Saturday, February 27, 2016

Sailboat and Sketchbook.

Hi again! As promised, I'm back to talk about the outfit you saw a sneak peak of on the Oliver + S blog this past week. I made the Sketchbook shorts lengthened into pants primarily for that post, to show how versatile and gender neutral this pattern is, but of course I couldn't stop there - it had to be a whole outfit! So I also made a Sailboat Top. All in pink, of course, for my pink-loving girl. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, I say. I've made enough items that don't get worn to know how little I enjoy that experience, so now I try to make items that will get worn, even if that means they are mostly knit fabrics and super soft on the inside and out (Joe), or entirely pink (Maggie).

First up, the Sketchbook Pants: I talked a little bit about these on the Oliver + S blog, so I will try not to repeat myself too much. These are the Sketchbook Shorts in size 2, lengthened into pants and tapered to the ankles with little cuffs, in this lovely Kaufman 21 wale corduroy.

Some sewing deets: I usually lengthen the Sketchbook Shorts by measuring the inseam and outseam on the child, and then simply extending the side seams of each leg vertically. If you do this, you will get a fairly wide/straight trouser like these. To taper these little trousers, I first extended the pants straight. Then I measured around Maggie's ankles, added some ease for her to get her feet in and out, and decided that the bottom circumference of the pants at the ankles should be 10 inches. That meant that the front and back pieces should be about 6" at the bottom (allowing for 1/2" seam allowances). I marked that width on the pieces at the bottom. Then I freehanded the tapered shape, starting at the hip (about the bottom of the pocket opening on the side seam), gradually tapering at first, and then a skosh more sharply from the knee to ankle.

The back piece is a little wider in the shorts than the front piece, but I tapered that difference out up to the low hips, making that back piece only wider at the waist and bottom, where you need a little extra width because of the elastic back. I didn't want to mess with one of my favorite features of this pattern, the roomy, full-coverage tush. I tapered the inseams straight from the crotch seam allowance to the ankles. If you try this modification, be careful not to reduce the amount of fabric at the crotch seam or at the waist, or you risk messing up that great fit around the bottom that the Sketchbook has.

(Her hems got a little wet when she started playing with the garden hose. It was off, but there was a little water left in it!)

Otherwise, besides the standard pocket-opening mod I make to this pattern, to widen the opening to the pockets, these are made exactly according to the pattern. I omitted the button, mostly because I didn't have anything suitable, and I think this pattern looks great with or without the non-functional button. This lovely baby-wale corduroy sews up so wonderfully and presses really well. Although occasionally linty, I stand by my advice that beginners try sewing a garment with corduroy. Like chambray, it is easy to handle and sew, and just tends to make everything look good. It also wears really well for kid's clothes and is multi-seasonal in my climate.

I expected to have to go back and adjust the fit, but I didn't! My little modification turned out great, and it was so easy! These would be really cute in a linen or cotton for summer, too. After I put them on Maggie, I turned up the bottom hems, and liked the look so much I tacked them up as little cuffs. They aren't proper cuffs, because they flip up at the hemline rather than extending further up, but you'd never know that if I didn't tell you, right?

To complete the outfit, I sewed a Sailboat Top in a Riley Blake pink striped knit. Although I've made a lot of Sailboat Pants in my time, this is only my second time making the top, which is now available as a separate pattern. I love the maritime vibe of the pattern and the neck and hem facings, which make it a bit more complicated than most knit tops I sew. This is also a size 2, but it turned out too big, alas! It's not just the sleeves, which are too long, but also too big around the neck. I thought about rehemming the sleeves, but haven't yet ... like the pants, this top is pretty multi-seasonal in our cool-summer climate, so perhaps I'll just let her grow into it (assuming she does actually grow - sometimes I worry, she is so tiny!). I don't remember if the Sailboat runs big ... it might just be that Maggie is so small.

It was fun to break out two "oldie but goodie" Oliver + S patterns for this outfit! These were the very first Oliver + S patterns I ever bought! And the Sketchbook is definitely my most-sewn, with the Sailboat Pants coming second. When I bought these patterns, it was for Joe, and boy patterns were hard to come by. Now there are lots of boy patterns to choose from in the indie pattern world (something I love!) but these two really have stood the test of time. And how cute do they look on a little girl?

