Circled Star - Quilt Block

Quilted Vests



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   Vest Techniques

I cut the vest fronts (and back if pieced) out of muslin and place/pin the different fabrics before sewing. This gives me a chance to change colors or rearrange design elements.

Embroider or embellish the vest pieces before sewing the lining to the vest. If doing a lot of quilting on the vest, cut the pattern pieces a bit larger.

Batting in a vest makes the vest very warm to wear, which is great if it is an outdoor vest. However, if the vest is going to be worn indoors, don't use batting.

I prefer a "slippery" fabric for the vest lining. The vest will then slide against the shirt worn beneath it. Check the washing instructions of the lining fabric before you buy it; some are dry clean only.

My preferred method of finishing vest edges is to turn the entire vest inside out (see your pattern instructions). Pin the edges of the vest so the lining fabric is just slightly to the inside and not visible from the front. Topstitch around the edges of the vest about a quarter inch from the vest edge. This creates a neat finished appearance.

I love sewing vests as much as I enjoy wearing them. My first vests were traditional patterns in solid fabrics, though once for Halloween I made a fringed cowgirl vest from mock-suede. However, after I learned to quilt, my vests became much more interesting and fun to sew.

Winterland Vest

While watching a sewing program on television, I saw a technique demonstrated that used freezer paper and a circle cutter to create "perfect" circles. This vest is a result of playing with that technique. I am still amazed how easy these circles were to cut and sew. The winter wildlife chosen for the circles are: arctic wolf, polar bear, penguin and arctic hare with seal. For the opposite side of the vest, I chose a fabric featuring ice flows.

Summer Vest

My quilt guild had a block-of-the-month challenge. Each month we were given a block to paper-piece. I chose to display my blocks in a vest. On the left side the blocks are: bird, rabbit, cardinal, frog. On the right side: butterfly, house, cat, fish.

Autumn Vest

One vest front is composed of 3-inch log cabin blocks, and the other side features a fabric depicting pine needles and nuts with three diagonal stripes of a different fabric. I used a Hoffman material featuring cardinals and other song birds for the vest back. Four brown buttons fasten it. 

Bookcase Vest
Closeup Bookcase Vest

Marvin the Martian Vest

I love Marvin the Martian from the Looney Tunes cartoons. A friend gave me the two "Marvin" fabric snippets. I wanted a "spacey" feel to the vest, so many of the fabrics are stars or have planets printed on them.  Some fabrics just have an outer space look to them and were fun to work with. The back of the vest has a nice v-shaped insert of a fun blue print near the top of the vest..

Bookcase Vest

This is the vest I wear to book signing events. I wrote Harriet's Horrible Hair Day, a picture book for children. In the upper right corner of the vest is a pin of a girl with wild red hair that a quilting friend gave me. The books are paper-pieced from my own design, and I machine-embroidered real book titles on the book spines. The buttons feature Egyptian hieroglyphics, the closest I could come to writing at the time.

Crazy Quilt Vest

Closeup Crazy Quilt Vest

Crazy Quilt Vest

I sewed this vest at a crazy-quilt vest workshop given by Jan Benander. What a terrific day! I pieced most of the vest fronts at the workshop, then added hand embroidery, beads, ribbon flowers and more lace. The vest fabrics are silk, satin, velvet, cotton and some lightweight brocade.

Christmas Vest

Closeup Christmas Vest

Closeup Christmas Vest

Christmas Vest

I needed a vest for a company Holiday party. Since at the time I worked for a company that manufactured holiday ornaments, it seemed appropriate to create a Christmas vest featuring Christmas decorations. The company had sample ribbon swatches they were discarding in holiday patterns such as gold holly leaves on green ribbon. I used the ribbon to make the two Christmas balls on the vest. Sequins decorate the tree. Santa's face is hand embroidered. All four picture blocks are paper-pieced. The side panels are of a Christmas fabric showing cats amidst holiday presents.

Books by Dawn Lesley Stewart

Harriet's Horrible Hair DayMist-Seer300-Plus Quilting Tips, Tricks & Techniques
The Quilt Guild Companion101 Quilt Challenge Projects & Inspirations 
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Copyright 2000 Dawn Lesley Stewart