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  • Writer's pictureLonda

How To Line a Vest

I’ve created 2 vests:  1 for my grandson, and a matching one for the groom for the upcoming wedding… and as I did so, it occurred to me that perhaps this lining technique would be one some newer to sewing haven’t learned.  Here’s my ‘version’.

Before I start, let me say that I drafted facings for the fronts and back neck area so that the lining would not come to the very edges along the neck and center front.  Those facings were interfaced on the boy’s vest, and in addition to interfacing the facings, I also applied fusible interfacing to the entire front of the groom’s quite large vest for needed body.  How to draft those facings and lining will be another post – another time!

First – it never seems to amaze me that though you use the same pattern to cut out 2 fabrics, that they don’t come out exactly the same!  Well – the DON’T!  At least, not for me.  Their weight, how the ‘wiggle’…it all affects things.  So – when you lay them right sides together after stitching fronts to back at the shoulders and putting on the (fake) pocket welts, as you smooth it all out and pin along each armhole and the neck and center front edges, you just have to decide, as I say..’Which one is the BOSS’.  In my case – as shown below, I decided the heavier fabric – the stripe, was the ‘BOSS; – and the one whose edge I guided along the 5/8″ line at the throat plate on my sewing machine.  The principle here is that you MUST let the fabric boss you around!  If you tried to make edges match when the pieces are not actually the same size, that would lead to ‘buckling’ of the larger piece – NOT a good thing.

Decide which edge is ‘The Boss’

To line a vest to the edge with this technique, you stitch the armholes, the neckline and front edges, and part of the hem – leaving the side seams and the hem on either side of the side seams for at least 4″ or so UNSEWN.  See the picture below…

Leave side seams UNSEWN, and stitch right sides together along neckline, center front and part of the lower hem edges.

Trim down seam allowances, diagonally clip the corners, and at the armhole curves, and the back neck curve MUST trimmed to about 1/4″ deep AND be clipped.  The cut edge a it is is a smaller distance than what that edge will need to be once the garment is turned right side out – and the only way the edge can ‘grow’ is if you clip it.  See the next photo showing how that is done.

clip armhole and neckline curves at seam allowance

Trim, and then clip into the seam allowance at ‘innie’ curves as on armholes and back neck edges.

The next step is to stick your hand in through the opening at the back side seams and go in to grab the fronts, pulling them through so that the garment is right side out.  See the ‘weird’ photos below.

Reach in through shoulders from back to grab each front….

Pull fronts right side out through side openings.

With the inside up at the pressing surface, press along the armhole, neck, and front edges, so you see just a bit of the outside along the edges on the wrong side.  You don’t want to see the lining at the edges from the right side of the vest.

Press along edges from wrong side, favoring a bit of the outside at the edges.

If vest has a back belt – now would be the time to make those belt pieces and anchor them to the established places across the back, anchoring them at the side seams.

Now the ‘fun’ part – it is time to stitch the side seams…lining edge to lining edge, and outside fabric to outside fabric, right sides together.  You’ll need to ‘key’ up the very underarm point where the lining transitions to the outer fabric.  Depending on whether you stitched some of the hemline together earlier, this will be more or less ‘in the hole’ difficult.  Then try VERY carefully to press those seams OPEN with the very point of the iron.

Stitch side seams of lining, right sides together, transitioning to stitching right sides of outer vest together.

At this point, it would be VERY smart to have a fitting – as I did – to check width, establish exact front lap and buttonhole placement, and exact position for a back belt.

Turn hem seam allowances in and edges together in preparation for hand slipstitching these edges together.  For my ‘sidewalk’ slipstitch technique, watch my You-Tube Video HERE

Turn hem allowances in and pin to prepare for hand slipstitching.

I’ll never forget working buttonholes into a little tailored jacket for my son – YEARS ago – and being mortified when I realized I’d put them on the wrong front piece!  Right then, I decided I needed to come up with a way to remember which side of a garment the buttonholes go on for males and females.  I decided…since women are always right – that buttonholes for women go on the RIGHT front.  For men, then the buttonholes go on the LEFT front.  Never messed it up since then – and have taught that to MANY people.

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