I went with a size 12 from the pattern, it would be a bit big according the the finished measurements on the pattern piece but I thought with bulky sweaters I would want it a bit bigger. I ended up taking it up quite a bit on the front princess seam from the bust to the underarm seam. The amount was about 1".
This fabric has a bit of a stretch but it is warm and so comfy, plus it washed beautifully. This exact fabric is no longer in stock at but here is the outerwear section at Emma Once Sock and a few quilted options.
Let's talk construction. I used an 80 universal needle but I did change it during the construction, I felt it dulled through all the layers. The quilted insides of the fabric did get a bit messy and I controlled it by serging the edges after using my regular sewing machine for construction. I really thought the serging would be enough of a finish but truly it was just more messy. I went with a bias binding finish, encasing both all of the seam allowance in one binding. I then pressed it in one direction and topstitched the seam in place from the right side. This really made for a nice inside and a bit of detail on the outside.
The trim is block ponte knit, I wanted something soft like the vest and the ponte was perfect for the trim. I cut my pieces 2" wide and the width of the fabric for the length. I stitched it to the right side, folded it over the raw edge and pinned in place. After pinning, I stitched in the ditch to securing the binding. Now for the raw edge, it is a knit and the best part, it is not going to fray. I used a trick from my old polar fleece sewing days, using a pair of bent handle scissors is the key. I would slightly pull on the extra binding on the back side at the same time trimming it close to the stitching. Yes, it is a bit tricky but go slowly and it can be done. When you use this method, it really keeps the fabric even and gives you a nice clean finish.
One thing I would do the next time is cut the binding about 2-1/2" wide, it was a bit tight when going through areas with multiple layers. For example the princess seams, with the seam allowance and the bias binding seam finish.
The pattern calls for a 20" zipper but is was too short for my vest. I went to Joann's today and bought a 24" all they had and was planning to shorten it. I did go look at a couple RTW vests in my closet and those had the zipper from the bottom of the vest to the top of the collar. The Simplicity pattern has you stop at the collar. Well, the 24" was absolutely perfect length to make my vest zipper just like my RTW ones.
I do think the armholes are a bit deep in this pattern so next time I am raising them one inch. It is easier to cut some off if I adjusted too much. I am not going to let this bother me in the least. Meredith was hanging out in the sewing room with me as I finished this vest up today. The first thing she said when I zipped it up was "wow, that is so good." My sentiments exactly Not many times do I find such a perfect fabric and pattern match to recreate something from RTW inspiration. This pattern and fabric are the perfect match and makes this cold, snowy weather easier to take.
Now back to the zipper, I did not want any stretching when sewing this zipper in place. Marking the zipper into fourths and the front of my vest into fourths, eliminated the stretching. I pinned these marks and double checked each side before stitching into place. One other thing I did, was sew each side of the zipper the same direction.
One thing on the pockets, I did have to unsew the left side and move the front of the pocket up about 1/4" to make the pockets even after installing the zipper. I really spent quite a bit of time pinning the pockets in place and measuring but there were still off just a touch. A solution would be to baste the pockets into place, install the zipper and adjust pockets if necessary. After any adjustments stitch them permanently into place.