Sewing for Me: Wool Zip-Up Vest


Good morning! Since I’ll be sharing a K-sized outfit on Friday this week, I thought I would change up the routine and post this wool vest I made a few days ago.


I haven’t sewn much with wool, and this fabric is actually a polyester blend full of slubbiness and stretch. I’m not sure if that made it easier or not, but oh, the shedding…don’t get me started on the shedding. There is a thin layer of dark grey dust all over my sewing area at the moment, and it’s looking rather post-apocalyptic.

I have this Eddie Bauer wool feather-down vest that I wear all the time that I bought years and years ago. It’s starting to look pretty worn out, though, and I thought this pattern from Basic Black sewing book would create a decent substitute:


Hmmm, I didn’t look at the modeled photo as I was sewing the vest but the styling must have embedded itself in my brain since I used a very  similar fabric and I even took photos wearing a braid. I usually try to stay away from direct copying, so this surprised me. At any rate, I ended up changing a few things from the original pattern and as usual, I didn’t execute flawlessly. Take a gander.


Do you see it? The pockets are totally lopsided. They were actually even when I first attached them, but then as I tried to get the separating zipper inserted, one side started stretching out and the right front bodice piece ended up way longer. Next time, I will make sure to add interfacing or stay tape before attaching the zipper. Another note on the zipper: I think the instructions were incorrect? When I followed them to the letter, my zipper was facing the wrong way so I had to figure out a different method. It’s very likely to be user error, but I’ll be making this vest again so I’ll provide the correct way if the instructions are wrong.

I am debating whether or not to re-do the pockets, but you know what’s funny? Because I naturally stand with my right shoulder hiked up, the pockets actually look quite even when I’m wearing it. I guess I should consider attaching all my pockets askew…Anyhow, here are some of the changes I made. Instead of folding over the armhole inward to finish them, I cut out two 2″ bias bindings for the arm openings. Much, much cleaner in my opinion:


My fabric was pretty bulky so instead of double-folding the hem, I serged it (lazy, lazy — look at that white serger thread) and folded up only once. I also added a couple of extra inches to the hem for my extra long torso:


I wish the zipper tape showed more because it’s this cool black and white stripe, like this one, except mine separates.

wool-vest3 wool-vest2

The design is great, though I should have used something other than the same fabric for the collar facing…I don’t like wool directly on my skin as a general rule, and though this one isn’t too bad, it’s still a bit scratchy.


Imperfect, but totally functional. I’ll take it!

22 thoughts on “Sewing for Me: Wool Zip-Up Vest

  1. The slubbiness totally covers the lopsidedness… in fact, had you not pointed it out in that detail shot, I’d never have noticed it!! 😀 It looks super cozy and well made.

    1. So glad it wasn’t too noticeable – (I did futz with the vest pulling it this way and that so that it would look less lopsided ;-)). It’s very cozy! I actually got hot while wearing it this weekend!

  2. Bring on the COZY! Sounds like you’ve got a great working prototype and know what you need to do for the next one. For the zipper and stretch if you use some of that fusible tape to attach the zipper that will keep the garment from stretching as you sew. Just another method!

    1. It’s an excellent wearable prototype, Em! Thanks for the fusible tape rec – great idea! I also want to hunt down some ribbed, sweater-y fabric for the collar and attach a waistband for version 2.0. Stay tuned!

    1. Thanks so much, Greta! I pretty much live in these types of vests when the weather cools down. I have a puffy brown one, and the grey wool one that are in constant rotation and now I’m glad to add another (or two!).

    1. I’m planning on trying out the high-collar top next, and I have a good feeling about it. I think the book is really great and worth the investment, Marta!

  3. It sure does look cosy! I really like the fabric. I hear you on stretch fabrics and zippers. I have to remind myself to sew in the same direction on both sides (ie collar to hem) to avoid getting things warped, even then that isn’t always enough.
    It looks like it will be really useful and will get heaps of wear so I’d bite the bullet and move one pocket, it won’t be hard. Either that or have one leg shortened… or restump the house just on one side… 🙂

    1. Oh, I definitely should restump the house. 🙂 I’ve already worn the vest multiple times and it was timely because it’s starting to get chilly here!

    1. Thanks Isabelle! I love it too! I’m thinking of using this other fancier wool for my next one — it sparkles a bit!

  4. So you totally look like you came straight from the pages of an athletic wear catalog in that top photo – looking good! Gotta love when you make something that looks that great and is comfy to wear. Sorry about the itchy neckline – that would be my downfall as well. Perhaps face it with something softer? Perhaps a piece of cashmere lying around?:)

    1. Ha, from Sears catalog to athletic wear catalog! Comfort without sacrificing style, that’s my eternal quest. Though this one isn’t totally how I’d envisioned it, it’s definitely utilitarian and that’s always a win in my book! Hmmmm…cashmere lining sounds brilliant. I’m SURE I have a piece lying around here somewhere…;-)

  5. Despite the pockets migrating, this came out really well! The model in the pattern actually reminds me of you too. Her facial expression, I think!

    1. Oh, that’s so flattering, thanks Tara! She’s a cutie, that model. I love my vest! It’s in the laundry pile now from being worn often!

  6. Very flattering, Sanae! Btw, you’ve totally motivated me to finally use my Renfrew pattern, I’d forgotten that I actually have some cream ponte cut out ready to sew up..oopsie.

    1. So nice that you already had it cut out, Aja! I really need to make more Renfrews, such a great pattern. Thanks!

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