Do I have a finished vest? (Spoiler: I don’t)

Hello! I hope everyone is doing well, or at least managing not to randomly yell at walls.

If you remember, the last time I wrote I was working on a Victorian-style waistcoat mockup, and I was determined to have the real thing ready soon. Famous last words!

Once lockdown happened, my energy levels plummeted, lots of food was eaten with no exercise (in which my waistline might have increased ever so slightly, making the waistcoat a bit more er, snug) and my creative mojo went out the window.

So… this is where I am now:

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After two mockups, I thought I was ready for the real deal. However… see the puckering on the armpit area? It’s driving me mental and I don’t know how to sort it. I’ve tried pinning and tucking but so far, nothing has helped. Argh. Suggestions?

The good bit is, I definitely did practice my tailoring techniques. Using horse hair canvas and a special type of tailor stitch, I partially lined the inside of the waistcoat to make it sturdier. This also helps with shaping – see how the lapel is bending in the right direction? That’s the horse hair canvas and the stitching doing its magic. Behold, my tailoring efforts below.

 

Another issue I’m having is the fabric itself: since the wool is on the thick side, each bit I add (such as the inner lapel) adds bulk, for which the pattern doesn’t account. That, plus my recent indulgence in delicious comestibles, and I’m in trouble… Next Winter should be interesting.

Another thing I’ve done so far is to topstitch the lapel by hand, so the fabric doesn’t pucker when the waistcoat is buttoned up. I think you can tell the slight difference between the topstitched right half and the left, yet to be worked on:

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And that’s pretty much me done for the moment. For those who might complain that I’m not showing any felting, look! I’ve needle felted a couple of little balls to see if they look good with a bead, for knitting stitch markers. What do you think? I’m not in love so far.

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Finally… I need a distraction from all my recent mask making, so I’ve decided to work on a miniature felt jacket for a lady rabbit I sewed a while ago. Naturally, Quality Control Kitty was there to make sure I didn’t make any mistakes.

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Hopefully in my next post I’ll have a finished waistcoat and a mini jacket to show you…

Oh, and one last thing: I’ve been having trouble commenting on everyone else’s posts, which makes me very sad. Tech is annoying. Please know I’ve been reading them. I really, really hope the tech issue doesn’t impede my being able to reply to your comments, fingers crossed!

Have your lovely selves a great day 🙂

About Leonor

Textile artist, indie dyer, conjurer of fluff.
This entry was posted in Guest Writer, Made From Felt, natural wools, Needle Felting and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Do I have a finished vest? (Spoiler: I don’t)

  1. annielynrosie says:

    Hello Leonor – we’re very impressed with your tailoring! We hope you manage to sort the little niggles.
    And we’re sympathetic to your struggle with fitting it during lockdown with the fridge at arm’s length.

    The markers are fab! Eye candy indeed.

    It’s good that you have kitty to help sort the pieces in the right order.

    • Leonor says:

      Hello! Thanks 🙂 I hope so too – wouldn’t want a waistcoat that doesn’t fit, the purpose of making it oneself is to have it fit very well!

      I’m still struggling with the stitch markers, but I’ll come around 🙂

      Kitty likes to inspect every single item I make – I’m really tempted to hire her as my official Quality Control officer and pay her in kibble…

  2. Karen Lane says:

    I’ve just read your post while eating a slab of home made cake and can totally relate to the waistline issue….I wasn’t a cake eater, let alone a baker, before lockdown!! It’s now become a morning ritual after walking the dog. As for the waistcoat, to me it’s looking pretty impressive. The fabric does sound like a challenge in itself but the top stitching is making a difference. I’m new to garment making but guessing not many folk work with horse hair canvas either! Will the final version be in this same fabric?

    • Leonor says:

      Ha, cake! I had a brownie for tea yesterday… Had to make it up by having soup for dinner if I’m ever to fit in that waistcoat 🙂

      Horse hair canvas is normally for tailoring, so you’re correct in assuming most sewers don’t use it! And, this is (hopefully) the final version of the waistcoat… if I ever manage to fit into it 🙂

  3. ruthlane says:

    Wow, I’m impressed with your tailoring skills. That is way above my pay grade 😂 I think you are doing great. Sounds like you are working through the issues that arise.

    Sorry you are having difficulties with replies on posts. WordPress made some changes and I don’t think they helped. Glad to see you are able to reply to comments on your own post.

    • Leonor says:

      Haha, thanks! It seems, though, it might also be above my pay grade :p We’ll see once/if I manage to finish this project…

      The issues have been happening for a while now. I seem to be able to reply to comments here because I’m going through the notifications on the WP site, but if I go on any blog, it asks for my login info and then never accepts me as me… Weird.

