Monday, May 18, 2015

A Myrtle Dress and Me-Made-May Part 1.

So far, May has been a month of selfish sewing and wearing! Since I'm participating in Me-Made-May, where I wear and photograph something me-made every day of the month, I've been even more motivated to make new things for myself to wear. So far I've made a sweatshirt, a top, and a dress, and I have several more items in the queue.

My first item to share is the Colette Myrtle, a knit dress with a cowl neckline.

Colette Myrtle

I bought this pattern when it was first released. I love knit dresses, and I love cowl necklines, so I was sold immediately. But the pattern didn't get rave reviews - it seems it runs very large and the cowl neckline doesn't sit right on a lot of people.  So when I finally got around to making this, I did some research before deciding on a size. Although I measure between sizes Medium and Large according to the pattern, my knit was very soft and slinky and stretchy, so I cut out a size Small.

Colette Myrtle

And I'm glad I did! I actually think I could go with an Extra Small in this pattern, at least for the bodice. Which is crazy! (I mean, if I'm an XS, then what are the actually really small people going to wear?) This dress has plenty of ease. I wish it had a little less fabric in the neckline, honestly, but it does have a very "Grecian Goddess" look, doesn't it?

Colette Myrtle

The fabric I used here is a tomato-red slub rayon jersey. It is a lovely color and feels very soft and light, but it was squirrelly to sew. Very tissue fine and prone to getting eaten up by the feed dogs or stretched out. It also shows every lump and bump on the body. Wearing a little half slips helps a lot with that, though.

Colette Myrtle

The dress has pockets, which I am on the fence about. Yes, it's fun to have a place to put your hands, but in this lightweight fabric, I feel that they flap around and distort the side seams a little bit. And in such a light fabric, they are not useful for actually holding anything. If I were to make this dress again, I would probably skip the pockets.

So that is all the good stuff. Now, onto the ugly: the back.

Colette Myrtle

Okay, yeah. It's bad. Several things going on here:

(1) The back bodice is unlined, and the pattern has you turn over and stitch down the neckline and armholes. Well, that might work for a much more stable fabric, but it was a no-go for this light tissue weight jersey. The hems flop all over the place and look super messy.

(2) I, like other reviewers of this pattern, felt that the back bodice piece was ENORMOUS. Way too big. Part of the issue may be that I am narrow of back relative to my bust size, but remember, I cut out a size Small, which should have been too small on me (going by the envelope). I feel like something was just wrong with that back piece. I ended up taking it in by well over two inches, creating a seamline down the center-back. This contributed to the general disaster that is the top back neckline of this dress. At this point, I am unclear if it is possible for me to fix this. I think I'll just wear my hair down or a cardigan over it.

 Colette Myrtle

Okay, take it from me. If you make a Myrtle, check the width of the back piece compared to your body and adjust accordingly. And I would strongly recommend lining the back piece like the front piece. (The way the pattern is constructed would make this very easy, actually.

More weirdness happened with the cute little shoulder tab. I honestly cannot figure out where the button is supposed to attach on the tab, and anyway, the tab turned out really long (is the button supposed to attach under the dress? total lack of clarity here). I finally just sewed the tab on. I don't get it. Doesn't matter that much, it's still cute, but ... whaaaaaa? What am I missing?

Colette Myrtle

Okay, so that was quite a bit of grousing, I know. When I first finished the dress, I felt pretty frustrated and wondered if I would ever wear it and doubted I would ever try to make it again. Having slept on it and tried it on again, I think I will wear it ... it is a beautiful color, very comfortable, and besides that disaster of a back neckline, looks pretty nice and well made. Perhaps with a few more night's sleep, I'll go back and make a little facing for the back neckline and see if I can improve its appearance.

And then the question of whether I will make it again ... I don't know. Maybe? I still really love the cowl neck, and in a more smooth and stable fabric, and knowing what I now know, I think I could make myself a much better fitting Myrtle. I love this style of dress so much and patterns for cowl neck tops and dresses are rare enough that I might just be up for giving it another shot. I do not think I would try this in a woven, though - even in a very drapey light fabric, I think it would just be way too much fabric on my frame!

