YOUR TRIBE'S VESTS are full of powerful Magic!
Your vests give yourTribe its group identity.
- Your vests give your Tribe its most basic tradition.
- Your vests change newcomers into Tribe Members.
- Your vests tell personal stories about each member -- by virtue of the patches that are sewn on. Each member's vest can be (or should be) a personal history.
Vests are not just "ceremonial".A good Chief will encourage members to wear their vests at all Yomechas functions. Tribe meeting? Wear vests. Campout? Wear vests. Nation event? Wear vests. Special outing? Wear vests!
Vests are not just for the kids.Adults and children alike should wear vests. Adults should set the example. By wearing our vests, we tell our children: "This is something special! This event is something special for you!"
Display your patches!Fabric patches are earned throughout the year by attending events such as campouts, pumpkin decorating, bowling, etc. Patches are also earned by community service such as park clean ups. The vest is the showcase for the patches. The patches make the vest special to the individual. The patches communicate the history of the individual. If you do not have a sewing machine, many dry-cleaners will sew on your patches for a modest fee. You can also contact your outfitter, Jennifer Anderson. She has a name of a mom in the area that will make you vests and sew on patches.
Tribal vests must be easy to obtain.A good Chief will make sure that new members can obtain their vests easily. New members will expect their Chief to tell them exactly what to do. The Tribe should have a written page that helps new members order their vests and/or purchase the materials. The plan should specify sources, colors and sizes. (Hint: Recommend oversized vests for the youngest children; they will grow into them over their years in the program.) Vests should be relatively inexpensive. A Tribe should offer at least two of the following three options:
- Make your own vest
- Have a vest made
- Purchase a vest
Vest DesignMembers of a Tribe should all wear a similar vest. A Tribe's vest design should not change from year-to-year. But new tribes will need to create a design. And occasionally, an old design may need to be updated a little.
Considerations when designing vestsA tribe's vest should include decorations that make it distinctive. Most tribes have an "emblem" of some kind. Keep it reasonably simple. A fully decorated vest should be easy to create with only modest sewing skills.
Considerations when choosing materialsVests that are worn at tribe meetings, campouts, and Nation events, will gain "character" -- they will become a little dirty and tattered. Therefore, vests should be made from materials that are sturdy and cleanable. Corduroy, denim, polyester all work well. Leather may look good, but it is hard to clean and difficult to work with when sewing on patches and decorations. The materials you select for both the basic vest and its decorations should be easily obtained. Many generations of your Tribe will reuse the same design; they will be frustrated if the materials become hard-to-find.
Members who are handy with a sewing machine (or who have a family member that is) often prefer to make their own vest. This is typically the low-cost approach and often the highest-quality approach. The tribe's Chief should provide a pattern (or a sample vest to copy). The Chief might offer suggestions for local sources of materials. The Chief might maintain a stock of pre-cut decorations that can be applied by the individual making the vest.
Some tribes have a family member who is handy with a sewing machine and willing to make vests for newcomers. This approach may work for a few years, but as a tribe's membership changes from year-to-year, these resources may disappear. Instead, you might try to find a local seamstress or tailor who is willing to make your vests for the cost of materials plus a modest profit. This is convenient because the end-result is a fully decorated vest. But this approach is usually carries the highest cost. Also, quite often the tribe member still must acquire and provide the fabric(s), so the actual convenience may be diminished.
As a matter of convenience, most tribes elect to have members purchase their basic vest. If a tribe takes this approach, the vests will be relatively unadorned. The tribe should maintain a stock of pre-cut decorations that can be applied by the individual after the basic vest is obtained. If you choose to purchase your vests, you might try the supplier listed below:
477 W. Fullerton, Elmhurst, IL 60126
From within Illinois call (630) 530-0177. From elsewhere call (800) 537-2824.