Willa Vest (Laela Jeyne Fall Tour)

I listen to tons of podcasts while sewing--like, so many--and find it to be such an engrossing way to pass the time that I often have to pause them when I'm trying to follow tricky instructions, or else risk embroidering "from WBEZ Chicago, I'm Ira Glass" where I'm supposed to be following a fly template.

I'm also lucky enough to have seen several favorites live--last year, my husband and I saw Josh and Chuck from Stuff You Should Know and laughed for a whole hour, and he even let me take him to Welcome to Night Vale, a show he "doesn't get," but was totally worth it to see Dessa as The Weather. (She's so amazing--check her out. She's my mom's favorite rapper, to pique your interest.) A few weeks ago, we went to see Criminal, a local podcast that's part of the Radiotopia crew (you may know them from 99% Invisible). If you like Serial--and like, who doesn't--subscribe to Criminal now. (Also listen to this 3-part series from my very favorite podcast of the moment, Reply All out of Gimlet. I know it says "A Show About the Internet" but Gimlet is about the internet in the way Planet Money is about the economy, so even if you think you don't care about the internet, you'll probably like it.) I'm all in the spooky fall spirit, so some great true-crime reporting was a perfect night out, especially to debut a new make--this cute new vest!

Last year I went on an internet-shopping quest for an outdoorsy vest that looked sort of like the ones belonging to one of my personal style icons, Kate Middleton. She has several dark colored vests which she often wears when she does outdoors-type events like visiting with boy scouts or hiking. After poking around on Pinterest for a while, I designed my ideal vest combining elements of several of hers and set off to find a basic pattern that I could hack them onto... to no avail! So when Laela Jeyne asked me to take part in their fall blog tour featuring a vest, I decided I'd try out this new-to-me PDF pattern company and do some pattern hacking.

The Willa outdoor vest is a princess-seamed vest with a center front zipper and optional hood and welt pockets. As you can see, my Willa looks a bit different than the original! Although the bones are there (the only fit modification I made was to bring up the shoulders and back princess seams a bit to fix some back armhole gaping), the styling is pretty different!

I used the rest of my army green twill from Indiesew, left over from my Lonetree jacket (ps: they have kits now!!). Since the fabric was so thick, I didn't want to line it or do the bound edges the pattern calls for, so I drafted some quick front facings, used self-fabric bias strips to face the armholes, and serged and folded up the bottom. I knew that I wanted to add some exterior (non-welt) pockets on the side front panel, and decided to embed them in the panel. Although the pocket flaps are topstitched on (like the pockets on my Lonetree Jacket--and in fact these are the pocket flaps from the Lonetree), the pockets themselves are caught between the center front and side back panel, built into the body of the jacket. They're the perfect size for me and hold my phone, cards, and keys nicely. Be warned though that if you make size XXL your pockets will be correspondingly larger!

The other design change I made was to add the snap flap (what's that called?). This one was an improvization--the pattern calls for a 26" zip and so I ordered that size from Wawak, but 26" is waaaay too long. The instructions say if it's too long, just trim it--but that's a bit tricky with a brass zipper, you can't just sew over the end teeth. I didn't want to risk zipping the pull right off the trimmed top end, so I left the zipper off and decided on a snap opening. Then, since the vest didn't have an overlap, I added this panel into the CF seam. It gives at interesting asymmetrical look when closed that I'm honestly not sure if I like or not. I could always take it off and add a zipper, I guess, but I don't think I'll often wear it done up, so I think I'll keep the flap.

I'm wearing mine belted here (otherwise, you could see the pockets on my coco dress and they looked weird! haha) but it's quite flattering even without the belt, thanks to the princess seams. This was my first time using Laela Jeyne patterns but I had such a nice time participating in the fall blog tour; thanks for having me, Marisa!

How do you guys shorten metal zippers? I shortened the metal zip on my Birkin flares but there was also another piece of fabric preventing the zip from popping off the top... what should I do for something like this vest? Any tips for me?

Below the break... a giveaway and a coupon code!!
You can enter a rafflecopter here for some great prizes...

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...and you can get 20% at Laela Jeyne using code P&BTOUR20! If you need some inspo, check out the other participants:



ps: I haven't waxed this one yet... I can't decide if I want to do a second coat on my jacket first! What do you think--should i wax the lonetree and see how waterproof i can get it?

allie J.

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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I think since it is sleeveless I would skip waxing it? Of course the wax does add a special touch...looks great!

  3. Such a great look! I love all the details you added.

  4. This looks great! I like your modifications, too. Not sure about the zipper, unfortunately since my shortening experience is the same as yours--jeans. Thanks for the introduction to a new pattern company!

  5. Okay, I think I'm logged into the correct account to comment now. You made some fun mods to give the Willa an entirely new vibe. Thanks for joining in.

  6. This is so excellent! I love the little details you added to the Willa to make it pop into your Kate Middleton inspiration! It is so cute and perfectly styled.

  7. Very cute spin on the Willa! The little details you made to make this vest were really the perfect changes to give this a look and feel that were totally you!

  8. Love this! Do you think this print will come across well in this pattern? I'm obsessed with it and haven't known what to do with it.


  9. this is very cute! I love your whole outfit!

  10. wow your vest pairs perfectly with your dress! such a lovely outfit

  11. Love this vest and it looks so perfect paired with that dress. I need to order some of that fabric ASAP! :)

  12. I love your hack and it paired with the dress is just perfect! I may have a love affair with stripes.....

  13. Your vest is gorgeous! I love the way you changed it up. As far as shortening the zipper, you just need a pair of pliars to pull off the teeth, then the binding (or facing) will need to overlap the zipper a bit at the top so the pull doesn't pull straight off. I think the snaps work really well with your vest though, so great choice!



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