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.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Evolution of an Accidental Vest (K Tilton V8777)

AKA - Sewing Without A Plan
AKA - Starting With A Plan, but Changing Your Mind (A Sewist's Prerogative)
AKA - Why Take the Safe and Easy Route, When the Scenic Route is So Much More Interesting?

I had a plan.  I dove into the Stitcher's Guild Winter 6PAC with every intention of finishing it, but item #1 was the infamous Koos Coat, which ate up almost all of the time allotted for the 6PAC.   Item #2 was the LaFred Thalia pants, but they ended up being made in a different fabric (and different color scheme) than the 6PAC plan.   On to the new item #2 - a super simple, neutral vest, Katharine Tilton's Vogue 8777, which I whipped out in no time:

Super simple and neutral it is!   Too simple.  Too neutral.  Must fuss & futz & do something else to it....

BTW, there isn't much to say about the construction of the vest.  3 pattern pieces, stitch up the seams, & finish them with a topstitched faux flat fell.  I used a narrow zig-zag for the seams, and the "triple stitch" for the topstitching.  The instructions are very clear - it's one of those patterns that takes twice as long to trace & cut the fabric as it does to sew up.

That is, if you leave it alone at this point....

This vest (View C) calls for unfinished edges.  I'm really not a fan of unfinished edges, (unless they're frayed, or done with a fabulous selvedge, or have something fun & special going on), so I wanted to do something...but what?   My M.O. these days is to go to bed & let the questions stew, & as I'm drifting off, that's when the answer usually comes.  This time the answer was TIES!   Ah yes, all those neckties....

I selected some ties that worked well with the vest color, draped one around the neck & front, & decided that was a good place to start.  (Note that I still don't have a plan, exactly...I'm just kind of stumbling along & seeing where the path will lead....)

I dug out the Steam-a-Seam (which still feels sort of like cheating to me...why IS that?   The stuff is GREAT!)  I placed the tie so that half of it extended beyond the center front edges of the vest, Steam-a-Seamed & stitched it in place along the edge of the vest, and step 1 was done:

I decided that the armholes needed a bit more tie action, so I selected 2 more ties, & stitched the narrow end of a tie around each armhole.  For these, I placed the edge of the tie even with the armhole seam.   And used more Steam-a-Seam.   I stitched the armscye edge, then stitched down the other edge of the ties.   The added fabric of the ties on top of the ponte caused the arm edges to stand out a bit.   I did take a dart in the tie "binding" under the arm to lessen this effect, but it's still there.  I'm OK with that:

I'm having fun with the vest so far, and liking it, but now the bottom edge clearly needs.....something.   Time to sleep on it again.   This time, piping was the answer.   But,  a) how to make it, and b) how to attach it so that it looks finished on both sides?

I wanted to make a continuous bias strip out of what I had left of the two armhole ties:

I stitched them together along the long edge, RS together.  
This made for a semi-rectangle, a bit wobbly on the edges, 
with the narrow end of each tie attached to the wider end of the other tie.
I then marked 1.5" wide lines all along the pieced together ties.
Note:   I ended up with TWICE the length of bias strip that I needed!  
I could have (should have) made my marks 2" wide - 
it would have made sewing up the piping MUCH easier.  20/20 hindsight & all that....
(Biggify the pic to see the lines more clearly):

I then attached the other long edges of the ties, by matching the end of line #1 on one tie to the beginning of line #2 on the other tie, forming a tube.
If you've matched up your lines, you will have one continuous line going round the tube.
This is a classic way of creating a continuous bias strip, except for the rather wonky edges,
creating lines that aren't really on the true bias.  
But hey, I figured if it didn't work, 
I was just out two cheap vintage neckties & a bit of time.....worth it!

Start cutting along the marked lines, being very careful to only cut through one piece of fabric at a time.
You'll end up with one long strip of bias.
The result of my mad method of wonky grainlines was that the strip had some narrow spots,
and some wider areas,  but this wasn't like a binding that needed to be even, so it worked out all right *whew*

Next step was sewing up the piping, using a zipper foot.
This is where a wider strip would have been MUCH easier!
It also would have been easier using a straight stitch Singer,
but I was being lazy (late night sewing syndrome) & didn't want to fill a new bobbin & switch threads.

I placed the strip on the wrong side of the vest fabric (once again, Steam-a-seam to the rescue!),
with the piping just below the hemline edge, & stitched it in place, again using the zipper foot.

