Boy’s Vest Tutorial With PDF Pattern (It’s Free!)

by Destri on May 17, 2012

Free Vest Pattern Size 4-6 Boys

I so wanted to have this vest pattern up before Easter, but I ended up testing for my little guy up until the night before.  Although, who needs a holiday to get dressed up, right?  I so love this style, it’s polished with a little formal thrown in, but depending on the fabric and shirt worn with it can be very fun and playful.  It’s a free download PDF pattern for sizes 4-5 and I have included a photo for every step in the tutorial making it perfect for a beginner.

Little Boy Vest Pattern and Tutorial

I wanted a summery feel for this vest so I used linen for most of it, and opted not to add buttons for a super casual feel.  If I make one for this winter I will add the buttons.  It’s fully lined, with no exposed seams making it look top notch (without a serger!).  The double lapel and faux single welt pockets are fun details that are super simple, but can be left out all together if you’d like to make the vest reversible.  Catch me after the jump for the free download and tutorial!

Size 4-5T Boy’s Vest Tutorial With Free Pattern

I designed this to be a very tailored fit for my 5 year old who wears a 5T.  It would fit a 4T great, with a little growing room.  Please be sure to read through the tutorial before cutting and sewing. 


  • all your sewing stuff
  • hot iron and board
  • thread and fabric
  • buttons if you want

Suggested Fabrics And Requirements:

You will need ¾ of a yard for the outer and lining, so 1 1/2 yards of fabric total.  You can use any woven fabric for this pattern, but I recommend that at least one is a heavier fabric for structure.  If not you can use a fusible interfacing on the fabric.  I used a cotton linen for the vest shown, but some other great options would be twill, suiting, denim, corduroy, or even a seersucker like this J Crew vest would look fabulous.

Pattern Printing and Assembly:

Click here to download and print the pattern pieces

There are five pages and you will print at 100% with no scaling, if prompted select “none”.

You can also print this tutorial using the print button at the bottom of the post.  Once you have clicked on it, it will open the tutorial in a new window, click on pictures or blocks of text that you don’t need to remove and save on ink.  You can even change the size of the text.

Feel free to use this pattern to make vests for re-sale on a small scale, I hope you make a million!  However, the pattern and tutorial itself are not to be used for resale. © Destri Bufmack for

Vest Pattern

Tape the pattern pieces together – two for the front and two for the back.  If there is a break in the lines that is okay, just line up the edges of the paper. Then cut out the taped pattern pieces along the line.

Fabric Cuts:

You will need to cut two 2 x 5 inch pieces for the faux pockets.

From the patterns you will cut:

  • two pieces for the outer front panels (fold fabric in half for two layers when cutting)
  • two for the front panels lining (fold fabric in half for two layers when cutting)
  • one piece for the outer back (cut on fold at the center back)
  • one for the back lining (cut on fold at the center back)
  • four pieces of the smaller lapel pattern from main fabric
  • four pieces of the larger lapel pattern from main fabric

Pay attention to the fabric when laying the pattern pieces and cutting.  You can see that my fabric had lines, so I needed to make sure that those were always facing the direction I needed.  This is especially important for the lapels if your fabric has a certain pattern.

Sewing The Vest:

If you are new to sewing I have a Sewing Tips Directory that might be useful.  The seam allowance is included and you will use a 3/8 inch seam allowance through out unless noted.

Starting with the lapel, take the four smaller pieces and sew two right sides together along the two longer sides as shown in the picture. Repeat on the other two and snip the corners a safe distance from the stitches.

Turn right side out, paying good attention to that corner for a nice crisp corner, and then press.

Using the photo above as a reference,  place a large lapel piece right side up, then place a smaller lapel piece with the raw edges out as shown.

Now place the second larger lapel piece on top right side down, pin to hold the smaller piece in place, then sew on the outer edges as shown with the black dashes in the photo.  Repeat for the other lapel pieces.

Snip corners, then turn right side out and press.  You can topstitch (how to topstitch) the outer edges if you would like.  Set the lapels to the side.

