November Free Design: Embroidered Outdoor Vest

November 1, 2017By Joanne BankoFree Design of the Month, Garment, Projects 9 Comments Opinion by Paid Consultant

Outdoor activities abound this time of year and dressing for the weather is essential! Our featured embroidery design this month is a waterfowl motif that’s perfect for decorating outdoor apparel. Embroider the design on a men’s or boy’s vest constructed from scratch using a commercial pattern, or consider embellishing a ready-made garment with this design. In these instructions, you’ll learn about printing and using templates from BES software.

Materials and Supplies:

Note: The BES4 program shown here includes the SABES4UG1 Power Pack Add-on.
Note: Please see our companion project this month for additional supplies for making a vest with a commercial pattern. Instructions for the vest include a pattern hack for sewing zippered front pockets plus many other tips and suggestions. Each vest is based on featured pattern shown below. Sample vests were made from lightweight grey denim, quilted with thin fleece and lined with flannel shirting fabric.

Vest pattern used for this project:

  • Simplicity 1329 View A

November Free Design

  • Featured pattern is a product of Simplicity Pattern Company Inc., and Brother International Corporation makes no representations or warranties regarding such product.

Brother Free Design of the Month

Steps to Embroider Vest with Template for Placement

  1. Download the waterfowl design transfer to the machine. To embroider on a vest constructed from scratch, embroider the design on the left chest after quilting but before adding the lining.
  2. The following instructions show how to print a template using the BES4 software: Open the software. From the welcome screen you can click on the icon to Open a Design. See Figure #1.
November Free Design
Figure #1
  • Locate and open downloaded design from the saved location on your computer. See Figure #2.
November Free Design
Figure #2
  • You’ll see the design open up in the workspace. See Figure #3.
November Free Design
Figure #3
  • To check the print settings click on the “b” icon and then slide the curser to Print and click on Print Preview. See Figure #4.
November Free Design
Figure #4

Below are the actual settings selected for this project:

  1. Click on Print and use desired print settings to print the template. You can print on regular computer paper or on special translucent or transparent medium for you specific printer. Consider printing with grey scale option on regular paper for an economical option. It’s helpful to highlight the crosshairs of the template, mark an arrow to indicate the top of the design and trim the template just outside the design area. See Figure #5.
November Free Design
Figure #5
  1. Prepare to embroider design by taping template to desired location on left chest of vest.
    Tips for placement of design: The general position for aligning the center of this design on the left chest of the vest is as follows:
  • Men’s vest: 7 to 9-inches from the shoulder and 3 to 5-inches from the center front.
  • Boys’ vest: 5 to 7-inches from shoulder and centered between placket and side seam, or 3 to 4-inches from the center front.
  1. To ensure perfect placement you will want to try the garment on the person who will wear it – loosely pin or tape the template and adjust as needed. Stand back about five feet and trust your eye for the best judgment of the position. Having a life size template of the design results in the most accurate positioning since it’s the next best thing to the actual stitch out. See Figure #6.
November Free Design
Figure #6
  1. Prepare for hooping by placing the template grid into the inner ring of the hoop. Position over paper template, matching the center lines. See Figure #7.
November Free Design
Figure #7
  1. Slip outer ring into position under the vest and then insert the inner ring inside. Tighten up the hoop screw as necessary. See Figure #8.
November Free Design
Figure #8
  1. When you take the hoop to the machine the center starting point for the needle should point to the center of the template. Remove the template grid and the paper template. Slip a piece of tear away under the hoop and embroider the design. See Figure #9.
November Free Design
Figure #9
  1. Remove excess stabilizer and construct the rest of the vest referring to the pattern instructions.


  • What a great project! The directions are so clear and the illustrations and images make it easy to understand. For our Florida winters, a vest like this is the perfect garment for our cool but not cold days. I can see making four of these for my daughter’s family. Thanks, Joanne!

  • Hi Janice!
    It means so much to hear your thoughts and know that this is a project you’d like to create yourself. You are right about vests, they are perfect paired with a long sleeve T-shirt or turtle neck when it’s cool but not cold. You could add embroidery that’s customized for each and every person on your list. Here is another idea if you’re giving this as a gift – put a little surprise in one or both of the zippered pockets. You’re sure to make a memory that lasts a long time! Keep us all updated on what you decide to make 🙂
    Happy Sewing!

    • Surprises are always fun Janice!
      By the way, the companion project for the other vest is now posted on this project has all of the instructions for my version of the zippered pocket.

    • Hi Lorrie,
      Thanks so much for writing a note and letting us know you liked this post. This waterfowl design is really sharp and is sized just right for embroidery on the left chest of most anything. In fact it would look great on so many different things. Happy stitching!!!

  • Thank you very, very much for this fun project. I am a new student to embroidery and this is a perfect project to broaden my understanding of the art of embroidery. I never knew what was the sufficient of having a template grid, but all thanks to you I’m now made aware that it is a necessity and my grandson will be so very proud of each personalized garments. Thank you for the easy to follow instructions

    • You are very, very welcome Ranita!
      It means a lot to know that this was helpful for you. Truly, learning how to use the template grid is the key to perfect placement. If you don’t print a template you can still mark the precise point for the center of a design by measuring, marking the center point with cross hairs, and then aligning the cross hairs with the template grid when you hoop the fabric. Voila! You are able to target the placement for any design with precise placement. Enjoy!

  • I just saw this and am definitely going to make it! I also live in FL and vests are the best staple in our wardrobes. Love that the inside is flannel.

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