Yeah, I made a vest. Interestingly enough, I made a vest very similar to the one that inspired that Facebook post 4 years ago. Apparently now we call them “sleeveless blazers,” so it’s okay, and we’re not actually channeling Kelly Kapowski or Donna Martin when we wear them.
This idea has been rolling around in my head for awhile now. My first thought was to make a white blazer with a black lapel. (I think I’ll probably still do that at some point.) But I bought all this ivory and black ponte to play with my new serger, plus I picked up Simplicity 8054, and I decided to do a different take on the idea. After I saw Shari’s lovely blue version, I knew this pattern would be a good choice.
As far as the pattern goes, this is a nice, clean make. If you hate hand-stitching and over-the-top tailoring details, take a look at this pattern. It’s designed to be mostly machine-sewn. The only hand-stitching in the entire garment is about 3/4 of each side seam!
The trade-off is that the hems aren’t quite as crisp as I’d like, since the lining is just sewn to the outer fabric, right sides together, and pressed down. I tried to make sure the lining wouldn’t peek out at the bottom by trimming about 1/4″ off the bottom of the back lining piece. (I should’ve done the same for the side front pieces. Crap!) This seems to be helping. For a garment that feels more tailored, I’d definitely want to hem the outer fabric and the lining separately. Using a fabric that presses well would also go a long way.
Also, my contrast collar may have been ill-advised. The front facing is cut from self-fabric, so the ivory ponte keeps peeking out. There’s not a great fix for this. I tacked down the edges so that the collar would roll to the outside, but as soon as I move, the ivory facing is exposed.
I’m totally open to suggestions on how to fix this post-construction — any ideas? If you’re sewing this (take note, Future Self), consider some strategic understitching. (Not called for in the instructions.)
Another note on the pattern: there are separate front pattern pieces for cup sizes A-D. I know that’s a make-or-break with some folks, so I wanted to point it out. Simplicity’s pretty subtle in their cup-sizing callout.
Another note: good luck getting your hands in the pockets if you sew according to the instructions. The openings came out super tiny, but that’s a pretty easy fix. I’m not planning on actually using the pockets, so it’s a big “Pfft!” from me.
I’m also interested in making another version in a woven. (This pattern is designed for wovens, I just went for a knit for convenience.) I like the lines, and the simplicity of the collar (versus a full-on notched lapel). To get the look I wanted, I trimmed 5/8″ off the edge of the collar to keep it a bit slimmer. It was a really easy adjustment to make mid-construction.
I’m not sure how much I’ll actually wear this. I don’t have any vests in my wardrobe currently. (Except for a flaming hot pink down vest that my sister has advised is not for public consumption.) I’m hoping that the neutral colors will make it easy to pair off, but so far, I’m really just wanting to wear it with black. I love The Fashion Fanatic’s sleeveless blazer styling, and I’m tempted to make a dress just to go with this vest.
Overall, this was an easy, friendly sew. Donna Martin, eat your heart out.