Convert the Nestledown Vest for Back Wearing

This clever hack offers all the cosiness of the Nestledown Vest, but for a back carrier!  The same Nestledown Vest Carry Panel can be used for front or back carrying.  Perfect for parents and babies who prefer back carrying (or make two Nestledown Carry panels for tandem baby wearing!).  


  • An Adult Trailblazer Vest pattern
  • Nestledown Vest Baby Carry pattern
  • 2x Nestledown zippers as per tutorial (*make sure all zippers are compatible)

Cut all vest pieces as described in the Trailblazer tutorial, except that the outer and lining back pieces will both be cut with a yoke.  

Consideration should be given to the outer fabric of the coat (especially the wind flap) so it feels good against baby's skin.  
Consider adding adjustable cinching at the top of the Nestledown Vest panel for babies and small toddlers for both front and back carries (see the Nestledown Vest tutorial for ideas about how to do this).  

Sewing Instructions:

1.  Cut both back pieces, outer and lining fabric, down the centre back fold line of both pieces.  (It is not necessary to add a seam allowance because the zipper teeth will compensate for the lack of seam allowance when finished).  

2.  Cut two wind flap pieces, one from outer fabric and one from lining fabric.  There is no pattern piece for this - simply cut a strip 2.5" (6.5cm) wide and the same width as the yoke from side to side.  

3.  With right sides together, stitch the two wind flap pieces together along one long edge with a 3/8" (1cm) seam allowance.  Turn to the right side and press.  

4.  Top-stitch along the seam of the wind flap. 

5.  Align the long raw edge of the wind flap with the bottom edge of the outer yoke piece with right sides facing.  Baste the wind flap to the back yoke with a 1/4" (6mm) seam allowance.

6.  Stitch the front panels and pockets as per the tutorial.

7.  Stitch the yoke to the front pieces at the shoulders, right sides together, with a 3/8" (1cm) seam allowance.  Press the seams open.

8.  Stitch the back side panels to the back centre panels (the ones you cut down the middle in step 1), right sides together, with a 3/8" (1cm) seam allowance.  Press the seams open. 

9.  Place the top edges of the back pieces along the back yoke/wind flap edge with right sides together.  Measure in from the arm hole 4" (10cm) and mark with a pin.

Stitch the top edges of the back pieces to the back yoke/wind flap edge right sides together with a 3/8" (1cm) seam allowance from the arm hole to the pin on both sides.  This will leave a gap in the centre - don't worry, this is correct!

10.  Press the seams open and spread out your vest or coat.  It should look similar to this diagram:

11.  Attach the collar to the neck as written in the tutorial.

12.  Attach the front zip to the front edges as written in the tutorial.

13.  Attach one of the Nestledown length zippers to the centre back edges of the back panels using the tutorial method for the fronts.  

Treat the top of the backs as you did the top of the collar on the front pieces.  

14.  Stitch up the lining as you did for the outer pieces.  The only differences are that you will not be adding a wind flap to the lining piece, and will not be adding zippers.  

15.  With the right side of the vest facing up, fold down the wind flap over the yoke so that it extends over the top of the back panels.  The wind flap will hide the top of the zipper.  

Baste the wind flap to the arm holes of the back panels with a 1/4" (6mm) seam allowance.  

16.  Lay outer pieces right side up, then place lining on top with the right side facing down, aligning all points.  

Stitch together around the armholes, centre front edges, collar, centre back edges, top of the back panels, and across the back yoke edge with a 3/8" (1cm) seam allowance.  

For the top of the back panels, it is easiest to start from the centre back and stitch to the point where you finished the yoke seam in step 9.  

When stitching the yoke, the wind flap will try to hang down into the are where you are stitching because of the basting.  Fold it back up into the yoke as you stitch the yoke closed.  You may want to pin it out of the way.  

17.  Clip the curves.  Press the seams open and turn the vest through so that the right sides are facing out. 

18.  Stitch the side seams together as written in the tutorial.

19.  Stitch the hems closed as written in the tutorial, but be sure to leave a turning hole on each side of the vest.  

Topstitch as written in the tutorial.

20.  Add snaps to the corners of your wind flap for some extra reinforcement.  These snaps can also act as handy hooks for pacifiers or toys!

Voila, a gorgeous back-wearing version of the Nestledown Vest!

~ Images by Tania Bennett

Read more about the Trailblazer Vest here: