I feel like a new woman! My head is slowly coming out of the fog that has been the last five days. A couple of hours after this recent ‘gram, things around here went south…or should I say north. Sebastian ejected the entire contents of his day out of his mouth on our way home from the playground (oh yes, think carseat…everywhere) and it didn’t stop there. Oh no. The next day and a half after that hold the record for the most vomit I’ve ever seen come out of any of my kids mouths…the record because, until now, we have somehow escaped it. We’d never had to deal with a stomach bug plus a heaping side of vomit before the last few days. It’s awful to see your kids suffer and not be able to take it all away. After the vomit came the flood out the other end for all kids and I’ll just stop there because I’m experiencing some feelings of PTSD arise and I’m sure you want to know allll the details. Right.
Anyway, I’m just so happy to be here today and I’m overjoyed our kiddos are smiling again. I wish the screen could exude my excitement a little more. We had a normal night last night and a normal morning this morning so I’m calling all systems go. I might even get dressed today knowing that the chances of my clothes wearing bodily fluid are super low. It’s great and I’m just happy to be alive with all kids in tow!
I even got the kids dressed.
But let’s zoom in on the fur, shall we? That’s why I’m really here today anyway.
Those vests were my miniscule link to reality the past several days. I made them in two fifteen minute breaks while all sick kids were sleeping (two breaks because poor cries cut me short during the one shot I had to get them all done). They only cost me about $3 each too! So, like I do, I’m going to tell you all about how I made them and how you can make them too!
Oh, and did I mention that you can make them without sewing a single stitch? You can!
-vest pattern (link to free download below)
-a piece of faux fur – I bought mine from Hancock Fabrics and it’s awesome (couldn’t find it on their website for ya – boo!). Plush and soft and the color is just perfecto. To make two size 2T-4T vests, I only needed a little over a half yard and since I bought the fur on sale, that meant only $6. (I actually bought a yard though because, at the time, I wasn’t sure how much I needed but I’m glad I did because with the remainder of the fur I have, I can get at least one fur scarf for mwah and maybe two tiny ones for them!)
-staples and a staple gun for the no-sew route (I know it’s weird but read on…)
-hot glue and hot glue gun
I know I said you can make these without sewing; that’s where the staples come in. But if you know how to sew a simple straight stitch or you’re a beginner hand-sewer, you can use a machine or needle and thread instead of the staples. Since I know how to sew, I used my machine.
First, you’ll want to grab this free toddler vest pattern from Once Upon a Sewing Machine. You’ll only need the front and back pages, not the hood.
Print it out and cut it out along the given lines.
On the pattern it says to add 6.5 inches to the bottom of each piece but I only added three because the vests would’ve been way too long with 6.5 more inches on my girls. To add those inches, I just taped a piece of paper onto the bottom of each piece and cut it so that the sides lined up all the way down and so that it extended that three inches from the bottom of the pattern. I also cut off the small part on the front pattern piece placed there for buttons (that middle strip that’s cut off in the picture above). I wasn’t going to have any buttons so I didn’t need the extra fabric there.
The next thing I did was make the arm holes a little smaller. To do this, I pulled out one of the girls jean vests and moved it so that it was laying on top of the pattern armhole with the top of the shoulder and sides of the vest lined up with the top and sides of the pattern. Then I just traced it onto a sheet of paper I had taped under the pattern armhole and cut it out.
This is before I positioned the jean vest where it needed to be lined up to trace it, but you can see how much smaller the actual vest armhole was. It’s worth noting though that my girls are fitting comfortably in 2T tops right now so if you’re making this for a child closer to 4T, you might be able to keep the armholes the size they are. It’d be worth comparing it to a sleeveless shirt or vest you already have to make sure though.
Here’s what the pattern looked like when I was done lengthening and minimizing the armholes:
At this point I thought I was ready to take the fabric to the fur but when I placed the front and back pieces together (they meet at the armhole side), one was longer than the other. I wish I could’ve said it was my measuring error but as it turns out, the front of the pattern is actually a smidge longer than the back.
