Introduction: Knitted Puffer Vest From an Old Sweater

About: I am an Industrial Designer, who obviously loves to create. Now that I am a mom, most of my creations are inspired by my daughers. I believe that if more parents were making stuff with their kids, the world wo…

I love winter fashion because it’s the perfect season for layers. And the best way to layer for extra warmth and mobility is a vest.

I loved how this knitted puffer vest turned out, and although I like knitting I prefer the convenience of making it from an old sweater. If we knit the vest it would take a lot longer and it will be way more expensive. Also it’s a great project to make something amazing out of an item that could end up in the landfill. You can find awesome wool or even cashmere sweaters at a thrift store, so this project is very affordable and it’ll take you only one afternoon.

Now my toddler is ready for all the winter adventures, but I’ll definitely make one for myself because I loved it.

So let’s make this project that is green, fashionable, easy, quick and budget friendly.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials.

  • An old sweater
  • A non stretch fabric for the lining.
  • Matching thread
  • Needle
  • Paper
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Pen
  • Button
  • Batting (wadding)

Step 2: Make the Pattern

To make the pattern find a sweater or loose Tshirt and put it on top of the paper.

With the pen, draw the outline of the back, leave one inch as seam allowance.

With that as a guide, make the front pieces, the arm curve should be the same, but make the neck line lower.

Do not cut that outline, cut at least 2 inches outside that outline, as shown in the picture. The only line that you have to cut is the bottom one.

Step 3: ​Make a Sandwich

Usually, knitted sweaters have two different stitches on each side, pick the one you like the most and turn the sweater so that the one you don’t want is facing you

We will use the back of the sweater for our back piece and the front for our two front pieces, this way if you have a cardigan it will work too.

We are going to take advantage of the lower edge of the sweater, align that edge with the bottom edge of your back pattern.

At the back put the lining fabric, good side facing the sweater, with 1 1/2 inch folded at the bottom.

Now pin the three layers; at the top the paper, then the sweater, then the lining.

Note that because we haven’t cut the sweater, there’s another layer of sweater at the bottom (the front of the sweater) just don’t pin it with the other three layers.

Step 4: Sew

Now sew through the line using a zig zag stitch. With the lining fabric below and the paper above, sewing the knitted fabric is very easy, you won’t even need a special foot.

Do not sew at the bottom.

Step 5: Finish the Back

Now pull out the paper, if you pull both sides of the seam at the same time it won’t leave a lot of paper. It doesn’t matter if there’s a little bit of paper, but if you want you can use the water soluble paper that quilters use.

Cut the back piece leaving 1/4 inch outside the seam.

Through the opening at the bottom turn the back piece good side out.

Step 6: Make the Front Pieces

Now that we are handling the cut sweater, we have to be careful or it can unravel. So, try not to move it a lot.

Make the sandwich the same way, with the paper on top, then the knitted fabric and then the lining. Remember that the good sides of the fabrics should be facing each other.

Pin it, sew it, take off the paper and turn.

Step 7: Assemble the Vest

Now sew the sides of the vest, joining the back and the front pieces.

Then sew the shoulders.

Step 8: Batting

Use the vest as a guide to cut three pieces of batting (1 back and 2 front).

Insert the batting through the bottom.

To make it stay in place even after washing the vest, we are going to make some stitches a the top of each piece (near to the shoulder) and at the bottom. Sewing the batting only to the lining.

Step 9: Finishing Touches

With the sewing machine, using a regular stitch, you’ll have to sew all the bottom.

Of you would like to add some horizontal stitches (like the typical puffer vest), you can make them now (and skip the hand sewing). I like mine the way it is now so I’ll leave it this way.

Finally add a button on one side and a thin elastic on the other, or clasp and the puffer vest is ready!

Step 10: Have Fun!

As with every versatile garment, the most fun part is making outfits with the clothes that you already have in your wardrobe. I highly recommend this vest in gray, it goes with everything!

Unfortunately my toddler wasn’t in the mood for changing 10 times and she moves a lot so it’s very difficult to take good pictures of her. But here are some of my favourites outfits with this new vest

Sew Warm Contest 2018

Participated in the
Sew Warm Contest 2018