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Brioche Vest

Rooted in my days of wearing school uniforms, my longtime adoration of vests is based in their practicality. Well, at least that was the case before this one… for a vest in brioche stitch is no longer just for logistical layering.

Brioche stitch has as decadent a feel as its namesake has flavor. Deep ridges and valleys give it a rich textural appeal, while wide, airy ribbing provides an unexpected loftiness. Plus, it begs for shaping details; even minimal decreases (like I did here) add a beautiful curve up and around an otherwise linear fabric.

Knit in Purl Soho’s sumptuous Worsted Twist, these soft ribs will hug your core toasty warm all fall, winter and into spring. There will be few times you won’t find an excuse to wear your Brioche Vest!

Even with its multi-seasonal layer-ability, I think the luxurious feel of cuddling into this generously turtlenecked vest trumps issues of practicality?!? Maybe I’m wrong? Maybe I should keep testing it out to be sure… -Laura

Materials

Gauge

3 3/4 stitches and 5 rows = 1 inch in Brioche Stitch (see Pattern Notes), on largest needle

Sizes

Women's XSmall (Small, Medium, Large, XLarge)
  • Finished Chest Circumference: 29 1/2 (33 1/2, 38, 42, 46 1/2) inches
  • Length from Shoulder to Bottom Edge: 21 3/4 (22 1/4, 22 3/4, 23 1/4, 23 1/4) inches
  • Length from Underarm to Bottom Edge: 13 inches (with instructions to lengthen)

Notes

Abbreviations

bk2tog [brioche knit 2 together]: knit next knit stitch together with its paired yarnover.

bk3tog [right leaning brioche decrease]: to make a right leaning decrease in brioche stitch, work up to the knit column  before the marked knit column you'd like to slant; it will have a yarnover paired with it. K2tog (the next knit stitch with its paired yarnover, and the following purl stitch), slip the resulting stitch back to the left needle, pass the following stitch (a knit stitch and its paired yarnover) over the first stitch on the left needle and off the left needle, move the resulting stitch back to the right needle. (2 stitches decreased) Click here for a photo tutorial.

bp2tog: purl next purl stitch together with its paired yarnover.

bsk2p [left leaning brioche decrease]: to make a left leaning decrease in brioche stitch, work up to the marked knit column that you'd like to slant; it will have a yarnover paired with it. Slip this stitch and its yarnover together knitwise, k2tog (a purl stitch followed by a knit stitch and its paired yarnover), pass the slipped stitch and its yarnover together over and off the right needle. (2 stitches decreased) Click here for a photo tutorial.

yon: bring yarn over right needle.

YOS [yarn over slip]: bring yarn forward, slip 1 purlwise, bring yarn over right needle.

wyib: with yarn in back.

wyif: with yarn in front.

Brioche Stitch

This Brioche Stitch pattern includes selvedge stitches. Click here for a photo tutorial explaining the basic principals of Brioche Stitch. Also, please see the Pattern Notes section (below) for more details!

(odd number of stitches)

Set-Up Row (wrong side): Slip 1 wyif, p1, yon, k1, *YOS, k1, repeat from * to last 2 stitches, p2.

Row 1: Slip 1 wyib, k1, *YOS, bk2tog, repeat from * to last stitch, k1.

Row 2: Slip 1 wyif, p1, yon, k2tog, *YOS, bk2tog, repeat from * to last 2 stitches, p2.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 for Brioche Stitch.

Additional Notes

Slip all slipped stitches purlwise unless indicated otherwise.

When counting stitches in Brioche Stitch, yarnovers are not included in the stitch count; they are paired with a knit or purl stitch (only when working in the round), and the pair of knit/yarnover or purl/yarnover are counted as a single stitch. The stitch pattern will produce a very pronounced rib; count only the purl and knit columns when counting stitches.

When working decreases, you will always be decreasing two stitches at a time in order to preserve the rib pattern.

Pattern

Front

Note: Slip all slipped stitches purlwise unless indicated otherwise.

Cast 55 (63, 71, 79, 87) stitches on to the smallest needle.

Begin Brioche Stitch; work even until piece measures 1 inch from the cast-on edge.

Change to the middle size needle; work even until piece measures 4 inches from the cast-on edge.

Change to the largest size needle; work even until piece measures 13 inches from the cast-on edge, or to desired length from cast-on edge to underarm.

Place removable stitch marker on 6th st in from each edge; this will be a knit column. Do not move these markers up as you go; leave them in place to mark the beginning of the armholes.

