Hey y’all – another free pattern for Sewing for Boys month – the Punk Vest! This is a boys vest pattern so named because of Bean.
You see, when planning posts for this month, I consulted the boys about things they might like me to sew for them. Bean immediately requested a life jacket. I had to explain that 1) Life jackets aren’t for everyday wear and 2) I probably didn’t have the materials to sew one anyway. So we looked through Pinterest at some vests and I found an interesting one that was a sleeveless jean jacket from faded black denim with a fur collar. And Bean pointed and said, “I want that one!”
I looked through my stash and found black microfleece and gray twill. I knew the twill was too light, so I dyed it with black dye, but since I wanted a faded black I didn’t use the recommended amount of dye. The color turned out almost exactly like I pictured. So I sewed up this vest for Bean, complete with jean buttons.
And Bean took one look and said, “I hate it! I’m not wearing it!”
Sigh. I tried to reason with him, pointing out he had requested this very vest, but as my husband asks when I do that, “Why are you trying to reason with a 4 year old?”
So I went back to the drawing board and thought about the problem. Bean had said, “That’s not the one I asked for!” And the lightbulb went off.
Yes, I pulled open the Pinterest image and saw that the inspiration jacket was a little more faded. So I quickly photoshopped it darker and showed it to Bean. “See, I made you a different one and now it matches!” I said, holding up the same vest I had already sewn.
And he put it on happily. Sneaky mom for the win.
And that is the story of why this is called the Punk Vest – both for his punk like behavior and the punking I had to pull to get him to wear it.
Want to make your own version? You’ll need:
- 1/2 yard twill, denim or similar fabric
- 1/2 yard microfleece fabric
- 6-7 jeans buttons (affiliate link)
- The pocket pattern. Get that here.
- The vest pattern.
The pattern is in a kids size 5. If you need to make the pattern bigger or smaller, check out this post. To get it, click your preferred option below to get the free pattern only as a newsletter subscriber, or to buy the digital pattern + printable instructions for $2.
Please note that all my free patterns are licensed for personal use only (no selling items made from this unless you purchase it) and by downloading you are agreeing to this license.
Print the pattern and cut the pieces as indicated on the pattern. (Need help with printing? See this post).
Start by pressing the top pocket edges about 1/4″ to the wrong side (left). Then fold that 1/2″ to the right side and sew it down, 1/2″ from each side edge. (Note: I almost never finish the other raw edges of my pockets. They just don’t ravel enough in a pocket that’s mostly for decor and will soon be outgrown to bother. But if you wanted to have them finished, do that before this step).
Turn the top of the pocket to the wrong side, pressing out corners. Fold under sides of pocket, press. Fold up bottom edges of pocket and press. Topstitch top edge of pocket so the hem stays in place.
Sew the vest fronts to the vest back at the shoulder seams. Repeat with vest lining.
Place the collar pieces right sides together, and stitch around as shown above. Clip the corners, turn the collar and press.
Place the collar along the neckline of the outer vest, matching the collar center and the center back neck. If you want the fleece side to show on the outside of the vest, place the collar with the fleece side up. Baste the collar in place.
Place the lining and the vest right sides together, with the collar sandwiched in between. Stitch around the neckline and armholes as shown above. Clip curves and turn the vest right sides out.
Pin the vest front to the vest back along the side seams, right sides together, pinning only the main fabric. Pin the lining front to the lining back along the side seams, lining right sides together, and matching the armhole seam. It will look like the picture below, and you’ll be able to stitch the outer and lining side seam on one side in one seam. Repeat on the other side. When you turn this right side out, all your side seam raw edges will be inside the vest, between the outer and lining fabric.
Pin the pockets onto the vest, and topstitch in place around 3 sides, making sure to backstitch at beginning and end. (Note: the collar should be visible in the picture above, but I forgot to draw it and didn’t realize until I was writing this post. Just imagine it’s there)
Fold the waistband right sides together, matching the long edges. Sew across the short ends. Turn the waistband right side out and press.
Place the waistband against the vest and pin one edge to the bottom of the vest, pinning to both the outer and lining fabric. Stitch through all 3 layers.
Turn the waistband to the inside. Fold the raw edge in 3/8 and make sure the folded edge covers the seam from the previous step. Pin. On the front side of the vest, stitch in the ditch to secure the waistband in place with all the raw edges inside. (Don’t know how to stitch in the ditch? See this video on Facebook).
Mark the buttonholes and stitch them on the left side of the vest, then hammer on the jeans buttons according to the package directions on the right side of the vest.
If desired, add some decorative stitching to the vest front. Because the microfleece has some thickness, this will give a slight quilted effect to the vest. The stitching I added to mine is shown above; I simply marked out the lines with a ruler and then topstitched them.
And deck out your little punk!