Ladies’ Vests July 1898

Ladies Vests


Vests are now worn almost universally by ladies, so that we offer no apology for their introduction in these pages. The system is an easy one, and can be worked out by any number of average intelligence, the measures being few in number and easy of application.

Three measures are necessary, namely (1) Breast measure, taken round the figure under the arms; (2) Waist measure, taken lightly round the hollow of the waist; (3) Natural waist length, taken from nape of neck to hollow of waist at back.

The quantities marked on the breast line and upwards represent units, and any size can be obtained by using a graduated tape corresponding with the size of the breast. Thus a 36 breast requires an 18 tape, and a 40 breast a 20 tape. If you are not possessed of a tape, one can be made in a very simple way. Mark off half the breast measure on a strip of paper about ½ inch wide, use this strip as you would an inch tape, only the quantities would be units instead of inches. When you have marked off half the size of the breast, double the paper. Divide this quantity into three equal parts, and again into three smaller sections, which will give you eighteen in all. If the breast measures more than 36 inches, the units will be longer than an inch, but if less than 36 breast they will be smaller. This tape maybe used when working out the various sections, but an ordinary inchtape must always be used for the length of the waist, and also the size round the waist.


Begin by squaring the lines O 16¾ and O 18.

O to 2½ fixes the back neck point, and O to 15½ the front neck point.

O to ¾ is the nape of the neck.

O to 3 indicates the level of the shoulder point.

O to 9 is the level of the scye or armhole.

Now take the ordinary inchtape, place the end on ¾, and measure down the line to 16¾. this gives a waist length of 16 inches.

Mark in 2 inches from 16¾, and draw the back line.

Join ¾ and 2½, and so form the back neck.

Draw lines across from 3, 9, and 16¾ at right angles to O 16¾.

Mark off the width of back from 3 to 6, and join 2½ and 6 so as to form the shoulder seam.

Beginning at 9, mark in on the breast line to 7, 11, 13, and 20½.

Place the square resting on 18 and 20½, and draw the centre line through to B.

Form the gorge by curving line from 15½ to centre line.

Draw a line from 15½ to 6, and mark off the width of front shoulder seam from 15½ to A.

This garment being a vest. the shoulder seam may be drawn ¼ inch under the construction line as shown on the diagram.

Mark up 2 inches or units above 13, and then form the armhole by curving the line from A down through 2, 11, and up again to 6 at shoulder point.

There is a sidepiece in this vest, it being a very common thing to resort to this method when the waist is abnormally small.

Measure from 16¾ to 6½ on waist line, usually making the quantity ½ inch less than on the breast line.

The suppression at the underarm seam of the forepart may be increased to 1½.

Measure up the waist by taking the width of the back part, sidepiece, and across the forepart until the half-waist is registered; add 1½ inches to the half-waist, and the quantity left over may be taken out in darts.

We shall assume there are 3½ inches over, so we distribute it as follows:-

Take ¼ inch at the centre line so as to hollow the front slightly.

Make the width from the centre seam to the edge of the front dart ½ inch more than you desire the width of the lapel when finished, and then mark off about half of the suppression. Leave a space of 1½ inches between both darts, and take the remaining quantity out in the second dart.


In order to cut the lapel, take the forepart and reverse it so that the face is downwards. Mark all the way down the front edge, and also along the line of the dart seam nearest to the front edge. Mark the curve to form the point of the lapel according to taste. it should be observed that the lapel point does not start from the end of the gorge or centre seam, but is cut 1 inch in on the straight. This is done with the intention of giving a longer collar, and therefore more style to the fronts of the vest. The right lapel is cut the whole length of the forepart, the left lapel is cut away about an inch below the first button-hole so as to make it much thinner at the waist.


The half-waist band is seamed on across the back and sidepiece, and joins to the underarm seam of the forepart.

Measure the back part and sidepiece and deduct 1 inch. Draw a straight line from O to 8; hollow 1 inch in the centre, and make the band 2 inches deep, and the same shape as shown on the diagram. Sufficient spring should be left on the sides and bottom edge of the band to prevent it from contracting.


Is cut on similar lines to the above, and being the same instructions may be followed in drafting the next and shoulder sections. The back part is cut in one piece, and the width on the waist line is made one-fourth of the total waist and ½ inch extra.

The half-waistband is made a quarter of the total waist and hollowed 1 inch.

The forepart is reduced to the size by means of darts as already explained; the front dart is placed closer to the front than is the case with a D.B. vest, there being only 1½ inches between the centre line and front dartseam.

The bottom stand is made 1¼ inches wide on the button side, and ¾ inch for the button holes. We have shown both the Stand collar and the No-collar styles. In the former a separate collar is cut to finish about 2 inches deep, while the No-collar is filled up in the gorge to the extent of ¾ inch. The diagram will no doubt convey any other points of interest to those who study and make these styles of garments.

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