Monday, March 29, 2010

Where the vest came from

Before I show you where the Burdastyle Jason vest is going, I thought I'd show you what caused me to want to make Mario a new vest.

This is his dad's vest, made by his grandfather, in approximately 1955. Loud plaid, yes, and quite a loud backing fabric, but this was obviously made for a man who could stand up to clothes that stood up to him.

In some respects, it's very close to the Burdastyle pattern - same number of buttons, welt pockets top and bottom - but the cut is considerably different. The armholes are cut further in, and there are a few other notable features.

Check out the neck band - the plaid fabric from the vest front is bound all the way around the back neck, eliminating the risk of wearing the lighter weight lining fabric.

Not that the lining fabric is all that light weight. The splotched (red) silk vest back is underlined with a layer of cotton, and then there's the ivory lining.

The lining is somewhat sheer - note that you can see all the structural stitches of the absolutely freaking perfect (and perfectly matched) welt pockets that haven't aged a stitch in 55 years.

Also, notice the little notch under the bottom button? It looks ornamental, but it makes the vest spread a little when it's on and buttoned. Very smooth.

I think granddad also had access to an industrial buttonholer, because this vest has had a lot of wear over the years, and the buttonholes are still perfect. Ack.

Sometimes all it takes is a good piece of vintage to make you feel that your skills and your nice modern equipment really don't count for a hill of beans.

I also like the fact that this vest has no back tie or buckle. I'm still having a disagreement with the Burdastyle vest about that, plus I can't find a vest buckle to save my life. And the old vest, without buckle, ties or darts, fits better. Grrrr.

The vest is coming along. I tried it on Mario last night, took it apart, tweaked and tried it on him again tonight.

I decided to give this pattern a shot because the only other review I heard made it sound - and the photos appeared to show - that it would fit Mario pretty well.

Or, possibly not. He generally wears a 40, which in Burdastyle sizing is (I think) a 52. I could be wrong, but I'm not going back into the workroom to check because the cats are sleeping. Even with full 5/8" seam allowances, the front was a bit large, and the back needed to be cut down at least a full size, and possibly two.

The back armholes were huge; I shaved some off the underarm of the vest back, and also took it up a bit at the shoulder. I know that's not necessarily how to go about it, but I got the idea pretty early on that this was going to be a muslin. The back darts, into which the vest ties are sewn, got taken up two sizes.

The vest mostly fits him now, but I'm just not liking how it looks. I've still got to sew the shoulder seams shut and add buttonholes before I make a final decision on its future.


Anonymous said...

I love the original. So are you thinking of trying a new pattern for Mario's new vest?

Elizabeth said...

It is great that this wonderful old vest has been discovered by someone who appreciates it's fine craftmanship.

lsaspacey said...

I love how you won't go and disturb the kitties, but have you ever realized just how much sleep they get when you're not around? I think they can miss some. ;)

Kathleen C. said...

It's tempting to think that men's styling hasn't changed that much in the past decades, but it actually has changed a great deal in terms of fit. To get a vest that fits like an older vest you almost have to use a vintage pattern. The closer body fit, the higher armholes, the full neckband (I love that... dislike front only bands)... it's a different world.
But you're doing a nice job of trying to recreate that!

Michelle said...

That vest is fantastic! I love that binding around the neck. Good luck on your project!