Kyoto vest

When I was in Launceston in February with my friend Suzanne, we visited Ruche Fabrics, which is the last remaining fabric store in Tasmania (with the exception of quilting shops and Spotlight). Ruche Fabrics obtains some of their stock from Tessuti and I recognised lots of the fabrics they have, but didn’t buy too much given my baggage limitations. However I did buy the Tessuti Kyoto vest pattern and then promptly forgot about it.

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I rediscovered it when hunting for a jacket pattern and knew that it needed some lovely wool fabric and I happened to have some Prince of Wales checked wool from Knitwit which I knew would be perfect.

I cut it out and then took a look at the instructions and saw that the edges were bound with wool binding. Wool binding? Where was I going to find that? I noticed that Tessuti sell it and seriously considered putting the vest on hold whilst I sent off for it, and then had a closer look and made that pfft noise when I realised that I could just knit my own! I happened to have a cone of vintage wool of exactly the right colour and set about working out how to knit binding. I used the ribber and emulated the fold over binding that Tessuti have by pushing up the right hand cam lever. It took me a couple of goes to get the width correct and then I was away.


I worked out that I needed around 2000 rows to get the four metres or so that was required. This probably took about an hour to knit. All that remained was to sew it on. I had to cut the binding for armholes, so decided to wash it to felt it down slightly and once it was dry I zigzagged across the edges I was going to cut, just to make sure there would be no ravelling. I used a longish stitch and folded the binding over the edges, pinning to ensure that I had the same width all the way round, although I must admit that the sewing machine squished the wool a bit. Next time I will hand sew it all on.


This is proving to be a fabulous article of clothing. I made the short version because I thought that would be more comfortable to sit around in when travelling, but I’m already planning a long version.


My arms are free (for knitting or driving), but my upper body is warm. It is also perfect for highlighting different brooches and pins, but I only travelled with one, and I’m not sure I managed to show it terribly well. The collar seems to do its own thing. Sometimes I have it high and therefore quite small and other times it’s a real shawl collar, and it can even cover my head if I’m particularly cold. I decided to just go with the flow.


I feel as though this vest  teams perfectly with lots of my outfits and spruces up fairly basic attire.


As with all Tessuti patterns the instructions are well written with photographs to highlight important points, and this is a fairly simple garment to make as it’s basically a large circle. It is very similar to the Sydney jacket construction, especially if using fabric that doesn’t fray as the seams at the shoulders and back are overlapped. The binding probably took the longest as I didn’t want to have to unpick any of that knitting.


Finally, I wore it when we visited the Ballarat Art Gallery and from way across the room I spotted this painting of the iconic Jenny Kee. This painting won the 2015 Archibald Prize for Carla Fletcher, the artist, and its luminescence literally took my breath away. It’s just magnificent.


I have some reversible fabric for my next one. I could opt to not bind the edges, but I am rather keen on that binding so will choose a nicely contrasting wool to highlight the edges. Stay tuned for a long version!


30 thoughts on “Kyoto vest

  1. I´m not a vest person but if adding some length is doable to this one I´d consider making.
    I also have a knitting machine (actually a few) – aren´t they great for projects like this?

    1. It comes in two lengths and I’m making the longer one next. I also have several knitting machines and they are fantastic for this sort of thing.

  2. You are equipped for every Problem in making, Sue! What a clever solution. The vest is lovely and I can see that this is a very useful garment.

  3. Great solution. I have noticed wool binding at the Fabric Store, but not looked at it closely. Is it knit or is it kind of felty? Obviously yours is knit… I’d love a close up. I would love a knitting machine as I love knit tops but I can’t knit (I mean I guess I could…) but what I’ve read it’s a steep learning curve.

    1. Mine is straight knit but I did wash it to make it bloom. I shall do a close up next time I blog the process which may be soonish. Knitting machines are fun, but it’s not that hard to learn to knit. Craftsy have good courses and there are classes everywhere. A tiny bit of perseverance is all it takes.

  4. Lovely vest, Sue! I especially like the pairing with the burgundy top. And well impressed with the knitting machine!! My granma used to have one when I was a kid and I loved the whirring sound it used to make.

    1. I was thrilled to knit that binding and now I want more! I like it with the burgundy too so made another burgundy top for it yesterday.

  5. How great that you were able to knit your own binding! Maybe I need a knitting machine after all ;). Your new vest looks lovely, the fabric and binding color look great together and I like the silhouette!

    1. Haha! If you have a space a knitting machine is an awesome addition to the equipment. I can’t wait to knit more binding as it really was nice to use.

  6. This looks great and I really like your binding. I am looking at this pattern and debating if I could use my 70 year old wool blanket my parents came to canada with. It’s quite thick and itchy so would like to line it with cotton (visible as the shawl collar) and make my own binding from a wool remnant. Do you think this is doable?

    1. Oh definitely! You might need to go up a size if the fabric is thick, especially if you line it. The binding probably needs to be a fine wool remnant. Good luck!

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