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Conversational Threads

Creative Machine Vest Challenge

carolfresia | Posted in Photo Gallery on

Welcome to the Creative Machine Newsletter “We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Rules” Modular Vest Challenge.  Late last fall, members of the Creative Machine Newsletter discussion group (also hosted by Threads; scroll down our home page to get there) gave themselves the challenge of making modular vests.

They debated the definition of modular, but decided to leave it pretty loose: the general concensus was that pattern pieces should be basically geometric shapes, and could (though were not required to) be joined using unconventional seaming techniques. From there, pretty much anything was allowed, as long as the garment was completed by February 15th.

Now that that date is approaching, we’re setting up this section of our photo gallery for CMN vest photos. Challenge takers can post any time they like starting now, and anyone who wants to see the vests may take a look. If you’re participating and don’t want to spoil the surprise, we suggest you wait till the deadline before looking through the pictures. I don’t know if I’ll be able to wait–but on the other hand, I’m still in the design stages of my own vest, and perhaps should hold off till I’ve made some actual progress!

To post photos, click reply to this message, and you’ll be presented with a text box. Type in whatever you like–name, description of your vest, possibly tell us about your inspiration and process–then scroll down farther till you see the purple “attach files” button. Click there and follow instructions. It’s easy–at least it was last time I did it. If you have problems, let me know and I’ll get our SYSOP to step in and lend a hand.

You’re in for a real treat, so enjoy!



  1. HeartFire | | #1

    Where do we go to look at the vests??


    1. carolfresia | | #2

      Sorry if that was unclear. What will happen is that people can come to this discussion folder, and post photos as attachments to their messages. When you go to read the messages, the attachments will be displayed at the bottom of the text; click on the icon, and the photo will open up for you to view. This cannot, unfortunately, be set up as an actual gallery in which we can see all the garments in a single view--but they will all be in this folder (I hope!) for visitors to go through as they like.


      1. HeartFire | | #3

        Thank you, now I have to just sit back and (try to) patiently wait for people to post pictures!


      2. FibreArtistNZ | | #35

        Well, here is the  first of my two vests.

        Sorry that the photos are not as good as I hoped. This vest was made with rectangles of two layers of red sheer fabric, with red feathers between the layers. The edges are bound with bias binding and joined with machine fagotting.

        I've really enjoyed doing this challenge. While I have been reasonably confident to alter a commercial pattern, this is the first time I have designed something from scratch. Very rewarding and I will certainly have the confidence to do so again.

        The next message will show my second vest.


        New Zealand

  2. rjf | | #4

    As an old math teacher, I'm having a little trouble with "geometric".  In my mind, everything is geometric so I'm guessing you have a more specific definition in mind.  Are you thinking rectangles?  Triangles?  Parts of conic sections?  Am I being pilly?  rjf

    1. carolfresia | | #5

      Only slightly pilly, but forgivably! Um, I've forgotten enough geometry that I'm not sure how best to describe it. I recently spoke with Kayla Kennington, whose "modular" pattern designs were, in part, the inspiration for this challenge, and mentioned the geometric shapes idea. She says for her, anything goes, so forget I ever mentioned geometric shapes at all! Unless someone else can elaborate more clearly. But I think the reason this challenge was first called the "We don't need no stinkin' rules" challenge was that we all had our own ideas of what "modular" meant.  I have a feeling that once the photos are posted, we might discover that there's either some common design approach, or there isn't. It will be interesting to see all the different interpretations.


      1. rjf | | #6

        This is probably one of the few groups where you could get away with no rules.  The name of this challenge is like a persistent little itch to me....Creative Machine......hmmm.  It sounds like a contradiction but if not a contradiction, what interesting possibilities.  (Unless one has just watched "The Terminator" for the 5th or 6th time)        rjf

        1. User avater
          stitchhappy | | #7

          photo att. test

          1. rjf | | #8

            I'm laughing and I'm speechless...almost.  I guess since there are no rules, it fits the category.    rjf

            Edited 1/28/2004 8:42:54 AM ET by rjf

          2. carolfresia | | #9

            Oh, yeah! I meant to post a message explaining that. Judy Neukam (one of our editors, and not the Judy who posted earlier in this discussion--though I thought it was "our" Judy until yesterday!) wanted a demo. of posting a photo, so I showed her how, and needed a photo to post. In my photo files, I looked for one that was already resized to fit well into a message, hence the recycling of the Fair Isle vest. For all CMN members, that vest is not part of the challenge--it's a sample of my mother's fabulous knitting. I suppose that Fair Isle knitting is sort of modular in some way or other, but it is a bit of a stretch.

            I'm having a devil of a time nailing down a design concept for my own modular vest. Or even choosing fabric, for that matter, so be forewarned: my contribution to this challenge is likely to be very haphazard. However, I will make every effort to get it done on time, and to wear it to Puyallup, for those of you who will be at the expo there.


            Edited 1/28/2004 1:53:00 PM ET by CAROLFRESIA

          3. HeartFire | | #10

            Carol, this is the Judy that posted earlier, I'd love to work for Threads!!! but alas...I'm stuck here in Houston - actually, I'm in a fashion design program in college here, so I guess I'll stay put.

