To Block or Not To Block

I finished the front and back of the vest. It was not nearly as difficult as I first imagined. I certainly did learn a lot though. I tried out the mattress stitch as several of you recommended and it works like a charm. Even my wife was impressed with how slick it works when you pull on the ends and she has been an embroiderer and cross-stitch guru for 40 years.

Should I block the vest parts before I join them together? If so, should I just spritz them, or steam them, or dunk them? It's 100% pure virgin wool (Fishermen's Wool).

As always, thanks for all the help!


Image icon vest front back.jpg1.62 MB


AKQGuy's picture

Block! By whatever means you are more comfortable with. I myself prefer dunking but hey, whatever works. But I do suggest pre-construction side by side so your seams match in length. Before you put it all together your seam edges will block out nicely to match everything else for the initial block. If you wait until after seaming you will notice the seam won't block as freely due I the stitching and joining of two edges. Also, god forbid your fiber does something crazy upon wetting nd I unsuitable (I've never had this happen so take a deep breath.) it would be easier to take apart and re-adjust now rather than try to cut out seams before ripping back.

It looks great and will be even sharper when dried an worn I'm sure.

CLABBERS's picture

Let's all bow our heads and hope that nothing untoward happens when I wet it. I would hate to rip it out, especially if it was in a spot that wasn't easy to get to, like the third or fourth row! At that point, I'd just too bad and call it art! LOL

AKQGuy's picture

Argh... The last comment I left was made on my Iphone and it won't let me edit any of those wonderful things it changed my intended words too. Sorry about that.

As I said, I've never had anything horrible happen, just seen a couple of things others have done. Mainly, the thing ti remember is lace grows... This isn't lace so all should be wonderful. I want it to be wonderful for you and am glad that so far you've had fun with a larger fitted project.

Have a great Sunday,

CLABBERS's picture

Thanks for the clarification. You are a good guy to stop and post twice. I can imagine that lace would want to take off on its own. I will dunk and block this evening. I only have enough blocking foam to do one at a time, but I'm good with a tape measure, so I can make things come out evenly...I hope. If not, the vest will be just as lopsided as I tend to be. Life is so much more interesting when we let our flaws loose on the public!

cacunn's picture

I would block. As AKQGuy I'm a dunker, but, other methods work so choose what you like.

CLABBERS's picture

I like to dunk too, it seems to get things more completely saturated, then towel dried, then air dry/blocking.

Tallguy's picture

Certainly you block! That is a given.

"just spritz them, or steam them, or dunk them?" Yes. It doesn't matter too much, as long as there is some moisture involved. Use whatever method seems to work for you best. You can block separately, but be sure they are each pinned out to the correct measurements, or you can baste them together and block. It might be easier to handle separately. Your seaming is then much easier to do when your pieces lay flat and are not curling up on you, and when they are the same length!

The mattress stitch is an amazing thing! After joining, you will do the finishing around the armholes and the neck. And then you do the blocking once more at the end. I tend to prefer soaking in a warm soapy bath to get the wool really wet and allow complete relaxation into the final configuration. It will look amazing!

CLABBERS's picture

I will definitely do as you suggest. I was very pleased with my 5" practice mattress stitch, but working with the curled edges is very tedious.

Thanks for your words of wisdom and kind words.

scottly's picture

You will get faster at it and the curled edges will be flatter after blocking. I like soaking for 20 to 30 minutes in a product called non other then Soak. You don't have to rinse it out and it leaves pleasant scent. I like that it cleans the yarn and will usually fix most uneven stitches and lattering which I'm not sure just spritzing would.
Good luck and looks great so far.

Bill's picture

Blocking to the exact same length makes sewing easier...

CLABBERS's picture

Thanks, Bill. I appreciate your suggestion. :)

AKQGuy's picture

I pull all the sheets back on the spare bed and lay a couple towels out and tack down their corners to block large items. That may give you more of the needed room to block them both if you have a guest bedroom or kid off to college bedroom.

CLABBERS's picture

I blocked the front of the v-neck vest by dunking and it looks good! I tacked it down and I am going to put marks on the sponge blocking mats (the kind that look like puzzle pieces), so that I can match things up. I think that should work pretty well. When my son moved into his own apartment, we converted his bedroom into my home office. It was nice to get out of the basement. So, my blocking is on mats on the floor. Not a happy position to work with my new hip, but it's good to work outside my comfort zone a bit.