1940's Menswear-Style Vest
Added Feb 19, 2011
I was inspired to make this vest for myself, by watching the 1940’s Sherlock Holmes films starring Basil Rathbone. I’m a huge fan of the movies and thought that a vest would be a nice, simple project to do. And of course, who wouldn’t want to get their Sherlock Holmes on?
I used the pattern MCCALL’S 5887, View A for the vest, but made alterations. I used the pattern once before for another vest, but was disappointed with the results; so this time I knew just what to fix. First, the pattern is a little over-sized (even though it is supposed to fit snugly), so I ended up cutting out the size 6, when I normally would wear a 10. Second, I made the pattern a good inch and a half longer, because the first vest ended up a tad too short for my taste. third, I added a little to the neckline, making it less of a “U” shape and more of a “V” shape.
I also need to note that once I had finished the vest, I tried it on and realized that the shoulders where about half an inch too tall for me, so I had to open the lining back up and take the shoulder seams in a tad.
I love the technique that the pattern uses to fully line the vest, by handstitching the lining closed on the inside. It makes it look very tailored and smooth.
As for the dreaded buttonholes, I decided to skip the dangerous machine-stitching and simply do them the old fashioned way, with some embroidery floss and a sharp needle.
I ventured in to new territory with the four single-welt pockets on the front, because I had never tried welts before. I made my own pattern for them, and in the end I think they turned out pretty well.
This project was supremely economical, because it cost me only about $2.00. I used a wool/cotton brown & tan plaid suiting for the outside, a burgundy acetate fabric for the lining and the back. I used heavy weight interfacing on the front pieces (and two layers on the bottom corners to get them to lay down right). I recycled the buttons from an old denim shirt.
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