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Making wedding waistcoats

A few weeks ago, I started working on the waistcoats for our wedding with the help of a crack team of people – my Mum, Helen and our lovely friend Hilary (who was the only person with waistcoat-making experience!). I decided to make the waistcoats because we couldn’t really find anything that we liked in the shops, and as we’re making lots of other things it seemed like a good option! The waistcoats will also be a great souvenir of the day for the people who get to wear them – Tom, the three groomsmen and our Dads. So that makes a total of six…here goes!


The pattern is a Vogue pattern (number V8048) which I bought in John Lewis, and you can make lots of different styles of waistcoat from it. Because there are six to make I wanted to keep it as simple as possible, so we’re making style C without the pockets. The material that I chose was also from John Lewis – the front is Macao in cream (£15 per metre) and the backing is Duchesse satin in champagne (£10 per metre).

So the first thing to do was to get our heads around the pattern, which was easier said than done! Thank goodness for highlighter pens, that’s all I can say!


Once we had done that, we cut out the relevant parts from the pattern. Because only two of the waistcoats are the same size, we traced the pattern for each size onto some dressmakers tracing paper, cut them out and then pinned them on to the fabric. The patterns were left on the fabric so that tailor’s tacks could be sewn on to mark the buttonholes and other pattern markings.



Just to check that we’d cut out the pieces properly, we tacked one together and asked Tom to model it!



By this point, it was quite late in the day and the light was fading. We also made the decision that I should do the embroidery before continuing to put it all together. We fused the interfacing onto the back of the front pieces so that I could embroider through both layers – I thought this would be tricky but it was surprisingly easy! So I travelled back home with my waistcoat pieces in hand, ready to get started.


In order to keep things as simple as posisble, I decided to just do a bit of embroidery from the top of the shoulders to the top of the first button. I designed a stem with leaves, making some of the leaves look like small hearts, but then decided to pin the ‘safe zone’ on the fabric and stitch it freehand.


Once the embroidery was finished, I could start putting the waistcoat together – mum came up this weekend and we made a start! I started by putting darts in the back panel and then moving on to the belt.


Can you tell what was wrong with the first belt?!


I have to say that the belt was a nightmare! It involved that crazy thing where you sew something fairly small inside out and then have to struggle to get it the right way around again without breaking it! Good job I had some knitting needles handy! Mum was really good at doing them – I get too cross doing anything like that! This is Mum helping out (she didn’t want to be in the picture!):


So here are a few pictures from the rest of the making process – I took loads so that I can remember what I’m doing when Mum isn’t here…


I didn’t quite get it sewn up before Mum and Dad had to go home, but Dad did try it on inside-out before he left!


I spent the rest of the afternoon sewing and managed to put it all together – hooray! After a lot of hard work (and a few times today when I thought about giving up) it was really good to see one almost done, and I’m really pleased with it. Hope the men like them! I need to press it a lot more (they’re quite poofy when they are turned the right way around) and do finishing up inside and put the buttons on, but that is for another day and another blog post!


A huge thank you to Mum, Helen and Hilary for all of your help so far, and also to Dad and Tom for letting me put your photos on my blog 🙂

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  1. […] will probably be some time before I start making a skirt – I’ve got the wedding waistcoats to finish […]

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