Pieced Pet Vest


Project Overview

I'm always excited about the wonderful pet fabrics that are available each year, and I have been collecting them for more years than I care to admit. No doubt you have a collection as well, but really, any theme would work with this vest. There are two versions shown: one with computerized embroidery and one without, for those of you who do not yet have a computerized sewing machine. I think you'll find this a fun and inspiring project.

In memory of our beloved friends,
Loretta Durian and her daughter Sharon Jordan.

"This idea began as a birthday gift project fpr my friend and pet groomer, Sharon Jordan, when I saw this adorable dog and cat fabric print collection designed by Debbie Mumm for M & M Fabrics. Of course, you could do the same type of patchwork featuring your favorite pet in fabric prints, such as horses, fish, frogs, etc. or by making your own fabric from color photos of your pets.

To begin, choose the style of vest pattern that works best for you. On the show, I wore the alonga Vest Pattern by Design Concepts; the sample above, modeled by Loretta, is from In Cahoots basic vest pattern. I showed two different vest styles on the show so viewers could see other possibilities for designing wearable art patchwork. I also took into consideration thet not everyone owns a computerized sewing machine capable of stitching embroidery designs like those featured on our vests which were done with the New Home Memory Cards #16 (Cats) and #23 (Dogs). So I wanted you to see that the Pet Vests could be made with or without the embroidery design patches."

Create Your Embroidered Design 
To construct your patchwork strip featuring an EMBROIDERED DESIGN:
  1. First look at your fabric coordinantes and choose a solid fabric as the background for your embroidered Pet Motif, one that best sets off the colors in the design.
  2. Cut a piece large enough to fit in your machine's embroidery hoop.
  3. Adhere Sulky Sticky Stabilizer to the bottom of the hoop.
  4. Hoop the fabric and embroider your chosen design following manufacturer's directions.
Note: If you don't have an embroidery machine, take color photos of your pets to a print shop that can make color transfers. Take white fabric for them to transfer the image onto and use the transfer instead of an embroidery. Or use one of the wonderful printer fabric sheets now available and print your own.
Create A Strip Of Patchwork
While the embroidery is being stitched out, create some of the adjoining patchwork.
  1. Cut 6 to 10 1-1/2" x 45" strips of coordinating fabric.
  2. Using your 1/4" presser foot, sew the strips together lengthwise with a 1/4" seam. PRESS SEAMS OPEN. Turn the pieced strips over and PRESS again from the right side. DO NOT IRON. Sliding the iron over these strips can cause stretching and warping of the sewn piece.
  3. Using your rotary cutter, mat and ruler, trim one end even.
  4. Cut several 1-1/2" strips across the stripped fabric and sew end to end until you have made a strip long enough to run the length of your vest.
  5. Create 4 to 6 of these pieced strips - 1-1/2" x length of your vest. Set aside.
Create The Embroidered Focal Pieced Patchwork
Make this approximately 7-1/2" wide (depending on the size of your vest and fabric print you have chosen) x the length of your vest.
  1. Center the embroidered cat or dog as you trim the design piece to about 2-1/2" x 3-3/4" (or whatever size works best for the design used). Remove excess stabilizer.
  3. Make a nine patch from the patchwork strips you previously created as shown in thee photo.
  4. Sew a nine patch to the top and bottom edge of the embroidered piece, color photo transfer or theme print fabric.
  5. Add a coordinating “theme print” strip across the bottom and/or top of the pieced strip.
  7. Continue adding pieced coordinanates or printed gfabrics to this focal strip as needed for the length you desire. PRESS SEAMS OPEN. 
    Another idea for pieced sections to add:
    Cut 1-1/2" strips from Strip Set “A” at a 45° angle.
    Piece slanted strips together, off stting colors.
  8. Add pieced strips to the long sides of the finished pieced focal strip in the length needed for the vest pattern of your choice.
  9. From a contrasting fabric, cut two strips of 1-1/4" x the length of the pieced focal strip. Fold wrong sides together. Match raw edge of long strip to the raw edge of the pieced focal strip. Pin. Seam together using 1/4" seam allowance.


Keeping the folded strip sandwiched, seam paw print fabric to each side of the focal strip. Place the vest pattern front piece over pieced front and trim to vest size.
Adding Pockets
If using the Alonga Vest Pattern, you can add a pocket at the bottom. The pocket can also be pieced and/or embellished with machine monogrammed words relating to your pet. To monogram the pocket, back the pocket fabric with Sulky Sticky Stabilizer. Program words into the machine. Put the backed fabric in a machine hoop as desired for placement of words.

Once stitched , remove stabilizer. With right sides of lining and mongrammed pocket fabric together, seam across the top. Turn right side out. Using a scant 1/8" seam, stitch the pocket to the vest front.

Quilt The Vest Fronts
Lay the cut front pieces over fleece and pin together with safety pins. Use Sulky Sliver or Sulky 30 wt. Rayon Thread and a 3.0 straight stitch to quilt an eighth inch from seams and across the pieced 1-1/2" strips, making X's. Stitch continuously from coner to corner going in one direction, then repeat on the way back, completing the x. You could also do freemotion serpentine quilting over the paw print fabric.