            Since I've never introduced myself to Gatherings, here goes, I've been sewing since I was about 5 yo, I'll be 47 tomorrow, by profession I am a nurse practitioner, but sort of retired for now to go to fashion school, I think I'd love to go into pattern making, its so much fun, and I don't really have the creative juices to design stuff.  I have 19 y.o. twin boys in college, and they used to love to have me sew for them! I like wearable arts, I've made numerous quilts,  and made all the dresses in my wedding when I got married 2 yrs ago,  well, that's me,

            Maybe I should change my name so I don't get confused with the myriad of other Judy's, - its such a common name, - one of my 'aliases' is "7of 9"  (from Star Trek) I'm the 7th of 9 kids in my family but don't look anything like the other 7 of 9!

            Judy 7 of 9

          4. FitnessNut | | #11

            Wouldn't we all like to look like the other 7 of 9!!!!!

            Seriously, welcome to Gatherings, Judy. You will find the folks here more than willing to help with all your questions. Some of us have also been to design school and have experience in patternmaking etc. (I used to work as a patternmaker and now do custom design/sewing, so I haven't gotten away from it.) It sounds like you have lots in common with many people here.


          5. User avater
            stitchhappy | | #12

            I'm attaching a file that shows Darlene's article in Notions.

            Judy Neukam

          6. elainegood | | #13

            Bumping this thread to bring Darlene's article into view...

          7. Mare | | #86

            post photos

  3. user-24733 | | #14

    Hope this works! I told the members of the Creative Machine digest that I'd finished my vest a couple of weeks ago because I was also using it for another challenge (one to use some new Dritz products - I chose their colored eyelets) so now can hopefully show them what it looks like! I used a two-sided fleece from Malden Mills and made up my own "pattern" with rectangles for the fronts and back and more tapered sides (to fit my tapered body!). I turned back a seam allowance on each piece and edge stitched it down then sewed the sections together using one of the decorative stitches (which you can't see) on my Pfaff. Really enjoyed stretching myself for a change and hope we can do another challenge like this someday!

    Sue M.

    1. carolfresia | | #15

      Sue, I love it! Sporty yet elegant, nice use of the right and wrong sides of the fabric, and I like the turned-back collar. Thanks for being the first to post.


    2. rjf | | #16

      That's  great looking!  Simple,but stylish and really well done.  I didn't know Malden made that double sided fabric; it looks like it has many possibilities.  It should inspire lots of sewists!     rjf

    3. Wondering | | #92

      Very attractive vest, and beautifully done.  Love the two-one neutral which will remain in fashion a very long time.  I too was unaware of this double sided fleece, and you have used it to full advantage.  I can see this vest dressed down for casual wear and dressed up with some unexpectedly 'fancy' flowing fabrics underneath.  Congrats!

      1. debquiltz | | #93

        presenting for your enjoyment.............Diana's Vest!!

        grinz.........deb. in IL

        1. sewdolly | | #94

          Very cool Diana!  Love the zigzaggy opening (so much more creative than my plain, straight front!) and the fabric you used, which shows up best in the closeup picture.  A job well done!

  4. DavidHubert | | #17

    Modem Blues (Modulate/Demodulate)

    Japanese Vest

    by David Hubert

    Inspired by John Marshall's, "How to make Japanese Clothes"

    Blue Cottons Patchworked.

    Side Pockets

    Cross Stitched Faggoting joining tubed back panels as in Threads Issue # 77 (without spacing, using the coffee stirrer)

    1. carolfresia | | #18

      Congratulations on getting your photos posted, David, and on creating such a handsome vest. This is getting quite exciting!


    2. rjf | | #19

      Very handsome.  The fabrics are really pretty and go together nicely.  It looks like you lined with one of the patterns.  The neckband with faggoting is great.  Coffee stirrers are quite handy, aren't they?        rjf

      1. debquiltz | | #44

        submitted for your viewing pleasure................Bobbi Bullard's vest pics

    3. FitnessNut | | #20

      Well done, David. Nice workmanship. Glad that Carol arranged things so we can see all the entries as well.


    4. sewdolly | | #32

      Very nice, David!  I like the way you attached the panels, and also love the patchwork! 



  5. Jean | | #21

    Hi Claire, Email your picture to me and I'll see what I can do with it.


    Change the (at) to the symbol. I do this to protect my address from the automatic harvesters that are out there. I'm told they look for the at symbol.

  6. ClaireC | | #22

    Here's my vest:

    Challenges--Pattern:  I started with my usual vest pattern and tried to make it modular.  Didn't like it (it was weird) so I ordered Kayla's pattern. When it arrived, it felt more like a jacket so I used it as a jumping-off point and did my own version.

    Fabric:  I had some silk noil that my mother had made into a suit from fabric bought in Japan by my father in the 60's.  The suit was already in pieces and I wanted to paint it with watercolors (from a class by Karen McClure).  When Pam in England worried about running out of fabric and someone suggested ugly fabric from anywhere, I went to the collection that my SIL sent from her grandmother's stash.  Lo and behold, there was 4 yards of silk noil that I had forgotten.  Painting that worked much better than the alread-cut pieces would have.

