How to win friends and influence people

Make a man’s vest. I kid you not!

I’m sure you can relate; we toil for hours and hours getting the hip shape just right and the boobage cleverly enclosed and disguised (higher, more, less – you know the drill). Then along comes a man’s vest and suddenly – you’ve arrived into the sewist’s hall of fame! Frankly I’m finding it hilarious. This has been the reaction when I’ve shown anybody a photo of my son’s new wool vest.


Family members have ooh’d and aaaah’d, friends have raised their eyebrows, random strangers have fainted! I can only put it down to the bona fide credentials provided by single and double welted pockets.







Good grief, don’t the punters know you can grab any wad of woollen fabric and steam it into submission. Women’s tailors not only use wools but usually risk their lives on those difficult silks and shifty poly’s. Clothing women is in my opinion far more difficult, we have a great many more bumps than a man. Not to mention a greater variety of fit whims.


Without further ado allow me to introduce to you McCall’s 2222 View A (the Bond fella in plain red). Which is bloody serendipitous since thats all there was in the envelope. Someone had obviously Kondo’d the other 2 views. Pieces in hand…”does this spark joy???”, “nup, out they go!”.



Sonny Boy Jim, my son and the co-heir put his hand up for a Mummy sewn item since Princess had been a recent recipient. I showed him the scrap of boiled wool and he was smitten.

Bonus  – vests take teensy tiny amounts of fabric

The son plays Ultimate Frisbee for uni – Ultimate what?! One day during a game, his opposition yelled out to his team mates “I’ve got Hagrid”, said son was a little miffed. Well the hair is quite deranged and his beard is a tad earthy. Next game someone yelled out “I’m marking John Snow”, now that was a guy he could relate to! I can see the similarity!

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Fitting OMFingG – never had it so easy. I cut out the pattern pieces (2) and held them up to him. I decided this size 36 pattern was way too small, so increased width and length by 1.5cm each. The pattern was lined to the bottom (ugh) so I cut a hem facing, front facing and separate lining pattern. Whipped it together for a try on before he left to go back to Canberra, lo and behold – bang on!


Kenneth D King’s pocket class on Craftsy provided the detail I craved. He has this awesome way of making a pocket welt so that there are no stitching lines on the edges – he calls it the origami single welt pocket. I added a double welt pocket to the chest, mainly because I wanted to keep making welt pockets!


If you do make a man’s vest, and you should cos wow, pats on the back and lashings of appreciation, go ahead and treat yourself to Gentleman Jim’s tailored vest course. GJ is an expert tailor. He completely finishes the front pieces, lining and all, then attaches the back to front at side seams. Usually, well at least the method I’m aware of, you finish the entire shell and then attach the entire lining. His way is better. Gentleman Jim’s instructions can move a little slowly, it may be the heat in Savannah, Georgia and he does keep talking about a besom pocket when the rest of the world seems to call them welt pockets but for the price of US$24.95 you learn industry tailoring techniques and you can become bilingual to boot!

Spot the CB seam?
Spot the CB seam?


I nearly gave up on a vest slider for the back belt after crawling around the floors of both Spotty and Tessuti revealed naught. Greenfield’s would only sell them by the hundred. Then I happened to be at Birdsall leather (don’t you just love happening upon Birdsall leather?!), they have the best buckle selection so I snaffled a few in different colours. Bernie jumped with joy when I chose him to perform the circle eyelet of death routine – his death if he stuffed it up. All went swimmingly except I sewed the wrong side up, even after much pondering of the engineering. Sometimes I’m just a bit dim!

Then there was a trip to Quick Buttonholes, because no way was I trusting them to Bernie – he seems to digest finished garments!

Buttons from All Buttons Great and Small, they’re real horn at the co-heir’s request and simply stunning I think. I put a pleat in the CB lining for added movement but some say thats not necessary for sleeveless garments.


All in all a very happy sewing expedition except the cost of petrol to buy the thingumyjiggers cost more than the thingummyjiggers themselves. Excuse the son, I dragged him outta bed for a photo!


Don’t ever be afraid of making a man’s vest, seriously. Practise the pockets on scrap a few times and the way they turn themselves into tailored fancy is just magic. Has anyone attempted a man’s jacket or trousers?


Add yours →

  1. That vest is a work of art and the welt pockets are a masterpiece. The invisible CB seam is pretty cool, too. Kudos.

  2. I not surprised you and he got lots of wows. Wow from me too. I made a “vest” waistcoat too, but for me. It was very hard to fit. I got the darts in the wrong place, and also with it being close fitting it just sort of stuck out. I think the decision to have a softer fabric for the back, and obviously to make the vest for a beautifully straight figure gave you some help, but it is a work of art nevertheless. Great looking son too. You are well on your way to the perfect tailored jacket for yourself. Your welts are perfect.

  3. Very smart attire. Your welts are very sharp!

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