A Tailored Vest, and a sincere thank-you

This Post is re-posted from the Cutter and Tailor Forum, in order to share it here as well.

I want to share the vest that I worked on during 2015-2016. I am a beginner in the area of tailoring, and I have been working under the direction of Mansie Wauch, from the Cutter and Tailor Forum, and locally Virginia Smith at Ginny’s Fine Fabric.

I had in my possession a few yards of a red check wool cloth that I’m told was woven by the Amana Colonies, purchased by my late mother-in-law. I decided it would be a suitable (if not perfect) opportunity to try making a vest that is hand drafted and fitted to myself. I purchased B. Black & Sons’ hair canvas and Bemberg lining through Ginny’s Fine Fabric in Rochester, Minnesota.

The past few years, I have been on a mission to work through pattern drafting for the purpose of gaining a better understanding of pattern making and fitting. I recognize that hand pattern drafting is an expensive endeavor in time and effort, and there are CAD systems for this purpose, as well as a plethora of available patterns, but I wanted to try my hand at it and learn for myself. I kept the overall design simple, as I wanted to focus on fit, and matching the check (plaid).

I followed Sator’s encouragement that a first attempt would take at least 6 months, and the clothing article might be only worthy of the trash bin at the end. However, I’ll admit I had a secondary goal of making something I’d still use. This project did, in fact, require hours of reading any resource I could find through the tailor’s forum. The key resources I found helpful were the Art of Garment Making, by A. A. Whife, and Coat and Skirt Making, by Samuel Heath.

 
The lapel is interlined with hair canvas and hand pad stitched, and so are the fronts and the back. It is stayed with linen tape. I experienced the difficulty and care involved in this traditional tailoring method.

There are three hand-made button holes worked here, though I will not yet share a close up picture of my work there… It is a work in progress, but they are functioning well so far. I greatly appreciate Callum at Bay Tailor Supply in California. He provides a nice service of matching the buttonhole twist to the cloth, as well as the gimp. I found the buttons at Ginny’s Fine Fabric.

 
I struggled with several things during this project; too many to put into this thank-you note.  There are many things I could have done better. But, overall I am pleased with my vest. It is as I envisioned it. It has an equestrian theme (having to do with my rural upbringing), and likely a rural or country flare. I wore it several times this fall with tall boots and jeans, fitting the relaxed mood in the Rochester, Minnesota, area. It is the most comfortable vest I own, and it will be a long-term piece of clothing in my wardrobe.

I share this project because I believe tailoring is a beautiful art, and I want to encourage others to pursue it. I also want to say thank you publicly to Mansie Wauch, who is generous with his knowledge of cutting and tailoring. I also feel a thank-you is due to all who have worked to bring this forum about. I have appreciated reading the various posts over the past few years.

 

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