Saturday, April 21, 2012

Pillow Talk

The annual silent auction fundraiser for the school my children attend is coming up. This year my contribution is a couple of pillows.

The first one has patchwork on one side and a floral pattern on the other:

Pillow

Pillow

The other has roses and background stitching on one side and plaid on the other:

Pillow

Pillow

I prepped these fronts and backs and then decided that I really wanted them to have invisible zipper closures, but I had not done that for a pillow before.

Pillow

To practice the technique, I made these pillows for our living room couch.

Pillow

Putting in the invisible zip is pretty simple, especially if you've done it in a garment. Since I was in pillow-making mode, I also made three pillows for my bedroom to coordinate with this quilt.

The first - tucks sewn down in alternating directions:

Pillow

The second - textural interest created by partially sewing tucks in a grid (seen in a Threads article):

Pillow
The kids like to poke fingers in the grid intersections and manipulate the fabric. The Preacher finds the pattern curious, too.

The third - a version of Noodlehead's Sunburst Pillow:

Pillow

All three of these have invisible zippers as well.

Pillow

They're a good addition to the bedroom. They were part of the redecorating plan for the bedroom when I made the quilt. It took nearly a year to get to them. I hate to even think how long it will be before I get to window treatments...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ottobre 1-2010-21 - Orange Plaid Shirt

Another winner from Ottobre! Not much to say about it - I'll mostly let the pictures do the talking.

Ottobre 1-2010-21

I like the unique pockets, but I was using a plaid fabric and thought it might be a bit much so I left them off. My original plan was to substitute a single traditional pocket, but I completely forgot about it until I saw these pictures.

Ottobre 1-2010-21 (shirt) and Ottobre 1-2011-29 (pants

I messed up something with the front bands when I was tracing or cutting out the pattern. I'm still not sure what I did or didn't do. The markings and instructions were confusing to me. I ended up sewing on bands to make it work.

Ottobre 1-2010-21

The little sleeve tabs are a nice detail.

Ottobre 1-2010-21

On this inset you can see that the "solid" orange is actually a yellow/orange crossweave. There was just a small piece in my stash from many years ago and was a great match for the plaid.

Ottobre 1-2010-21

And, of course, the "silly shot" (featuring tattoos)...

Ottobre 1-2010-21

Friday, April 13, 2012

Ottobre 1-2011-29 Khaki Pants

I really like a lot of Ottobre's patterns for boys. They have creative and interesting details. But sometimes those details look overwhelming to me - multiple zippered pockets, many small parts to trace and piece, extra seams to topstitch, etc. I like those sorts of things, but I'm not always convinced that the extra effort is worth it for a garment that is quickly outgrown.

A couple of weeks ago I squashed my doubts and made a pair of pants for my son from Ottobre 1-2011-29. The No Kung Fu (?!) pants are described as "outerwear pants," but I'm not entirely sure what that means. The directions don't call for insulation, lining, or waterproofing. The suggested fabric is "outerwear fabric" - not so sure about that, either.

Ottobre 1-2011-29

So why did I choose this pattern over some others? The knee patches, my friends. My boy blows out the knees on his pants with astonishing speed. I'm hoping these knee patches slow down the wearing out just a bit. Since I was looking for everyday pants more than outwear pants, I used a khaki brushed cotton twill from my stash. It was really nice fabric, but I have no idea where I got it or how long I've had it.

Ottobre 1-2011-29

Let's look at some details.

Back pockets and yoke...

Ottobre 1-2011-29

The instructions were pretty specific about topstitching and I followed them closely. Triple stitching here, edge stitching there, etc. I like the finished result of combining different types.

Cargo pockets and leg zipper...

Ottobre 1-2011-29

Pardon the wrinkles - I took these after they had been worn. The zipper matches better in real life. I don't think the zipper will ever be closed, but it is functional. I wanted to include it for "the whole look."

Knee patch...

Ottobre 1-2011-29

I was not very fussy about getting great rounded corners on the patches.

I'm really happy with how they turned out and I think the extra effort was worth it! I'll likely use this pattern again.  I was expecting them to be longer when finished, so next time I'd change that. They are a great fit now, but I'd like them to fit for awhile (since the knees are going to stay in tact!).

