Remember that black linen big-pocketed waistcoat I made a while back? That was my wearable test, sewn from stash fabric I was willing to sacrifice. The test turned out very well. That waistcoat was perfect to wear browsing in New York’s garment district. I can stow a lot of swatches in those pockets!
A few days ago I cut out another waistcoat, from the same wool-silk blend I used for the McCall’s coat (pattern 8814, from 1952). I finished the waistcoat this afternoon.
I made this as a relatively quick wardrobe-extender. I’ve also made a skirt and pants from this very same fabric, and with the waistcoat I can now create ensembles. I can wear the waistcoat with solid complementary colors, too.
I’m showing this with a black skirt and top so the lines of the waistcoat show up better.
I really like the waistcoat worn with the matching skirt, which has a smart-casual feel to me. In this I can feel like I put some thought into getting dressed without sacrificing practicality. I can push up my sleeves and cook or do dishes in this (wearing an apron), which I’d never do while wearing one of my jackets.
Construction was straightforward. I just have one quibble. There is a point where you expose just a little raw edge, where you clip into the seam allowance. Below the clip you fold the seam allowance to the front and above the clip you fold it to the back. That point of the clipping is a weak spot where raveling could occur. Maybe there’s a professional trick to avoid the homemade look. Until I learn the trick I’ll dab some Fray Check on that point.
For anyone making this waistcoat I’d suggest interfacing the fronts for additional stability for the buttons and buttonholes. The fronts don’t have facings, only lining, so they risk being a little too soft and floppy.
It might also be wise to use just a very light interfacing, or an underlining like an organza to give a little more body to the lined pockets. You don’t want the pockets to be stiff, of course, but they’re so big that they might need just a little more support so they don’t look collapsed.
This looks to be one of those patterns worth perfecting for its ease of construction and wardrobe versatility. If I crave some easy sewing between bigger challenging projects I might make up another of these waistcoats–perhaps with bound buttonholes, vintage buttons, and a fancy lining next time.