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Friday, October 11, 2013

Creature Power Vest Tutorial

My apologies to family and friends who just want to see cute pictures of Joseph on our blog!  But the internet is such an invaluable resource for me when it comes to crafty ideas and techniques that I sometimes feel the need to give back.  Google was the first place I went when Missy asked if it was possible for me to make 16(!) Wild Kratts Creature Power Vests for my godson's birthday party.  Maybe this post can help out some other crafty parents out there in return.


I chose to make the vests out of heavy duty craft felt, mostly because it doesn't fray at all, but it also happened to be ridiculously cheap (about $2.50/yard when on sale!).  Fleece would also have been a great option, but I've made costumes out of it before and it's a bit harder to trace on darker colors, and it's thicker and stretches a bit, so it's harder to cut accurately.  I've seen people just use black T-shirts too, and cut the arms off.

The felt is super wide at 72" so I kept it folded in half and cut out 2 layers at a time for both the front and the back.  I was lucky to have a leftover Halloween costume pattern that had a vest template for sizes from 3-8.  I tried one on scrap fabric and made a few modifications for a better fit.  I made 2 different sizes for the little kids and big kids (even the Kratt brothers are different sizes!), and got 16 vests out of 4 yards of felt, which was about $10.  I should add that I did then take the front and trim it into a V-neck to match the original design.



They didn't have to right color felt for the appliqués, so I went with flannel instead.  I fused the flannel to a paper backed fusible web all in one piece, then traced and cut out the different size circles.  I used a rotary cutter to make quick work of cutting out all the squares and rectangles.  After that, just peel off the paper and iron them all down!  I just eyeballed the placement of the circles, but a small ruler helped space out the squares pretty evenly and easily.




I really, really should have just stopped there.  But I know how to sew and I tend to pay attention to detail, so I actually went and edged stitched every single piece of flannel down.  Completely and totally unnecessary, and virtually unnoticeable since I used matching thread.  But it looks darned good so it was worth the extra effort to me.


Now's when I sewed the front and back together.  Again, I could have stopped there, but I added some edge stitching all around the openings, thinking it would give the felt some added stability.  In fact, they were even able to stand upright!



Voila!  We purchased some $1 magic gloves at the craft store to complete the look, and the kids all had costumes for the party, and a pretty decent party favor to take home!



27 comments:

  1. Thanks for the tutorial! It was a big help in making my son a wild kratt costume for Halloween! I even included a plastic Velcro pouch on the front to slip creature discs in and out. Keep on creature adventuring! Thanks

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  2. Would you be willing to scan the templates or send dimensions for the two vests? My homemade templates ate not going well :( thestoreyfam@gmail.com

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  3. Fantastic. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Hi ... thanks for sharing your skills. I am about to make some power suits out of felt and thought I would search online for some measurements. Would you be kind enough to share yours so I can cut the pattern out accordingly ... also the measurements for the circles, squares and rectangles .... thanks so much ... your ideas are the best i've seen so far. (rishika108@aol.com)

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  5. My son fit into the larger vest and we kept one for him, so I can give the dimensions for that. Turns out it is 16" from side to side and also 16" from top to bottom. (I believe I used 1/2" seam allowances) The arm hole starts 8"up from the bottom, and the neck hole is 8" wide.

    The larger circles are 4" and the smaller circles are 1.5". The rectangles were cut in long strips of 2", then subcut into the various sizes. At the top of the vest there's a 2" square and a 1"x2" rectangle on each side, and on the bottom there is a 4"x2" rectangle and two 1"x2" rectangles on each side.

    I hope that helps!

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    1. Thanks so much for the details you shared above. I'm planning a party for my little guy and am wanting to make him a power suit. Your directions will help so much! And I really love your suits! Looking forward to the look in his face when he sees his own! :). I was wondering if you'd mind helping me with some things? I was wondering the size of the suit you detailed above. What shirt size would you liken yours to? I'm needing something 5T, possibly 6 an wondered how yours compared so I knew where to go from there. Also, did you leave the back black or did you detail that too? And, I've been thinking of making a seam down the center of the back and stitching some Velcro down to secure the opening to make for easier on/off. Since you've made a suit, what are your thoughts about this vs just pulling over their head? Thanks so much for your help! :)

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  6. I just saw something similar on Amazon for $35 each. These look super easy and I'm pretty sure I have all the felt already. I'm going to whip up a pair as Christmas surprises - my boys are obsessed with Wild Kratts! Thanks for the tutorial!

