Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Vintage Inspired Vest

I hope everyone is staying safe and warm during this crazy winter weather. I'll say it once again, I CANNOT wait until spring! I'm so over winter at this point.

This week's creation was quite an involved one, compared to past projects. I had quite a few ideas, changed some as I went that didn't work, and also used fabric dye for the first time ever.
I'll go ahead and give my disclaimer now: I'm sorry about the weird white balance in some of the pictures...I don't know what my camera was set on!

Okay, here we go, I'll try to make this as concise as possible. :)

Here is the starting point:

When I came upon this in the thrift store, my first thought was a band uniform; my second thought was oooohh vintage! Since I felt quite a bit more inspired in vintage terms, we went with that mindset as opposed to the band uniform! 
This is a slight tangent, but does anyone still like Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman? Because I sure do!

Source: http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/35166/dr-quinn-medicine-woman-the-complete-series-megaset/

In fact, we have all 6 seasons and both the movies on dvd (yes, my husband got them all for me one Christmas and I loved it!)

I absolutely LOVE all those 1800s type of dresses! Sigh...if only we still could dress like that today and not have people think you are crazy.

I decided to use this picture that I googled as my inspiration for this particular project:

Source: http://allvintageclothing.net/victorianelegance.com/180011.html

I just love the bustled looking back part, how cute!

So I knew it was going to become a vest with a bustled back. I started by taking out the shoulder pads and taking off the sleeves.

(Once again, sorry about the white balance on the pictures)

After that, I took in the sides and then went about cutting the vest shape into the front.

Here is where things got a bit tricky (and I got a bit frustrated, happens to all of us right?) I thought that I would cut the back of the vest into a downward curve and then attach some ruffles, sounds good right?

Hmm...not so much. I did all that, but when I tried it on it looked really really strange. I could tell it wasn't going to look "bustled" at all, it was way too tight. So back to brainstorming I went.

After taking a little break, the next day I decided just to cut the back normal and then just make the ruffly part separate and attach it. This was a much better idea.

So I used the rest of my fabric and made this half moon type shape (that was about double the width of the vest so I  knew it could be gathered), hemmed the bottom up and also sewed close the slit that was in the skirt originally. I ended up having to shorten this part a lot-otherwise it just looked like shirt tails.

I did the same thing with the smaller portion of fabric that I cut off from the vest and sewed it on top of the larger half moon shape. I basted with my sewing machine so I could gather both pieces. I serged the two together so they wouldn't unravel.

Whew! Getting closer!
I sewed up the bottom of the vest, and then sewed on the gather part on the back.

After that was all done, I sewed up the arm holes.

Yay! Now onto the dying!
The color of this fabric wasn't bad, but it was quite see-through. My husband helped me pick out a dye color from walmart.

Royal blue! :) Who doesn't like blue?

I've never dyed anything before, but wasn't too hard. I followed the directions and didn't even make that big of a mess! :)

After I rinsed it, I ran it through a wash cycle.

Here is how it turned out:

I like the blue color a lot better than the off-white that it was before.

And the back:

I definitely branched out a little on this one, and I think I'm still on the fence about how it turned out. Any thoughts?

Another little note on the outfit, I really like the shoes I'm wearing. I just got them a couple of weeks ago from a thrift store- they are Guess and hardly worn, for $3.99...score! :)

And this cute little ring I made last week:

I made it from Happy Together's tutorial here.

Whew, I think that's it for now! :)

Linked to:

Sew Much Ado: We Did It! Wednesday

Paisley Passions: Thrilling Thursday Linky Party

504 Main: Tickled Pink Link Up 

The Speckled Dog: Favorite Things Friday

Thrifty Decor Chick: February Before & After  

The Dame Design Studio: 1st Fashion Friday Linky Party


  1. I love this, it might actually my favorite yet!! You are so talented!

  2. So cute! And is that a left-over stone from your bridesmaids necklaces?? I'm loving that ring!

  3. Yep, you guessed right Hannah, that little charm is the leftovers from my wedding! I can't believe I still have them (or at least that they haven't gotten lost since then!) :)
    Yay for cute and easy to make rings! :-)

  4. This turned out awesome. You really are talented! I love this shirt...blouse....CREATION! =)

  5. I'm a new follower :)

    You do such fun alterations! I wish I was braver at altering thrift store and yard sale finds... I guess I need to practice during the summer when I can pick things up for .25!

  6. I came over from 504 Main, where you lbd was featured...and I've been sucked into your blogging vortex ever since!! I LOVE all the things you've transformed.

    I'm TOTALLY your new follower!


  7. I totally love this vest & invite you to link up to my 1st Fashion Friday Runway linky party!


  8. This vest is great - and even better when you read the story of it. The best part is how good you look in it.