Sometimes I need to change it up. I get stuck in creating old classics- styles that are loved and adored and sell well. But there are new classics to be found and discovered! And that was my ambition with this piece.
I needed something new and interesting. Trendy and chic. Where do you go for inspiration? PINTEREST!!!! Yeahhhhh.... five hours later and a few dozen pins for things like chocolate caramel brownies, felted flower brooches, diy kitchen hacks, and more, I came up with the "it" item of the season. The sleeveless blazer or long vest. Bridging two seasons and many decades of fashion style, it's cute!
My goal was to make a more artistic version of this style. A lot of nuno felted vests seem to be one size fits all and have a flow and swing to them. I wanted something more tailored and heavier, like a wool fabric rather than a gossamer nuno felt.
I did calculations for drawing out a resist- a piece of plastic that goes inside the piece so I can create a seamless garment. When calculating, it has to be a third larger to allow for shrinkage. Basically, my resist looked like an extra large hospital gown. But I've done this enough times to not lose faith.
Starting with a ginormous piece of bubble wrap and two large tables set up in my studio, I set out for this adventure with gusto. First layer: charcoal silk gauze. Second layer: turquoise merino wool laid in thin wisps in one direction. Third layer: blend on the drum carder shades of turquoise into navy into dark green into charcoal into black with bamboo and firestar intermingling. Fourth layer: embellishments of yarn, silk pieces, bamboo and more on the bottom of the front panels.
I was very fortunate to have some help from my friend Jodi on the wetting and rolling process. This is quite the process, and many towels get used. It's a real exercise rolling as many as 1200 times or more to fuse the fibers to the silk fabric. This agitation forms a new fabric and causes the overall shape to shrink.
At the very end, I cut the front down the center to make the vest. This is such a nerve-wracking moment. You know you have to do it, but cutting an intact piece still causes beads of sweat to form on my brow. But it's always best to cut at the end so you form strong felt, so it must be done. A little more rolling, slamming and kneading and it's transformed into a sleek, styled garment!
Now for the finishing touches- the collar, beading, shaping and more. These little details can really make the garment. Sometimes these details are the last to go on, or even get foregone for lack of time or patience, but you know the true artistry when you observe them.
Nuno Felted Sleeveless Blazer Vest
Size Small/ Medium
A fushion of hand dyed silk fabric and layers of wool blended with bamboo and firestar, this elegant piece is perfect for every occasion. Wear it with skinny jeans and a tee for an afternoon of shopping or with black leggings and accent jewelry for a night out. The contrasting shawl collar and pockets add to the fine detailing. Light yet warm, it changes with the seasons.