Now will work on the faux pockets.  Take the two 2×5 inch pieces and iron the 2 inch sides over 1/4 inch.  Then iron in half with the right sides out and 5 inch side together.  Take the two outer front panels and lay on a flat surface, right sides up.  Pin the pieces with the folded side down as shown in picture.  As for placement, I was about 1 inch from the side, and keep in mind that you will be sewing the flap up.  Eyeball it, pin up the flap if needed and just make sure it looks good to your eye.

Sew the pocket right along the top, lining the presser foot with the raw edge of the fabric.

Press the pocket up and then sew the sides as close to the edge as you can.

That’s it! Easy peasy.  Now just repeat on the other side.

Now we’ll assemble the front panels. Lay the two front panels right sides facing up, and place the lapels in place as shown in the picture. I gave plenty of wiggle room on the lapel, so you will have a little overhang on the edges of the vest panels. This just makes it easier when sewing.

Now place the lining on top, right side down.

Pin where the lapel is and sew as illustrated with the white dash in the picture. 3/8 seam allowance.

Now open up and press like shown.

Then fold back over with right sides facing together and pin at the arm holes.  Sew around the armholes and down the vest front leaving the shoulder and sides alone.

Cut out notches a safe distance from the stitching (example below) around the curve of the armhole, turn right side out and press.  Repeat on the other side and you’ll have to pieces like above.  Set aside.

Moving on to the back. Note that the lining I used for the front panels is my main fabric for the back. I used a lightweight cotton for the lining in the back.

Lay the outer back panel right side up, and the lining right side down.  Pin at shoulders and arm holes.

Sew around the neck and armholes only, leaving the sides and shoulders alone.

Now cut little notches out a safe distance from the stitch along the curves as shown.  If you have pinking shears they work great for this step.

You’re almost finished!  Now take the back panel still wrong side out and lay on a flat surface with the lining face down.

Take a front panel and with the front side facing up as shown, sandwich in between the lining and main fabric of the back.  Pull the shoulder of the front panel up to meet the top of the shoulder of the back and line up the arm holes, pin in place at the shoulder. Repeat on the other side.

Now sew at the shoulders as shown making sure to get all layers in the stitch.

Now turn right side out and press at the shoulders.  At this point your vest will look like this.

Now we are going to sew up the sides. This part is a little hard to explain but it’s super easy and when you are sewing it will make sense. You will turn the vest so the lapels are facing in, and the back lining is out.

Line up the side seams, and pin so that the front outer and the back outer fabric are together, and the lining of the front and back are together.  Line up at the underarms as a starting point, and then down the sides.

You will pin so that you can sew with the right sides together.  Sew up the sides starting on the front side, then all the way to the back. Repeat on the other side.

Press the seams open.

Now turn right side out, it will look a little wonky as you can see in the photo. Line up the bottom edges and sew along the bottom making sure to leave an opening on the back center for turning right side out.

Turn right side out, making sure to get the front points nice and crisp.  Fold the edges of the small opening in the back to line up with the seam, press and pin.  Press the bottom edges and run the iron over all the vest at this point to prepare for top stitching.

Now up under the lapel on the edge of the neckline is where you will start the topstitch (tutorial for topstitching).  You can see how I have my foot pulled up under the lapel.  Just sew down the front, across the bottom (this will sew up the small opening in the back) and back up the other side.

You can also topstitch the neckline and arm holes.

Free Pattern and Tutorial 4T Lapel Vest

Give it one more steam press along the topstitching and you’re finished!  Doesn’t it look great? So polished, yet relaxed.

If you want to add buttons, just extend the front panels 1/2 an inch where the buttons and holes would go on the pattern before cutting to add a little more ease.

I am thinking of adding this vest to my pattern release this fall if there is enough interest.  So let me know.  Maybe even a sport coat?  Tell me what you’d love and I will see what we can come up with!

If you have any questions leave them here in the comments and I will answer them there.

Thanks for reading and sharing friends, it’s the only way we can keep the fun stuff rolling!


