To make a vest, cut down a sweater and finish raw edges to prevent fraying. Other long-sleeved garments, like jackets and sweatshirts, will also work.
Almost any long-sleeved garment can be cut down to make a vest, but simpler designs, such as V-neck sweaters, involve the least steps. With most sweaters, the stitching can be carefully removed and the sweater won't unravel.
If the stitching holding the sleeves on is serged, however, it is a good idea to stay-stitch the sweater-knit just inside the stitching line before removing the sleeves. Also, stay-stitch around cut lines before cutting, if anything needs to be removed around the neck or hemline. Serging is the kind of looped, over-edge stitching that runs up inside seams of most mass-manufactured garments.
Step 1: Remove sleeves
Use a seam ripper to cut the thread in the seam holding the sleeve. Some seams will pull out, like a dog food bag seam, by pulling the thread. If the seam will not pull out, use the seam ripper to cut every third stitch in the seam and then pull the thread on the back side. Pick out any loose thread bits.
Step 2: Finish raw edges
Bind edges, if desired, with binding tape that matches the sweater. For a professional, tailored look, stitch the binding with a sewing machine. For a more casual look, hand sew the binding using a loose stitch.