Colorful Violin Vest

Colorful Violin Vest Final - Brown Side - One Side Folded

This is a uniquely designed reversible steampunk vest, created for Nathaniel Johnstone.   It is fully reversible.  The brown side is cotton duck, and the reverse is peacock-colored dupioni silk.  Two versions are pictured here.  One is the prototype and the other is the final version.

I drew the violin design freehand in chalk, and then painted it with Jaquard fabric paints.  It is a unique design.  I heat-set the paint so it is washing machine friendly.   The fabric was also pre-washed in hot water, so the vest may be steamed or ironed as well.

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 women’s fashions and children’s 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 the same chest measurement as Nathaniel Johnstone, so I did not to make any alterations to the dimensions on the prototype.  However, the patterns in the Handbook are designed for a fashionable dandy silhouette, so on the final version I let out the waist quite a bit for a comfortable modern fit.  On the final version I also moved the breast curve seam from the center front to a princess seam location.  This allows the double breast to fold more smoothly, and will make it easier to adjust the pattern to fit other people, including women.


4 thoughts on “Colorful Violin Vest

  1. This vest is everything I want in a steampunk vest…
    I am working on a steampunk styled production at the moment, and it is exactly the sort of thing my Costume designer has been trying to create.

    You are very talented, I love it,
    Thank you for showing a real sense of originality.

    J. Camilleri

  2. A coworker of mine is wanting me to make something like this for him – is there any way you could provide more detailed instructions? And that last picture of the pattern pieces – is that before the alterations you mentioned above?

    I understand if you do not wish to disclose this information. Thank you anyway! Beautiful vest. :)

    • The photo included is for the prototype. The major difference between the prototype and final is just in the front panel. Instead of the seam running down the center front, it’s along the princess-seam location, from shoulder to bottom over the apex of the bust. That makes the area of the double-breast one solid panel.

      Eventually I would like to provide more detailed instructions, but to do that I need detailed photos, which I did not take when I assembled this vest. Because of my illness, I honestly can’t say when I’ll be able to do that.

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