For years, the only ponte I've worn is in RTW pants. The fabric is easy to care for and very wearable, and it happens to be popular in plus size pants styles. Over the past couple of years, several pieces of it have slipped into my fabric collection. Some of it was intended for pants, and some of it had no known destination. The color of this blue violet version (from Sawyer Brook a couple of years ago) spoke to me, and it happens to look great with the Back Words top and my deep peony pink top from last fall.
I didn't have a lot of yardage, so making a vest was an easy decision. I had just used Katherine Tilton's new vest pattern with a different fabric, and really loved it (I'll blog about that soon). However, I didn't want to make it twice in a row. So, I went back to Marcy's Vogue 8430 jacket pattern, which I used last fall for my raggedy edge linen vest. The linen version has become an extra layering piece for when I'm working in my studio. I'm not crazy about its extreme unconstructed-ness, especially in the linen fabric. Would I like it better in ponte? Would a double knit make it seem more finished?
Well, yes, I do like it better, probably because it's more substantial and drapes better. Plus, it's really easy to wear. No fussing with it at all.
I left all of the edges raw on this version, and top stitched 1/2" from them. But I think I might actually prefer to turn them under. I'm not sure why, as my personality favors clothes that are a bit "different". I added a small dart to the armhole, but these photos show that it could stand to be a bit bigger. Perhaps some day I'll enlarge the dart and stich the armhole seam allowances to the inside. That might make the vest feel more finished.
An aside: Having made this pattern twice now, I think the best fabric for it is felted wool. That's what Marcy originally designed it to be made of. Felt has far more character than ponte, and its added stiffness would improve the stand of the collar, which tends to droop a bit in the knit.
To liven up the styling a bit, I added some cool pockets from Diane Ericson's Just Pockets pattern. These are simple patch pockets with a narrow bit cut out to make a slit, which is then sewn together with a button. These beautiful buttons are Italian, from Sawyer Brook - of course.
The pockets make the vest fun and add some interest to the otherwise flat fabric. I think that's the downside of ponte - its flatness. It's a rather boring fabric - which is what makes it a "wardrobe workhorse". It doesn't have much character, so it can be used in many different types of garments. I have plans for a jacket or two out of colorful ponte in my collection, so I'm going to look into painting them, to give them more interest.
This is a fun vest and I'm sure I'll get more use out of it as I add more tops to my wardrobe. I love the blue violet color!