My Blue Silk Vest

Dean Deerfield © 2004

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It is interesting how some things come into existence. Creative people get ideas at the most inopportune times.

I was sitting in church one Sunday morning listening to a not so great sermon. My hands began to fidget and I needed something to doodle with. Usually when these feelings come over me I draw. Sometimes it is a cacti picture of some kind, and sometimes it is a silk ribbon design for something I have in mind to make. This particular morning the silk ribbon project came forth and I started drawing a design that was to go all the way down the back of a vest I wanted to make. The drawing was about 4 inches long when I finished it. Needless to say, it had to be enlarged. I measured the length of the back of the vest and marked off the area I wanted the SRE to cover and started enlarging the drawing.

I have a picture of that finished drawing for you to see. I started with 5 large circles the size I wanted the finished areas to cover. My drawing was very detailed because I wanted to get a good idea what the finished work would look like and I wanted to see how covered the area would be with ribbon. By drawing the individual embellishments close to the real size they would be when done with ribbon, I could get a good idea of how “filled in” the finished work would be. There was a second reason I did this. This was a very large project, much larger than anything else I had ever made. I had no idea how much ribbon I would need for this garment. The finished drawing was life size. I sent that drawing to Betty Caskey, at Victorian Pleasures in Canada, and asked her how much ribbon it would take and sent her a piece of fabric the color I wanted the ribbon to be. Betty suggested that I use three shades of the same blue ribbon to give it a little depth. That was a wonderful suggestion. The effect was great. I cut my ribbon in strips and mixed it all up and just picked up whatever color was convenient each time I threaded my needle and didn’t make conscious choices about the color I was using. It turned out great and I love the way it looks. The blue on blue is very pretty too.

I drew a circle with the 5 lines for the spider roses, dots for the beads, little swirls for the grapes, buds, etc. I used French knots, lazy daisy stitches, ribbon stitches, and pistil stitches. The stems are regular embroidery stitches and are done with silk embroidery thread.

I have made this pattern two times. The first was on a duster that was part of my outfit for my daughter’s wedding. She is going to cut the back panel out and frame it to hang on the wall. The second was a vest for a pants suit. It goes together quickly because the silk ribbon is fast and these flowers are medium to medium large in size. Some of the French knots are wrapped one time and some two or three times. This makes a graduated flower. How tight you pull the French knot can also change the size of the grape, or bud, or what ever you are using it to make.

Do not be afraid to do something original with your silk ribbon decorating. It is such fun to do your own thing. Sometimes when I use color, I use colored pencils to color in my sketch and then you can really see what the finished product is going to look like. Silk ribbon is such a versatile medium to work with and you can copy just about anything in nature with silk ribbon work. Sketch your idea out and give it some thought and it will come together for you.



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