Sunday, April 13, 2014

Whimsical Red Vest

I'm back! After about four months of little or no sewing, my desire to create in the studio is stronger than ever. Which feels sooooooo good! I've been playing in the studio nearly every day for over two weeks now, and I'm learning and creating and having a blast. I've been playing with stencils and paint, making some sample prints and some finished garments. Here is the first item I've made this spring:

As they say here in New England, that's wicked bright! It's a gorgeous linen from Marcy Tilton that's been in my collection for a couple of years now. The trim fabrics are remnants from Sawyer Brook. I used Diane Ericson's Revisions Java Jacket pattern. It was very easy to add a couple of inches at the sides and bottom to make it fit, and it's a very straightforward pattern to follow. The fussy part was the binding on the neck and armholes, but it wasn't difficult. Just painstaking to make sure things lined up just so.

The theme for the vest was determined by the buttons, which are fused glass, made by a wonderful woman who lives in Rhode Island. I see her every year at the regional sewing expo, and she had a trunk show at a local yarn shop this past winter. I've amassed quite an assortment of these buttons over the years, so it was a joy to finally use these red ones.

I love the geometry in these buttons, and how the melting process softens the edges a bit. They're still very angular, but there's a feminine quality to them as well.

No two buttons are alike, so they offer nice variety as design elements. 

I painted the black band and the bodice using stencils from Diane Ericson. The buttons determined the colors and influenced my choice of stencil images. I love the whimsical touch the stenciling adds to the garment!

The pattern offers two lower pocket options, but I decided not to use them, as I didn't want to draw attention to that part of the garment. I really wanted the focus to be at the top, with a strong vertical center element. Those are the lines that seem to flatter my body most.

I neglected to take a photo of the back. It is two overlapped pieces, with a long vent at the bottom. At the waist there's a blue shaped tab adorned with a button.

I'll have a few opportunities to wear this before the weather becomes too warm for it. Then it's into the closet for a few months. It's a great spring/autumn piece, and it will add lots of color to my look when I want it!

Next up: a tote bag I finished today, to take to Hawaii at the end of the month. Stay tuned, as I'll be writing again soon. Promise!


  1. Good to see you back in blogland! And what a pretty "come back" project!

  2. Yay! Glad to see you back sewing. What wonderful attention to detail. I love those gorgeous buttons. Wow.

  3. Welcome back to blogland. What a gorgeous piece to write about. The attention to detail is wonderful. And I love those buttons.

  4. Dixie! Hi there. I love the vest, and those gosh they are pretty.

  5. I love your vest and that buttons are great.

  6. Thank you Linda, Ruthie, Ann, Mary and BeaJay for your comments and your warm welcomes!

  7. Yay! Dixie is back! Very nice vest to show off too. Those are fabulous buttons and your vest shows them off perfectly.

  8. Welcome back and what a perfect come back piece!!!!

  9. Absolutely fabulous. And it is a gorgeous color on you. I wish I were more brave with paint - your results are always so good.

    1. To become more brave with paint, I recommend practice. Play with paint and scraps of fabric. Make it a meditation of sorts. It will come to you in time. I'd love to see what you could do with more paint!

  10. So nice to hear from you again! ♥

    Love the vest, you always do such interesting things with stencils and paint. I swear one day I will do something with stencils. Those buttons are gorgeous.