Some key takeaways:
- Wait to buy your separating zipper until you confirm the final length
- Make sure your fabric works for the arm binding, if not you can use spandex or knit
Just as spring made its way in New England, so did the cold weather. For a winter which saw 70 degree temperatures on Christmas Eve and only 2 snow storms, this spring sure is cold! We had more snow storms in April than in March, and now that it is May, I can’t walk around my house without a sweatshirt. Or a fleece….which brings me to….
I decided to make a fleece vest! I started this a bit on the late side – as in after winter was technically over. Glad this cold weather started up, or I would have felt completely foolish!
This was a pretty ambitious project. I have never made anything like this before, and half-way through making the vest, I was worried I may be in over my head. However, the results of this one are very positive!
When I first decided to make this pattern, I had this knobby textured fleece that I had bought awhile back. I don’t even remember where I bought it. I needed to get the contrast, which was preferably some sort of waterproof vinyl-type fabric. I looked around for a long time, but then I found some windbreaker material that was black with a green grid. This print complemented the textured squares on the green fleece perfectly.
The vest requires that you cut out and layer the top half so that the fleece is still lining the top of the vest with the contrast over it. Like most commercial fleece vests, this one has an extra pocket at the top. It requires some scary cutting after you sew the pocket welt over the front. You clip and press inwards and be careful not to melt this stuff on your brand new iron as I did – ack! This pocket was the most confusing part of the pattern, but just trust the illustrations to get you through.
After the zipper is installed, you have a handy pocket that is safely enclosed. There is some stitching at the the top (not shown in this picture) that keeps the pocket more contained.
Not bad for a first try! As I began piecing the top to the bottom, I made sure to attach it so it hid the basting stitching on the contrast fabric. This may have shortened the final vest, because when I put the separating zipper against the front, it was 2 inches too long. This was my first time working with a separating zipper so it took me a minute to realize that it cannot be shortened as other zippers can. Off to the internets I went and faster than you can say Amazon Prime, I got an identical zipper 2 inches shorter. I was very lucky the size difference was almost exactly 2 inches and that they made zippers this size. My advice is to make up the vest first before buying the recommended zipper as things tend to shift in construction.
I made a few alterations on this as well. The pattern calls for a regular elastic around the bottom casing, but I really wanted to use corded elastic like most fleece jackets I own. I liked the look of this and I even figured out a way to make it adjustable. Unfortunately I couldn’t quite figure out how to get it completely secure – I stitched the excesses of elastic to the inside and put a patch over it, but it’s not completely robust enough to tug it too hard.
Ahhh…looks like I’m in the rugged outdoors. Really I am in my sister’s back yard.
I think the only thing I would like to change is maybe having zippers on the side pockets, like most of my fleece vests do. I’m wondering if I can add that later. For now, I will be snuggling up with the knobby green fleece while this cold air lasts.