TUTORIAL: Child’s Sweater Vest (from an old Sweater)

by Dana on July 6, 2008

Turn your little man into the gentleman he was meant to be.
This sweater vest is so simple, I’ll be making many more. Rummage through Dad’s closet or Mom’s drawer. Grab a sweater and go
Skill Level: Beginner
Needed:
* Man’s or Woman’s Sweater
* 1/4 yard knit ribbing

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Okay, let’s get started!
Grab a sweater (from a thrift store, your closet, dad’s drawer, wherever).

I had a hard time deciding whether to make this into just a smaller sweater for my son or if I wanted to do a vest. I settled on the vest because it’s adds fun style to the outfit and would look real cute with a contrasting buttoned shirt underneath (guess I need to make that next).

I used a sweater vest my son already owned as my guideline. If you don’t have a sweater vest, use one of your son’s shirts as your guide. If there’s a nice waistband on the sweater, you’ll want to use that for your vest. So lay the vest on the bottom:
Cut out a FRONT and BACK, similar to the store-bought vest and add an extra 1/2 inch at the shoulders and the side seams, where the vest will be sewn together. You do NOT need to add extra on the arm holes or the neckline. These will be sandwiched in with binding:
We’ll be using ribbing again on this (similar to the 90 minute shirt, but done in a more “polished” way). Ribbing is simply knit fabric with ribs in it. You can find it in most fabric stores, sold on bolts. Today I’m using mustard yellow for the arm holes:
Measure around all four arm holes, add up the total of these measurements and cut a strip of ribbing that entire length, and about 2-3 inches wide (depending on how wide you want your binding to be.)

Iron the entire strip in half:
Open it back up and iron over each side about 1/4 inch-1/2 inch down:
When you’re done it should look like this:
Then cut that strip into 4 pieces so you have a binding for each shoulder piece:
NOTE: there are other ways to sew the binding and vest. But I tried making the vest a couple different ways and this method seems to work out best (and it’s the easiest).

Take each binding strip and sandwich each arm hole inside of the binding:
Pin the binding down:
and sew down each binding, close to the edge or about 1/4 inch from the edge of the binding. When you’re done it should look like the photo on the right:
When you’ve sewn all FOUR armholes, the FRONT and BACK should look like this:
With RIGHT sides of the vest together, pin the FRONT and BACK together at the shoulders. It’s very important that you match up the yellow binding pieces as best as you can at the shoulder so it looks like one continuous binding:
Sew the shoulders together and serge off the seams (if you don’t have a serger, zigzag or leave raw):
Your vest should look like this:
Okay, on to the neck binding.
Wondering why I chose green? Well, I ran out of yellow ribbing. So green was the lucky winner. And I’m so glad I did it! Adds so much more color to the outfit!

With the same method used for the armhole binding, measure around your entire neck (FRONT and BACK) and add an extra inch for the seam. Cut a long strip of ribbing that length of your entire neck and about 2-3 inches wide (however wide you made the arm hole bindings):
Iron everything, using the same method above. When you’re done, the binding should look like this:
Now, how to make a “V” in the front? Sound complicated? Totally easy!

If you measured your binding perfectly, then you should be able to sew the “V” and that will close off your neck binding. But, I don’t trust myself like that.
So…..
I cut the binding into two pieces.
Then, place your bindings on the neck, right where it will lay and fold the end of the binding over so that it makes a straight line, running right into the “V” of your neck.
And cut along that straight line, like this:
Make sure you do that for the binding on both sides. When you unfold the binding pieces, they should look like this:
With RIGHT sides together, sew the two binding pieces together:
Turn everything right-side out (make sure you push those little angled pieces out. And when you fold everything back over it should look like this:
close-up:
Start by Sandwiching the “V” of the vest right inside the “V” of the binding and pin it down:
Sandwich the rest of the binding around the neck and pin down:
When you get to the back of the vest lay one binding over the other so you can get an exact measurement of where it should close (unless you closed off your binding when you did the “V” as mentioned above. I’m not as skilled so I’ll be using this method instead).

