Here it is—a beaded vest, Glisten, designed by Kim Hargreaves. I really like the way the silver crystal beads and charcoal yarn combined into a subtly shimmering fabric.
I think if you are going to use symmetrical beads this way to create an all-over fabric, you should keep the piece small. Some of the large-scale all-over beaded jackets and pullovers I have seen look jarring, as if the fabric had come down with small pox or freckles. That effect is particularly pronounced when red beads are combined with white yarn. I tried to avoid that effect by keeping the fabric on the dark side and by making a sleeveless, V-neck piece, so that it serves as an accent to another garment rather than dominating all by itself. When you create an eye-catching textured garment, it is important to consider how that texture will be used. Is it forming a counterpoint to a silk top, or a print? If so, do the crystal beads pick up the colors of one part of the print? There are so many possible color and texture combinations with adding beaded pieces to one's wardrobe, and I think a vest like this can become a really versatile completer piece!
Kim Hargreaves’ pattern was easy to follow and I found the beading to go smoothly. This is one of the first vest patterns I have followed, and I think that if I were to do it again, I would make some alterations to suit my figure. First of all, the armhole edges slope in too much for my broad shoulders, making it look as if my upper arms are much bigger than they are:
This probably means I will wear this most of the time with a long-sleeved blouse underneath.
Also, the front V was so exaggerated and the waist so small that I found the vest extremely hard to button. Usually I love a small waist, but this was actually too much! However, I really like the look of it worn open, as that is more modern, and allows it to be an engaging, textured layering piece that complements the blouse underneath. But this is not a waistcoat, it is a vest. In order to make it a button-up waistcoat, I would have needed to have made it several sizes larger than normal. I guess I’ll file that away for future reference. Still, if you are looking for a fun, easy beaded project I think Glisten is a good starting point.