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Oct 23, 2012

Go Vest, Young Man

With Michael's Aladdin pants and shirt finished, it was time to make the vest.

As little as I like poet's shirts, I like vests even less.  Not traditional suit vests, mind you, but those fancy vests some men wear instead of a jacket, which always bring to mind Paula Poundstone.  That said, the vest that's part of Simplicity 4788, shown above, is pretty inoffensive, and pulls together the rest of the outfit.

Where have I seen this look before...?

Whatever happened to organ grinders?

I decided to make my vest out of a piece of vintage brocade I picked up at the flea market a few weekends ago.  I wasn't sure what it was made of, but after a burn test, I'm guessing there's some linen or even silk in it.  It's not entirely polyester, I don't think, though there's likely some, hence the slightly melted burnt edge.  Any ideas?

The right side of the fabric looks like this:

Pretty, but from a distance it reads a bit drab, so I decided to use the wrong side, which shows more gold thread.  You can see the difference below:

I was going to line the vest but since it's already a fairly heavy fabric, I decided to make it just one layer and have it be reversible.  All the main seams are flat-felled, and instead of seam binding at the neck and armholes, I just folded over the edges twice at aproximately 1/4" and stitched.

Prepping seams for flat-felling.

Here's the wrong side:

And the right side:

I cut the two front pieces along the selvage; I love the way the slightly fringed selvage center edges look.

Here's the vest on Michael:

He'd prefer I cut it a few inches shorter and and embellish it with beaded gimp; he wants some bling of his own and who can blame him?  We'll see.

Fortunately this little vest went together fast.  The only challenge was the ravely nature of the fabric: I tried to handle it as little as possible.

And that's my sewing for the day!

In closing, are you a vest person?   How do you feel about matching bow ties? 

Have a great day, everybody!


  1. I am a vest person for now of the suit type variety. That's the reason I still watch The see Patrick Jayne in his vests (which my husband detests by the way - the vest. He doesn't care about my crush on Simon Baker). I made one for my son a couple of years ago for family pictures, and it was quite cool.

  2. For suits, I like 'em. It's precisely why my nephew is getting four this week... with pants, shirts, ties, and jackets that go with them. All for church. 'Course, two of those sets are in the next size up. For everyday wear--nope.

  3. Yes. Vests can change up an outfit and provide a little updating or make it a little dressy without a lot of effort.

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  5. Definitely with the beaded gimp. Why should Peter have all the fun!

  6. Why are you loathe to give Michael his share of gimp, bling, braiding, rik rak, and hoo-ha?

    Doesn't he deserve to sparkle and enjoy, just (pauses and throws up hands) once in a while?


  7. It’s all coming together so beautifully! The two of you are going to look splendid on Halloween. I think a little bling for Michael won’t take anything away from Scheherazade.

    I like vests, especially a suit-type vest.

  8. That fabric is is just beautiful! The vest turned out great too.

  9. Michael is very handsome in that vest and turban. Excellent colors for him.Add some bling and it will be perfect.

  10. He looks great! Give him some bling! Do it! Do it! On the subject of vests and matching bow ties, I must weigh in. I was an artist working on some pseudo-swanky holiday affair and donated a piece to be auctioned for charity. The event was all dressy-dressy, so I hit the thrift stores to find a suitable ensemble. TADA! I found a bow tie and matching cummerbund (black and gold brocade). I wore them with black pants and a white shirt. I thought I was totally the cat's meow, or hairballs, or whatever... until someone asked me for a drink. "Huh? A drink?" "Yes. Are you not a waiter?" Turned out I was wearing the exact same getup as the cater-waiters. On the up-side, I totally cleaned up on the tips. Based on my experience, I'd advise against matching vests/bow ties/cummerbunds.

    1. I agree. More bling!

      And where are the pearls? Michael simply MUST keep the pearls!

  11. Aw, give the guy some bling...please. Elle

  12. I don't care about vest in general (although I too am a bit partial to Patrick Jayne ... ), but without it the costume would definitely lack a certain je-ne-sais-quoi.

  13. What about a bejeweled cumberbund. He's got to keep that lamp somewhere.
    And wide gold cuff bracelets, bejeweled or not.

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  15. I just found my way here and love the vest it turned out great using the back side. But a tip may help u n the future. When u have unruly fabric like that try spray starch. It will help some. U done a great job.

  16. Luv the beaded gimp om the vest.
    I wear vests a lot. Knitted, woven, fancy, plain. It adds a little warmth and colour, but not the bulk. I may get a raised eyebrow or two, but being an over 60 female I usually get away with wearing what I want.
    Like them on most men too.

  17. Michael's vest definitely needs some of the beaded gimp. It'll finish it off nicely. His outfit looks great. Can't wait to see the 2 of you together.

  18. Vest - Yes. They add a touch of dressy, some color, and are more comfortable then a coat. Oh, and they help control the middle age spread.:-)

  19. I don't like vests, as a rule, but it is definately a necessity for this outfit. You have done a great job, but Michael deserves a little decoration. You have yards of it, why be stingy.

  20. I personally am not a fan of casual vests, i think they are horrid!!!! But i so like them for more formal occasions. I am actually in the process of making a pair of Blue Spruce dress pants and bow tie, that i am going to pair with a grey vest for a wedding. Oh and btw i just started reading your blog on Monday and i am in love!!!!!!

  21. I remember reading one of those "dress for success" books from the 80's and it saying that women should only wear vests when man hunting because they outline the bust line and define the waist better. Both knitted and tailored vests fell into that category. I used to wear them all of the time, but at my age (and weight), they feel a little too bulky and cumbersome.

    My sweetie pie wears them occasionally, looking either like sort of an Oxford scholar or sometimes sporting a three piece button down Wall Street kind of guy.

    But one of the best parts of a vest is that they can add some instant warmth if necessary. And if designed for it, some clever storage space with strategic pockets.

    Vests, it's a good thing . . .

  22. YES for vests!
    I wear them a lot. Many I've knitted as fabric then tailored like a woven wool, others are suede or leather, all with lapels.
    I have brocade for opening nights at the opera...mostly black.
    Michael's vest needs LOTS more glitz! fact BOTH costumes need more glitz!
    What's with all this "good taste stuff"'s Halloween!!!

  23. "In closing, are you a vest person? How do you feel about matching bow ties?"

    Vests are okay enough, though I agree that wearing them too often can give rise to the dread PPS (Paula Poundstone Syndrome).

    But bow ties? Bow ties only look good on the sort of Chippendale-ish hunk who looks good wearing a bow tie and nothing else.

  24. Maybe a different gimp for Michael so you and he won't look so mother/daughter matching like Joan and Christine. The gimp does match really well, though. I think Micheal could rock a fez.


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