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