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Ever run out of room on that sash, vest, or tunic for fun patches? Of course - we all have! The Badge Fairy to the rescue! This post shows a Daisy tunic, but I can do this for any vest or tunic in any size. Head over to The Badge Fairy shop to get yours.
What you need:
A good sewing machine, like my friend Katherine from Baby Lock
A vest or tunic with too many patches
The back piece of a matching vest or tunic in the same size
Thread that matches your uniform
Good sewing shears
This Daisy, Bananapants and her mom Heather were on patch overload! (I understand!). They sent me this uniform and a sack of extra patches! This gave me the perfect opportunity to announce the Patch Cape option now available in the Hacks section of my Uniform Services. A patch cape is a perfect way to display even more patches on your uniform, for super-active scouts. The cape can even be patched on both sides with some creative sewing, so this actually *triples* the fun patch space!
This is one of those projects that is actually way easier than it looks! Basically, we're going to separate two tunics at the shoulder seams, sandwich the cape in between, and sew them back together. Easy peasy! (right?) You could even just stitch it right onto the outside for something quick, but this method gives a finished professional look. :D
Hold up! My message to the Uniform Police.
In this photo, I've already cut the back off of a second tunic as shown. For now, I kept the shoulder seams intact so you can see the whole process, but we're going to take those out shortly.
I learned something new about the Daisy tunic while doing this project! See these photos? This is the back at the left and right shoulder seams. Notice anything different? On the right shoulder, the binding encases the shoulder seam, and on the left it's sewn in. This means taking apart the two shoulders is slightly different too.
On both left and right sides, start by using a seam ripper from the outside to pull open the stitches in the center. On the left shoulder, keep doing this all the way across until they separate. There are some reinforcing stitches that hold the binding down too. We need to pull those out as well. (We'll put them back later). On the right shoulder, after all the middle stitches are pulled out, you have to cut the bindings! This is the point of no return! (Not really, everything is fixable. But by this point, you're committed, so just make that cut!)
Preparing the cape
On a tunic, the cape piece needs almost no work at all. I only cut the ties off, cut the tag out, and opened up the shoulder seams. We don't need to finish the edges or add binding, but if working with a vest, you should double-hem out the side seams, and square it off at the bottom before continuing. We'll do this in another post someday!
Putting it Together
This is the fun part! Make a tunic (or vest) sandwich. Lay the original back down, back side up. Lay the cape piece on top of it, with the side that will facing out on top. Then place the front -face down- on the top of that. (Hint - the front vs. back of the cape piece is defined only by which side the tag is. If you cut it close enough, it may not even matter.)
Make sure your shoulder seams are all lined up, with the line you plan to sew in the same place on all three. I set a pencil point to the side to help me line them up. This also marks the place where I want to sew - that's where the previous stitches were, so that's a good spot. You could sew lower if you wanted to, but not any higher. If everything works out, the front and back ties will be lined up perfectly on the side too. If not, that's okay! Insert pins at the sides to hold it all together.
Use the matching thread for this part of the project. Sew across that line on both shoulders. On the right shoulder, where you had to cut the binding, you may need to sew it just a bit lower to make sure those bindings get caught. Both shoulders will end up looking like the original left, since we cut that binding. I only needed to go down about another 1/4" to catch them. Make sure to use a reinforced stitch at the beginning and end of your sewing!
You could stop here if you're happy. But, I added a few more little touches. First to give the edges a finish, I ran a zigzag stitch close to the raw edges above. This will prevent fraying later on. Second (shown below), I checked all twelve sides of the shoulders (front and back of each of three pieces on each shoulder) for any places where the original binding stitches might need some reinforcements. Remember we pulled out the ones that were there before? Look for any places where they are loose, or got cut when you separated the shoulders. Each place, I ran a narrow, ultra-short zigzag to catch those stitches in place.
All done (almost)!
There you go - a patch cape, flowy and loose so your girl can show off all her fun patches! But wait! Remember Bananapants' mom sent us some additional fun patches that she couldn't squeeze in? Switch to clear thread and sew them on wherever you want on your cape. See my posts: 3 Tangle-Free Ways to Use Clear Thread and How to Perma-Patch your badges and patches
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P.S. Uniform Police, I know. Please read my message to you. Thanks.