The Trailblazer Vest from Twig + Tale is perfect for a Tennessee autumn. It can be crisp in the mornings and quite warm in the sunny afternoons, or cold and rainy all day. We have a big transition in the seasons and Mother Nature treats us with a stunning show if colors in the foliage. There is no better time to get out and explore, hike and play.
I chose three fabrics from the Michael Miller Painter’s Canvas line: Indigo, Spice and Mustard. I love the implied texture of the fabric, while it remains almost a solid color. Of course, they were all to be lined in the new 100% organic sherpa by Michael Miller. My initial intention was to sew three solid, un-quilted vests with a wind flap.
I, instead, chose to do a color-blocked, or striped and quilted vest. I chose not to do the wind flap because I knew I could use an ivory zipper to coordinate with the lush sherpa inside. Clearly, inspiration took hold and I couldn’t be more pleased with the result of these vests.
After making simple muslins on all three, it was time to cut into my pre-washed fabrics. And here is where I have to mention that the sherpa, (oh, my!) the sherpa is so incredibly lofty and soft. I loved it so much, that I intentionally rolled it slightly to the outside when top-stitching so that it could always be seen.
Before I cut, however, I had to figure out how large I wanted the quilting, because that would also determine how large I needed to cut my fabric strips. I knew I wanted at least 4 stripes between the bottom of the armcyse and the shoulder, so I measured the 12-18 month pattern and did the math from there.
I decided 3cm would be a good number and proceeded (I cut my color strips at 5cm to accommodate a 1cm seam each side). I also had to figure out how to alternate colors so I drew this terribly artistic sketch (emphasis on terrible!).
I assembled all of my fabric with color blocking first, then quilted and sewed each vest individually.
The Trailblazer pattern is no exception from the incredible line-up at Twig + Tale, like all of their patterns, they are clear, concise and make projects come together very easily. The videos included with the pattern are my favorite and demonstrate exactly what to do. Since I have the majority of my sewing time in the evenings after all of the children are in bed, each vest took me approximately two nights to quilt and two nights to sew, a few hours at a time. Don’t let my sewing time dissuade you – I was meticulous about the zipper, for which there are comprehensive instructions and a video – and also very exacting when it came to matching my quilt-stitching lines. For a simple, solid vest, I am sure I could complete one in an evening.
I made the orange vest first. This one was for my three and a half year old, and I made the size 4. She measures squarely in a size three, but I would love to get two year’s wear out of these, so I sized up just one after seeing the fit of her muslin. And lucky Eliza, to go with the retro feel of these vests, she got to wear these neat vintage bell-bottom overalls and vintage Danskin turtleneck!
Next I made the itty-bitty size 12-18 months for Gwendolyn, who is 10 months old and a little small for her age. This is the only pattern I altered, shortening it just one inch.
The blue is a size 7 for my six and a half year old, Adelaide. I did size up two sizes from the muslin I made her (she falls nicely in the size 5 on the chart). I did this for two reasons, firstly, she is quite tall for her age and squeezing two years out of outwear is a challenge and secondly, I knew the extra layer of batting would take up a little of the room in the finished garment and I wanted to be sure a sweater or sweatshirt would fit comfortably underneath.
Adelaide also received an interior pocket, which I knew she would love.
These vests are my favorite sewing project to date. My favorite part is the clever pocket construction. I love the way they lie on and in the seam. My girls’ favorite part? That buttery soft and toasty warm sherpa!