Project: Youth Vests

I had the chance to venture into new territory with sewing this week!  For our church's big musical production in a couple of weeks, all the 700+ young men, 12-18, need vests.  (The young women are wearing skirts and aprons and mobcaps, some of which I made a few days ago.) These vests are reversible. For part of the production they all need black vests, and for part they will have different colors. 

The people in charge picked a Butterick vest pattern for everyone to use.  There was a bit of organizing necessary because each church unit was given a pattern and people had to pass it around after finishing.  It turns out someone forgot to give me the correct size pattern! I had measurements for these two young men of a 32 chest, and the smallest pattern I was given was 38.  I didn't quite know what to do. I called my mother-in-law, who has made around 40 of these vests, and she offered to give me her copy of the 32.  However, that would involve a couple of hours of driving for one of us, plus a $5 toll. I decided to first try redrafting the pattern.

I took some tracing fabric that I use when I don't want to cut into a pattern.  I traced the 38 pattern first.  Then, I used the 40 and 42 lines as reference, and drew in the lines where I estimated the size 32 should be.  If there was .5" between the larger sizes, I went in .5" per size (I was making 3 sizes smaller, so every number was multiplied by 3).  If it was .25", I would draw it in that amount (x3).  This back piece was the easy one.  The front piece was just a little more complicated, but I got it to work.

I used my hip curve to make sure my curves were correct.

Can you tell what mistake I made in the photo below? I forgot the original piece was underneath and cut right through it with my rotary cutter!!!! I was horrified, but a little tape fixed it right up.

To double-check my measurements, I called my mother-in-law again and she measured her 32 pattern while I measured mine.  I was pretty dang close! I just needed to make a few little changes.

Remember my injury a week or so ago? By yesterday, it was all healed and I could play violin without problem.  But while cutting out these vests, my hand slipped and I nicked the tip of my left index finger with the rotary cutter--the same exact finger! I swear, I am not a klutz. I practice safe sewing habits because I don't want to hurt myself! I rarely find pins on the floor because I pick them up the moment they drop.  But I've just had really bad luck recently!

Thankfully, it mostly just got the skin.  I caused more problems when I tried to peel it off than the original swipe caused. So I had to play violin last night at the temple open house with some soreness, but it didn't seem to affect my playing. After I came home, I got most of the vest sewing finished.

Today I just had to sew the sides together, sew on velcro (buttons will be added later by the young men), and hand stitch the lining on each side.  That took awhile.  Even with fairly good eyesight, sewing little stitches in black thread on black fabric taxed my eyes a bit! Hand-sewing isn't my favorite, but these turned out well enough.  

I'm happy with the final results! I don't know how they will fit the young men.  There's quite a bit of ease built into the pattern, so they may still be too large on their thin frames, but I did adjust for their height, so hopefully they end up fitting okay. I am pretty sure the pockets were not uneven, I think that's just how these are hanging. They will look even better once the buttons are sewn on!  Also, just a note--I picked fabrics from my stash that I thought would work well, concentrating mostly on fabric color and thickness.  I didn't really think about how the teal fabric is actually zebra print!  I hope that doesn't bother anyone; they'll be singing on a stage, so nobody will be staring at these up close.