Maggie is three and a half now, and while she is small for her age, she is overflowing with personality and ... um ... executive leadership skills. She's cute as a button, but don't be fooled. She knows what she likes - chocolate and pink! And what she doesn't like - almost everything else! This can be a challenging age - sometimes it feels like an entire day can go by where I remember nothing but whining and arguing and negativity from this little sweet muffin. But she loves to snuggle and tell me how much she loves me and give kisses, which is pretty much the best thing in the universe - and that happens enough that I don't completely despair.

Joe was a very different sort of three-year-old - affectionate but rough, and not very demonstrative (and not nearly as verbal as Maggie so he was quiet and stubborn rather than wearing us down with chatter). He was, and remains, a more reserved child, although he is free with "I love yous" and hugs now that he's six, he still thinks "Mama kisses me too much" and squirms away when I hug or snuggle him for more than a minute.

Maggie, on the other hand, would prefer to be ON a person at all times, preferably climbing on their head or jumping on them or, in the case of family members, caressing them or showering them with kisses. She is also chatty and crazily persistent. I used to joke that Joe was like the ocean - he knew where he wanted to be, and there was no shifting him. He wasn't even interested in the possibility that there might be other options besides the one he chose. What did he care? He was the ocean! He would (and still does sometimes) seem to shut out any conflicting noise in the background (e.g., his parents telling him what to do) in his determination to pursue his own path.

Maggie, on the other hand, is more like a small running stream. Generally agreeable and well behaved, but when she decides she wants something, active and unrelenting, this girl can wear down mountains. Unlike Joe (but like many other three year olds) she's proficient at the "slow trickle" method of getting what you want - just annoy them so much that they concede just to get you to stop talking. Never, ever, give up. Exhibit A: the Grand Canyon.

Both of my kids would make great (albeit different in style) lawyers. I can't think where they got this from.

Like many parents, I comfort myself that disregard for the mainstream, clarity of purpose, and exhausting persistence are great qualities that will benefit my kids for a lifetime. In the meantime, I am going to need a lot of dark chocolate (and yes, Maggie, you can have some, WHATEVER IT TAKES).

Then Maggie will hop on my lap and shower me with kisses and say "you are a wucky mama, Inder" (yes, she calls me Inder - heaven help me)!

Parenting is hard work but it's also pretty fun.


Which brings us back to the Sailboat Top: Although Maggie gave me permission to do blue buttons at the shoulders (perhaps I pushed a bit too hard for consent), she later complained about this feature. She said she wished they were purple. Now, I like pink (especially warmer shades), and I even (sort of, sometimes) like purple, but please tell me I'm not the only one who finds the combination of pink of purple to be over-the-top nauseating girly? Sigh. These kids always find our buttons, don't they? Maggie would love if everything I made her was "pink and purple!!" I'm willing to sew all the pink things in the universe, but even I have my limits. Sorry, child, those shoulder buttons just WANTED to be bright turquoise! I hope it won't be an obstacle to Maggie wearing the top. If so, I will probably buckle and change them out (shudder) because when you have a three year old in the house, you need to be very clear about which hills you're willing to die on! When it comes to pink (and purple), I'm waving the white flag.

This was my favorite shot in this photo shoot. Joe came out, and I encouraged the kids to make silly faces in hopes of getting Maggie to smile. Maggie's side-eye in this photo just kills me. I really do have the greatest kids, even if they are a trifle demanding when it comes to what I sew for them, full stop!

Now, please comfort me with stories about your EVEN MORE STUBBORN three year olds, or failing that, send dark chocolate!

Thanks for reading! 


  1. Um, yeah. Eight year old, still incredibly verbal and demanding. Heheh. However, the 13y.o. was very similar and has mellowed a huge amount. Has a much more positive overall attitude. And has channelled that insistent manner into constructive, useful life skills. When Clem's being a right little ... thing... we often console ourselves with how Jasper's turning out. Hang in there and yeah, pick your battles! Besides, how freakin' cute are those pink cords? I'd find that little face very hard to say no to :D

  2. i recently made a pinafore dress for my daughter (also 3 years old) as she loved these pig buttons I had. so dutifully i thought what better than a three little pigs and wolf dress. once made she complained that the pig buttons looked angry and she didn't like it. I explained that she too would be angry if a wolf blew her house down at which she responded "ok fine, I will wear it" in a very huffy wolfy voice.

  3. Gorgeous!
    Heaven help me. Hugo was impossible, I am not sure how he survived childhood.
    I can remember setting him up with his Bob the Builder video (yes I am that old) while I settled to breast feed the Twins. He waited until I had them attached ( not easy with nipple shields, pillows, towels and 5 lb babies) and then he went to the fridge, got a carton of eggs and stood in front of me dropping them one by one while making eye contact.