So there's my honest review of the Myrtle: Love the concept of this dress, but this pattern seems much bigger than the measurements indicated on the envelope, and the execution was, frankly, not as straightforward as it could have been.

In other news, Me-Made-May!! I haven't had time to do weekly summaries, so here's a mid-month round-up of my Instagram posts so far. Although I committed to wearing me-mades only five days a week, I've actually managed it every day of May so far. I think I had almost forgotten how much of my wardrobe is now handmade. I don't anticipate any problem continuing it for the whole month!

From left to right starting at the top left: 1. Grainline Archer, 2. Bess Top and Mabel Skirt 3. Grainline Alder Dress, 4. Josephine Blouse, 5. Briar Top, 6. Upcycled tee and Linden Sweatshirt, 7. Plantain Tank, 8. Breton Top and Everyday Skirt, 9. Unblogged Linden Sweatshirt, 10. Unblogged Short sleeved Plantain Tee, 11. Long sleeved Plantain Tee, 12. Bess Top, 13. Kelly Skirt, 14. Bess Top and Everyday Skirt, 15. Kelly Skirt and Plantain Tank, 16. Unblogged Linden Sweatshirt.

Mostly for my own notes, here's what I've learned so far: (1) I have a lot of me-made tops, but you can never have too many! I wear my me-made tops very consistently, with Plantain and Bess being my faves. (2) I make a lot of skirts. I haven't worn all of my me-made skirts yet. I could probably chill out on the skirts. Except the Mabel and Everyday Skirt, that is. I need more comfy elastic-waisted skirts! (3) I don't wear dresses very often but it would be nice to have a few more, especially loose comfy dresses like the Alder dress. (4) Things I love to wear but have not sewn for myself and should: Cardigans and trousers. I am eyeing some of the cute elastic waist trousers out there thinking they might be a good starting point for the ever scary "trouser sewing."

Okay, that's it for today! Hopefully I'll be back later this week to blog my new Lisette top and Linden sweatshirt.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Joe is SIX! Plus, the best thing I ever made him.

Well, it happened: Joe turned six this past Monday. Remember when he was just a little baby? Yeah, me too. We had a little party for him on Sunday - just a small get together with family and Joe best friend from school. A fun time was had by all. Joe is announcing "I am six now." Yes, you are. Sniffle. Love ya so much, kiddo. 

Sir Joseph

My stepmom, known as Mimi to the kids, gave Joe the Imaginext Battle Castle for Christmas, and Joe has been castle-obsessed ever since. A couple weeks before his birthday, Joe announced that he would like a knight costume. Me being me, I decided that I would make him the costume for his birthday. Nothing like a self-imposed deadline, right? Let's just say I was kind of stressed about whether I was going to finish this in time.

Sir Joseph

I gave it to him on his birthday with a toy (foam) shield and sword.

Sir Joseph

Sir Joseph

Yeah, I think he loves it!!! This might be one of the best things I've ever made for Joe. I mean  ... Sir Joseph of Roscoe, that is. He looks intimidating, but he's really a softie at heart.

Sir Joseph

There's not a ton to say about construction here. I took my inspiration from this fleece knight costume made by an amazing Etsy seller, Tree House Kid. I feel a little bad copying an Etsy seller - her work is totally amazing, a lot more nicely done than mine, and totally worth every penny. I should have just bought the dang costume! But it was the eleventh hour and I just loved it so much! With the idea in my mind, I pretty much winged it.

Sir Joseph

I traced a heraldic lion from some internet clip art and cut it out in yellow felt, which I hand embroidered to a red oval using running stitch, just to give the costume a little something special. Then I layered the pieces onto the breastplate/tunic, and rigged some straps to velcro in the back.

Sir Joseph

To make the helmet, I traced the hood from one of Joe's hoodies, adding a "neck flap" to the bottom of the hood piece. I out an outer and inner hood in gray fleece. The red plume pieces are just red felt cut into rectangles and topstitched, then sewn into the top seam of the hood. The visor has black felt pieces sewn on it and I affixed it to the hood with fancy heraldic buttons. Initially I had imagined a visor that could move up and down, but that didn't quite work out, so I just tacked the middle of the visor to the top of the hood.

