Hello there!  I had in mind this month to make a project for my husband.  Last year, this month, I made this project for him.  He is my photographer and I quite enjoy making projects for him too!

I picked a fleece vest pattern from Kwik Sew, 3638.  The design is really simple and clean (which makes for a wardrobe staple, to layer).  The pattern includes a fleece jacket as well as the vest.  

Supplies

1.2m, Anti-pill polar fleece, Dark Grey

0.7m Plain Stretch Swimwear Dress Fabric, Black

0.15m, Lightweight woven interfacing, Black

80/12 Ball Point needle

Grey and Black Universal thread

Iron

Glass head, ball point sewing pins/fabric clips

Prym Replacement Zip Fastener Puller Classic

Two Way Plastic Chunky Open End Zipper, 26”

Wire cutters (to cut zipper pull)

Merchant and Mills Portfolio Project Sketchbook

Fabric Recommendations:

Designed for heavyweight stretch knits. 

Suggested Fabrics: Polarfleece, heavy sweatshirt fleece, blanket fleece. Bindings from two-way stretch swimwear fabric with 75% stretch.

Muslin/toile:

I wanted to share that I have made this pattern once before.  I used a green fleece for the first version and my husband wears it ALL THE TIME.  I kept a tracing but at the time I made the first version, I was not keeping notes in a sewing journal.  

When I got into pattern testing and garment sewing more seriously (four years ago) I found it SUPER helpful to keep notes about patterns in a sewing journal.  I have three full journals that I’ve kept since then and they are so handy to go back through and reference!  

They have been helpful when writing up blog posts, to have all of the details written out for reference.  I like to keep track of which size I made, the fabric I used, and construction notes including what I would do differently the next time (and if I would make the pattern again).

I thought this project would be a great excuse to start a new sewing journal (as my most recent journal is full).  I loved this one by Merchant and Mills that I received from Minerva. The binding is hand sewn, there are lots of pages in the book, there’s a folder up front to save scraps of paper (or fabric swatches), and I love the blank page format!

As I looked through the tracing that I kept of the pattern, I was baffled a bit as it was not the size I would have picked for him (it was a size smaller).  I found that this pattern runs really big. I compared the dimensions on the back of the pattern envelope with the finished garment dimensions that are printed on a pattern piece (reference the photo below):

Comparing the finished garment dimensions to the body dimensions, there is 6 ½” of positive ease built into the pattern.  My husband's body dimensions match the range in the Large but I sewed a Medium for him (there was still positive ease for him with the medium).  The first vest I made for him was a medium as well.

I tried a modification to the construction (that didn’t work well).  I tried basting the fronts together (aligning the pockets) to add the zipper underneath.  

This construction change did not work well because the edges of the fronts were not caught in all of the zipper seams (and some of the edges popped out after topstitching).  This fleece is a bulky fabric which made this construction approach not work well. I ripped out the zipper and this seam and then followed the construction order as recommended in the pattern (which worked just fine).

I found a “new to me” sewing notion for this project (which was fun)!  I have seen zipper pulls before that you clip on to the zipper but I didn’t know there are zipper pull replacements that Minerva carries from Prym.  

This piece is easy to open.  The circular detail in the front is a “hinge” where the feature opens and closes.

I used wire clippers to cut off the factory zipper tab (at the top).  It was easy to cut a chunk out of the zipper tab to remove the tab.

I selected a double ended zipper for this project, which allows the bottom of the zipper to also be opened (for venting).

This vest has a unique construction with the pocket/side panel pieces.

When cutting out the swimsuit fabric, I found the black tone was hard to see the selvedge edge of the fabric well (to cut out the pattern pieces on grain).  To help with this challenge, I added ball point sewing pins along the selvedge (to more easily measure the fabric when laying out the pattern pieces).

Ironing:

To prevent scorching the fabric, I used a silk heat setting without steam.  Your iron heat may vary so I’d recommend testing scraps of fabric with the iron before ironing your garment.

Final thoughts:

This was my first project using a double ended zipper.  The 26” zipper (recommended in the pattern) was longer than needed for the vest.  I made an error when sewing the vest as I initially put the extra length of the zipper along the bottom edge of the vest.  I should have put the extra length of the zipper at the top of the collar (to cut off when sewing the collar together). I had to use the seam ripper to move the zipper up (letting the extra length of the zipper fall at the top of the collar, to be cut off).

The vest has a nice fit (when sized down).  The back is a solid piece of fabric with side panels incorporated in from the pocket pieces.

The hat shown in the photos is a hand knit one that I knit him recently (we both love wool).  

I thought I’d share an “in process” photo of the notes that I made (in the new journal).  I’m so happy about having these notes written down as I have a feeling I will be making this vest for him again (he really loves it).

Rachel (@oakbluedesigns)

www.oakbluedesigns.com