How much interest does your spouse take in your sewing? Being our resident photographer, Stephen knows about a few pattern companies, and his favorite by far is Twig and Tale. He has been showing me photos of adorable vests, coats and accessories he wants me to make the kids for months, so when the testing call came up to sew their first men’s pattern, I knew I had to jump on it.
The pattern was a secret at first- so I didn’t know what I was applying for until I was selected- a first for me. I just figured that if it was Twig and Tale it would be well drafted and he would love it, so I was up for anything. Even so, I was pleasantly surprised to see the very manly vest I would be testing- and I imagined a dozen versions I could make.
Narrowing down my fabric choices was HARD (seriously, I’m not usually that indecisive, and I may or may not have bought way too much fabric because I couldn’t narrow it down)- but I finally settled on a classic look, using some heavy cotton twill and a thick flannel from my local quilt shop. (side note: I don’t often shop there, but I can really tell the difference in quality between their flannels and the much thinner versions at JoAnns. JoAnns is much friendlier though…).
As usual, he was underwhelmed with my choices, until the vest was sewn up- and then he loved it! (we have a running joke that he says everything looks like a tablecloth until it’s finished).
I made the Trailblazer in the classic zippered front option, with shoulder accents and double top-stitching all my seams for visual interest and longevity (ever notice how guys literally wear their clothes out?).
He loves the deep pockets and the cozy collar, and had to be talked out of taking it on his guys’ camping trip the next weekend (where they were dirt bike riding and generally getting DIRTY. In my newly sewn vest? Idontthinkso).
While I didn’t have time to test the fisherman’s add-on- he’s got his eye on that one too, and those box-pockets are on my list of must-learn sewing skills! I also added an inner pocket to the lining for what he calls his “secret agent document storage”. AKA: his phone.
The pattern came together MUCH more quickly and easily than I anticipated- don’t be intimidated by the number of pieces or the zipper! Everything lined up perfectly, and the tips for inserting the zipper are ones that I’ll certainly carry over into future projects.
There are even multiple videos included in the instructions, which are a major asset for a visual learner like me.
Some tips if you’re newer to sewing zippers or vests/jackets in general:
- Use washaway wonder tape to help position it in place. Seriously. You can thank me later.
- Don’t skip the step that tells you to baste the zip in! Getting it to line up right across the collar seams and top/bottom will have a major impact on how good it looks- be prepared to baste and re-baste until it’s just right. It will be worth it, promise.
- Sometimes, the lining will stretch out when attaching it to the zipper, especially if your fabric has more “give”- I just start at the top, sew down to the the bottom, trim off whatever has stretched out so it’s even with the main fabric, and move on. Interfacing the lining along the zip area will help, but may not eliminate this, so I just find it’s easiest to trim off the extra.
- Topstitching the front of the zipper will help keep the teeth from getting stuck in the lining, so it will zip up smoothly.
- Matching plaids will be light-years easier if you use a smaller scale where it doesn’t matter, or a very large scale. Medium size squares are doable, but will take more work! See this tutorial for some good tips on that!
- If you’re new to sewing wovens, check out my wovens 101 post here!
In fact, it went so well that I was done earlier than I anticipated so I was able to cut and sew the next twig and tale pattern! I can’t wait to tell you more about it- so here’s a super sneak peek!
What is the scariest part of sewing up a vest or jacket like this one for you? I’m happy to answer any questions!
Grab the Men’s Trailblazer HERE (affiliate link) and the fisherman’s add-on HERE! And to spread the T&T love, here’s link for a referral code for $3 off your purchase!
Note: This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you choose to purchase a pattern using one of the links, a small percentage of your purchase comes back to me, to help fund my fabric-indecision. Thank you for your support!