Denali Vest for my Dad

What’s the longest time you’ve waited to finish a promised garment? I just gifted my dad a Denali Vest I sewed for him, TWO YEARS overdue. Yes, I’m that bad. Don’t ask me to sew something for you. Oh even worse, he didn’t even ask me, I just offered. Well anyway, it was his 65th birthday a few weeks ago, and I managed to hammer in the snaps on that same day so he could finally wear it. Fortunately he still loved it, and proceeded to brag to his co-workers about his daughter who sews, as parents do.

Isn’t he a great poser?? I wasn’t there to take photos so this is all his doing, he actually thought about making them look nice for my blog. I thought I’d share a bit about the adjustments I made because it was hard to find good resources, so they might come in handy for you too. The fabric choice is a blatant copy of the Seamwork product sample. I just thought it would fit my dad and he liked it. I used a pre-quilted poly fabric for the outside, a plaid flannel for the lining and faux leather for the yokes. The faux leather was very thin so I underlined it with a polar fleece. First I bought this fabric but it was too stiff for my liking, so then I bought this fabric, which is still poly but much softer.

I made a muslin first, and then made a lot of adjustments for it to fit. He was an XL in the shoulders but an XXL in the waist, so I cut the XL and adjusted for the waist. Same principle as with an FBA: it would have been too large at the shoulders and chest if I had gone for the XXL. I also:

  • Lowered the front neckline by 3/8″(1 cm)
  • Curved the back yoke towards the armholes to accommodate a small hump back
  • Heightened the armholes by 1 1/4″ (3 cm). This I think is a drafting error, nothing to do with my dad’s frame. They were super just super low for the larger sizes.
  • Installed welt pockets instead of the patch pockets. They just look more dressed up.

For the waist adjustment, I found this tutorial the most helpful. I’ve also¬†seen other ones (here and here), but they don’t include curving the center front seam. I think it looks much better if it slightly curves back in at the hem than when it just hangs off the belly. For the welt pockets I mostly referred to this tutorial.


All in all, I’m happy with the outcome. It’s always fun to make something for someone who has fit issues with RTW garments (read: all men above 50 with a larger waist). It was fun to try my hand at welt pockets again. I only wish I had been able to topstitch the faux leather around the armholes and neckline, but then I saw that Seamwork hasn’t done that for their sample either, so that made me feel a little better. Next time I sew for others, I’ll be sure it’s a surprise so they don’t know I’ve been procrastinating working on it for two years!

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