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!



22 comments:

  1. A beautiful and stunning piece of work. Very inspiring. I wish you'd show us a picture of you wearing it. Is it reversible?
    Vancouver Barbara

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    1. I'll try to get Joe to take a pic of me wearing it. Thanks so much!

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  2. Wow this is more of a piece of art. It's beautiful.

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    1. Thank you. Yes, I'd love to hang it somewhere!

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  3. Gayle - what a beautiful piece! It is truly art-to-wear with art and wear in harmony. I am so enjoying looking at these pictures and knowing the story. Thanks for the link to her pattern too.

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    1. Thanks, Martha. Give this pattern a try, I'm sure you have some cool fabrics in your stash. It really doesn't take all that much.

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  4. Replies
    1. Thanks, Patty. I'm so glad you and Mary introduced me to Heidi!

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  5. I love every single that ng about it and I feel a strong urge to make one. Is there a pattern for the vest? I'm definitely not a pattern maker so unless there is, I'll just have to be content looking at yours occasionally.

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    1. Yes, do make one! The pattern is on Craftsy. There is a link in the blogpost to Heidi's blog that has the Craftsy info. Or you could just go on Craftsy and type in Heidi Emmett.

      Thanks so much!

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  6. Gorgeous! I can't believe you only keep your pieces for a short while after all the work and thought that goes into them. But then you're so prolific that I guess you would run out of storage space otherwise!

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    1. Well, there are a few pieces I keep cuz I still wear them. Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. Simply a work of art! It's so beautiful!

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  8. What a wonderful vest! So nice to see this pattern sewn up, as I was thinking of making it as a coat, but am also nervous since I'm not a quilter. Thanks Gayle!

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    1. Give it a try, you'll enjoy yourself. Thanks for tuning in!

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  9. I love it! I love even more that you subscribe to the make it up as you go along and it doesn't have to be perfect creed! I am going to try this vest and her Rafiki skirt! Wish me luck!

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    1. You won't need luck, just an adventurous spirit. Have fun with them. And thank you!

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  10. P.S. I want to be on your garage sale list!

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  11. Gorgeous - and I agree with Deborah. Anyone lucky enough to get to one of your garage sales is lucky indeed!

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    1. Such a nice thing to say! Thank you!

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