July 30, 2015

How to make A fur lined vest - Hacking the Gyspy Shrug from Tadah Patterns

I have finally found some time to sit down and blog a little about a vest I made Zoe a month or so ago. I   live in denial of winter coming. I tell myself its only or a few months of the years and that we don't need too many warm clothes. And honestly, June is really not too bad in Sydney. But July always comes of a bit of a shock to me and I tend to go on a winter sewing frenzy because I can't deny the fact that it is cold any longer. And this July has been freezing!!!

One of the items I wanted to add to Zoe's wardrobe was a fur lined vest for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the fur takes up valuable space on my shelf of fabric. I can jam 3m of knit fabric into that same space (which means I can justify the purchase), and secondly, she doesn't always like being stuffed into heavy jackets, but sometimes really needs more warmth than a single layer. So I made her this little vest and it was so simple I figured I should do a tutorial.

For the vest I used the Gypsy Shrug from Tadah patterns. For those who have not tried a Tadah pattern before, you can totally trust them. The sizing is spot on to the size chart and the instructions are really good and simple to follow. Lauren's patterns have such lovely clean lines that are easy to transform into whatever your imagination desires. The gypsy shrug is a sleeved little shrug, but we are going to leave the sleeve off.

So, print off your pattern pieces and ignore the sleeve. If your child is right on the size measurement, I would recommend sizing up for this. I also modified the pattern pieces so that it would be a little longer and fully cover the back to provide more warmth. Take your pattern pieces and at the bottom, extend down three full sizes to add more length. The trickiest part of this is the curves at the front, but its not really tricky!! You can see below that I have cut a 3 except for along the bottom, where I have extended down to the size 6.

Next, choose your fabric. Zoe's pink vest is made from a lovely pink fur I got in the clearance bin at spotlight years ago. The lining is quilting cotton. The vest I am using for this tutorial is made from a fur I found in the furry isle at spotlight. I would recommend not choosing the super thick fur - that will make sewing a bit trickier. Once again it is lined with quilting cotton.

Cut out one back piece and two front pieces for both your fur and lining. Sew fur pieces together at shoulder seams, right sides together, and repeat for lining. Apologies for the super bad picture below showing this.

Next, place the lining on top of the fur right sides together. Sew from the bottom of the vest at the front right where it starts to come up into a curve towards the neck - see where the pins are on this picture below. This is about where you want to start.

Also sew the armholes, but leave about 1.5cm at either end for joining the side seams

Close up of armhole

Next pull the front of the vest carefully through the shoulders to turn the vest the right way around.

The next step is to sew the side seams. This is a little awkward but not too bad. You basically need to pin the lining together, match the underarm seams, and pin the fur together. Hopefully the picture below explains that a little better - see how I've placed the fur together and I have to pull that lining up to meet the other piece and then sew down the one long line?

Repeat for both sides and now your vest should look like this.

Place the vest on a flat surface with the lining facing you. From the loose part at the bottom, pull the lining up and over the top of the vest.

Repeat for the fur - so that you now have the bottom bits of the fur and lining meeting at the top of the vest, right sides together, with the rest of the vest inside like a sausage. Pin along this seam to hold it together.

We are now going to sew this seam - but we need to leave a gap for turning. This gap will have to be hand stitched, so keep it as small as possible, but you need to make it large enough for everything to be pulled though it. Around 4-5cm is a good size. Find the middle, measure off 2/2.5 cm either side of the middle and start sewing down each side leaving a gap in the middle. Make sure you backstitch at the start of your seam as this will have a fair bit of pressure placed on it when you turn the vest - especially near the gap.

Now, trim the seam allowance, but not where the gap is if that makes sense. I find it easier to hand sew the gap when there is a good amount of seam allowance. Then pull the vest through and it will be looking almost finished.

The gap at the bottom just needs to be handsewn - I use a ladder stitch personally. Then depending on the composition of your fur, you can give the lining a light press with the iron (but be careful because some fur cannot tolerate any heat at all). If you want a closure of some sort, you can sew a hook and eye on to the top of the vest like I  did with Zoe's and it is all done!!! See, very easy!!!

And if you can't be bothered making one yourself, my friend Nicole from Sugar Plum Tree sells them at sugarplumtree.com.au - and hers are beautifully sewn!! Vests really are perfect for accessorising with heaps of outfits.

I hope it made sense and thanks for following along,


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