Sewing: make an investment

A year ago, a friend of mine asked me to make them a vest out of this fantastic Guatemalan, hand-dyed, hand-woven fabric in a rainbow print. Life intervened, the project got put on the backburner, further delays arose. Then, yesterday, it became clear that a major opportunity was emerging. It was now time to make the vest. Could it be finished before Friday, especially with a Thursday pick-up in person? Yes. Yes it could. And here it stands, finished and ready, properly sized and ready to be worn right out of the studio with no further alteration needed. Done.

Handwovens are challenging for the sewing machine; there’s a complexity of interface between the super-traditional material and the industries of the sewing machine, at times. Still, the work went on as it was supposed to, and the vest got finished in time for their big event tomorrow through Sunday. It was a really big day for them — they got a hand-made vest, their book dropped, and the launch party is this weekend. I got to dress the star of that show, too, which is nice.

The astonishing thing, really, is how strong the finished vest is, and how weak the scraps are. The underlying fibers of the warp are something strong and dyed red, the thickness but not the twist of something like DMC embroidery floss. It’s possible to pull one or two such threads out of the fabric from end to end along one of the scraps — and then the brightly colored weft just dissolves around the absent fiber. All of the artisanry of the fabric, all of the skillfulness of its dyeing and weaving, was plaited onto those sturdy yarns laid down at the very beginning of the work, at the very start of a long and difficult working

Although this vest was intended to be double-breasted (and it does in fact have the buttons sewn on, now, although they weren’t at the time the photo was taken), it was really nice to be able to adjust the position of the buttons to the body of the person who will wear it. It fits well, it looks good in all these brilliant colors, and I think there’s every reason to be satisfied with the final result. If you’re interested in commissioning me to make something for you, please reach out through the comments, or find me on Etsy at Watermountain Studio.

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