    Joining method:  I tried metal eyelets and sewing machine-made eyelets and didn't like them, so I just used a needle to thread the ribbons.

    Total project cost: about $20 including pattern.  I had lots of fun imagining options before I settled on these.

    1. PLW1017 | | #23

      Claire,  What a beautiful vest!  I love the watercolor look and all the ribbons -- great way to join the pieces!  Thanks for sharing the photos.


    2. Jean | | #24

      I see that either my instructions made sense or you got some other help. Your vest is very pretty.  Good job.

    3. carolfresia | | #25

      That's beautiful, Claire. I love the colors and find the ribbon-weaving very intriguing. Nice work.

      Believe it or not (this is the honest truth!!), my vest is finished, and has been for a week, I just haven't found time to get it onto the form and photograph it. Will try to do so today, and see if I can get Judy's up, too. Hers is really gorgeous.


      1. carolfresia | | #26

        Here's my vest. I think it's at little bit Renaissance Faire gone wrong, but so be it. I went through many concepts before this, including a sheer organza faux-tuxedo look (something I still want to try), but ended up with this due to...the usual thing: lack of time to get the fabrics I "really needed," so I had to plunder my stash. At least I'm consistent in buying stuff more or less in the same colors, so there were a few choices there!

        I used Pattern Master Boutique to draft a standard vest to my measurements, with a shoulder princess seam. I then revised that draft to what you see here; I used the princess line as my strap-defining line. For some reason, the vest is way too big on me--in part because I, um, decided to leave the seam allowances on the center panel even though it's not joined in a conventional seam. The pieces just looked too small without the seam allowances. Poor decision, but even if I had cut off those allowances, I still don't think this would have fit as snugly as I had hoped.

        The sides are paisley print corduroy, lined in taffeta. The center panels are this odd-ball diamond-patterned plaid (nylon and poly blend, I think--can't quite remember), which I quilted to a grey taffeta backing (I've never quilted anything before, but followed Mary Ray's guidelines from Threads No. 103 and had great success. More quilting is in my future). The idea was that the quilted panels would be reversible, although I haven't photographed the other view. Using the lines of the plaid fabric as guides, I quilted chevrons--you can't see them on this side, but the effect is quite nice on the taffeta side. And theoretically, the vest sides could be reversible, too, to offer a completely grey taffeta garment, but since I haven't gotten around to sewing up the inside side seams, the sides will have to remain corduroy for now.

        I bound the edges of the quilted panels with polka-dot cotton from my local quilt shop (that's what was lacking in my stash), and hand-sewed spring rings (or whatever you call them--like jump rings for jewellery, but coiled twice around and with no opening) along the princess seams to lace the vest together with 1/8" satin ribbon. Ta Da! Maybe I'll try wearing this to Puyallup. Over a down-filled jacket.


        1. carolfresia | | #27

          Hmm...had to resize my photo to attach it, but let me try again...


          1. Jean | | #28

            Elegant, Carol.  I wonder if it would fit me? ;-)

          2. carolfresia | | #29

            I think it will fit anyone with a bust measurement of 36/37" or above, since the lacing can of course be loosened. The shoulders are just slightly wide for me, too (what? was I larger when I was measured for Pattern Master Boutique? I don't think so!!), but I have very narrow shoulders. I'll bring it to Puyallup and anyone who wants to try it on should just come on over to the Threads booth. I'll change the lacing to hemp or fake leather, though, since the satin ribbons, though pretty to look at, slither around and don't hold the pieces in place all that well.

            And one of these days, I'll make new quilted panels in a smaller size, I guess. What a nuisance, though--I spent a lot of time hand-stitching that binding!


          3. Jean | | #30

            My bust is considerable above, and of course you know I was just kidding you. Not about how attractive it is though. I like to wear black a lot!

          4. carolfresia | | #31

            Well, I would love to see this on someone who can fill it out properly. For the photo, we pinned it in back quite considerably since the dress form is a pretty small size. Pinned this way, it looks as I had envisioned, and that's what counts, I guess, for the purposes of this particular forum!

            And more importantly, this was a really fun exercise in creativity, through which I learned some stuff about fitting, some stuff about "modular" design, some stuff about combining patterns and textures, and also good things about quilting--none of which I would have pursued without working toward this challenge. I hope others enjoyed it as much as I did. It also helps that I knew this garment would not be subjected to TOO much scrutiny; although I did a pretty decent job on it, I felt a lot more relaxed knowing that you guys wouldn't be examining my every stitch!!


          5. sewdolly | | #33

            Looks like you had a lot of fun with this, Carol!  I'm looking forward to seeing it at Expo...in only Eight Days!!  (but I think it would look a little strange worn Over a down jacket....!)

            Charlotte, who got her invite to the round table discussion yesterday


          6. carolfresia | | #34

            Hi, Charlotte! Nice to "see" you here at Gatherings, and it will be even nicer to see you in person again at Puyallup. I think I'll try wearing the vest, at least for the CMN roundtable dicussion. I hope you'll wear yours as well, along with any other CMN vest-makers who are attending the roundtable discussion. We can take a group photo and post that as well, if everyone's willing.

