Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Some fun with Vests

I rediscovered a stack of vintage fabrics that my sister gave me this last Christmas when I went back to visit my family in Missouri over the holidays.  She gave it to me hoping I would use it.  Some of the fabrics had labels on them describing their fiber content, others had the original tags that came with them from the stores they were purchased at.  I'm not sure how old they were, but they were certainly interesting!  I sorted them out this last week, and matched them up to satins and lining fabrics that I had in my own stock, and started cranking out vests.

I chose the swallowtail style vest because that's what seems to interest people the most...  I have sold more of that particular style of vest than anything else I've sold.  I already had the pattern made in a variety of sizes.  But I only had enough fabric to make one vest out of each print...

I chose to make them all size 14 since that, statistically, is the most common female size in the world today.  I don't especially like making things uber-small because most of the women in my life aren't size 2, and honestly I can't fathom how some of these clothing manufacturers actually make a profit making things that are so small the average woman can't buy them...  If I'm going to take the time to make something of my hands and heart, I want it to be worn by someone.  Hopefully.  So I decided to make them the most common size I could.

And so I dove into the stack of fabrics.  And I've managed to crank out a vest a day, so far.  Whew!  I'm wondering how long I can keep this up...  My stack is running out!  I'm interested in incorporating the mosaic ideas, and getting back to my velveteen fabric painting, so we'll see how it goes.  Those won't be able to happen in a day turn around.  Hm.

Regardless, here are some pics of what I've made!  I've got more coming!

The vest in the top left pics, the "party print" vest, is actually printed on cotton pique, and the tag said $1.39/yard!  Not sure they sell that for that price anymore...

The second pictures (the ones on the right) are of an unusual print that I am sure is a 70's design inspired by a 1930's feel, which is in turn inspired by the turn of the century...  It's colors are sage green, sunset yellow and a russet brown...  I accented it all with brass buttons and some hand-painted lace done in metallic brass paint.

The third set of pictures feature a cotton that had a print done with thicker ink than what's usually done today... I'm not sure if it was hand printed or not, but it reminds me of those simple Japanese block prints that are incredibly elegant.  I'm not sure if it's a sea motif or a vegetable motif, but it's gorgeous!  I used dark pine green lining fabric to create the swallowtails.

I've got more fabric of "bold" prints in unusual motifs coming up.  I'm very excited about them.  They straddle that line between "fashionable" and "costume", and should appeal to those that are more interested in dramatic, artful attire...    I'm really enjoying riffing on the whole "what can I do with this pattern" thing, and picking up these random fabrics and seeing what I can do with them with the stock trims that I have is really really a blast!!  I highly recommend it to anyone!  Just working with what you've got can really inspire some great creativity!!

For those that are interested, my link to my Etsy shop is here.  Until next time, Live Life with Relish!


  1. Corey, you sure do amazing things with your heart and hands ... a vest a day! Such good work and I bet you had a ball playing with all this cool fabric, matching things up. I agree, it's a great creative way to be, to make beautiful art with what you have, gets the juices going!

    These are all so lovely, I'm always excited to see what you come up with.

    And aren't you smart to work with the real size of most women!

    All the best,

  2. Thank you so much, Susan! I've made it my goal to make artful clothing that's actually wearable... I've seen those dresses made out of wire and credit cards and bottle caps, and I'm more interested in things that are a bit more practical...

    With these vests, I'm leaving it up to the wearer to decide how wearable it is. LOL!

  3. I love your blog. The last 2 posts are particularly relevant just now as I'm also making vests. Nothing to show for it yet though.

  4. Margaret, welcome! Thanks so much for stopping by! My vests are based on a pattern that's I've adapted from a Simplicity pattern you can find here:
    I've added the swallowtail and lapel and in some cases divided pieces in half and added panels... I hope your vests are coming along! : )


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