Sunday, October 25, 2015

Kid's Clothes Week: October 2015

It's Kid's Clothes Week again and this week has been about the baby. Last time around the three older siblings all got wearable clothes, while poor Video Game was left with a half finished romper. :( To rectify this terrible injustice, the baby got the benefit of all my sewing effort. And what a benefit it was.
Most of the pictures are fuzzy because this little boy is always on the move.
Both projects are a product of patient waiting for the right time. First up is this Cookie Monster outfit. I was able to buy the fabric on preorder from Pink Zeppelin Boutique, one of my favorite sources for custom knit fabric. I held on to the fabric without cutting into it while I waited for Video Game to grow into the Cookie Monster shoes I bought him. I did not, of course, bother to put the shoes on him to take pictures.

I was able to squeeze the hoodie out of a fat half of the fur print. When I saw the fur fabric and its coordinates I knew the were going to be a hoodie with chocolate chip lining and pockets with a pair of pants. Taking the extra time to make a bite mark out of the cookie pockets was totally worth it.
The picture is dark, but you get the idea. And, yes, those spots on the pocket are splatters of food.
The hoodie pattern is the free pattern you can download for joining the Brindille & Twig email list. Obviously, I modified the pocket to fit the cookie theme. I used this pattern for the LOTR hoodie too. I made it a little big because I wanted it to have plenty of growing room.
For the pants I used the Simply Sweats and Shorts pattern from Dandelions n' Dungarees. It's a great pattern for basic pants. I also made these long enough to grow into for a while. With any luck he'll be able to wear these next year too.  Fingers crossed.
His smile kills me.
Video Game seems pretty comfy in the outfit and doesn't fuss when I put it on him. That means it's a keeper. Although I'm pretty sure I'd make him wear it even if he hated it. Cute over comfy. It's all about priorities. :) Because I just want to eat this kid up, here are a few more pictures of the baby eating a cookie and being darling.

Cookie eating is serious business.

He's still a bit of a wobbly walker and is just now making the transition from mostly crawling to mostly walking. I am not okay with this.
And down he goes.

"Want a cookie? They're super yummy."

I hesitate to show the next project. As darling as the cookie monster outfit is, it's got nothing on his Halloween costume. The pattern is so far out of print that it's not even listed with the out-of-print patterns, which is really a shame because it's so stinkin' cute. I used minky, fleece, and felt from JoAnn. And....well this little costume speaks for itself. I apologize if you go cute-atonic (description at 1:13, but the whole thing is fun to watch). Here's my little organ grinder monkey:

Again with the walking? STOP GROWING UP!!!
Next time I'll put the hood elastic on at the bottom instead of on the placement line

Photo bomb! 

And then there's this face. My monkey is cuter than your monkey. :)
I would say this Kid's Clothes week was a success.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Less Is More Culottes--Happy Birthday, Itch-to-Stitch!

As I have started using pdf patterns more and more I have found there are a few designers I favor. At the top of that list is Itch-to-Stitch. The designs are lovely, the techniques professional, and the pattern quality stellar. Kennis, the fabulous designer behind Itch-to-Stich, released her first pattern a year ago and there have been nine more patterns since then. To celebrate, Kennis is hosting a blog tour, offering a sale, and running a pretty sweet giveaway (found at the bottom of this post). I'm flattered to be a part of the blog tour. We were each asked to hack an Itch-to-Stitch pattern in some way. There are so many options and these patterns lend themselves to hacking so well that I finally gave up trying to make a decision and asked Kennis which one she would like me to tackle. She suggested the Emily Culottes and I'm so pleased. Mother Nature is pretty fickle with the weather around these parts so I decided to make a pair that would work well for the days that still feel a bit like summer...
Wide legs for extra breeze it does for those crisper, more fall-like days. I'm all about transitional clothes that will take me from one season to another. I love that these an be casual to more dressy and are comfortable enough that they feel like pajamas.
Long length for cooler weather.
Whenever I think of hacking a pattern I think of what I can add to it to give it a bit more oomph. This time I decided to take something away. With all the sewing projects I have on my list and four children (can't forget them), sometimes the best thing to do is cut down on the time it takes to construct a project. In this case, the zipper got the hack. I traded the contour waistband for elastic and just eliminated the zipper all together. It was a super simple hack that saved me some time and I'll tell you how to do it too. The other change I made was adding length in the leg. Kennis gives great instructions about how to do that right in the pattern, so no further hacking is required there. The instructions are pretty straightforward so I'm just giving written instructions.

The first thing to do when eliminating the zipper is to choose your fabric. You'll want to use a knit so it can stretch over your hips before sitting on your waist. I chose to use this gorgeous royal blue ponte de roma from Michael Levine for my culottes. It's a great weight for the transition to fall and the knit is stable enough to give me the structure I wanted. Honestly, a ponte would also work very well for the zipper construction but is just as beautiful and functional in my zip-less version.

