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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24 Responses to First Look: Lost Art Press Work Vest

  1. Hilton says:

    So what are we looking at? $100?

  2. John Koenig says:

    The LAP branding surprised me, but then I guess if you branded it crucible it would have to have steel plating in it. The Crucible Kickback Flak Vest has a nice ring to it though

  3. Yancey Holmes says:

    I’m in. I know the price will be right for the level of quality the vest is. Can these be ordered with gang logos on the back?

  4. John Koenig says:

    I was surprised to see the LAP branding, but I guess if they were crucible branded they’d have to have lump hammer steel plates in them. Although, the Crucible Kickback Flak Vest has a nice ring to it….

  5. Fred Beck says:

    Waiting for the Christopher modeling shots… How long till we get the fishback trousers?

  6. Gary says:

    Love the fabric and design, but are you concerned that in a shop environment the the brushed surface of the moleskin will catch every shaving and piece of saw dust, which will be hard to brush off?

    • Hi Gary,

      I wore a moleskin vest (from Orvis) for many years in the shop. It worked great, and this one will be made from even nicer fabric. The weave is incredibly tight, and the brushed exterior makes it resist chips, shavings and normal dust.

      That said, it’s a natural fabric. If you work with sub-micron dust (power sanding), you need a hazmat suit instead of 19th-century workwear.

  7. Swallow Timberworks says:

    *Brit Here*

    I’ve been wearing a pair of Moleskin trousers by HebTroCo while woodworking, on oil rigs, riding bikes & out for dinner for the last 3 years. The material has seen every conceivable type of dust, shaving, riggers mud, dirt, snow & sweat.
    The materials fantastically hard wearing, no wear just patina, for a pair of trousers i’ve worn 5 days a week for 3 years. I’ve only just replaced the “out for dinner” section of my trousers life cycle with another pair of HebTroCo trousers.
    You will not be disappointed with the comfort (it’s like wearing a soft fleece close to the skin) or the durability.

  8. pinusmuricata says:

    Handsome. Any possibility you might make patterns available, for those of us who sew?

    • We don’t own the patterns, Tom does. So it’s his call.

      • D says:

        Seconding this question. I asked the same thing about the work shirt and got a nice, but ultimately negative, reply.

        I hope this changes but I understand it’s not my call to make so I’m stick with it.

  9. jonfiant says:

    Definitely for me. Had a chore coat, but it didn’t fit me the way I wanted. This is right up my alley! Plus, I’m more of an Anglophile than a Francophile, so it all works out.

  10. Kerry doyle says:

    2XL tall, maybe double tall
    (As long as you’re going to all the trouble)

  11. almost hate to ask,… and it would be worth extra dollars due to size.
    5XL,.. just as bigger guy here. Completely understand if this is ‘no’

  12. Andy says:

    Great vest, and loved the Dick Proenneke reference and link.

    I once participated in a PBS on air telethon to raise money during one of the airings and met many other fans.

    Seems everything we love eventually connects in some way. Moleskin vests, woodworking, and Dick Proenneke.

  13. PatientlyWaiting says:

    You promised a nice looking vest, and did not disappoint! Looks quite nice! Love the color and the fabric. Should be comfortable and long wearing.

    Although, for me personally, it appears left handed?
    The sewn divided pocket is on the right hand side … would seem more natural to my hand, for the sewn divided pocket to be on the left hand side of the vest. I can always stitch dividers there myself if need be. Additionally, there should be another button hole further towards the waist. Was this left off to allow for bending over? I can always add another while I’m stitching the pocket dividers. 😉

    Looking forward to the release!

  14. Jaime Guerrero says:

    I certainly hope you make one big enough for some or your larger beer drinking woodworkers. Just saying……….you skinny dudes get all the good stuff.

  15. says:

    daddy like!

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