Childs Strip Pieced Patchwork Vest


Project Overview

This cute little vest can be made using computerized embroidery designs (which are easily downloaded on the web today) or, if your machine doesn't have embroidery capability, you can use a children's print fabric that you love.

It would be a fun summer project to do with your children or grandchildren.

About the Artist

Joyce Drexler - Instructor, Artist, Quilter, Author, Designer and Executive Vice President of Sulky of America, Inc.

Joyce is widely recognized as a leader in the field of "Machine Arts and Crafts". Her books have sold well over 600,000 copies. Joyce has been published in numerous magazines and she appears regularly on PBS TV Programs. Joyce also illustrated her own designs to create embroidery cards for Cactus Punch and Great Notions.

In 1999, Joyce received the prestigious "Schmetz Golden Needle Award" in acknowledgement of her significant contributions toward enhancing the future of the sewing industry.


  • Computerized Sewing and/or Embroidery Machine
  • Sulky Decorative Thread
  • Sulky bobbin Thread
  • Sulky Tear-Easy™ or Sulky Sticky™ Stabilizer
  • Fabric: 1/4 yd. of a multi-colored dot print and four 1/4 yd. coordinating solid fabrics for patchwork
  • Yardage and fleece as recommended by child's vest pattern for lining and back of vest
    In this project we used; P&B Naturescape Dot Fabric; Solid Hoffman Fabrics; Nancy Crow Fabric for John Kaldor; Bard Door Child's Vest Pattern, size 4-8; Embroidery Designs from New Home 8000 or 9000, Memory Card #19
  • 1/4 yd. to 1/2 yd. Fleece
  • Iron and Pressing Pad
  • All purpose sewing thread
  • Size 90/14 Embroidery Machine Needle
  • 1/4" Seam Foot
  • General Sewing Supplies
Use 1/4" seam allowance for patchwork. Follow vest pattern's recommended seam allowance for construction of vest.


  1. Cut vest front pieces out of both fleece and lining fabric. Cut out vest back from lining fabric and vest back fabric choice. Set aside. 


    Place two 8" squares of Tear-Easy or one 8" square of Sticky Stabilizer behind and 8" square of Multi-Dot Fabric and secure them in your machine's embroidery hoop. Embroider an animal design using Sulky Rayon Threads as suggested below. Repeat to make at least 8 designs of your choice. 
  3. Trim each embrodiered design to within 1/2" of the edge of the embroidery. Remove the stabilizer. 
  4. Cut two 1-1/2" strips from each of the solid fabrics. Use a 1/4" seam presser foot and a 1/4" seam allowance to sew the lightest color strips to the left and right sides of the trimmed down embroidered piece. Press seams towards strips. Trim top and bottom flush with the embroidered piece. Repeat for all embrodiered pieces. 
  5. Sew next darkest strips to the top and bottom of the embroidered piece. Press seams toward strips. Trim sides flush. Repeat for all embroidered pieces. Note: If you cut an embroidered piece with five sides instead of four, the piecing would be the same except for adding a third color strip to the fifth side only.
  6. Add third darkest strips to thje side strips. Press seams toward strips. Trim flush. Add darkest strips to top and bottom. Press seams toward strips. Trim flush. Repeat for all embroidered pieces. 
  7. Lay out embroidered patchwork blocks in different angles to one another on fleece vest fronts (4 on each side). Place smaller square designs at the shoulder, and larger rectangular or five-sided designs at the bottom area. You will have some open areas at this point, do not despair! 
  8. Where embroidered patchwork blocks overlap, fold top piece back and crease where sewing line will be. Unfold top piece so right sides are together, pin in place, then sew them together on the creased line. Trim fabric only to a 1/4" seam allowance. DO NOT CUT FLEECE! Press flat. 
  9. Continue in this manner for the four embroidered patchwork blocks on each side of the vest. If you're sewing a larger size, you may need more embroidered blocks to cover most of the vest front pattern pieces. 
  10. To fill any open areas, simply cut 1-1/2" strips from the left-over solid fabric and add them at angles that will cover the fleece. 
  11. Trim down your patchwork to match vest front pattern pieces of fleece, and pin the patchwork to the fleece. 
  12. Using Sulky Sliver Metallic in Light Gold #8003, add some random decorative stitching flowing around and between embroidered motifs; run stitching from one end or side of the vest front to an opposite end or side. Joyce used the feather stitch at the widest width setting. 
  13. Add a label to the lining, if desired. Sew together shoulder seams of lining fronts to lining back piece. Repeat for patchwork fronts and fabric back. With right sides together, sew lining to outside of vest around the arm holes, neck and bottom of vest. DO NOT SEW SIDE SEAMS. To make seams lay flatter, clip curved areas with sharp scissors or cut seam allowance with pinking shears or pinked rotary blade. 
  14. Turn the vest right side out by pulling vest back through shoulder and out the vest front side opening. Pull points out with a pin to make them fully turned out. Press edges completely. Carefully match vest side seams, pin them, and sew them together as much as you can on the machine. Hand slip-stitch the remainder of the opening closed. Press side seams. 

Designer's Note

Joyce used 30 wt. Rayon when available because it is heavier and fill in fuller. Perfect for animal fur! Use Sulky Bobbin Thread and have a full bobbin before beginning to embroider.

Suggested Sulky Palette

For New Home Memory Card #19 or use other designs
and Sulky Threads of your choice.

White - #1001
Black - #1005
Beige - #1055
Lt. Gray/Gray - #2108
Dk. Gray - #1040
Umber - #1057
Brown - #1021
Pink/Salmon - #1119
Pastel Yellow - #1066
Blue - #1076
For Pink use Lavender # 1080
Gold - #8003 Sliver Metallic