The next step is to size down. I didn't want the amount of fabric in the culottes to eat me alive. To get the fit I wanted, I ignored the size chart altogether and went straight to the finished garment measurements. You'll want the fabric to just skim your hips, so choose the finished garment measurement that most closely matches your body measurements. The stretch in the knit fabric will give you all the wearing ease you need. As you cut out you'll also need to make sure you eliminate the zipper extension on the left side.
Skimming fit around the boo-tay.
Had my fabric been of a lighter weight and /or the culottes a shorter length, I might have been able to get away with making a yoga waistband. The weight of my culottes really required the support of an elastic waist. To make an elastic waistband, start by eliminating the contour waistband piece. Replace that with a waistband casing that is cut about 3.75 inches tall and as wide as the waistline on your culottes. You could cut it a little more narrow to avoid gathers in the waistband but I didn't bother with that, as I always wear my shirts untucked. With RIGHT sides together, stitch the two narrow edges together to form a loop. Sew the elastic to fit your waist. I ended up pulling mine tighter twice before I was convinced it would hold up the culottes.
The elastic waist still follows the contour of the original waistband.
The elastic and casing are put together before attaching it to the culottes...unless you're me and skip this step. With WRONG sides together, fold the knit casing piece in half along the length and place the elastic inside. Stitch the raw edges together, encasing the elastic. Attach the waistband to the body of the culottes and you're good to go. Pattern: hacked.
I love the comfort of the culottes and the ease of omitting the zipper.
Now for the EXTRA fun stuff. Pop on over to Itch-to-Stitch to take advantage of the sale. you can also take a look below at all the other awesome pattern hacks and the bloggers who created them.
Itch to Stitch Birthday Fun
(scroll to the bottom to enter to win!)
Follow these blogs to see their awesome creations from Itch to Stitch patterns:
Be sure to scroll to the bottom for your chance to win great prizes by these sponsors:
Itch to Stitch First Anniversary Sponsors
The Fabric Store - $100 Gift certificate
Elliott Berman Textiles - Fabric bundle from France & Italy
Craftsy - three online classes of your choice
Girl Charlee Fabrics - $25 Gift certificate
Indie Sew - $25 Gift certificate
UpCraft Club - $25 Gift certificate
Quarto Publishing Group USA - the SHIRTMAKING WORKBOOK by David Page Coffin
The featured designer of the day will give away 2 patterns to a lucky winner:
Follow Itch to Stitch's blog closely to win these patterns!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, October 10, 2015

LOTR Hoodie

Tonight the Young Women (12-18 year old girls) in our ward (congregation) are having a fundraiser to help pay for their yearly summer camp. In addition to a dinner there will also be an auction of items donated from members of our ward. Most of it will be baked goods but there will be a few other miscellaneous items up for grabs. Obviously, I chose to sew something for the auction. Behold, the Lord of the Rings Hoodie:

Cute, right? I had the fabric leftover from a custom knit order, so it's no longer available anywhere, unless you want to pay a small fortune. :(  I made shirts for my boys out of it. This one, however, is modeled by my littlest girl.

The pattern is the free hoodie from Brindille&Twig that you get when you sign up for the newsletter. It was quick and easy and seemed to run true to size. The arms were a little long on Pink Blur but it's a 5/6 and she's in a 5.

The orange fabric I used for the hood lining, pocket, and sleeve detail came from a girl Charlee KnitFix fabric that no one seemed to want to buy off me. It has turned out to be a really great accent piece for this print.
Lembas bread. And look! MORE lembas bread.
Everything for sewing the pattern came together beautifully. I'm a little sad that this won't be staying at our house (Pink Blue is even more sad about it) but I'm happy it can go to someone who wants it and is happy to pay for it. I'm really hoping someone is willing to pay more than $5 for it.
She LOVES the pocket!
I tend to think of this top as more boyish, though I'm not sure why. I love LOTR and Pink Blur loves the shirt so I'd say that makes it pretty unisex. Here's to hoping whoever gets it will appreciate it.
Gotta get a hooded shot
This one is my favorite.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Lotus Blossom Blouse and Peg Legs

There has been quite a bit of sewing going on around here lately, just not a lot of picture taking orblogging. I meant to remedy that this morning (and print off another pattern) when I found the corpse of our laptop. I can't even get it to turn on. Insert the weeping of bitter tears. So today's offering to the blogging gods includes pics that are not cropped or edited to be more flattering. You're welcome. Or I apologize, whichever one fits the bill for you. :)

My first exercise in humility for the day is this pair of Peg Legs by Patterns for Pirates:
My attempt at looking carefree and confident when I'm really not feeling that way.
I avoid leggings like the plague. Still, I felt the need to give it as try and a free pattern (you can get the code to get the pattern here when you join the Patterns for Pirates Facebook group) is a great reason to go for it. It uses a yoga waist band and is super comfy. These leggings still haven't seen the outside of my house. I'm kind of self-conscious about the size of my legs and putting them on display of out of my comfort zone. Also, I don't have any shirts in a tunic length and I won't wear these without a bit more coverage. I could remedy that by making a tunic length top in a solid color but I've been having too much fun making other things.
I found that fingertip length shirts make me feel more comfortable in leggings.
The pattern for this next top comes from Love Notions. It's the Lotus Blossom Blouse, which I have made twice now. I made a few little modifications. I raised the neckline a couple of inches, lengthened the sleeves, and left more of the center front seam open at the bottom to give a little more space. That last part probably doesn't make a lot of sense unless you are familiar with these pattern. Either way, I really like the end result from this pattern. It's fun and feminine without taking a lot of time to make.
Photo cred goes to Pink Blur. Yay for five year old photographers! And awkward foot positioning.

