Before moving on to stylizing your pattern, it’s a good idea to get most of the fitting out of the way while the pattern is less complicated. To do that, we’ll construct a muslin vest, using inexpensive fabric to check for fitting errors.
To begin, copy the front and back of your draft onto a fresh piece of paper, so that the original draft can be preserved. After you’ve copied them, seam allowances need to be added. Through a lot of research and experimentation, I’ve come to the conclusion that Devere’s draft needs 1/4″ seam allowances needed along every edge, except the armscye and shoulder seam. And while I personally do not add seam allowances to the shoulder seam, for this beginner course, we will add the 1/4″ there as well, in order to make the construction a little easier. Feel free to leave it off if you wish, though.
Here is a diagram of the pattern pieces after the seam allowances have been added. I use a small ruler to mark out the 1/4″ all the way around. Also be sure to mark out the chest line, to help you align the patterns on the fabric.
Here is my pattern after tracing to a fresh sheet of paper and adding the seam allowances.
Cut out both pattern pieces along the seam lines you just drew, being as neat as possible. Lay the pieces on your doubled layers of muslin fabric, and carefully trace around each piece using sharp chalk or a pencil. Place something on the pattern to hold it in place while you trace. Make sure that the horizontal construction chest line on the pattern is perpendicular to the edge of the fabric to get a good grain alignment.
Cut out the pieces, cutting on the inside of the line to ensure a more accurate fit.
As this pattern is for a generic vest, and we have not yet decided on which fabric to use, we will assume it will be a wool vest for now. To get a good period fit, the shoulder area of the vest fronts were shaped with the iron. As this is a very lightweight muslin fabric, it’s possible to just do this using your hands. Holding the armscye in one hand at the fullest part, at the bottom of the X’s, use your other hand to stretch the material. It’s better to have a lighter touch and make more passes over the length of the armscye.
If you did not add seam allowances to the shoulder area, stretch across the top of the shoulder as well.
With right sides together, lay the forepart and back together, aligning the side seam, and pin at the ends. It’s likely that the forepart will be slightly longer, so place a pin in the middle, dividing the fullness in half, and repeat with another pin between, for a total of 5 pins. Sew the seam using a 1/4″ seam allowance.
Pin the ends of the shoulder seams, right sides together, and subdivide further with more pins. If you left the seam allowance in, there will be a fair amount of fullness to work in on the back. If not, the two seams will match pretty closely in length.
Sew, using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Press open all of the seams with your thumbnail.
Sew the two halves together along the back, right sides together. This completes your vest muslin, which you can go try on and begin to work on any fitting issues you may have. Please post in the forums with photos of your draft, and wearing the muslin, and I’ll help you as best I can through the fitting process.