Monday, September 22, 2014

Ottobre 4/2011 #38 - Rust Corduroy Pants

It happens every September. You'd think I would catch on. The air feels especially chilly on a Sunday morning and my kids still only have their summer clothes for church. Find some tights! Do you have a decent looking sweater? Put a shirt under that! And off we go, looking kind of patched together. Seriously, every year. That was last week Sunday. So, last week I was busy getting some dressier clothes together. I started with my son because I find his clothes takes longer to make. It's easier to squeeze in the faster dresses at the eleventh hour.

I always have success with Ottobre patterns for my son, so that's where I started. This is pattern #38 from issue 4/2011. They are called "Algebra corduroys." Ottobre pattern names are always interesting. I like the narrow legs, the curved yoke and the angled pockets on the front.


They are a bit rumpled from being folded up waiting for their shirt partner.


All of the topstitching is done in tan thread. I copied the rear pocket top-stitching from the pattern.


The waistband turned out to be a little too big, so I added some elastic to the back half. The inner waistband edge is bound with tan bias tape, matching the zipper and stitching. My kids don't like buttons on their pants. Snaps are still their preference, but we've been burned by snaps before. I have yet to find some that are both heavy duty enough for pants and work well consistently. I hate getting all the sewing work done and then ending up with a bum snap. Grrr.


So, for these pants we put in a hook and bar closure. He's had this on other pants and it works fine for him - both fast and secure. The button on the front is just decorative.


My son is the most tactile-aware of my kids. He loves soft, fuzzy clothes. He really likes these pants, even though he said he would prefer that the soft part be on the inside. :)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Mega Gift Card Wallet

A few years ago I made these little wallets for the gift cards that I used regularly. The new school my kids attend participates in the same program, but it is much bigger here. That little wallet I had wasn't cutting it anymore. Some searching on Pinterest (it'll cure what ails you every time) led me to this tutorial for a pretty large gift card wallet. Mega even! I thought this might be more than I really needed, but I liked the concept of it.


I had been playing around with this braided-look patchwork and decided to incorporate it in this project. I backed the exterior wallet piece with upholstery fabric to give it some extra heft.


You can see some smudges on the back part. I've been using this for a couple of weeks already and can say that I'm really pleased with it. It is indeed more than I need, but I like having the space to keep everything sorted and also keep the loyalty/coupon cards with the gift cards.



And the last page with room for growth!

The tutorial includes instructions for a velcro tab closure. I used this elastic and a button that I had. Not sure that it's an improvement over velcro, but it's working well for me.

I know it takes a lot of time to create these tutorials and I've benefited from many of them. I'm thankful for people that are generous with their time and ideas!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back to School Sewing

My kids start school tomorrow. The first day at a new school. They're all excited. It seems like I'm the only nervous one. The backpacks are packed, the lunches made, the clothes laid out. Everything's ready to go!

These two little items are the only back-to-school sewing I've done this year. My younger daughter and I worked on this pencil case together. She sat on my lap and did some of the steering while we were sewing the seams. The fabric choices are hers.


This is a boxy zippered pouch made with this pattern, A Little Duffle Do It. The pattern gives cutting dimensions for four sizes, but I needed one to fit a set of colored pencils and based the dimensions on that. So, this one is longer and thinner than any of the four given choices.


I quilted the outer fabric and lining together with fusible fleece in between. The pattern gives good instructions for cleanly finishing the inside seams using binding, but I was trying to be quick and just zigzagged them instead.


I like how wide it opens and the ribbon tabs on each end make it easy to open and close the zipper.


My son needed a set of ear buds to have at school. They didn't come with a case and I thought we could do better than a ziplock bag. I nabbed this Straight Stitch Society pattern when they were on sale recently and gave my son his choice of animals.


As with all the Liesl + Co patterns, this one is well designed and has great instructions. It is cleanly finished on the inside with only a couple inches of hand stitching to close it up.


It doesn't show up very well against the white background, but I love the little bone zipper pull. My son picked all the fabrics and buttons for the eyes. I wasn't sure I could get that little red one to work inside the orange one, but it was really important to him. And it does look pretty cool, doesn't it?


The finished size is about 4" in diameter and 1.25" in height. I wish the edges were a little crisper. There is a layer of batting between the outer fabric and lining. The batting was trimmed from all seam allowances, but maybe using a canvas or upholstery fabric would provide the heft without the bulk.