Shape Armholes

Decrease Row (right side): Work in established pattern to marked stitch and its paired yarnover, bsk2p, continue in established pattern to 2 stitches (a knit stitch and its paired yarnover, and the following purl stitch) before next marked stitch and its yarnover, bk3tog, work to end of row in established pattern. (4 stitches decreased)

Next Row: Work even.

Repeat previous two rows two (three, four, five, six) more times. [43 (47, 51, 55, 59) stitches remain]

Work even until piece measures 6 1/2 (7, 7 1/2, 8, 8) inches from marked stitch, ending with a wrong side row.

Dividing Front Left and Front Right

Next Row (right side): Working in established pattern, work 13 (15, 17, 17, 19) stitches (ending with a YOS) and place on stitch holder or waste yarn for Front Left (including the last yarnover from the YOS), work 17 (17, 17, 21, 21) stitches and place on a separate holder for Collar, work to end. [13 (15, 17, 17, 19) stitches remain on needle for Front Right]

Front Right

Next Row (wrong side): Slip 1 wyif, p1, yon, k2tog, *YOS, bk2tog, repeat from * to end.

Next Row (decrease row): Place removable stitch marker on 8th (10, 12, 12, 14th) stitch from right edge; this will be a knit column. [Bring yarn forward, slip 1 purlwise, bk2tog] twice, bring yarn forward, slip 1, bsk2p, work to end. (2 stitches decreased)

Repeat previous 2 rows two more times. [7 (9, 11, 11, 13) stitches remain]

Front Right Shoulder

Next Row (wrong side): Slip 1 wyif, *p1, bk2tog, repeat from * to end.

Next Row: *P1, k1, repeat from * to last stitch, k1.

Next Row (decrease row): Bind off 2 (3, 4, 4, 4) stitches in pattern, work to end of row. [5 (6, 7, 7, 9) stitches remain]

Next Row: Work even.

Repeat previous 2 rows once. [3 (3, 3, 3, 5) stitches remain]

Next Row (decrease row): Bind off remaining stitches in pattern. Cut yarn, leaving 10-inch tail for sewing shoulders together later.

Front Left

With wrong side facing, join yarn to work 13 (15, 17, 17, 19) Front Left stitches.

Next Row (wrong side): K2tog, *YOS, bk2tog, repeat from * to last 2 stitches, p2.

Next Row (decrease row): Place removable stitch marker on 8th (10, 12, 12, 14th) stitch from right edge; this will be a knit column. Work to 2 stitches before marked stitch and its yarnover, bk3tog, *YOS, bk2tog, repeat from * to last stitch, YOS. (2 stitches decreased)

Repeat previous 2 rows two more times. [7 (9, 11, 11, 13 stitches remain]

Front Left Shoulder

Next Row (wrong side): *Bk2tog, p1, repeat from * to last stitch, p1.

Next Row (decrease row): Bind off 2 (3, 4, 4, 4) stitches in pattern, work to end of row. [5 (6, 7, 7, 9) stitches remain]

Next Row: Work even.

Repeat previous 2 rows once. [3 (3, 3, 3, 5) stitches remain]

Next Row (decrease row): Bind off remaining stitches in pattern. Cut yarn, leaving 10-inch tail for sewing shoulders together later.

Back

Follow pattern for FRONT through Shape Armholes section. [43 (47, 51, 55, 59) stitches remain]

Work even in established pattern until piece measures 8 (8 1/2, 9, 9 1/2, 9 1/2) inches from marked stitch, ending with a wrong side row.

Back Shoulders

Next Row (right side, decrease row): Work in established pattern to last 7 (9, 11, 11, 13) stitches, *p1, k2tog, repeat from * to last stitch, k1.

Next Row (decrease row): Bind off 2 (3, 4, 4, 4) stitches in pattern, work in established patterns to last 7 (9, 11, 11, 13) stitches, *k2tog, p1, repeat from * to last stitch, p1. [41 (44, 47, 51, 55) stitches remain]

Next Row (decrease row): Bind off 2 (3, 4, 4, 4) stitches in pattern, work to end. [39 (41, 43, 47, 51) stitches remain]

Repeat previous row twice. [35 (35, 35, 39, 43) stitches remain]

Next Row (decrease row): Bind off 3 (3, 3, 3, 5) stitches in pattern, work to end. [32 (32, 32, 36, 38) stitches remain]

Repeat previous row once. [29 (29, 29, 33, 33) stitches remain]

Do not cut yarn; keep ball attached and set aside.

Shoulders

Sew together the shoulders. I used a whip-stitch technique going under each V of the bind-off edges with right sides facing one another.

