In the last post, I’d cut all my fabric out for the waistcoat to my suit (for my nephews impending wedding). This post covers how I put it together.

I’m using Burda 6871 from my ‘Simplicity-pattern-haul‘ and I’m attempting to stick to the pattern instructions. For the waistcoat, they’re pretty sparse. I could tell from the drawings what I was supposed to do with the back tabs and darts, but had to read the first bit many times before it made sense to me. It’s a bit like the cryptic crosswords; once you crack the code of the language, it’s all much easier – until then, even though you may recognise the words, they don’t seem to be in any recognisable pattern! This is what you get for the waistcoat…

I’m not sure if I traced the back tabs piece wrong, but I had to make them much longer than my pattern piece. I also made them 2.5 cm width as that is the size of the buckle in my stash.

I took my time to mark all the darts and pockets accurately – I used iron away pen on the lining and chalk on the main fabric. As the whole front piece is interfaced, I marked the darts onto the interfacing and cut them out before ironing it on. I’ve not done this before but it’s worked really well.

Once the back seams are sewn, I chose one set to be the outside and basted the back tabs in place at the centre of the darts.

When I’m sewing darts, I use the lock stitch setting on my machine. I put the needle down into a thread or two at the start of the dart and let the machine do the work. They always come out nice and smooth and it saves me from fiddling about trying to tie the threads that I’ve (invariably) left too short.

Once the darts are done it’s time for all those welt pockets. In my last post I explained that I was lucky that where the welt intersected the front darts, the darts were the same width as the stripe in the pattern… so I tried to cut the welts to match the stripe over the dart, even though this is usually a practical impossibility… in reality, they turned out… Not Bad.

As I’d hoped, they (sort-of) lined up. I basted the welts first, then sewed the linings in place. It was a bit hairy cutting through but I got the funny kite shaped box opened up and it all poked through neatly in the end. They’re a few mm off in parts (which shows up much more in the photos than it does when it’s worn – of course!) but I’m really happy with how they have turned out.

I just couldn’t face going through all that again for the top pockets so (forgive me…) I threw out the pocket bags and made the top ones decorative. There are going to be enough pockets in this suit as it is, if I filled them all up I probably wouldn’t be able to carry it!

I like the look of the main fabric strip at the back neck, and sewing the opposing curves together went quite smoothly. Sensibly, I started with the lining one before doing the really noticeable one, followed by the front facings.

(By the way, I tidied all the seams with pinking shears.)

This is where I pinned it together and very carefully tried it on. Pleased to report a good fit, I sewed up the sides. This is a different order to how I’d normally do it, the side seams are a good opportunity for adjustment, but by now, I knew it was going to fit me.

Rather than leaving a gap in one of the lining sides, I back stitched and switched to a basting stitch to unpick later. This way I could press the seams making it easier to handstitch closed. (Anything that makes handstitching easier is a good thing in my book!)

Pinning the outer to the lining went well too, as everything seemed to line up very nicely. The lining wasn’t too slippery and the main fabric not too bulky, so I trusted in my number 80 needle and went all around the outsides and arm holes. (Remember to fold and press the seams down on the lining sides of the shoulders in preparation for that bit of fun coming up!)

I slowed down as I came to the curves at the front as I wanted them to come out really smoothly.

The more photographs I take of this, the more brown my fabric looks. I hope the silver isn’t too silver. Maybe I shouldn’t have used the shiny side, but hey, every waistcoat has a silver lining, right?

Turning it through was fun – I must remember when basting a ‘turning-gap’ to make it at least as wide as my hand! … As with most times I’m turning something through, I regret the small gap when I’m halfway there, but am grateful it’s small by the time I have to sew it up… equally cursed and blessed.

Stitch up the shoulders, poke the seams in and hand sew the lining closed. This is a lot of hand stitching for me, and, a bit like handwriting, mine gets messier the more I do. Thankfully it’s all on the inside.

And so there it is. I’m pleased with how the pocket welts have turned out. Not perfect, but I’m happy with them. And the extra 2cm length adjustment I made has really paid off. I’ll get the buttons done all in one go at the end so, for the meantime, my waistcoat is DONE!

Hopefully the trousers go as smoothly – four more welts on those!

Thanks for all your support & encouragement, both here & on instagram 😚

Happy Sewing.

(If you’re interested, previous Waistcoat posts include:

Notes to self:

  • Don’t cut any more corners!
  • Measuring the pattern before tracing it saved time & helped get the right fit.
  • The more you say welt, the more weird it sounds – hopefully, the more you SEW welts, the LESS weird they LOOK!