• Sharon Prigan

Patchwork Vests

One of the clothing items that I teach the children to make is a reversible, quilted, patchwork vest.

They decide whether they want to embellish it or not and they also have the choice of learning how to make welted pockets.

The first thing they do is bring a loose t shirt from home which we use to learn how to draft a basic pattern.

The pattern is transferred onto wrapping paper, freezer paper or newspaper, depending on what we have on hand.

They then have to sew 2 quilted patchwork pieces roughly in the shape of a rectangle which is slightly larger than their pattern pieces.

They cut out 2 front pieces and for those that are adventurous they can also make a patchwork piece for the back of the vest.

Marking the pattern

Now is the fun part. The embellishing. It can be done with buttons, or beads or fabric flowers or yoyos. Or for those that like a lot of bling all the options are available.

They love having access to my button and bead collections :)

The color choices

2 of the students decided to work in blues, greens and turquoise. One likes bling the other does not.


Beginning to embellish. Great practice for hand sewing techniques.


She also decided to make yoyos so had fun choosing fabric circles.

Choosing fabrics for yoyos

Practical skills - teaching them young how to sew buttons on.

Sewing on buttons

The first fitting and of course she wore a color coordinated t shirt underneath.

Modelling her vest

The first embellished reversible vest.

Embellished vest

The second vest in similar color shades but this time no embellishing. Instead she chose to learn how to make welted pockets and used fabric from a blue sheet for the lining and the pockets.

Cutting out hte front pieces

Her welted pocket. This is the first time that she has made a welted pocket!

Welt pocket

She chose 2 buttons for the front closure.

Button selection

She wanted them to blend in so she chose a flat pale blue.

Choosing colors

Hand stitching.

Hand sewn buttons

Her finished vest. They have a wonderful sense of accomplishment when they are done.

She is proud of her vest

They learnt to draft patterns from clothing that they have, to create new quilted fabric from scraps, To sew welt pockets and to construct a lined reversible vest.

Reversible buttoned vest

Next up are pants, skirts and dresses.

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