Sir Joseph

There was one rough moment. I made the helmet early on the morning of the day before Joe's party, while he was still asleep. I was worried it was too small, so I tried it on Maggie for size. It was way too small for Maggie. Ugh! So I re-cut and re-sewed the helmet after Joe woke up. Every time he walked by, I quickly shoved the helmet under a pile of fleece. Super stealth!

I finished the helmet and the breastplate and secreted them away in a closet, and congratulated myself on making something for Joe right under his nose! Yay me!

Then, the next morning, while I was drinking my coffee, Joe said nonchalantly, "Where is that knight hat you were working on?"


I was a little upset, but I just said, "I was making that for your birthday, so you can open it in a present later. I hope you like it!" He wasn't upset, I think it kind of blew his mind that I was actually working on his birthday presents before his birthday! Dang you, Joe, for being such an observant and smart kid!

So it wasn't a surprise. But it makes him feel like a badass, so all is well.

Sir Joseph

So, Joe is six now, and we have a big year ahead! Sir Joseph is ready for it!

Friday, May 1, 2015

KCW Spring 2015, Part 2: Purple with Pink Flowers!

Okay, I know KCW is now pretty much a distant memory (that was five days ago!), but I'm here with my second installment: a purple dress for little Maggie!

Franklin Dress

I've had my eye on Brooklyn Pattern's Franklin Dress for a while - I love the old fashioned look of the curved yoke and pintucks. But I'm on a pattern diet, right? Well, when the pattern was chosen for Flip That Pattern, it briefly went on sale, and er ... I bought it. So it goes. I love this dress!

This was my Maggie project for KCW, and I spent most of the middle of the week working on it for a few minutes at a time in the evenings. These days, Maggie often asks me, "What are you making, mama?" Here, I told her, "I'm making you a purple dress, but it will have pink buttons and flowers." To my delight, she seemed happy about wearing a not-entirely-pink dress. She then proceeded to ask "What are you making?" approximately ten times a day for several days, making this dress feel like a longer project than it really was: "I'm still working on your purple dress." "With pink flowers?" "Yes, with pink flowers." Rinse, repeat.

Franklin Dress

And she likes it!! I'm hopeful that Maggie is slowly emerging from her pink-only phase and may be expanding her color horizons a bit? I never thought I'd be thrilled to make Maggie a purple dress (purple isn't my favorite color) but this beautiful purple shot cotton really almost glows. Photographs don't do it justice. It's the perfect fabric for a breezy lightweight summer Franklin dress. The pink buttons definitely help, of course!

Franklin Dress

As does the trim I sewed along the bottom, which is lime green with pink flowers. I've had this ribbon in my stash for years, waiting for the right application, and when I saw Gail's Franklin Dress with ribbon along the hem, I decided to steal copy her idea for this dress. I love the way the lime green looks against the purple shot cotton. Such a rich color combination!

Franklin Dress

The Franklin Dress is a pretty straightforward sew. The curved yoke and puffed sleeves are really sweet and old fashioned. I like that the yoke buttons are functioning and no other closures are required, making it an easy dress to get in and out of (this goes over Maggie's head with just the top two buttons undone).

Franklin Dress

Maggie likes that it has pockets!

Franklin Dress

Franklin Dress

Franklin Dress

Oh Maggie, you could not be any cuter if you tried.

Maggie is full of language these days, plays imaginative games with Joe all day, and already makes poop jokes! She's potty training herself right before our eyes and it's probably only a matter of weeks or maybe a couple months before she's diaper free. (So unlike Joe, who was in diapers until he was almost four!) But she's still a baby in many ways as well, coming to get her "owies" kissed, snuggling in the evenings ("mow mows" make everything better), and answering to "baby." I am not usually one to sentimentally exclaim that my children grow too fast; in general, I feel pretty good about my children growing older, and I find each new age to have its delights and benefits. But this age - 2 years and 9 months - is very sweet. I don't want to stop time, but I do wish I could hold onto these memories forever. It's upsetting how quickly they fade! For her part, I hope she'll remember how very loved she is.


