Sunday, March 18, 2018

Cashmere Scraps Faultlines Vest

I've been working with Diane Ericson's Faultlines vest for the last couple of years.  I like it because you can make so many design decisions along the way and fit it after it's made by overlapping the back and side pieces.

This one is made using scraps of cashmere from old sweaters that I overdyed using a method that creates very uneven results...which I love!  It works so well when you use several different color sweaters because they dye in various shades of the same color.  Then, when you cut them into small pieces, they make a wonderful landscape, kind of like the ones we see from an airplane window.

These sweaters were dyed using Dharma Trading Company's Cabernet Acid Dye.  The inspiration for the design came from the gloriously talented and fun, Gwen Spencer.  Gwen has become a good friend over the years.  I first met her through Marcy Tilton.  If you click on the link you will see one of the tutorials on Marcy's blog that features Gwen.  They work closely on Marcy's designs for Vogue Patterns. 

She is amazingly talented and a stellar teacher.  Anyway....I attended a sewing retreat with her a couple of years ago where she was hand sewing cashmere squares onto a lovely wool piece that was turned into a shawl.

We were all gobsmacked with, 1. the fact that she didn't even BRING a sewing machine but sat with her hand sewing all week, and 2. the absolute simplicity and beauty of what she was making.


I came home and immediately started thinking about how I could incorporate her idea into something using my abundant cashmere scrap collection. 

This vest took me two years to finish.  It wasn't one of those lap projects where you can work on it in the car or waiting at the dentist!  Because the base fabric is a stretchy net the piece needed to be on a flat surface so that the squares stayed put while sewing.

I cursed this project more than once.  My love-hate relationship with hand sewing is kind of a joke.  I want to like it since so many of my friends who sew extol it's virtues.  But mostly it hasn't been all that satisfying for me.  And believe me, I've given it every chance.  In fact, I still do.  Right now I'm working on an Alabama Chanin piece I got while in Alabama last year...after a hand sewing workshop!! And I'm going back to Tennessee this year to take another hand sewing class from Christine Mauersberger.  I swear, if she can't teach me to love hand stitching no one can!

In the meantime, I'm happily machine sewing and on my way to San Juan Bautista for a sewing retreat where I'm bringing FOUR machines!...well, only two are for me, I'm bringing two for women who are flying in from Colorado.

Hope your sewing, whether it's hand or machine, is super satisfying!


7 comments:

  1. Do you wash the scraps to felt them? I would love to see the back as I do not think I understand the stitched to net idea. You are so inspiring.

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    1. I don't felt. I like the texture and drape of regular cashmere. The netting is what you you would use for costuming or ice dancing! I got it in NYC at a wholesale house so I can't tell you exactly what it is. But it's poly for sure, stretchy and lightweight.

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    2. It may be called power net.

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  2. Loving the variegation in the squares! I’m kind of with you on the handsewing love/not-so-love thing. I’ve done a few boro-stitched pieces in the last year or so and...I’m happiest when they’re done! I did actually finish though which is a step forward. Heh. So did you!

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  3. Like you I try hand sewing rarely as I have a love affair with my machine - ha! When I do attempt it I'm never happy with the uneven size of my stitches and lack of speed. Good on you for attending workshops that encourage sewing by hand. I, too, love the different shades achieved from dying different cashmeres. Karen

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    1. Good to hear from you, Karen. Thanks for your comments!

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