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  7. Just wanted to say thank-you for sharing your instructions. I'm making these for my son and his dad for Halloween. I found you on Pinterest.

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  8. Thanks so much! Awesome party favors and great help for our Christmas present!

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  9. Based on the ages and various sizes of the kids, I think I used a size 4 or 5 for the younger and a size 7 or 8 for the older kids. The dimensions I gave were for the bigger size. They were quite easy to slip on and off overhead, but a velcro seam would be great (if you're not making a ton of them like I did!). There were no additional details on the back.

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    1. Thank you sooo much! Super helpful! :). I'm only making 1 or 2 so once I get into it, I will have to see how things work. I'm having so much fun planning his party. Haha. Thanks again for all your details, tips, and help!

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  10. I am a 62 year old grampa that loves making hand made gifts for my grandkids, just like my grampa did for us when we were young. I am a professional upholster (www.bearsrodshop.com) so I always have plenty of scrap leather, vinyl, and cloth laying around. I just made to vest for our 3 & 5 year old G-Kids boys for this Christmas. I used black and yellow vinyl and lined the inside with 1/8" black headliner foam. Left the sides open and install adjustable velcor straps each side so the vest could be worn over a heavy jacket if need be. This will allow them to grow and hopefully be in use next year. Enjoyed visiting your page, Good luck with all your project, Jerry in TX

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  11. Hi love the vest my son is loving wild kratts, he'll be 2 in july, it's freezing where u am so I'm trying to think summer, I will have a ton of vests to make from age 2 to 10, what are your suggestions did yours just pull right over? Thank you so.much!! I'm starting early.

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  12. Thanks so much for the instructions. I don't really sew but was inspired to make 16 vests for my son's Wild Kratts party. All of our guests were so appreciative of their vests!

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  13. Just made these for my boys for Halloween using your tutorial. Thank you! Happy Halloween!

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  14. Hello from Argentina! I used your tutorial for the costumes and my kid had the birthday he always want!!! Tank you for share!
    http://milyunpapeles.blogspot.com.ar/2015/08/wild-kratts-de-cumpleanos.html

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  15. Do you still have the pattern for the vest itself? I would love a copy of it. Im not that crafty and in detailed instructions :) sahmompreneur@gmail.com

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  16. You mentioned you used a heavy duty craft felt. Did you use a wool felt? Thanks, Muriel

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  17. I just used regular old craft felt that comes on a bolt at Joann's, not wool felt, which I think would be way more expensive, but probably more durable.

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  18. How big were the creature discs that you made if any? Also, what was the name of the felt you used for the vests. Than you and good job.

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  19. I didn't make any discs, but the large circle on the shirt where they would go is 4" as mentioned in a previous comment above. Again, this was just regular craft felt from the bolt at Joann's

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  20. Thank you for your interesting and informative blog. I have enjoyed reading it and appreciate the work you have put into it. Here is some relevant information for you to review .
    Kids Tactical Vests

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  21. Do you by chance have these still and want to sale them or could you let me pay you to make one?

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  22. Any chance you have the printable pattern? Awesome job!!

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  23. I love your design and am prepping to make many for my sons birthday. I was wondering what kind of stitch you used on the shoulders? The pictures make it look like there are 3 stitch lines. Thanks so much!

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  24. Sorry, I do NOT have a pattern for this project - it was SO MANY years ago. As for the shoulder stitching, I joined the front and back with a standard straight stitch. The seam allowances were about 1/2-5/8" and it was made of a heavy felt, so I opened the seams and top stitched the seam allowance down on each side so they would lay flat, which are the 2 other lines of stitches you see.

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  25. Thanks so much! I was just thinking perhaps you had done a special stitch on the shoulders. Now I totally understand why it looks like three stitch lines. It is super sweet of you to continually provide help to us all. Thanks again!

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