When I was in Launceston in February with my friend Suzanne, we visited Ruche Fabrics, which is the last remaining fabric store in Tasmania (with the exception of quilting shops and Spotlight). Ruche Fabrics obtains some of their stock from Tessuti and I recognised lots of the fabrics they have, but didn’t buy too much given my baggage limitations. However I did buy the Tessuti Kyoto vest pattern and then promptly forgot about it.
I rediscovered it when hunting for a jacket pattern and knew that it needed some lovely wool fabric and I happened to have some Prince of Wales checked wool from Knitwit which I knew would be perfect.
I cut it out and then took a look at the instructions and saw that the edges were bound with wool binding. Wool binding? Where was I going to find that? I noticed that Tessuti sell it and seriously considered putting the vest on hold whilst I sent off for it, and then had a closer look and made that pfft noise when I realised that I could just knit my own! I happened to have a cone of vintage wool of exactly the right colour and set about working out how to knit binding. I used the ribber and emulated the fold over binding that Tessuti have by pushing up the right hand cam lever. It took me a couple of goes to get the width correct and then I was away.
I worked out that I needed around 2000 rows to get the four metres or so that was required. This probably took about an hour to knit. All that remained was to sew it on. I had to cut the binding for armholes, so decided to wash it to felt it down slightly and once it was dry I zigzagged across the edges I was going to cut, just to make sure there would be no ravelling. I used a longish stitch and folded the binding over the edges, pinning to ensure that I had the same width all the way round, although I must admit that the sewing machine squished the wool a bit. Next time I will hand sew it all on.
This is proving to be a fabulous article of clothing. I made the short version because I thought that would be more comfortable to sit around in when travelling, but I’m already planning a long version.
My arms are free (for knitting or driving), but my upper body is warm. It is also perfect for highlighting different brooches and pins, but I only travelled with one, and I’m not sure I managed to show it terribly well. The collar seems to do its own thing. Sometimes I have it high and therefore quite small and other times it’s a real shawl collar, and it can even cover my head if I’m particularly cold. I decided to just go with the flow.
I feel as though this vest teams perfectly with lots of my outfits and spruces up fairly basic attire.
As with all Tessuti patterns the instructions are well written with photographs to highlight important points, and this is a fairly simple garment to make as it’s basically a large circle. It is very similar to the Sydney jacket construction, especially if using fabric that doesn’t fray as the seams at the shoulders and back are overlapped. The binding probably took the longest as I didn’t want to have to unpick any of that knitting.
Finally, I wore it when we visited the Ballarat Art Gallery and from way across the room I spotted this painting of the iconic Jenny Kee. This painting won the 2015 Archibald Prize for Carla Fletcher, the artist, and its luminescence literally took my breath away. It’s just magnificent.
I have some reversible fabric for my next one. I could opt to not bind the edges, but I am rather keen on that binding so will choose a nicely contrasting wool to highlight the edges. Stay tuned for a long version!