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Here are the instructions I found on-line

Cooling Vest Instructions
Martha Weiman [email protected]
1 Sewing Marker that disappears with water

2 yds. Of unbleached Muslin Permanent Press (100% cotton) Fabric 45-48” wide

1 Spool Matching Thread

1 Package Matching Bias Tape (the large quilt type makes a nice non-chaffing neck)

1 Funnel

1 – 10-12 inch piece of 1/2 inch PVC plastic pipe



Tape Measure

~1/2 lb. Medium Watersorb Crystals

1 ZIPLOC XL BAG (Bag will allow the user to soak the vest and transport it in a sealed plastic

Bag to keep it moist and ready to use).

1. Pre-wash Muslin fabric to remove sizing.

Stop right here!!!! She's about to take you down the bunny trail. Let me dumb this down a little bit.

Buy the stuff listed above or find/buy at a thrift store a 100% cotton sheet at least 200 thread count. Muslin is kind of spendy and boring but a sheet laying around the house is just right!

Cut 2 pieces of material 22" x 54" and lay one piece on top of the other.

Mark a 2" wide border all the way around the edge of the material. DO NOT SEW THIS BORDER OR YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO ADD CRYSTALS

Fold the material in half so it is approximately 22" x 27" and crease the material along the fold. Find the center of the fold and trace an 8.5" diameter circle for your head to poke through.

Sew around the head hole but don't cut it out yet

Open the material back out flat and using the fabric pen make 5 equal width marks from the 2" marks at the side of your material (this will be the front of your vest) Should be approx 4"

Mark 1 3/4" up starting at the bottom of the vest (front) and continue marking all the way to approximately 6 rows from the bottom of the neck on what will be the back side of your vest.

Got everything layed out with the fabric pen? Then sew all of the horizontal seams starting at the bottom of the front of the vest and working your way to the last row on the back of the vest..

Then sew one of the center vertical seams from the bottom of the front of the vest to the neck opening. Then continue sewing the seam down what will be the back side of the vest.

Now a note about the crystals. They expand a TON. If some of your little pockets are a little larger then you might want to add a few more granules but be very careful. Too many granules and they will force themselves through the mesh of the material and get the fabric all slimy!
The smaller ones around the neck area should be filled with less than 1/4 tsp.

Using the funnel and hose put 1/4 teaspoon of the granules in each of the pockets row by row placing the granules against the sewn vertical seam. After you have filled every row from the bottom front front to the middle of the back then sew the vertical seam that will lock in those crystals. Continue doing this until all of the pockets have been filled and sewn on 1/2 of the garment (left or right side) then finish by filling and sewing the other half of the garment.Cut the neck hole out and sew that ribonny stuff around the inside of the hole.

Sew the ribonny stuff around the perimeter of the the vest and you are done.

Note: I used only 2 pieces of fabric couldn't figure out what to do with the 3rd piece

The picture above shows the vest after 1 1/2 hrs ride at 87*F and then left all night in an air conditioned house.

Weight of vest with no water estimated to be 10 - 12 ozs 284-340 g
Initial weight filled with water 9 lbs 10 ounces 4.37kg
Weight after ride and living in AC for hours 6 lbs 7 ounces 2.92kg

General observations: I ride year round with Olympia mesh gear. After the ride my skin was very cool to the touch. I expected my shirt and skin to be wet but both were absolutely dry, just cold. Nice!

Now continue on with the original instructions if you wish........

2. Lay fabric flat and cut three pieces out 20 inches wide by 45-46 inches long. (NOTE: Muslin tears fairly straight when cut and torn carefully.)

3. Piece two pieces of fabric together and pin or baste edges together to prevent slippage.

4. Fold the piece of fabric in half lengthwise to find center and mark edges.

5. Find the center of the folded edge widthwise and mark.

6. Mark outer edges approximately 1/2 inch from edges along all 4 edges of Piece #1. This will be your outer seam that is sewn later.

