How to Make a Men's Dress Vest

Written by laura leiva
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How to Make a Men's Dress Vest
A dress vest may be handmade. (tux, tie, vest, boutinerre, groom wedding image by Paul Retherford from

A man's vest is an easy garment to make because it is comprised of little more than fabric to cover the torso. A dress vest can be sewn as simple as you want, or you can add decorative touches such as buttons and lapels. If you are just starting out in clothes-making, a vest is a simple project that takes only a few hours to put together. You can use any type of fabric for a vest, though a dress vest is often crafted from sateen or polyester.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Pattern
  • Pencil
  • Newspaper or tracing paper
  • Fabric
  • Sewing pins
  • Sewing machine

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  1. 1

    Purchase a vest pattern from a fabric store. If you do not purchase one, you can follow a basic pattern using a button-down shirt.

  2. 2

    Lay out the button-down shirt on a large piece of newspaper or tracing paper with the arms folded inward, across the shirt.

  3. 3

    Trace the shirt onto the paper using a pencil. Add a ½ inch to the outline to accommodate seams. Double up the paper and cut on the line that accommodates the seam. You will have a front and back pattern. Cut a y-shape into the front pattern, allowing for about 5 inches for the neck. Add 1½ inches to each front opening panel to account for buttons.

  1. 1

    Choose the type and colour of fabric you want for the vest. Wool, wool blends, velvet and polyester are all suitable fabrics for a dress vest, while sateen makes an ideal lining.

  2. 2

    Pin the pattern you bought or made to the fabric using sewing needles and cut along the guidelines.

  3. 3

    Lay out the back pattern of the vest with the right side facing you, then place each front panel on top of the backing, with the right side facing the backing.

  4. 4

    Sew a half-seam up the sides of the vest and over the shoulder area, avoiding the area where the armholes are. Sewing up the entire side will result in closed armholes.

  5. 5

    Repeat the process to attach the sateen lining.

  6. 6

    Turn the vest right-side out and iron or smooth out edges.

  7. 7

    Turn in the seam around the armholes about an inch and pin to secure. Sew by hand or with a sewing machine to finish off the armholes.

  8. 8

    Turn over the edges on the front opening about ¼ inch and sew along the edge, starting from the bottom of the opening up to the neck (where it attaches to the backing).

  9. 9

    Use the buttonhole feature on your sewing machine to create three to five evenly-spaced openings on the left panel.

  10. 10

    Attach three to five buttons on the right panel to match with the openings.

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