Reversible Fiber Collage Vest

 

Project Overview

The first time I saw one of my fiber collages in sunlight, I was hooked! Sulky Metallic, Sliver and Rayon Threads truly bring light and life to my designs. I also love introducing Sulky products to my classes. They open a new world of sewing creativity for embellishment and detail. Even beginning sewers are delighted with their success. There are 'no surprises' because they never fail to perform to my expectations. Sulky Rayons are available in such an array of colors, I can invariably duplicate the color hues of the fabric I choose to enhance. Although the threads look so delicate and fine on the spools, they are super strong and very rarely break during the stress I put them through, jerking and piling up stitches. I also select Sulky Rayons and Metallics with my Bobbin-Art Techniques because the needle threads actually couch over the decorative bobbin yarns and show on the embellished side. Using contrasting needle and bobbin colors is dramatic." --- Rosemary

About the Artist

Rosemary Eichorn - Designer - Teacher from Soquel, CA

Rosemary began following her passion for sewing as an art form in 1992. She began free-lance teaching so she could share the joy she experiences using the sewing machine as her tool of art. She now lectures and conducts workshops on her innovative and freeing methods. Rosemary also creates Ecclesiastical textiles and is an avid gardner. She has led retreats which focus on design, color and the creative process of sewing. Her first pattern was recently published by Jukebox. Rosemary entered her first competition in 1994 and was awarded Grand Prize for her contemporary pieced wing coat at the Fiesta en Santa Fe Wearable Art Conference Fashion Show.

 

Supplies

  • Sewing Machine with darning foot and zipper foot
  • Rotary cutter, mat and ruler
  • Sharp scissors
  • Glass Headed Pins
  • Metallic, Embroidery or Topstitch Machine Needles
  • Rosemary's Reversible Vest Pattern by Jukebox; or a favorite pattern on which side seams can be overlapped and other seam allowances trimmed to 1/4" - no darts
  • 2 yds. Muslin
  • 1/4 yd. pieces and scraps for fabric collage fabric - select variety in scale, value and pattern. Use sample piecework and craps of vintage or memory heirloom fabric
  • 2 yds. fabric for lining
  • 1/2 yd. contrasting fabric for bias covered corded piping
  • 1/4 yd. contrasting fabric for triangle shaped facing
  • 2 buttons 3/4" - 1-1/4"
  • 6 yds. small nylon cording (used for drapery cords)
  • Sulky Threads: Original Metallic, Sliver Metallic and Rayon
  • Bobbin Thread: Sulky Bobbin Thread, Rayon or Metallic
  • 14/90 Topstitch Needle
  • Optional: Sulky KK 2000 Temporary Spray Adhesive

Construction

  1. Using the seamless vest pattern, place center back 1/2" from fold of muslin and cut out a muslin shell, adding 1" beyond seam allowances and edges. This will allow for shrinkage which occurs during the construction of the vest.
  2. Use this muslin shell as a 'canvas' on which to create a fabric collage. Choose an assortment of fabrics suggesting a favorite theme. It is helpful to select a core fabric that has many colors. Use this fabric as a guide to selecting accompanying fabrics that range in color, value and scale. Include some large motifs. Small geometics, dots, plaids or stripes add variety. Cut out designs such as flowers, animals or subjects of your choice, leaving about 1/8" margin beyond the design. This will fray when laundered, leaving a soft contrasting edge.
  3. Establish placement of these motifs on your muslin. 
  4. Using straight, curved and angled lines, cut interesting shapes from your other fabrics; avoid cutting very small pieces. Cover the entire surface of the muslin, overlapping edges of the cut shapes about 1/2". As your design evolves, use glass headed pins to hold the pieces in place. Since part of the vest front edges may be trimmed off later, avoid placing any important design elements within 2" of the edges. Remember that the two fronts will wrap around to meet each other, so check how that will look as your work progresses.

