The liner is metal-thread sari cloth that I used as a curtain for a while, but then retired. The 100% wool vest fabric comes from a brilliant orange skirt that I found in the free box years ago, intending to use it for something. But who wears orange? Then my sister took me to Scrap in Portland, where I found a tub full of fabric dye. Orange + spruce = maroon, turns out.
The recipient of the vest is a botanist with a special interest in camas, hence the embroidery on the back, which I did first (using thread from a scary tangle of thread given to me by an old lady who used to embroider but stopped). When I looked at the result, and at what the recipient usually wears, I realized the overall effect needed to be far less conventionally pretty and symmetrical. One of her other interests is pollinating bees, so I took photos around my place until I got a nice crisp image from one on a blackberry blossom. I worked on that part during various end-of-year meetings at school.
Then there was the pocket. Woman clothes often don't have pockets because they spoil the lines of the garment, and because we are supposed to have a purse. A botanist in the field, though, doesn't care as much about the lines of the garment as about where to put the stuff that has come out of the backpack – the camera, the notebook and pencil, the tape measure, the sample bags. This one is capacious enough for all of that. If there's more, she can use her backpack the way she's supposed to.
And finally I draw your attention to the appliquéd salal leaves, which originally came from a ball gown that I wore for a family reunion 15 years ago. We all wore ball gowns, and had a hilarious time, so I never could throw the thing away. The time has come to give it new life.