Art Journal

Nature Ramblings ~ Past Times Time Travel ~ Romancing Daily Life

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Vests: Another Piece of My Heart

At this point I had basted the reverse side
of a piece of brocade onto the corduroy vest front
I had just over 17" of cord for the front, leftover
from sewing pants, not enough for even one front length.

Take another little piece of 
my heart now, baby,  

Break another little bit of my heart now, darling.  

Have another little piece of my heart now, baby.

You know you got it, if it makes you feel good, Oh yes indeed.

* * *

Did you know that?
Like most people, I associate it with Janis Joplin

*    *    *

I'm just coming down off a piecing project, feeling a little bit like what Janis was singing about in this performance of  "Piece of My Heart".

Piecing always sounds so straightforward. I take two or more remnants of material, and combine them to make one. It always takes an awful lot more time to create, than I expect. My goal is to make it look arty, not like something I did because I ran short of fabric.

Well.... in truth I was short of fabric. I think I got the last three yards of this corduroy from my local Joannes. Apparently I wasn't the only sewer who found this print irresistible. Even the online Joannes  had only one yard of the fabric. OK, I admit that I put that last yard in my cart, just in case I wasn't happy with my vest. Or maybe I bought that final piece just because I love this material so much. Those long ago French textile merchants didn't name it cord  du roy - fabric of kings- for nothing!  

In fact, a shortage of goods inspires me to piece. It's a bit of time travel back to our past-times sewist ancestors. Scissors in hand, I'm spinning through the closest appropriate time portal to Depression times flour sack shirts,  late nights in the slave cabins stitching together scraps and ends from the big house, or needling together worn bits from different family members clothes - an art form that will one day be known as Sashiko,  after a hard day in the rice paddies.

Piecing lets me pay tribute to lessons learned from the folk who created more than utility garments, with very little on hand. It reminds me that clothing, even clothing with limited resources, can be  art. 

And maybe that's the most important time and place to be making art.

You know you got it, when it makes you feel good!

Here's what I had left from the corduroy
I made the decision not to cut any off below the pieced brocade band
because I thought the weight would be better if I kept as much as I had
At this point I had backed the front band with a long remnant of
silk organza (tough yet light), then stitched the corduroy to the organza-backed brocade

The back of the vest was what remained after a pair of linen pants
I made at the same time I sewed the cords.
I couldn't quite eek out enough for the linen back,
though I had more of it than I did the corduroy. But by this point
I wanted the brocade piece to wrap around from front to back anyway.

Coming Soon To This Blog!  A view of the whole vest (Yes, I finished it early this morning). I'm looking forward to doing a photo shoot of my entire Sewn With a Plan (SWAP) four garment mini-wardrobe, created for my Fashion 110 Introduction to Sewing Class at CaƱada.

* I take sewing classes in the CaƱada College Fashion Department, Redwood City, California

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