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{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica at Me Sew Crazy May 17, 2012 at 10:36 am

How cool are you Destri?! This is incredible. I have been looking for a vest pattern too, just one much smaller :). HA! Thank you for this. Your little man looks very handsome – cutie!


ste May 17, 2012 at 10:47 am

This is awesome!


kate May 17, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Two words: Holy shit!!!!


Destri May 19, 2012 at 10:39 am

LOL! Oh Kate, I need you sitting right next to me cheering me on :)


Shasya May 17, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Wow! That’s very cool Destri!


Destri May 19, 2012 at 10:31 am

Thanks, I am thinking it needs to be a coat!


Whatever DeeDee Wants May 18, 2012 at 10:07 am

Love this! I always get excited when you share tutorials for boys :)


Destri May 19, 2012 at 10:24 am

I have committed to one a month….so we’ll see! I could see this on you stylin’ boy :)


Jane May 18, 2012 at 6:24 pm

What a GREAT looking vest! Love it. Thank you for sharing!


Destri May 19, 2012 at 10:21 am

Thanks Jane!


Jane May 20, 2012 at 5:15 am

What a sharp vest! It’s so wonderful to remember the boys. Thanks for the great design!


Mary Ellen May 29, 2012 at 9:38 pm

YEA! Thank you so much! Finally something I can make for my grandsons. I look forward to your other tutorials for boys.


Destri May 30, 2012 at 4:55 am

OH good, let me know how it goes!


Annie Desmarais June 14, 2012 at 11:09 am

Thank you for sharing this vest! My son is 3 month so i adapt the pattern for him! So easy to do!! I would like to share a picture of my little vest but I don’t know where.
Thanks again!


Annie Desmarais June 14, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Thank you very much for sharing this nice vest. My baby boys is only 2 month so I adapt your pattern and I would like to leave you a picture of it! It’s was so easy to do… How can I share with your this picture?


Destri June 15, 2012 at 5:59 am

I would love to see it! Send one to destri at themotherhuddle dot com – just in email format :).


Annie Desmarais June 15, 2012 at 6:50 am

It’s done! Hope I’ve done the right thing!
So a little piece of your art is in Quebec, Canada!
Thanks again!


Veronica June 28, 2012 at 12:44 am

I just finished using your pattern to make a ring bearer vest for my son….thank you, thank you, thank you for offering up your work for our use…I REALLY appreciate it, and it is so dang cute. I can’t wait to see him in it, as I have now stayed up til 2 in the morning sewing away, and I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to put it on him.


Jess at SewSet July 23, 2012 at 4:28 am

Ok, first of all Des, I just totally cracked up reading your comments for this!! HA!

I just want to let you know how much I absolutely love this pattern and tute. I featured it as one of the top patterns today over at SewSet! Thank you for sharing!’ You rock.

- Jess,


Gina August 7, 2012 at 3:56 am

Hi I am about to sew your fantastic boy’s vest, however, I am not familiar with the T4 size. I want to make this vest for a three year. I would be very grateful for any suggestions on how & how much to cut down the pattern?
Unfortunately I am in China and Archie lives in England so it’s guess work for sizing.


Destri August 12, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Hi Gina, so so sorry for the delayed reply! I would say just take about a 1/4 of an inch off the sides at the under arms, and then as well at the top of the shoulders. As for the bottom a half inch taken off all around. The seem to grow more up than out at this stage :). The rest should fit nicely.
Let me know how it goes!


RaeAnna August 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm

I hope I can finish one off for my son for Halloween!!! It would be the perfect addition to my circus theme – add a penciled handlebar mustache and I’ll have my ringmaster!!! :)


Destri August 12, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Oh what a great costume idea! Please send me a pic if you get a chance!


Ali August 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Hi Just finished making this one for my little boy & it is awsome! Thanks so much for the pattern. I chopped it up a bit to make it smaller as my son is just 5 & is not very tall, hoping to make one for my 3 year old in the same size.
Will lob a photo up on my website plus a link to this if you want to check it out!


