Introduction: Sew a Scout Patch Pancho

Overview:   Sew Warm Contest Entry for
Title:   Sew a Scout Patch Pancho & Hat / Blanket & Pillow
Introduction:    This instructable contains written and pictorial directions to make a Pancho & Hat / Blanket & Pillow that I designed to be simple, functional, and create no wasted material. It fills a need by being a display background for our kids’ patches. The total cost should be under $20 using all new and easily sourced materials. The construction is VERY simple; my 10 year old assisted with it. The design is meant to be customized easily; our kids will grow, as they do they’ll only need to move the ‘sew on’ snaps to keep it fitting correctly.

Step 1: Abstract

Abstract:   Here in the US the Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs have an incredible amount of awards and recognitions that the scouts can earn yet aren’t displayed on a uniform. Although the BSA organization offers an “official” patch vest, it appears to be a flimsy felt thing that has no purpose other than hang in a closet. When I was a scout, my troop took a trip / tour to the Pendleton Woolen Mills in Oregon and the troop purchased each of the scouts a plain black 100% wool blanket. Some of the troop moms hemmed the edges and added the respective scout’s patch awards to the blankets.   Now that I have a boy in scouts, it is his favorite blanket and we use it as “bling” to promote scouting; however it is still something that spends most of its life on a bed. As he started to earn more recognitions than his uniform had room for, I wanted to do something similar for him (and my daughter) yet I wanted something even more useable and displayable; so I came up with the Pancho & Hat / Blanket & Pillow idea.

Step 2: Materials


1.80”X60” Disaster blanket. (We used Harbor Freight 80/20 red blankets at $7 each, they sell them between $7 and $10. 100% wool is the best, they’ll be the next ones I make)

2.Thread. (We barely used a 5000yd polyester spool from Walmart at $2)

3.Four sew on snaps (Walmart again, $2.50)

4.Two lace locks and cord. (We salvaged these from a ‘promotional giveaway’ however we saw them at Walmart for $1 each and shoe laces are about the same.)

280” to 300” Bias tape. (We made ours out of less than a square yard of canvas from the Walmart $1 a linear yard bin)

Step 3: Tools


1.Brother 2020 sewing machine with Singer heavy duty needles.

2.Tape measure, straight edge and marking chalk.

3.Scissors / shears.


Two large needles, ironing board, and iron. (only needed if making bias tape)

Step 4: Cut the Body Pieces

Cut out the pieces for the body:
a.Lay the blanket on a cutting surface.

b.Fold one corner down to the opposite edge to form a 45-45-90 triangle; also known as an origami triangle fold.

c.Use the tape measure and straight edge to straighten / align the material.

d.Use the chalk to mark a cut line at the intersection edge.

e.Before cutting, unfold the blanket and make sure the cut will produce a large square and a narrow rectangle. If a standard 80”X60” blanket is used, it will end up with a 60”X60” square and a 20”X60” rectangle. Make the cut; the square is the poncho.

f.Make one 12” to 14” cut in the middle of the square that is oriented from 1 corner to an opposite corner. This will create an opening for the head.

g.Cut the length of the remaining rectangle in half making two 20”X30” rectangles. One will be the hat.

h.Cut the width of ONE of the smaller rectangles in half making two 10”X30” rectangles. One will be the collar.

i.    Cut the length of ONE of the new rectangles in half making two 10”X15” rectangle pockets.

Step 5: Bias Tape (If Making Your Own)

Cut out the strips for the bias tape (if making your own ½” double fold)

a.Lay out the straight edge at a corner extending over a 45° angle to the canvas fabric.

b.Use the tape measure and chalk to mark a series of cut lines 2” apart at the 45° angle.

c.Cut along the lines to create 2” wide strips of canvas fabric.

