Sunday, October 27, 2013

KCW, Day 7: The Western Railway Museum + Bimaa

At this point in Kids' Clothes Week, I am frankly, too exhausted to blog. So this is not going to be the wordiest post.

Today, we all went (along with some friends) to the Western Railway Museum, which is about 45 minutes away from where we live (but in Solano County, where I work). This time of year, they also do a "pumpkin patch" with fun things for the kiddos.

Western Railway Museum and pumpkin patch

It was really, really, really windy. Cold, bitter wind, too. We were sorely unprepared for such temperatures, and of course, my hair was a wreck.

Western Train Museum

Joe wore his train shirt, which was very appropriate. But like the rest of us, he was shivering for lack of warmer layers!

Western Train Museum + Bimaa

Maggie wore my last official KCW garment: a Bimaa hoodie. This is actually part of her Halloween costume, but you'll just have to wait and see the whole thing (any guesses? I know some of you know ... ).

Western Train Museum + Bimaa

This was a pretty "quick and dirty" sew. I am getting a bit desperate as Halloween approaches. I didn't even read the instructions, so I can't really review the pattern. (*Ashamed.*)  But I love the fit of this little top. I did make the hood a bit smaller, by narrowing the middle piece, in order to fit Maggie's head more snugly, and to work better with her costume. I love the way the hood pieces fit together and I love that there are no hems! I will definitely be making this again (more carefully, actually reading the instructions). Maggie definitely needs some cowl neck tops.

I wish I could say that I am exhausted from KCW and done sewing for a while, but I am not done with the kids' costumes yet! I gotta say, I am seriously burned out on felt right now. But it seems the only way out is to push on through.

Pushin' on through. Pushin' on through.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

KCW, Day 6.

The weather here has taken a decided turn for the nippy, especially in the mornings. We are still resisting turning on the heat (because it's really expensive), but I don't think that can last much longer.

I guess it had to happen eventually. Deep sigh.

Luckily, autumn sewing is really fun. This is my favorite time of year, clothing-wise. Mostly because I love earth tones, anything tweedy, and aaahhhh, corduroy. In addition to being soft and comfortable, corduroy is such a pleasure to sew. It presses beautifully, has a lovely hand, and sews up like a dream. (Yes, yes - there is the lint. Hush, you.)

I finished this pair of cozy baby wale corduroy pants for Miss Maggie a couple days ago, but didn't get a chance to try them on Maggie and take some photos until this morning.

o+s After School Pants

This are the After School Pants from oliver + s and this was my first time sewing them up. Seriously? What took me so long? I love this pattern!

o+s After School Pants

o+s After School Pants

I love the yoke and pockets way more than I thought I would, honestly. This is one of those patterns I held out on for a while, mostly because I didn't love the use of contrasting fabrics so much. It was really Brittney's amazing boy versions that sold me on this pattern. I love how this pattern looks in a solid color. The details really shine.

I have already cut another pair for Maggie (I am thinking of lining it with flannel for really chilly days) and I want to make them up for Joe too.

o+s After School Pants
The best part was that I used the very. last. scraps of this light green corduroy. Remember, I'm trying to make this "stash-busting KCW" and use (1) old fabric and (2) as-yet-untried patterns. These pants fit the bill perfectly. I have had this corduroy forever. I used it here, here, and here. It's lovely stuff, but I can't say I was sorry to see the last of it! There's only so many times you can utilize a fabric!

o+s After School Pants

These are a bit big. Even though Maggie still fits size 6-12 month in oliver + s patterns, Maggie has heaps of clothing in that size, and I just couldn't bear to make another tiny garment for her. So I sewed them up in the 12-18 month size, and they are roomy but totally wearable, and should last a while.

Upside down!

Upside down!

Look! These are the perfect play pants - perfect for being hung upside down by your uncle! (Notice the protective covering of the so-fun-to-tickle belly.)

And now, I am sewing Halloween costumes in earnest! How is your KCW going?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Grainy, blurry proof that I am participating in KCW ...

I am not going to pretend that this will be a super productive KCW for me, but look! I'm here! Plugging away and taking dim blurry photos with my cell phone! (That pile of green under the ironing board is destined to become a Halloween costume ... )

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Getting a head start on KCW: Stash-Busting Edition.

Yeah, I know that Kids' Clothes Week doesn't technically start until tomorrow, but with a Planning Commission meeting and a City Council meeting happening this week, I decided I was entitled to cheat a little. Sewing for an hour every night this week is not going to happen, so I should be allowed to get started the weekend before, right?


