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