Nicky August 30, 2012 at 11:35 am

Thank you so much for this awesome boy’s pattern! It’s so hard to find nice things for boys. I adapted it for my son’s hippie costume and used some great vintage fabrics. We traded the collar for some leather fringe! Thanks again :)


Ambrea September 15, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Thank you so much for this pattern. We are going to be in a cowboy parade next weekend and I needed to whip up 2 vests. Thanks to your pattern it was quick and easy!


RaeAnna September 24, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Oh my gosh!!!!! This turned out sooooooo cute! :) My son is at Mimi’s tonight but when he comes home I’m putting the outfit on him and taking pictures! :) I’ll send you the link once I’ve blogged – I think I’m going to save this one for Week 4 of PR&P!


Naoko September 26, 2012 at 2:53 am

Thank you for sharing this!
I made a new vest for my 3-year old son, just in time for a wedding we are attending in a few weeks!
It is so hard to find vests appropriate yet affordable in Japan, I was about to give up on any formal attire for him!
You are a life saver!
Now my husband wants the same one for himself ;)


Destri September 26, 2012 at 7:45 am

Oh perfect! Thanks so much for letting me know – made my day :). Have fun at the wedding!


Kristin November 24, 2012 at 7:34 pm

Trying this out tonight! Love free patterns for cute boy stuff. :) Thanks so much!


Khrys November 26, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Hi, I was just wondering if you could tell me approximately how long this project would take to make?


Destri November 27, 2012 at 12:04 am

Hi Khrys,
It really depends on skill level – I would say a few hours for intermediate. But again, so hard to say! So many factors like fabric being used and love of ironing that go into play :). Let me know if you have anymore questions!


Shari December 5, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Very Cute!
Just a warning….I just finished the first one for Christmas for my triplets. They are all different sizes (despite 2 being identical). It’s long enough to be a 4T/5T, but if you put buttons on it’s not wide enough to button. Even on their younger sister who is a skinny 3T might have found it snug with buttons. But it hangs well and is very cute unbuttoned! (Unless I misunderstood, and you’re supposed to add a seam allowance.) You did say it was tailored to your sons build, and not mine! He probably has a leaner build.

Krys, I’d consider myself and intermediate level sewer. I cut all the pieces out last night and was able to sew it all together in about 2 hours…with constant interruptions from my 4 small children. Had I been alone I probably would have been just over an hour of sewing time. I cut out 3 total, so I couldn’t estimate cutting times for you very accurately. Hope that helps. It gets sort of tricky during assembly, so make sure you read thru it first, and follow the instructions carefully. Or you might end up having to rip out some seams (as I did, because at that moment I thought it easier to wing it than risk leaving my sewing machine with the kids for the instructions that were left up stairs.) There’s lots of great pictures that make it easy to follow.
Thanks for the pattern!


Destri December 6, 2012 at 11:10 am


Thank you so much for the feedback! I love when readers take the time to let me know. On the buttons – I did mention at the end that if you wanted to add buttons you would need to add 1/2 inch to the front panels where the buttons and holes would go. Just wondering if you saw that and added in case I need to edit that – or if you didn’t see that and I need to add it at the top.

Again, thank you so much for taking the time to give me feedback, I really appreciate it!

Also, I am getting ready to roll out some patterns would you be interested in testing?


Shari December 6, 2012 at 1:13 pm

I totally missed that. I was so excited to get started I stopped reading right above the last picture…and that’s just under. My fault for not reading all the way to the end.

And I would LOVE to test some patterns!


admin December 6, 2012 at 3:14 pm

No I am the same way! I need to move that line up to the top – as most everyone that has made it has added buttons. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

I will add you to my list! Hopefully right after the new year I will be in touch.


Heather January 2, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Love this vest! Thank you so much for sharing this pattern with us! :)

I’ve been making bows, etc., for my daughter, but I’ve not found anything to make for my son (he’s not very impressed with this situation, lol!). My mom taught me how to sew when I was in high school, but its been awhile since I’ve had a sewing machine to create with. Finally got one!

