Sunday, November 9, 2014

More pink stuff.

I've accepted it (for now): Maggie will only wear pink. It isn't my choice, but sewing pink clothes that I like too is actually turning out to be a pretty fun challenge for me. So the pink Oliver + s wardrobe continues!

This time I decided to go with some practical school clothes. Maggie may love pink, but baby girl is also active as can be and wears pants and t-shirts to school most days.

Hopscotch Shirt and Sandbox Pants

See what I mean? She's a monkey.

Pattern(s): Oliver + s Sandbox Pants and Hopscotch Top.

Hopscotch Shirt and Sandbox Pants

Fabric: The pants are made from Kaufman Interweave Chambray in "Sorbet" with some pink floral scraps used for the pocket linings. The top is a nice quality lycra cotton I bought ages ago and can't remember the provenance of.

Sandbox Pants

Sandbox Pants

First time? Nope! I made the Hopscotch top for Maggie when she was a baby. I've made the Sandbox pants for Joe twice, once in denim and once in linen. I love me some patch pockets.

Size: 18-24 months. I modified the pants to fit a bit better, so they are not sewn as drafted. They would have been way too big/fit weirdly (see below) otherwise.

Hopscotch Shirt and Sandbox Pants

Modifications: None whatsoever to the top, but a few to the pants. So, I'm going to come out and say this: I think that there is a drafting mistake on the Sandbox pants. The rise is so long, it's ridiculous. You either have to pull them up to your poor child's armpits, or the crotch hangs super low. With both of those pairs I made for Joe, I ended up going back and redoing the waistband to shorten the rise.

Now on my third pair, I was prepared for this, and just lopped a full inch off of the top of the pants where the waistband attaches. Adjusting the pockets isn't necessary (they are still useable even with an inch cut off the top - another reason to think this must be a mistake!) but I moved them down a half inch just in case. Even with this change, the rise is on the long side in my opinion.

I did use narrower hems on the pants to offset the loss in length from the top. It's funny, I've had this issue with every pair of these pants I've made, in different sizes. I know it's practically blasphemy to say this about Oliver + s, but I am pretty much convinced this is a drafting mistake and not a fitting preference. I'm surprised I haven't seen anyone else mention it in posts about these pants, but to be fair, this was a very early pattern for Oliver + s and they've come a long ways since.

Joe and Maggie

Man, I have cute kids. And they really love each other.

The Good: Practical separates for Maggie! Yay!  It was fun to whip up two relatively easy and fast (and familiar) Oliver + s patterns. Maggie needed more pants and long-sleeved tops for the autumn, and these fit the bill. Chambray is a bit light for really cold weather, but given Maggie's generally slow rate of growth, these pants will likely still fit next Spring, or I can cut them off and make them shorts in the summer.

Joe and Maggie

Okay, Joe, that's a bit TOO much love.

The Not-So-Good: Frankly, these are not my best work. Maybe it was the pink, or maybe it was the basic, practical shapes, but my heart wasn't really in it when I was sewing these. My topstitching is fair to middling on the Sandbox pants. Meh. Fine, but nothing to be proud of. And I whipped the top up on the serger, which turned out to be a mistake. Never try to attach a cross over bodice to a gathered skirt piece on a serger without basting it all together first. Just don't do it. What was I thinking? So yeah, I had to redo that seam like four times, each time shaving off a bit more fabric, and ... it turned out okay, but I'm not proud of it. Then it turned out I had no matching thread for the hems, and I zig-zagged them rather than using double needle so the zig-zag is kind of obvious and a little wavy too boot... whatever, it's fine. She'll get a ton of wear out of it. But I should make this top again and try actually paying attention!

Joe and Maggie

This photo really shows how TINY Maggie is compared to her big brother!

Make again? Oh, totally! For all my complaints, I really love the beachy, relaxed vibe of the Sandbox pants. I am hoping that one day Joe will decide to wear (a) woven fabrics; and (b) pants again, and I can make another pair for him. And I know I could do a better job on the Hopscotch top/dress if I just put my mind to it! Kids can never have enough knit tops.

And now I think I need to take a break from Maggie sewing, and possibly make something for myself ... ?

So, my Oliver + s peeps: Tell me honestly, do you think the rise on the Sandbox pants is freakishly too long?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Where in the world ...

... is my blogging mojo? It seems to have vacated the scene.

Part of the reason for this is that sewing clothing is currently taking a back seat to working on my house and a million and one handwork projects (hexies and crochet) which are progressing very slowly. And my day job is really busy and writing-intensive right now - when you are spending all day every day at a computer cranking out legal opinions, sitting down to write a blog post becomes a bit less appealing. I'd rather be crocheting!

