Boiled wool! Perfect!
The colors in the photo are a bit off, the taupey wool looks much grayer in real life.
I decided to make the darker gray the main body of the vest and use the striped wool jersey and the taupey-gray wool as accents. The paisley is a cotton jersey and definitely needed to be in the picture somewhere.
I chose a shirt dress pattern that was pretty straight forward. I figured I would just make it without sleeves.
I had one yard of the boiled wool so I did some creative cutting to get the pieces I needed. More on that later!
Here's what I ended up making.
Simple, slightly 'A' shaped shirt dress, button front, back yoke, band collar, shirttail hem longer in the back....
A couple of tricks I used to stretch my one yard of fabric.
Raw edges! No hem allowances, no facings. I really like the challenge of working with raw edges. Figuring out what to sew first and what to trim away to make the raw edges look intentional and not just, well, raw, is a great engineering puzzle.
The pocket 'cutouts' became the back yokes...the cute ribbon detail on the yoke...yep, it's covering up a center back seam!
I tried using a single layer for the collar since that's all I could get out of the dark gray, but it really needed the weight of two layers, so the inside of the collar became a 'design detail' using the taupey-gray! I was planning to make a traditional curved collar band that met at the center front, but when I got the two pieces attached at the neckline, I kind of liked the loose ends, so I left 'em. The top edge of the collar band is left open as well.
The buttons and button holes were also fun to engineer. I love slotted buttons and have used them a couple of times recently. These are attached with 1/4" Petersham ribbon stitched onto wider twill tape. The ribbon and twill tape also work to stabilize the front edges of the vest.
I tried a couple of button hole options. Putting a machine button hole on the Petersham was not particularly successful. The ribbon got scrunched up and distorted. I ended up making a 'dotted line' of ribbon with raw edge slits in between for the button holes. I think it picks up on the striped insets on the pockets.
The paisley became a long sleeved T which will work with other things in my travel wardrobe...as soon as I figure it out!
Not much left of my yard of gray wool!
I am really excited about the finished vest. It's really comfortable and I feel very stylish! I think it will be just right. Now we'll have to see what else makes it into the suitcase!