Monday, August 3, 2015

Pattern Review: Great Outdoors Vest

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Name of the pattern:  The Great Outdoors Vest by Peek-a-Boo Patterns

Pattern Source:  The pattern can be bought as a pdf file on Peek-a-Boo's web site for $7.95.  (affiliate link)

Sizes available:  It comes in sizes 3 months to 12 years.

Special materials required:  This vest has the option to be fully reversible so if you want that feature, pick two fabrics suitable for being outerwear.  It looks great with a faux fur fabric or with something more light weight; lots of options here!  There is also a requirement for a separating zipper and if you are going with the reversible option, the zipper must be reversible too.  There is an option for snaps if you prefer those.

sewing pattern review
at Yellowstone Park

I wanted the hood to be more of a rain hood so I used rip-stop and plan on spraying it with a scotch guard type product.  

Skill level required:  I would say that the difficulty level of this pattern is somewhere between a beginner and intermediate.  The directions are laid out clearly and the techniques are not especially difficult.  However, the first time one does a lining or a separating zipper, it can be a little stretching ... but not too challenging.

How you came to choose the pattern:  We take our kids to National Parks all the time and my oldest has been earning patches through their Jr. Ranger program.  When she was younger, I made her a vest and sewed her patches on that.  But, she has grown a lot since that vest and earned a lot more patches.  So, I was in search of a pattern for a new vest for her and her brother who is now also earning patches.

Did you deviate from the pattern?  If yes, how?

Because I was making this vest for patches and wanted it to do double duty as a fishing vest, I did make a few changes.  I made cargo pockets and welt pockets to make it more utilitarian.  For the cargo pockets I followed the tutorial at Andrea's Notebook HERE.  I pinned the tutorial to our Tutorials We are Excited to Try board along with other great tutorials.

sewing pattern review

I also sewed on Velcro strips (the soft fuzzy side) to the vest and used a sticky back Velcro (the hook side) on the patches.  This allows Abi to attach her patches and take them off for washing.  But it also made it so I had a lot of left over soft sticky back and hook sew on Velcro.  Eventually I will have a project needing that combo ... at least I hope.

I did not want it to be reversible and so I just needed to line it.  I used the same instructions in the pattern but simply did not use a reversible zipper and did not put pockets on the inside.

Because I want this vest to last a couple of years, I lengthened it significantly from the pattern and did not make it as narrow as her measurements would call for.

Good:  The vest comes with a ton of different options:
- A hood, collar or collar with detachable hood 
- Patch or In-Seam Pockets 
- Zipper or Snap Closure
 - Puffy/Quilted or Standard 
- Zipper Guard to protect little chins
I especially liked the touch of the zipper guard.  I don't know how necessary it is with my older kids, but it certainly gave the vest a more polished look.  The fit was excellent too.

The Great Outdoors Vest is an excellent option for your boys.  I made one for my son, who is not a tween yet, and he loves it!  And the pattern comes with a full tutorial and color photos in an easy to print PDF.
sewing pattern review
Abi earning her patch (and me taking a photo in terrible light)

Bad:  With all the add-ons and already existing details, this vest took forever to sew.  I know this could be a quick pattern, but the more you add in the details, the more time you need to expect to spend on the vest.  But, my kids insist the time was well spent.

Overall pattern rating:  4  out of 5 bolts  

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