Current vests

This really is a season for vests. So grab some if you like them. Worn with a blouse. Or layered over long knit tops or loose tunics, as a way of getting the short-over-long layered/ lagenlook effect.

Three main looks.

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1. Classic vest with a blouse

For a more formal look, there’s a classic menswear vest with a soft blouse. See my classics post. This is the current vest that’s good for a neat waist.

If you’d like a softer version, there are a couple of new wardrobe patterns which add a curved collar. Palmer-Pletsch McCall’s 6211


or Butterick 5570.


Another ‘classic’ style is a jewel-neck open front vest with Chanel style elements (braid edge trim, patch pockets, chains, pearls). Perhaps Simplicity 4789 view F without bow as a starting point.


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2. Low hip length knit top and drapey vest

Drapey vests are also ‘current’. They add textural interest to a simple low hip length knit top, not always much warmth.

You could lengthen a favourite tee pattern for the top – you want a slim-line not stretched tight style. A new pattern is McCall’s 6244 (many layering options).


New Simplicity 2283 is another pattern for both soft vest and the knit top it’s layered over.

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Similar vest patterns which don’t include a top

Several new patterns, such as Butterick 5498


and Vogue 8657.


Kwik Sew 3827 is a more formal fitted style. It has multiple seams at the back, so would not be as easy to add a warming inner layer to as it looks.


Then, if you’re happy with instructions in French, there are several ‘gilet sans manches’ patterns from Au Bonheur des Petites Mains.


I’ve seen a lace version of one of these light vests, an attractive look for a party.
And a hoodie version (see new Kwik Sew 3838) would fit in well round here.

Not a vest, but new Butterick 5563 has many ways of adding an interesting drapey layer.

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3. Thigh length loose tunic with less drapey vest

Less drapey vests are often layered over a thigh length loose tunic-dress, perhaps with ‘peasant’ (gathered raglan) neckline. (Paysanne sounds more glamorous, but it’s just French for peasant.) This neckline is a current romantic / boho look.

Most pattern catalogues have something in peasant style. But many patterns are close to ‘off the shoulder’ – not what you want in mid-winter ! unless you’re wearing it over a turtle (UK polo) neck.
If you want the neckline closer to your neck, lengthen the front, back and sleeve sections above the armhole.

Here is an example of what you might look for, Stof & Stil 22021.


Made thigh length and perhaps with gathered sleeve cuffs.

If you use a lightweight fabric that doesn’t bulk up when gathered, you can make a much looser style. Simply add a few inches down the mid-length of front, back and sleeves.

On the other hand, if you don’t like a lot of fullness, a partially gathered neckline such as Vogue 8650 could be a good compromise.


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Vests to wear with the long loose tunics

These thigh length loose tunics are usually combined with less drapey vests, two styles in particular.

A long classic shape, worn 2-4 inches/ 5-10 cm shorter than the top it’s layered over, perhaps slim with a little waist shaping. McCall’s 2260 View B could be a starting point for lengthening.


Or a bolero (a good base for quilting and embellishment). I thought a bolero vest was an obvious style, but can’t find a Big 4 pattern. There are several patterns for bolero jackets. Remember you need a low armhole to be comfortable over a raglan sleeve.

The Laughing Moon Cowgirl pattern no.108 includes a bolero vest.


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And current warm vests

Fur vest, fur outside and V-necked, long with wide shoulders, a big look.

Or an ‘aviator’ style fur, with the fur turned in and an asymmetric exposed front zip.

Or a waist length padded blouson.

I talked about these in my warm vests post.

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Of course you haven’t got to wear a vest layered over a longer top.
Either way, it’s definitely a good time for vest lovers 😀

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Patterns and links available November 2010

Explore posts in the same categories: current fashion

2 Comments on “Current vests”

  1. RuthieK Says:

    I’m not a big waistcoat wearer though I have a few fitted menswear style ones I find they are a bit masculine looking.

    • sewingplums Says:

      Yes Ruth – I look terrible in all tailored styles, but some people look marvellous in them. At least that means there’s a whole group of sewing skills I don’t need 😀 I do wear some vest styles a lot in winter. I think the best vest shape and length for each person depends on body shape and personal style.

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