There's a donkey inside your waistcoat

I'm currently making all the clothing for DIYcouture's Autumn/Winter collection. It's particularly exciting this time round as I haven't looked to catwalk designers for inspiration. Instead I am focussing on a concept and a particular group of fabrics (all of which will be revealed at a later date).

Today I made this version of my waistcoat design, instructions for which appear in my big bumper book of pictorial tutorials. (For people who like hands-on learning, rather than visual learning, I'm also teaching a waistcoat making workshop in Hackney in a couple of weeks)

The waistcoat I designed for the book is simple to make and more versatile than you might imagine. It is not a tailored garment i.e. it is not made of panels that join together to hug the body. It is made of three simple shapes that are positioned in a way that creates structure.

The prototype I made is the first waistcoat shown here - the bright blue one. It is quite chunky, with big boxy shoulders and large lapels. Through experimentation, I found that minor adjustments could be made to the process to create waistcoats that have different features. These are the eight versions that appear in my book.

I find it quite painful to look at them all bunched together here, as the colours and styling of eight pieces from eight different collections really do not go well together! Anyway, here they are:

I made this version extra long for the Safari Prep collection. I forgot however that Stella, who is modelling the piece, is actually very tall, so whereas I intended the piece to end well below the bum, it actually sits just below her hips. She wears it over a shirt I found in a vintage shop on Holloway Road.

This version is from the Rude Disco collection in my book. You can see that I inverted the colour arrangement on one side of the garment. Danielle wears this version hanging open rather than pinched in at the waist like all the others. Those very cool pastel leggings you can just see beneath the waistcoat are from a Latvian brand called QooQoo.

Here, Shrubka is modelling the Jungle Punk version of the waistcoat, which has very slim front pieces that do not meet to cover the chest area. This waistcoat fastens with poppers at the side, and the bottom corners of the back piece show, creating a peplum-like shape.

This is the Tea Picnic version of the waistcoat, modelled by Gerda. The lapels have been rounded for a soft look. 

Finally, my favourite of the lot, the Coffee Classic version modelled by Hera. This is made with two soft, weighty fabrics that are fairly floppy. I am proud of myself for managing to create something so sensible and understated!

What fabrics do you think the waistcoat would look good in?


  1. Love the mauve one! Would also be cool to overlay some lace maybe onto the lapel piece?

    Also just wanted to let you know that we've nominated you for some of those inter-bloggy awards over at the work blog:

    Elisalex, Charlotte & Victoria xxx

  2. Ah thanks you three! This inter-bloggy spread the love is a great idea. Will respond when I get a moment : ). Lace is a great idea - so many ideas, so little time!

    Your blog is looking GREAT by the way. I'm going to experiment with your DIY intergalactic T-shirt tutorial : ) xx

  3. It's great to see them in the different fabrics. My favourite is probably the last one.

    Are you going to issue the ebook for the wrap around top showing on your website? I really like the look of that garment

  4. Hi Jane, thanks for your comment. I will release the wrap top instructions but I am just not sure exactly how at the moment. I'm going to put out the shrug and tulip skirt instructions as free downloadable Pdfs and get some feedback on that format. I would really like to release the wrap top as a printed book, but printing is so expensive. I'm wondering whether to experiment with using Kickstarter to help get it printed, or whether to go the electronic route so... This indecision is holding things up! Rosie xx


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