So here is how the remnants of my old jeans became Dustyfeet’s very smart new waistcoat. I like waistcoats because they are incredibly easy to make, you can do just about anything with them, and Dustyfeet isn’t nearly as likely to take them off as she is a cardigan – like her dad, she objects to things with long sleeves. I will be making more waistcoats, possibly for Sandydad as well (am contemplating how I could adapt an old t-shirt or shirt, or perhaps even a charity shop denim jacket – if they had charity shops in the Middle East, that is?).
To make a waistcoat pattern, take a t-shirt or vest that fits your child. Place it on a sheet of paper with the edge of the paper lined up with the middle of the vest. Draw around the vest, omitting the sleeves.
This is the pattern for the back of the waistcoat. I placed the pattern against the seam of the jeans to cut a whole back piece; this gives you a nice tidy seam straight down the middle of the back.
To make a pattern for the front of the waistcoat, trace around the side and shoulder of the back pattern. The shape for the centre line is for you to decide: I used a smooth curve, but you could also use straight lines. I am lazy about buttonholes so my waistcoat was an informal affair that didn’t meet in the middle, but you could overlap the two halves and add buttons if you want something smarter/warmer.
Cut two front pieces. You will also need a back and two front pieces in a lining fabric. Add any embellishments now (pockets, applique, etc.), before sewing the pieces together.
Place the outer fabric pieces right sides together and pin and sew the shoulder seams. Do the same with the lining pieces. Open out and iron seams flat.
Place the outer and the lining right sides together and pin together. Sew along the bottom, armholes and around the front and neck, but DO NOT sew the side seams. Clip the curved edges, turn right side out and iron. Your waistcoat should now look like this:
Holding the lining fabric well out of the way, pin and sew the outer pieces together along the side seams, stopping exactly at the bottom and armhole seams (do not sew into the seam allowance).
Iron the seams open, then fold one edge of the lining over the other and iron flat. You can then either machine sew through all the layers, or handsew the lining together.
For a crisper finish, stitch in the ditch about 1/4″ from the edge around all the seams.
Here goes Dustyfeet in her new waistcoat: