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Finished: Menswear Fabric Wrap Vest

Carven plaid dress from Resort 2014 as worn by Diane Kruger. Inspiration: Menswear fabrics are big this fall, though personally I've never been able to work up much enthusiasm for them. Too somber, too lacking in texture for my taste. But when I saw this Carven dress (above) in Vogue I fell in love with how the soft folds and pleats made menswear plaid look fresh and feminine. Keeping the Carven dress image pinned to the mood board next to my sewing machine, I stitched up this wrap top made from Mood's wool-blend suiting:

Vogue 8926 made with gray plaid wool-blend suiting from Mood Fabrics.

Pattern: For me, working in a fabric store as I do, generally the fabric comes first when I start thinking of my next project. This time I had the pattern in mind first: Vogue 8926. It's a wrap top with sleeveless and 3/4-length sleeve options. I made the sleeveless version but in the longer length. Fabric: A wool-blend, gray plaid suiting I found at Mood Fabrics NYC. I chose this one because it's lightweight with a soft drape—whatever fabric I chose had to make gentle folds for the big collar area. And I like that the plaid turns on the bias for the collar. Here are some gray plaid wool suitings we have online at MoodFabrics.com. As I sewed this vest, which went together super-fast, I was reminded of how utterly delightful wool suitings are to sew. This one pressed nicely, didn't fray, barely wrinkled, took stitches well, and just overall behaved like a dream fabric. Couture designer and sewing teacher/author Kenneth D. King calls wool a "sophisticated beginner sewing fabric," and I totally get what he means. A brand-new sewer could have phenomenal results with wool suiting. Construction details: • I omitted the center back seam and just made sure I had extra fabric for the layout. The seam is straight so omitting it makes no difference to the fit. • I added length to the ties, because I like a longer tie. • To give a crispness and definition to the outer edges of the collar, I topstitched close to the edges. • I needed to take in about 1.5 inches at the shoulder seam, as there was tremendous gaping here. Check this area before you stitch the armscye area. • The directions say to just turn under the armscye area and stitch, but I wanted a more finished look so I used 1/4" gray silk bias tape that I made, stitching it on and then topstitching 1/4" from the edge to hold it in place. Bottom line: I am so pleased with this top! I recently wore it over a cream turtleneck with black ankle pants and black stilettos. I can see making it again in a solid wool crepe or a silk crepe. Next up: It's Halloween costume time! Mood employees really get into Halloween: It's our busiest time of the year for one, plus we have a staff Halloween costume contest and everyone dresses up. I picked out the fabric for mine and need to get on that next....

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