exploring meets awesome in official explorer vests :: kcw

explorer vest in action

My kid’s clothes week dreams have come true! I finished every darn thing on my list when I pulled these two explorer vests off the machine.  I will confess, it was down to the wire…and technically past the wire because I finished them today.  There is no official finish line, though, is there? I am taking the win. Especially since the boys were eager to head out on a walk as soon as they saw the vests.  They wanted to fill the ample pockets (four pockets on each vest!) with treasures.

explorer vest boys

I basically made these vests because the boys have these precious patches but we never had anything to put them on.  One patch is from their favorite musicians, The Okee Dokee Brothers, and the other was a patch they earned by picking up litter in a state park.  They are super proud of these patches.  I should qualify that to say J is super proud of his patches.  C is only proud of his patches when he forgets to play it cool.  Thankfully, he forgot to be a cool 1st grade cat when he saw the vest.

explorer vest pockets

C even made a list of what we should look for, a list that he kept in one of his pockets of course.  The list says (in case you don’t read phonetics) 1. acorns, 2. pinecones, 3. rocks, 4. flowers, 5. leaves.

explorer vest with nature list

The vests are made of brown corduroy from Jo-Ann and lined fully with striped fabric, the same stuff as the armhole binding.  I made my own bias tape for the sleeve binding. Before you get impressed you should know that I did it cheater style…basically, I just cut a strip of fabric on the bias and stitched it on the right side of the vest then folded it over twice to sew it to the lining of the vest.  It’s not all that perfect or pretty on the inside.

explorer vest front

But it is done.  Done became a very important part of my sanity as I was stitching in this bias tape.  Sewing in bias tape on a curved armhole should not be my final KCW task ever again.  It was seriously trying my patience.

explorer vest back

It’s a good thing it looks so darn cute!  The pattern is from Little Things to Sew by Liesl Gibson.  Liesl is the real deal, the woman has a background in fashion and pattern-making and her attention to detail is legendary.  I expected to find a great pattern and clear instructions and I wasn’t disappointed.  Even in making these simple vests, I absolutely learned a few new tricks.  She is exacting.  Sometimes, my impatient self wasn’t super excited to go through every single detailed step but I’m a better sewist for persevering.  I did change a few things to suit how I knew the boys would use the vests and that did mean I skipped a few things (and saved my mental health in the meantime).

My photos don’t really show it but the bottom pockets have bellows, which means they basically have a rim making them a deeper pocket…great for actually holding treasures. Everything came together without a hitch.  I’ve never bought one of her Oliver + S patterns but next time I’m in need of a new pattern I will definitely consider it.

explorer vest from a happy stitchNow, we are all ready for our next adventure!

p.s. I’m not so sure I properly attached the patches.  I just held the iron on them to get them really hot and they seemed to stick pretty well.  That just doesn’t seem like it’s going to last and one of them is already coming a bit undone.  Anyone know how to properly attach them?


8 Comments on exploring meets awesome in official explorer vests :: kcw

  1. kristin
    October 29, 2013 at 12:49 am (4 years ago)

    Very cute and congrats on meeting your goal! My mom always used to zigzag in matching thread around our campfire girl patches…might be hard with that pocket already on though. :/

    • Melissa Q.
      October 29, 2013 at 8:59 am (4 years ago)

      Hmm..I was thinking that would come up. Probably should have thought about that before I put the pockets on. Wouldn’t the zigzag stitches show, though? That aside, I love thinking about your campfire girl patches!! Love that stuff.

  2. anya
    October 29, 2013 at 8:08 am (4 years ago)

    think i would handsew the patches on… i really love how these came out and how much fun your little ones are having exploring with them!

    • Melissa Q.
      October 29, 2013 at 9:02 am (4 years ago)

      Yeah, I think that is probably true. Handsewing if I must. Thanks for the compliments. Here’s hoping the thrill of explorer vests lasts!

  3. Anne
    October 29, 2013 at 10:01 am (4 years ago)

    Love the bellows-ed pockets! & so awesome when they forget that they’re big sophisticated FIRST GRADERS for a few minutes ….

    • Melissa Q.
      October 29, 2013 at 10:33 am (4 years ago)

      Thanks for the pocket love. It is great when they forget, everything is so easy-going for those few minutes. 🙂

  4. Carla Fiedler
    October 29, 2013 at 11:35 am (4 years ago)

    Sewing on the patches…if you sew them on before sewing the pockets onto the garment, use a zigzag stitch and monofilament thread in the needle. You have to adjust your tension, but it works great. You did a great job; I love the way the boys use their vests as tools! Cool!

    • Melissa Q.
      October 29, 2013 at 11:37 am (4 years ago)

      Carla, that is genius! I will make a mental note of it for next time. Looks like this time I’m getting out the hand sewing needle. Lesson Learned.


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