Living Room Progress

Check out our new couch! Isn't it fantastic! I am absolutely loving my new living room. And look, my mom crocheted me some pillow covers! Mom and I are having a blast talking crochet right now. She's the pro, of course - I can't believe how even and perfect her work is.

Soft Pillows

The "ripple" afghan behind Maggie was a vintage score off Etsy.

But I haven't stopped sewing altogether, and I definitely haven't stopped buying patterns (ahem). I got sucked in by the most recent Oliver + s sale and purchased both of the new patterns the other day. This got me thinking about all of the o+s patterns that I own but have never sewn (cough cough), which in turn inspired me to whip up my first Roller Skate Dress for Maggie. Maggie really likes the dress, but boy can she be uncooperative with photo shoots these days (another reason blogging has become more difficult!). So here's my review, accompanied by various awkward shots of my fabulous daughter Margaret Joy.

Roller Skate
Mom is the paparazzi.

Pattern: Oliver + s Roller Skate Dress, view B with decorative facing and no ribbon.

Roller Skate
Hand in mouth.

Fabric:  Art Gallery Dreamin' Vintage Sweet Meadow Rose quilting cotton for the main part of the dress. Maggie likes it because it is pink. I love it because it reminds me of 60s bed linens. I used a scrap of soft light blue denim for the facing, and it's lined in a super soft sheer cotton batiste.

Roller Skate
Bottle in mouth.

First Time? Yes! I am trying to sew up some of my as yet unmade Oliver + s patterns in an effort to make myself feel better about buying all of the new releases! As usual with Oliver + s, the instructions are excellent. I expected a very fast and simple dress, but it was a bit trickier (and nicer) than I initially expected. Oliver + s patterns ask you to spend a bit of extra time on details. The decorative facing, lining, and elastic casing earn this pattern its "two scissors" rating.

Roller Skate
What happened to your arm, Maggie?

Size: Size 18-24 months. It's a bit roomy on my 28 month old Maggie. Sigh. I try not to worry too much about how tiny this girl is. After all, both Steve and I were tiny for our age as children, but grew up to be quite average in stature. Anyway, it will likely still fit next summer. I just can't bear to keep sewing 12 month-sized items for Maggie! She never grows out of anything, it seems, and the home-mades are piling up!

Roller Skate
Maggie thinks that she's supposed to stick out her tongue at the camera. I think Joe taught her this.

Modifications: The only thing I did differently than the instructions was to hem the main fabric and lining as one. 

Roller Skate
I don't even know.

The Good: This pattern only has a few pieces to trace, which is awesome. In Maggie's size, it hardly takes any fabric (well under a yard for the dress), and it has no buttonholes or zipper fastenings to worry about. This would be a great pattern for a beginner sewist who is looking to learn some new skills. It would also be a great pattern for someone who loves clean insides but doesn't have a serger, because the raw seams are all enclosed in the lining.

Roller Skate
What is that on your nose, child?

The Not So Good: I think the simplicity of this pattern is a bit deceptive. Decorative facings are hard to get right! I'm not 100% happy with this one, but it's good enough. I used a lead pencil to transfer the stitching line onto the lining fabric (that way if it doesn't wash out perfectly, no one will know), then I trimmed and notched that curve and pressed and pressed and pressed some more!

Sewing the elastic casing is a bit tricky as well. It's simple, but it's definitely not brainless. Of course, that's also a good thing. But consider yourself warned! I would probably suggest that a rank beginner try it without the contrasting facing first. Instead of marking the lines for the casing, I carefully pressed the dress along those lines with hot steam and sewed along the crease. I know I'm not the only person who hates transferring marking lines (I transfer the minimum of markings onto my fabric and rely on snips, pins, or lead pencil dots whenever possible rather than actually transfer lines). Rolling/folding the skirt and lining up carefully to get them out of the way while I was sewing the casing helped keep things from shifting around too much as well.

These aren't really complaints, of course. I like that even with such a simple shape, Oliver + s manages to provide enough interesting details to keep even an advanced sewist interested.

Roller Skate
Looking away, hand about to go back in the mouth.

Make Again? Absolutely! This is a great dress. Maggie took to it immediately. This dress is perfect for everyday wearing - not too fussy or fancy, but pretty and graceful nonetheless. And I think it actually looks best of all on older girls, so I expect I'll be making plenty more.

Roller Skate
She loses interest. I give up.

Another excellent Oliver + s pattern! Fabric-stash-busting and pattern-stash-busting! Yay me!

Okay, hopefully I'll be back in this space before another few weeks goes by! What are you sewing these days? Did anyone else splurge on the new Oliver + s patterns?