One vest, many ways

I have been wanting to sew a vest since I saw this image in Burda WOF 04/2008. Sadly, it was one of the purchased garments and not one of the featured patterns.

I used Wild Ginger PMB4 to generate a pattern. I am not really a fan of the Wild Ginger patterns, but I thought it should be able to cope with a vest. Their vest pattern is a waist-up garment, so even though I lengthened it, I had to modify the darts and side seam myself, to take into account hip width.

I made it out of scraps from this jacket, which meant darts and not princess seams. This was one of those projects that hung about on my sewing room floor for weeks...scraps take up so much more room than folded lengths and PMB4 patterns don't come with an envelope (poor excuses, I know)...so that by the time I came to sew it, I was already sick of it, and didn't bother with welt pockets.

Construction was a nightmare. I used a sew-in interfacing, which I found does not work well with darts, so I later ripped it out. I must have cut the lining off-grain (I was using lining scraps as well), so it skewed when I sewed the darts. Somehow, the back lining ended up shorter than the vest. I did follow Josie's method of attaching the lining to the vest, which worked well.

In spite of the shoddy construction, I love this vest. It matches so many garments I already own. Indulge me whilst I show you....

First, I am wearing it as a top with my silk/linen pants.

Next up, over a cami, with jeans. In my take on the picture of Marilyn Monroe reading "Ulysses" up-side-down, I turned the book upside down. Well, I remember seeing a photo of her reading upside-down, but when I went scouting for a reference, I could only find photos with it the right way up. So instead, it is just me holding a book upside-down, and not even my book, but one belonging to my brother-in-law. Ironically, I will wear this outfit to bookclub tonight.

Here, I am wearing it over a white tee. I have never managed to pull off the iconic blue jeans / white tee look, but I think I could swap the shorts for jeans, add the vest over the top and get away with it.

Lastly, it is warm enough that I can use it to extend the season of some summer dresses. I think this dress really needs a shorter vest though.

I love this one so much, I am planning some variations. Maybe a slimmer, shorter version, maybe a summer weight version with extra detailing.


  1. Very cute vest and thanks for showing all the wardrobe ideas.

  2. All of these looks are superb! I'd really like a vest, but I need to check out my closet to see what I could wear it with. You've given some great ideas here.

  3. A very versatile vest indeed. Thanks for showing all your wardrobe combinations too.

  4. I gotta say, I'm lovin' the photography on your blog. You make such wonderful stuff, it's so lovely to see it presented so stylishly.

    You've inspired me to try better with my photos!

  5. What a winner!!! One vest - so many stylish looks! I love the photos!

  6. Wow! You are so right, your vest is so versatile. I have always loved vests, but thought they were impractical garment. I have changed my mind now! Thanks for showing all your outfits.

  7. Love how versatile it is! thanks for the attaching lining details...that is where i mess up!

  8. You have a lot of options with that vest. Nice work. There's a lot of design and creative things you can do with that pattern.

  9. It certainly doesn't look like shoddy construction from here! Thanks for all the pics- I love to see garments in the context of other pieces and see how people work them into their wardrobes :o)
    Hey I have awarded you the Lovely Bog prize-you can pick it up here :o)

  10. Your vest is great, despite all the grief it gave you! I enjoyed seeing all the various outfits it can be a part of...including the upside-down book reading! Funny...