Stems and All

My journey to buy less, consume smart, use what's there.

How one small improvement gives new life to a vest


I owned a perfectly lovely white ‘puffy vest’, that I often reached for, but was never happy wearing. The reason for my dissatisfaction with this article of clothing was simple: the vest had a horrible pocket system.

While it had two outer pockets, they were shallow and essentially useless for actually holding anything: keys, cell phone, cash, etc.

I decided I would upcycle and improve the situation, by simply adding a new pocket to the inside of the vest.

Small improvement brings new life to my vest.

Small improvement brings new life to my vest.

I’m not the world’s best sewer, but this was a simple enough project (and one that would actually only be really seen by me, since the pocket would be on the inside of the vest).

1.) I took a piece of colorful cloth (which was the good half of a kitchen towel – the other half had a hole and was now a cleaning rag). I cut the scrap cloth slightly larger than I wanted to pocket. The portion of the towel I was using still had two finished seams, which I left to save myself having to worry about those edges fraying.

cut cloth slightly larger than final pocket size

Cut cloth to slightly larger than desired pocket size.

2.) I pinned the fabric to the inside of the left from panel of the vest. I angled it in a way that would make it easy for me to get items in and out of the pocket with my right hand. I rolled under the raw edges of the towel and pinned these.

hand sew pocket to inner vest lining

Hand sew fabric to inner vest pocket, leaving top seam open.

3.) I hand sewed the 2 sides and the 1 bottom of the pocket, leaving the top seam open.

Perfection – I had a much more functional vest that I’ve worn many times. The pocket is useful, and a fun reminder of how easy it can be to improve or upcyce an item into something more useful.

And of course it makes for a good story….

new pocket sewn into lining of vest.

New functional pocket added to lining of my vest.

Author: Jane Newcomb

“Stems and All” is my personal journey to become a more environmentally responsible human, live a more sustainable life, and practice sustainable consuming habits.

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