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Your Favorite Jacket Can Become a Vest

At a recent sewing retreat my assistant, Sandy Miller had on a great vest. As we were walking to class I asked her, “Whose vest pattern is that?”

“Yours! It’s ‘Anything But Ordinary’ without the sleeves.” 

The jacket on the left is a great Japanese cotton border print (sorry, the fabric is no longer available). The fabric has multi colored leaves along one selvage and polka dots at the other selvage. I had to purchase extra fabric to place the print exactly where I wanted it, but it left quite a bit of irregular shapes stacked up in my someday-I’ll-do-something-with-this stash.’  The only way I could make the ‘Anything But Ordinary’ vest was to piece all the small shapes together. I rotary cut them at right angles and just kept sewing until I had sections large enough for the left and right front, the back, collar and the yet to be drawn facings.

The facings ended up to be the only section of the garment that did not have to be pieced together! 

1. On the tissue pattern, draw the 5/8 inch wide seam allowance on the front and back.

2. Overlap the seam allowances so the seamlines are on top of each other. The overlapped tissue will appear to be 1 1/4 inches wide. (5/8″+5/8″=1 1/4″) To reduce bulk, draw the armhole facing without a shoulder seam.

3. The tissue paper needs to be large enough to draw the front and back armseye shape plus the shape of the front and back side seam cutting lines.  The curved shape of the armhole is traced along the front and back. A clip mark is drawn to indicate the shoulder seam.  

4. Using a see-through ruler, draw dots 2 1/2 inches away from the armseye curve. Starting at the side seam and continuing the 2 1/2 inch width to…

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  1. sarad63 | | #1

    This is a great tutorial. And I love how you pieced the scraps together for the vest - a great way to use up those odds and ends.

  2. User avater
    sharonmaroney | | #2

    Great! Thanks!

  3. User avater
    AdoAnnie | | #3

    Lazy me, actually tugged every which way for time, I would have chosen a close color match of binding and used it for facing. But the idea of creating a seamless armhole facing is instead of the sleeve is cool. I would really like to see the back of the vest as well, the fabric is delicious!

  4. User avater
    SewReel | | #4

    Great idea...which gave me another idea...taking an old jacket, remove the sleeves, use the sleeve fabric for facing (or a different matching fabric) and voila! New purpose for an old jacket.

  5. 4ggrvf121 | | #5

    loved jacket make=over; on mine i merely lined the whole
    thing; adding extra long bound button holes fitted over
    the zipper teeth for a smooth pocket application; a lined
    sguare of fabric applied between outer layer & lining...

  6. georgiana | | #6

    That is a very cute vest. A friend wanted to make a vest from a jacket which was no longer stylish. However, when she removed the sleeves, the armholes gaped far too much. I fitted the vest on her, put darts at the shoulders and bust and also resewed and tapered the shoulder seam. I used the sleeves to make facings for the vest. My friend was very pleased with the results.

  7. JHerman | | #7

    Sandy, I love the vest. Really a great idea.

  8. lindacabler | | #8

    I have made a vest from a jacket many times. BUT you do not have to remove the sleeves to do this. For a casual vest just cup the sleeves OFF about 1/2 to 3/4' from the shoulder seam. ( enough so you can turn the remaining fabric under for your seam) Press the remaining fabric under and stitch it. In about fifteen minutes you have a vest.

    [email protected]

  9. User avater
    Sewmarj | | #9

    Love the facing without a shoulder seam!

  10. Jenn_in_Albuquerque | | #10
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