Sewing Tips

Vest Pattern for Angel Gowns

This is a long-overdue pattern, so “Thank you for your patience” to all who have requested a vest pattern to coordinate with the Angel Gown pattern from a previous post.  Parents of little-boy angels appreciate a blessing gown with simple lines, fewer embellishments. An easy way to add a boyish touch is with a vest and/or bow-tie. This simple pattern is for a vest that layers over the front of the gown only and does not require buttonholes.  Please respect that this pattern is for charity use only, to create baptism and burial gowns for donation to hospitals and parents in need. (7 Pine Design Studio reserves the right to sell a very limited number of garments made from this pattern with 100% of proceeds going directly to hospital NICU departments.)

To use this pattern,  you will need the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat Reader program.  You can download it for free here: https://get.adobe.com/reader/otherversions

Open the pattern by right-clicking on this link:

Baby_Boy_Vest_2018

…which will open a new tab, then click that tab and in the upper right corner click on the arrow  to download the layered PDF file to your computer.

This pattern comes in four sizes, and you can print each size separately:

  • Micro (24 to 28 weeks)
  • Tiny (30 to 32 weeks)
  • Preemie (34 to 36 weeks)
  • Newborn (38 to 40 weeks)

Open Adobe Acrobat and open the file layered “Baby_Boy_Vest_2018”. Once open in Acrobat, click on the stacked paper layer icon on the left. This will open the layer window where you can then click each ‘eye’ icon on and off to show and hide the different vest sizes. When you have the size you want showing and the others hidden, you can then print the file from Adobe Acrobat.

You can also print all of the layers on a single sheet, and trace the sizes you want onto Pellon, or clear plastic, etc.  Or, you can print all of the sizes and highlight the size you want to use.  I’m using size “Preemie” here:

IMG_1942

 How to make the vest

Cut out the pattern size you want, then cut out:

  • one left side and one right side of outer fabric
  • one left side and one right side of lining fabric

I have a goal to upcycle as much fabric as possible this year, so I’ve chosen a vintage men’s shirt for the outer fabric and a vintage top-sheet for the lining.

IMG_1943

Place left-side outer fabric to left-side lining, right sides touching. With a straight stitch, sew the armscye, neckline, center-front, and hem, using a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Be sure to leave the shoulder and side-seam open:

Repeat for the other side. You should have  a left side and right side like this (note that the shoulder seams and side-seams are unstitched):

Trim the corners to alleviate bulk, and clip inward curves either with small snips, or pinking shears:


Turn the vest pieces right-sides-out by pulling through the side-seams, then press:

You should now have a mirrored left-right vest set:

The vest is designed to accompany the basic Angel Gown pattern, which you can download here: https://7pinedesign.com/charity-sewing-how-to-make-angel-gowns/ 

I’ll show you how to add the vest to the basic gown. I’ve cut put the Preemie size gown pattern:

At the same time I’ll show how to change the silhouette from the classic baptism gown, to a vintage-style sleep-sack. To do this, you can extend the pattern by taping the bottom edge of the pattern to a sheet of computer printing paper, and adding length in these amounts:

  • Micro : 2″
  • Tiny : 3″
  • Preemie : 4″
  • Newborn: 5″

A clear ruler helps to measure the pattern extension. Here is the back pattern piece:

Your extended pattern will look like this:

Repeat the extension process for the front pattern piece:

To make the garment you can use any soft fabrics. Angel gowns are often made by up-cycling pre-loved wedding gowns…but this time I’m using vintage linen napkins for the outer layer, and a vintage cotton top-sheet for the lining pieces (all carefully washed of course). I have some decorative buttons removed from a blouse, and some antique ribbon found at a thrift shop:

The front pattern piece is cut on the fold (outer layer and lining layer). The back pattern piece is cut mirrored, right sides together (outer layer and lining layer). You should have 6 pieces total:

  • left outside back
  • right outside back
  • left lining back
  • right lining back
  • front outside
  • front lining

Ready to put it all together? Pin the finished vest pieces on top of the front body outer layer, making sure that shoulder-seams and side-seams line up:

Place buttons along center-front vertical line. I like to tape them in place to make sewing-on easier:

You can sew the buttons on by hand or using the zigzag stitch on a machine:

Next, baste the vest along side-seam and shoulder-seam lines:

Update: there is a new video on YouTube that shows the basic gown construction using this pattern. You can access it here.

Pin outside-layer backs (left and right) to outside-layer front at shoulder-seams:

Stitch shoulder seams with a 1/4″ seam allowance:

Press open along shoulder seams:

Your front should look like this:

Repeat for the lining: pin front pieces to back along shoulders, stitch, press open:

Now place the lining to the outer body, right sides facing together, and pin at neckline and sleeves, matching shoulder-seams. Straight stitch center-back, neckline, and sleeves, using a 1/4″ seam allowance (side-seams and hemline are left un-stitched for the moment) :

Trim off neckline corners, and clip inside neckline or use pinking shears:

Turn garment to the outside :

Press flat:

Next come the side seams, and this step takes some fabric maneuvering. First grab the ends of the sleeve hems:

Join the underarm seams together:

Pin together, matching the under-arm seam lines:

Continue pinning along the side seam down towards the hem, making sure that the outer fabric is pinned to outer fabric, and lining fabric to lining fabric:

The side-seams should look like this:

Straight-stitch the side-seams with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Repeat on other side. Clip the underarm curves so that seams will lay flat when pressed:

Press open the side-seams and you should have a garment that is completely stitched except for the hem:

Turn your garment to the outside and see that it looks almost finished!:

Next step is to create the back closure. Press the center-back edges flat. For a standard baptism gown you can add buttons….for a bereavement gown most hospitals prefer hook-and-loop tape for ease of dressing fragile bodies. Velcro makes a lightweight soft variety that is perfect.

Cut 4 pieces of Velcro to go down the back. They should be about 1.5″ each for sizes Micro or Tiny, and about 2″ long for sizes Preemie and Newborn.

Space the Velcro strips evenly down the back starting close to the neckline and ending about 2″ above the hem. Be sure to pin the “hook” side onto the outer fabric, facing away from the body:

Match up the “loop” side of the tape onto the lining fabric, facing the body:

Attach the Velcro by straight-stitching along the long edges:

This is what the finished back closure looks like:

To make the hem, finished off the bottom edge with a serger or regular machine zigzag, then press up 1/2″:

Stitch hem to create a casing:

Measure a piece of ribbon just over the circumference of the hem:

Sear the ribbon ends with a quick pass through a flame to keep from unravelling:

Attach a safety-pin to one ribbon end:

Insert into one end of the hem casing:

Feed ribbon through casing:

Pull through, and remove safety-pin:

Pull ribbons tight:

….and tie a bow:

For the final touch, you can add a tiny bow-tie: see previous post. And voila! Your sweet little baby boy gown:

If you have a Pinterest sewing board, you may want to pin this post for future use:

Please let me know if you have any questions or issues…it’s difficult to know if steps are unclear so I truly appreciate your feedback.

Happy sewing for the sweet little ones….

Janet

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