25 Completely Free Vest Patterns and Tutorials

A vest is one of the easiest and most accessible clothing items to sew. At its simplest, it can be just three pieces and four straight lines, a project that’s perfect for a beginner.

But because it’s so simple, a vest is also fun to embellish and re-engineer to suit your own specific purpose. A vest can be fancy and formal (think about a custom, tailored waistcoat, perhaps hand-embroidered), strictly utilitarian (imagine the ultimate fishing vest, with pockets custom cut for every kind of important little piece of gear), or utterly imaginative (one word: cosplay!).

Below, check out my list of my all-time favorite vest patterns and tutorials. They’re all completely free and suitable for beginning to advanced sewers. Get inspired and get sewing!

1. Copy An Existing Vest

How to Copy an Existing Piece of Clothing

Sometimes you don’t need a brand-new vest pattern to follow–sometimes, all you need to do is copy a favorite vest that you already own. It’s a relatively straightforward process, but in this tutorial, I let you in on a few secret tips and tricks that make the project even easier.

2. Add A Lining To A Vest

Here’s how to add a lining to most of these vest patterns and tutorials.

3. Dress Shirt To Vest

Start with an oversized dress shirt and cut it and shape it until it’s a perfectly fitted, lovely vest!

4. Cape Vest

This tutorial results in a vest that is very roomy and forgiving and is also very warm.

5. Child’s Felt Vest

Vests are a great addition to a kid’s dress-up collection and felt vests are super easy to sew. Embellish them in any number of ways and outfit all your kiddo’s dreams!

6. Child’s Five-Button Vest

Because every kid needs a formal vest!

7. Chunky Knit Fabric Vest

Use something very heavy for this tutorial–think wool blanket–and you’ll stay toasty all fall and winter.

8. Cooling Vest

Did you know that cooling vests exist? They make hot days much more comfortable, and you can DIY one with this tutorial!

9. Dress Shirt To Vest

Start with an oversized dress shirt and cut it and shape it until it’s a perfectly fitted, lovely vest!

10. Easy Quilted Vest

Want to know the easiest way to make a quilted vest? Start with pre-quilted fabric!

11. Faux Fur-Embellished Sweater Vest

Start with a thrifted sweater vest, then learn how to embellish it with faux fur trim.

12. Freebie Vest Pattern

Patterns for Pirates is one of my all-time favorite sewing pattern companies, and their freebies are just as good as their other patterns. Make this vest, and then make their leggings to go with it!

13. Hoodie Vest

This tutorial is actually two patterns in one! Learn to make a vest AND learn to make a hoodie, and you’ll never be cold again.

14. Hooded Vest From Fleece

This hooded vest is very different in style from the one above. Which style is your favorite?

15. Hunting Vest

This tutorial does call for the use of a dress shirt pattern to modify, but it’s also got all the details for all the handy little pockets and carriers that you’d want in a hunting vest. If you can’t source a dress shirt pattern, I think it’s worth modifying an existing vest or dress shirt with these embellishments.

16. No-Sew Knit Vest

Remember when I said that you only had to sew four straight lines in order to make a vest? Clearly, I hadn’t yet considered THIS vest, which requires no sewing at all! It does call for a rather large single piece of jersey knit fabric, so if you don’t mind sewing or want a little more variety, you can always piece together smaller pieces of fabric to start this project with.

17. Fringed Vest

Here’s an interesting vest pattern for a suede-like fabric. Feel free to experiment with other fabrics, but if you do, don’t forget to treat the raw edges so that they don’t fray.

18. No-Sew Lace-Up Vest

Jersey knit fabric is once again the hero here. This vest is especially fun because instead of buttons, you get laces!

19. Paper Bag Safari Vest

Do you have a little explorer? If you do, here’s the perfect little explorer vest to make!

20. Jeans To Waistcoat

You can upcycle jeans into ANYTHING. Here, they turn into a cute waistcoat!

21. Easy Faux Fur Vest

This simple DIY pattern allows all of the focus to be placed where it belongs–on the fabulous faux fur! With some resourcefulness, it’s possible to upcycle the faux fur for this vest from other sources; check out the local thrift stores, or ask friends and family if they have any old faux fur blankets, throws, decorative rugs, or even coats that you can re-use.

22. Patagonia-Style Vest

Yes, you actually CAN make yourself one of those puffy vests! The secret? Puffy fabric for the win!

23. Reversible Waistcoat

I’m a sucker for anything that’s reversible–I love the two-for-one concept, and it doubles my de-stashing!

24. Scarf To Vest

If you have a wide scarf that you never wear, here’s how to transform it into a much more convenient vest.

25. Sweater To Ruffled Vest

I love that even though this is a refashion, there’s more to it than just “cut off the sleeves and chop the sweater down the middle.” Instead, you learn how to add cute ruffles and a tie front to your sweater-to-vest makeover.

Do you have a favorite free vest pattern or tutorial? Tell me about it in the comments below!

Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

Comments (Keep It Civil...)

upcycled playing card bunting

How To Make an Upcycled Playing Card and Upholstery Sample Bunting

pile of scrap yarn

20 Upcycled Yarn Art Projects