This one’s for the boys!


I’m back with another pattern testing adventure, the Willow and Redwood vests from 5 out of 4 Patterns for two of my favorite guys!

I could have alternately titled this post,  zipper immersion therapy, because with four! zippers a piece, these vests will desensitize your zipper fears FAST. I’m happy to say that thanks to some fabulous instructions and a little hand holding and seam ripping, my husband and son are now the proud owners of some really cool vests to keep them warm and cozy in that awkward phase between winter and spring (you know, the time when it’s below freezing in the morning and by afternoon you’ve got the AC blasting).

Check out how happy they are about it!

The patterns come in men’s, women’s and kids versions, and though I  plan to sew them all, for the pattern testing phase I limited myself to the men’s and kids version. With options for front and back color blocking or a solid front/back, zippered or open hand pockets, and a chest zip with a flap, these vests are highly versatile pieces with great style.


I chose to make up all the options, using the color blocked front (but with a solid color, so I could incorporate the chest pocket), in a knitted front/fleece backed fabric from JoAnns. Not my favorite place to shop for fabric, but they came through for me this time. I made the back solid- I didn’t think it needed to be colorblocked, since I was using all one color for the front.


The lining is done in grey microfleece, and I used navy ribbing, zips and twill for the pocket flap. Per his request, brother N’s chest pocket was made out of horse print quilting cotton (I swear, that kid would sleep in a barn if he could). He calls it his “secret horse pocket” and loves it!


These vests were constructed extensively on my sewing machine, and finished with my serger. You’ll want to invest in heavy (90/100 weight) needles for the topstitching, because you’re going through multiple layers, especially at the zip. Also, wash away wonder tape (as mentioned in the instructions) is a LIFESAVER here. I went through two spools, and I think it made all the difference- I emerged with my sanity in tact. Also, if you’re making these vests, I would highly recommend using a thin fabric like microfleece for the lining- unless your machine is a beast. Mine struggled in a couple points, but I actually got out my walking foot and my moms old Singer, and after that things went much more smoothly.

After making two of these, I can tell you I’m in love with the clean inside finish of this pattern- it’s one of those things I’ve made that I feel is really on par with ready to wear, which makes me proud and is a testament to the quality of the drafting and instructions. While it can be a little fiddly, the way the zipper and neck are bound on the inside makes for a really clean finish.

Of course, matching vests meant a daddy and me photo shoot! Such handsome guys! My other son, O, has a copy in the works, and I’ve got some delicious So Sew English fleece performance fabric earmarked for my own vest!

So, what do you think? Are you ready to conquer your fear of zippers and make the men (or women/kids) in your life happy at the same time?

The patterns are on sale for a limited time- grab yours here!

Stay tuned for my next pattern testing adventure (don’t forget, you can sign up to receive email updates so you never miss a post using the link on the sidebar).

Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you choose to purchase the patterns, I get a small percentage of your purchase to put toward my next sewing adventure. Thank you for your support!

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  1. Grand-Jamie on March 3, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    Great looking boy/man and clothes!

  2. Ann Thomas on March 5, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    I LOVE the ‘secret ‘ horse pocket!!

  3. Stephen on March 13, 2017 at 10:06 pm

    You are not kidding about the zippers! I have helped out with a few and they are a pain, but I don’t think Sarah asked for help on these zippers at all. Sarah even took my recommendation to use a large zipper for Noah’s vest. It’s stronger, easier to zip, and looks great.

    These vests really did come out beautifully. I love how the inside and outside is finished so that you do not see any rough edges or surging.

    I am really proud to wear this vest, it looks fantastic!

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