How to Make a Vest Pattern

Madeline Vionnet, a fashion designer from the early twentieth century, was known for transforming a square of fabric into a wearable and flattering garment. This is because simple shapes such as rectangles and squares can be used as the pattern for a garment. The silhouette it creates enhances almost every shape.

Please note: a shaded outline of the pattern has been superimposed in all steps to visually illustrate the the final pattern

Things You'll Need

  • Tailor’s chalk, pen or pencil

  • Straight ruler

  • Iron

  • 3 yards drapey/flowy knit or sweater fabric

  • Sewing machine

Vest (Image: main image)

Draft + Sew

Step 1

Cut the rectangle. (Image: step1)

Lay fabric on a flat surface, with wrong side facing up. Using tailors chalk, a ruler and scissors, mark and cut a rectangle that measures 45 inches long by 44 inches wide.

Step 2

Mark and cut the armholes. (Image: step2)

Mark and cut circles the appropriate length/depth and distance apart for your size (this will become the armholes of the vest). To find the length/depth for your size, measure the length of an armhole (straight and NOT along the curve) on your most well fitted blouse, sweater, or top.

Step 3

Finish the sides. (Image: step3)

Finish short sides of rectangle by folding in one quarter inch, pressing, and then stitching 3/16 inch from fold (or right next to edge). Repeat - turn in the edge a quarter of an inch, press, and stitch 3/16 inch away from fold. Do the same for long sides of rectangle.

Step 4

Create armholes. (Image: step4)

Make armhole binding by cutting two 1 1/8 inch strips of knit fabric that is at least 1 inch longer than the circumference of the circle.

Step 5

Press the rectangle. (Image: step5)

Fold in half lengthwise and press.

Step 6

Pin the binding in place. (Image: step6)

Lay the binding on the right side of the fabric, with the edge of the binding and the edge of the fabric together. The fold of binding should face inward or toward the fabric. Pin in place.

Step 7

Stitch the binding. (Image: step7)

Sew a quarter inch from the edge. See sketch for how to start and stop.

Step 8

Press and topstitch. (Image: step8)

Press the binding to the inside of the garment. On the right side of fabric, topstitch 3/8 inch from armhole edge. The fold of the binding should cover the seam allowances.

Step 9

Gather the back. (Image: step9)

Sew a basting stitch as shown. Shirr to 3 inches. Secure the shirring by sewing over the basting stitch with a straight stitch.