Introducing the Amara Vest

The development of this latest pattern coincided with an important global moment and global movement. This led us to taking some time to read and research local Indigenous organisations that we wish to support and promote in ways that we, as a fabric retailer, best can. We came across Ikuntji Artists – a member based, not-for-profit Aboriginal owned and operated arts centre in Haasts Bluff (Ikuntji), Central Australia. Amongst artworks, clothing and merchandise, they also produce incredible fabric designs created by their artist members. So from today until the end of the year, we’ll be donating 100% of our Amara Vest digital PDF sales to Ikuntji Artists.

Photo credit: Alice Nampitjinpa Dixon in the Ikuntji Artists studio
by Chrischona Schmidt 2019

Ikuntji Artists was first established in 1992, after a series of workshops with Melbourne artist Marina Strocchi, and under the influence of the then community president, the late Esther Jugadai. The art centre was initially set up to fulfil the role of women’s centre, providing services such as catering for children and the elderly within the community.  After first experiences made in printing t-shirts, the artists began producing acrylic paintings on linen and handmade paper and these rapidly earned the attention of the Australian and international art world as well as earning the centre an impressive reputation for fine art. In 2005, the focus changed from a women’s centre to an art centre with the incorporation of the art centre as Ikuntji Artists Aboriginal Corporation. Today Ikuntji Artists are represented in numerous national and international galleries and institutions. Their art is famous for bold colour choice, decisive brush strokes and a long legacy of internationally renowned artists.

Please do visit their website and their outstanding gallery which includes paintings, limited editions and fabrics. 

So, a little bit more about the vest. After posting this image of Silva on Instagram last month, we were inundated with requests to create a pattern and so create one we did. The Amara Vest is a loose, boxy vest/top designed as a layering piece to add colour, contrast or texture. Features include drop shoulders, optional patch pockets and a wide neckline. View A is for non-fraying fabrics and has overlapped and raw edges. View B has bound edges for extra detail and allows for more fabric options.

Here, Margaret’s wearing View A made up in our Bollito Ruggine boiled wool (other colours here). This one’s all raw hems and overlapped seams so it’s as quick a sew as you’ll ever sew and looks unbelievably good over a crisp white shirt.

Below, Margaret and Gabby are wearing View B in our Incoming Black and Incoming Red (also available in Chocolate). View B is finished with a fold-over elastic at the neckline, armhole and pocket openings. We use this 24mm mouselline but you could also use our 20mm Japanese wool binding.

This is such a great little pattern and a nice scrap buster for heavier fabrics too. Since creating the pattern, we’ve been on an Amara Vest sewing frenzy, trying it out in all sorts of different fabrics. With our recent coating arrivals, Colette sewed it up in our (sold out) Suri Lagoon Green and it’s pure lush (other Suri colours here).

Take note that if using a thicker fabric – and especially one with a pile – we recommend finishing the hemline with binding, as Colette did here. Depending on your size, you’ll need to allow for an extra 1.35-1.65m.

Amara Vest made up in Wave on Wave.

The Amara Vest is available in four sizes – Size 1 (6-8-10), Size 2 (10-12-14), Size 3 (14-16-18), Size 4 (18-20-22) – and is now available in both hardcopy and PDF copy shop/print-at-home versions and, as mentioned at the beginning of this post, we’ll be donating 100% of our Amara Vest digital PDF sales to Ikuntji Artists between now and the end of the year.