Home Tailored Suit Part 7 – Waistcoat

Back to the 3-piece tailored suit make and time to make the waistcoat. If you have missed the previous instalments here is the direct links:

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6.

The trusty waistcoat is what really got me back into sewing back in 2014. I’ll not re-tell the story but I made 6 waistcoats for my wedding day. Things have moved on and my sewing has improved so time to draft a pattern. There are so many different styles of waistcoat and after some thought, sticking to the simple fitted style, seemed the best option to match the suit jacket.

Drafting the waistcoat

A waistcoat is a good way to take the leap into pattern drafting due to the relative simplicity involved. Indeed the next post will show you exactly how I did it and how easy it is.


Having the draft ready the decision was made to extend the front shoulder seam up and around the neck. It is a very stylish look and also ensures the neckline hugs well.

After cutting the front fusible woven interfacing was applied to both fronts before working welt pockets were added. Careful pattern matching really works.


A front facing is cut and attached to the front lining piece. Cotton twill tape is slip-stitched along the seam line (as we did for the jacket). The tape is stretched along the bias cut from shoulder to front to ensure the waistcoat sits snug to the chest without gaping.


In the previous photo you can see the longer facing and front around the neck. Also the lining has been cut longer. Baste everything in place and repeat for the other front.


On the inside press up the hem and lining. Slip-stitch in place

Putting it together

Four back panels are cut and sewn along the centre back seam. This will make two back panels, one for the outside and one for the lining. **Yes you could cut the panels on the fold but the back won’t have the nice shape to fit well**

Both pieces were cut in the same lining material. A narrow belt (also in lining material) is attached to the outside back panel. The belt was edge-stitched from the side seam to the dart position. One end of the belt has a buckle to allow for tightening of the waistcoat.  After sewing the lining arm holes together (right sides together) the backs are turned right sides out.

Now place the front inside the two back panels and baste the side seam (all layers). Note neck is still not sewn.


Sew the side seams and along the bottom of the back panels (tuck the fronts out of the way!) and turn everything through. You should have a waistcoat with all the seams hidden. Neat hey?

The neck can be sewn together now (right sides together) and pressed. The inner and outer lining now has a small seam allowance pressed under following the shape of the neckline. Slip-stitch the lining to the waistcoat inside and out.


Buttonholes are added along the front centre (go on, do them by hand). Now buttonholes on a waistcoat…..How many should you have? I feel an odd number looks better than an even number. An even number seems to cut the body in half so I opted for 5. Of course this will depend on the length of the waistcoat so do experiment.


Finally suitable buttons are added before pressing everything well.


And with jacket.


There we go, one waistcoat. Actually a very easy make and my next post will show you how to draft your own.

Until next time….Happy Sewing!

5 thoughts on “Home Tailored Suit Part 7 – Waistcoat”

  1. I really enjoyed this whole series on: bespoke tailoring, you will have to complement the series with tutorial on trousers (bespoke) and jeans (my favorite). Love to learn how to draft a jeans pattern, regular version and selfedged. I printed your tutorial on buttonholes and I am doing some practicing using the cheats method, of using a machine buttonhole and then hand sewing with buttonhole twist.

  2. Hello , thank you for this tutorial, I’m finding these very useful. I am making a waistcoat with a notched collar and three pockets. Would you face a waistcoat with canvas like your jacket tutorial? If yes, would it also have the extra wedge in the shoulder?
    It’s a great pattern too.

    1. Hi, Yes I would interline with canvas but make sure its light weight stuff. Leave the shoulder wedge but keep a front shaping dart. Hope that helps

  3. Thank you! One question: Why is your back piece longer in the side seam than the front on your pattern? Do you ease this in?

    1. Hi Carissa, Yes the back is eased in along the side seams. Although it looks a lot longer the front piece has a larger curve so the back seam is only a little longer when put in place.

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