Our little friend, Jasper, requested a new explorer vest for his birthday. He's already outgrowing blue one posted last year, and with reports from his mom that he wears it all the time, I just couldn't resist. It also doesn't hurt that this vest is one of my favorite boy sewing projects.
The explorer vest is a pattern included in the book, Oliver + S: Little Things to Sew, by Liesl Gibson (it's the best resource ever for finding little kid gift ideas). I made the bellowed-pocket version, which makes the pockets extra roomy for storing treasures. I like to to use a contrast fabric on the bellow piece, so they stand out more.
But my favorite part of these particular pockets is hidden inside. I found an adorable crocodile ribbon at a local fabric shop and thought it would be the perfect peek-a-boo surprise inside the pocket. It's a little extra fun without being too cutesy.
To add the ribbon so it has a clean seam, I recommend sewing it to the front pattern piece before adding the bellow piece in the bellow section of the pattern, step one. To find the right placement on the pocket, do the pressing from step 2, and use the press line to line up the ribbon. With the fabric still open (you don't want to sew it down yet), sew the ribbon to the front pocket piece along the top only. Then begin the pattern steps at the beginning again, adding the bellows. When you hem the pocket, you'll sew along the bottom edge of the ribbon. I hope that makes sense to anyone following the pattern!
I also made Jasper a little explorer ID and stuck it in the pocket. Heidi, at Sew.Craft.Create recently posted an FBI dress up ID (there is a printable!), and I practically copied her point by point, substituting explorer stuff. I used picmonkey.com for the fonts and little graphic - it is such an awesome replacement for picnik!
Of course, there are more crocodiles inside the big back pocket. They are just too cute.
Happy birthday, Jasper!