My wool vest is most definitely one of the simplest, quickest, and most effective DIY pieces I’ve added to my closet over the past year and a half. I originally made this piece in the fall of 2016 – I love this pretty camel color, and it’s a perfect neutral that works well with prints or solids underneath. My favorite outfit combo for this vest is skinny jeans and a black top with a neat cutout – as pictured below! I got some great wear out of this piece while in Italy – the photos I’ve featured here were taken while strolling through Positano!
Lest I take credit where credit is not due, let me start by saying that the idea for this vest was not originally one of my own, but something I picked up on Pinterest. Try as I might, I haven’t been able to track down the original pin or how-to post that I used, though I would love to link it up here. If you search for pins on “wool cape vest,” though, you’ll almost certainly find quite a few similar how-to’s. Since I’ve gotten quite a few inquiries about this vest since posting a few photos of it on Instagram, I thought I’d go ahead and show you guys a little tutorial of my own!
Want to know the secret best part about this awesome wardrobe piece? No sewing required!
To make this very basic how-to, I simply measured my finished vest and tried my best to re-trace my steps. Oddly enough, the one bit of tracing paper I cut out for this project is still pinned on to the piece of wool I used it to cut, which made it super easy! Simply follow the steps below if you’d like to add one of these to your closet.
Here are the supplies you’ll want to gather:
- 1.5 to 2 yards of 60” wide wool, or wool blend fabric – I’ve linked some suggestions below
- Fabric Scissors or Rotary cutter
- Tracing Paper
- Measuring Tape
Start by determining what length you would like your vest to be. To do this, measure from the base of your neck (even with the tops of your shoulders) down to the length you’d like your vest to hit. Mine hits right at the bend of my knee, which makes is about 41” down from the base of my neck. Add 12” to this to account for the top of the vest, which will fold over the shoulders.
So, 12” + 41” = 53”.
Now you’ll cut a 53” x 53” square (but use your own measurements!) Fold your square in half, and you’re going to cut a semi-circle:
All that is left is to cut your armholes. Keep your fabric folded, and from the top, measure down 12” – my picture below may not be to scale, fair warning! I’ve included the measurements I used below, but based on the look of mine, I would recommend increasing the space between the two armholes a bit, and possibly decreasing the armhole size as a whole.
In order to make these cuts, I traced a 6” x 10” rectangle and rounded out the corners. Then, I placed it in the 4.5” in from the folded edge of the fabric, pinned it in place and used my rotary cutter to cut the two armholes together. Make sure that you are using a SHARP new blade in your rotary cutter to prevent jagged, yucky looking cuts.
The next steps are the BEST ones – unfold your vest and try it on. That is IT! If you would like, you might consider a babylock stitch, or a standard top-stitch or zig-zag along the cut edges to prevent scraggly edges. I left my edges raw, and you can see how they look in the photos I’ve included here. My vest has been pretty well-worn, and though you can see some wear, wool is not a fabric that frays so it still looks pretty nice!
So that’s that – if you decide to make one for yourself, I would love to see it! Tag me on Instagram or comment below with you make.
In the meantime, enjoy these photos of mine in Positano, on the Amalfi Coast in Italy. When we visited the Amalfi Coast, we stayed in an awesome apartment off the highway, in between Amalfi and Conca dei Marini. We took a day trip by bus into Positano.
I’ve heard that in the summer months, this town can be so packed with tourists that it is hard to get around and really see anything! Because we were there in December, which is low-season, many of the shops and restaurants were closed for winter, but we loved that we were able to see the entire town without having to fight the crowds. We wandered around and enjoyed the scenery, walked the beach, and enjoyed delicious pizza and wine! I think the feeling of having the coast to ourselves was certainly worth a few of the shops being closed!
I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial, and that my explanations made sense! Are you interested in seeing more step-by-step maker content, or are my typical pattern / fabric reviews more your cup of tea? Let me know below!
- XX Elizabeth