Having two little girls, it's kinda nice that I have only nephews to be able to satisfy my more masculine crafting ideas. Well, Dave keeps hinting that I never make him anything, so maybe I should tackle that soon! Anyways, my nephew Alex is turning four in a little over a week and I've been informed that he is quite the rock hound. So I thought a cool vest with big pockets to put his finds in would be appreciated.
This is based on the Explorer Vest by Oliver + S from the little things to sew book. I don't have the book, and would happily have gone and purchased it as I've heard wonderful things about it and love the one paper pattern I have from Oliver + S. But I didn't have time to run out and find it and our local library didn't have it, so to the drafting table I went!
Dave has lost quite a lot of weight over the last few months, so I nabbed a pair of his cargo shorts which no longer fit and a pair of linen capris which no longer fit me (ahem, for the opposite reason sadly) and some linen-look bottomweight fabric from JoAnn's. Not pictured is the double fold bias tape that was so considerate as to match the green fabric perfectly.
Now the fun part, I used a 2T dress bodice as the rough guide for drafting the pattern, but Alex is turning four and is big for his age. So I sized it up until I thought it would fit a five or six year old and extended the center front seam to allow for a button closure. If anyone is interested in the pattern, I can give our new scanner a whirl and try to upload it.
After cutting my outer and lining fabrics, I picked the cargo pockets from Dave's shorts. This took for-ev-er. They apparently didn't want them coming off; who knew?
Sew them to the right side of the front pieces by sewing closely along the side bellows of the pockets and then two lines of stitching at the bottoms, matching the original stitching lines. Sew the flap on by sewing along the fold with the flap up and then folding it down and stitching along the original stitching.
The little top pocket that I have the pattern piece for is a piece of the cargo shorts and a piece of the green fabric stitched right sides together (RST) and turned. Figure out where the fold will be and topstitch the top to just below this line. Then pin the pocket to the vest front and sew from the fold down and around the sides and bottom.
In my pattern I said to cut four pieces for the pockets because I was going to put two of the flat pockets on, but then I decided to whip up a little name patch. I used my embroidery machine to make his name on the linen. I should have used some stabilizer, but I'm averse to it unless expressly directed for some weird reason. I then sewed it to another piece of the ripstop fabric from the cargo shorts and trimmed close to the stitching.
Using a tight wide zig-zag or satin stitch I sewed over the line of stitching enclosing the raw edge. Again with the stabilizer thing so it puckered a bit, but I kind of like the roughness it gives. I'll fray it a bit to enhance that. Sew in place to the front of the vest.
Sew the front pieces to the back pieces at the shoulders and sides with RST for the outer and lining at this point.
With RST, pin and sew the outer vest to the lining, leaving the armholes open. Clip corners and curves, turn, and press.
Topstitch around the entire outer edge.
Attach the bias tape to the armholes by pinning the living daylights out of it from the inside. Make sure to open up and pin the edge of the slightly smaller side of the double fold bias tape. This picture gives evidence that I always have to stop and redo the way I have the raw edges lapped the first go-around; the part I've folded back should be under the raw edge of the other side.
Now turn the whole thing right side out and pin and sew the tape in place from the outside.
Add buttonholes, and sew on buttons. I decided to replace the brown buttons with green ones from my button jar.
Arden and I were home because she was sick today and I sewed the buttons on while she ate lunch so she obliged me by trying it on. Alex is only three months older than her and as I said before is large for his age. It fit Arden nice and loosely so I'm confident that it will fit him. Plus it's a vest so if it doesn't close easily it probably would be worn open more often than not anyways.
This was really fun to make - it hit on all the things I like to do: upcycling, pattern drafting, and creativity. I hope that it will lend itself to Alex's creative endeavors in collecting rocks. I'm including a few rocks with the package that we've collected over the years, including a petoskey stone, of course (it's a Michigan thing)!
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