Ok, soooo…. here is the question. My son is 7 years old and wears a size 6 or 7 – depending on the garment. I think he’d look so handsome in this vest (any little boy would, its great!) How do I adjust this pattern so that the vest is big enough for him?

Thank you in advance!


Destri January 2, 2013 at 9:57 pm

Hi Heather,

I know how you feel, my son is the same way! Funny enough, he appreciates what I sew for him much more than my girl :).
For adjusting the pattern – add a 1/2 inch to the sides, dropping the under arm following the slope, add an inch to the bottom just above the v’s and then about a 1/2 inch to the center back. You will have to draft a new pattern- sounds scary, but really it makes sense when your are working it. You might want to make a tester on muslin just to make sure it will fit the way you want.
That, or find a vest pattern in his size, and just add the lapel pieces and this tutorial –
Let me know how it goes!


Sue January 3, 2013 at 9:43 am

wow, I am so happy to find your site! I only sew little boys clothes right now because custom made ones are so hard to find. I love this tutorial for the vest. I do hope to find the time to try it out. Thanks for sharing! Oh, and YES, a top coat pattern would be adorable! You are amazing! Sue


Matt January 16, 2013 at 12:36 am

I am an airline pilot and a 37-year old father of three. My mom was a seamstress and I grew up watching her. Though I never learned to sew, I recently decided I could do it. With the aid of people like you, phone calls to my mom and searching YouTube, I have been able to have a bit of fun sewing at night while my wife (a homemaker that rarely sews) and kids snooze.
My youngest was born in November and we recently blessed him in church. My older son, four, fit in this vest perfectly. Your directions were perfect. I scaled the printing down to 80%, added a bit of width in the back on the fold and took 2″ off the length to make the perfect vest for my six week old.
Thanks for your help. We all matched because I made a tie for myself and a few scarfs for my daughter and wife out of the same family tartan I ordered from the Scotland. I used velveteen on the lining and back.
My wife is proud and has posted pics online. Now all of my friends know I sew. Oh well, I’m a double threat now.


Destri January 22, 2013 at 4:58 pm

Ah Matt, you made my day!
My husband and I watch these car shows all the time, and they show men sewing when working on the upholstery, he keeps telling me I need to show him how to use my sewing machine. I tell him he better get his own for a job like that!

And yes, you are a double threat :)

Thanks so much for letting me know, and good luck with your new hobby. Nothing better than having a creative outlet for the wee hours in the night.


shaughn January 29, 2013 at 12:05 pm

I love this vest i just wish i knew how to resize it to fit my son hes a 2t


Debbie February 16, 2013 at 11:53 am

I love this pattern and a friend is wanting me to make outfits for her children. She has 2 girls and 3 boys and wanted vest for the boys to match with the girls outfits in some way. This is perfect for the size 5 boys but need it in a 10/12 for the older boy. Do you have this bigger? I don’t know how to re-size and I would be happy to pay for the bigger size! Please reply sooooooon!


Destri February 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Hi Debbie,

It is actually in the works right now, but I do not have it yet. What is your timeline?


Debbie February 16, 2013 at 5:57 pm

Yay…..thank you so much! Maybe a week…or as soon as possible :)


Debbie February 19, 2013 at 1:19 pm

I’ve not heard back and I was wondering if I was going to be able to get the pattern for the vest this week?


Anshu February 25, 2013 at 2:18 pm
Faten February 27, 2013 at 9:54 am

Hi there! Im new to sewing and all things handmade. But I had this burning desire to sew something for my boys 5 yrs and 3 yrs for a wedding we had to attend in Dec. I was super excited trying out the tutorial. Your instructions were very clear, thank you very much. I had 2 cool vests ready within hours :)
I didnt have time to add the pockets though but they turn out great!
I have a Facebook page on all things handmade, Handmade Circle. Could I share your tutorial there as I’ll be posting the vests pic there too :)
ps You have a new fan all the way from Singapore now =)


Anna C. March 3, 2013 at 4:12 pm

This is so cute, I’m actually in the process of trying to find a pattern for my son’s Easter outfit. How do I scale it down for a 24 month old? Any suggestions would be great.


