Jane By Design Style Challenge: Task four

I left my laptop at home during my quick Christmas vacation, but the minute my plane landed, my mind was off and running with regards to this blog. We grabbed our luggage, Bee came and picked us up from the airport, and then I immediately went to Jo-Ann to get some supplies for the fourth Jane By Design Style Challenge that landed in my inbox last Friday:

The holidays are upon us. Your gift? You’ve made it to the next phase of the interview process. And while you may be in the mood to take some time off, there’s one thing you need to remember—fashion never takes a vacation.

Fashion happens when reinvention is combined with exceptional vision. Look inside your trunk and take out the holiday sweater. You must use every ounce of creativity you have to turn the holiday sweater into something special. Turn that sweater into something fresh & exciting that could be the next big trend for Holiday 2012.

When you think you’ve created something innovative and amazing, whether it’s a bracelet or a mini skirt, post before and after photos to your blog. Ask your readers to share their own inspired creations here and mention the name of your blog.

If you truly want to have a happy holiday season, you must hope against hope that you have the vision it takes to impress me. Otherwise, it’s quite possible that this will be our last correspondence.


This is the sweater Gray was referring to. Behold my canvas:

I had no idea what to do with this sweater vest. The only thing I liked about it was the fact that it was a vest. Hunter green may be my least favorite color on the planet and there was no way I could turn this into a Christmas skirt and call it a day, so in the end, I decided to scrap everything about it... except the fact that it was a vest.
For the last two years, I've had a brown fur vest near the top of my winter wardrobe wants list. I had thought about making this shrug into a vest, but it was too short. I even contemplated turning my Halloween costume into a vest, but it wasn't the color I wanted. I decided to check out Jo-Ann to see what they had in stock, and I was happy to find a very soft, fake mink in a rich, chocolate brown. While I was waiting at the cut counter, I installed the Jo-Ann iPhone app and snagged a 50% off mobile coupon and got the yard of faux mink for $7.99. High five!
Using the original vest as a pattern and adding 1/4'' all the way around, I cut out a back and an identical front from the fabric:
The Christmas vest would now be serving as the foundation of the fur vest. I snipped off all the beads to make sure the fur would lay flat against the knit vest:
Then using my sewing machine, I sewed up the shoulders and the sides to make a shapeless fur tank:
I then layered the Christmas vest (right side out) inside the fur tank (also right side out) and sewed along the shoulder seams and armpit holes, turning the extra fabric to the inside of the seams. Next I followed the lines of the original vest and made a cut up the front of the fur tank to mimic the front of the original vest. Then I flipped the extra fabric (remember that extra 1/4''?) and sewed all around the hem, front flap openings, and neck. That sounds complicated, but these next two photos explain it a little better:
I started to put buttons up the front of the sweater but after I tacked on the first one, I immediately regretted it.
I snipped it off and opted for (what else?) a simple grosgrain ribbon belt, instead. This will be held in place with simple belt loops fashioned from brown embroidery thread:
And those beads that I removed? I strung 'em together to make a simple, understated necklace:
There it is! A pretty fur vest in under an hour. Because the original vest is now acting as the liner, it's quite a bit sturdier and much warmer than it would be had I made it without the Christmas canvas. Best of all? I can check the brown fur vest off my winter wants list now.
Happy holidays, Gray. That was the tackiest Christmas sweater vest I have ever seen, and there was no way I could have worn that without a heavy dose of hipster irony and perhaps even a shot of tequila and a dare from a friend. Because fur vests are a much better cool weather alternative to hunter green sweater vests bedazzled and bedecked with embroidered presents, rather than toss this gem of yours into my Goodwill bin, I transformed it into a darling fur vest that would work with classics like jeans and ankle boots just as well as with this season's military inspired button down dresses. What's your size? Extra small? I'll whip one up for you tomorrow if you'd like. If I can do this to a vest in an hour, imagine what I could do for Donovan Decker for the duration of my career.


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