Make Your Own Basics: The sweater vest

Make Your Own Basics: The sweater vest

I’m not sure why they’re so controversial, but in my view a sweater vest is an absolute closet staple. As a lifelong fan of androgyny and tomboy style, I love a vest over a shirt, but love it even more over a sleeveless top or dress. But best of all is its ability to go both under and over things at the same time — it’s a layer-lover’s best friend, in other words. Obviously when it comes to patterns, I feel pretty good about my own Anna Vest (top), which evolved from a vintage British military-man’s pattern. (See my latest favorite FO here. Love how she styled it.) I’m also a fan of my friend Kate Gagnon Osborn’s stockinette Cadillac Mountain (middle) with garter rib edgings. And for a pullover that has that classic borrowed-from-the-boys feeling, I’m into Blacker Designs’ free pattern called simply V-Neck Sleeveless Tunic. Can’t go wrong with any of ’em.

I would even go so far as to argue that a fair isle vest is a wardrobe basic! Even though I’ve never owned on, it’s one of those items that always looks fascinating and timeless, no matter where the trends might take us. I like Ysolda Teague’s Bruntsfield, Mary Jane Mucklestone’s Voe Vest and Yoko Hatta’s #05 Fair Isle Vest, to name just a few.

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PREVIOUSLY in Make Your Own Basics: The t-shirt

33 thoughts on “Make Your Own Basics: The sweater vest

  1. Having made both Cadillac Mountain and Anna (and recommended both to many other knitters) I 100% agree – vests forever! And oh my gosh – just realized that’s me in the FO link!

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    • I’ve made Nancy’s Vest by Sunday Knits and it has become a wardrobe staple. The shaping is wonderful and the details subtle and beautiful. I highly recommend it.

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    • I am about to make my second Nancy’s vest. It’s a beautiful design and pattern. In fact, I didn’t think I was a vest person until I made this one.

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  2. Honestly, my Wood Hollow vest is one of my very favorite and most-worn knits, so cabled vests get my vote. ;) I even have a stash of Cascade 220 that seems to be calling to become another one…

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  3. When you were doing the anna vest kal I was pretty ambivalent about vests – I don’t know how to style them but seeing the slightest hint of your anna in the woolelujah tote pic CHANGED MY MIND and now I can’t stop thinking about anna!!!!! it will probably be a late winter knit so I can wear it in march

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  4. That Yoko Hatta one is so cool!

    I have vests on the mind so this is an a propos post. I usually have one that I wear over and under everything all winter long, I agree that they’re indispensable.

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  5. Love, love, love vests! Anna is on my horizon as soon as I finish a deadline :( and Yoko Hatta is such a cool designer – that Fair Isle one in #16 also has a fab companion in a cabled, hooded vest – a must as well!

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  6. I’m so in love with the whole vest idea and these vests in particular. I wear vests all the time for warmth but they’re fleece and I want my own knitted versions. Even better, I want my own handspun yarn versions. With that in mind I bought natural black roving from our favorite local sheep farm, Wild Rose Farm on Whidbey Island. Stunningly beautiful wool and easy to spin. So I’ve begun…

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  7. I like that plunging neckline of the Anna vest. Do I have to purchase the entire booklet to get the pattern? These cardigan vests will go well with my extensive button collection.

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  8. I coveted a fair isle vest for a long time, and finally made one using MJ’s Craftsy class. Highly recommend! I have the yarn for another one, the Ivy League vest. I also LOVE the #05 vest in the latest VK. I think I might need a plain vest as well, and I love that free pattern that you posted.

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  9. I live in Texas and vests are perfect for our weather. Churchmouse Knits came out with a new vest pattern last Saturday called Library vest that I want to try. It comes in both a short or long version.

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  10. Love the look, but I end up never wearing sleeveless items. Maybe it’s because I have cold arms? I’m always in a sweater or cardigan these days.

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  11. I wish I could like wearing vests. I’m just not comfortable in them. More fabric in the middle of my body with my skinny arms sticking out just doesn’t work for me! I made a beautiful vest (Thea Colman pattern for a BT collection several years back) with beautiful yarn. It fit well and everything but I never ever wore it.
    Also I’m always cold and need my arms covered. That’s probably the main reason!

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  12. Pingback: Make Your Own Basics: The shawl-collar cardigan | Fringe Association

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