Sunday, January 8, 2012

Race to the Finish (My Christmas Projects)

I realize I haven't been blogging as much as I've been sewing. Since the "Think Pink" contest, I was kept busy beating the Christmas rush. I don't know what got into me but I decided to sew all the presents I gave to the most important people in my life. I was able to document only the ones for my immediate family. The others I didn't bother to take pictures of as I was running out of time having had to contend with international shipping deadlines. Just for the record, I made my niece her own wool coat in black using the same pattern I had for the "Think Pink" contest. Then I sewed a different wool jacket for my sister using Vogue 7975. I had been dreaming of sewing this pattern for myself but as usual, I had to take a backseat. I also finished two Minky blankets for my best friend's toddlers. Finally, for my husband and son, I made matching fleece vests and for my daughter a fun version of a Jalie fleece hoodie. Here is a review of the vests I made for my husband & son.

Kwik Sew 3815 Men's Vest S-XXL

This pattern offers two options: a jacket and a vest.

Colorblocking is achieved by sewing a contrasting overlay on top of the main fabric.

The main fabric I used was Polartec Fleece 200 purchased from Mill Direct Textiles. It was around $7.00 more expensive than the fleece you can buy at Wal-Mart but look at the difference below.
The green fabric was from Mill Direct Textiles; the yellow was from Wal-Mart.

I used a black nylon ripstop for the contrasting fabric purchased from

 Before I show some highlights of the sewing process, I want to share some things I learned from this project:

1.If using ripstop nylon, make sure to serge or finish all the edges first before putting all the seams together. Who knew ripstop nylon frayed so much! On the other hand, the fleece did not need any finishing at all.

2. For the vest, make sure you have a fabric that has enough stretch for the armhole binding. The pattern envelope back did not specify this so I had to rummage through my fabric stash for a black poly/lycra knit as the nylon ripstop would not work.

3. The envelope back did not specify any need for lining fabric either but if you want to save on your fleece fabric, you can easily substitute any leftover stash fabric for the pocket lining on the front. That was what I did for the second vest I sewed.

4. I thought I messed up my husband's vest when I was attaching the zipper. The pattern instructions called for one to just fold the zipper end at the top but the zipper I bought was a heavy sports zipper. It was really bulky when I tried to fold it and would make it impossible to sew. I decided to cut it but then I cut it too short so I had to make some adjustments on the seam around the collar where the zipper was attached.

Following are some of the sewing "highlights."

Construction of zippered upper left front pocket.

Sewing the overlay and main fabric together to form upper yoke was a bit challenging.
The fleece was stretchy whereas the nylon had no "give" at all so I had to use lots of
pins and a walking foot to make sure there was no distortion.

Notice how the fleece still managed to extend a bit beyond the nylon inspite of my precautions.

Construction of the lower side pockets.


Zipper shield

Waist binding

Armhole binding
I used a poly/lycra knit fabric for the binding.

Here are the finished products!

Hubby folded the bottom edge in to see how it would look shortened.

Overall, this is a very easy pattern to follow. The first try (for my son's vest) took me two days but the second time around, only six hours and that already included the pattern and fabric cutting. As for sizing, it was true to size. There is a lengthen/shorten line which I did not bother with although on hindsight, I probably should have shortened the vests a bit. I highly recommend this pattern. The finished product is pretty much like the ones you find at retail stores.