In the side view pic above, you can see the small stitches used to keep the ears folded over. It looks like a rabbit before that step. It sure turns out to be a cute little pup!

There will be some school clothes sewing coming up, but for now I'm happy to be sending my kids off to school with these fun little projects of their choosing.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Simplicity 2406 - Black Cold-Shoulder Dress

This dress was a very quick project, made shortly after my new sewing room was unpacked. I had this project in my mind for awhile, but the need for kids' clothes and then the moving project meant that it got pushed to the bottom of the list. This was a wardrobe-driven project, meaning neither the fabric nor the pattern are new or compelling, but I knew I would appreciate having it in my closet.


This is the third time I've used this pattern, Simplicity 2406 (first here, second here). For this version, I used a drapey knit. I modified the sleeves to be longer and have slightly more of a slit sleeve than a cut out shape. The pattern instructions would have you line the sleeves, which makes for a very nice finish, but I wanted to maintain the drape of the fabric and not add bulk, so I just hemmed the edges of the slit and finished the neckline edge of the sleeve piece with bias tape. I included lingerie guards as described here. Such helpful little things those are.


In terms of construction, this dress was very easy to make and it is very easy to wear. I feel like it hits the right spot on the casual-dressy continuum for my setting and lifestyle. Win!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Kaleidoscope Quilt Top

A couple of years ago I started assembling these quilt blocks with my daughter. It was a good project to work on together and my scrap bins were over flowing. We worked on it on and off in between other projects, usually eight or ten blocks at a time. I figured we'd do it until we had enough for a twin size quilt and then see if we wanted to keep working on it.


This is twin size and we are done. The original inspiration is here and the accompanying tutorial for paper piecing the blocks is here. We made our blocks 8.5" square because we used the 8.5" x 11" printer paper we had on hand. I just eyeballed the placement of the white strips, so those don't all line up precisely, but I'm okay with it.


I really like the variety of colors combined with the white strips. The diamond shapes and variety of stripe widths keep the eye moving, but the white provides some grounding, too.


I don't have plans to finish this in the immediate future because I haven't decided exactly what we'll use it for. That might affect how I want to finish it. For now, I'm happy we got it to this stage. Believe it or not, it didn't seem to make much of a difference in the size of my scrap collection.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Back at it...

July was a busy month for our family. We moved back to the States and have been busy getting settled in our new community. It's been a good move so far but the changes and adjustments have consumed a lot of time and energy. I am very grateful to once again have a dedicated sewing space and have that all unpacked. There is still some arranging to do and things to get to make the space as efficient as I'd like it. That will come in time.

After not sewing anything for six weeks, I was honestly a little stumped by the question of what to sew first. My older daughter needed some more warm-weather pajamas and I could do that with stash fabric, so that's what I did.


I used two Ottobre patterns for this set, both of which were designed for knits. To make them work for this woven poplin, I sized up before cutting and then had to do some tweaking during assembly.


The top is Ottobre 3/2011 #33. I like the envelope-style neckline and I loved doing the bias binding. The yellow looks like a better match in real life. I preferred a grey binding, but my daughter liked the yellow better.


After I basted the side seams, the top was too loose under the shoulders and too tight at the hem. So, we took it in at the top and added a 1.5" gusset to the lower part of the side seams. It makes it much more comfortable and easier to get on and off. If it wasn't pajamas, I maybe would have worked harder to make it an interesting design feature, but plain is fine for pajamas.


I did a fair bit of modifying to the shorts pattern to make them work for this fabric. Since these were completed, I came across a link to this free (!) Purl Bee pattern, which would give very similar results.

I don't have any pictures of these on my daughter, but they look pretty cute on her. Perfect for warm summer nights!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Ottobre T-shirt blitz

Much like I did for my son, I quickly made a handful of T-shirts for my daughter to meet her clothing needs for the season. They were all fast and easy.

Ottobre 3/2013 #32

Ottobre 4/2012 #28

Ottobre 1/2014 #28 
(I thought I could just eyeball that button placement. Yes, they are crooked and no, I probably won't fix it).

Ottobre 3/2013 #39 (Birthday shirt!)

My sewing room has been packed up for a couple of weeks now. We're moving next week. So, this space will be quiet for awhile (intentionally this time!) until I get my new sewing space unpacked and set up.