A lined vest tutorial and a book review

I'm still sewing ballet costumes!  This one is a boy's lined vest.  I thought that this would be a good opportunity to try out some of the methods in my new book "Industry Clothing Construction Methods" by Mary Ruth Shields.  The method is a little different to other methods that I have tried (See Sigrid's lining a vest tutorial or Josie's waistcoat) so I have taken photos for a tutorial.  Sadly, I haven't used a contrasting lining or different coloured thread.  If ever I make a vest for me, I promise I'll use contrasting fabrics and threads so that you can see the process more clearly.

First of all, sew the darts in the vest and the vest lining.  The next step is to sew any pockets, or flaps, but my vest is plain, so I skipped those steps.  I also do not have a back waist belt, so I skipped those instructions as well.

Stitch the front and back of the vest together at the shoulder seams.  Repeat for the lining.  Press shoulder seams open.  Place the lining and vest right sides together, ensuring that the shoulder seams match.

Stitch around the vest, starting about 10 cm from the side seams on the front bottom edge.  Continue up the front, around the back neck, down the other front and along the front bottom edge, stopping on the bottom front edge about 10 cm from the front side seam.  If you enlarge my photo, you can see the threads hanging off where I started stitching.

Stitch around the armholes.
In the instructions, I cannot find any mention of clipping the seams, although they are shown clipped in a later diagram.  I clipped the curved seams aroung the armhole and neck edge.

 Slip your hands up through the back opening and pull the fronts through the shoulder seams.
 This is the vest turned right side out.  The side seams are not sewn yet.
The next step is to sew the side seams, front and back right sides together, continuing on to sew the lining side seams, lining front and back right sides together.  The diagram for this in the book is not very clear, and my photo is not that clear either, but this step is easy to do.  I pinned the match point at the underarms before starting to sew.
There is no mention of pressing this seam, but I think it is worthwhile pressing this seam.  Turn the vest right side out and press.
 Turn the vest inside out again.
 Stitch the bottom edge, vest to lining, leaving a gap to turn the vest through.
This next step is a tip I picked up from Threads magazine.  When you are going to turn through a gap, pivot at the end of your stitching line and sew to the edge of the fabric.  This is particularly useful if you are going to stuff the object and the stitching lines are placed under quite a bit of stress.  It also makes it easier to sew the seam shut later.
 Turn the vest right side out.

 Edge stitch or hand stitch the gap in the bottom edge closed.
Next I have to sew the buttons and buttonholes.  The book recommends sewing horizontal button holes so that the vest can expand a little when worn.  I will not topstitch this vest, but it could be topstitched before the buttonholes are sewn.

So my initial review of the book (given that I have not read all the front chapters yet);
- the instructions are easy to follow
- the illustrations are diagrams, not photos; however, the diagrams are easy to follow.
- the method outlined for constructing a vest was new to me and a simpler construction technique than other methods I have tried.


  1. Thank you for sharing this and giving clear instructions; I think too that this promises to be a preferred method of construction for me. Laura UK

  2. Thank you for this great tutorial! I always screw this up!!

  3. Ooh, I like that tip to pivot and sew to the edge. I often make lined sleeveless tops like this, but have not come across that tip before. It looks very neat. Thanks! (I am in awe of how much trouble you are taking with these costumes - You are obviously not using the "will anyone see this whilst sitting in the front row" rule.

  4. I look forward to seeing the finished product, it looks gorgeous so far!

  5. Thankyou for posting this tutorial. I have just gotten into medieval costuming and it's helped me greatly come up with a method of construction for a vest for someone's costume. You wrote this tutorial with great detail and I'm so very glad I found it. :)

  6. GREAT tutorial! To the point and easy! I used this for a pirate costume for my son. So many others out there make this way too complicated. Fast, and easy!!!!! Thanks!

  7. I am not making a costume, but 3 lined crazy quilt type vests for 3 of our granddaughters for Christmas this year. I'm using an old pattern that calls for fold over braid around the whole thing. I chose not to do that but to line it in the way you did this. I forgot how to do so searched online and there you were! Thanks so much for the detailed refresher.

  8. This was such a lifesaver. THANK YOU

  9. Yes, you truly have been a lifesaver!!! Other instructions just did not register for me. Thank you so very, very much!!!!!

  10. Was making little lined, cropped vests for my daughters yesterday, and could not for the life of me figure out how to do it... thank you for the tutorial! It came out really cute. =)

  11. am a dress maker who has been out off the buseness for toolong...could not recall how to put a simple vest together...a bit rusty...thanks ...I NEEDED THIS....

  12. Thank you for the tutorial, I haven't done this in years and couldn't remember what to stich and what to leave open. This saved me from having to rip out seams and my hair.

  13. I was looking for this method when I decided to make a vest for my grand son to match a dress I designed for my grand daughter. I knew there must be a way to turn through the bottom. Thanks for the detailed instructions.

  14. Glad I found your tutorial. Have to do 10 vests for father and daughter club and just felt there must be an easy clean way. The sample vests from which I had to make my own patterns don't show any hand sewn nor top stitching where the vests were turned. I'm still puzzled on that, but will happily work with your method. Thank you.

  15. Thank you so very much gor sharing this tutorial. It was such a big help! I knew there had to be a simpler way to line a vest...saved me a lot of time.

  16. Thank you so much for this tutorial.......I have been tearing my hair out making 4 different sized waistcoats for a wedding and the pattern instructions are vague to say the least!!!!
    I especially like the hint about the 'turn' stitching at the bottom so it is easier to turn the right way around. What a star you are!!!! Here I go........ :-)