For my 'Make It From Scratch Contest' entry, I am submitting the story of the hunting vest I made for DH this winter.
DH loves the outdoors. He fishes, ice fishes, deer hunts and hunts rabbits with our beagles. In Ohio (and many other states) hunters are required- at different times- to wear blaze orange so as to be seen by other hunters. DH had an old orange vest that was faded, so he started looking for a new one.
Most of the vests he found were ridiculously priced and had too many other functions for what he needed. They were filled with 4,000 pockets, loops and doohickeys for turkey hunters or bird hunters that he frankly just didn't need. The cheapest vest he could find that wasn't made of something that resembled a disposable, plastic tablecloth, was still over $20. It didn't make sense to spend that much on one. I told him I could make one for way cheaper.
The only problem with my little offer was that, other than making a faux cowboy vest out of felt with a red paisley pocket square for my niece to wear to a b-day party, I had never made a vest. I had no pattern other than DH's old vest; and that's what I would use.
I made a trip to Joanne Fabrics and got a great deal on some orange polar fleece (50% off!) and I bought enough to make about 5 or 6 vests. After all, you never know when I might need to make a cute little blaze orange purse or scarf. Besides, the kids will be asking for vests just like Dad's when they see the finished product, right?
I laid the old vest out on some brown craft paper and began to trace it. I made it a little bigger in the arm holes and a little bit longer as we wanted it to fit over DH's Carhart coat. I did this by tracing the back of the vest in the center of the paper, then folding the right side in to the center to trace the right/front. Then, I folded the left side in to the center and traced the left/front onto that piece. When I cut the pattern out and folded each side in, the two front pieces overlapped just a bit and it would look just like the vest. Opened, it kinda looks like a big, scoopy "W". This made it possible to only have 2 actual seams; one at the top of each shoulder.
I laid the pattern on the fleece and figured out how to best fit it so there was as little waste as possible. I cut the fabric with about a 1/3 inch bigger than the pattern for a seam allowance. You wouldn't really have to make an edge seam or hem with fleece as it doesn't ravel, but I did simply for durability purposes. Usually, I would leave 1/4 inch, but fleece is so thick that I allowed more. Then, I clipped around the curves in the arm holes so the fabric wouldn't pucker after being sewn.
I stitched the outer seams first and then joined the vest at the top of the shoulders to complete it. I added a plain rectangular pocket on each side just for fun.
As you can see, it turned out pretty well. It serves it's purpose of making DH more visible and he just leaves it on his coat so he doesn't have to take the vest on and off separately. It also stays in place better than most of the vests you can buy because the fleece kind of clings to the coat. I will say that it can collect a fair amount of briers, but we were aware of that before I bought the fabric and it hasn't been a big problem.
Visit Stephanie at Stop The Ride to see other entries in the 'Make It From Scratch Contest'.