I decided to make this "KCW, Stash-Busting Edition" - I will be sewing only with fabrics and patterns that are in the stash. Preferably fabrics I've had for a long time and patterns I haven't tried yet. There may also be some KCW/Halloween overlap, because dudes, Halloween is coming up fast! In fact, as of now, my only plan is to make a pair of pants for both kids and PJs that will double as Halloween underthings. We'll see if I can even accomplish that much ...

First up, a pair of denim Field Trip Cargos for Joe. I bought this pattern when it was first released, but had not sewn it up yet. There are two reasons for this: (1) Joe, at age 4 and five months, is between sizes and between size ranges right now. He's sturdy and stocky, but not overly tall. I opted to go for the larger size range (5 to 12) and I (rightly, as it happened) suspected that size 5 might still be a hair big for him. (2) Joe has been off-and-on refusing to wear things I make him lately, especially pants (he wears pajamas and t-shirts without complaint). But recently he's been more willing to wear his mama-made pants, so I am feeling cautiously optimistic about sewing pants for him.

O+s Field Trip Cargos

The good news: This is a fantastic pattern. It is truly a joy to sew a new oliver + s pattern. The instructions guide you through the process headache-free. Other good news: Joe seems to like them! He's calling these his "working pants" because they look like Daddy's work pants. I hardly had to bribe him at all for this photo shoot (I let him play with his Nerf guns). Score!

O+s Field Trip Cargos

Not so good: They're big! Way too big. I have to roll them up a bunch and they're pretty baggy. I guess Joe is probably still a size 4 in this one. I don't know what size patterns to buy for him these days! Oh well, Joe seems to think these are comfy.

O+s Field Trip Cargos

This is not a "super fast and easy" pattern. This is a "topstitch every seam to within an inch of its life" pattern. It pays to take your time and to have a good, strong needle to get through all of those layers of denim. But it still didn't take me that long, and the pay-off is a really great, sturdy pair of jeans that will hopefully last a good, long time. I really love the way Liesl designed the cargo pocket - it's so clever and fun! I used scraps of car-printed fabric to face the pocket flaps, because these are obviously car pockets - the perfect size for Hot Wheels!

O+s Field Trip Cargos

Some thoughts: Next time, I may try to reinforce the knee - the way the pattern is drafted, it looks reinforced (like it's two layers of fabric), but it's not really. I also always want to carve out o+s hip pockets a bit more than drafted. I like a big pocket with a nice big opening for chubby hands.

Seriously, who let me cut this poor child's hair? In my defense, he will. not. stay. still.

Fun with nerf guns!

Watch out, Joe has a Nerf gun!

Fun with nerf guns!

And he's aiming it right at you! (No mothers were hurt in the making of this blog post, I assure you.)

Fun with nerf guns!

*Runs for cover.*

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Well, the peanut butter buttercream frosting was awesome ...

Birthday list.

  1. It has been a while since I did a list!
  2. We had a wonderful get-away in Tahoe. Our friends and their kids joined us for part of it and it was fantastic. The kids had a blast and it was genuinely relaxing for us grown-ups. I have a few grainy cell phone photos to prove it but didn't even touch the real camera. 
  3. The cabin we stayed at had a fully stocked train table. The children literally got up early in the morning, played all day into the evening, went to sleep, rinse repeat. That train table provided 30-some hours of non-consecutive entertainment. The biggest challenge of the weekend was getting the children to take potty breaks or eat. We're pretty sure they all lost a pound or so out of sheer disinterest in food.
  4. I spent my days making felt ornaments from Alicia Paulson's latest pattern. So relaxing and meditative. Joe helped me string beads onto my needle and Maggie tasted all of the felt and trims. I finished two of the ornaments and cut out a third, and I'm planning to make more of her ornaments before Christmas. 
  5. I enjoyed the opportunity to really sit down and play with my kids. We painted. We played trains. We snuggled.
  6. I came back to work for a very short and very intense week, of course. The vacation vibe wears off pretty quickly in the face of all of the usual daily crises of my job. But it was still really lovely to have such a long weekend with my family.
  7. Our local transit system, BART, is on strike, which is a major bummer for traffic and getting to work in the morning.
  8. Today is my 37th birthday.
  9. All I want for my birthday is a BART compromise.
  10. 37 is a prime number, you know.
  11. My work buddies took me out for beers last night. I asked the waitress if they had IPA on tap, and she said, "Yes, we have Stella ... " My friends laughed. I have a reputation as a connoisseur of IPA.
  12. Turns out they did have Racer 5 on tap, but the poor waitress was clearly new to the job, and to beer.
  13. I laughed so hard with my friends. I love my work buddies. You would never guess this, but municipal lawyers are riotously funny people.
  14. Steve let me sleep in this morning, which was lovely.
  15. When I woke up he was cleaning the house, which was really lovely.
  16. Joe and I are going to make cupcakes. It is important to Joe that I blow out candles.
  17. I have chosen chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting. Mmmm. 
  18. I have a big pile of felt on my ironing board, destined to be turned into Halloween costumes.
  19. I am planning to participate in KCW this fall, at least to whatever limited extent I am able, since as always, it falls on a week when I have evening meetings.
  20. There will be posts with pictures soon, I promise!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Off to a cabin in the mountains ...

