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Basic vest fitting question

Jenster | Posted in Fitting on

Hi, I’m a new sewer and I’m making a vest from Vogue pattern 8334:


It’s the one on the left with the shawl collar. I made up a muslin in a test size and it fits perfectly with no alternations needed to the bust or waist or length.. however, I am concerned that it fits a little *too* perfectly, given that the muslin is just one layer of fabric but the finished vest will be several, including the lining and interfacing. The fabric I’m using is gabardine with a little bit of Lycra in it, so it will have some stretch.

My question is, would it be better to go one size up to ensure a good fit? Or do I then run the risk of the vest being too large?

Thanks for your input. I hesitate to cut into my nice fabric without some advice. 🙂


  1. MaryinColorado | | #1

    That is a darling pattern!  As for your question, it depends on how heavy the lining fabric is, does the pattern call for a lining?  Will the lining stretch as much as the fabric?  Did you prewash both fabrics or will it be drycleaned?

    I think I would try it out of a less expensive fabric first, maybe making the seam allowances smaller than called for on the pattern if possible.  A full size larger may be going too far the other way but at least you could take it in but alot of work.  Especially if the lining fabric frays alot.

    Sorry I couldn't be of more help.  Mary

    1. Jenster | | #2

      Thank you, Mary! The pattern does call for a lining, which is less stretchy than the gabardine/Lycra. Good point, thank you. I hadn't considered the effect of the lining on the exterior. Both fabrics need to be dry-cleaned, but I am pressing them before cutting. I think I might just take the time to make a new muslin in the larger size first. Thanks again for your help!

      1. Josefly | | #3

        I think I would cut the fabric using the pattern that fits "perfectly" but cut larger seam allowances on the vertical seams - the side seams primarily. A seam allowance of 1 inch instead of the usual 5/8" should give you enough allowance for thickness of fabric.

        1. Jenster | | #4

          Thanks, Josefly-- I'm sure I'm missing something obvious here, but wouldn't increasing the seam allowance from 5/8" to 1" make the vest smaller? Sorry if this is a dumb question. :)

          1. Alexandra | | #5

            Cut 1" sa. but sew 5/8" sa. will give you a little wiggle room.  One size up will be TOO big, dinna do it.

          2. Jenster | | #6

            Oh, I get it. Duh! Thanks, Alexandra. :)

          3. MaryinColorado | | #7

            I agree that this is what I would do too.

          4. Josefly | | #8

            heh heh. Sorry if I confused. What I should've said, I guess, is that you add 3/8 inch to the width of the seam allowances *when you cut*. Then you baste, or pin, your pieces together using 1 inch sa's, to fit it to you, and if it's too tight, as you suspect it might be, you have that 3/8 inch to work with. As you've described it, all you need is enough to allow for the extra fabric width needed for interfacing and lining, and this should be more than enough; that's why I think increasing the seam allowances in the side seams only might be adequate. Going up another size might affect other things like the size of armscye, height of neckline, shoulder width, etc. I like the pattern you've chosen, and hope it works well for you with the fabrics you've chosen. Seems like it would be nice if the lining had a little stretch to it too, though, to match the fashion fabric's stretch, as Mary suggested. Have you decided yet about that?

            Edited 4/15/2007 11:02 pm ET by Josefly

          5. MaryinColorado | | #9

            Your instructions are always excellent.  Just thought I'd let you know I have appreciated all the information that you share with us.  Thanks "sew" much!  I really value your input!  Mary

          6. Josefly | | #11

            Why, thank you so much, Mary, and I value your input too. I sometimes feel like a novice compared to the expertise available here on this forum.

          7. Jenster | | #10

            Thanks so much, Josefly. I am going to try your suggestion. The stretchier lining idea is a good one, too, but I really like the lining I bought so I think I will try to work with it. The gabardine is navy and the lining is a vivid lime green; I like the contrast and I don't think I will be able to find another lining that I like as much very easily.

          8. Josefly | | #12

            Navy and lime green. Nice. I would probably stick with that, too. Let us know how the fitting works out.I've often wondered, though, about linings for the wonderful stretchy fabrics available to us - I haven't used them much myself. What can be used that doesn't negate the stretchy comfort they provide - or are they just not usually lined?

          9. MaryinColorado | | #13

             I have used fusible knit interfacings and also have made some reversable knits and fleece.  I also made a fleece coat with a knit lining.  I have also made double layer fronts on knit tops with same fabric so as long as the stretch is the same it shouldn't be a problem.  Also, must remember to have the stretchiest part going the same way according to pattern layout directions.  It can be confusing which is right/wrong sides if it is put away as a UFO, guess how I know that?

            I have a handknit sweater that is completely lined in a knit fabric that I love.  Someday I will attempt to copy it with a RTW sweater as it makes a great medium weight coat. 

          10. Josefly | | #14

            Oooh, a sweater lined with a knit fabric. That sounds terrific.Yeah, I can see knits lined with knits. Would you also use a knit to line a stretch woven?

          11. MaryinColorado | | #15

            Yes it is very cozy and even has a hood, which I am no longer to vain to use when necessary. 

            I think the lining could be either woven or knit, depending on the amount of stretch and how formfitting the garment is.  RTW moleskin pants and jackets are lined with a woven, they would be too hot I think with a knit and maybe more likely to lose thier shape. 

            This might be a good suggestion for an article.  Maybe it is in the Threads archives, but I don't remember one. 

          12. Teaf5 | | #16

            I agree with the other posters that you really, really, really, need your lining to be as close to the fashion fabric in stretch; otherwise, you'll lose the best qualities of both fabrics, and you'll make yourself crazy putting them together! (Been there, done that, too many times to count!)If it's a truly beautiful lining fabric, use it as another vest, lined with a similar fabric; lightweight vests of silky fabrics are trendy and very lovely. Then get another lining--probably not in the lining section but in the knits/slinky section--that has the same stretch as your original fabric to make a different vest. You'll end up with two lovely vests in about half the time it will take to struggle through combining two dissimilar fabrics into one that may never fit particularly well.

          13. Gloriasews | | #17

            What kind of knits can make a good lining?  Are there any that are "slick" like the lining fabrics or satin that I usually use for vest & jackets?  All of the cotton & cotton mix knits are always "sticky" & cling to whatever else you have on - just like how T-shirts cling to your bum when you wear jeans & you have to keep tugging them back in place after you've bent over - very irritating (in fact, I've been toying with the idea of lining the bum area of T-shirts with lining fabric just to get over that problem).  The unlined knit jackets (as in the weekender wear) also have that problem & everyone I know who has them has had to line them.  Any ideas out there???  I really don't like unlined jackets or vests - they look so unfinished, & they're much more comfortable when they don't cling. 

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