Okay, before you read any further, you must be warned that the word “tutorial” is used very loosely for this post. If this was a book from the 19th century, the proper title might be something like, “Toddler Boy’s Puffer Vest Tutorial, Or A Step-By-Step Follow Along of a Novice Sewer’s Bumbling Attempts To Re-Create a Favorite Vest.” I’m sure a proper tutorial follows the perfected route to make something that a seamstress had not simply tried to do one time…But you’ll have to settle for my first try!
Okay, all caveats aside, here’s the step-by-step follow-along of my creation.
Last winter we found a cute and super-functional puffer-vest for J. It was free, which is why we owned it as I don’t think I could bring myself to pay over $20 for any piece of infant clothing. He wore it all fall and into the winter layered over other jackets. This spring it was running a bit tight (6-12 month sized jacket on a 18 month wearing one-year old), but I pushed it until the weather warmed up and the vest could be honorably retired. I LOVED this vest and wanted to find something like it for little man to wear this fall and winter.
But then I found that a weeny-teeny puffer vest cost way more than $20. For instance, this little number, also Gymboree brand like our first vest, runs $36.95. Yuk.
So I started to do what I always do—scour the internet for a free tutorial or pattern to make a toddler boy’s vest to replace the one J had outgrown. After looking at blog after blog I was discouraged. There were certainly tutorials for vests, but nothing quite like the little vest above.
But then heaven smiled on me. While garage saling one weekend with the fam, I scored a quilted navy blue fabric that was just perfect for a puffer vest. It cost me all of $1 and seemed to be just enough fabric for what I needed.
Armed with cheap fabric and determination, I used the old vest and a 2T jacket we have for this fall to create something of a pattern. The original vest was almost as wide as the 2T fleece, but the fleece had quite a bit more length.
This is what I had after I cut out the first round of pieces from my fabric. I later decided to add a strip on either side of the front for buttons (see pattern). So now, on to the “official” tutorial.
First you’ll have to create a pattern (on scrap fabric, paper or if you’re silly like me, on the vest fabric) by using something that fits your little one. If you have a jacket that fits well, tuck the arms in and pretend it’s a vest, but make sure to add both a seam allowance and between 1/2″ – 1″ on all sides to make the vest a bit than the jacket. Create strips for the snaps by cutting fabric as long as the front pieces and about 3 1/2″ or 4″ wide.d
To get the tutorial, click here for the long, long pdf: Puffer Vest Tutorial (it may take a few minutes to open). For those who don’t want to go through the tutorial but want to see what the vest turned out like, look out below!