Chaps and vests are symbols of the Wild West and the American frontier, where plenty of brave people have fought against the elements to establish communities in the west. Apart from being symbolic clothing, Western chaps and vests are still very useful clothes for people who work in ranches and other heavy duty occupations, since the chaps and vest protect the pants and shirts of the wearer. Here’s how you can create your own.
- Materials. Begin by canvassing the materials for your materials. Chaps and vests can be made from a wide variety of textiles, including ultra suede, leather, and wool. The type of material should be chosen according to the wearer’s tastes, the weather, and how the chaps and vest will be used. If it will be used regularly for manual labor in the farm, you can invest in leather vests which are much stronger. In general, however, any strong fabric will work, even canvas.
- Measurement. Next, take the following measurements from the man who will wear the chaps and vests – the thigh measurement, the calf measurement, the inseam measurement, the waist measurement, and the shoulder, waist, and the chest’s measurement. If this is the first time for you to make chaps and vest, you should take the measurements twice just to be sure. The last that you want is to end up with ill-fitting clothes. Usually, the measurements should be put down in inches.
- Mark and cut. Once the measurements have been taken, the next step is to mark the fabrics and cut these to size. The chaps will be marked by using the belt measurement. Be sure to mark the inseam, the calves, hips, and the thighs. Use a washable marker or a tailors chalk to do the marking, and mark on the back end of the fabric, just to be safe. Also, you will need to add in holes for the pockets of the jeans. The vests are marked the same way, making room for the chest, shoulders, and pockets for the shirt underneath the vest. Once the marking for the clothes are finished, you will need to use the shears to cut out the pattern. Double check all of the measurements beforehand, since cut clothe cannot be repaired. Although you can sew mistaken cuts, these will be weaker.
- Sew. Finally, use a sewing machine to attach the various parts of the chaps and vests together. You may need to use a heavy duty sewing machine for the project, especially if you will use leathers or hide to create the vest and chaps.
- Decorate. One of the simplest ways to decorate your chaps and vests is by adding fringes. Fringes are usually created by leaving a few inches of extra space on the edges of the fabric during the marking process. Once the fabric is sewn together, you can cut the fringes into small strips.
Instead of purchasing chaps and vests, make your own through these easy steps. As you make more and more chaps and vests, you will be able to finish the project faster and with more skill. You can even begin adding fancy cuts to decorate the chaps and vests.