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Leather Beaded Vest

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This leather beaded vest is easy to make and adds class to any outfit.
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By Agnes Mercik

Use snakeskin appliques, serger trims and seed beads to create a vest of many textures.

Project Specifications

Skill Level: Beginner
Vest Size: Any size


  • Commercial vest pattern of your choice
  • Suede-type fabric for vest in amount recommended on pattern
  • Lining for vest as required by pattern
  • Scraps of fake snakeskin and suede for appliques
  • Scraps of iron-on fabric stabilizer
  • Seed beads in quantity and color of choice
  • Clear nylon monofilament or metallic embroidery thread similar to decorative threads
  • Variety of filler cords (baby or other knitting yarns, crochet cottons, topstitching threads or multiple threads held together all work well. Choose colors that closely match decorative threads)
  • Variety of decorative threads that match filler cords
  • Serger threads that match decorative threads
  • Purchased or self-made buttons as required by pattern
  • Fabric glue for self-made buttons
  • Fabric glue stick
  • All-purpose thread to match fabrics
  • Cording or piping foot (optional)
  • Press cloth with nonstick surface
  • Basic sewing supplies and tools


Step 1. Cut out vest and lining as instructed on pattern.

Designer Note: Serger trim is used to cover the raw edges of the applique on this vest. Conventional sewing machine satin stitch, which would typically be used for applique, would not work well on natural or fake skin. An open zigzag could be used, but it would not be very attractive. Serger trim covers the raw edges attractively and adds texture and sparkle.

Step 2. Read Designer Note and Steps 1 and 2 of Zebra Vest to make serger trim for leaves and stems.

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Step 3. Trace and cut fake snakeskin and suede leaves as directed on template. Referring to photo, arrange on pattern pieces (front and back) and secure with glue stick.

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Step 4. Referring to photo, mark stem placement on vest.

Step 5. When you have created a sufficient amount of serger trim, back the design areas with iron-on fabric stabilizer.

Step 6. Follow Step 6 and its following Note, Zebra Vest, page 104, to couch the trim around applique and make the stems. Referring to the photo, hand-sew beads for embellishment using clear nylon monofilament. Note: Project uses metallic thread and a chain stitch to quilt around design elements and 1/8" from each side of stems.

Step 7. Create toggle buttons and loops if desired, as in Steps 8 and 9, Zebra Vest.

Step 8. Construct vest as instructed on pattern, adding button loops between vest and lining.

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Copyright © 2003 Serger Savvy, House of White Birches. All rights reserved.

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