The Sewing Rabbit sharing about a project I'm SO excited about! It's a reversible vest that I made for The Sewing Rabbit team's fall collection. There are many inspiring items in the collection, each with a free tutorial for you!
Elliott is completely in love with his vest and keeps trying to wear it places...over his short sleeve shirts in 90 degree weather! Ha! Hopefully fall will make an appearance soon and he can actually wear it and not look like a crazy man.
I have to be honest...this was one of the hardest projects I've made in a while. I had never quilted anything before and it was my first time making a flap pocket, using a reversible zipper, drafting my own collar in this style (I originally made a hood and didn't like it), working with the faux leather material, etc. LOTS of firsts for me in this project and I'm thrilled with how it turned out.
I quilted squares on my vest, but there are lots of fun designs you could quilt. Here are some examples for inspiration.
Below are instructions on how to quilt squares like I did.
Warning: There is some math involved...but I promise it looks much more complicated than it actually is. The bottom line is that you want your quilting lines to be straight and even so read through the instructions here carefully and it'll be a breeze!
- Your Vest Pattern
- Fabric for the main side of the vest and the lining (I made mine reversible but you could just line it as well)
- Batting - I looked for a semi-thin, washable batting to use as my quilting layer. You could also use fleece or skip the batting altogether if you just want the stitched lines instead of the deeper quilted look that the batting will give you.
- Chalk or some kind of fabric marking pen to mark your quilting lines
First cut out your pattern pieces in the fabric, lining, and batting.
You need the following numbers:
- Measure the width of one front vest piece at the widest point. (mine is 8.5 inches from mid-chest to the lower arm opening)
- Decide how big you want your quilted squares. (I wanted mine to be about 1.75" each)
- Your seam allowance - you will have to account for it in your measurements. (I used a .5" seam allowance)
So here's the match calculation to do to get the width markings:
Width of pattern piece - seam allowance - seam allowance = total dimension of space you can work with
8.5 - .5 - .5 = 7.5 inches
Take that total and divide by the width you want each square to be.
7.5 / 1.75 = 4.29
This gives you how many squares you'll have at the widest point. Mine did not come out to a nice even number. I could have decided to make each square 1.5 inches and then I'd have 5 squares across at the widest point of the vest...but I decided it didn't matter since I was making a tapered vest so eventually as you go down toward the waist some squares would be cut short. So I have 4 squares plus a sliver to work with.
If you want your squares to be even, this is the time to figure out the dimensions. Do a little trial and error with your numbers until you come out with the length and width of each quilted square.
Now it's time to mark. I started at the bottom hem of the vest, working from the center line (where the zipper will be) toward the side. My first vertical chalk mark is made using the following formula:
Seam Allowance + width of square = first mark
1.75 + .5 = 2.25 inches from the center line
From that mark I measured another 1.75 inches to the next mark, and so on until I got to the edge of the fabric. (no need to worry about the seam allowance on the side seam - the center mark is most important) I repeated the markings, measuring from the center line, all the way up the front of my fabric. Don't worry about how far apart your vertical lines are, just mark every few inches so you can later come back and make a line with a ruler.
This is done in the very same way, but now you need to account for the hem at the bottom. Since the lining was going to be attached to the bottom of my vest piece with a regular seam allowance (of .5 inches) I just measured up from the bottom of my fabric 2.25 inches and made a mark, just like I did from the center line. Same measurement.
Then I made more lines 1.75 inches from the first set of markings to continue up the vest front piece again.
You've made a partial grid now, but it's best to go through and use a straight ruler to make definitive lines through your marks. You're making a complete grid with chalk that you can use to follow as you stitch.
For the back, you will make marks the same...but pay attention to where the middle of the back is so your vest looks symmetrical. I started in the center and worked my way out toward the sides marking every 1.75 inches vertically and horizontally. (being sure to stay 2.25 inches from the bottom hem)
BEFORE YOU BEGIN QUILTING add any welt pockets or other embellishments.
Now you're ready to actually quilt the vest! Place the batting behind the main fabric. (I suggest using a basting stitch along the edge of the pieces to keep the batting in place as you stitch.)
Then simply stitch along your chalk lines. Easy!
If you have pockets on your vest, be sure to pull the pocket part inside out so you don't quilt through it. (If you did that, you wouldn't be able to put your hand through it!)
You are done!!
Happy quilting. :)