    I wanted to throttle him but managed to ignore him until the babies were settled and then made him help me clean it up ( I think I may laid on my bed and howled afterwards)

    He is the loveliest young man you can meet now.

    1. Oh my goodness, Nicole! LOL!!! I think Hugo was just a wee bit jealous of his new twin sisters getting mama's attention. You handled it well. Bravo!

  4. Oh Inder, I love these posts! And someday you will be really glad that you have them and your kids will too! The day our chicken was killed by our neighbor's dog, my blog disappeared. Like GONE disappeared. It turned out, something had gone wrong with the domain name registration renewal. And Dan and I spoke to three different people who just did not give a rip. One lady said, "I understand, but I'm sorry it's just gone. There is nothing I can do." I was crying but the kids... they were SOBBING. Thankfully Dan was able to figure it out and in the end, I got my blog back. But these moments are so precious! And even the ones that aren't are worth remembering!

    Also, Maggie sounds EXACTLY like Iris. Oh boy. Some days, the girl wears me down. But it's hard to hold it against her when she's so sunshiney and cheerful all the time. Because we can all use a good dose of that, right?

    The outfit looks great on her and she is growin' up!

  5. Oh Nicole, I can imagine that would almost turn your milk sour mid flow!
    The outfit is gorgeous Inder. I made little two year old sized cuffed Sketchbook girl jeans once too. Yours are super cute!
    My kids both wear me out with constant talking. I recall P, at about Maggie's age, getting to the park ahead of me and already giving another mum an ear bashing by the time I got there. I sat down with baby A and left him talking at this poor woman. Eventually he went to play, and i approached the lady and apologised for all the chatter, explaining that I couldn't bear anymore of it and was happy he'd found another victim.
    She said it was nothing, lovely to chat to a kid, then pointed out her 4 year old in the playground who still hadn't spoken a single word.
    I felt very, very small.
    So when my kids are complete, utter turds I remind myself "at least they're 'normal'"
    I'm not sure it's any consolation....

  6. So, first of all, the outfit is so stinkin' cute on her. I am digging the oversized vibe of the Sailboat top on her - the neck really doesn't look too big from here.

    Second of all, there really is an end to all-pink-and-purple-all-the-time. For us it was sometime around 4.5 years old. When N was 3, she would throw all out fits over clothes. She wanted to wear sundresses all the time - and only the frilliest, floweriest, pink and purplest would do. When her clothing was not frilly enough she found ways around it. For example, once at age 4.5, we were at the pool and she decided her swimsuit was not fancy enough. I was talking to another mom and I turn around to see her buck naked on the deck, picking up her towel. She was going to wrap it around herself like a long ball gown, but first she took her sweet time, still completely au natural, spreading her towel out on the deck and circling it to see the best angle from which to pick it up. When I ran over to cover her up she started kicking and screaming - she did not want to put her swimsuit back on.

  7. Adorable! Way to work with the all pink requirement & still make something interesting. Stripes can work in any color, right?! So... no idea what kind of personality I'll be dealing with yet, but looking forward to meeting my little girl... and meeting all these parenting challenges. I'll try to take advantage of her being too young to care about clothes to dress her in my favorites to start with!

  8. How adorable! I hear you on the hills you're willing to die on. There's so much I've compromised on, style-wise, because — well, dang it — my kids aren't me. But it's hard….

  9. She is so cute! I know the pink and purple phase well (E has now changed to "lilac and teal" which is interesting!). Good luck. ;)

  10. She is so, so adorable. I love Oliver and s patterns. The pants modification you made is especially awesome. And I hear you on executive leadership skills!! My almost three year old's daycare teacher calls her "teacher number two." That's not a good thing! Ha! She sounds just like Maggie with the wearing you down with constant talking. I get so frustrated with my daughter sometimes but she inevitably says something hilarious and makes me laugh out loud. Three year olds are great.

  11. Oh Inder the outfit is completely gorgeous and so is your Maggie! If she is trying at this age, she could either continue to be or settle down and you won't have issues in the teen years. My eldest was very demanding and very determined. She is now thirteen and at boarding school (not because she is difficult) but is now quiet and will ignore you if she wants and that is so infuriating! You can't even have a text message argument! Because she is ignoring you and you won't get the replies you would at home! Nevertheless, we love our babies no matter how their personality is and your Maggie is going to be just fine!


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