Handmade Holiday, Pattern Review

Go Diego Go!

I made it through about 10% of my Handmade Holidays sewing list, but I did manage to make one thing for each of the kids. J got a Diego costume, complete with patch!

Creative Counselor: Go Diego Go
Go Diego Go!

J is starting to move on from Thomas and Friends and now is a HA-UGE fan of Go Diego Go, the boy offshoot of Dora the Explorer. He loves to strap on his backpack and go “find the animal in trouble.” A proper Diego costume was only appropriate.

The most identifiable item in any Diego costume (other than the Rescue Pack, which I had planned to make but ran out of time) is Diego’s vest. It’s an off-white cargo vest with a distinctive patch on the chest.

I was flipping through my children’s patterns, and saw that the Explorer Vest from the Oliver + S book Little Things to Sew would be perfect for a Diego vest. The vest even had the option of bellow pockets, which gave it a less “polished” and more “cargo” look — exactly what I was going for!

Creative Counselor: Back bellow pocket
The back bellow pocket

In addition to the bellow pockets, I added a couple of interior patch pockets to the inside of the vest, and I used the interior contrast fabric for the underside of the pocket flaps. I found a Diego iron-on patch on Etsy, which thankfully arrived a few days before Christmas.

Creative Counselor: Diego details
The details.

To go along with the Diego vest, I also made J a light blue t-shirt, just like Diego’s. I used Rae’s Flashback Skinny Tee pattern, adding a few inches to the bottom, and a light blue cotton/poly interlock from my stash. And I double-checked to make sure I cut the knit the right direction this time!

And I’m happy to report that J loves it! Even when he wants to stay in his PJs all day, he readily agrees if I ask if he wants to put his Diego costume on.

Go Diego Go!

Pattern: Explorer Vest from Little Things to Sew

Size: Medium

Fabric: Off-white cotton twill from Joann’s, lined with Ed Emberley Happy Drawing Lions and Tigers in Gold by Cloud 9.

Physical Pattern: Pattern books are among of the few paper children patterns that I have, and you all know how I love paper patterns! The pattern sheets in Little Things to Sew are pretty easy to work with. My only gripe is that the book doesn’t come with a pocket to hold the pattern sheets, so they just kind of float around once you’ve pulled off the sticky from the back.

Fit: The fit is great, and still gives him room to grow into it! J’s measurements actually put him one size smaller, but just barely, so I made the bigger size so he’d have some room to grow. I don’t plan to make another Diego vest soon — those bellow pockets took forever (relatively speaking).


  • A couple of pocket variations mean you can have a vest that looks very polished, like the picture in the book, or more of a cargo vest, like the one I made.
  • Double-fold bias tape to bind the armholes is WAY easier way of finishing them with the lining.
  • Lots of pockets for stashing treasures.
  • The interior lining is a great place to use a cool contrast fabric.


  • The bellow pockets take a long time to put together, and sewing through multiple layers of fabric can be challenging.
  • The pattern doesn’t include any pocket closures. I added velcro to each of the flaps to keep them closed.
  • Buttons make it hard for little hands to get the vest on and off. Snaps would go a long way to remedying that, though.

Overall grade: A. This is a well-drafted pattern with good options. The sewing world is overflowing with “fun” and accessories patterns for girls, but it can be hard to find them for boys. This is a good one.

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