You may recall my frustrations with Simplicity 3629 when I made a vest for my Jareth Halloween costume. When I wore it to work on THE GREATEST DAY OF THE YEAR, a co-worker of mine liked it so much that she half-jokingly asked me to make her one. (This happens to me all the time. I usually say that I will, and the person in question is shocked and says no. I have no idea why they ask half-seriously in the first place then. Moving on...) She also wanted a brocade, but in gold and bronze rather than my silver. This fabric from JoAnn's is what we went for. Even their photograph isn't all that great, and mine aren't any better. The fabric is slightly brighter than it appears in their picture, and there is a greater contrast between the bronze and gold. I tried this with and without the flash. The flash made the damn thing look like lame. The lining is black satin.
My co-worker is a different size than I am, but other than that, the only great difference was that her vest didn't nearly bring me to tears. I found some grommet tape with gold grommets instead of the standard silver ones. It wasn't on grosgrain like mine; rather, it seemed like a cotton twill tape, and was a quite a bit narrower and less flexible. The grommets were also closer together. The narrowness and dearth of flexibility in the tape made it slightly more difficult to sew on (I always use a zipper foot for this sort of thing, even if it isn't strictly necessary; in this case, it was absolutely necessary). I don't mean to seem as though this different tape was hard to work with. It's more that it was just so more different from the grosgrain than I initially expected. I would not hesitate to work with this tape again, if it provided to be the right choice for the task at hand.
Like my own vest, I finished all the internal edges because brocade and satin love to fray. Contrary to the instructions on the pattern, I did not leave the strap seam exposed; like I did with mine, I pulled it through and sewed it on the inside (just as one does for a standard vest). I did skip the under-stitching here because I knew I would end up top-stitching.
Though I didn't think of it when I bought the fabric, I think the finished piece ends up looking quite steampunk. The ease in the hips would probably be greatly conducive to wearing a bustle and full skirt. Because this is a beginner pattern, it might be a good place to start if you're new to sewing and want a steampunk costume.
It would have been intelligent on my part to adjust Azzurra to my co-worker's measurements before I put the vest on her. This did not occur to me until I was halfway done with the lacing. So that's why it looks so ridiculously loose.