Collar

With right side facing, you will now pick up stitches along the Front Left Neckline, work across the Front stitches on hold, pick up stitches along the Front Right Neckline, then work across the Back stitches, and place marker and join for working in the round. Here is how…

With largest needle, pick up 9 stitches along Front Left neckline in the following fashion: *pick up 1 stitch, bring yarn to front, yon and pick up 1 stitch, repeat from * four times, pick up 1 stitch. Now work across the 17 (17, 17, 21, 21) Front Center stitches on hold in the following fashion: *slip 1 purlwise wyif, yon to front again, bp2tog, repeat from * to last stitch on hold, slip 1 purlwise wyif, yon to back. Pick up 9 stitches along Front Left neckline in the following fashion: *pick up 1 stitch, bring yarn to front, yon and pick up 1 stitch, repeat from * four times, pick up 1 stitch. Now work across the 29 (29, 29, 33, 33) Back stitches in the following fashion: *slip 1 purlwise wyif, yon to front again, bp2tog, repeat from * to last stitch on hold, slip 1 purlwise wyif, yon. [64 (64, 64, 72, 72) stitches]

Place marker and join for working in the round.

Round 1: *YOS, Bk2tog, repeat from * to end.

Round 2: *BP2tog, slip 1 wyif, yon to front again, repeat from * to end.

Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until Collar measures 5 1/4 inches, or desired height.

Next Round: *Slip 1 wyif, k2tog, repeat from * to end.

Bind off loosely in rib pattern.

Finish

Side Seams

With a threaded tapestry needle, beginning at the height of the marked armhole stitch, and working towards the cast-on edge, use mattress stitch to sew together the sides. This vest was sewn together for 7 inches, leaving a 6-inch split seam.

Armhole Edging

With right side facing, using larger circular needle, beginning at center underarm, and picking up loosely, pick up a stitch from each edge “v” around entire armhole edge, binding off stitches as you go.

Last but not Least

Remove removable stitch markers, sew in your ends and block gently as desired and you are finished!

Click here to add a comment

38 Responses to Brioche Vest


  1. leslie says:

    This looks great. I love the way you worked in the decreases. Just beautiful.

    Would it be crazy to try to add sleeves? I suppose I could just knit them down from the shoulders… I would need to think about how to work the shaping and decreases to go with the body.

  2. Nicole C says:

    Oh what I wouldn't give for an alternate non-wool yarn suggestion for this pattern, for it is positively perfect!
    Signed,
    Ms. Itchy Scratchy

  3. MadebyMeg says:

    Your patterns are so gorgeous – we are so lucky you give them away to us for free!

  4. Cat Mom says:

    Ah, if I could only knit… Ah, if I wasn't allergic to wool…

  5. Sophie says:

    I want one of these; if only there were enough hours in the day for me to knit a few, I would also make some for my daughters. It looks great sleeveless, I guess over a plain long sleeved T-shirt for winter.

  6. purl bee says:

    Hi Nicole C,
    Thank you so much for the kind words. A good non-wool alternative would be Blue Sky's Worsted Cotton.
    http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/721-Blue-Sky-Worsted-Cotton

    Thanks.
    Laura

  7. purl bee says:

    Hi Leslie,
    I had initially thought about trying to design this piece so that I could later go in and add sleeves. It definitely isn't impossible.

    With the shaping at the underarm this sweater would be considered a set-in sleeve. So knitting sleeves from the wrist up would be best. You would need to account for the 1 3/4 (2, 2 1/2, 3 1/8, 3 3/4) inches that the piece comes in at both underarms… In other words, if you knit sleeves from the wrist up, in the round, I would work the last 1 3/4 (2, 2 1/2, 3 1/8, 3 3/4) inches flat so that you could sew it into the armhole shaping. A bit of a puzzle, but totally do-able.

    As for the decreases, there is a great 4-stitch decrease method here, the abbreviations are a bit different than mine, but if you are comfortable with Brioche Stitch, it will be a breeze: http://briochestitch.com/brioche/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=22&Itemid=16

    Let us know how it goes!!!
    Laura

  8. Svipser says:

    This is so incredibly beautiful!! So stylish, elegant and practical at the same time, I can't wait to cast on!!

  9. Simone says:

    Beautiful, I have wanted something like this -unknowingly-, I also really like the high slits to the sides. I think I would make the back a bit longer, you know to cover my behind for winter. I once started a hat for my baby in brioche it ended up becoming my hat, it became much much bigger because it is such a loose stitch. I would have to figure out how to do it because knitting patterns in english are a bit difficult to understand for me. Have a wonderful weekend!

  10. Jenn says:

    This vest is so gorgeous! Now I have to go learn brioche knitting. :)

  11. Chleiti says:

    How much ease would you recommend for wearing this? I've never used brioche stitch before, I can't really visualize the fit.

