Children's Pathfinder Vest vs. Trailblazer Vest: A Comparison

With the introduction of the Trailblazer Vest, we'd like to take a moment to explain the differences between this new style and the much-loved Children's Pathfinder Vest patterns.  

The Trailblazer and Pathfinder are each standalone patterns with distinct features, however many elements can be used interchangeably, opening up even more possible vest combinations!

Children's Pathfinder and Trailblazer

First, let's look at the differences between the Children's Pathfinder and Trailblazer Vests.  Pictured above are sample front and back views of the Pathfinder and the Trailblazer (the patterns do have many other options, but these give a general idea of the basic features).  At a glance, here are the differences between the Children's Pathfinder Vest and the Trailblazer Vest:

Pathfinder  Trailblazer
Shaped front/back body seams x
Curved, dropped back x x
Two vest lengths: classic and extended x
Shaped back yoke x
Button & loop closure x
Buttonhole or snap closure x x
Full zipper closure x
Wind flap x
Hood (round and pixie) x
Stand collar x
Round neck or v-neck x
Patch pockets x
In-seam pockets x
Contrast shoulder detail x
Flutter sleeves x
Fisherman Add-on x


Vest Construction:

The Children's version of the Pathfinder is beautifully simple, essentially constructed with three main pieces - two front pieces and one back piece with seams at the sides and shoulders.  

The Trailblazer, on the other hand, uses the same refined shaping as the men's and women's versions, with side panels, a curved yoke, and shaped seams.  Overall, the Trailblazer has more sophisticated construction and shaping.   

Front Closures:

The Pathfinder Vest is designed to be made with button-and-loop closures, buttons and buttonholes, or snaps.  One or two buttons and loops can be used at the top of the vest (a practical feature when trying to do buttons up on a wiggly little one), or all the way down the front of the vest.  The pattern also includes an optional button stand.  

The Trailblazer has a full-length zip closure in the front, right up to the top of the collar, as well as an optional wind flap piece for the front.  The wind flap can also be used for adding a button or snap placket to the vest, either with the zipper, or in place of the zipper.

Pathfinder and Trailblazer vest sewing patterns by Twig + Tale



The Pathfinder includes pattern pieces for patch pockets.  The Trailblazer features the same hidden in-seam pockets as the adult version.  


The Pathfinder can be made collarless, with a Peter Pan-style collar, or with one of two hood options - a rounded hood or a pixie hood.  
The Trailblazer includes a stand collar, which fastens right to the chin.    

That's a general summary of the features offered in each pattern.  But here's where things get interesting: many of these elements can be used interchangeably between the two patterns.  For example, you could:

  • add a Pathfinder hood to the Trailblazer 
  • use the back pieces from the Trailblazer to add a yoke to the Pathfinder vest
  • add Trailblazer shoulder contrast details to the Pathfinder
  • add patch pockets to the Trailblazer

By using features from both patterns, so many different combinations will be possible!  

We hope that you enjoy sewing both of these wonderful vest patterns, each with it's own character.  The Pathfinder, beautiful in it's simplicity, is a wonderful pattern for beginner and advanced-beginner sewers.  The Trailblazer, which uses some more involved construction techniques, should be do-able for adventurous advanced beginners and intermediate sewers.  

We look forward to seeing all your vests - Pathfinders, Trailblazers, and hybrids!  Please join us at the Twig + Tale Chat Facebook group to ask questions, look for inspiration, and share photos of your projects.  


Images by Cathie Cindy Brown, Boeven Bende and Nicola Falconer