Greetings ye readers.
Supposing that you want to make a nifty 18th/19th century or Hobbitish waistcoat. & Also suppose you don't want to pay a mint of money for a pattern, or to buy one on Etsy.
In which case, only regard this tutorial, and you can make one without additional expense other than buying the fabric.
I have made several of these vests, thus:
Here is my pattern, which I have designed. The front and back of the vest are both based upon a rectangle, with bits cut out. The dimensions of this rectangle are:
- A (width), which is equal to the circumference of the chest divided by two, with 5 inches added for fit & for seam allowances.
- B (height) is equal to the measurement from the base of your neck to your waist, plus 4".
Here is the Front piece. The shaded portion is the lining; disregard that for now. The unshaded portion is one half of the front. Notice the following bits cut out of the rectangle:
- The collar opening, which is 8" wide and 3" high, and is rounded. The edge of the collar opening must meet the shoulder seam at right angles (not marked on the drawing).
- Shoulder seams, which slant down by two inches (see above diagram, where the 2" is shown on the Back piece)
- Arm holes, which are 12" in height, and are a rounded shape which meets the shoulder seam at right angles (as market in the diagram). They also meet the dashed line (shown on the right of the picture below) at right angles.
Note that the Front piece extends 3" past the dashed center line. This is so it can fold over & buttons can be stuck on (which will be shown later). Note that the top edge of the 3" portion curves up to follow the collar opening.
Besides these cutouts from the rectangle, the front piece extends into the Back rectangle in a curving line which goes from the arm-pit to a point 2 1/2" along the lower edge. The back piece has an identical cutout to fit this.
The Back piece has similar cutouts to the Front; the only difference is that the collar opening is only 2" high. This symmetrical piece is cut in half along the dashed line, and later stuck back together.
The pattern can be drawn with chalk directly onto the fabric; alternately it can be drawn on paper & cut out. (tape a bunch of sheets of paper together to make a Big piece).
Then you can lay the pattern on the fabric & get nice sharp lines by rubbing the chalk along the edges like this:
Here are all the 4 pieces, in case you want to know what they look like. These are cut from wool coating - ye can purchase some here. Any weight wool would work; also medium-heavy cotton. Calculate how much yardage you need by measurements A & B, and the width of the fabric.
Ye also need to make the Lining, for which a thrifted sheet would be dandy. The back pieces are the same as the Outer Shell; however the front pieces are different. They are made according to the shaded portion of the previously shown diagram - the edge is 3" away from the center line.
Now stick together the Lining pieces at the back seam & side seams & shoulder seams; do the same for the Shell.
Here are the Shell pieces shown stuck together at the side seams only:
The next step is to attach the lining to the shell. Put the lining inside the shell, right sides together, so that the shell seams are sticking out of the outside of the vest, and the lining seams are sticking into the inside.
Now Sew the lining & shell together along the two edges where the vest will eventually have buttons. The following picture shows what it will look like after one of these edges has been sewn. All of the seams in the picture are facing the same direction (upwards).
Next step: the following picture shows the vest with the lining on the outside, with the seams still on the outside. You can see that the 3" extra width on the front pieces folds over and fills the space of the lining pieces being 3" less wide. This makes nice edges for the buttons to be stuck to. But first, the bottom edge of the vest must be sewn together.
Sew the bottom edge, making sure that the seams of the lining & shell line up with each other, and that the shell is folded over 3", like this:
Now sew the collar up in the exact same way as the bottom edge:
Now turn the thing right side out, so all the seams you have sewn so far are on the inside.
At this point you can optionally top-stitch along the bottom edge, the collar, and perhaps the front opening edges. as well.
It helps to iron the seams flat before attempting the top-stitching.
This represents how to Top Stitch:
At this point, all the edges are finished except for the arm-holes.
Align the lining & shell arm-hole edges, and then turn over these edges twice, & sew.
Here is what it will look like:
Now it just needs some buttons...
Nice ones may be purchased from Jas. Townsend & Sons. Currently $6.50 for 10 plain pewter buttons. These are the niftiest kind of solid metal buttons, which I have used a lot of (see the vests at the top of the post). They are Historicly Accerate as well.
Alternately, you can make some wooden ones. Start with a wood dowel; drill holes into the end of it before slicing each button off, on account of otherwise the button would split if you tried to drill the holes afterwards. Handy Trick: since you might not have a drill bit small enough, really small holes can be drilled with a small Nail. Just cut off the head and stick it in the drill chuck.
Mitre Box comes in handy for slicing:
Here are buttons:
Sand off the edges:
Mark Button Locations:
Sew on buttons:
By the way, you can stick on a collar if you want, like this.
Thus endeth this tutorial.