Saturday, June 3, 2017

Off The Grid Vest

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been working on Heidi Emmett's Off The Grid Vest.  In the beginning I was nervous because I'm not a quilter.  After the first hour or so I just went with my gut and forged ahead.

My sewing style isn't one that lends itself to perfection.  I'm incapable of sewing straight, I love raw edges and I don't care when everything isn't quite perfect. 

It's the overall look I go for.  The feel of a garment.  And to be honest, I change my style so often that I wear a piece of clothing for 1-5 years, tire of it and sell it at a garage sale.  It makes no difference if I've spent days or hours on it, when I'm done-I'm done.  My style changes yearly and so do my clothes.

All that said, I loved working on this vest.  It has so many things going for it.  Simple lines mean you can focus on the fabrics which I love.  I used Moda Grunge cotton for the base fabric.  It's black with washes of pinky grey.  

I've had a huge stash of vintage kimono scraps since our trip to Japan about 10 years ago.  Although I've been using them in projects for years I still have lots.   So I decided this was a good project for that.  The pattern calls for quilting cottons and the main fibers in my kimono collection are silk and rayon...much less stable.

Although Heidi recommends using Terial Magic, a kind of starch that quilters use, it still didn't provide all of the sturdiness I needed for this project.  But I forged ahead with a somewhat wonky result.  But I like it anyway!

I think this style qualifies as a tabard, right?  The sides are held together with just one button.  One of the reasons I wanted to make this vest is that I tried it on at a retreat in April and it's VERY flattering. In fact, it was flattering on every single woman who tried it on.

I had a devil of a time figuring out what binding to use.  I wanted something that would remind me of a light summer suit that I would see on a businessman in Tokyo.  A tiny grey on darker grey pattern that read solid from far away.  Understated but elegant.  Couldn't find it.  Finally I went with a purple quilting cotton that has a tiny pattern.  But I wasn't happy so I picked up another couple of fat quarters at The Stitching Post in Sisters, Oregon.  One of them I incorporated into the blocks but I didn't think either would work on the bias trim.

Luckily, I also picked up a bottle of Jacquard Pewter Dye-Na-Flow.  It's kind of like India Ink for clothing.  I thought if I knocked back the purple it might blend in so I painted that on the bias strips.  It came out very uneven but when I folded them in half and laid them under the garment edges to audition the color it worked. 

I found two 30's deco buttons in my stash that felt right...finally had buttons that actually worked on a garment.  Somehow, with hundreds of buttons in my collection none seem to be right!

This vest is a very dramatic look.  I can't wait to wear it.  Joe says I look like a warrior!