Friday, April 27, 2012

KCWC Days 3 & 4.

I have been plugging away at my kids' clothes sewing for at least an hour for the past couple nights. Well, in truth, I have been getting to bed late after rather more than an hour of sewing, and I'm starting to feel a bit fatigued. But it has been really fun seeing some clothes for Joe come together so quickly.

A really long time ago, I characterized Joe's wardrobe aesthetic (keeping in mind that, ultimately, I am the arbiter of his wardrobe despite the slow and subtle power shift that is currently underway) as "unkempt stripey handsewn vintage Sesame Street." I think this is basically still true, in large part because of my personal preference for a somewhat 1970s color palette. (Orange, orange, and more orange. Also "avocado" and "sungold.")

(The fact that I prefer children's clothing that is reminiscent of the clothing I myself wore as a small child is probably incredibly fascinating and reveals something about my innermost psychological make-up, but I'm not sure what. It might just mean I watched a lot of Sesame Street at an impressionable age.)

As far as the stripey 1970s Sesame Street aesthetic goes, however, I think I may have really outdone myself with this outfit.

Flashback tee and Franken-shorts.


The t-shirt is Made by Rae's Flashback Skinny Tee, which is making the rounds on the sewing blogosphere for excellent reasons - it's easy to sew, incredibly versatile, and seriously cute. Warning: I have a feeling I'll be boring y'all to death with iterations of this t-shirt, because it's awesome. Check out the fit!! It's perfect! (Well, okay, that neckline ribbing is looking a bit kooky here, but I don't notice it most of the time.)

Playing.


That orange and green striped fabric may look familiar to long-time readers of this blog or even just people who have seen my blog header. I've used it before, here and here and here. And it's not gone yet! It's amazing what you can do with two yards of jersey when you're sewing for children. Honestly, I think I should limit myself to just a yard of crazy loud stripes in future, since I'm getting a bit tired of this stuff. But with the brown ribbing (taken from thrifted ribbed tank top, my favorite source of colorful ribbing), the shirt looks especially 1970s Sesame Street. Wouldn't Joe fit in just great with Bert and Ernie?



The shorts are something a bit different for me. Remember how I was just saying that the Oliver + s Sketchbook Shorts represent the gold-standard in fit for Joe? These shorts fit just right - they have plenty of room in the seat, they don't ride down, they fit just right in the front. As anyone who sews a lot of clothing (or you know, wears pants) has realized, there are a lot of variables to a good fit on a pair of pants. Probably the most crucial, and definitely the most difficult to tinker with, is the curve of the seam that goes down the center of the pants and under the crotch area. If it's right, you have great-fitting pants. If it's wrong, all kinds of bad things can happen - camel-toe, saggy bottoms, and wedgies. Well, for whatever reason, that curve on the Sketchbook Pants is just exactly right on Joe, which is why this pattern has become my tried-and-true shorts/pants pattern.

But as much as I love the Sketchbook Shorts pattern, with its old-fashioned vibe, front pleats, pockets, and mock fly, sometimes I want something a bit different. Something more, I don't know, 1970s Sesame Street. And so I have sewn up a bunch of other pants patterns for Joe. Often, however, I am dissatisfied with the fit of the end result, and this is true even of other Oliver + s pants patterns, like the Sailboat Pants and the Sandbox Pants. These are great patterns and they fit Joe well enough, but they just don't have that je ne sais quois (that's French for "makes your butt look good"- not that my toddler is concerned about that).

Well, there is a simple solution to this problem. I just need to alter the crotch curve of other pants patterns to better mimic the Sketchbook pattern, right? I need to make the Sketchbook pattern my "sloper" for pants for Joe. Since I know what does work on Joe, a few simple changes to other pants patterns should result in a better fit on Joe. Simple, right?

Uh, right. It's just that I am a bit timid about drafting my own patterns, or even altering patterns. But at this point, I have already used the Sketchbook Shorts as a starting point for (many pairs of) shorts and pants - I've modified the pocket shape, and I've eliminated the pleats for a flat-front version. So what's the big deal? I can do this!

For my first Franken-pattern attempt, I chose another pair of pants I've made for Joe - the Pocket Pants from Growing Up Sew Liberated. I've also made these as shorts and Joe still wears both items pretty frequently. I love the contrast binding and waistband details on these pants. So cute. And the fit of the original pattern is okay on Joe. But it's not perfect - the back tends to ride down as Joe plays, and the front tends to bunch up a bit. He shows a bit more plumber crack diaper in those pants than is strictly ideal.

Franken-shorts.

So I combined the two patterns into these Franken-shorts. These shorts use the basic pattern pieces from the Sketchbook Shorts (with the pleat eliminated and the pocket shape changed from a scoop to a diagonal line), but incorporate the details of the Pocket Pants. For a pair of Pocket Pants with the perfect fit. And it wasn't hard at all.

Playing.
I purposefully made these shorts pretty long, for a "board short" look, and because Joe is getting taller by the minute. Since I wasn't sure how these would work out, I used some scraps that have been lingering in my stash forever to make them up. If fabrics you've forgotten the value of are essentially "free" then I think fabrics you once sewed into an ugly garment you never wore and then threw back into the scrap pile are also "free" and you can feel pretty smug about sewing them into something useable. Such was the tomato-red cotton twill used in these shorts. Again, feel free to incorporate this theory into your own sewing life as applicable.

