Saturday, September 5, 2009

Marcy Tilton vest, Vogue 8399

I just finished making what for me was a pretty hard pattern, Vogue 8399, designed by Marcy Tilton. I've made a lot of Marcy Tilton designs in the last year or so. Mostly, I really like them. I wore them almost exclusively last fall and spring to work.

This pattern, though, was frustrating and difficult. I was making the vest version, from a cotton linen blend I got very inexpensively at Hancock's. This version was sort of my muslin.

The first thing that was hard was that you were supposed to take some silk organza and pleat it so that you created a kind of new piece of fabric from which you cut out that back piece that you see in the picture above. I didn't have any organza so I used some very fine, transparent silk. The folding and pleating was difficult because the silk was so slippery. Also, by the time I finished doing all the folding, pleating and stitching down of pleats, the piece was almost too small to cut out the godet!

Also, you were supposed to bind the back seam with home-made bias tape, a Hong Kong finish. This looked good, but when you sewed in the godet, it covers up the beautiful Hong Kong finish! This didn't make sense to me. I would rather have sewed the godet to the back seams and then added the seam binding, to cover the messy edge of the godet. But, instead I just turned under the edges of the godet and tacked them down.

The next major frustration was the fact that the shoulder seams were drafted incorrectly! I first got an inkling of this when I read a review of the pattern on There was only one review, but this reviewer noticed that the shoulder seam is drafted so that the "flanges"--the darts on the outside of the vest--are drafted as if they were to be folded toward the shoulder rather than toward the armhole. You are directed to fold them toward the armhole. I found out that she was right. It's hard to describe this problem without showing you a before and after shot, but suffice it to say, I had to unpick the shoulder seam and dart, redraw the shoulder seam , recut the shoulder seam, and resew the shoulder seam so that the flange wouldn't stick up in the air at the shoulders. That looked ridiculous when I did it the way the pattern was drafted.

I am ambivalent about the flanges generally. I may eliminate them if I make this pattern again.

I liked the way the neckline rises up to cover the back of your neck. It was a little difficult to sew the back to the front extensions which became this neckline, but it was worth it.

I liked the way the front was designed. You see two different contrasting fabrics in front, one where the facing shows a bit around the neck, and one where the front bands contrast with the front fabric.

The neckline feels good, like the way my fleece jacket has that high collar around the back of my neck.

Also the pockets are fine.

I wish I had used a slightly heavier fabric. This one feels a little too light, not quite stiff enough. The pattern has a vaguely Asian feel to it. Maybe an ikat cotton would be a good choice for the next iteration. Or a handwoven cotton-linen fabric.

1 comment:

  1. you probably already know this but Marcy has a website - - and is fairly approachable. You can always email her with questions about her patterns. Surprisingly she lives in a very rural community on the Southern Oregon border where most of the population live an alternative lifestyle. Met her through my daughter (Marcy is older than I am) some years ago. She also presented at my weaving guild last year which prompted me to actually buy one of her pants patterns.

    thanks for the detailed posts on your projects.