Casting back in my mind, I believe the reason I decided I wanted to knit a vest top was that Elise had knitted a beautiful vintage waistcoat and I wanted something like this under my knitting belt. Plus it would give me another layering option come the colder months. After looking through many patterns on Ravelry, I settled on the 28-15 textured vest pattern by Pierrot not only for the look, but because it was free and I wasn't sure how much I would wear this item, so didn't really want to pay for the pattern.
The pattern itself is written as a Japanese chart - wow! Some parts are easy to read, such as cast on, work pattern for 'x' amount of rows, however the increases/decreases are written in this format;
This means 'every 4 rows, decrease/increase by 1, 2 times' (increases/decreases worked according to the chart shape). Sounds confusing, but once you get the hang of it it's actually a beautifully concise way to write a pattern!
I really liked the look of this pattern and was determined to knit it, so after much internet searching I found two great pages which helped me to read the pattern, which if you are on the hunt to learn something new I recommend you check them out, here and here. The pattern also comes in one size, but looks like its made for a small teenager, so I took my measurements and did some maths, resulting in my first modified knit from a pattern - huzzah! These involved casting on more stitches, working all 3 pieces as 1 so no sewing up required, and adding length in the body and arm holes. You can find detailed notes on the modifications I made on my Ravelry Project page.
As my modifications went, I think I got the size round my bust quite happily down. The arm holes too are a perfect fit, with plenty of ease should I need to layer up beneath the vest. Unfortunately I was a little cautious with the length, and should have gone with my instinct and added a few inches more to the length as I like to wear dresses most days - what do you think? I'm wearing jeans in the pictures I took when I did the initial blocking of the vest on Tuesday. Yesterday I tried to add a little more length to the top with another blocking session, which I think was successful, I certainly felt better about wearing the vest (even if I didn't feel any better taking pictures) - pictures of me in the flowery trousers are the vest after a second blocking. I also think that, at the current length, the vest needs some waist shaping as it's a little on the boxy/unflattering side. I may at a later date sew up some rows to see if that helps with the shape. This could also be to do with the fact I knit the vest as a single piece, perhaps seaming the piece would have added more shape and definition?
At the moment I have mixed feelings about the vest. The more I look at these pictures the more I like the way it looks, but when I was having the pictures taken I was very self-concious and I wasn't happy with it (though hopefully this was just my frame of mind that day?). It's difficult too because this top is obviously for autumn/winter wardrobes and right now we are (supposedly) in summer. I will give this time before I make any 'final' judgements on the top - it must get some wear at least when we come to late September/October!
Overall the pattern was great, and very satisfying to work out how to do. I'm also a fan of the stitch pattern (sort of a diagonal moss stitch? No doubt there is an official name!) and by working this as a single piece I was able to match the pattern the whole way round! Stylecraft DK yarn is wonderful to work with too, and I've used the left over yarn to cast on another cardigan almost immediately! I think I would however recommend a luxury yarn, perhaps with linen, to add a more flattering drape and weight to the knit.
What do you think about the vest - perhaps some further modifications required if I were to knit this again or recommend to a friend?