Women's Trailblazer vs Pathfinder Vest: A Comparison

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

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!

Women's Pathfinder and Trailblazer

Let's take a look at the women's vests.  Pictured above are sample front and back views of the Pathfinder and the Trailblazer (the patterns do have other options, but these give a good general idea of the basic features).  At a glance, here are the differences between the Women's Pathfinder Vest and the Trailblazer Vest:

Pathfinder Trailblazer
Shaped princess seams x x
Curved, dropped back x x
Shaped back yoke x
Button & loop closure x
Buttonhole closure x
Full zipper closure x
Wind flap x
Hood (round & pixie) x
Stand collar x
Patch pockets x
In-seam pockets x
Contrast shoulder detail x
Flutter sleeves x
Fisherman add-on x
Baby-Carry and Maternity add-on x


Vest Construction:

The Pathfinder and Trailblazer share the same beautiful princess seam shaping, with side panels and shaped seams, however the Trailblazer features a separate back yoke piece.  The yoke gives the vest a smart, tailored look, and adds more options for customization with details such as colour-blocking, piping, and embroidery.  

Front Closures:

The Pathfinder Vest is designed to be made with button-and-loop closures, buttons and buttonholes, or snaps.  Button closures can be used at the top of the vest only, for an open, swingy look, or all the way down the front of the vest.  

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 adds some extra warmth to the vest, and gives the finished vest a polished and professional look.


The Pathfinder includes pattern pieces for patch pockets - rectangular, or kangaroo-style.  Simple to sew, the patch pocket is functional and offers lots of scope for customization with contrasting fabric, trim, or embroidery.  

The Trailblazer features hidden in-seam pockets sewn into the curved front seams of the vest, perfectly positioned for warming hands.  The in-seam pocket is a bit more involved, however the end result is beautiful.  


The Pathfinder can be made collarless, 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 in-seam pockets to the Women's Pathfinder, or patch pockets to the Trailblazer
  • add flutter sleeves to a the Trailblazer

Combine features from both patterns to create a unique, customized vest!  

We hope that you enjoy sewing both of these wonderful vest patterns, each with it's own character, and look forward to seeing all your creations - 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.  

~Photos by Angela Schade, Shelly Althage, Viki Kube, Kate Laycock, and Katie Jewison Johnson~