            I'm really looking forward to the trip, partly because these sewing expos are so much fun and so inspiring, and also to touch base with our online sewing friends both at the roundtables and on the floor at the Threads gooth. Due to booth-minding and roundtabling, I don't know if I'll get into many classes, but I do hope to attend some of the fashion shows and see what the independent designers are up to these days.

            See you there!


          7. User avater
            ehBeth | | #46


            that is one sexy vest. Shazaaaaaaaaaam, ma'am!

          8. JaneInKC | | #52

            Really classy looking!  "No rules" is turning out to have been the way to go, don't you think?  (Good job, Deb.)  There are such a variety of great results.

  7. FibreArtistNZ | | #36

    Well, here's my second vest.

    Again the photos don't do it justice.

    This one was made of large diamonds, reversible with one side black & the other white.

    It can be worn all white, all black or a mixture. The shoulders, side seams & front & back all button together.


    New Zealand

    1. PattiB | | #37

      I really enjoyed the vest challenge and learned a lot. You'll see that David and I were on the same Japanese fabric wavelength. I had several fabrics from Stone Mountain & Daughter in Berkeley that had been aging and combined them with a natural linen. I used a decorative stitch and mirrored it for the linen with the design.

      The vest changed as it was constructed and there was much thinking and calculating involved (and a little "reverse sewing"). Life would have been simpler if I had started with a pieced vest pattern -- but that would be too easy, right? I used tabs of fabric to attach the shoulders and sides together. Think I will look for an additional 'attachment' -- the vest blows open on windy days. I have new respect for people who piece fabric for clothing!

      Patti in California

      I am adding smaller images to a later message (since I can't add images to this one).

      Edited 2/19/2004 10:09:18 AM ET by pbrommel

      1. rjf | | #38

        I think your vest is beautiful and very well made but the picture is so big I can't see it all in one fell swoop.  Could you post a smaller picture?  Or does someone out there know how to make it smaller?  The different fabrics are intriguing and I 'd like to see it all at once.     rjf

    2. rjf | | #39

      Feathers are fun.  How are they fastened in so they don't slide to the bottom?  The diamond shapes of the the black and white one are a novel approach.  It's fun to see what each person invents.     rjf

      1. FibreArtistNZ | | #45

        rjf asked

        Feathers are fun.  How are they fastened in so they don't slide to the bottom?  

         I liked the idea of some movement of the feathers when the vest is worn, but of course I did not want them all falling to the hem, so I stitched across each strip at various points with invisible thread, this means they can move freely within each "pocket".

        Someone else asked if the fabric was difficult to work with. Not the easiest, but because they were only fairly narrow strips it reduced the problems. Using the binding on each of the edges was the easiest of the options that I tried.


  8. brharg | | #40

    From Bonnie in IL

    I think I should title this vest "Ode To Kayla".

    Pattern: Kayla Kennington's Panel Vest.  I wanted to use Kayla's pattern when I first heard about the challenge.

    Fabric: cotton "shimmer", "silkessence", sheer ribbon and twill tape.

    Process: I wanted to challenge myself to try new techniques. Since the vest has nine panels, I decided to make 4 different techniques (2 of each): weaving, scrunching, curved piecing-vertically and horizontally. All edges were left raw. that gave me 8 panels. The ninth panel is the center back. There I tried my version of Kayla's collage ( Threads #92). All panels were fused onto tricot fusible interfacing.

    Embroidering: I randomly embroidered designs from Kayla's Amazing Designs card.

    Joining: I overlapped the panels on the twill tape about a third of the way, leaving the middle third showing.

    I really enjoyed this challenge. It made me think outside my box. Maybe I'll try some of the other challenges out there.

    1. PattiB | | #41

      I will see if I can resize these photos -- apologies for the size!

      Gayle and Bonnie -- your vests are great and so different. Gayle, how was the red vest fabric to work with? Did you have to beat it into submission or did it cooperate easily? Bonnie, love your colors, fabric and all. Never been in a challenge before and it does help you dust out the cobwebs in the brain. Wonderful to see how everyone approaches it from different angles.


      1. PattiB | | #42

        Okay, let's try these photos for size! So the vest challenge is a learning opportunity both in creativity and in resizing photos! Hope you can see these more manageably.


        1. User avater
          ehBeth | | #48

          Patti - thanks for sharing your work/project as well.  More interesting/creative work. Love it.  I'm so glad I stumbled across this thread!

      2. User avater
        stitchhappy | | #43

        Modular vest


        Deb challenged us to make modular vests following the week Kayla Kennington was the guest host on Creative Machine. My vest is completely inspired by Kayla’s work (although not nearly as well made or beautiful).


        I collaged fabrics on muslin for the four front pieces using a process Kayla has written about in Threads. I didn’t have time to bind the edges so I sewed bias strips along the edges, pressed them toward the edge. Instead of wrapping them as for a traditional binding, I simply bagged the lining, which enclosed the raw edges of both the garment section and the applied bias strips. So, what looks like a bound edge is really lined to the edge--no top stitching-no hand stitching of binding. Other than the lining, which was conventionally sewn, all of the construction seams are butted and bar-tacked together.


