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1940's Menswear-Style Vest

Added Feb 19, 2011

by lanternwaste33

Pascagoula, Miss...






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.

Material Notes

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.




Spring, Fall, Winter
Garment Type
Other, Punk, Rock, Steampunk, Victorian, Vintage
Blends, Other, Suiting



5 Comments Sign in to add a post

  • Naburdaprofil_large

    Feb 20, 2011, 01.22 PMby janul

    very nice, it looks great on you!

  • 970316_10201865009255816_2084508514_n_large

    Feb 20, 2011, 11.47 AMby lclausewitz

    Nice one, that. I’m poring through screencaps from the 2009 Holmes movie myself to find out the details on Irene Adler’s vest-and-trousers ensemble in the final scenes.

  • D7eae96cceb64cb79af8eedd0e373175f33cb968_large

    Feb 19, 2011, 05.37 PMby freaky-philomeen

    This vest looks beautiful with all those carefully made details, a piece of art! And I’m glad I’m not the only one who gets paralyzed by some clothes that people wear in films…I often forget to follow the film while figuring out how to make this skirt or that hat. I thought this was some sort of sewing-madness or something worse ;))))

    1 Reply
    • Me_steampunk_avvie_large

      Feb 19, 2011, 06.55 PMby lanternwaste33

      It happens to me every time I watch anything, and it’s been an obsession ever since I was old enough to sit up and watch a movie. LOL! Hard one outfit goes by that I’m not transfixed with to the point of losing track of the plot.

  • Picture_219_large

    Feb 19, 2011, 03.10 AMby danilovestosew

    Lovely job :) & I think hand-done buttonholes are a special touch.

  • Fb_large

    Feb 19, 2011, 01.53 AMby liliashp

    Very nice! And the buttonholes look great! When I get to the finishing point I get really apprehensive to do machine buttonholes too- it’s a little nerve racking to think about losing a project so close to completion.

    • This is a question
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