities, and I'm determined to do all I can to not muck it up!   So far, my date is being very cooperative; that's always a good sign!  :)

Any relationship advice is welcome......

Oh, btw, here is a link to some inspiration pieces from Diane's website - enjoy!


Andrea said...

Jilly, no advice, just encouragement. It looks as though you are really taking your time getting to know this one, which is great and will only add to the longevity of your relationship as it evolves. ;)
Great tip on the mat inside the tube when cutting continuous bias. I've used the tube method when I needed lots of bias, but always cut a single layer with scissors. I shall remember your tip for next time.
No sewing time for me this weekend, so I'm living vicariously reading blogs.

Dixie said...

Looks like you and Peony are off to a good start. Who knows - it might be a match made in heaven!
Love your fabric combinations. I admire you for working with such a broad range of materials. And charmeuse - are you crazy? It's so slippery. I commend you on your efforts so far. Have fun creating!

Mary said...

Have fun JillyBe...I'll be thinking of you and Peony as I enjoy my vacation. I really enjoyed looking at Diane's blog and website. Thanks for the link. oh, and thanks for the compliment on my recent post-I kinda put it all out there, didn't I? gulp

Lynne Williams said...

The samples are lovely. Thanks for sharing the journey with us. I am enjoying seeing your relationship blossom.

Jilly Be said...

Hee hee...I'm enjoying the comments; aren't new relationships fun? You've all given me giggles :)

Dixie, crazy? Me? Nooo.... I just do crazy things sometimes.

shams said...

What a great idea to put smaller cutting mat in the tube! I look forward to watching this develop. :)

Aroura said...

I love seeing the creative process you are going through here. I'm not so brave as to tackle a project like this yet, I'm still at the hand-holding stage. This is going to be amazing when you are done, I just know it!
The only tip I give you, and this may sound a little silly, is to daydream about your project. Maybe you already do this, but it's one of my favorite things to do. When I'm working on something where I'm not 100% following a pattern, I like to spend a little time relaxing just before bed or any other quiet time of day and imagining the piece and all the embellishments or other things I might want to try.
But you know, I have a feeling you already do something like this, since it is obvious that so much creative thought goes into your work. :)
Take your time with this love affair, it sounds like one you will relish and remember, and it will be worth the wait to get to the finished vest.
P.S. Sorry for the super long comment!

Jilly Be said...

Thanks shams :)
Aurora I love me my comments - long, short, no matter, they all put a smile on my face :). I do appreciate your thoughts on daydreaming, and yes, I do that. With the occasional nightmare tossed in for balance ;-)
In fact, we hit our first bump in the road today; I'll be blogging about it.....