All in all, I'm calling this a productive KCW week! I had a lot of fun participating. Since Sunday, I've been working on a top secret birthday project for Joe, which I hope to share next week (his birthday party is Sunday). That's right, my baby bull (Taurus) is turning six (SIX!!!). Eeek!

And that also means it's May! And look at me, I'm wearing some me-mades today ... which means ... yes, you guessed it, for the first time ever, I'm going to participate in Me Made May this year! It may be pretty low key, since my handmade items are still a small part of my wardrobe, but I think I have achieved the critical mass necessary to participate. With that:

I, Inder, am signing up for Me Made May 2015 with the goal of wearing something Me-Made 5 days a week. I am sure I will repeating a lot and I will not try to wear head-to-toe Me-Mades although who knows? I'll post my photos on Instagram and maybe do some round ups on the blog too. 

What about you? Are you participating in Me Made May this year? 

Monday, April 27, 2015

KCW Spring 2015, Part 1: Nailed it! :-)

I hope all of you who were participating in Kids' Clothes Week had a fantastically productive week. I have enjoyed seeing all of your great makes on your blogs. I was sewing along with y'all, but I did things a bit differently this time around, and didn't even try to blog any of my makes during the week. With a full time job and a busy schedule, KCW can sometimes feel a bit stressful. This time around, I tried to take things easy - I made just one outfit for each of my kids (I started Joe's last Saturday) and besides some Instagramming (yes, I'm on Instagram finally!), I focused my energy on sewing rather than photographing or writing. I also totally disregarded the theme, even though this season's theme "Wild Things" was really fun. Instead, I focused on items I had the supplies for and had been wanting to sew for a while.

side by side2
Photograph on the left copyright Celina Bailey and used with permission.

First up, a sewing blog knockoff! A couple weeks I posted about my Joe and Maggie Pinterest Boards. While most of the pinning was done by me, I did share the boards with the kiddos as well. Joe especially has strong ideas about what fabrics, colors and styles he likes best (t-shirts and shorts being a given). In looking through the board I put together for him, he took a strong liking to the image above on the left of a blue striped tee with a bright green pocket and black trousers with a narrow pink stripe.

The pin came from a post on Straight Grain from the Belgian Style series a couple years back. Remember that series? I loved (and probably pinned) almost every single outfit from that series. I am a sucker for the colorful and unique Belgian aesthetic and I loved all of the handmade interpretations! Anyway, that particular Belgian Style post was done by Celina Bailey at Petit a Petit + family, one of my (and everyone's) favorite kids' sewing bloggers and definitely an important tastemaker in the online sewing community. So yeah, no wonder we both liked the look so much! I knew I was a total fankid, apparently Joe is too! :-)

"Belgian Style" knock off

First up, the shirt. This is almost exactly like Celina's shirt, with the only difference being that my shirt has black stripes whereas hers had blue. Joe would have preferred blue stripes, but I wanted to work with materials I have, and I had this Riley Blake stripe left over from Joe's Log Triangle Shirt.

"Belgian Style" knock off

I used Rae's Flashback Skinny Tee in size 5 with generous seam allowances and a little extra length (Joe is about to size out of the smaller range of this pattern!). Knits can be a "win some, lose some" endeavor, with some items turning out inexplicably better than others, and I'm really especially pleased with how nicely finished this shirt looks. I must say, these Riley Blake jerseys do curl a lot (like the Kaufman Laguna jerseys as well), but press and sew nicely and have a lovely quality feeling to them.

I used bright green quilting cotton from my stash to make the pocket. I actually used the breast pocket piece from the Sketchbook Shirt to make the pocket, and then drafted a little "flap," applying it just like the cargo pockets on the Field Trip Cargos (it's true what they say about oliver + s patterns providing a sewing education!). If you do this at home, don't forget to put your buttonhole in the flap before you sew it on!

