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Just a few quick construction notes on my partner’s wool vest, which I finally finished about a week ago.

He wanted a boiled wool vest for layering in cold weather.  The closest pattern I could find to what he had in mind was this (the only other option was a three-piece-suit type of vest with buttons).


(My assistant Shelby is not happy that Morning Photography Time is cutting into her Morning Cuddle Time.)

I’m planning to make a fleece vest for myself with this pattern, so I traced the pieces and modified them for him.  I didn’t use the collar and altered the neck to a V-neck.


I also added a lining of cream wool flannel.  You can sort of see in this picture (and, seriously, how the hell are you supposed to photograph fuzzy black clothing and actually be able to see the details??) that each front has a yoke and two lower pieces with the pocket opening between them; to reduce bulk, I taped the three pattern pieces together and cut them out of the lining fabric as one piece.

Here’s the front pocket.


At my honey’s request, I also added a breast pocket to the lining.


Because it’s been a decade or more since I made a lined vest–and the self-made vests I have in my closet right now have a suspiciously ’80s look to them–I used this very helpful video on how to put in a lining and turn the vest.

No complaints about the pattern except for the lack of a lining–the instructions and diagrams were very clear and easy to follow.  One thing to consider, though, is that the pockets are a little small for someone with large hands, and you can’t really modify their size once the pieces are cut.  The pockets extend from the seam in the side front to the zipper in the middle front and the hem at the bottom, so there’s no room to enlarge them.  If you want them larger, I would move the side front seam farther toward the back (away from the zipper), move the pocket opening up in the seam to allow for more depth, and change the pocket pattern pieces to match.  It wasn’t a dealbreaker, but partner would have liked larger pockets; by the time we realized how small they were, it was really too late (and boiled wool doesn’t take too kindly to seam ripping, anyway).


You know what, though?  I just wrote all this blah blah blah about making this vest, but actually the most important thing about it was this:  it took me approximately forever to complete this damn thing because I was afraid.  I was afraid I would screw something up and ruin the expensive fabric.  I was afraid the workmanship would be embarrassingly bad.  I was afraid that all the changes I made were beyond my abilities.  I was afraid my honey wouldn’t like it, that I would disappoint him.

And none of those things happened.

I finished it with a minimum of drama and seam ripping.  He wore it to work as soon as it was finished and he LOVED it.  He came home and told me how warm and lovely it was.

And I’ve learned, yet again–and I wonder how many more times I need to learn it–that most of the things I worry about never actually happen.  My overreactive lizard brain is forever trying to protect me from dangers that don’t exist, and I need to get better at critically examining what it tells me.  And I need to trust my abilities!  I’ve been sewing for what? 40 years?!?  Not every project is going to work out, but most will, and I need to trust myself to handle what comes up.

Have a good day, everybody, and trust your smart, capable selves.