Modified Purl Soho Quilted Vest

Vests are big on sewing Instagram right now. But after seeing this particularly fun vest from L’envers Fashion, worn & styled by @brass_tacks, I was reminded of some teddy bear fleece I’ve held on to since high school or college. While L’envers vest is made from a beautiful alpaca wool, I’ve been sewing with only what I have lately because a decade plus of sewing leaves you with a lot of scraps and remnants of fabric!


Pattern: Purl Soho’s (free) Quilted Vest

Fabric: Remnants from other projects; Some sort of teddy bear fleece, navy cotton-linen blend for the bias tape, and lined with flannel

Size: Small

Modifications: many!

  • Removed 3″ from bottom hem (front & back)
  • Redrew neckline to be a v-neck (and smoothed out the back neckline)
  • Removed 1/2″ from outer edges of front & back pieces (because I didn’t have enough fabric)
  • Added a tie closure

Really embracing my gnome-core era of getting dressed.

It’s been a fun challenge to only make with materials I already have. So far, I’ve made three denim scrap purses, two rice bag climbing tote / chalk buckets, a pair of fleece mittens, a fleece drawstring pouch for my Fujifilm camera, and now this vest. I styled this vest with my natural denim Pomona Pants with knee patches a la @meg___makes.

About the Pattern, Modifications, & Construction

The Quilted Vest pattern by Purl Soho is very easy to modify, which was apparent from all the modified vests folks had made and posted on the Instagram hashtag (#purlsohoquiltedvest). I made a size small, since I wanted to layer the vest over sweaters and needed the armholes to be large enough. I likely would have fit an XS (and could have graded up to small or medium armholes).

After printing out the pattern, I shortened the front and back pieces by 3 inches (keeping the curved details of the hem). If I make another, I’ll crop further by another 3-4 inches (total crop 6-7″).

I wanted a classic neckline, like the L’Envers version. I drew a straight line from where the shoulder began to curve up to create the mock collar on the original pattern, to the first notch mark on the size small. I decided that I wanted a more dramatic v, so I drew a steeper angled line that ended several inches below the notch. I then compared that neckline to a Not Perfect Linen dress I have with a v-neckline, but you could use any garment with a neckline you like.

Ready to cut! I had to figure out how to layout the pattern pieces with the very limited fabric I had. For the brown fleece, I took off 1/2″ (or the seam allowance) off the outer edge of the front pieces and each side of the back piece to get the pattern pieces to fit. For the flannel liner, I ended up cutting two separate pieces for the back, one which was made up of many patches sewn together to size, and then attached both back pieces down the middle. I had to be creative since I didn’t have the necessary yardage, but it all worked out.

I had one length of navy blue cotton-linen blend fabric that I was just able to eke out all the bias tape I needed, plus the ties.

I made up my own instructions for sewing, since I wasn’t quilting my pieces together. Below is a loose outline of the steps. However, if you’re not finishing with bias tape @her.two.hands has a quick video on how to sew together inside out and flip so seams are hidden.

Ok – so here’s what I did:

  1. Right sides of the fabric together, baste the side seams for the liner. Do the same for the outer.
  2. Check the alignment of the liner inside of the outer. If all is well, sew over the basting / the side seams for real on the liner and the outer.
  3. Right sides together, sew the shoulder seams on the liner. Do the same for the outer.
  4. Place the liner inside the outer (wrong sides together). Baste together.
  5. Pin bias on and then sew. Be sure to pull bias taunt while sewing to have a clean look and finish. To attach the ties, I tucked the end of the tie under the bias on the liner side and attached. I then “flipped” the tie out (as if I were tying them together) and whip stitched in place. This results in both ties being in the right place for tying (as opposed to pointing/facing inwards).

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