Steampunk "Sweeney" Double Breasted Waistcoat Tutorial
Full picture tutorial to help you construct this fabulous double-breasted tailored vest “Sweeney” waistcoat. It is fully lined and available in a range of boys’ & adult sizes from 78cm (30″) chest up to 148cm (58″) chest.
Click here for the Pocket Welt Tutorial
Before starting to assemble your waistcoat go to the Welt pocket tutorial and make the pockets.
Then come back here and carry on!
Join back pieces together (right sides together) at centre back open and on heavyweight fabrics press open.
On medium weight fabrics press seam to one side and topstitch seam down from the right side.
Join lining back pieces together (right sides together) and press seam to one side.
Top-stitch the seam flat from the right side of the garment.
Join front lining to front-facing. The interfacing should have been attached to the front-facing on the wrong side before joining.
Next, construct the back belt.
For belt iron-on woven interfacing to the wrong side of one half.
Then sew Petersham tape as shown for extra strength.
Put belts right sides together and sew around three sides leaving the .short edge open.
Then clip corners, trim the seam allowance and then turn through.
I also sew a narrow Rigiline (sew through plastic bone) to the ends to stop it from wrinkling when laced up.
Then top-stitch the belt to finish.
Mark for eyelets, and then punch holes.
Seal the cut holes with fray check and set eyelets.
Lay the belt onto the front piece at the side seams.
Then baste into place.
Sew some interfacing to one side of the collar.
The collar in the picture has a back inside (the black fabric in the picture) – this is to show what is inside, usually, the collar is the same fabric on both sides. Join collar along the top edge.
Open up and topstitch close to the seam on the inside collar.
Join collar at side seams, right sides together, trim corners and turn through.
Sew the raw edge closed and mark the centre with a small chalk mark.
For the waistcoat back lining, fuse interfacing to the back neck facing.
Mark centre of facing and align with centre back of the lining.
Align facing with shoulder and sew facing to back lining.
Then Ease to fit.
Top-stitch back neck facing to lay flat.
Press seam towards the lining.
Join waistcoat front lining to back lining at shoulder seams.
Join waistcoat front lining to one side seam from underarm to hem.
On the other side only join the top inch or so and leave a wide gap then join the bottom couple of inches.
This is to turn through the waistcoat at the end.
Join main waistcoat front to back at shoulder seams.
Join waistcoat front to waistcoat back at underarm seams.
Align collar at centre back and pin.
Sew collar to neck edge.
Check it is symmetrical by folding lapels together.
Pin and join the main waistcoat to the lining at the top edge, the collar will be sandwiched in the middle.
Make sure shoulder seams are open on both lining and main fabric.
Sew through all thicknesses to enclose the collar.
Clip curved seams carefully.
Open up to the right side and topstitch the collar through the back neck facing and collar seam but not the main waistcoat.
This is more important on very thick fabrics.
Only topstitch through the length of the collar, not to the end of lapels.
Turn back to the wrong side and continue to join the main waistcoat to the waistcoat lining around lapels and along the bottom hem.
Clip seams and corners.
Now to join the armholes. This is always the stage that people find the hardest the first time.
If it’s too confusing then go through the process and hand stitch the sleeve opening partway to test you have got it before machine sewing.
When doing this for the first time turn the waistcoat through to make sure you are doing it correctly then turn back to the wrong side and machine sew.
Grab hold of the ends of shoulder seams.
The picture shows the main part of the waistcoat on the right and the lining to left.
Pull the open armhole ends of the shoulder seams away from each other. old the shoulder seam of the lining in one hand and the shoulder seam of the main waistcoat in the other.
Keep hold and make a circular movement turning the open ends towards each other.
You need to make the right side of each seam touch each other and pin. It starts to feel bunched up and tangled – this is quite normal!
Start sewing in one direction easing the raw edges together. You may find it gets harder to keep feeding the raw edges and when it gets too tight stop.
Go back to the shoulder seam where you started and sew raw edges from the other direction. When you have sewn it all way around the waistcoat will look like it’s in a knot.
It will look something like this from the wrong side. Carefully clip seams every inch or two. Repeat for the other armhole.
Turn waistcoat through the gap left in the lining underarm seam.
It should all start to lay flat. Poke lapel corners out and check all seams are smooth and not pulling. If there is any pulling on seams you need to clip more.
If there are any wrinkles turn back to the wrong side and correct it.
If required topstitch the collar through all thicknesses from the right side.
Showing the top-stitching of collar
Fold the inner open lining underarm seam and sew closed.
Using an iron press carefully, keep a linen or cotton cloth between the waistcoat and iron.
Mark front left for buttonholes and sew. I like to make a cardboard template for marking my buttonholes from the positions on the pattern.
Apply fray check before cutting buttonholes open.
Take the waistcoat front with the buttonholes and overlap it on the side that will have the buttons. Align the two sides as they will sit when finished and then mark for buttons.
Then hand sew on buttons where you have marked.
That’s it you’ve finished.