Saturday, August 17, 2013

Men's Shirts into a Vest

I can't seem to get away from using thrift store men's shirts to make women's garments.  It probably has something to do with my need to use what I already have.  And, I had lots of pieces left from the dusters and vests I made for Karen Melfi Collection in Santa Fe.

I've had the pleasure of selling some of my garments in this wonderful shop over the last couple of years.  I send them mostly things made from men's shirts.

I also sell redesigned cashmere sweaters at Many Hands Gallery here in Capitola, right next to my bakery.  I'm starting a few of these garments tomorrow and will post them before I send them off to find new homes.

Being able to sell some of the garments I make has been great because I can't wear everything I want to sew.  I like sewing for it's own sake and love to make things I know someone, somewhere in the world will love to wear.

I used to sell to two stores in Carmel for years but both have sadly closed their doors.  The shop owners would tell me stories about the women who came in from different countries and buy a sweater.  Just to think about someone walking around 3000 miles away in something I made gives me a hoot!

Here's a little vest I cooked up out of my current favorite color, orange.  I paired it with a subdued taupe Babette top that I think gives it more....what's the word....dignity?  No, that's too lofty.  But it does ground it a bit, I think.

Here are a couple other angles.

What do you think of this pairing?  I loved Sham's (at Community With Fabric) recent post about what to wear with a garment she had just finished.  I think feedback like that is so valuable.  Here it is without anything underneath.

Maybe all it needs is a little lightweight white tee?  Or maybe I should sell it!  Feedback gladly accepted!  Now out to pick the gazillion zinnias in the garden!


  1. This is a wonderful piece, Gayle. A sophisticated garment with unexpected components.

  2. gayle, I think the simple design lines of the Babette shirt balances well with the vest. And for someone young with nice firm upper arms--no under top at all!
    I understand your pleasure knowing someone far away has one of your garments. when I had pieces in shops in various places, the owners knew I loved knowing who liked my pieces well enough to buy them. The very best one was a woman from South Carolina whose husband gave her a trip to the Napa valley in celebration of her last round of chemo. He told her he wanted to get something very special for her and she chose one of my jackets! I think of her often and hope she continues to enjoy it.

  3. Gayle, what a fantastic vest! i love the way you used the existing elements in the finished vest - the placket down the center back, the collar/placket wrapped up around the left side and the cuff/sleeve wrapped up around the right - not forced at all. Brava!

    I think it looks styled great both ways on the dummy. But I have a helluva time making those type of decisions unless i see something styled as a whole outfit on the person for who it's intended. There's always the few 'omg that is so YOU!!!!' pieces, but when it comes down to it we're going to be wearing these pieces in whole looks. My two cents.

    "Being able to sell some of the garments I make has been great because I can't wear everything I want to sew." off, i am so slow at sewing this has never been the case! These days i'm working on developing some TNT's, as i'm in a position to buy more lengths of fabric instead of re-purposing/re-fashioning. I am sure that there's plenty of ladies who are veryvery happy that you have some 'extras'. :)

    lei, what is your label? i'm in the East Bay and my mom lives in Napa city. What a wonderful story. Gayle, i'll be sure to look up Many Hands the next time i am down in Capitola - beautiful city, sigh.....

    Do either of you know Betty's Girls boutique in Napa (the city)?

    She makes '50's style dresses, shrugs, pettis, etc. out of no longer in use clothing. I always check out her window displays when i'm at mom's, it's about five minutes walk. I wish my style was more in line with what she makes, i am always keeping my eyes open for that one that will work!

    Happy day all and really a beautiful piece Gayle! steph

  4. Hi

    This is very good blog post and beautiful clothes collection of Womens Vest Tops. it very nice post.

  5. I think it looks designed excellent both methods on the phony. But I have a helluva time creating those kind of choices unless i see something designed as a whole clothing on the individual for who it's designed. There's always the few 'omg that is so YOU!!!!' items, but when it comes down to it we're going to be dressed in these items in whole looks. My two pennies.
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