        This challenge inspired me on many levels.  At one point I wanted to just explore shapes in felt on one of those little wood artists’ figures. I managed to keep all of my pattern shapes basically four-sided and geometrical, but I did add neck shaping on the back.


        I really had to rein in myself when it came to the seam technique. I considered magnets, gigantic hooks, snap tape, hook and eye tape, studs, buttons, and strapping the front sides around the back and using straps on the back sides to tie or otherwise fasten in the front. The bar-tack decision was mostly because of time constraints but the process is what Kayla uses and is so easy I will definitely use it again.


        Carpe acum

        Judy Neukam


        1. User avater
          ehBeth | | #49

          Judy - another interesting (I'm running of superlatives here) response to the challenge. I particularly like the fabric and shape here.

          Great talents posting here!

    2. User avater
      ehBeth | | #47

      Bonnie - thanks for posting your pix. I can really tell you had a good time with that. It's a fabulously vibrant project! Congrats.

  9. goodsew | | #50


    You will need to know something about PCD to send your designs to the machine.  It is actually a wonderful software but has a huge learning curve.  I recommend you join pfaffpfriends at http://www.yahoogroups.com for your everyday questions.  It is very active and helpful group.  If you want to learn to digitize, there is a group called pfaff digibuddies that has free lessons posted and you can also buy the older lessons on CD for a small charge.

    But, admittedly, there are easier ways to do a lot of the things you will want to do.  If you want to stay with pfaff products, Customizing lets you add lettering and change colors in the design easily.  Embird is probably the least expensive and most versatile of the add-on products.  You can change colors, add lettering (lettering packs are an additional charge), combine designs, change the size for around $100.   You can also do this with Embroidery Magic (a few fonts included) and the new Embroidery Magic II lets you do this plus digitize.

    I download a lot of free designs off the internet and have found Buzz Tools invaluable!  I can look at the designs and store them still zipped (saves a lot of room).  When I am ready to use one, I just double-click on it and it opens up PCD and changes the file to a pcs file if it is in some other format.  There is a newer version of Buzz Tools that does this too and can read more formats but I haven't upgraded yet. I think it's around $150.  Now admittedly, You can see the designs in Embird without unzipping but if you have a lot, I like to look through the "catalog" rather than each individual design.

    I know there are lots of other programs out there, but these are the ones I am most familiar with.  I am a Pfaffie too and love my machines.


    1. FitnessNut | | #51

      Wait....you aren't me!!!! I wonder why the forum allowed you to register with the same name as I did? Would you be receptive to changing your handle to avoid confusion, as I have been posting here for some time? Reading your message to Carol gave me a start when I realized that I didn't write it.....and haven't the faintest idea what you are talking about :-|



      1. Tish | | #62

        Sandy, I had a similar experience recently on House Chat.  I was writing about painting my son's room and Tish posted about her step-son's room.  It was just a tad disorienting. 

        I posted a new message welcoming the new Tish, but I don't think she's been back since that day.  Too bad.  Anyway, I think Prospero prevents duplication of usernames but may not be so careful about the nick-names we see on our posts. 

        Back to the vests....

        1. FitnessNut | | #63

          Yes, it was a bit disorienting. I hope that the other Sandy understood my reaction. I didn't mean to scare her off.

          These vests are simply amazing. What a bunch of talented people! A collective pat on the back to you all!


      2. goodsew | | #66


        I'd be glad to change my name on this forum but I don't know how.  Do you?

        Sandy G.

        1. Jean | | #67

          I'm not Sandy, but it's easy. Click on MY FORUMS. On the left side you will see under MY INFO "Click to Veiw or Change.There click "My Preferences". Scroll down a bit to where you see Nickname. Type in the new nickname that you want, then scroll way to the bottom of that page and click SUBMIT. That's  it.

          1. sewdolly | | #68

            Ok, I didn't realize I had to put this in the "Creative Machine Vest Challenge" folder, and just made up my own title!  So here it is again, and this time in the right place!  Sorry about that...I do email and "surfing" really well, other things.....?!

            I started with Many ideas from various sources, and gradually narrowed my choices.  My girlfriend Liz helped me make my final decision of crazy-piecing the shibori (hand-dyed and textured) silk pieces for the main parts of my vest.

            Though it may not Look "modular", it was put together in modules!  First the crazy-pieced units--the two front ones and larger back one.  Then to both sides of the back unit and one side of each front unit I added 3 1/2" x 12" strips of pinky-lavendar silk.  For yokes I added a 21" x 9" piece to the back, and 13" x 9" pieces to the fronts.  At the last minute, I added a 13" x 4" strip to the bottom of the right front unit. (I thought having both the same looked too "blocky" and put too much emphasis on my waistline!)  Then I cut out the vest pieces.

            I decided the yokes needed some embellishment, so I dug thru my treasures from past sewing expos and came up with the wonderful variegated eyelash yarn, which I couched with a serpentine stitch (width 3.0, length 1.2).  I had the eyelash yarn in three colorways.  I briefly considered the navy/purple one, but decided I liked this one (fuchsia/hot orange/magenta/purple) better.

