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
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.)
5. 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
3. Scissors / shears.
5. Two large needles, ironing board, and iron. (only needed if making bias tape)
Step 4: Cut the Body Pieces
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)
Step 6: Finish the Bias Tape (If Making Your Own)
e. Have a helper pull the tape through, adjusting as necessary to keep the tape even
Step 7: 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
Step 9: Enjoy Your Construction
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.
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.