Clothing from Scarves: the Vest

I have been playing around with making clothes from scarves.  I love scarves and I have quite a few big ones from traveling to different countries.  It’s a great way to bring home a little fabric from a beautiful place.  And I love fabric!  The size doesn’t really matter but ideally you want the width to be at least as much as or greater than twice your arm length for the best drape.  The total over all height should be at least 3 times your armhole size, roughly 30 inches.

So here’s the final product and if you play with it you can wear it different ways.

final outfit                                                   open vest

It was so easy to make too.  First you find the middle by folding in half, width wise. Iron it so you have a crease to help you stay oriented.  Figure out how wide you are from shoulder to shoulder by having a friend help you measure or try your dress form.  Divide this number in half and you will use that number as your measurement from the middle to the arm hole.

2 scarf vest folded

Now in order to figure out how far from the edge you put the armholes, you fold the scarf in half lengthwise twice, so your arm holes will start a quarter (1/4) of the total width of the scarf from the edge.  Press the fold to mark it for you.  Lay the scarf flat and measure from the middle crease, half your back width, mark with a pin on your quarter crease.

How long your armholes are is personal preference. Mine are usually 10-12 inches. So once you’ve got the starting point for your arm holes, cut them open using a pin to mark where to end.  Start by cutting smaller and try it on.  You can always cut more but you can never cut less!  I then use my serger and some thin (1/4) inch stabilizer to do a rolled hem on the edge of the arm hole.  A final pressing to bond the stabilizer and iron out the folds and you are ready to wear.

shoulder binding

You can see I made a knit top that has a wrap neck to mimic the vest.  I chose Vogue 7799 View C, which is sadly out of print.  I am glad I kept that pattern.  A good alternative is McCall’s 6513.  Or Kwik Sew 3915.  Hello stay tape, where have you been all my life.  I started using stay tape after watching an episode of Sewing with Nancy.  She explained all the different stay tapes and how to use them to help your knits.  Now I was using a nice, light rayon knit for my top and I used woven stay tape on the shoulders.  I wanted some support on the top of the armcycle seam as well and I couldn’t find any knit stay tape at Joann’s so I made my own out of some knit iron-on interfacing, putting it from notch to notch.  I left the bottom without interfacing because the seam has to give somewhere.  I love the results and will never go with out stay tape on knits again!

shirt to go withsupported shoulder seam