What Do You Call This?

As many of you know, I grew up in Canada and have been living in the UK for almost eleven years (wow - can't believe it's been that long!).  One of the things I have struggled with over the years is using the right words.  There are many British words that I now use all the time - shopping trolley, pushchair, queue, nappy, lift, etc.  However, there are some Canadian words that I still use regularly - for example, 'sidewalk' (for 'pavement') and 'trunk' (for 'boot').  There are also words that I'm really confused about - holiday/vacation, supermarket/grocery store, garbage/rubbish, etc.  Are they interchangeable here?  I've also had some really embarrassing moments - particularly in my first year here, when I was doing a Master's degree.  One incident occurred when I arrived late to a tutorial: I explained afterwards to the tutor and my classmates that I'd been 'rear-ended' while biking to class.  In Canada, to be 'rear-ended' is a type of traffic accident (usually involving cars - it's when one car goes into the back of another car).  I was absolutely mortified a few days later when someone kindly explained to me that the term is not used in the same way here!  I also designed and made costumes for a theatre company during this year, and yelled across a room to one of the actors, 'What's your pants size?'.  The whole room went silent, the actor turned bright red, and I suddenly realised my mistake.  Oops.  LOL!

Recently, I found myself stumped again. What do you call this - the black thing she's wearing?


Image from here

In Canada, it's called a 'vest'.  I have a vague awareness that, here, 'vest' is used to refer to something you wear under your clothes.  So, it's not called a 'vest' in the UK.  But what is it called?  I then started searching the internet and found that there doesn't seem to be a standard term.  Some sites call it a 'waistcoat', others a 'sleeveless jacket' or 'sleeveless blazer'.  I've decided to go with sleeveless jacket.  I hope that's okay with everyone!

I've seen so many sleeveless jackets in the fashion blogosphere in the last year!  Initially, when I started seeing them, I have to admit that I shuddered, recalling the 'vests' I used to wear in the early 1990s.  Remember these?!

Jessie in 'Saved by the Bell'; image from here


I do!  I still fondly remember a red plaid one I got from Gap when I was 11, back in 1992...

Whether you remember them with horror or nostalgia (or not at all!), the sleeveless jackets that are in style right now are very different from those worn in the early 1990s: they're longer (usually mid-thigh to below the knee) and often in solid, neutral colours and with lapels.  The more I've seen of them, the more I've warmed to them.  They're a nice, stylish alternative to cardigans and jackets - and perfect for throwing on in the autumn, either as a piece of outerwear on warmer days or to keep you warm inside.

They look great overtop of jeans (fitted or boyfriend-style) and a knit top:


Images from here, here and here

They also look good over jeans (fitted or boyfriend-style) and a shirt:


Images from here and here

Finally, they look great over sheath and shift dresses:


Images from here, here and here


I've chosen a sleeveless jacket pattern for this week's 'Outfit of the Week'.  It's Vogue 9065.

It's a lined sleeveless jacket with two length options, a notched collar, side pockets and topstitching. This is an easy-to-sew pattern, so it should be a quick and easy sew for more experienced sewers and a good first jacket project for beginner sewers. 


This pattern works with lots of different kinds of fabric, including crepe, suiting fabricsponte di roma and lightweight denim.  To see my fabric recommendations, have a look at this week's 'Outfit of the Week'.

Another sleeveless jacket pattern that we have in stock is By Hand London's Victoria blazer.  As many of you will know, By Hand London is no longer producing paper patterns.  However, we still have a few of their paper patterns in stock - including the Victoria blazer.


Do you like sleeveless blazers?  Have you worn one before? 


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September 11, 2015 by Amy Lloyd
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