How to Make a Leather Vest

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Things You'll Need

  • Paper

  • Scissors

  • 1 to 2 yards of leather

  • 1 to 2 yards of cotton lining fabric

  • Sewing machine

  • Sewing notions (pins, scissors)

  • Rayon thread

  • Leather sewing machine needles

  • Paper and Pencil

  • Tape measure

A leather vest can be a great addition to any wardrobe. Whether you favor western wear or even just traditional clothing items of high quality, a leather vest will compliment many different styles and ensembles. Learn how to make a leather vest from a pattern that you create yourself. This is a project that may take some time, but the finished result will be a stylish looking vest that you are proud to wear.


Step 1

Measure your chest in inches at its widest point. Divide this measurement by two and add 3 inches to this number. Measure the distance between your shoulder bone and the point to which you want the vest to come. Add 1 1/2 inches to this measurement. Cut a rectangle of paper to these dimensions with scissors.

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Step 2

Measure from your shoulder bone to the point under your arm that you want the vest armhole to be and add 5/8 inch to this measurement.

Step 3

Fold the paper rectangle in half, from side to side. Measure from the top of the paper the measurement figured in Step 3. Place a mark at this measurement near the edge of the paper that is opposite the folded edge. Draw an outline of the armhole by making a curved line from this mark to the top edge of the paper.


Step 4

Back vest pattern

Determine the width for the shoulder of the vest and make a mark at the top edge of the paper at this point. Make another mark 2 inches from the top of the paper along the folded edge. Connect these two marks with a curved line to create the back neck edge. Cut the both layers of paper on these lines to create the back vest pattern.


Step 5

Fold a second piece of paper in the same fashion as you did in Step 4 to make the front vest pattern. Place the two folded papers on top of each other with the back vest pattern on top.

Step 6

Front vest pattern

Trace the armhole of the back vest pattern onto the front vest pattern paper. Make this armhole slightly larger than the back armhole curve to allow for easier arm movement. Draw the neck edge of the for the front vest pattern, except vary the front neck edge to be a straight line.



Step 7

Cut the front vest pattern out of the paper along the lines drawn and down the center fold to make the two front vest pattern pieces.

Step 8

Cut out the leather

Lay the leather onto a flat work surface with the wrong side facing up. Fold the leather so that the uncut selvage edges are lined up and the folded edge is nearest you. Position the pattern pieces so that the back piece is along the folded edge as shown in the diagram. The front edge should be placed along side the back edge. Pin the pieces to the leather and carefully cut them out.


Step 9

Repeat Step 1 with the lining fabric.

Step 10


Set the stitch width on your sewing machine to at least 5 and sew the vest back and the vest fronts together at the shoulders and sides with a 5/8-inch seam allowance. Stitch the lining vest back and fronts together in the same fashion.


Step 11

Lay the leather vest out flat with the right side facing up. Place the lining on top of the vest with the wrong side facing up. Line the vest pieces up, matching edges and seams and pin to secure. Sew along the front edges, the necklines, the armholes and the bottom edge of the vest fronts. Do not sew the vest backs.


Step 12

Turn the vest to the right side out. Along the lower back of the vest turn the raw edge in to make it even with the sewn portion of the bottom of the vest. Pin this edge to secure. Sew along the bottom back edge, and top stitch along the other edges of the vest to finish the leather vest.


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