            The rest of the vest would have gone more smoothly if I had actually READ the lining directions in my sewing book!  But I was distracted, and trying to go by memory, so I had to rip and redo some--After my seam allowances were trimmed and clipped, of course!

            On looking at the finished vest, I am assailed by doubts:  Should I have used the navy/purple yarn instead (this looks Awfully orange!)?  Should I have left off the embellishment completely?  Done something different?  Maybe I need something glitzy on the pieced blocks, too!

            I guess it's because I don't normally wear such "fancy" stuff--and have never made anything embellished like this!  It was a real stretch for me--but it was a lot of fun to do, too.

            And.....it fits!  

          2. user-24733 | | #69

            Just saw Charlotte's great vest and had to tell all of you who've been kind enough to share your photos and your process with us how much I've enjoyed this challenge! The fantastic things you've done make my simple fleece vest pale in comparison, but that was a "stretch" for me, and guess that was the whole point of this challenge! SO, what are we going to do NEXT??

            Sue M.

          3. rjf | | #72

            I would wear your vest.  I love the others but I'm too conservative to wear them.  They're like children....you love them all, but for different reasons.    rjf

          4. carolfresia | | #74

            All these vests are amazing! Each one individually, and as a group--I expected a lot of variety, but had no clue there would be such widely diverse interpretations of the idea. The one thing they all have in common is that each person seems to have ventured into new territory, either using a novel technique, experimenting with an unfamiliar fabric, or stretching the limits of their notions of style. I can't wait to see the rest of them. Keep posting, please!


          5. FitnessNut | | #75

            I, too, can't wait to see more....The creativity shown has simply been amazing. I love that everyone has pushed into attempting something new for them. If only there were more hours in the day, I might join you!


          6. rjf | | #70

            Beautiful fabric and beautiful colors.  Love the fuzzies!     rjf

          7. sarahkayla | | #71

            I just love what people have made... I love how it proves the point that we all have come up with vastly different work given the parameters ( I think at a discussion on the nature of creativity was the beginning point of the challange)

            anyway.. i still need to bind my vest. after thinking that I might not be able to get my act together...I think I have a vest that didn't fall apart ...like my first attempt. give me a day or so and i will join the ranks of the posted... I think that seeing some of the results before the deadline has spurred me to get creative ...

            sarah in nyc

          8. rjf | | #73

            It's really fun to see the different approaches to color and design.  And to recognize the nitty gritty work it takes to actually get it to come out right.   I always wonder if the final result is what was intended or if the vest took on a life of its own and went its own way.  But no one would know except the maker.       rjf

          9. sewdolly | | #77

            Thank you!  That fuzzy yarn was really fun to couch down!  Don't know why I waite so long to try it!

            I'm starting to feel better about this vest now....heard from a couple of my girlfriends (off list) to whom I'd sent the info, and they were both very positive, too. 

          10. nancylynne | | #78

            It's not a finished vest, but I'm done. I have exhausted my interest in this concept. It worked much better in my head than in fact. Still, there's always something to be learned from experimenting, so I'm sharing.

            I used silk dupionni, mostly double-shots, and ball-chain from the hardware store. Learning #1: It's difficult to machine-stitch fabric to ball-chain. I faced each half-circle with silk organza. Because the dupionni ravelled so badly, I had to use a pinking cutter. Learning #2: It's difficult to stitch 1/4" from pinked edges, so my modules are not a uniform size/shape. Cutting freehand (with a rotary cutter) also introduced disparity in size and shape.

            I had originally thought this would look very nice done in tones of beige/gold/brown. It turned out to be pretty dull that way. The second "Alt" photo shows those pieces.

            I had also originally thought I'd have all the modules facing the same direction. As I played with them, I realized I could make circles and circle-echoes, too. That was fun to play with.

            It was fun, but I am done :-)

            Nancy Restuccia


            Asheville, NC

          11. PattiB | | #79

            Nancy -

            I love your concept and the colors of the silk ... and love that you are willing to say "enough already!" It was a challenge and fun ... time to move on. How on earth did you attach the ballchain? Cording foot? by hand? Vest 1 makes me think of a room divider (much nicer than hippie bead dividers, of course) -- sort of Marimekko feel with the circles.


          12. nancylynne | | #80

            Yes, is was a mercy killing, LOL!

            Attaching the fabric to the ball-chain. Good question. I did it entirely freehand, which was a mistake. The ball-chain (5 lengths no less) skitters all over the place, it's very difficult to stitch with the two very different levels (fabric low, bead-chain high) under the presser foot, and estimating exactly where each half-circle should be attached was hit-or-miss. If I were to do it again, I'd secure the bead-chain to a foundation, probably graph paper, and use that to keep everything lined up and in place.

            We learn, we move on.

            Nancy Restuccia

          13. carolfresia | | #81

            Nancy, your vest(igial) vest is totally cool. You may not have loved it, or the process, enough to complete the garment, but you really have come up with a wonderful design idea. If I weren't smart enough to heed your warning about what a nuisance this was to actually construct, I'd be making a big, beautiful wall hanging for my living room with this technique. I love the combination of mod graphics, hardware, and luxury fabric.

