A Sweater Knit Vest for Cool Summer Evenings

by

McCall’s Palmer/Pletsch M7695 Vest/Jacket

While many of us around the country are wishing for cool summer evenings, the time we’re spending indoors where it is, hopefully, comfortably cool, creates an opportunity to sew this vest to wear when they finally return.

The McCall’s Palmer/Pletsch vest and jacket pattern M7695 shows you how to quilt your own fabric if you’d like. I chose to make the vest in a sweater knit to go with my new jeans (more about them coming up).

This simple style is perfect for practicing bodice fit. It has just a front and back and no darts. Of course if you are full-busted, you will alter and add horizontal bust darts. When tissue-fitting, try on the tissue over what you will wear under the vest or jacket. For quilted or heavier fabrics, allow 1” side seam allowances, in case your fabric is heavy and you need more ease.

I took Helen Bartley’s Palmer/Pletsch Fit & Sew Jeans Workshop and made these jeans. I had denim left over, which I used to trim my sweater vest. I shortened the vest pattern 2” to show off my jeans details.

Below is my bum with stylized P’s (which could stand for pockets, Pati Palmer, or Palmer/Pletsch!). I love my jeans and love the fit. Helen teaches the jeans 4-day workshop in Portland. The next one is in October 2019. McCall’s Palmer/Pletsch pattern M5894 is included in the workshop.

SEWING NOTES FOR VEST

Tissue-fit the vest per the instructions in the guidesheet. Follow the instructions for View A.

Sew shoulder seams, side seams and undercollar to lining and upper collar to vest. I waited to sew pockets to front after the vest was finished, to make sure I placed them where they looked most flattering.

I did a few things not in the guidesheet because of using a sweater knit.

I fused SewkeysE woven fusible stay tape over the neck and shoulder seams to prevent stretch. I cut the 1 ¼”-width in half because I did not have ½”-wide tape on hand. Sew shoulder seams through the stabilizer.

bias binding

BINDING

Follow the steps in the guidesheet. I didn’t use premade fold-over binding. Instead, I cut and pieced 1 ¾” strips of bias denim—enough to bind the bottom, armholes, and front edges.

Before you sew on the binding, make sure the front edges from the top of the collar to the bottom are perfectly even. Also, calculate the zipper length so the bottom separator is just above the bottom of the vest. The guidesheet tells you how to shorten the zipper.

You can either sew the strips to the outside edge and wrap to the wrong side, or sew them to the wrong side and wrap to the right side. Either way, stitch at 5/8”, trim seam to 3/8”, and fold the strip over the seam allowance. Turn under the raw edge 3/8”. Slipstitch or edgestitch to secure the folded edge.

The zipper was easy.

I used 1/8” double-stick basting tape on both sides of the zipper. I stuck the zipper under the bound front edges so just a hint of zipper teeth showed. Then I unzipped the separating zipper. With a zipper foot, I stitched in the well of the seam next to the inside of the front binding, catching the zipper.

zipper in sweater vest

Then I made the pockets.

making the pocket

I fused the stretch denim with PerfectFuse Light for a little added body. I stabilized the bias pocket opening edge with a strip of PerfectFuse Sheer in the stable direction to prevent stretching. I lined the pocket for added body. I sewed the pocket and lining right sides together, trimmed, turned and pressed.

If you press the seams open at this point, as shown for the pocket bottom seam, the edges will press more easily after turning and will come out sharper.

testing the topstitching on the pocket

I tested topstitching on a sample pocket. I tried one strand of regular thread, then two strands through the needle. I liked the bolder look of two strands of light blue thread.

I edgestitched and topstitched the pocket opening, pulling the threads to the wrong side and securing with a knot.

I love Steam-A-Seam, which is a sticky fusible web with a paper backing. I stuck it to the three pocket edges to be sewn to the vest. Then with the iron I lightly heated the paper backing, to hold the web a little more securely to the wrong side of the pocket. This is before the pocket was placed on the vest.

Placement was critical. I didn’t want the placement to make my hips or waist look larger. I wanted to see how the pockets looked if placed closer to or farther from the center front. After I decided on the placement, I lifted the pocket edges and removed the protective paper. The exposed fusible web is sticky, so the pocket just stuck to the fabric. I lightly pressed the edges with a steam iron to slightly melt the fusible web. I used a press cloth to prevent shine. Then I topstitched and edgestitched through all layers to attach the pocket.

pocket placement on the vest

The Finished Vest!

A Technique to Flip Line a Vest

We include in our guidesheets tips from our books. For example, from Mother Pletsch’s Painless Sewing, here’s another way to line a vest that doesn’t have bound edges.

lined vest technique from Mother Pletsch's Painless Sewingf

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7 Responses
  • Elaine
    July 24, 2019

    I really like the vest you made using the jean fabric to make the binding. Your jeans look great also. Thank you for your post. I always enjoy them and always find them very informative.

    I have the jean pattern. Did you use a stretch denim and which view did you sew?

    • Pati Palmer
      July 25, 2019

      Thanks for the compliments. I used the narrower leg View A and then took them in a little to make a skinnier leg jeans. Yes, I used stretch denim.

  • Magdalena
    July 24, 2019

    I love the vest and jeans combo…beautifully done! 😉

  • Julie
    July 31, 2019

    I love your vest and jeans! What a great combination. And I love the sweater knit fabric. Great job!!

  • Pati Palmer
    August 5, 2019

    Thank you for your nice comments.

  • Pati Palmer
    August 17, 2019

    FYI, this pattern just got discontinued, but is available on the McCall’s website.

  • mary
    September 12, 2022

    Hi
    Anything related to dress I love it… same as I order something from O2clothing is awesome must check out their collection

    Check it out. O2clothingstudio

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