Here is my first tutorial for Minerva Crafts, I chose to make a waistcoat for a number of reasons;

  • I just love them! They are great to add an extra layer as it gets chilly and can be made in a variety of fabrics to look casual or dressy.

  • They don’t take too long to make and although they are relatively easy to construct they do cover a number of techniques.

  • Finally they make ideal gifts that can be personnel and unique.

For this ladies waistcoat I used New Look pattern 6914, view B, and 1mtr of this lovely black/gold Metallic Brocade Fabric. This is a gorgeous weight brocade that will dress up any outfit and would also be suitable for a dress, jacket or bodice.

Along with brocade you will also need 0.70mtr Lining, a matching sewing threadinterfacing, 5 buttons and a waistcoat buckle.

So before getting started you need to prewash the fabric if it contains any natural fibres as they may shrink then press to get rid of any creases. You will also need to measure the person you are making for and compare these measurement to the chart on the pattern. The sizes on patterns do not correspond to ready to wear fashion sizes so please don’t skip this bit. If you are making a pattern for the first time it is advisable to make a toile (this is basically a mock-up of a garment in a cheaper fabric to check size) or at least to pin pattern pieces together and compare to the body. For this waistcoat I have checked pattern pieces and am happy with size but chosen to make the lining first to double check.

Now for the pattern. Have a quick read through the instructions and find all the pieces you need. I then like to trace out the pattern pieces in the required size so you can use the pattern again. Transfer all the markings then pin on the fabric as shown on the instruction sheet. For this waistcoat the fabric is folded right sides together, selvages matching. Pin pattern pieces making sure you keep the straight of grain line on the pattern piece parallel to the edge and the back piece placed on the fold. Once cut notches on edges can be marked. I have cut out but you can mark with chalk.

Now for the interfacing. Once the pieces are cut I then trim slightly so that when you are ironing interfacing on it is less likely to overhang the fabric and make a mess of your ironing board or iron. Press firmly with the iron rather than sliding as this could case the interfacing/fabric to wrinkle or move.

The seams joining the centre panels to the side panels are curved seams so on one side you will find there is slightly more fabric. To ease this extra fabric to fit the side panel it helps to do 2 rows of stitching. If machine stitching increasing your stitch length will help make it easier to gather up. These pieces can then be matched up and pinned ready for stitching. By placing pins at right angles it is possible to stitch over pins as long as you go slowly but if you prefer you could hand tack the pieces together and remove pins before machining.

Back and front seams done, the shoulders are now joined and seams pressed. The fit can now be double checked.

To make the marking on the patterned fabrics I use tailor tacks. Using a long length of thread sew though both layers leaving a long end, then stitch a second time leaving a loop. This can be pulled though pattern paper then as you pull the fabric apart the loop will mean it holds to both pieces. This can now be snipped in the middle, showing marking on both sides.

Front centre pieces can be stitched to side pieces, as with lining, but the centre back needs the belt sections added before seaming. Make up the 2 pieces and turn out. I use a loop turner to make this easy. Then top stitch, attach the buckle and place at level marked.

For the front the pocket welts need to be added. Make the welts, turn, press then stitch along open edge with a 1cm seam allowance. This seam is a guide to match up to markings already transferred and to sew along again to attach. Once attached press the welt upwards and pin into place making sure edges are tucked in neatly before securing in place.

Join the shoulders, press, then the lining can be stitched to the main fabric along the armhole edge. After stitching press seam allowance towards the lining and clip along the curve. This allows the fabric to lay flat once waistcoat is turned but be careful not to cut into seamline. Opening up the seam topstitch on the lining close to seamline. This will stop the lining rolling out and showing on right side when worn.

With right sides together stitch together along from side, around the neck edge to the other side and also along bottom of back. This outer edge then needs to be trimmed in layers to reduce bulk and corners removed to allow them to lay flat once turned. The waistcoat is then turned by pulling the front panels through the shoulder and out through the side opening. The side seams can now be stitched by pinning and sewing right sides of main fabric together and hand-stitching the lining to close opening. Once pressed the outer edge can then be top-stitched.

Just final finishing touches now! Firstly button holes, as well as marking on fabric with chalk I place a pin along edge in line with marking so I can see better when lining up under button hole foot. My machine has an automatic buttonhole setting but all machines differ so check your instructions if your not sure and do a practice run on a spare piece of fabric, double thickness.

Buttonholes complete its time for the scary bit of cutting them. My tip for this is to place a pin just in front of the back stitches of the buttonhole, that way if you cut a bit quickly with the very sharp seam ripper it stops you from cutting to far!

Finally sew buttons on the left front to match button holes and you have completed a smart little waistcoat.

Thank you for reading & I hope this tutorial helps you with your own make!

To see more from me please visit my blog SewandSnip!