7. Mark fabric from side to side 1 3/4 inches apart starting from the bottom edges and working toward center. Stop about 1 1/2 to 2 inches from center folded edge so you will have room to trim a neck hole later. Mark both sides of piece of fabric piece #1. Do not mark fabric piece #2.

8. Now, mark fabric piece #1 from top marks and bottom edges of each end of fabric piece #1. Measure over 2 to 2 1/2 inches from each 1/2 inch marks on each side. Then, mark over 4 inches until you reach the other side. When finished, you should have a square grid pattern on each end of the center of fabric piece #1. You should end up with about 11 rows of 4 inch pockets on each side of the center fold.

9. Mark corners into slightly rounded corners (I used my serving platter for the slight curve pattern).

10. Now, we are ready to start machine sewing. First, sew along the top mark of pockets near the center fold. (Center fold will later become the neck hole area). Sew along each mark that goes side to side on each side of the center fold area.

11. Next, sew one seam down the center of each ends of fabric starting at the top line and going to bottom edges on each side of the neck fold. Don’t sew across the neck fold area.

12. Take your funnel and place it inside of PVC pipe. Pipe will help deliver crystals deep into each pocket so they don’t get in the way of stitching.

13. Take a 1/4 TSP measuring spoon and measure crystals into each 4 inch pocket on either side of sewn center seam. Do not fill the 2 to 2 1/2 inch pocket on each side. Leave these empty. After filling a full row of 4 inch pockets from top to bottom and sew pockets shut.

NOTE: Put lesser amount of crystals in the 4 inch pockets that have rounded corners marked across them. Do one side and then the other. When you get to the outer edges, you may sew each one along lines.

14. After you finish filling and sewing pockets, you need to place the third piece of fabric next to piece #2 and baste the edges of all three pieces of fabric. You should still see the piece with the marked lines on one side and the third piece on the other.

15. Sew all outer edges together following the 1/2 inch marks and along the curved corners. Make sure crystals are shook away from the curved lines before sewing. Cut curved corners leaving a 1/2 inch border.

16. Locate center of the center fold neck section of vest and mark it. Measure seven inches on either side of midline and mark. Mark on Piece #1 with other markings. These will later be turned inside and will disappear the first time garment is wet.

17. Cut along a line from the two 7 inch marks. Using this hole, bring piece #3 through the hole to “turn” garment inside out. Piece #2 and #3 should be showing on either side. Press outer seam with your fingers and sew along it to make crisp edge. Do not press with iron. You will need to sew across top seams near neck hole and down center seam to help hold the third piece of fabric to the others. I like to sew a “cross” on mine to remind them a Christian made this for them.

18. On the neck/head opening, you may want to shape it in a scooped” neck line on front and back. Then, all that remains is to fit, pin and sew on bias tape along the cut edges of the neck/head opening of vest. After fitting the bias tape around the neck, pin or baste it in place. Sew the edge of the tape to the garment.

Attach a personal note and Cooling Vest Care Instructions to each vest. Your vest will be used by our troops to be able to quickly treat them for heat related illnesses like “heat exhaustion” and the potentially deadly “heat Stroke”.

Soak in water for 15-20 minutes. Only soak 7-10 to use as headband. Warm water speeds hydration. Remove from water and pat dry so the polymer spreads out equally along the pockets. Please remember, never squeeze tightly, the polymer will "ooze" out via the material if you do. Can be refrigerated. Hydrated polymer has the capacity to hold heat/cold 2.84 times longer than pure water. When Cooling Vest starts to dry out, soak in water again. When the Cooling Vest warms up to body temp, submerge in cool water. Hand wash in mild dishwashing liquid then rinse clean. Let it soak overnight in clean water to let the polymer purge the impurities from it. You can keep the Cooling Vest fresher if you put about one tablespoon of rubbing alcohol into the hydration water. (Carry for use in Ziploc bag, but Do not store in Ziploc bag until completely dry or it will mildew).

2,571 Posts
Sounds great... But I've done the research, and am very happy with my Silver Eagle evaporative cooling vest... They did all the work for me! :D

That does look like a very well made "personal farkle" though. I just don't have the patience to make something like that.
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