Traveling in Style!

After finishing projects for other folks I was itching to make something to take with me on an upcoming trip.  I usually am not much of a vest person, but for the 'not quite spring' weather I thought a vest would be just about right.  The only plan I had for packing was gray shoes.  You have to start with something!  So...a vest to wear in early spring with gray shoes....I know...not much to go on, but I headed into the stash to see what surfaced.

Boiled wool!  Perfect!  

The colors in the photo are a bit off, the taupey wool looks much grayer in real life.  

I decided to make the darker gray the main body of the vest and use the striped wool jersey and the taupey-gray wool as accents.  The paisley is a cotton jersey and definitely needed to be in the picture somewhere.

I chose a shirt dress pattern that was pretty straight forward.  I figured I would just make it without sleeves.

I had one yard of the boiled wool so I did some  creative cutting to get the pieces I needed.  More on that later!

Here's what I ended up making.

Simple, slightly 'A' shaped shirt dress, button front, back yoke, band collar, shirttail hem longer in the back....

A couple of tricks I used  to stretch my one yard of fabric.

Raw edges!  No hem allowances, no facings.  I really like the challenge of working with raw edges.  Figuring out what to sew first and what to trim away to make the raw edges look intentional and not just, well, raw, is a great engineering puzzle.

Lapped seam allowances.  I only needed 1/4 inch to overlap and make raw edge seams.  

The pocket 'cutouts' became the back yokes...the cute ribbon detail on the yoke...yep, it's covering up a center back seam!

I tried using a single layer for the collar since that's all I could get out of the dark gray, but it really needed the weight of two layers, so the inside of the collar became a 'design detail' using the taupey-gray!  I was planning to make a traditional curved collar band that met at the center front, but when I got the two pieces attached at the neckline, I kind of liked the loose ends, so I left 'em.  The top edge of the collar band is left open as well.

The buttons and button holes were also fun to engineer.  I love slotted buttons and have used them a couple of times recently. These are attached with 1/4" Petersham ribbon stitched onto wider twill tape.  The ribbon and twill tape also work to stabilize the front edges of the vest.

I tried a couple of button hole options.  Putting a machine button hole on the Petersham was not particularly successful.  The ribbon got scrunched up and distorted.  I ended up making a 'dotted line' of ribbon with raw edge slits in between for the button holes.  I think it picks up on the striped insets on the pockets.

The paisley became a long sleeved T which will work with other things in my travel wardrobe...as soon as I figure it out!

Not much left of my yard of gray wool!

I am really excited about the finished vest.  It's really comfortable and I feel very stylish!  I think it will be just right.   Now we'll have to see what else makes it into the suitcase!


  1. Very clever and stylish. I love the detail with ribbon and button on the back!

    1. Sometimes the Mother of Necessity ends up giving birth to great design details!

  2. Beautiful! You should always buy less yardage as your genius mind comes up with wonderful solutions. There are so many aspects of design to admire...thank you so much for being a bright light in my world.

    1. More often than not it's how willing I am to spend the $$ for that 1/2 yard more. I guess my design appetite is bigger than my willingness to fork over cash! Honored to be part of your world!

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks! It was really fun to design and put together.

  4. There are so many beautiful details on this vest and I love them all, especially the pockets. Sheer Genius! The paisley sleeves – swoon. I don't think I've ever seen slotted buttons before. They're super effective as a design detail. Where do you get them? Is there a brand? Your stitching is impeccable. Brava!

    1. I really like the Paisley as well...I'm going to have to find other things to wear with the T. Most button companies make some version of slotted buttons (I don't even know if that is the official name for them, it's just what I call them;) I find them on the button displays at the fabric store.