How to Make a Hippie Vest

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On the hunt for the perfect Halloween costume? Whether you're planning your next spooky season outfit or looking for some retro flair for a summer music festival, make way for a hippie vest in your costume box. If you're into thrifting you might be able to find a cool second-hand cardigan or fringe vest, but with a needle and thread and a bit of know-how, it's easy enough to make your own sleeveless vest for a hippie costume.

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Channel your inner flower child and get making.

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Unless you're starting this project with a ready-made vest or waistcoat, you'll need to actually make the vest. A cheap and easy way to do this is by taking an old nonstretch T-shirt or sweater, marking it up, and cutting it into shape.

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Follow this easy no-sew DIY hippie vest tutorial that's easy enough for even beginners to make.

Things You'll Need

  • Old T-shirt or sweater

  • Tape measure

  • Fabric pen or chalk

  • Fabric scissors

  • Accessories, like sew-on patches or fringing

  • Sewing needle and thread (optional)

Make the Hippie Vest

1. Prepare the old t-shirt

Start by laying out the old T-shirt on a flat table, front side up.

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  • Measure.‌ With a tape measure, measure the vest horizontally from the base of one sleeve to the other. Make a note (mental or physical) of this number and divide by two. Measure from the bottom of one of the sleeves to the center of the garment, making a mark at the halfway point, which is the number you have from dividing the first measurement in half.
  • Mark It.‌ With a fabric pen or chalk (both of which are designed to easily wash or rub off the fabric), draw a line from the bottom edge of the T-shirt right up the middle and through the point that you drew just before, all the way to the collar. If you have a steady hand, you could freestyle this marking, but otherwise, use the tape measure for guidance. You'll now have a T-shirt with a line drawn up the middle.
  • Neckline.‌ Next, mark out the neckline. This can be deep or high: it's up to you. Starting from the outer edge of the existing collar on your T-shirt, draw a diagonal line down to roughly mid-chest level on one side and then on the other. Make sure each side is even and meets at the same point in the chest.
  • Seams.‌ Next, mark lines just inside the existing seam where the sleeve meets the body of the T-shirt.

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You're going to cut off the sleeves in the next step. You will now have a fully marked-up T-shirt that's ready to be cut into shape.

2. Cut along the marked lines

You'll need a pair of fabric scissors for this step. Regular scissors just aren't up to the hard task of cutting fabric.

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Cut carefully along the lines you drew in the previous step. Cut off any previous collars and pay special attention to the area around the sleeve holes, which may have lumpy seam areas.

The reason you want nonstretch fabric for this project is that stretchy T-shirts have a tendency to curl when they're cut up, which would spoil the shape and look of your hippie vest. At this point in the process, you should have a neatly cut old T-shirt that lies flat and isn't curling at the edges.

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3. Accessorize the hippie vest

You now have an upcycled vest, but to make it into an upcycled ‌hippie‌ vest, you'll want to accessorize. Use whatever you have on hand at home or take a look in a craft store for something fun. Great boho accessories for a hippie vest include:

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  • Sew-on or iron-on patches of flowers
  • Rainbows or peace signs
  • Fringes made from suede or beads
  • Crochet granny squares
  • Tie-dye fabric patches

One great thing about hippie vests is that you can wear them over other costume items, like flowing dresses or bell-bottom flares, if you'd like to layer your costume. If you want the hippie vest to be the star of the show, wear it over a simple crop top or tank top and a pair of jeans.

Add a headband and some beads and you're ready to party like it's 1968. Peace out, man!

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