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How to Sew a Vest

Updated on November 7, 2012
Pick a Pattern
Pick a Pattern | Source
Back of envelope
Back of envelope | Source
Instruction Layout & pattern pieces needed
Instruction Layout & pattern pieces needed | Source
Layout of Pattern on material
Layout of Pattern on material | Source
Front pieces pinned together
Front pieces pinned together | Source
Front pieces showing attached interfacing
Front pieces showing attached interfacing | Source

Design Opportunity

The first thing you need to do when you want to sew a vest is to find a pattern. Finding a pattern is usually pretty easy because you can look in your mother's stash or go to the nearest sewing store and find a pattern by looking in the books JoAnn Fabrics has. Once you find the pattern then you need you read the back of the pattern and buy material. The back of the pattern tells you how much material you will need and the type of material that produces the best results. The yardage tells you the amount of material to buy for the size you want to make. On the back of the envelope it also tells you what other supplies you will need to buy to make the design you want.

Usually patterns have more than one version of the item. Vests, for example, will have one with collars, one without or one with collars and pockets etc. and they are often labeled as A, B,C,or D versions. Look on the back of the envelope and buy the material and supplies for the version you want to make.

The next step is to bring all of that home and to lay out the material. Keep in mind that you do not have to lay the material out according to the instructions inside the pattern especially if using material you have at home. After laying out the pattern according to the amount of material you have and the instructions on each pattern piece (for example: Each pattern that makes up that design will have the piece number 1,2,7 etc, and how much to cut out of the material, lining and interfacing if needed). Using that guide on the pattern piece itself be sure to cut out what the pattern tells you.

After cutting it all out go through and attach the interfacing to all the pieces that need it. I always use sew in interfacing even if the pattern recommends iron on interfacing because I prefer it but either one works. After the interfacing is attached either by hand sewing it in place or by ironing it then you need to read the pattern instructions. Usually it is a good idea to read all the way through before starting so that if there are any questions or things you do not understand or know how to do then you can ask questions and get answers before arriving at that point.

Start at part one for the version you plan on making. For the vest you first sew all of the front pieces together. I pin baste them together so that I can tell if I have the correct pieces together. The right and left of the front should be opposites and sometimes it is not always spelled out in simple language. So to avoid having to redo it after it is sewn it is usually better to piece it together first with pins or basting. Usually there is a picture in the instructions to lay half of it together. If you look at a button shirt or a previous vest you can tell that the armholes are opposite for the right and left of the garment.

After following the pattern section after section you will have a finished vest. If you plan on embroidering the finished vest it is better to embroider the parts you want as you put it together depending on whether or not you want the stitching from the embroider to show on the inside of the vest. I prefer to keep embroidery stitches hidden as I do not like the look of it on the top of my lining but that is only my preference. If you are not embroidering the vest then continue with the instructions.

As far as closures go you can decide to close it any way you want despite what the instructions tell you. For example, maybe instead of buttons do snaps, or frog closures or no closures or do eye closures or zippers. Feel free to close it any way you wish. After all the options are endless because you are the one sewing the garment. Feel free to experiment and if you end up not liking that option then take it out and try another.


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