Last week I was telling you about my epic fail coat making attempt, that ended up as a cardigan and vest instead. I was also advising everyone to acknowledge their sewing fails and stop brushing the less than perfect garments under the carpet. Well, the time has come to put my blog posts where my mouth is and take my own advice.
So, I am posting about the very same project that made me pull my hair out, but which I made myself finally complete, with debatable results. Having said that, it’s kinda growing on me, having worn it a few times. But probably not the best piece I ever made…
But I’ll tell you the story in all its gory details and let you judge for yourself.
I have already shared a bit of the story of this vest last week and in the original post in February. In any case, if you missed it, I was asked to do a collaboration with Simplicity which offered me the pattern for free to review. I had never made a coat before, so I pulled all the stops in terms of materials and techniques, etc. I was working with some restrictions because I did not have sufficient fabric, so I thought I’d get creative with my catch-all solution: put some pleather on it. Which also did not work very well, because I got a bit too clever with the fitting and practically removed the sleeve cap completely. It ended up hanging in a very strange way, the pleather also not helping with the drape. A very hot mess, into which I put a lot of time and effort. I ended up making a different project and this went into my UFO pile. However, I don’t like stuff lingering in my shame drawer, so I took it out and started fixing what I could.
Now you’re all caught up, let’s proceed with the garment in hand…
Disclaimer: Pattern was originally offered to me by Simplicity Patterns for review. This post is not part of the contractual obligations of that review, but I used my gifted copy. All opinions are my own and Simplicity had no editorial control over the content of this post (including its distribution). This post may contain affiliate links (marked with *). You can read my full disclosure policy here.
Tailored Vest Pattern: Simplicity 8217
I have truly got to loathe this pattern. I copied it several times, made countless pattern adjustments, fiddled with it every which way, and I can honestly say that once it goes back into my pattern box, I am totally done with it for good!
This is what it’s meant to be.
Pattern Description: Misses’ lined coat and vest can each be made in two lengths, and have side pockets. Coat has unique ties that come from front seams for a chic look. Pattern also includes instructions to Fit for Petite.
I ended up making view D, but kept the ties.
I had originally cut a size 12, but through fiddling and removing bits here and there, it probably ended up closer to a 10. And If I were to do it again, I’d probably even go down another size. I have quite a narrow back, so the shoulders and back were a bit too oversized for me.
Fabric for the tailored vest
This is actually my favourite part about this garment, as I was adamant I wanted to use fabric from the stash. I had a lot of coating fabric, but none of it was enough for a proper coat. So I had this idea to dye black two pieces that were of similar weight and weave so I could mix and match. This worked beautifully up to a point, because once wet, the finishing wore off and it turned out that the fabric was not that similar. But I am really glad I dyed it, as it used to be a dark purple that I would never have worn otherwise.
I decided to use pleather to make up for the missing pieces and also as an accent touch. If you have been following me for a while, you might have noticed that I like making up for not enough fabric with a bit of pleather (for example, see this jumpsuit here and this dress here).
In the end, I managed to squeeze all the pattern pieces other than sleeves (ill-fated anyway), the front facings and the ties.
I also used a piece of lining from the stash, which was only 1m long, so this turned out quite a stash busting project, including fusible interfacing.
Constructing my tailored vest
You might have noticed I keep talking about my ‘tailored’ vest. I am probably blowing my own trumpet, but back when it was still a coat project, I really tried very hard to apply all my tailoring knowledge (or aspiring to). I block fused, used sleeve caps, shoulder pads, you name it. Ok, no padding stitch hand sewing for the interfacing, but I hope true tailors will forgive me that one. In any case, I can still say that it’s a structured vest with tailoring elements, as opposed to a non-structured one.
I kinda lost half of my tailoring bits when the sleeves came out, but the interfacing stayed. It was only fused to the bodice part and the facings, but I made a proper pattern copy for it, with the seam allowances cut out, so still quite chuffed with myself.
As to the actual construction, I had a lot of trouble for such a simple project. Firstly, although I tissue fitted and muslined before I cut out my fabric, it still came a bit too big. Maybe I got too ambitious with the structure part and it was meant for a more drapey fabric, but it just looked like I was drowning in it. I took it all apart and reduced shoulders, centre and side seams by between 1 and 1.5 cm. It still feels a bit too baggy, but if I tie the ties very tight, it’s a bit more manageable. Though some odd drag lines ensure… hmmmm.
