How to Make a Sleeveless Jacket That's Perfect For Fall

by Recreateful
8 Materials
10 Hours

A gilet or sleeveless jacket is perfect for the fall and those transitional days where the weather can’t seem to make up it’s mind. If you ever wondered how to make a sleeveless jacket, this tutorial on how to sew a sleeveless jacket is perfect for you.

I’ve made the mistakes so you won’t have to lol! I’ll show you how to make a gilet and adjust a gilet sewing pattern so you can make a sleeveless jacket to wear this autumn and whenever you need a bit of warmth. Read about my mistakes and let me show you how to make a sleeveless jacket.

Tools and materials:

The biggest mistake I made was choosing faux leather. Fabric choice is really important. Jacket material works perfectly for this project.

Faux leather is meant for upholstery and handbags but if you’re set on it, find one that’s meant for clothing. It’s also incredibly noisy to wear. If you want to hear why you shouldn't use faux leather, watch from 2:02 to 2:12 for 10 seconds of uncomfortable, weird sounds.

Sleeveless jacket sewing pattern

1. Make the pattern

Download the Clark coat pattern for free from Mood fabrics.

Tracing your size

Print and trace your size. I reduced the size as a gilet isn’t meant to be that large.

Reducing the middle

Reduce the middle at the shoulder seam, pleating it inward to reduce the size without distorting the armhole curve. 

Cutting out the fabric

2. Prepare the fabric

Cut out the fabric.

Cutting out the lining

Cut the lining.

Belt loop and belt pattern

I changed it up a bit as I created belt loops and a belt.

Shortening the pattern

I also shortened the pattern to cover my bum. 

Making pockets for the sleeveless jacket

3. Make the pockets

I changed the pockets of the Clark coat as I wanted a different style. I used these tutorials to create double welt pockets for the inside:

Topstitching the pocket

Instead of having the actual welt peeking through the outer fabric, I used a different method where I just topstitched a pocket overlay onto the coat.

Padding the gilet

4. Pad the gilet

I love upcycling so I used an old pillow’s stuffing to pad the gilet. If you’re using purchased padding, you can use it without this extra step. If you’re using loose stuffing, you’ll need to make a pocket to slide the padding in. I used this bedding material and basted it to the faux leather, leaving a small gap.

Inserting the padding

Insert the padding through the gap and once it’s full and evenly distributed, sew the gap closed.

Sewing the quilting

5. Sew the quilting

I used a ruler to trace a diamond shape to topstitch down.

DIY gilet with pockets

If you’re adding pockets on the front, stop the quilting when you reach the pocket. Cut a hole to stitch the pocket.

Adding pockets to the front

Add the pocket on the front.

How to do quilting

Resume the quilting.

Quilting the collar

Quilt the collar. If you’re using faux leather, this was the most difficult part of the project and was a lot of work. Quilting faux leather and padding needs an industrial machine.

Sewing pieces together

6. Sew the pieces together

Assemble the pieces as described in the instructions of the Clark coat pattern. As this is a gilet, skip all the sleeve steps entirely. Place the pieces right sides together.

Sewing the seams

Sew the shoulders, side seams, and collars in place. 

Attaching the lining

Attaching the lining is a bit trickier. To make it easier, attach the lining right sides together. Then topstitch the armholes by folding in the raw edges and sewing all the way around. I did it the harder way by sewing the lining in one side, right sides together.

Then I ripped open the shoulder and side seam of the lining on the other side. I attached it to the other side and then sewed them back together.

Hemming the raw edges

Hem the raw edges and topstitch into place.

How to make a sleeveless jacket

How to make a sleeveless jacket

I hope I showed you how to make a sleeveless jacket and what to avoid when making it! Using faux leather took me more than 30 hours to put together with the quilting and topstitching that was necessary to lessen the bulk. Learn from me and use a different fabric for making a sleeveless jacket.

How to make a gilet

I do love the way this looks, but not the way it sounds. Please let me know in the comments if you made this gilet and what fabric you used.

Suggested materials:
  • Free Clark coat pattern
  • Fabric: outer and lining
  • Padding
See all materials

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