Sunday, January 15, 2012

Project 22: Black Wool Vest with Welt Pockets

This project is somewhat embarrassing. I'll explain why as I go along. My wonderful pre-husband (or phusband, as I call him) wanted me to make him a vest out of the leftovers from The Hidden Dragon Pants.

I decided to make it as one of his Winter Solstice presents. I quickly realized that it needed to have welt pockets if it was going to look polished and sophisticated. Mens' clothing typically has intricate, detailed pockets and you might not know why, but if you saw menswear with out them, it would look wrong to you. The problem was I had never made a welt pocket.

I found a great tutorial on YouTube, and watched it a at least ten times. I still wasn't confident enough to try it on this delicate brocaded silk, though. I decided to use some of the beautiful black wool left over from this project to make myself a vest first to practice.

My vest came out pretty nicely, so I proceeded to start on my phusband's one. Foolishly, I decided to line this delicate silk vest with sturdy green broadcloth. Why foolish? Well, I never clued in to the fact that if you cut your lining pieces out with the same pattern as your fashion fabric, then you have to trim 1/8" off the lining pieces where they are joined to the shell of the garment. If you don't (and I didn't) the lining is too big and distorts the shell.

I realized what I had done far, far too late in the process and I was out of time. What could have been a beautiful moment of gift-giving was instead an apology. So I have a spiffy new vest to wear with my kilt when I go to play out for Robert Burns suppers in a couple of weeks and my love has a nothing.

I feel like a bad phusband.

Project 18: Blue Linen Shirt with Inset Silk Basket Weave Panels

AKA The Missing Link.

This project started with a simple idea. Weave panels of silk ribbons, inset them into panels of linen and use those panels to make the front of a dress shirt. While you're at it, why not make the collar from the same silk? With that kind of a lead up, you're probably thinking that it was a stressful disaster, but it actually worked. I washed it by hand after it was done and the silk basket weave got a little funky, but it's as strong as heck.

On my weaving cork board I made a muslin frame, and glued the ends of each of the ribbons to it first. The frame and all the excess was trimmed away when I serged the linen to the panel on each side. With a row of top stitching to secure it, these panels were ready to use.

Here is the finished product. I also made the white (blindingly white) jersey shirt underneath.

The two-piece look was originally for the first guy who was going to play cello on my CD to wear in the concert. The young fellow who wound up doing that recording and will be in the upcoming concert is about the same height as the first guy, but significantly more athletic of build. Undaunted, I was able to take in the side seams from the under arm to the hem and make it fit really well. I was proud of myself for figuring out how to take out the hem, make the new vents and put the hem back together.

The only thing I would do differently is pre-wash the silk. I know that silk isn't washable, but shirts have to be washable.