This year, for the first time, Osiris and I put our names in with the older generation for my mom’s family’s Christmas draw*. Yep, apparently we are officially All Grown Up. My favourite uncle said (before the draw even happened) that he’d very much like me to make him a kilt, in the event that I should draw his name.**

So naturally, when I did draw his name a few moments later, I figured I knew exactly what to make him. I even picked up a kilt “pattern”*** at the thrift store just before Hallowe’en.

Then I checked the fabric requirements and, um, there’s no way I’m getting five yards of any halfway decent wool tartan for under the spending limit. So I decided I’d make him a vest instead. Possibly a tartan vest. It just so happens that at the same time as I’d picked up the kilt pattern, I’d also gotten a rather intriguing “Fashion Historian” pattern, Simplicity 5037, for an old-fashioned vest and braces. A vest seemed about the right amount of work/cost of materials for a family gift, and I’m pretty sure Uncle will love it anyway. He’s gone out of his way to praise my sewing every time I’ve talked to him in the last couple of years.


Well, today I pulled out the pattern, picked a size, and started tracing. I had been secretly a) wondering why the heck a vest and braces constituted an entire pattern, and b) worried that this would be another lame costume pattern. B) was quickly allayed, though—this appeared to be a sophisticated pattern after all, with neat little details like a dart under the front lapel and more welt pockets than you can shake a pocketwatch at.

Vest front, Piece 1. Perfect. Vest Back, piece… 12?

Really? Twelve pieces in the vest alone? I guess that answers why it has its own pattern, practically…

So I went and did what I hadn’t actually done yet, looked up the pattern information.


I mean, it’s a handsome vest with some neat details, but really, twelve pieces? OK, there is a separate, bias-cut under-collar piece. That’s a good feature. And I suppose those welt pockets have a few extra pattern pieces too. Now what are those oval things?


Oh, my, lord.

Eighteen pattern pieces. Including three separate “padding” pieces. There’s actual tailoring on this vest. I’m still kind of in shock. (Also, apparently I need to buy batting.)

And I’m strangely excited. A tailored vest.

But I may have to re-adjust my Christmas sewing timeline. >_<

*Where we all put our names in a hat and draw out the person we'll get a present for. Just in case that's not a widespread phenomenon.
** This is not the Scottish side of the family (although if you want to get all genealogical, I'm like a quarter Scottish). But Robbie Burns Day has become a big thing in their rural municipality in the last few years and, well, in a small town you take your amusements where you find them, I guess.
***I'm not sure which I loathe more, "costume" patterns or paper patterns for things that consist entirely of rectangles. I'm pretty sure this particular "Scottish attire" pattern hit both categories, however.



Filed under Sewing

17 responses to “Uncle!

  1. Shams

    *That* is going to be very cool!!! Your uncle is going to love it. But isn’t the fitting going to be tricky?

    • I have his size and am just going to make it up according to pattern. There is no sleeve length to worry about and the back has an adjustable buckle—it won’t be really custom but I think (hope?) it will be fine.

  2. I was wondering about fitting too, but you’re right, it should be fine.

    Padding? On a vest? Really? I’ll be following this one, just out of curiosity. Have fun!

  3. Amy

    How fun! A tailored vest! I do hope you eventually make the kilt though.

  4. How fun! Well, ok, our idea of fun anyway.

  5. You’ll have to make the kilt sometime! Taught by a professional kilt maker, my mother used to make the kilts for the men in our family.. She used 8 yards per kilt. Such a large amount is needed to match the setts in the pleats. The resulting heaviness gives that perfect swing when dancing the Dashing White Sergeant! As a Scot, I have to say that I am not impartial, but there is nothing sexier than a man in a kilt. Kilts for day wear with aran sweaters, what’s not to drool over! bring them back!

  6. Wow this is going to be fascinating! I am so glad you are excited :o)

  7. Your uncle is so lucky you drew him!

  8. I’m with Sheila, I think kilts can be pretty sexy. I think because they aren’t common, when I see a man in a kilt I see someone who isn’t afraid to take a fashion risk and doesn’t give a damn what anyone else says.

    Good luck keeping track of all those little pieces. Sounds like you’ve got your work cut out for you.

  9. I LOVE when the men in my family wear their kilts.

    What an awesome pattern! Unexpected to be sure, but most patterns are so dumbed down that it’s great to see one with all the extra details.

  10. Oh wow, that is a detailed pattern! Looks like you’re going to have a good time making it (although probably not a good time cutting out all those fiddly bits…). Lucky Uncle!

  11. Oh, this sounds like a super fun project! Can’t wait to read all your tellings of the details!

  12. Wow, I had no idea kilts took quite that much fabric! I think this vest is a nice compromise, and it certainly looks like it will be a challenge. I, too, hate those rectangle patterns…like gathered skirt patterns! Really, what’s the point??

  13. sewforward

    What a great gift! Your Uncle will love it!

  14. Wow!! What an adventure. Good luck and can’t wait to see it.

  15. Amy

    Yes! Seems like a cool vest pattern. I have also considered making a pseudo-kilt for oh about 10 years now (even for me!) because we are a little Scottish crazy around here. (I’ve celebrated Robbie Burns day, too ;). This will be fun to watch.

  16. This is going to be MAGNIFICENT. I cannot wait to see it!

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