It was an easy fix though; I just sliced that extra length off the bottom and to the fur I went.
So, you’ve got your fur. Lay it fur-side down on a table but make sure that you lay it so that the fur is pointing in a downward direction – the nap of the fur goes down towards the bottom of what will be your vest. Does that make sense?
I folded the end of the fabric over in the picture above so you could see how my fur was laying.
Next, grab both pieces of your pattern and tape them together at the armholes. Then, along each side except for the far left side, trace around the pattern but trace a half inch out. (Note: I used a sharpie because a pencil didn’t show up that well but if you have a washable marker, that would be even better.)
No need for perfection! Fur hides that really, really well! :)
Along the left side of the pattern, trace right along the edge of the paper. This line will just be a guiding line to show you where to line up the pattern for the next side. (Note: this line will be the only one that shows on the inside of the finished vest. I wasn’t too worried since when it’s worn, it’s not seen at all but if you want it eliminated, make sure you do use a washable marker and it’ll come out in the wash.)
Next, flip your pattern over and line it up along that middle line you drew.
Make sure you literally flip the pattern over! Don’t just slide it over!
Now it’s time to cut along every line but that middle line.
Cutting fur is a little tricky. If you can, use a small, pointed scissors and snip away in small increments from the back of the fur. If you don’t have a smaller scissors, a regular-sized pair will work too but just remember those small increment cuts. They’re crucial in not cutting off the fur so it looks like it got chopped at the $5 hair salon.
In cutting in small increments, you’re not really cutting fur as much as you’re just cutting the backing.
Once you have your vest cut out, it’ll be time to attach the shoulders.
I sewed them together but you can staple them if you don’t know how to sew! I promise it’ll hold up and no one will know but you! First though, we need to trim away some fur so that the seam isn’t so thick – it wouldn’t fit under my machine foot the way it was.
To do that, just trim off the fur along the top half-inch or so.
Then, fold the sides of your vest in, fur-side in, so that the front and back shoulders line up. If you’re sewing, sew a straight stitch like this but stop a half-inch from each edge. You’ll glue those unfinished ends down in a minute.
If you’re stapling instead of sewing, just placed a line of three or four staples horizontally along the line I sewed. Or if you know how to hand sew, you can sew a quick line too!
Once you’re done attaching the shoulders, you can move on to the hot gluing or you can quickly cut a v-neck in the front of the vest like I did. Starting at the top inside shoulder, I just drew a straight line a little more than half way down the front inside hem. Then I used the same small-increment snipping to cut that little triangle off each side.
Last step! Hot glue! This part was hard to document because hot glue dries so quickly but basically I went around each edge of the vest minus the very bottom hem and glued a half-inch hem. I worked in three or four-inch sections so that the glue wouldn’t dry faster than I could get it on. I didn’t do the bottom hem because the fur hangs down far enough to cover the backing completely.
You can see in the picture below that the bottom part of this side is glued. The white line shows where I placed the glue. Once the glue was there I just folded the edge of the fur over onto itself, pressed it and held it until the glue was dry, and wala! An easy hem!
I even folded the arm holes in a half inch and did those. I feel like hemming all the edges makes everything look a little cleaner because you can’t see any backing peeking out from anywhere.
All that in about a half hour…and that was making two vests. Uninterrupted, this is an easy breezy project that’ll have your little fashionista right in line with the runway these days. ;)
Taking the after pictures was actually the hardest part for me. So many acorns. So little time.
Here’s the funny thing about this project - I bought this fur last fall thinking I’d make the vests back then and they just got shoved to the end of the project line and now, here they are. Haha! But, as it turns out, they would’ve look huge on the girls last year. The timing will now allow them to be worn this year, next year, and maybe even the next year after that. Unintentional providence that is also known as procrastination ftw.
Adios. I have lots more procrastinating to attend to…the dishes for example. The couch is calling my name.
. . .