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Sewing Tutorial - Make a Christmas Vest - Step 1

Recently I got asked to sew a strike (test sew) from some cool faux knit from For Fabrics Sake here in New Zealand. The minute I saw it I knew what it needed to be, a knitted vest. Here in the Southern Hemisphere Christmas is in Summer and its too hot really for Ugly Sweaters, but a vest over a Tshirt would look pretty cool come Christmas Day. But my knit vest pattern only went to size 7 years. Picklefish is now size 12-14 years, so what could I do? Well draft a pattern from one of his size 12 Tshirts seemed like a good idea. Then I thought maybe others would like to learn how to make the Christmas Vest too and buy the fabric to make their own when the fabric is released. So here you go a free tutorial on how to draft your very own Christmas Vest. My instructions are primarily for Kids but you could adapt this for Adults or Infants too, just adjust your measurements and fabric yardages accordingly.

STEP 1 - Creating your Vest Pattern from a TShirt

What you need:

  • Christmas Faux Knit from For Fabrics Sake (Coming Soon) - I used a Fat Half Cut

  • Known good fitting Tshirt

  • Pins, Wonder Clips, Pattern Weights

  • Paper to trace a pattern onto (I use PAMs lunchwrap from New World)

  • Sharpies/Pen/Pencil to mark out your pattern

  • Clear ruler for measuring

  • Sellotape and scissors for cutting and taping your pattern

  • A good area to lay everything down and trace/cut

Gather all you need, fabric, tshirt, pens, paper to trace onto

Lets get tracing:

Lay out your paper and weight it down. Fold the Tshirt in half and place on the paper, smoothing it down as you go to ensure all edges line up and meet. Trace around the tshirt leaving enough space for a seam allowance (about 1cm) .

When you get to the neck ease it out of the way and lay flat showing the seam. Make a few marks on the paper generally following the curve of the front neckline. You'll see I traced the back neckline already (removing the ribbing from the tracing as we will add that later)

Label the back and front necks also drawing a curve to join up the dots you drew for the front neckline.

Move your tshirt out of the way. Grab your ruler and make a mark approximately 2.5cm from the bottom of your front neckline mark (or longer e.g. 6cm for a deeper V neck)

Lay your ruler from the top of the shoulder to the mark you made earlier and draw a long diagonal line. (This line will define the V neck of the tshirt/Vest front)

You'll see I made another mark and line at the 6cm mark so I could have a deeper V neck than my original mark of 2.5cm. This is optional. Just choose yourself how deep you want the V Neck to be on your vest. As I am making a size 12 years Vest I felt it should be deeper. I think if you are making for a toddler or infant you might want to opt for the 2.5 - 3cm marker.

I opt for an easy technique to make cutting the back and front from fabric easier. By adding a 'flap' for the back. Grab a scrap of the tracing paper. Lay it on your pattern piece and trace the back markings. Sellotape the piece along the bottom to the top piece you traced earlier.

You'll see in this picture how I sellotape the flap of the back piece to the original traced top pattern. Trim away to the diagonal line on what will be your 'front' piece. This effectively gives you two pieces for cutting out both your back and front.

Measure 4-5cm at the bottom of your top pattern and make a line. This will be trimmed or folded out of the way so you can add a waistband (or omit this step if you intend on not adding a waistband and instead will sew a hem)

And thats it you've created your Vest pattern now its time to cut out your fabrics and get onto sewing. If you find any errors or would like some advice please feel free to comment on my post. Part 2 - Cutting out your Vest will be next.



Picklefish Products NZ

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