Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Raggedy Linen Vest

For a long time, I've wondered if Marcy Tilton's Vogue 8430 would fit and flatter me.  When I read on her website about the linen vest she made using this pattern, I just had to try it myself.  I happened to have a small piece of navy linen from Sawyer Brook, which was just the right yardage for this garment.

I followed Marcy's directions (scroll down the page a bit) most of the way through the process.  I added darts in the armholes, to eliminate folds there.  She recommends stitching them wrong sides together, but I didn't want them on the outside, so I didn't do that.  The back, shoulder, pocket, and lapel seams are sewn wrong sides together, with her signature "cardiac" stitch covering the seam allowances.
Left Shoulder and Center Back Seams

I used a pale gray thread, not desiring the sharp contrast of white.  The stitch is easy to do, but quite time consuming, as lifting of the presser foot to shift the angle, and reversing the stitch direction is done so many times.  It made me long for a knee lift, for sure!  Fortunately, my Pfaff has an easy to use button for reversing the stitch direction.

I added a square pocket to give more detail to the garment.  I also added a seam to the left lapel, as the top of the garment looked too plain to me.  It did change the drape of the lapel quite a bit.  It no longer drapes nicely as in the top photo of this post. 

The collar of this pattern is cut very wide, so it stands away from the neck.  I think it would stand up nicely in a felted wool, which the pattern recommends using.  My neck is very short, and this collar does not stand up high, but it just doesn't fit me really well.  I'm making a scarf to wear with it, and that might help fill in the empty space between neck and collar, especially in the back.

I usually wear the vest closed with a cool shawl pin from Sawyer Brook:
I'm disappointed in the curls at the lapel corners.  I imagine a heavy or double cloth linen would not do this as much.
All of the raw edges are stitched 1/2" from the edge.  After the first washing, I had lots of raveled threads to clip.  Every now and then, another one appears, but I expect this will end after a couple more washings.
The pattern was easy to fit to my rotund shape, and I would definitely consider using it again with a more substantial fabric.
Wearing this vest is very easy, and it's proven to be a perfect layer on fall days that begin cool, then warm up a bit.  I actually wore it today with my peony top, and ended up shedding it by 2 pm.  Who knew we would have 60 degree weather in November, especially after getting 8" of snow (and 2 days without power) just over a week ago?!


  1. Too bad about the collar, but I like the deconstructed look. Your use of the "earthquake" stitching is perfect!

  2. I, too, noticed how skillfully you executed the cardiac stitch; it's not easy! I like your look!

  3. Thanks for the compliments. The stitching is time-consuming, but not difficult.
    Over time, I've found that people either love or hate this vest. More are in the hate category. My mother was appalled that I would even wear it in public, because of the raw edges. She just didn't "get" it. Husband is in the same category. Good thing I made it to please myself, and no one else!