Originally posted by me on SewingWeb.com in May, 2002.

This How-To is primarily focused on making a doll vest, but the concepts of strip quilting are explained in fair depth. What looks complicated is often simple, and this project can prove that out for you. Have fun!

We are using a manilla folder for our pattern as it will be used more than once. You can use this or a piece of paper, or even Pellon or other stabilizer to create a pattern. With doll clothes, it's often easier to trace patterns onto the fabric rather than pinning and cutting.

Using a made vest to copy as a pattern, position the front of the vest on the pattern material.

Holding the front of the vest still and taut, trace around it (don't worry about seam allowances yet) as best you can.

Connect, straighten, and tidy up lines that you have made.

Position the center back of the vest material such that it is what will be the center seam of the pattern back. This piece will be cut on the fold when you cut out the vest back fabric. Repeat steps 3 and 4 to create the pattern piece.

You now have the two pattern pieces necessary to create the vest.

Cut the pattern pieces from the pattern making cardboard or paper.

For this vest, we're using denim and strip quilting. Place two pieces of denim right sides together, place the pattern for the front of the vest on the denim, trace around the pattern.

Be sure and add 1/4" seam allowance to the sides and shoulder seams. The remainder of the vest cutting should be directly on the lines as created on the pattern.

Cut the vest front, adding the 1/4" seam allowance at the shoulder and sides.

Place the back pattern piece on the fold of your choice of back fabric. Be sure and add 1/4" seam allowance to shoulders and sides.

Cut the back piece out.

Choose several coordinating fabrics to create the strip quilting on the front of the vest. We've chosen five medium browns for this project.

Cut several 1" strips from the coordinating fabrics. If this were a clothing item for a child, we'd use 1-1/2" strips. If it were for an adult, we'd use 2" strips. Since this is for an 18" doll, the scale needs to be such that a 1" strip with 1/4" seam allowances makes a 1/2" strip for the vest.

Place vest front pieces face down.

Place one strip right side up/wrong side down in the same place and facing in the same direction on each of the two front pieces.

Place one strip right side down/wrong side up on the strip placed in step 15. Right sides should be facing one another.

Stitch the two strips from step 16 in a 1/4" seam on one side only. Do not worry if the strips are too long for the vest. You will be trimming off excess fabric later.

Open out the strip so that the wrong side is facing the vest base (denim). Finger press this seam and pin down the strip of fabric.

Place another strip of fabric face down on the piece of fabric you turned up in step 18. Repeat steps 17 and 18.

Continue above steps with the 1" strips of fabric until you reach the edge of the vest.

Make sure the whole vest front is covered with 1" strips of fabric, again, not worrying if the fabric goes over the vest front base fabric.

Turn the vest front over. The right side of the vest will be facing down. The inside of the vest (the right side of the denim) will be facing up.

Edge stitch the vest front, using the denim base as your guide. Be sure to catch the strips of fabric in the stitching.

Trim off all excess strip fabrics.

Repeat the above steps for the other vest front piece.

Trim excess fabrics and check for matching strips. Notice how they come together nicely - we used five fabrics, one at a time, repeating the pattern as necessary. We also set our first piece of fabric using the bottom of the armhole and the bottom of the front vest as a guide. This gives a nice diagonal from which to work.

Sew fronts to back at shoulder and side seams. Serge the seams if possible, or finish them in some other manner, as they will be exposed.

Machine stitch bias binding around exposed armholes and vest edges on the right side, having right side of bias tape on right side of the vest using a scant 1/4" seam. We made the bias tape out of 1" wide fabric from the strip piecing fabric collection. You can use 1" or 1-1/2" bias tape, depending on the size of the trim you'd like to have.

Turn and pin, then hand stitch the binding on the inside of the vest, adjusting as necessary

Turn and finger press and put the vest on your doll. Looks pretty good, eh?

Here's a back view of the vest, showing the binding and the plain denim.

Doll clothes are fairly simple to make in this scale (18" doll). All dolls pose a challenge because of their size and some crative methods of sewing sleeves, ruffles, etc. This vest is a good way to use up small scraps of fabric, recycle blue jeans, or use purchased fabric that catches your eye. Perhaps you have a fat quarter or a fat eighth around the house that you're not sure what to do with! Enjoy making this project and let us see some pictures if you do.

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