What do you do when a special purchase does not fit the intended recipient? Well, one might alter it to fit; or one might upcycle it, repurpose it, use it to create something entirely different. Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to transform an expensive man's vest into something beautiful and useful for a woman. Another challenging and exciting Alchemy project garnered on Etsy.
It sounded right up my alley, bid and won the opportunity to take the vest and make it into something entirely different. UNTIL - finding the vest in an online catalogue discovered the original price was around $250.00 Cough, cough, choke, choke, whew - maybe more responsibility resting in my hands than anticipated.
Fortunately had this thrift store vest purchased for under $5 and which had not sold at Grandma's Attic. It came home fast. Received much study, then was deconstructed - as in pick out the side and shoulder seams and turn it into fabric - with details. Kept the welt pockets and the front edges and tips. Put a number of different hat pattern possibilities on it and decided a cloche style with side insets would be a close fit PLUS allow use of the welt pockets as a fun detail for the hat. Also fast figured out that in order not to have a pieced hat, the addition of a second fabric would be good.
Pulled some fabric and created this cloche - using the vest points to make a hat band.
The brim has one side of the vest fabric and one side of the second fabric. A little to extreme for the client, so glad to have done the mock up. Made a few more experiments with other fabrics trying to get sizing and figure out if a beret style would be possible using the vest
-- no, those did not work for the vest reconstruction. So went back to the cloche idea with more modifications. Drafted a pattern with the brim a bit smaller and chucked the head band idea. And that would fit around the 4 pockets. Removed all buttons and opened all seams. Only leaving the pockets intact for details.
Auditioned the vest with other fabrics and finally chose a pair of woolen slacks - a thrift store score (size 10 with a moth hole). That fit the theme of reconstruction nicely, was a quality fabric similar to the vest fabric, and a super color combination.
Cut it out, put it together and viola -------- a really neat cloche. A leather strip made a classy subtle hat band.
The reconstruction carried through to the inside as was able to line the hat with pin stripe rayon lining from the vest, in addition to the original label, with my label at it's base.
And that is how a vest became a hat.
Stay tuned and in the next few days will fill you in on how the bits and pieces of the fashion fabric and lining became supporting accessories.