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Soft Goods : Flak Vest Pattern

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: Flak Vest Pattern
« on: May 21, 2018, 07:06 PM »
Vest Pattern Tutorial
Lead Author: Keely
Edited by: MMCC Education Team

Have some basic sewing ability but are intimidated by making a vest that fits perfectly?  Do you despair of being able to make your own flak vest thatís functional and cost effective?  This guide will help you. 

People often get frustrated trying to make a flak vest; the patterns they find and try just arenít quite good enough.  But you might have an item of clothing that fits the way you need a vest to, so how about taking it apart to use as your own vest pattern?  If you donít already have something, hit up some thrift stores; it may take a little time, but the results will be worth it.

First, find a vest, shirt or jacket that fits the way you want it to.  Youíll want to be sure that it has princess seams if you have curves as it will make the vest fit better - even some guys may need these seams.  For those of you new to sewing, princess seams are the ones running down the sides you see in the photo - theyíre what make the front of your vest be three pieces instead of one.

Next take the vest or other garment apart.  The easiest way to accomplish it is using a seam ripper.  Remove the pockets, button holes, collar, lining, and finally take the individual panels of the vest apart. If your garment has buttons up the middle like the one pictured, overlap those two pieces to make one large front panel.


Pin it back together to make sure it still fits. Notice that the front is pinned together as if it were one panel.

Sewing clips like these can make the job much easier

As you can see above, youíll want to use chalk to mark where youíll need to cut the new neck.  Take the vest back apart and used it as a pattern to cut your duckcloth, or whatever other fabric youíre using for your flak vest.

Duck cloth cut and ready

Pin the duckcloth pieces together and try them on.  Youíll likely need to make some adjustments at this stage.

Before sewing the pieces together, you can put some interfacing on the middle front panel to make it stiffer (you can see in the photo below it holds its shape).  This will help your vest hold your chest plates and diamond better, and youíll want to a zig zag stitch along the edge of every panel to keep it from unraveling.

Next, sew the front 3 panels together.  If you want side closures with cording, you can add some grey bias tape on the sides of both the front and back.

Then add grommets, thread the cording, and add velcro at the shoulders. Alternatively, you could use velcro on the sides or even do a back zipper (just be sure you have a flap or cape that covers that!)

Next, add velcro for your plates, or magnets, or whatever fastening method you prefer.  Youíll also want to go ahead and add your shoulder flaps.

In summary

In the example pictured above, the duck cloth was all leftover from another project, the bias tape was removed from an old bag and the grommets and velcro were also leftover from larger packs for another project.  Altogether, this project literally cost $1 for the vest for a pattern and $1.50 for the cording on the sides. Much cheaper than having to purchase a pattern and already custom fit.

Not everyone will have quite this financial success using this method, but doing a flak vest yourself is an excellent choice for the budget-conscious Merc.

--MMCC Education Team--

« Last Edit: Jul 23, 2019, 09:40 AM by Raestin Ke'Varek » Logged
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