"Belgian Style" knock off

Just as in the original, the back of the shirt is a contrast gray (I used some cheap gray jersey I have had in my stash for a long time) and I used gray ribbing (harvested from an old tank top) for the neckline. 

"Belgian Style" knock off

Since sewing up the Grainline in a plaid fabric, I feel like I'm finally getting the hang of pattern matching. These sleeves aren't perfect but they're pretty good! One of the best parts of having a sewing blog is creating a record and being able to see your slow improvements over time.

The best part is that Joe really likes his new shirt, and Maggie liked it so much she has already put in an order for "one with a pink pocket"! Luckily I still have more black striped fabric!


"Belgian Style" knock off

Jumping for joy!

"Belgian Style" knock off

Oh right, I was distracted there. The shorts! These are exciting for two reasons: (1) They are made from a woven material! Joe has worn almost solely knit fabrics for over a year. (2) Joe likes them anyway! WAHOO!

"Belgian Style" knock off

The secret is the soft fabric (not stiff at all) and a knit waistband. Aha! This is life-changing, people. As much as I enjoy sewing with knits, I have bridled under Joe's restrictive requirements for the past year ... I want more variety! So this is great news.

"Belgian Style" knock off

For these, I used a super-soft black chambray shirting fabric that has been in my stash since  ... OMG, talk about a walk down memory lane, 2011! There's nothing stiff or scratchy about this stuff, and it drapes really nicely. I'm pretty sure I got it at Britex, they have the most beautiful shirtings. Joe really liked the vertical stripe on the original pinned pair, and on our computer screen it read "red" rather than the "hot pink" Celina said it was in her blog post, so we went with red. For the stripe, I used some red double fold bias tape I had the in the stash and ironed it flat into single fold and applied it to the side of the shorts before sewing up the inseam and crotch.

The pattern, of course, is the Sketchbook Shorts, one of my most sewn patterns of all time, I think, in size 5. Besides the stripe on the side, the changes I made to the pattern included scooping the pockets lower (I've always found the hand openings to be a tad too small on this pattern) and cutting the waistband in soft lycra jersey, and a little bit wider than the original pattern waistband piece. Then I used wider elastic which I secured to the side seams so it doesn't roll. I sewed the elastic into a loop, placed it inside the waistband loop, and serged it right onto the shorts. Then I pressed the waist seam allowance down and sewed a soft ribbon tag in the back to help Joe figure out which way is which and hopefully cover up that slightly rough spot where the serged waist seam meets the center back seam.  These remind me a little bit of maternity shorts, but Joe likes them and finds them comfortable! And I'm just THRILLED to be able to make him some shorts (mostly) in non-jersey fabric! Ah, the simple things in life, right?

Maybe he'll start wearing pants again at some point? Let's not get ahead of ourselves, shall we?

"Belgian Style" knock off

Joe says, "No, I like shorts."

For my part, I've already cut him out another pair of Sketchbook Shorts, this time color blocked, in a very soft linen. Fingers crossed!

A huge thank you to Celina Bailey of Petit a Petit + family for providing such great inspiration, for being flattered rather than annoyed at my blatant copying, and for graciously allowing me to borrow her photograph for this blog!  Joe and I are so pleased with his new outfit!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

An Easter - no, make that "Vernal" - Geranium.

Geranium Easter Dress

Oh, my sweet Miss Margaret Joy! Since I last blogged a Maggie dress, she got her first haircut! A cute almost bowl-like bob. I held out for a while, but Maggie's long hair was getting a bit straggly and she never lets me put it back in a ponytail or barrette ... or comb it ... so finally I decided we'd all be happier with a cute short cut.

I didn't mean for it to be quite so bowl-like, but with kid haircuts you just pretty much get what you get - the style of the haircut is determined by how long your child will sit still and how much they are hating the process. Which for my kids is quite a lot (of dislike, that is). We went to a local place called "Queenie's," walking distance from our house, where all of the hairdressers and customers were speaking Cantonese. I was skeptical of a place that advertises $7 cuts and doesn't specialize in kids, but Steve told me they did a nice job with Joe, and he was so right! Queenie herself fussed over Maggie and was so sweet and patient with both Joe and Maggie while they were enduring their haircuts, and then gave them tamarind lollypops as a reward! They were pretty thrilled by that.