Joe gives the pockets his seal of approval. Toddlers just love their pockets.

He found the pockets!


As other bloggers have noted, getting decent photos of your kid playing in his new outfit is often one of the most challenging aspects of KCWC. Now, it would be pretty much impossible to get a shot of Joe actually posing in his new outfit, because this child never stops moving. But Joe was really having a good time this morning, so you get lots of great action shots (with more or less crap in the background, because our backyard is generally a bit messy). This new outfit was dirty within minutes of putting it on him, which I think is a really good sign, actually.  I even got a few goofy shots of him running around totally crazed, with his tongue hanging out. My little party animal. I love this kid.

Playing.

 
Playing.


Playing.

So that covers days three and four of KCWC. There are still three days left in this challenge, so the big question now is "what next?"

Do tell: What are you planning to sew up this weekend?

18 comments:

  1. I prefer that sort of palette too over primary 'kiddie' colours. That's really interesting that you think the sketchbook pants are the ones to go for. I haven't tried them yet, but think I will now just for the good crotch factor. Very cute outfit!

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    1. "Good crotch factor." Haha. Yes, they are my favorite shorts/pants pattern by far, at least for Joe. I'm sure different patterns work well for different kids.

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  2. "Unkempt stripey handsewn vintage Sesame Street" sounds like the perfect wardrobe vibe to me. Rowan's middle name is Ernie. That is such a cool outfit and I love the colours. I've made those pants as shorts too and I really like the pattern. In fact, it's what I'm planning to sew next, along with another flashback tee :).

    I'm feeling pretty tired too, and I'm not pregnant. KCWC has been so much fun though and lovely to see what everyone else is sewing.

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    1. Ernest is one of my favorite names, too! Apparently I am very influenced by Sesame Street. Maybe the far-right is correct and it really does brainwash kids. ;-)

      After this outfit, I'm pretty beat. I didn't do much yesterday and I don't know how much I'll do today. But I'm loving seeing all of these inspiring projects out there in blog-land!

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  3. I love 70s Seasame Street vibe. They came out so great, perfect fit! I also love the pictures, he looks so happy!

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    1. Thank you! Yeah, he was having a blast running at top speed and trying to avoid getting photographed. It's a game he likes to play. :D

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  4. Great post Inder. I've loved Sesame Street forever too and reckon you can't go wrong with 70's style for kids! Ernie and Bert are the style masters! Good on you for mixing the 2 patterns to get the right crotch fit, they look perfect on your boy, and love the shots of him racing around (my backyard is always full of stuff happening too - no perfection here!). I'd like to finish off the pyjamas I started making for the last days of KCWC, but I'll see how I go. Have a lovely weekend!

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    1. Yeah, rather than intimidating y'all with my picture-perfect life and beautiful interior decorating, I really shoot to make other people feel better about their lives with my blog. You can always say, "Wow, her entire house is covered in toys too!" I have more important things to do than clean ... like, sew!

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  5. SO much tongue (it matches the shorts!) I usually get a sneak peek at Joe's new wardrobe before you blog about it and this morning was no exception. Honestly, I wasn't sure the shirt was new thanks to your favorite stripey fabric but I noticed the shorts straight off - love the trim! Perfect for recreational fountain rebuilding...

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    1. That fountain has provided hours of entertainment for Joe. Who needs toys?

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  6. they look great!! i know what you mean... i'm just at the point where i'm mixing up patterns and redrafting things and it's a bit scary at times ;) i can't decide what to tackle first this weekend. maybe a sweatshirt version of figgy's nituna? we'll see what i feel like tomorrow!

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    1. Thanks! Yes, the hardest part is just getting started and taking that first risk. Sometimes I just want to follow instructions, and having to figure out how to do things on my own seems intimidating. But once you get going, it seems easier, huh? Good luck with your weekend sewing!

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  7. Ah, so clearly it was the Sesame Street vibe that hit me out of the Flickr pool! I simply love this outfit and the whole aesthetic. Gorgeous shots of Joe too :)

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    1. Aw, thank you, Jane! I figure it doesn't hurt that you've seen me make a bunch of other projects with that orangey stripe, to the point where it is just starting to scream "Inder" every time you see it.

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  8. These came out so cute! I love the tomato color too. So glad you're making some franken-patterns. It's a high risk, high reward endeavour. And the worst risk I can think of is expensive fabric being botched, and even that is not so bad if it can be reused elsewhere. I can't wait to see more alterations from you, especially if they come out as neat as these shorts. Great work :) (Also thanks for detailing what you did here and how I should fix Elena's pants in my comments, since I see further pants alterations in my future)

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    1. You are definitely one of my winging-it, Franken-patterning inspirations, Christine. But pants are tricky, aren't they? It's good to have a starting point. I saw another blogger modified the Pocket Pants using Made's toddler pant pattern, so I'm not the only one Franken-patterning these pants!

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  9. what a great outfit! i am a huge fan of stripes. i think your pictures are perfect - your son is such a cutie!

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    1. I love love love stripes too! Thank you!

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