After the sleeves were removed, I still needed to add the lining and I have to say that I found the pattern instructions completely useless. They made absolutely no sense to me at all. So I used my true and tested method for lined sleeveless dresses that I learned from *Sara Alm’s Linings & Facings Craftsy course. Sara Alm is my favourite Craftsy instructor and her classes are solid gold. They saved my bacon more times than I can count, and this was no exception (in fact, I went back to it on several occasions on this project). Sara’s method works by sewing the shoulder seam together at the very end, instead of at the beginning. You sew the neckline and armhole first, leaving a few inches open, then pull them through each other right side together like a tube and sew the top. I know it makes completely no sense explaining it in words, but it works perfectly every time. The course is worth it even just for this technique.
Another trick I used (suggested by CL Hardie from The Thrifty Stitcher, my other sewing goddess) was sewing a small piece of self-fabric at the edge of the pocket bags so that the lining not showing in the inseam. I literally had enough black coating fabric for the 4x3cm pieces. Inadvertently, this ended up being a zero-waste project…
Finally, the lining was in, so I now had to bag it. I left an opening in the side seam (make sure to reinforce it at both ends) and attached the hem of the lining to the hem of the coat (after the seam allowance was folded in). I would definitely recommend Sara’s advice to invisibly hem the coat seam allowance, as it will fall down otherwise. I, of course, got lazy and skipped this bit, and I ended up with my red lining coming through when I wore it. This was of course very annoying, so I had to unpick the hole and go and fix it.
Wear and Syle
Once the relief of having indeed finished this over-wrought project, I had to actually think how am I going to wear it and how to style it. I wore it twice already, and as we had a very mild autumn so far, I could get away without sleeves. It’s actually surprisingly warm as it’s proper wool, plus the interfacing and the lining.
When I decided to make it a vest, I had something more fitted in my head, so I was a bit meh about it, it’s just a bit too oversized.
I had this vision of a tailored long vest worn with a crisp white shirt, maybe with some bishop sleeves or something equally dramatic. I don’t have anything in my wardrobe with such big sleeves (but I’m working on it as we speak) so the only other option was my flounce sleeves blouse. It’s black and white, which also works nicely. Problem was that it has 3/4 sleeves, so I was a bit chilly with my arms bare. Luckily, I had some elbow length gloves, so that saved the day in quite some style. I also added my red infinity scarf for a pop of colour.
Another option would be to have a pop of colour long sleeve jumper that would keep my arms warm. I really liked the combo with my oversized saffron jumper, like in these pictures.
When the weather cools down even more, I can layer this vest on top of my fitted leather jacket, which would work nicely with the pleather accents.
I am planning a How 2 Three post soon to provide a bit more visuals.
Verdict on the Simplicity 8217 Tailored Vest
Although it’s not my best project and I was feeling quite despondent when I finished it and I didn’t like it very much, it’s starting to grow on me a bit. I think this is the power of getting creative with my wardrobe, as I get more excited about all the possible combinations I can create with a new garment, even if I’m not in love with the item itself.
Secondly, I do want to reflect on the dangers of getting tunnelled visioned, be it about a pattern, fabric or the combination of the two. I was so determined to use only fabric from my stash that I ran the risk of a failed garment that I would perhaps not wear (therefore a massive fail in my books). You know what they say about the good intentions and all that. It sort of ended up ok in the end, but there is definitely a lesson learned there somewhere.
Recap Simplicity 8217 Vest
Pattern: *Simplicity 8217, size 12, view D + ties
Fabric: wool coating and pleather (from stash); polyester lining (originally from *Minerva Crafts)
Trims: Iron on heavy interfacing
Alterations: Reduced shoulder seam by 1.5 cm, reduced CB by 1.5 cm, reduced side seam by 1 cm
Disclaimer: Pattern was originally offered to me by Simplicity Patterns for review. This post is not part of the contractual obligations of that review, but I used my gifted copy. All opinions are my own and Simplicity had no editorial control over the content of this post, (including its distribution). This post may contain affiliate links (marked with *). You can read my full disclosure policy here.
DO YOU THINK THAT A MEH GARMNET CAN BE REDEEMED THROUGH CLEVER STYLING? PLEASE SHARE YOUR STORIES IN THE COMMENTS.
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