Here's an action shot for your amusement.

Look at that face. That is Maggie's "I'm putting up with this right now, but make no mistake, I am NOT ENJOYING IT" face. My hand firmly on her shoulder and around her neck? Necessary in order that she not get poked with scissors. Sorry babes.

Geranium Easter Dress

Of course, Maggie would be adorable with any type of hair, but look how her new bangs frame her pretty brown eyes! Of course she wakes up with it looking pretty much this adorable. I don't know how she does it - I wish I had this problem! This girl's hair naturally falls into a default mode of "artfully unkempt hipster."

Geranium Easter Dress

Onto the dress. This was intended to be an Easter dress, and was finished in plenty of time, but then, alas, Maggie came down with a fever right before Easter and couldn't participate in the festivities. Joe and I went to the egg hunt on our own, and this dress sat until last weekend, when I finally pulled it out and asked Maggie if she'd like to try it on and take pictures. Thankfully, she said "I like it!" and readily agreed to my plan.

Of course, this is the well known and rightfully popular Geranium Dress by Rae, in size 18 months, with a plain neckline, gathered skirt, flutter sleeves, and no pockets. I used a pretty calico I bought at A Verb For Keeping Warm, a small Oakland shop with a lovely selection of quality yarns and a beautifully curated selection of fabrics (including Liberty, Nani Iro, and gorgeous linens as well as some quilting cottons like this one). I liked that while it has pink flowers (sure to please Maggie), it has lots of yellowy cream and spring green and doesn't read predominantly pink (which pleases me). It has a stripey (wallpaper-like) floral motif, and I ran the stripes horizontally on the bodice and vertically on the skirt.

Geranium Easter Dress

I wanted to "fancy" the dress up a bit for Easter, so, inspired by this version, I embellished the waistline with a simple spring green grosgrain ribbon and sewed a little bow on the front. I sewed the ribbon on with pick stitches before whip stitching the lining down by hand (thus hiding my ribbon stitches inside the bodice).  

Geranium Easter Dress

The back closes up with green buttons (maybe they could've been placed better, shrug). The size of the dress is just right for petite Maggie, with no growing-into required. I finished the flutter sleeves with a simple zig-zag and they have a charmingly raggedy look.

Geranium Easter Dress

I lengthened the skirt pattern pieces by a few inches and then turned over and handstitched a 3 inch deep hem. The skirt ended up a bit shorter than the pattern is drafted for (it just clears Maggie's knees). I love a deep hem on little girls' dresses. It has an old-fashioned look to me. Traditionally, I think such a deep hem was done with an eye to letting the dress out as the child grew, but as Rachel and Alicia Paulson have both recently mentioned, a deep hem also adds weight and substance to the hem that help a gathered skirt to hang better.

As you can probably guess, Maggie chose her own hosiery and footwear for this photo shoot. 

Initially I was a little disappointed that Maggie didn't get a chance to wear this on Easter (and, let's face it, be photographed in it holding an Easter basket), and after all that hand-stitching, I wasn't sure how much wear it would see, but do you want to know the best part about this dress?

She loves it! Look at her testing the "twirl"!

Geranium Easter Dress

Geranium Easter Dress

Geranium Easter Dress

She actually wore this dress two days in a row, and I had to convince her to take it off on the third day. So I think it will get plenty of love, and there is no better feeling for me than making something that my kids love! Oh my sweet girl.

Friday, April 10, 2015

KCW and some Spring and Summer Pinterest planning.

Well, I signed up for this Spring's KCW. As usual, it's a busy week for me, so we'll see how I do, but I thought it would be a good motivator to focus on whipping up a few things for the kids this month. So right now I'm in planning mode.

