Projects · Sewing for Others · Tops



I thought I would write a blog post about the process behind creating two bridespeople vests for my friend Sarah’s wedding.  A little background: I’ve known Sarah since elementary school.  We were each other’s Spanish language partners in junior high and documentary filmmaker partners in our twenties.  She has been a great friend all these years and I’m a big fan of her entire family, who are all wonderful people as well.

Sarah approached me a few months before her wedding and asked if I would be able to contribute by sewing these vests.  After some consideration, I agreed – I’m less intimidated making flat pattern adjustments and doing fittings since taking Suzy Furrer’s classes on Craftsy and Lisa Maynard’s class on Flat Pattern Adjustments.  The challenge would be creating not one, but TWO lined garments for two differently shaped people.

Rachel and Adam were the people in question: thankfully, it turned out that they have extremely similar measurements in the upper body, which made adjustments a lot easier.

I already had a decent vest pattern in my collection: Simplicity 2895, a sort of Wild West costume pattern set that I actually bought for Halloween 2016.  I used it to make a black frock coat for Elias’s costume and saved the pieces.

I cut a 38 (the smallest size), and traced it off onto paper. I then used a vest that Rachel had given me to compare sizing.  I kept the width of the pattern piece the same, but I raised the armhole considerably, shortened the length, and took in an inch and a half for her vest to make it sit better on her shoulders.  You can see below that I raised the armhole up about an inch.

I sewed Rachel’s vest first, and then I made Adam’s adjustments on the same piece. Adam has broader shoulders and a slightly longer torso, so I added back an inch to the shoulder width and length (after removing for Rachel’s).

I also changed the location of the upper welt pocket, which was in a weird spot, I thought, in the pattern marking.  I moved it up and closer to the edge of the vest. You can see this below.

Welt pockets! These were a study in patience. And fray check. And seam ripping.  It’s been years since I did them – I suppose I could have left them off, but they’re so elegant looking on menswear. And practical.

Fully lined with rayon bemberg.

I did the buttonholes and buttons with my mom’s awesome Janome New Home 3000.  The rest was done on my 20-plus year old champion of a machine, a Bernina 1000 Special.

The back of the vest has a waist tie for more fitting. Here’s a sideview.

These vests were a labor of love and a pretty intense project! I’m not exactly set up for production line sewing; it would have been more efficient to cut out both vests and sew them together, but I wanted to see how Rachel’s fit before I started on Adam’s. I’m glad I did it that way since I made some adjustments that were easier to carry over on the second one.   I’m hopefully that Adam and Rachel will wear these for years to come.

Congratulations, Sarah!