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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

DIY Safari Vest

When my Big Helper was planning this last Book Club event, she was really excited about the safari theme - and she wanted everyone to dress up.  Since her brother has a super cool safari vest that he received as a Christmas gift, she wanted one to wear, too - but purchasing another wasn't possible.

So when we came across an old khaki-colored t-shirt, we knew we'd found our answer.

This is how we turned a junior-sized t-shirt into a kid-sized safari vest:

  • First, she tried on the t-shirt.  I used chalk to mark the neckline, sleeves, and hem.   Together, we figured out where she wanted the edges of her vest to be, and then I drew lines right on her.
  • Those lines made it very easy to cut off the extra fabric.  Because it was knit, supposedly it wouldn't fray.  This made the project easier in that we didn't stress about turning under every edge, but of course, stretchy fabric is never easy to sew.
  • After cutting off all the extra fabric, we sewed a simple, straight seam about an 1/8 of an inch in from the cut edges.  This helped to prevent any tearing or fraying and made the vest look more "finished."
  • My Big Helper got a sheet of paper and drew how she wanted the pockets to be laid out on her vest. This gave me an idea of the number of pockets and their proportions to the whole project.
  • Then we put the main vest piece aside and spread out the pieces we initially cut off.  
  • Using those pieces, we cut out squares and rectangles for the pockets and rectangular pocket flaps.  To make the vest look more "finished," we used the turned-under seams - the parts that had been the sleeve edge and the bottom hem - and used those as the bottom piece of each pocket and the bottom of each pocket flap.  That made each pocket look more uniform.
  • She wanted to have "Safari Guide" embroidered on one of the large pockets, so we chose some green embroidery floss and got to work.  It didn't take long, and soon the words she desired adorned the pocket.
  • We pinned each pocket and flap in place and then sewed a simple straight seam around the bottom and sides of each pocket.
  • For the pocket flaps, I pinned them in place as if they were open and pointing up.  Then I sewed the seam straight across.  Now, when the pocket is closed, you can't see that seam.
  • We used Velcro circles to hold each pocket closed.  
  • To hold the vest itself closed, we sewed on four buttons rescued from the spare button bin and sewed them on.  Then we cut tiny slits on the opposing side of the vest.  Someday, when I learn how to sew a buttonhole, we'll do a real one, but this works well for now.
The vest that we made is certainly simpler than the fancy one her little brother has, but it works just as well.  We had fun making it together, and she was super excited to wear it when her friends arrived for the safari.  

Come back tomorrow for a recipe worthy of any Olympian!

1 comment:

  1. Big Helper's vest looks terrific! My youngest is learning to sew, but she still loves playing with knits that require less finishing.