            This is the sort of thing a "Trading Spaces" designer might do, and then pretend the homeowners actually made the whole piece in two days. Right! We know better.


          14. rjf | | #82

            "This is the sort of thing a "Trading Spaces" designer might do, and then pretend the homeowners actually made the whole piece in two days. Right! We know better."

            I suppose there's no Santa either.         rjf

          15. carolfresia | | #83

            Oh, I wouldn't say that. He just has a lot of elves to help out--but no one's dissing the elves!


          16. SewTruTerry | | #84

            I really love what you did with the challenge and think that having a part of the next challenge should be something that you would get at the hardware store instead of the fabric store.  What do you think Carol?

          17. SisterT | | #85

            I like the idea--would it have worked better with heavily-stabilized bias tubing? It seems a shame to trash the whole design.  I think a bias strip, of different colors of silks, between the circles and half circles would make a beautiful vest.


          18. Michelle | | #87

            I like the way you think!  ;)



          19. nancylynne | | #88

            ST, funny you should mention bias tubing. My other idea, that I didn't pursue, was to use rectangular modules--a la Kayla Kennington's pattern--and join them using thin bias tubing in a contrasting color (in my mind's eye, the bias tubes were lime green and the panels were maroon-red-orange hand-dyes with lime accents; yes, I bought the fabrics!). My plan was that the tubing would be attached in a serpentine pattern, alternatingly bar-tacked to left and right modules. And yes, it would have been much easier technically.

            But I still love the idea of the ball-chain. Using it would certainly be easier *next time*, now that I know what NOT to do--i.e., freehand it. Definitely a situation for a foundation stabilizer.

            Nancy Restuccia


            Asheville, NC

          20. SisterT | | #89

            The chain IS a neat idea.  I suggested the bias tubing because my thieving little brain took one look at your design and said, "Hey, that gives me an idea for one of my projects..." and since my stuff is used on a regular basis and needs to be dry-cleaned, I stick to fabrics.

            Your idea has a lot of potential for decorative sewing!


          21. djlott | | #90

            Hello All,

                  Deb is posting the pictures as my computer or internet connection would not let me attach photos.

                  I finally finished my vest. I originally wanted to do something in velvet, as I had some in my stash. Unfortunatly, the velvet refused to cooperate.  Actually , in hindsight, it was probably a good thing.

                  I found some moleskin (I think that is what it is-like a suede) The piece had some metallic embroidery running on the diagonal. I wanted something with squares, corners overlapping opposite from each other, attached only at the corners. So I cut rectangles 3 1/2x 6 1/2" folded them in half and basically ended up with lots of little unstuffed pillows after I turned them right side out.  Then I attached them together at the corners, alternating the corner on the top when sewn. This worked fine for the rows, but i coudn't do the same attching the rows together.

                  I did not have enough fabric to do the whole vest this way, so the back of the vest is solid fabric, with a yoke at the top front that the squares are attched to. The last photo shows the inside out view.  The pattern I used was the unfitted vest in Dress Shop. I has to rise the back to the waist, curving down on the sides to meet the front squares.

                  I am really glad that i was able to get done, late as it is. My older daughters were ooohing over the vest this morning,  I can stil impress them!   The only thing I might have done different would be to alternate colors- maybe next time.

            Edited 3/1/2004 10:20:18 PM ET by djlott

          22. sarahkayla | | #91

            Dear folks...

            Ta da! actuallly I'm full of sewers regret on this one... but here it is...warts and all. it is made out of felted wool - all of it came my way courtesey of my costume making neighbor ... the neighbor of a friend of hers had died and was a sewer... and left a huge collection of fabric.. much of it Polyester in astonishing colors. (I'm being polite here) My buddy can't use wool - too hot for costumes.. so it arrived at my door all washed and run through the dryer.  Yes, I am lucky.

            so for technique... I cut strips, sewed them togetehr, sliced then apart and recombined using the serger..  Ideas i didn't follow through on..... having the serged edges to the outside...on a whim I changed my mind. having a black binding.. maybe later... a cool closure at the neck.. maybe another time.

            I used a Ralphlauren mandarin collared sleeveless velvet  top as my sort of pattern. why no darts?? I'm still not smart enough to figure that out.  why the weird photo angle? that's what happnes when you take a picture of yourself..

            sarah in nyc

            Edited 3/2/2004 12:44:41 PM ET by SARAHKAYLA

          23. nancylynne | | #95

            Just to prove to y'all that I CAN finish a vest, this is one I make this week. I used the "Peony Vest" pattern from the Sewing Workshop. Fabrics include some contemporary Japanese prints, batiks, and a cheap rayon that somehow all worked together. The "button" is one of those finds that I've had on hand for awhile, couldn't resist buying when I saw it, though I had no idea what I'd do with it. Well, it found a home.

