First Look: Lost Art Press Work Vest


Despite some slow fabric shipping and a booming business at Sew Valley, our sewing contractor, we’ve just taken delivery of the final prototype of the moleskin work vest. It came out great – the fabric is amazing, the fit is spot-on (a smidge boxier than the LAP chore coat) and the pockets are useful without being bothersome. The inner pocket has sewn divisions, which means that you can lean over without your 6″ ruler and pencils falling out.


Chris asked if the mole’s blood was still on the fabric, but I had to disappoint him. Moleskin is just plain heavy cotton, often woven in a very dense sateen. The British nearly always brush one side of their moleskin, resulting in a soft-handed but super sturdy and long-wearing fabric. It was a traditional workwear material for miners, carpenters, farmers and just about everyone else doing heavy work in the British Isles.


I truly don’t know why, but the French seem to rarely brush either side of their moleskin. Our first Chore Coat was in a Japanese woven French-style moleskin (le moleskine, en Français), thus the shiny surface on both sides. Our work vest is British style, and you can see the brushed and non-brushed surfaces in the above photo. The stuff is awesome – wind and abrasion resistant, warm and long lasting. We’re getting the real stuff, woven and brushed in England by Brisbane Moss. It’s expensive fabric, but so, so nice. And hey, you don’t have to pay for sleeves!


This sample has just been approved. Now starts the wheel turning – importing the bulk fabric, getting in line at Sew Valley, and cut, sew and QC. We’ll definitely have these available by early fall, which is good timing – summer woodworking, in my experience, calls for cutting your hickory shirt sleeves off like Dick Proenneke. Quantities will be very limited, and we’re only doing this lovely olive drab color. We’ll have more details, especially sizing, closer to the date of release.

— Tom Bonamici

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