  12. Jessie says:

    Hi Laura,

    Lovely! How much negative ease us there on the vest on the dress form?

    Jessie

  13. Ruth says:

    Fabulous pattern that can be sporty or elegant.

  14. Jessie says:

    Hi Laura,

    Lovely! How much negative ease us there on the vest on the dress form?

    Jessie

  15. Katherine says:

    I work in a wonderful yarn shop, but your patterns have me looking at the Purl Soho website, ordering yarns we don't carry so that I can attempt your beautiful designs. Your patterns are truly stunning, and your photos which show the "work in progress" are invaluable. This vest would be perfect here in the Deep South as a fall top, as we often have cool mornings that become warm days later on. I'd wear it under a jacket which could be removed later. Thank you for these luscious, free patterns.

  16. knitkitt says:

    If you don't have a real allergy to wool, if you just find it itchy, you should try Purl Soho's worsted twist. I got some thinking, it can't be as good as they say and I'll send it back if it's not. OMG, is it SO much BETTER than they say. I'm getting a back ache from knitting so much every day because I can't bear to stop feeling it go through my fingers. It's absolutely amazingly soft and non-itchy, without being wimpy and overly drapey and having no body. When I win the lottery, I'm never knitting with anything else ever again.

  17. purl bee says:

    Hello Jessie + Chleite.
    Thanks for writing in. Great question. Our mannequin has a 34 inch bust, she is wearing a Small measuring at 33 1/2 inches, so there is a negative 1/2 inch ease. The vest can be worn fitted, but can also be warn as an over-garment, going up a size with the ability to layer it over other pieces.
    Thanks again for asking.
    Laura

  18. Thank you for this pattern!!!

  19. Claire says:

    Hi, this is such a stunning pattern. Thank you so much for giving it away. Is it very necessary to use circular needles? I live in South Africa and getting specific lengths and needle sizes can be tricky but I have most sizes of straight needles. Thanks again, Claire

  20. purl bee says:

    Hi Claire,
    For the majority of the pattern, straight needles would work just fine. The neck is worked in the round, but long double pointed needles could be substituted here.

    Thank you for your kind words. Wonderful to hear you like it!
    Laura

  21. Claire says:

    Thank you so much for getting back to me. I will stick with the straight ones and have found a place to get the one for the neck.

  22. Claire says:

    Hi again,
    just one more question (I hope).
    I can see that the rib created by the brioche stitch will be quite stretchy. Should one choose a size which is an exact fit or slightly smaller?
    Many thanks

  23. purl bee says:

    Hi Clair.

    Great question. The piece can definitely be worn on the loose side as an over-garment, but it is show in the pictures here quite fitted. Our mannequin has a 34 inch bust, on her is the Small with a bust circumference of 33 1/2 inches, so there is a negative 1/2 inch ease. I would not go much more than a 1/2 in negative ease though, or the ribs start separating and the top becomes rather stretched out looking / unflattering.

    If one of the sizes is your bust size exactly, I would go with that one! Hope this helps.
    Laura

  24. Jennie says:

    I'm having a trouble knitting the collar on this sweater. When you state "right side facing" does that mean the right side if facing out? or the right sides are facing each other?

    Also, if we are knitting in the round, why do you need to alternate the BK2TOG and the BP2TOG rows? Couldn't you just keep knitting with the BK2TOG pattern since you are knitting in the round? I'm I being totally dense here? I have knit the sweater fine up until this point in the pattern.

    Help, please!

    Thanks,
    Jennie

  25. purl bee says:

    Hi Jennie.
    “Right side facing” means with the Right Side facing you.

    As for the knitting in the round portion…
    One round you work the knit ridges and the next round you work the purl ridges, slipping the knit ridges.

    It is the same as you were doing when you were working flat…
    You worked across one side, working the knit ridges and slipping the purl ridges, then you turned your fabric over and worked the knit ridges on that side which would have been the same as working the purl ridges on the original side. The knits on one side are the purls on the other.

    I think once you start the neck it will make sense to you, but please do not hesitate to ask questions.
    Laura

  26. purl bee says:

    Hi Jennie.
    "Right side facing" means with the Right Side facing you.

    As for the knitting in the round portion…
    One round you work the knit ridges and the next round you work the purl ridges, slipping the knit ridges.

    It is the same as you were doing when you were working flat…
    You worked across one side, working the knit ridges and slipping the purl ridges, then you turned your fabric over and worked the knit ridges on that side which would have been the same as working the purl ridges on the original side. The knits on one side are the purls on the other.

