Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Vests for Work and Play

As Fall arrives, and days and nights are getting cooler, a vest may be just the perfect piece to complete your outfit, while stylishly keeping you warm.

Vests can be casual, worn with jeans for play, or they can be dressed up and sophisticated, paired with slacks, a pretty blouse or nice shirt. Add details and accessories. Now you're ready for fun, for the workplace, comfortable and in style . . .

With this in mind, D.D. of Santa Barbara dropped in at Fine Fabrics. Her mission, to fashion a new vest for her husband, Peter.

She began her venture by perusing Fine Fabrics' new collection of wool fabrics, and the many new pieces arriving for Fall and Winter sewing.

She then compared her favorite picks with vests Peter already wears - a gray with prick stitch, a tiny hounds tooth with hunter green as its dominant color, and a deep Autumn rust with leather buttons.

She hoped to find just the right color and texture of wool so that she could complement his collection.

With a smile on her face, DD shared with me that she had made each one of the vests she brought in (proudly displayed here). She admits that her first attempt at vest making took a bit of refining. The most difficult part was getting all of the measurements right, so that the vest had a tailor made fit. After that, the other vests were a snap.

And, the fun in making any piece truly unique comes from playing with the details and subtleties of the fabric. Here, DD creates a one of a kind vest by using the selvage of the fabric as a perfectly coordinating trim. Quite frequently, the selvage is formed by the weft fibers (those running across the grain) wrapping around the side warp fibers (those running lengthwise). In terms of color match, using the selvage in this way works because the warp and the weft mingle, allowing for a mix of the fabric's hues. The wool heather DD used to make the vest on the right is a deep Autumn rust that blends perfectly with the leather buttons. The olive. which is barely noticeable in the body of the fabric, is dominant at the selvage and she astutely uses the selvage to trim the pocket edges.

For the new vest, after much consideration, she selected an Italian Gray Reversible Flannel, with a pin stripe on one face of the fabric and a box plaid on the other - just what was needed to complete Peter's collection of vests. We can't wait to see how DD uses the duplicity of this fabulous piece of wool from Italy.

As the cold weather comes our way, what will you need to complement your Fall wardrobe? -- Pipps writing for