    Tip: Use many pins to hold everything in place. Push pins all the way into your work, hiding the points between the layers of fabric. Today we could use Sulky KK 2000 Temporary Spray Adhesive and very few pins.

  5. When you are satisfied with the overall design you have created. use a free-motion straight stitch to stitch the pieces of your design in place. Thread the needle with either a Sulky Metallic, Sliver or Rayon Thread to match the mid-tones of your vest. Begin a 'connect the dots' game between your sewing machine and the pins that hold your design in place. Keep your work as flat as possible, but it's ok to stitch in a little tuck or pucker. A major goal in this project is to eliminate hassle and frustation. Puckers are just spontaneous texture! Stitch only enough to eliminate pins. 
  6. this is a reversible garment, so select a lining fabric that is compatible with the collage in theme as well as color. Cut the lining the same size as the collaged muslin, i.e. 1" larger than the original pattern. If you wish to do any soft embellishment of the lining such as appliqueing or signing and dating your work, do so at this point. Then, with wrong sides facing each other, pin the vest and lining together, from the right side of the vest. 
  7. To make a continouous band of prairie points, cut 2 straight strips of fabric 2-3/4" by the desired length of band. Overlap the long edges 1/4" and stitch. Fold in half lengthwise and press. Cut strips perpendicular to pressed line and up to within 1/8" of it, and 2-1/2" apart, creating offset squares that alternate on each side. 
  8. Fold each square into a prairie point and press. Press again on original fold line to bring all prairie points into a continouous line. These may be cut apart into shorter units and appied to the vest. 
  9. Thread the bobbin with the color you want to show on the lining. For the needle, choose a Sulky Thread that looks best on the pieces you are embellishing. Sew the three layers together using a free-motion straight stitch. Be spontaneous as you meander over the surface of your collage, creating little lines of harmonizing and contrasting stitching. Experiment using free-motion with various built-in stitches. To create soft edges, stitch 1/8" to 3/16" away from the raw edge. This may be straight, zig-zag or satin stitching. Change thread colors as you progress. Cover the entire surface of the collage with an equal amount of stitching. Launder the unfinished vest and tumble dry. This will create a lovely texture and 'patina' giving the effect of a long-loved garment. At this point, your vest will probably begin to come together for you for the first time! 

  10. From 1/2 yd. of contrasting fabric, cut bias strips 1-1/4" wide and stitch them together to make approximately five yards. Wrap this bias strip around small nylon cording (the type used in blinds) and use a zipper foot to stitch close to cording to create fine piping. With a rotary cutter, trim seam allowance on cording to 1/4".
  11. Cut 1/4 yd. of facing fabric into 2" strips and then into 2" squares. Cut squares in half diagonally, forming triangles. Create apporximately 5 yards of triangle shaped facings by overlapping the bases of triangles approxiamately 1" and stitching 1/4" from the edge. Working on the outside of the vest, use a zipper foot to sew over original stitching on piping as you match raw edges of piping to raw edges of vest fronts, back, neck edges and each arm hole. Clip piping to stitching at corners. Overlap piping where it meets in back. With right sides together, match raw edges of the triangle shaped facing and the piped edge of the vest. On the lining side, stitch over original piping stitching line. 
  12. Flip triangles to inside, positioning piping at outside edge of vest. Stitch triangles in place using forward/reverse straight stitching 6-8 times on each triangle; or satin stitch close to the edge of triangles. Launder and tumble dry one last time. Check carefully for edges that may need some extra stitching to hold in place. If any 'holes' appear, exposing the muslin, they may be covered with a small piece of fabric stitched in place. Trim frayed edges even, leaving enough of a soft edge that it will not pull out of stitching. 
  13. As indicated on pattern, position buttons on left front, inside and outside of vest. Cover a 15" piece of small nylon cord with a bias strip. Pin in place on point of right front, creating a loop for the button(s) at the middle of the cord. Create a free form design with the ends of the cord, and pin in place. Hand stitch cord in place using strong thread and small stitches. Sew beads at tips of prairie points to hold them in place.