• Xenia

Down vest with extension

Today we went for a lazy walk and I happened to wear an old down vest, from the times that I have made more than a year ago. I thought it's a fine occasion to show it and write about it.

    I remember that main motivation for making it was that I was not satisfied with length of existing down jackets, they all were to short to cover my butt and when it's windy you want it to be covered. At the same time you don't always need it to be so long and I didn't want to have two jackets with just different length.

I started working on a pattern for a jacket with removable lower piece, I also wanted sleeves to be removable. But it was already complicated enough technically so I decided first to make a vest with removable bottom piece. When you are about to use a new method that you have no experience with it's a good idea to try one at a time, removable sleeves was one increment of complexity higher than just removable rectangle piece due to curvature of armscye. 

   Apart from removable bottom piece this vest is featuring asymmetrical main zipper and overlapping central piece. Reason for that is extra warmth for the chest area, which is important to keep warm (at least for me) to avoid catching cold. Vest is collarless due to only one reason - I make separate down collars, if I wouldn't have invented such a thing this vest would have had its own collar.

  So here are some of initial pictures I took:


  The removable piece system worked out well, piece itself can be compressed easily and doesn't take too much space. Technically it was rather complicated to put together, but for the first attempt it's not unusual. Biggest downside came from down itself, I learned that the on I've used had too much feathers in it and they were leaking through seams and fabric itself. Fabric I used is downproof for 800 fill down and the down I bought was claimed to be 800 fill, and maybe down itself was, but amount of small feathers mixed in was too high. Later on I found another supplier and saw a difference, but because that was at a time that I just started working with down I couldn't know how good down should look like and what is acceptable amount of feathers. So essentially filling kind of ruined whole thing. I still do wear it from time to time but far away from as much as I would have if it wouldn't have been leaking. A pity, because this issue can't be easily fixed.