I love Pinterest, don't you? My friend and I were talking recently about how we think it might be our favorite social media. I have groomed my feed pretty well (for me, this means I religiously unfollow boards that deal with dieting, working out, getting or being skinny, and, I admit, collections of religious and inspirational quotes) so it's mostly filled with lovely things. I like to open it late at night after my kids have fallen asleep, and go to my "happy place" of pretty things, sewing and craft projects. I also use it to keep track of great things I see on blogs or elsewhere on the internet and want to remember later.

I have a board of general children's wear but it has grown to ungainly proportions, so for purposes of more practical sewing planning for the next few months, I started boards to collect photos or ideas for items that I would like to do sooner rather than later. I have one board for Maggie, and one for Joe (I also started one for selfish sewing, but that will have to be the subject of a different blog post). It's still an ambitious collection and I'll never sew all the things, but it's definitely more manageable. And since I'm on a budget, my focus with these boards was to find items that could be made with patterns and materials that I already have.

Click on my little Pinterest widgets to go to my boards, and then click on the images to see the source. I hope no one minds me using these inspiration images (if so, please let me know!). I know that different bloggers, etc., have different comfort levels with being "pinned" and I try to respect those wishes. Let me know if I messed up!

So let's talk sewing planning for Joe for KCW and beyond!

Joe's Spring/Summer theme is ... wait for it ... you'll be shocked ... t-shirts and shorts! Hahaha. As in, the only clothing he ever wears. Crazy, right? But there are some other concepts here as well:
  • Color blocked t-shirts. Not only is color blocking fun and lively to look at, but it will help me use up scraps! Yay! I have two TNT t-shirt patterns for Joe these days: a rather squarish Ottobre tee (scroll to the bottom of that post), and the Field Trip Raglan. These two patterns pretty much cover all of my t-shirt needs and they are already traced out and ready to go in Joe's size. 
  • Pockets. Joe likes shirts with pockets so why not make that colorful contrasting pockets? Maybe with flaps and buttons?
  • Henley - I would like to try a henley tee for Joe one of these days, Ottobre has a really great looking pattern.
  • More knit shorts with ribbed waistbands. Joe is wearing his bright rainbow shorts everytime they are clean, so that was a huge win! I need to make more pairs, hopefully with more colorful details. I am also wondering if Joe might be willing to try woven shorts if I put a knit waistband on them. I am considering trying that with the Sketchbook shorts pattern in a soft fabric to start.
  • Raglan sweatshirt. I want to use the Field Trip pattern to make Joe a classic raglan sweatshirt. I have some plain navy sweatshirt fleece, but it definitely needs "something" to make it more fun and interesting. Thoughts?
  • Flannel shirt. Ambitious and may not happen, but I would love to sew Joe an oversized flannel shirt to wear over his play clothes using the trusty Sketchbook shirt ... 
Okay, that's a lot, and look, Maggie's board is even more ambitious! Haha, allow me to dream, okay? Girls are fun to sew and to Pin for, clearly! I will never be able to make all of these things, but it sure is fun plotting and scheming.

Maggie's board is more specifically pattern-themed, with a focus on patterns I have - there are an embarrassing number of little girls' patterns I have bought but not yet sewn as well as many old favorites I really want to make again. Let's put a dent in that pile, shall we?

  • T-shirts. I have never made a Flashback Skinny tee for Maggie! She's small for her age but I think I can work with the 2T now. I'm thinking a "ringer" style tee or maybe a simple tee with puffed sleeves.
  • Pants/Trousers. I would love to make Maggie some simple Sailboat pants in denim (if she can tolerate the lack of pink), and I really want to try a pair of Sketchbook pants for her, lengthened and pegged a bit.  She is also almost big enough for some Parsley pants, which I would like to straighten into little patterned stovepipes like this.
  • Knit dress. I really want to revisit the Little Betty pattern for Maggie, and make it into a dress. Did you see the gorgeous one in Stylo a while back? Or what about a lengthened Sailboat top?
  • Never-sewn patterns to consider: The Hide and Seek, the Franklin Dress, the Garden Party, the Hopscotch Skirt, oh my, the list just goes on and on! 
  • Pinnies. Oh, the cute pinafores!! I can't stand them! I would love to make one or two of these for Maggie, and they can double as sundresses.
Okay, now I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed! Too many wonderful ideas, not enough time! I'll probably pare this down to, I don't know, two or three garments for KCW.  I do have a job, after all!!

