When So Zo revealed her very first downloadable pattern for a vest, I knew I had exactly the raw materials needed. On my recent holiday in America, I’d visited Yosemite National Park. I bought a T-shirt. I know, I’m so sad. This was size extra large, but was still way too snug for me. It was stuffed into a bottom drawer and I tried not to bite my lip at the money I’d wasted. Then So Zo came along with her rescue plan. I could refashion this T-shirt.
There was only one problem. Ian wanted to watch the Grand Prix. I wanted to watch the Wimbledon mens’ final. (Unless you’ve been living under a rock, a Brit was going to play in the final for the first time in 72 years.) My solution was to drag my work upstairs to the spare bedroom/office and watch tennis on the computer.
I printed off the PDF pattern and started folding and sellotaping. Fortunately, this is the smallest downloadable pattern I’ve ever worked with, which meant that taping together was a breeze, and hardly took any time at all.
I cut out a size 14, guessing that was just about right for my figure. The pre-match pundits were on the telly, and I love the below shot with our living legend, Sue Barker!
Wimbledon excitement was palpable as I set to with the scissors. Both Doctor Who and David Beckham had come to watch the match – what more could we Brits ask for?! I dragged my overlocker upstairs as the players walked out onto court…
- I was able to incorporate the trimmed hem of the original T-shirt, so I didn’t even need to worry about hemming this baby. Result! (You may, however, want to reinforce the bottom of your side seams, to avoid unravelling of overlocking thread.)
- When it comes to attaching the underwear elastic, heed Zoe when she advises practising on scraps first! It took me quite a while to establish the right tension on my sewing machine, and the right zig zag option (I followed Zoe’s recommendation of the three-step zig zag). You’ll also want to practise the technique of attaching the elastic to your raw edges. Make sure you have plenty of spare underwear elastic for this.
- I’d recommend matching your thread colour as closely as possible to your elastic colour – especially when you’re new to this, like me, and still getting the grip of consistently sewing in the centre of your elastic.
- When attaching the ends of your straps to the back bodice, pin in place and slip the vest on to check the fit before sewing down. I found that I needed to take a couple of inches off the length of each strap.
- Once that’s all done, this make is a breeze! You might like to steam the heck out of your elastic at the end of the make, as it will have stretched during construction. I suspect I was a bit timid about stretching out my elastic during sewing – you can see the looseness on my front bodice:
The men were still playing, so I decided to make one more. I dug out a T-shirt I’d bought Ian, which he’d never deigned to wear. The price tag was still on it. On this version, I incorporated some of the original features like a pocket and placket. I had to hem this second vest and discovered a very nice jersey stitch on my Bernina. Another feature I didn’t realise I had!
As Andy made his tearful speech to the crowd, I finished pressing this:
In conclusion, how long does it take to make two So Zo Vests? As long as a men’s Wimbledon final. If you are re-fashioning and want lots of options for placement of pattern pieces, use the largest T-shirt you can lay your hands on! Both of mine were tight squeezes.
Are you tempted by this pattern for an essential basic? Any tips on working with underwear elastic?
Thank you, Zoe!