Layered Piecings Raw-Edge Cutwork


Project Overview

Song of Solomon 7:12
"Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth; there will I give thee my love"

Virgie takes her inspiration from the Bible, and her favorite book of inspiration is The Song of Solomon. In designing her vest, Virgie chose to work in purple and orange. These colors set a scene for an early morning sunrise and are the colors of grapes and pomegranates. Adding a touch of metallic thread gives a hint of the glimmer of sunrise on the fruit. Appliqués and free-motion machine embroidery were used on a pieced background. Leaving the grapes to fall over the edges of the vest at the hem, front edges, neckline and armholes produced the free form appliqués and added a touch of creativity. Another piece of scripture from the Song of Solomon 2:9 speaks of a lattice, therefore much of the piecework is lattice-work.

Virgie has done an extensive study of clothing in the Bible and their spiritual meanings and she is writing a book of bible studies concerning women, fashion, accessories, shoes, etc. including: "The Good For Nothing girdle"; "From Fig Leaves to Furs"; "The First Stitch"; and "Mystery Babylon The Great - The Woman That Has It All". She presents a fashion show, "The Bride's Trousseau", as a ministry to Christian Women's Organizations with several collections from Genesis to Revelation.

A Sulky 1994 Challenge Vest Entry
Garment Pattern Used: Original Design
Created on a Bernina 1530
Threads Used:
  Sulky Rayon - #1208, 1194, 1078
  Sulky Metallic - #7004, 7050
  Applique; 3-D Applique with Sulky Totally Stable;
  Thread Sketching; Piecing & Quilting;
  Perfect Triangles; and Couching.

When the vest is unbottoned at the shoulders, it lays flat so you can see the overall effect of the piecing and added appliques of grapes and pomegranates on the back as well as the front panels. A beautiful union of colors and design.

"I love color and the thrill of working with Sulky Thread! the tremendous array of colors Sulky offers to the fabric designer is breathtaking. It is with great pleasure that I commend this company for their quality of thread, quantity of colors and wonderful products. Sulky Thread has made a tremendous difference in the results of my design creations."
-- Virgie

About The Artist

Virgie Fisher
Designer, Textile Artist, Speaker, Teacher, Minister from Newalla, OK

In 1989, Virgie designed and made her first quilt depicting the history of the Sacramento area. Her quilt "Sacramento California Sesquicentennial" has taken her to the California State Capital with a display of the quilt which was recently purchased by the History Department of the world famous Wells Fargo Bank. Wells Fargo also commissioned her to create six quilts for their new thirty story building in Sacramento, CA. Virgie was invited to display a one woman exhibit of her quilts and wearable art for seven weeks at the CA State Capital in January and February 1992.

Virgie's quilts and fashions are truly works of art. her productions and participations include: developing quilt block contests for the Apple Hill Growers Assoc. of CA in support of Hospice; Fashion Shows of her designs for numerous organizations, including the San Fancisco Opera; "Statements" by Joyce Kelly and the 1992-93 Fairfeild Fashion Show.

Virgie is a designer and has a ministry in which she presents a fashion show of her designs for quilt quilds, wearable art groups, textile art groups and civic organizations describing her techniques and biblical design inspirations.


  • Your favorite vest pattern - cut a muslin base from it.
  • Zig-Zag Sewing Machine with an Open-Toe Appliqué Foot & Edge Foot
  • Size 14/90 Machine Needles plus a size 14 Double Needle
  • Choose fabrics in desired coordinating or contrasting colors
  • Gather together contrasting embellishments (like the pomegranates)
  • Gold cord for couching
  • Sulky Rayon, Metallic and Sliver Metallic threads for embellishing
  • Sharp Fine-Point Scissors
  • Sharpie extra-fine permanent ink, black marker
  • Wonder Under Fusible Webbing
  • Sulky Totally Stable Iron-On Tear-Away Stabilizer
  • Celtic Bar for making bias strips
  • Machine Embroidery Hoop
  • Iron and Ironing Surface
  • Rotary Cutter, Mat and Ruler
  • General Sewing Supplies (pins, markers, etc.)

Assemble Background Surface

First, cut vest pattern from muslin. Then, using a flip-and-sew technique, resurface the muslin pattern pieces with a collection of prepared piecework. In this example, perfect triangles, strips, a lattice-type piecework, and filler pieces were used. Cover the entire surface, then trim the edges.

Stitch Celtic Strips for Vines

To make the vines, cut bias strips from a green print and stitch using bias Celtic Bars; follow directions on the Celtic Bars package. Meander the vines, stitching with an edge stitch foot along both sides.

Machine Embroider Vines

Set up Machine for Free-Motion
  • Lower Feed Dogs or Cover Them
  • Reduce top tension slightly
  • Place matching Sulky 40 wt. rayon in needle and bobbin
  • Remove Presser Foot and replace with darning foot
  • Reduce Pressure on Foot (if applicable)
Add additional machine embroidered vines using straight stitch thread sketching and zig-zag satin stitching.


Couching is sewing over a cord, braid or ribbon with a decorative thread or invisible thread. Couch Gold cord along the edges of the vines with a satin stitch; use Gold Sulky Sliver Metallic Thread for a really gleaming gold look. Add more machine embroidered vines using the Gold Sulky Sliver.

Make the Fabric Appliqué

Apple a fusible web that has a paper release sheet to the fabric fruit prints, or draw your own grapes and other fruit on solid or painted fabrics. Cut out the fruit appliqués and place them around the edges of the neck, front edges, bottom hemline and on the surface where appropriate. Place some left-over peeled off paper from fusible web underneath the appliqué grapes that hang off the fabric to keep them from fusing to the ironing board. Iron the appliqués in place. Remove the paper release sheets.

Secure the Appliqués

Place a twin needle in the machine and, with a free-motion straight stitch and Silver Sliver, embroider the grape appliques by making circular stitching in each grape; don't stitch within an inch from edge of pattern piece. Satin stitch the pomegranates (or appliqués of your choice).

Lining and Free Form Appliqué Edge

Place a piece of lining fabric wrong side up; lining piece must be cut larger than pattern so that the free-form appliqués will all have a lining fabric behind them.

Place the pattern piece right side up on top of the lining piece; allow the appliqués to hang over onto the lining fabric. Using a hoop, free-motion satin stitch all the appliqué edges. trim around the edges of the appliqués and actual pattern edges where appliqés are not hanging over. Disregard any fraying of raw fabric edges; they add interest to the overall free form edge.

Edging for Section of the Pattern 
That do not Have Appliqués Hanging Over Them

Cut a narrow edge pattern from Totally Stable in any shape you like (a scallop will easily curve around armholes and neck edges). Cut a strip of fabric twice as wide as pattern; fold in half lengthwise; iron scallop pattern along fold; cut fabric into scallop shape. Remove the stabilizer. Open strip and place one half behind garment edge; stitch close to the edge of pattern. fold the other side over to the front; using the reverse selector on your machine, straight stitch back and forth, perpendicular to the edge of the pattern.

Add Embellishments

Embellish pomegranates with bugle beads. Add buttons for additional dimension. Make buttons and sculptures from polymer clays to add a special touch. The shoulders of the vest button together.