Having recently discovered my love of dapper formal wear, I have been trying to find additional vests to add to my closet. Ideally I would like a whole collection of them. However, it seems that I have found all that my local thrift store had to offer, which was two.
I do have a ton of fabric in my craft trunk from projects that “I swear I’ll do someday,” that I have never gotten to. So it occurred to me: If I can’t find vests, why not make my own?
I visited my local Jo-Ann fabric store on the hunt for a pattern. Unfortunately, it seems like vests are very much not in vogue right now. There were no patterns for vests for women and very few for men either. I did find one set that had a decent amount of variety in the “historical costumes” section. However, none were especially inspiring and I wasn’t sure any of them were designed to fit very well on my body type.
So rather than shell out the $20 for some chancy patterns, I thought I’d create my own pattern by looking at the vests I did have. It was a really fun process actually! A lot like a logic puzzle. Looking at my favorite vest, I examined how it was put together. The number of pieces it had, where and how seams were placed, and deducing what order those pieces were assembled in based on which seams were sewn over. I created a set of instructions for myself and then got out some freezer paper to trace over the garment with. I added in seam allowances and made my best guess as to how it would be cut.
I do have some very fancy fabrics, but I didn’t want to start with those. I wasn’t sure this idea would actually work, and I didn’t want to cut up nice fabric on a guess. So I dug out an old sewing project that I had finished (yay!) but the results were a terrible abomination that I never wore in public (boo!). I ripped out the seams on that and used the pieces to cut out my first attempt at the garment. The only new things I had to buy were ribbon and buttons. Last weekend I got out my sewing machine and got to work!
It went fairly smoothly. I was pleased with how much my extra planning and designing paid off. I think I did correctly identify the order for my instructions. The only stumbling block I ran into was that the buttonhole function on my machine appears to be only half-functional, so it would only correctly stitch half the time. Undeterred, I looked up some YouTube tutorials to figure out how to create buttonholes by hand instead.
Here’s the end result! I call it my Scorpio Vest. Overall it fits really well, the buttons can button, and they even stay buttoned. I think I’m ready to tackle some fancier fabrics!
I’ve also started work on a new vest with a different set of fabrics, but…well…that project has been teaching me some valuable Life Lessons. I talk a bit about that in this week’s vlog. Since it’s the first of the month, it’s available for everyone! If you’d like to see each of my weekly vlogs, they’re available to Patrons at the $1/month and higher levels.
I’ve also posted my initial outline of the different character creation modules I’ll be covering in coming months. If you’d like to see those, or make suggestions for things you’d like to see covered, you can check the outline here!