Kristi April 1, 2013 at 7:14 pm

This super cute! I have a wedding to attend with my boys in May. This will work for my 4 year old, but any chance you have this ready for a size 8?


Jenna April 24, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Thank you so much for this! I am going to try it out this weekend! My 5 year old needs a yellow vest and I couldn’t find one anywhere! I haven’t sewn in a few years and this makes it look super simple!


Liz June 15, 2013 at 2:53 am

WOW must say i was stumped for a bit on the connecting the front and back together… im not sure if i did it the way you were stating, but I got it done! and proud of it! :) Thanks so much for sharing! My boys are going to love it, got one done 2 more to go! and im just imagining what i can add to it to make it pop more punkish! :)


Jenny June 17, 2013 at 10:58 am

Thanks for the tutorial. I made it for my 2,5 yo son. He is super handsome with the vest on!! :)


Natalie June 22, 2013 at 12:47 am

Thanks so much for this tutorial! I made a waistcoat for my 21-year-old self (although with a different male waistcoat pattern I found online, my ribcage wouldn’t fit into a child’s size even if I tried); and your tutorial worked PERFECTLY for a waistcoat with an added sew-in lapel. Even when I’ve had no experience in lapels or lining like this, your directions were easy to understand.

My finished product:


Destri August 8, 2013 at 4:22 pm

I love it Natalie! Thanks so much for sharing!


adela July 24, 2013 at 5:13 am

Hola hace unos meses le hice el chaleco a mi nieto y tengo que decir que es fácil y queda maravilloso a todo el mundo le gusto muchas gracias


bjoy November 15, 2013 at 5:22 pm

I made my grandsons one each. The first grandson is size 5, so this pattern was the perfect size. My second grandson is 6 months, so I took the pdf file and reduced the pattern from 100% to 70% and it came out to be the perfect size. I used my old Postal uniforms with the oxford print and the whole project from start to finished took about 6 hours. Thank you Destri
no pictures yet. sorry.


Karen March 8, 2014 at 3:10 am

I was looking for a way to make twelve easy green felt vests for my grandson’s nursery class St. Patrick’s Day celebration, and your pattern was just the ticket. I made nothing so detailed and beautiful as yours, of course, but I cut out doubles of the front and back pattern pieces, eliminated the seam allowances, and taped all the pieces together so I had one solid pattern. I had only to cut it out and sew the shoulders together… twelve times! I cut out two pocket-shaped pieces of felt for each vest, trimmed them… and put a plastic “gold coin” in each pocket for the children to find as a leprechaun surprise. Great fun! Thanks so much for providing a full sized pattern. It was a great help!


Destri March 21, 2014 at 11:54 am

Wow! What a great idea! So happy it worked for you :) The world needs more Grandma’s like you, so fun!


Jenn March 13, 2014 at 2:44 pm

I know I’m late to this conversation, but I wanted to say a big THANKS for sharing this tutorial! I am attempting to make a vest for my son’s first communion out of my wedding dress (well, what’s left of it). I had a dress made for my daughter’s first communion a few years ago and figured I would get at least the fronts of a vest out of what is left for my son. I need to work on this tomorrow.


Janyce June 2, 2014 at 5:51 pm

I found this tutorial on Pinterest. I made this vest for my son to wear in my sister’s outdoor wedding. I used a seersucker stripe with a thin material for the lining. It turned out great!!! I usually end up calling someone for help when working with patterns. I get easily frustrated and give up. I did this one all by myself! Your instructions and pictures were fabulous! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!


Emma June 7, 2014 at 10:48 am

Thank you for your fab and easy to follow pattern. I am a novice sewer but thought I would give this a try and I am delighted with the results.
Must admit that I got tangled up trying to sew the lining but i managed!


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