I have eight other projects that have been cut out or completed, three more with patterns and fabric set aside, and countless others I would like to do if I had the time. With any luck I'll take pictures of the completed items soon. Until then, I'll keep plugging away at my current project: a child's top and pants combo that is to be auctioned off for a fundraiser this weekend. Here's to hoping it goes for a good price!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Preschool Sewing

I already wrote about the school uniform I made for Blue Eyes and today is about what I made for the Pink Blur as she starts preschool. Her birthday is just a few weeks after the cut off date to start kindergarten, which was pretty disappointing for me and for her. But, on a more positive note, she's in a wonderful preschool this year. I love her preschool teacher and preschool had no dress code, allowing me to sew a greater variety of things for her. And she loves it when I sew for her. That's always a win.
I already blogged this one but it's what she chose for the first day.
While Pink Blur is allowed more options in clothing, she almost always chooses a dress. So everything I made her for school has an attached skirt. First up is the Dropsie Boater Dress. I made matching dresses for the girls because I had two yards of the fabric. It was in the KnitFix from Girl Charlee. The skirt started a bit shorter than I like (particularly when considering room for growth) so I added a bit at the bottom and they're perfect.
I love my little models
Next is the Princess Skater Dress by Dandelions N Dungarees. The pattern was perfect for this fabric, which came from a mystery pack of slightly flawed fabric. She wore this to the preschool brunch that happened a week before class started. To say she loves it is an understatement.
Cheesing it up

Also a great dress for hopscotch 

I love watching her 
Big sister got a Button Up Jumper for her school uniform and it was so cute I just had to make another one for Pink Blur. The fabric for this one came the same mystery pack of flawed fabric as the dress above. I didn't have too difficult a time cutting around the mistakes, which was nice.The Star Wars print was fun and unique.
At the Aerospace Museum. Q-Ball is wearing his aviator glasses and plane shirt. Very appropriate.
Last but not least is another version of the Dropsie Boater Dress (see above for link). The fabric is yet another custom print, found here. Pink Blur wore it on her birthday. We went to Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate and it was great fun. Her shirt says, "Though she be but little she is fierce." That is so true of my little spitfire.
In the birthday girl crown. Most of the time she wore it like a pool floatie. Sadly, I did not get a picture of that.
Just after the show
She wasn't so much into modeling for me when she had a handful of tokens or the games.
Next year this sweet girl will have a school uniform of her own and she's is REALLY looking forward to that. Until then I will continue to make little dresses for her to wear.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Back to School Sewing, Uniform Style

My sweet oldest  girl started second grade this year. I know every parent everywhere thinks it is inhuman that their children are growing up so quickly and I am no exception. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?!?!! I could go on forever about the injustice of children growing up but it wouldn't really do any good, so I'll just tell about the dress.

This one was actually taken before school and the sun was blinding!
Blue Eyes attends a charter school that uses uniforms. For he age group, she can wear a navy jumper or a red/white/navy plaid jumper. It is generally cheaper to buy uniform than make them. I picked up a navy jumper online and expected to do the same with the plaid. 

My go-to source for discount uniforms didn't carry the plaid this year. Boo. As much as I love school uniforms, there is a part of me that needs to be a little different. I usually do that with the plaid jumper but the only "different" plaid jumpers I could find cost upwards of $40 and that's a price I am unwilling to pay. This year I got the Button Up Jumper from Once Upon a Sewing Machine and a few yards of uniform plaid. I love the result and so does Blue Eyes.

The light indoors was far less harsh

There were only a couple of modifications to be made. First, I changed the skirt front gathers into an inverted box pleat to better suit the crisp fabric. Second, I made a round neckline because that's what Blue Eyes wanted. The final modification was to change the angle on the back side seam to match the angle on the skirt. That was to make stripe matching easier.

My little girl may have just turned seven but she's got a set of hips on her. Because of that I needed to size up quite a bit on the pattern to let her wiggle into the jumper. I don't forsee it being a problem for The Pink Blur (who my mother has also called "The Buttless Wonder"). And this isn't really a change to the pattern, but it is an element I love. I had a further fit of nonconformity and decided to make the pocket lining out of a contrast fabric. I considered using the fabric for all the lining but ultimately decided to keep that traditional because there was more chance that the bodice lining would be spotted. So now the pocket bags are made with Doctor Who fabric.

Pockets are better when they're bigger on the inside. :)
The pattern was great to make something out of the ordinary but also compliant with the dress code. It is her favorite jumper to wear to school. I plan on making one (not uniform) for Pink Blur to wear to preschool.

After school the sun was behind our house and much more friendly for personality pictures.