Step 6: Finish the Bias Tape (If Making Your Own)

Finish making the bias tape:

a.Place the two large needles parallel to each other 6” apart in some extra canvas material on the ironing board so that each as about 1 1/8 of the shaft showing.

b.Keeping the face of the fabric down, make the initial folds in the bias strip by bringing the edges almost together at the center equally and work it under both needles.

c.Using the lead hand to do the initial forming, place the pointer on top out the fabric and curl the thumb and middle finger under the edges in front of the lead needle.

d.Use the trailing hand to keep the iron over the second needle.

e.   Have a helper pull the tape through, adjusting as necessary to keep the tape even

Step 7: Preparation Sewing

Preparation sewing.

a.Sew a small tight stretch stitch (1/4” zig-zag) hem on all cut edges of the wool to control fraying during assembly.

b.Roll and straight stitch sew a ½” diameter tube along one of the 30” sides of the collar.

c.Roll and straight stitch sew a ½” diameter tube along both of the 30” sides of the hat, keeping the visible seams face up.

d.Flip the hat so the seams are face down, fold the hat mating the 20” edges, then sew a tight stretch stitch from the one tube seam to the other. All seams should now be visible, so turn the hat inside out to hide them all.

e.Straight stitch sew the bias canvas fabric strips together to create enough length to go around any of the edges you wish to cover. To get the tape to come out correctly, lay one strip face up, then lay another strip at 90° face down matching up the end angles, then sew the connection.

Step 8: Construction


a.Attach the bias tape all around the edge of the poncho square.

b.Attach the bias tape on each small end of the collar.

c.Attach the collar to the poncho by starting a little past center of the middle front face, sewing all the way around the until the tail end overlaps putting the long ede of the collar to the cut edge of the hole in the poncho.

d.Have the owner of the poncho put the construction on while holding the arms straight out.

e.Roll back the corners where the arms until the folds just cover the wrists. Sew two sets of snaps to keep the poncho points in place near the neck on the outside of the poncho in line with the points and the neck hole points.

f.Sew the other two sets of snaps just above the waistline on either side of the body on the inside of the poncho. This keeps the poncho closer to the body and from flapping in the breeze. Keep this pretty loose.

g.Run one cord through each of the ½” tubes on the collar and hat, putting the lace locks on the ends.

h.Sew the pockets any where you want them.

Step 9: Enjoy Your Construction

How to enjoy your new construction:

a.When using it as bedding; stuff some clothes in the hat and lace lock both ends shut. Unsnap the 4 snaps and you have a blanket.

b.When using it as a poncho; put it on and snap the snaps. The hat can also be used as a face shield or hand muffs. The top hat lace lock is a vent, this thing can get warm.

Step 10: Conclusions


These things are WARM, functional and adjustable. I wore the set during a recent campout, just as a cold drizzling rain started. The other boys and leaders suited up with their high tech coats, and were still cold; meanwhile, little vapors of steam could be seen coming off of my shoulders and I was very comfortable. Later when the sun popped back out, I hung it on a tent line and it was bone dry in less than 15 minutes and became my son’s bedding again.

Step 11: Recommendations


1.Round off the 4 edge corners of the poncho. This would make it much easier to sew the bias on and the scraps can be reclaimed as gussets / cuffs / mouth shield.

2.Use brightly colored bias.   The poncho alone looked good, then when the bias was added…BAM.

3.Use an inexpensive blanket first. Although it is easy to make, before someone starts cutting up a $100+ Pendleton wool blanket, practice on a $7 one first.

4.Be open to tailoring. My son didn’t want exterior pockets; my daughter wanted inside and outside pockets. My wife wanted a different hat design; one of the other scouts wanted a wool belt to wrap around his poncho. Someone may not want a collar and use the extra fabric for something else. There is plenty of left over material once the square is cut to really match the creation to the person’s taste, be creative and use it all up.

Step 12:

The Future: It has been a few months since my son moved up from Webelos to Boyscouts and I have taken the time to strip his blue uniform and populate his poncho. The front is the showcase for scouting and the reverse is of the things he does outside of scouting.

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