The pattern itself is yet another variation of the same pattern I used to develop all my other vests. It has been incredibly useful, and all I had to do was develop a swallowtail portion to add to the pattern, which I had already done for another art vest I made for a Belle Armoire magazine challenge centered around the musical, Wicked.
I really got caught up in the vest theme for a while, and to some extent I am still quite involved in it. Vests are, for some reason, a really interesting garment for me--they're partway between a shirt/blouse and a coat/jacket. They're not useful for much more than moderate warmth, but offer so many opportunities for style statement and flair. The can be both formal and informal, dressy and dressed-down. The vest, as a garment, has had lots of incarnations through history but doesn't seem to go away--it simply falls in and out of fashion. Personally, I love vests.
So it was really easy to just keep creating them! These vests are all variations on the "black velvet painting" inspiration, inspired by my great grandmother's hand painted porcelain china paintings of florals on dish ware and jewelry. I loved the way the flowers nested into beautiful arrangements along the edges of the plates, resting gracefully into perfectly placed pictures. I had tried to take up the painting myself, but lacked the diligence to pursue it at my young age when I was introduced to it. So now, lacking the proper equipment, I turn to the medium that I can use, and I've been playing with floral themes ever since.
The fact that the flowers are on black velvet instead of white porcelain has been a bit of a challenge... Haha! I can't reproduce what my great grandmother did, but I can be inspired by it and distill it into what the garments will allow... My goal has been to create a "non-kitschy" look with the black velvet that doesn't hearken back to Elvis or sad puppies. It has, instead, created a carnival-esque look that is both western, gothic, and neo-victorian all at the same time. Which I absolutely love!
I have also made some vest looks for an art piece I am developing on iconic figures from fairy tales. The goal is to have six different piece from various stories--all variations on the same vest pattern. Here are a few examples, but you can read more about the project in various posts through out the blog. The characters are Goldilocks, Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Cinderella, and the Little Match Girl. This is an ongoing project for me.
Finally, I'd like to share the two vests that got published in the Belle Armoire magazine I mentioned earlier... Stampington & Company publishes a lot of magazines, one of which is a beautiful periodical that features wearable art. They had issued a call for entries for a "challenge" that featured garments inspired by the characters of Glinda the Good Witch of the North and Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West from the musical Wicked. Being a theatre person, I instantly glommed onto this, and cranked out two vests using my pre-existing pattern, and sent them in. And lo-and-behold, they actually published them!