I then cut a 1/2" wide strip of the ponte & covered up the raw edge of the piping by guessed it....Steam-a-Seam!   I stitched a bit of the strip in place, but the stitching looked horrid, so I just used the Steam-a-Seam alone.....we'll see how well it holds up.... [gulp]

I wasn't content with the look yet, and being something of a pocket fanatic 
(I loves me my pockets)
I created two little pockets from the remaining ends of the ties:

Just one more little step:


The midnight photo session:

Annie Hall's got nothing on me..... 
And yes, I WILL wear this outfit out & about....just like this :)

It's a little bit....Grampa Vest
a little bit Annie Hall
a little bit....odd
But still, I kinda love it :)

Note the "Obi Sash" at the waist in this pic, made from two more ties.

Materials Tally:

Fabric:  Rayon Ponte: - 1 yd.
Vintage Neckties:  3
Steam-a-Seam Lite:  8 yds.  (approx.)

Note:  Add to Shopping List - More Steam-a-Seam Lite.  I'm officially out.

I wonder if I'm even capable of seeing a completed garment in my head and actually following that vision through to completion.   I honestly have great admiration for those who can do it!   I'm the same with room design/decor.   It happens over time, by trial and error.   It's wrong, it's wrong, it's wrong, and then suddenly I place something just so, and it's right!

How about you?   Are you one of those talented people who can visualize a plan and carry it through?  Or do you muddle along and figure it out as you go, enjoying the process but not really knowing where it will take you?   Or do you have another way that works for you?


Karin said...

Very creative! My husband has to wear a tie to work everyday, and of course they get old. I have never been able to think of anything clever to do with them. Well done you!

birdmommy said...

I love how you always take a garment a step (or two!) past what would I would have thought of. The vest looks terrific!

And my husband always laughs when I say I have a plan. Apparently I have a tendency to 'deviate' from the plan along the way? :)

Lynne Williams said...

Jilly, its clever and fun and unique just like you and I love it!!

As for my project usually evolves as I progress, which means it gets more difficult and convoluted. Nice to find a kindred spirit.

Keep it up sweetheart, it makes my heart sing:)

Unknown said...

Sew creative, love what you did, and it looks great on you!

Anonymous said...

How clever! My husband has a business casual workplace, so he rarely wears ties anymore. I think I'm going shopping in his closet.
If I was as creative as you I wouldn't worry about following a plan. Kitty

me said...

What a great job on the vest. I love your creativity!
Marcia - from SG

Linda T said...

Very "Tiltonlike" fun vest! and I just gave away a bunch of ties........ who knew they could be so useful in clothing!

Mary said...

Annie Hall! Love the reference, and love this vest.

Aroura said...

I love the creativity. I can't believe how boring it was to start with, and how cute it is when you put your personal touches to it! And it does remind me a bit of Annie Hall, lol.

RhondaBuss said...

The ties really gave the vest the spark it needed. Perfect on you.

Andrea said...

It's so you now! My favorite parts are the bottom piping and the tab on the upper back. Very cool. :)

Anonymous said...

I admire your work so much! This vest is another example of your creative work. Everything you make is perfect!

Karen aka Karendee on SG

Jilly Be said...

Wow, thank you SO much everyone! Honestly, I didn't know if people would think this was just a frumpy, grampa sort of vest (not that that would stop me from wearing it lol).

Your comments really put a smile in my heart, thank you :) :) :)

Re's Home on the Road said...

I'm too much of an anal sewist - sticking to the pattern and making the finished garment 'as shown.' But you've managed to kick my butt into creative gear and now I plan to never ever make another thing exactly like what's pictured the pattern cover. Thanks Jilly. Now come to Chicago and help decorate my new place.

Jilly Be said...

Re, you do realize that, given my decorating methods, this means I would have to move in with you for 3 months or so. And Chicago? We'll wait until Spring....

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

That vest is inspired! I love how you used the three ties to give the vest personality. It's just awesome!

Pam~Off The Cuff ~ said...

I LOVE what you did with the's a great garment!

Martha said...

The pictures of you in this great wearable art say it all - what spirit you have. And here you have clearly drawn on your artistic spirit. The journey makes it even more special. Thanks for sharing.

j.kaori said...

Super creative. I love how you incorporated those ties! Also, I just saw your post on the finished Koos coat. Fabulous! I've been waiting to see the finished product, and wow -- what a stunner!

Carolyn said...

This looks absolutely wonderful! What a clever use of an old tie... well done!

Carolyn's Sewing Room said...

I love your vest! How inspirational. I wonder how many ties my husband will miss???? Great idea. Enjoy wearing it out and about.

Foster said...

That is the best use of recycled neckties I have ever seen. I am going to use them for seam finishing now. Thank you!

shams said...

HOW did I miss this before??? Seriously, I never saw this until now. Your vest is great!! I was just looking up the pattern - considering buying it. Thanks for your review!