I recently met an inspiring couple who visited the open house that took place at The Spool and Thread Theory studio. Jackie was eager to use the buttonhole feature on my trusty old Kenmore sewing machine because it creates lovely keyhole buttonholes. She was almost finished creating a gorgeous classic wool vest for her husband, Malcolm. I exclaimed over her fabric sourcing abilities and her welt pocket sewing skills after which she let me in on a little secret…
…she didn’t buy the fabric and she didn’t sew the welts!
It turns out, she had found a large Harris Tweed vintage blazer in a local thrift shop and had re-purposed the blazer to create the vest. Her mission was to create a vest that did not look ‘re-purposed’ or ‘recycled’. She certainly achieved her goal!
She expressed an interest in spreading the idea of re-purposing garments in this manner and said she would love to connect with the sewing community and those interested in re-purposing menswear. I eagerly asked her to send me some photos of her vest and a paragraph or two to share with you. Thank you, Jackie, for sharing your inspiring project with us and for providing such detailed photos!
Without further ado, here’s Jackie:
I found this Harris Tweed man’s jacket in a thrift shop for $5.00. I had originally used it as a character in an Oliver Twist musical, and after the event I wanted to use the jacket to make a vest for my husband.
Using a McCall’s vest pattern, which I lengthened by 2” to fit the style I wanted, I deconstructed the jacket.
Once I had pieces of the fabric I could lay them on the pattern so that the pockets were within the pattern piece. I left the interfacing in the front jacket pieces because it gave the tweed the support it needed to hold the shape.
Once the front vest pieces were cut out, remembering to keep the front pockets in line, the rest was a usual construction of a gentleman’s vest.
The biggest investment was my thinking time as I planned how I could make this project work.
I still have the back and sleeves of the jacket as pieces of tweed to use on other projects!
Now that we’ve had a chance to see the amazing potential of re-purposed menswear, here is a peek at the attention to detail that Jackie maintained while working on the vest. The vintage blazer had a small hole near one of the pockets:
She didn’t let this hole stop her from using the beautiful wool! She trimmed away the interfacing slightly:
And then she proceeded to felt the hole closed!
And you wouldn’t even know it ever existed (the photo below is a touch blurry, but I can attest to the fact that the hole is entirely invisible when the vest is inspected in person):
Thanks again, Jackie, for sharing your re-purposing project with us! Seeing your process shots and, of course, the stunning vest itself, has me viewing vintage garments in a whole new way. I’ve been known to turn a thrift store bedsheet into a button up shirt or two for Matt in the past but have never re-cut an existing menswear garment.
Do any of you re-purpose fabrics or garments? Have you had much success with re-purposing menswear?