I’m back on the New Year New Sews Blog Tour, this time to tell you about my shenanigans with a new pattern.
I find it interesting how PDF designers name their patterns. Some choose places, some random names and some, like Designer Stitch and Muffin Head Patterns name their patterns after friends – and sometimes their pattern testers. This vest is called Ilse after a lovely lady, who sews a dream and writes a good blog too!
Where I live in B.C. fabric is expensive; especially double sided fabric. After looking at the $54/m fake suede price tag I decided I needed to be a bit more creative about what I used for a new Designer Stitch Pattern, The Ilse Vest. I bought a double sided fleece blanket and pondered on quilting it. I traded some headliner (automobile fabric that I use as a stabilizer in bags) for a half deer skin. It’s lush and soft, but I worried I’d mess it up. Then I saw a piece of upholstery fabric I’d been hoarding. It is pretty and interesting and said “choose me!”, so I did.
This pattern, like all the Designer Stitch patterns, calls for faith on the part of the seamstress as the process can be a bit befuddling. One muddles along then reaches a stage of sewing and, Hey Presto! it all comes together beautifully. Ann Gross, the designer is a sewing teacher, sewing wise woman, and effusive in her praise to her merry band of testers. If you haven’t tried a pattern then do; they really are worth it.
I cut my regular size based on the pattern measurements but added 2″ / 5cm to the bottom band; my standard height adjustment. I wanted to cover my bum, and stop the chill getting to my kidneys – as my mum would say. I chose to fray the garment edges, which is a pattern option. I thought it would be easier. Well, it was and it wasn’t. The good part was not having to turn the narrow belt ties, find the corners and make them sharp. The bad part included it looking like a fluffy toy massacre in my sewing room, the lounge and anywhere else I was fraying fabric. ‘Himself’ was quietly in the background vacuuming up after me whenever I moved. Bless the man! He gets it from his father.
It took longer for me to trace the pattern from my master copy and make my adjustments than it did to sew it. Honestly! Each part fit together with all the dots and dashes meeting where they were meant to. I loved that the frayed version has four pieces. The more finished / faced version has a couple more but its still countable on one hand. The vest closes with either a purchased clasp (I think a frog clasp would be pretty), or the included Obi belt. I was a bit anxious about making the Obi belt as my fabric is heavy, so I decided not to try to turn the narrow ties. Instead I folded them in three then secured them together with a pretty stitch. It looks interesting. The beauty of the Obi belt is that it gives the illusion of a waist even if you haven’t got one. It is also an extra layer of warmth; much appreciated in the Great White North.
I decided to double stitch the edges that frayed. I’d already sewn a narrow stitch on the arm holes, and was concerned they’d pull more fabric than intended. I allowed the same allowance as was indicated for each seam, and used a pretty variegated thread. It came out really well and had the added bonus of not fraying into the fabric by accident.
Once I had finished I looked at it and thought, ‘Oh, I could have made it reversible’. It was one of those Doh! moments. I can’t be bothered to unpick the serger seams (serged to prevent them fraying where I didn’t want them to!), but I might cover the offending seams with pretty bias tape or ribbon and wear both sides anyway.