for some years now, i have wanted to re-create the iconic sweater vest worn by matthew broderick in ferris bueller’s day off. unapologetic child of the eighties that i am. i certainly wasn’t going to wear it, nor ben. it was an even cuter (and more challenging) idea to do it sized for a little person, and so, i decided to actually hunker down and make it for my boy — before he was big enough to stop me.
i knew this vest would require very specific shaping, and the color chart — man, i was stumped. while many people misremember ferris’ vest as being an animal print, it’s not — it is a very abstract pattern with varying widths of “phrases” within a single repeat of the motif. the original is definitely a production line piece, probably made in hong kong or somewhere, and i do wonder how it came into the costumer’s hands for that film. (if you want to see good original close-ups of the vest, the best ones come up online not in screenshots from the film, but images taken at the hard rock café in new york, where the vest is, or was, framed and on display.)
save a single technical consultation on the shaping of the buttonband, i designed the thing alone — and in doing so, knitted the garment of which i am more proud than any i have ever made. it’s a fabulous, fabulous feeling.
the chart was the biggest challenge. there was no way i would be getting the original gauge in handknitting, so my motif was bound to be somewhat reductive. i still felt that with proper color, shaping of garment and close-to-accurate number of repeats of the motif used across the garment, that it would be recognizable. once i had done the math on that, in relation to the size of my son, i knew how wide my motif needed to be stitchwise, and it only took a couple of hours to chart the motif in a manner that pleased me.
i wish the button band had been knitted a bit tighter, but other than that, i don’t know what to say — i didn’t know i could be this happy with my work. it really is a dream made real!