    I think once you start the neck it will make sense to you, but please do not hesitate to ask questions.
    Laura

  27. Jennie says:

    Laura,

    Thanks so much, your explanation really helped!

    I finished the vest and love it!! So comfy in the Purl Soho Worsted Twist yarn!

    I wonder if the pattern has an error in the row before binding off the collar. Is it Slip 1 wyib instead of wyif? That is what I did and it turned out great.

    Also, I shortened the collar to 4 1/4" high and I think it may still be a tiny bit too high. I would recommend 4" high.

    Thanks again for the lovely pattern!

    Jennie

  28. purl bee says:

    Jennie.
    Thanks so much for writing back in. I'm glad my response before was helpful and I'm thrilled you're pleased with your finished product.

    As for the comment on the COLLAR, I wrote the pattern how I knit it, but I am happy you found a modification you like. I'll have to try that next time.

    And yes, the neck height is quite 'generous'. Again, glad you modified it to your liking and thank you again for sharing your thoughts on the pattern. It is helpful to me and all our other readers!

    Now the question is… what are you going to knit next!?!?!
    Laura

  29. Jennie says:

    Laura,

    I posted a photo of my finished brioche vest on Instagram with #purlsoho.

    I'm already knitting the Purl Soho Pullover (in Royal Alpaca worsted weight yarn) and can't wait to finish it! After that, the Cable Back Shell in Purl Soho's line weight yarn!

    Thanks for your great patterns!

    Jennie

  30. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Laura!

    I'm newer to knitting and have so far made items from the site like the easy mistake stitch scarf, 11th hour scarf, and the knit collage pixie dust lap blanket. When would it be feasible to attempt this item? Or, is there an intermediary project that would help prep me for a task like this?

    Many thanks!

  31. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Laura!

    I'm newer to knitting and have so far made items from the site like the easy mistake stitch scarf, 11th hour scarf, and the knit collage pixie dust lap blanket. When would it be feasible to attempt this item? Or, is there an intermediary project that would help prep me for a task like this?

    Many thanks!

  32. purl bee says:

    Goodness, Elizabeth,
    What a great question! If you have the want, then you are ready (or almost ready). To prepare for this project, I would knit up a couple swatches in stockinette and practice mattress stitch. I would also work up some swatches of Brioche Stitch to get familiar. Then, maybe practice decreasing in brioche stitch. If you can do all of that… then you're ready! Here are some links to our tutorials on the techniques I mention above:
    Mattress Stitch (photo tutorial)
    http://www.purlbee.com/knitting-tutorials-finishing/2013/9/27/mattress-stitch.html
    Mattress Stitch (video tutorial)
    http://www.purlbee.com/knitting-tutorials-finishing/2013/11/11/mattress-stitch-video.html
    Brioche Stitch
    http://www.purlbee.com/knitting-tutorials-decorative/2013/9/23/brioche-stitch.html
    Brioche Stitch Decreasing
    http://www.purlbee.com/knitting-tutorials-decorative/2013/9/23/brioche-stitch-basic-decrease.html
    Hope this helps.
    We are always here for any questions you have.
    Laura

  33. Amy says:

    Hi there! Really excited to get started on this vest. Wondering if it's necessary to use 16" circulars the whole way or if you could use 24" (for example) for everything but the collar.

    Thanks!

    Amy

  34. purl bee says:

    Hi Amy,
    You can definitely work the majority of this project with a different length needle (ie: a 24-inch). As you noticed, it is working the collar that really requires the 16-inch circular needle. Hope you enjoy the pattern. It is one of my most favorite projects.
    Laura

  35. Amy says:

    Just one more question — if my bust size is around 32.5"-33" should I go with the size small or xsmall? Assuming small, because then it won't stretch out the brioche much. But I'm a bit worried it won't be as fitted.

  36. purl bee says:

    Hi Amy,
    If I were you, I would make the small. You really want this piece to hover just above the body. When ribbing is stretched out it can make you look bulgy. If you are nervous about the piece being too big… I would suggest staying in the smaller needle for the entire project. The nice thing is, you can work a few inches and block that and see how your gauge is comparing and then decide. It's like an efficient second swatching.
    Keep us posted on your progress!
    Laura

  37. Amy says:

    Hi Laura!

    I'm making some serious progress after a two-month break.

    I uploaded a photo onto my ravelry project page: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/creeyore/brioche-vest

    I'm LOVING it. Can't wait to have it in time for cool summer nights (will there be any??) and the early fall.

  38. purl bee says:

    Hey Amy!
    That's great. Thanks for including your link to Ravelry. Keep us posted. We love seeing progress / projects.
    Laura

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