We don’t want the binding to be too loose, or it will gather up. So….
Cut it where the bindings overlap a 1/2 inch:
Then, unfold those two binding pieces together and with RIGHT sides together, sew the two binding pieces together:
Fold them back up, sandwich and pin the back of the binding to the vest, and add a label if you’d like:
Almost done here! Similar to how you sewed the sleeve bindings above, sew the neck binding on close to the edge or about 1/4 inch from the edge of the binding:
It should look like this:
Final step! With RIGHT sides for the vest together, pin down both sides of the vest (and add a tag if you like). It’s very important that you match up the yellow binding pieces as best as you can at armhole so that it looks like one continuous binding::
Sew down each side, serge off the seams (if you don’t have a serger, zigzag or leave them raw):
And….You’re done! Wear it to church or out to the mall. Dress it down with jeans and a pair of sneakers. A sweater vest works for many ocassions:
Enjoy it little man!

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mosa March 19, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Wow, that looks great, what a good idea!
Tomorrow I´ll try it out. Thanks for that great tutorial!
greetings, Mosa

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2 Little Mister's Mum April 13, 2012 at 3:19 am

and another BIG thank you! I mentioned on your Tutorial for flat front pants (that can be done with adjustable waist) that my little 2.5yo is quite small – though still with the length. So all his hand-me-down button-up (business-like) shirts are too short, but too wide. I had thought to buy him some vests this year to wear over the top of these shirts (to pull them in a bit) but know they cost a lot, and we are on a rather tight budget (one income family). This Tutorial is going to save me a heaps of money… and my little mister is going to look very smart in his homemade vests and pants :) Thank you so much.

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3 Gina April 30, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Thank you for the tutorial! I was inspired to make matching sweater vests for my little boys for Easter. I blogged about it at http://willyount.blogspot.com/2012/04/belated-happy-easter.html.

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4 wartinimurong October 30, 2012 at 11:05 pm

I like it, hopefully I can make it

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5 aka jules November 12, 2012 at 11:55 pm

love it! can’t wait to make it! Thanks for teaching me about ribbing! gotta get some!

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6 min.da December 10, 2012 at 8:26 am

thank you for making such nice tutorial

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7 cucicucicoo September 22, 2013 at 4:39 am

absolutely adorable and *very* useful trick on binding v-necklines! Thanks for the tip! :) Lisa

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8 CHANEL 傘 検査合格 October 26, 2013 at 6:31 am

Hi! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any issues with hackers?

My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing several weeks of hard work due to no backup.
Do you have any methods to stop hackers?

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9 Jenny January 5, 2014 at 6:26 am

Hi, i would like to know can i use regular cotton instead of ribbing?I only have old tshirts.

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10 Cheryl September 2, 2014 at 10:38 am

Hi, my husband just cleaned out his closet and I have a few old sweaters. I can’t wait to make these, but I can’t find the ribbing anywhere. I’ve tried Joann’s, Fabric.com, and even WalMart. I’m not sure if I’m just not searching the right keywords (ribbing, binding)? I remember my mom had a ton of this when I was a kid, but maybe it’s a thing of the past?

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11 Dana September 2, 2014 at 1:32 pm

You can find ribbing (or “rib knit”) at Joanns….just ask one of their employees for help. It’s sold by the yard on the normal fabric bolts in the Knit fabric section. You only need to buy 1/8 of a yard. Here are some options on Fabric.com:
https://www.fabric.com/apparel-fashion-fabric-knit-fabric.aspx?cm_re=Apparel+&+Fashion+Fabric-_-SLOT+1-_-Knit+Fabric&rfn1=Collection&rfon1=Rib+Knit&rfov1=Rib+Knit&rfc=1

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12 Cheryl September 2, 2014 at 9:04 pm

I finished one in about an hour and it’s adorable. Thanks so much!

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13 Olga October 18, 2014 at 11:26 pm

Thank you so much! It is a great idea and great tutorial!

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