For the first time since I took my new job last December, I have scheduled a real break - a long weekend in Tahoe, renting a cabin. We have no plans. Not a one. I am so excited. Yay!*

And here is an actual conversation I had with my husband Steve today:

Me: "I don't have a hand-sewing project! I need a hand-sewing project for this trip! I don't have anything lined up."
Steve: "You could go to the store and pick up some supplies tomorrow."
Me (surprised but trying to go along with it): "Well, yeah ... "
Steve: "We could bring your sewing machine with us."
Me: *Swoons.*

So, okay, yes, it did turn out that he wanted to go to the A's game tonight (he went), but I think I'll keep him around, y'know?

*Prospective burglars are hereby advised that I have (1) two housemates; (2) a pit bull; and (3) nothing of value.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Peasant dress and pinafore.

Remember this adorable "vintage" (early 80s) pattern and the chambray pinafore I made using it?

Well, I finally finished the little peasant dress that goes under the pinafore. It has been cut out and piled in my sewing area for a while, but I needed to change my serger thread for it, and you know how that goes. I finally got around to making it up today.

I'll be honest. By itself, it looks like a nightgown. In fact, done up in flannel, this pattern would make a super cute nightgown. But as day-wear, it's pretty shapeless and blah. I'm not really sold on it as a dress. I might shorten it to tunic length to wear over leggings ...

Except ...

Put it under the pinafore, and oh. my. freaking. goodness.

Maggie all dress up.

Maggie all dress up.

The overall effect is either completely ridiculous (Little Miss Muffet?), or ridiculously cute! I think Maggie pushes it into the latter category with her sheer charisma.

Maggie all dress up.

Maggie all dress up.

Miss Margaret owns the ruffles with her can-do attitude!

Maggie all dress up.

And her plain ol' attitude. Maggie has a look that means business. This is it.

Maggie all dress up.

Love ya, Maggie!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Space Jams.

Here is another project I made a while ago, but took forever to photograph and blog. When Laura Tichener at Craftstorming asked me to test the larger size of her Fancy Pants Leggings pattern, I was totally down! I love this pattern and I had been hoping she would increase the size range.

Joe told me a while back he wanted "space PJs." I wasn't sure how I was going to pull this off, until I remembered Small + Friendly's Galaxy Jams. She had sprayed dark fabric with bleach and sparkle paint to create a beautiful "galaxy" effect. Cool!

I cut out Fancy Pants for both Joe and Maggie, and a Flashback Skinny Tee for Joe. Then I enlisted Joe's help with prepping the fabric.

Bleached PJs

Bleached PJs

I made Joe put on gloves and let him help with spraying bleach on the fabric. But he was a bit enthusiastic with the bleach, and the end results are admittedly less "galaxy" and more "acid washed." Haha. But he was excited about his PJs, and that's what counts. The sparkle paint doesn't photograph well, but Joe was quite generous with that too, so these PJs have a subtle all-over glitter.

Space PJs

Space PJs

These are size 5T fancy pants, and they are pretty snug on Joe even in this very stretchy cotton lycra. I exchanged some emails with Laura about this - if I wanted to sew these up in a less stretchy knit, I'd probably slash and widen the pants a bit (Laura provides a handy "widen" line just for this purpose). Joe is a pretty stocky, solid guy.

And it's always fun to match your sister! Here she is, going vertical as usual. Maggie treats our fireplace as her own personal rock wall! This girl loves to go vertical. She's going to be sad when we have to turn on the heater and block off her climbing area.

Space PJs

Space PJs

Space PJs

Who says matching outfits only work for siblings of the same gender? Joe gets a big kick out of matching his little sister. They look like a couple of acid-washed 80s rockers (Joe's working on his hair-band hair, too)!

Space PJs

Joe has been wearing this shirt frequently - pretty much every time it is clean, and usually for a couple days straight! It's his new favorite! Making clothes with Joe is the best.