Wednesday, February 13, 2019

McCalls 7481 ~ An Embroidered Denim Vest Hack

I decided that I wanted a couple of casual unlined jackets to wear this winter. I started with the ponte and lace version using McCalls 7481 and moved onto the Dover Jackets. I wanted to make another M7481 because I like the silhouette of this pattern and it's very hackable. 

So for this hack I've added the inseam pockets to the front. In my mind I call them the Rachel Comey pockets which makes it reminiscent of this Jacquard & Ponte Jacket. The thing that challenged me about that jacket was it didn't close and it fit closer in my upper body and looser in the bottom. That's because I basically used the dress pattern for my topper pattern.

For this version I added the pockets to the front which is easy because this pattern already has separate pattern pieces for the top and bottom.  So here is a picture of the completed garment...

This started as a jacket but now it's a vest. I got the jacket cut out and started to assemble it - went to add the sleeves and no bueno. The suckers just don't fit my arms...and I have no idea why. I measured them before cutting them out but they're just not working in this fabric.

At first I thought I would recut them from the fabric scraps and even came up with a plan to do so...but I kept dragging my feet. That's a sure sign this garment was done. So I finished it up and moved on. I'm wearing it above with one of the white shirts I made last spring.

Listed below is the supply list and techniques I added to make the inside as pretty as the outside.  

Supply List ~
- Embroidered Denim purchased from Metro Textiles (from the collection)
- White Piping from Daytona Trimmings
- White bias binding from the collection
- Black fusible interfacing from Steinlauf & Stoeller
- (3) 1" white buttons from the notions collection

Construction Techniques ~
I chose a very busy fabric so there were a few techniques added to it to make it work...

1. I hong kong finished the side seams, the facings and the hem.
2. The facings were cut from leftover regular denim scraps to make the fronts less bulky.
3. I added white piping to the front to give the eye a place to land and enclose the design.
4. The back was cut into three sections to break up the pattern a little but it's only noticeable at the first seam.
5. After I omitted the sleeves, I used a smaller white bias binding to bind the armholes.
6.  I decided to only add two buttons at the top because after all that work, the vest barely closes around my hips. The two top buttons allow me to close the vest without straining it over my bottom.
7.  Because of the dense embroidery design on the denim, I had to sew over the buttonholes twice to make them visible. The stitching was getting lost in the embroidery.

Otherwise, y'all this is a really simple silhouette that I changed the pockets on and then bound the heck out of the interior.

My other concern is that even though everything was pretreated, you know denim can still sweat dye in the wash. So will all my pretty white bias binding be a muddy blue after a wash? Who knows...and of course I thought of that as I pressed the last of the bias binding into place.  I think I just got excited about how great the bias binding looked on the insides without thinking about the care of the jacket until it was done.

A Few Pictures ~

Conclusion ~
This was the second garment I started during the Winter Holiday sewing bust. I did like taking my time and adding in the extra elements. As each technique was added to the vest, I got happier and happier because I'm no longer sewing to have something to wear. I'm now sewing because I like creating beautiful clothing...but it did take me until last week to make the final changes, finish it and get it ready to be worn.

It's a great vest. I love it paired with the white shirt or when worn with one of my cashmere turtlenecks on a cold winter day (not these minus days we've experienced lately). While the jacket idea didn't work out, the vest has more than surpassed my original idea. I really love this piece. It has an art teacher chic vibe. I'm thrilled I worked through the garment's challenges to add it to my wardrobe! always more later!


  1. I love the the embroidered print and the huge pockets on the front. Beautiful!

    1. Thanks Crystal! I’ve been holding the embroidered denim for a minute!

  2. If the denim bleeds onto the binding, check out Colorways by Vicki Welsh. Her method of removing wandering dyes in quilts really works and I can't see any reason why it wouldn't work on the vest. Love the vest.

  3. I think "art teacher chic" describes this look perfectly! The vest is beautifully made and finished.

    1. Vanessa - right! I was unsure about this until I paired it with the white shirt and we took pictures. Then I loved it!

  4. Love that vest! Wash it with a color-catcher in the water with it. I use a brand called "Shout" and it's always worked to capture "fugitive" dyes. Available everywhere, I think.

  5. How did you know that white blouse would look perfect with it????!!!!! Another great outfit. Love it as a vest.

    1. Marlene - I didn’t! I was going to wear it with a blue turtleneck but I love the white shirt! Thanks for liking it to!

  6. Love the way you've styled it! The whole outfit is fabulous!


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