DIY: Hooded vest

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If you have read through my blog at all, then you know I have a beautiful niece named Grace. I made her a couple diaper cakes before she made her appearance last June.  You can see the traditional diaper cake and motorcycle cake here.

This time around, for her very special, very exciting 1st birthday, I decided to make her a hooded vest…upsized slightly so she can grow into it for the Fall. ?? This was the third vest I’ve made of this style. Hooded fleece vest with a fun lining.  The other two that I sewed up for my own kiddos were a double fleece layer along with the lining. My inspiration? Once Upon a Sewing Machine’s tutorial. There were a few things I wanted to change about the overall look so I opted to not use their free pattern. Take a look for yourself and see if it would work for you!


I posted a few similar pics several weeks ago and promised a tutorial. Silly me. It was a great excuse though to make yet another vest! Well, enough talk. Let’s get to it.

When starting Grace’s vest, I decided that the world didn’t need ANOTHER Marvel vest. It needs a few million!!! Just not made by me. So, BB8… you’re up!

Materials you’ll need (12 months):

  1. Outer fabric 1/2 yard is plenty
  2. Inner fabric 1/2 yard
  3. A jacket style separating zipper
  4. Coordinating thread

I traced out a 12-18 month old vest Nordak had and added 5/8″ around for the seam allowance. If you aren’t comfortable with this method, don’t forget to check out Once Upon a Sewing Machine’s tutorial or Melly Sews has a free pattern sized for a 5 year old that you may find helpful.

Step 1:

Cut matching pieces for the outer and inner fabric. Don’t forget to mind your grainline and selvage. The hood isn’t pictured but you will cut out four half pieces (two left sides and two right sides).


Step 2:

With right sides together, sew the outer fabric along the side seams and shoulder seams using a 5/8″ seam allowance or whatever your pattern calls for. Note that when sewing pieces together,  they will all be right sides together unless stated otherwise.

For the hood, sew one set of the two halves down the top to the bottom back. Do the same to the other set and put aside for now.

Pin your hood onto the vest. Make sure to center the seam of the hood to the center of the back of the vest.

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Step 3:

Sew the interior fabric of the vest, again down the side seams and shoulder seams. Pin the second hoodie to the vest, but this time take an extra piece of fabric (either outer fabric or inner, whichever you prefer) to make a loop for hanging. Center and tuck it between the vest and the hood, leaving a small tail to make sure it gets sewn on well. Now sew it together just like before.


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Step 4:

If you’re going to monogram, you will do this part now. This was my first time monogramming and for some reason thought it would turn out perfectly. Well… it turned out all sorts of wonky. Crooked and uneven.

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Take two…

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ANOTHER FAIL.  One more try and then I’m tossing the whole project! Sewing is NOT always sunshine and rainbows. There is a ton of cursing and throwing nearby objects at the wall. Don’t follow my example.

Attempt #3:


I’m calling it a success! Third time is charm enough. Not perfect but that’s what adds to the beauty of it, right? Now that the monogramming is out of the way…

Step 5:

Pin the exterior and interior fabric together. Line up your hood seams. Sew together starting from one bottom corner up around the hood and back down to the other bottom corner. Turn rightside out.

 This was before I changed the monogrammed area. Don’t mind that.2016-06-07 20.14.44

Admire your work for a moment. Then press on.

Step 6:

 Use bias tape or make your own to sew around the armholes. I chose to make some out of the extra fleece. Measure the armhole circumference and how much you want overlapping from inside the vest to the outside. Pin and sew about an 1/8″ in from the outer edge. Make sure to pay attention to the inside edge for an even finish.

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Sorry for the poor picture quality. You’ll be able to see the arm holes better in these upcoming pictures.

Step 7:

Make a waist band. Measure the full open length of the bottom of the vest. Decide how wide of a waistband you want and double it then add another 3/8″. For my 4 year old, I wanted a thicker band and wanted the final measurement to be 1 1/2″. I ended up cutting my fabric the length of the vest X 3 3/8″.

Fold the fabric in half lengthwise ando sew both short ends. Turn right side out.



Step 8:

Pin the waistband onto the exterior of vest with the opening of the waistband lining up with the bottom edge of the vest. Sew together with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Step 9:

Flip the top of the waistband down under and over to the inside of the vest. Pin the outside of the vest to catch about an 1/8″ of the waistband on the inside. You’ll be stitching in the ditch.


When you stitch in the ditch (sew on the right side of the vest directly over the seam stitch), peek underneath occasionally to make sure you’re catching an even amount of fabric from below.


Step 10:

You’re just about done!  Time for the zipper! Shorten your zipper if you have to by removing teeth above the needed length. Get a wire cutter and yank those suckers off. I removed about an inch.

Now I didn’t sew the zippers on the “right” way. I just pinned it right to the inside of the vest, sewed right down the length, and BAM! Zipper’s on.


There you have it. A super fun hooded vest that any kid would love, even if they aren’t a Star Wars fan.

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial. If you have any questions, ask away! If not, then hurry and go make yourself a few!

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