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Mexican Blanket Waistcoats - Patterning and Sewing Project

My other half had bought a Mexican blanket having seen this waistcoat, and asked me to sew him one, or even two if I could manage it!  He wanted it simple and rustic looking, just like this one.

I've been following "Sewing for Men" on (Mrs H - the blog) and it made me feel guilty as I have had this little Mexican blanket waistcoat job on my 'to do' list for a while, so I decided I had better crack on with it!

I used one of his leather waistcoats to rub a basic block that would fit him (learnt from my Craftsy course "Pattern Drafting from Ready to Wear" with Steffani Lincecum).  I  ignored everything but the finished dimensions so it was the simple shape he wanted, then altered it to a v-neck.  I cut it out and over-locked all the raw edges, then turned under 1/4" and stitched it down to finish the edges, then I sewed it up. I added a couple of patch pockets and that just left adding the binding. I was pleased to discover I could get black herringbone tape in 1 1/2" and 2" widths, so ordered some of both on e-bay.

While I was waiting I decided to start on the second waistcoat.  There was not enough fabric to make it exactly the same, so he gave me a smaller, narrower waistcoat to rub a block from.  This one was also formed from several pieces, but this time I used them as I could more easily cut them from the remaining strip of blanket. This time I decided to back each piece with sheeting to stabilize it more.

I assembled the pieces, adding the tops to the bottoms to form the fronts and back.  Then I joined the fronts to the back at the shoulders.  I trimmed the blanket seam allowance, then pulled the sheeting from one side over to the other and topstitched it, sealing the blanket's raw edges in.  I added the binding around the arm openings before joining the fronts to the back, using the 1 1/2" wide tape as it arrived first.  

To add the tape I pinned it to the lining side first, matching the raw edges, and stitched a 3/8" seam.  Then I pressed it back making a fold, and pulled the edge over to the right side.  I pinned and pressed it then topstitched it 18" from the edge of the tape.  I guess this is a 3/4 bind as it is folded double on one side and single on the other?  It worked for me anyway! 

The hem isn't fringed on this one so I left the outer hem raw so it can fray up to where I stitched the the lining hem.  I love the extra details; those flames coming out of the pocket, the way the pockets come to a point at the bottom and have that pattern across the top.  Got to say I like this one best! 

So I went back to the first waistcoat and decided I should give it a proper lining.  I tried unpicking my 1/4" hem and soon decided that was not going to work.  Instead I had to work backwards; I made the lining, pressed the seam allowances under, then pinned and stitched it to the exterior, wrong sides together, adjusting the fit and clipping the curves as I went! It will be hidden by the binding anyway. 

The next step was adding the binding.  I tried and discarded the two-inch tape, using it double on top of everything else was just too bulky, so I used the 1 1/2" tape the same way as I had on the other waistcoat.  To help keep it in position I taped a temporary fabric guide in place, and I used my stitch-in-a-ditch foot with the needle swung over to top-stitch at 1/8". 

So now the lining was in, the binding was on, the final job was stitching the hem of the lining.  It was turned up to just above the fringed outer hem and leaves the (rather skimpy) fringe hanging free, but will prevent it unravelling any further.

The back of the plain and simple waistcoat, finished.  The pieced one is definitely my personal favourite, but I think he prefers the simpler number one.  He did say it felt a lot nicer with the cotton backing/lining, so that was worth doing.

I have written myself some instructions to go with the pattern pieces, just in case he ever wants another one, saying I can join the outer and lining wrong-sides-together with the overlocker, then add the binding after the shoulder seams but before the side seams.  It would be much easier and quicker!

Two Mexican Blanket Waistcoats from One Blanket

No need for me to feel guilty anymore, so now I can get back to girly sewing!

Patternless Sewing Mod Style

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Comment by Karen on July 20, 2016 at 3:14pm

Well he hasn't worn it yet, they both went in the wardrobe with his other 'must have' items, like the Rockbilly Shirt collection!  Never mind, I've done my bit and made them.

Comment by Susan on July 15, 2016 at 10:30am

Will he wear it year 'round?  Very good work!

Comment by Dede Hayes on July 11, 2016 at 6:35pm

Really nice job!

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