Steampunk Violin Vest – Prototype

Colorful Violin Vest Prototype - Brown Side - Front Folded Open

Colorful Violin Vest Prototype – Brown Side – Front Folded Open  

Catching up, this is a vest I finished back at the end of November intending to give it to a friend.  Unfortunately it turned out just a tiny bit small for him, so it is available for direct sale.  I will be making a new vest for him in the next couple months, adjusting the size and making some other modifications to the pattern.

This is a fully reversible men’s steampunk vest. The brown side is cotton duck, and the reverse is peacock-colored dupioni silk.


I drew the violin design freehand in chalk, and then painted it with Jaquard fabric paints. It is a unique design. I like how it turned out, but on the next one I plan center the violin further down the back, and have the neck aimed over the left shoulder instead of the right. That way the design will not conflict with the double-breasted design of the front closure. I heat-set the paint so it is machine washable.

The hang in the photos is a little odd, because it’s a men’s vest, but is on a woman’s mannequin that’s also significantly smaller in size. There is a significant fitted shaping to the vest, but it’s a little exaggerated by the dummy.

The pattern is an adaptation of several plates from the Handbook of Practical Cutting on the Centre Point System 1866, a book which is apparently now out of print and very expensive. If you are interested in making Mens’ Victorian clothing and can afford this book, I highly recommend it. It is a modern edit of a Victorian text describing how to draft and make tailored clothing, first published in 1866 and 1868. Most of the plates are of Men’s clothing, but there are also some womens’ fashions and childrens’ fashions.

The primary plate I referenced is on p. 43, figure 4 and figure 5. I widened the overlap of the double-breast from ~2″ to ~4″. I also split the back panel into two pieces, referencing some of the basic coat patterns for a proper curve to give a fine tailored shape to the back of the vest. The basic size is perfect for the fellow who will be receiving the vest, so I did not have to make any alterations to the dimensions.  The major change I intend to make on future versions of the vest is to move the center seam curve to the princess seam location.  That is, the double-breast will be a solid piece with the curves to either side.  This will make it easier to evenly apply the skeleton striping down the front, and adapt the shaping to a female figure.

For information on commissioning your own vest or purchasing this one, please contact me directly.  This vest fits perfectly on a fellow who wears 32″ waist pants.

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