Tuesday, 5 February 2013

First Waistcoat Commission

Ah, the blog works.....brilliant......now I can proceed.  Thinking about a good place to start, knowing me I will probably jump around the years as I recall some good waistcoats.   Today I will start at the beginning.  Strange that my first waistcoat commission was the first machine sewn waistcoat I created.   The year was about 1988 and I was in Tampa, Florida with my then boyfriend.   A friend of his had seen my hand sewn work and wanted a present for her boyfriend.   Pencil case holder, no.  Patchwork bag, no.  How about a waistcoat.   Yes, yes she replied.

There were a few minor issues that needed to be resolved.  She had a sewing machine, a broken sewing machine that needed mending.  No time to take it to the sewing machine shop as we were about to drive 3000 miles to Maine.   Optimistically I hoped we would find a mender en route.   We stopped at a few shopping malls without success.   Great success with the fabric though, Walmart supplied the chintz cotton fabric in bright colours.   So I had a pattern, basic sewing kit and a great idea.

We arrived at Northeast Harbor (Acadia National Park) and the dinghy was waiting to take us to Suttons Island.  Off loaded all the gear including the sewing machine into the boat and enjoyed the sea air whilst sewing at sea.

The main road on Suttons is a gangway of planks which a small tractor can travel.   Arriving at the house which had been closed up over the winter months was quite an experience, but we soon got organised and I was itching to start the waistcoat commission.  In hindsight should have paid more attention to taking photographic progress.   Made myself at home by hanging up some of my hand sewn work near the front door.

The plan for the waistcoat was to incorporate pine trees, sea, colour and I set about forthwith.  I remember the iron not getting very hot, which was a bit of a problem, and of course the sewing machine was not fixed.   I spent time working on the tension, replaced the needle and gave it a good oil and clean.  The old machine cranked back into life, I wanted to kiss it.  Miraculously the result was good enough to work with so I cut and appliquéd onto a blue chintz background.  The happy outcome is below and I would love to know if it is still in existence.

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