            Nancy Restuccia


            Asheville, NC

          24. JaneInKC | | #96

            Nancy, thanks for posting pictures of your vest!  You are right about those fabrics.  I'd love to be able to visualize well enough to put things together that way.  Well, I'm glad so many of my list friends can do it; it is inspiring.  (One thing I've found that I can do is visualize sufficiently to say "Stop - no way is that going to work."  Maybe I'll branch out to the positive side some day.)  Thanks again.

          25. rzgreen | | #97

            Ah, that vest is quite nifty!

            Love the colors and the combinations of fabrics.

            So glad you posted it, Nancy.





          26. carolfresia | | #98

            I love your vest, Nancy. What a great combination of fabrics.


          27. debquiltz | | #99

            a wonderful vest from Pam Parsels.............enjoy!!

            My vest is made using cottons and cotton lames. It incorporates machine embroidery angel blcoks, piecing, couched braiding and button embellishments. The pattern is a modified vest by Yvonne Porcella and the seams are sewn in a outer layer  binding, lining sandwich , going on to enclose edges. The entire vest was made from fabrics, trims and buttons in my stash.


          28. debquiltz | | #100

            excuse the repeat post..........goofed the pics and had to wait for a techno geek to come home and save me!! all should be well now.............

            grinz...........deb. in IL

            a wonderful vest from Pam Parsels.............enjoy!!

            My vest is made using cottons and cotton lames. It incorporates machine embroidery angel blcoks, piecing, couched braiding and button embellishments. The pattern is a modified vest by Yvonne Porcella and the seams are sewn in a outer layer  binding, lining sandwich , going on to enclose edges. The entire vest was made from fabrics, trims and buttons in my stash.

          29. rjf | | #101

            Love your vest!  I can just see my handbell choir dressed in those.  Much nicer than choir robes.        rjf

          30. DavidHubert | | #102

            If you can be moved my a vest of craftmanship, I am. That is Really, really lovely. Beautifully made. You go.....

            David in St Louis

          31. callie1 | | #103

            Really amazing vest.  Great job!

          32. User avater
            Sewdreamy | | #105

            Wow--wonderful vest!  Truly inspiring.

          33. Wondering | | #104

            Just beautiful!  And the button is perfect.   Curious: which fabric is the cheap rayon, because you certainly can't tell?  Lovely, lovely. 

        2. FitnessNut | | #76

          I see that someone else has given you the directions....so glad to see you back here! You gave some very good information to the person who needed it and I honestly didn't mean to jump on you...it just threw me a bit. One thing I love about this forum is how everyone is so welcoming and helpful with whatever advice they can give.

          A suggestion to all....I enjoy reading the bits of personal information that can be shared just by clicking on someone's name. It makes the whole experience so much more meaningful....like a true community. Why don't you all consider adding a tidbit to the "my profile" section to tell us something about yourself?


    2. carolfresia | | #53

      Hi, Sandy,

      This is good information, but I think it belongs it the discussion about embroidery software. Can you repost it there? Even though I'm the monitor, I don't have the capability to move a single message from one folder to another. But I'm sure the person asking about Mac-friendly software would like to see this.


  10. PamG | | #54

    I home-felted wool jersey and used the old Daisy Kingdom Europa Jacket pattern for my challenge vest.  I used a standard decorative stitch on the Bernina 1530 for the seams with the result that the seams are practically invisible and the fabric appears virtually seamless.  That wasn't the result I'd hoped for - not much of a design statement when it can't be seen!  I intended to button the reverse-applique panel to the yoke and bottom back but couldn't find any buttons that I liked.  In addition, I wasn't happy with how flimsy the neck and front felt.  I decided to use the chunky plastic separating zippers to attach the decorative panel to the back as well as to beef up the front and neck.  I can still change back panel if I get tired of it - just zip in another.  I kept the loose ends of the zipper tape as part of the design - kind of a casual/funky look that I like.  All in all, it works I think.  I've worn it already.   

    More importantly for me, the challenge has gotten my out of my sewing slump.  I just ordered more fabric!


    1. PamG | | #55

      I'm having trouble getting my photos to become attachments.  Can I email them somewhere and get them on that way?  Thanks

      1. Jean | | #56

        Send them to me Pam. I'll do it for you.

        1. Jean | | #57

          Here are Pam's pictures. Another talented vest maker. :)

    2. User avater
      ehBeth | | #58

      It works! Indeed it does.

      I'm a great fan of felted fabrics, and I'd grab that vest if I saw it in a boutique.

    3. rjf | | #59

      Shades of Brook Delorme!  A zipper hanging in space!  Love the colors and design on the back and it's really modular when you can just zip on a different back.  It's been fun to see all the different interpretations.       rjf

      1. Jean | | #60

        Much nicer than Brook DeLorme!

        1. rjf | | #65

          The zipper made me smile.  After all the discussion that went on, it seems to me Brook made an impression on some of us.  This vest has MUCH neater sewing, I agree; I was only commenting on the free spirit of design.     rjf

    4. SewTruTerry | | #61

      Pam I don't know if it is my machine or not but was not able to open your attachment but dearly want to see it as the description sounds wonderful. 

      1. PamG | | #64

        Terry, look below my description to a post from Jean who was able to get my pictures on when I wasn't.  If you can't see it there, I'll be glad to email you the photos.  PamG

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