  4. Nancy Skakel says:

    For the puckering below the armhole : dampen it, iron with hot steam iron, put it on yourself and pat the area to shape it to your (ahem) enhanced silhouette

  5. Sylvia Lee says:

    I had a pucker problem and I semi solved it by holding pucker part under HOT water, working it with my hands, basically shrinking it.
    It worked.
    Good luck!

    • Leonor says:

      Thanks, Silva! Nancy also suggested something similar, it’s worth a try! I really think it’s the main thing holding me back at the moment… I so want to see this waistcoat finished, regardless of whether I’ll fit it in or not 🙂

  6. Sally K Stites says:

    Leonor have you thought about trying to make the armhole like a princess seam and let it peter out where it can? I have always had trouble with “armhole gaposis”. So I’ve done a bit of princess seaming just not in wool. We all seem to need a Big dose of friends together I think!! Good luck.

    • Leonor says:

      Hi, Sally! It did occur to me, yes, but then it would change the original pattern even more – a pity, since I’m trying to use an authentic Victorian pattern… Two people have already suggested I shrink the wool with heat/steam and then shape it around my body, I might try that…

      Gosh yes, once the lockdown is over I so want to go somewhere that’s not local and talk to people. Anyone! 🙂

  7. Antje says:

    EH – it’s looking so good. If the above steaming doesn’t work & as the fabric is ‘thick’ – could you run concentric arcs of hand stitching around the arm hole, but Hidden within the thickness? All to ease the puckering.
    I never realised that lockdown would be so mathematical….Lockdown food experimentation, to use All food with no waste = waist Expansion….(And weigh scales groaning)!

    Your stitch markers – if you removed the fuzz & added a few decorative stitches To blend them more with the glossy detailed bead, would that make you happier with your Wonderful efforts.

    As I understand it, this is the felting & FIBER studio so your post is Very appropriate….and will, as the comments show, encourage a wider audience.

    Excuse random capitals – iPad not playing the same ball game as me….don’t we love TECH?

    • Antje says:

      It just came to me….
      Waste reduction = waist expansion!

    • Leonor says:

      Ahahaha! THIS.

    • Leonor says:

      MH! Thank you 😀 I do hope I have a finished garment sometime in the near future.
      The hand stitching would be a good idea, except I’ve already attached the horsehair canvas :/ If I have to undo all that work I’ll have a fit.

      Oh yes, Lockdown Maths might become a common thing for the future – who knows when we’ll need more post-apocalyptic skills?

      Good idea on the beads! I’ll try that 😀

      I love tech. Particularly when it makes me look bad by not allowing me to comment on anyone’s blog posts. Argh.

  8. ooh, nice 🙂 looking fowrad to seeing more about this waistcoat!

  9. Your tailoring skills are terrific! Such detail and dedication. As far as expanding waistlines, I don’t eat any more than usual, but I do eat a lot more salty things which has the same effect. Thank goodness I’m not a baker or a sweets person. I look forward to your progress on the waistcoat!

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh and I love the beads!

    • Leonor says:

      Thank you 😀

    • Anonymous is me. I love the beads. My fave color!

    • Leonor says:

      Don’t tell me you’re also having trouble being recognised by WP?…

      I think I might try to make the felt beads a little more fancy and embroider them a bit, like Antje suggested. Because apparently I don’t have enough stuff on my To Do list, hahaha!

    • Leonor says:

      Thanks, Marilyn! I only wish I had the perfect solution to that one little thing on the armpit 🙂
      I was definitely stress eating for a while, but even after that went away, it was the “not going anywhere” that clinched it – who would’ve known that walking burns as many calories as it does!

  10. I think you are doing great with the vest. Remember Victorians often had many sewing skills and would change patterns as they chose. So changing it to suit is Victorian. Along with the steam help Do you have a tailors ham? you can apply a lot of steam and use the ham to pat or thump it on so you don’t scorch yourself.

    I was going to say what Antje said. It is felt and fiber. So fiber is the part you are doing right now.

    The stitch markers, I think adding stitching is a good idea but also maybe smaller balls. They may be a little to big for the bead.

    Kitty help is good but they do like to share their fur.

    • Leonor says:

      Oh, I’ve changed the pattern a lot! In fact, this version is the modified one, after I noticed what was wrong with the original pattern (the person who copied it from the Victorian one didn’t do a great job, to be honest).

      I do have a tailor’s ham, but the problem is, I’ve already done the canvas lining. Which, in hindsight, should’ve been left for later. Lesson learned! I might try some padding and see what happens (it’s an old Victorian trick)…

      Ha, Kitty does share her fur, especially now in Spring/Summer. I’m just lucky I’m not as allergic to it as I used to be 😉

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