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Vested interest

If you want to knock his socks off with a great gift, make the man you love a vest which fits him to a T. My favorite vest pattern is Burda 5278, multisized with a variety of styles from single to double-breasted, collared or collarless.

Most men will prefer the pattern's view D, since this is the style they are accustomed to wearing with a suit. Just because the vest style is traditional, the fabric need not be. In the upholstery department, I found a fabric with a cowboy boot motif. This fabric is used for the vest front and a satin lining fabric for the vest back.

Since you will want this vest to fit well, you won't be able to make it a surprise. Leave 1-inch seam allowances at shoulder and side seams when cutting out. Baste at shoulder and side seams, and stay-stitch neck edge to prevent stretching.

Try it on your man, overlapping vest fronts for button detailing. If the vest hikes up in front, causing the vest to pouch out slightly, release one-fourth inch or more from the shoulder seam at the neck edge only.

If the shoulder seam sits up away from the shoulder near the armhole, one or both shoulders may be sloping. Take in the shoulder seam near the armhole until the vest molds to the shape of the body.

If the armholes are bowing away from the body, run an easeline within the seam allowance, pulling the armhole in closer to the body. This may be necessary on both front and back armholes, but is usually necessary on front armholes for most men.

If the man has very broad shoulders and a small waist, eliminate center back fold when cutting out, substituting a seam instead. Make sure you add seam allowances. This seam can then be let out in shoulder area and taken in near the waist.

If the waist is small in comparison to the shoulders, add back darts to the vest.

If the waist is large, add more fabric at side seams. Keep the front vest dart. It is needed for shaping.

If the man has a large abdomen, add more fabric to the side seams on the vest front only.

If you suspect that the man may be hard to fit or you don't mind cutting the vest initially in a scrap fabric, alterations can be determined before you cut the vest out of the fashion fabric, which will give you more flexibility with alterations.

Interface behind buttonholes. Don't eliminate back vest tie or buckle detailing; most men like this detail. Piping makes a nice finish around all vest edges, keeping lining from peeking out. If the man has a sense of humor, a surprise lining behind the vest front is appreciated.

Great buttons are a must. Look for buttons which repeat motif of fabric if possible. I found a set of ivory Bakelite buttons with horse heads, coordinating with the cowboy boot motif.

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