This year I wanted to buy my husband some flannel shirts and vests because, as you can see from these pictures, his are getting thin and worn.
He is a very tall, thin man and it is difficult to find clothing in his size. For several weeks I searched both locally and online but could not find anything. I even called manufacturers and asked about special ordering some items, but none could help. There are a lot of people that have this problem and unless you spend nearly a hundred dollars for custom tailored shirts, you either go without or make your own.
Now, I have learned the hard way not to sew anything with nice fabric until the pattern is perfectly adjusted to fit my husband, so I went to Goodwill and bought some used jeans and decided to use a few of his old favorite shirts and a vest that fit for a pattern and lining. This instructable will show you how I made a custom tailored vest for my husband for only a few dollars.
Step 1: Material and Tools
A vest with all the seams, threads, and pockets removed and pressed.
18" separating Metal zipper or buttons
Zipper-foot attachment helps to sew close to the seam but it is optional
Heavy duty sewing thread or triple the sewing thread
Step 2: Deconstruction of Clothes
Remove the seams from the jeans and shirts you will use for the fabric and lining.
I used the small scissors to remove the threads from the button holes.
(Note: I used one vest, 3 pairs of jeans and 2 shirts for this vest. I removed all the seams, pockets, and loose threads only to realize it wouldn't be big enough unless I patched several pieces together. Oh well. Next time I won't waste my time ripping out the seams!)
Step 3: Pattern Layout and Cutting the Pieces
I will refer to the pieced jean fabric as fabric and the pieced flannel as the lining to avoid confusion.
I will also refer to the old vest pieces that will be used for a pattern as the pattern. You can get very creative with painters jeans and use some of the parts of the jeans to make your fabric into unique designs.
Lay the back vest piece onto the fabric and pin it into place. Cut two, one from fabric and 1 from lining.
Lay the front vest pattern onto the fabric and pin it into place. Cut 2, one from the fabric and 1 lining.
Lay the pocket piece onto the fabric and pin it into place. Cut 4 pocket pieces , 2 from fabric and 2 from lining.
Step 4: Pockets
With right sides together sew the pocket to the pocket lining beginning at the top of the pocket and along the curved edge as shown.
Clip the curved edge as shown.
Turn right side out and press.
Top stitch the curved edge as shown and press.
Place the pockets about an inch or two from the front of the vest so you won't be sewing through extra layers of fabric when you sew the zipper.
Pin the pockets to the front of the vest and sew the pocket to the vest as shown.
Fold the pocket over and press.
Stitch the pocket at the top, along the side seam, and along the bottom of the vest.
Step 5: Shoulder Seams
Press the seam.
With right sides together pin the vest lining front to the vest lining back at the shoulder seams and sew.
Press the seam.
Step 6: Attach Lining to Vest
Sew around the neck, sleeve, front and bottom of the vest leaving the sides open. Begin sewing 1 inch in from the shoulders at both ends and at the bottom hem (at the ends) where another seam will be stitched later. This method might not be the best but it worked for me.
Clip the neckline and sleeve curves to smooth the fabric and turn the vest right side out and press.
The vest is very heavy making very thick seams that will overlap and is difficult to sew on a regular sewing machine. I will be hand sewing the side seams to avoid damaging the sewing machine.
Step 7: Lining Side Seams
With right side out, Pull the vest fabric side seam away from the lining side seam as shown.
Grab the lining at the side seams and pin the lining at the sides.
Sew the side seam of the lining on both sides.
Press if needed.
Step 8: Vest Side Seam
Pin the side seams together as shown.
Using heavy thread hand sew the vest side seams making adjustments for the ends by pinning in the areas that need sewn around the sleeve, neck and hem.
Step 9: Zipper
Sew the zipper using a zipper foot. You may use buttons instead if you like. Instructables have tutorials on how to put in a zipper available if you have never put in a zipper before. I am sure youtube have some as well.
I usually take extra time to top stitch around the sleeves , hemline, and the front zipper area to give the vest a more professional appearance but I did not do it this time because I may need to rip out a few seams to make adjustments when I get home.
Step 10: Sunshiine's Final Thoughts
My daughter modeled the vest for this instructable because I am in Georgia and not at home. I just hope the modifications will make hubby happy so I can begin making his vest and shirts without making a lot of changes to the patterns. A lined vest is pretty easy to make if you have basic sewing skills. This instructable is an entry for the sew warm contest.
I wish to thank Instructables, our sponsors, contributors, and all my visitors for making this a great place to share. If you have any questions please feel free to comment.