Are you planning for S/S (F/W for you Aussies) 2015 kid sewing? What's on your to-make list?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Noodlehead Divided Basket and misc.

I've been a busy seamstress the past few weeks. I actually made an Easter dress for Maggie, but then she came down with a fever on the night before Easter and couldn't participate in the festivities, so she hasn't had a chance to wear it yet. Boo. Don't worry, though: it's just a simple cotton dress, I'm sure it will get plenty of wear and I will get some photos soon and share it here.

I am also working on a quilt top and I cut out a blouse for myself, so ... right, in other words my sewing area is a hot mess now! I really need to stop sewing and focus more on getting our house ready to sell, but ...  sewing is one of my favorite forms of procrastination and denial.

Since I don't have any more recently finished objects to share, I'm taking this opportunity to share a gift I made last month for a dear friend who just had her second daughter. I wanted to send something for the new baby, but also a little something for mom. She's a fellow seamstress, crocheter, and lover of all things textile, which, by the way, makes it even more fun to sew gifts! I know that she reads many of the same blogs I do, and consequently, recognizes and lusts after fun fabric lines just like I do!

Noodlehead Divided Basket

So while Noodlehead's Divided Basket does work to store all kinds of baby things, I definitely made this with mom in mind! I thought she might like to use it for hand-sewing, yarn, or bits and bobs. It can't hurt that the use of Cotton + Steel fabrics automatically elevates the hipness of any article by at least 10 hipster points, right? It's rare that I fall head over heels for a designer quilting cotton line, but there is something irresistible about this one, probably the super hipness, what do you think? I dunno, this stuff is just cool.

Noodlehead Divided Basket

I don't usually do a lot of bag sewing, and this was first time using a Noodlehead patterns, and my first time using fusible fleece. I'll be honest with you, this was the project that broke my sewing machine. (I was trying to sew through many thick layers of fabric and interfacing and fleece, and I think what happened is that I bent the needle, which then hit the bobbin case and messed up the timing - it's all fixed now thank goodness!) I finished it up on my Elna, which is tiny and quiet but could sew through giant logs unfazed, I'm telling you. Machine damage aside, I thought the pattern was well drafted and affordable and the instructions were great. It was not a difficult pattern to sew, I just need to learn how to sew box corners with so many layers of fabric!

If I do another one of these baskets, it will be on one of my older, sturdier, machines.

Noodlehead Divided Basket

For whatever reason, "bag sewing" remains a challenge for me! But I do love the final results and I definitely need one for my yarns and crochet hooks, so chances are good I will be trying it again. I think my favorite part of this pattern is the use of cotton webbing in the handles. I don't know what it is, but it just looks so clever and professional with that partial covering/binding.

Inside the basket were a few gifts for baby. A simple baby blanket made from Nani Iro double gauze. The fabric is so nice it really didn't need anything fancy, I just sewed two yards right sides together, turned them and topstitched. It's so light and fluffy! Perfect for wrapping a baby in during the warmer months.

Nani Iro baby blanket

I told you my sewing space was a mess. Sigh.

And I whipped up a couple of pairs of little baggy baby pants on the serger using some knits from the stash. 

Ottobre 3/2013 #7

These are from Ottobre Magazine, 3/2013, #7. My friend uses cloth diapers so I was looking for something with a nice generous fit around the tush.

Ottobre 3/2013 #7

So I have no idea how these will work in real life (it's weird sewing for a baby now that I no longer have a baby in the house to try things on!). I did do things a bit differently with these than the pattern called for. The pattern had me hemming the waist band and cuffs. That just seemed ... uh, a little weird, so I doubled over the cuffs on both pairs, and did the same with the waistband on the yellow ribbing pair. I have no idea! I can't wait to hear how these work out. If they are a success, they are easy as can be and I'll be making more!

Do you use extra special materials when you sew for other sewing/fabric/crafty people?