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

New Look 6018 - Dress in Red and Stripes

When I started thinking about spring dresses for my girls, I wanted to buy new fabric. I had seen some inspiring pictures online and in catalogs and I wanted to copy some of those ideas. But, I'm trying to sew from stash as much as possible and truthfully, sometimes limiting the choices makes the process more creative and satisfying.

So, for my firstborn, here's what I came up with:

New Look 6018

Maybe you recognize the stripes from the T-shirt photo? This used up the last of it (and I'm glad to see it gone!). The red twill was given to me by someone else who was destashing. Same with the navy used for the piping and the red (metal!) invisible zipper. Very economical!

I did purchase the pattern - New Look 6018. The measurements given on the pattern envelope and tissue are dependable, but I'm not as pleased with the fit/shape as I was with my other daughter's dress. Of course, it's a very different style, so comparing them maybe isn't so fair.

Have I ever mentioned that I love piping? Probably. I don't think I'd be exaggerating to say that I consider adding piping to about 80% of what I make. I like how it defines design lines. It can add color. I think it falls in the detail/embellishing territory without being flashy, ruffly, poufy, sparkly or other adjectives that don't really describe my style. There were lots of opportunities for piping on this dress.

New Look 6018

Since I wanted the square neckline to still be square after it was piped, I did it in two pieces. It took me a couple of tries to get this right and I'd have a hard time explaining it now. I do know that it is important to clip to the corner before doing the horizontal piece (the vertical pieces come first). The finished result isn't perfect, thanks to my messing around but it was good to try a new technique.

New Look 6018

The waistband and pocket flaps are also piped. This flap looks awfully crooked in the photo. It's straighter in real life. I was tempted to buy some new buttons, ideally with a nautical theme, but went with stash instead.

New Look 6018

Overall, I don't think this is the cutest dress I've ever made. I think the idea of it is good, but the fabrics aren't very high quality and it maybe isn't the best shape for my daughter. However, I do like the fact that it is different - a change from the pink or aqua floral full-skirted dresses that she usually loves to have. And, I'm pleased that she likes it as much as she does.

Now, of course, this post wouldn't be complete without the requisite silly shot...

New Look 6018 

Monday, April 9, 2012

New Look 6089 - Orange Border Print Dress

It's somewhat rare, but once in awhile I produce something that I'm all around thrilled with. I don't feel the need to nit-pick imperfections or let myself get annoyed with what I wouldacouldashoulda done differently and I just really enjoy the finished product. That's how I feel about this dress and jacket:

New Look 6089

I used New Look 6089 to make these for my younger daughter. This is a great pattern. It isn't anything dramatic or unique, but the measurements and drafting are trustworthy and produce a flattering dress for a young girl.


I purchased this fabric a few months ago with my older daughter and a certain jumper pattern in mind, but it didn't work out with the double border print. To make it work here, I straightened the side seams of the skirt and just made each of the pleats deeper.

New Look 6089

The bodice is lined with the same fabric and it turned out to be just the right amount of yardage. I love that. No waste or pondering what to do with those scraps.

New Look 6089

The jacket pattern is drafted for wovens, but I wanted to use this interlock knit that coordinated well. Instead of lining it to the edge as the pattern instructs, I added facings and topstitched them. The ruffle on the sleeve is  cut as 3/4 of a circle and then gathered. I like that this allows for more fullness, with less gathering bulk. I left the hems raw.

New Look 6089

My little girly girl was even happier with this dress and jacket than I was. I thought she might not be so excited about the orange, but she told me it was her next favorite color after purple. Perfect!

New Look 6089

And, of course, the blurry twirling picture...

New Look 6089

Saturday, April 7, 2012

T-shirts for the Boy

The gift of very warm weather that we had back in March was just what I needed to get started on warm weather wardrobes for my kids. Now we're back to seasonal temps (not so warm) so the need for shorts and short sleeves isn't so urgent. But, I much prefer being ahead of the game and having options suitable for the weather.

As I do most years, I churned out some basic T-shirts for my son. This time I used an Ottobre pattern  for a long-sleeved T (1/2010 #24), but cut the pattern off for short sleeves.

Ottobre 1/2010 #24

I like the stripes of various blues the best. Perhaps because I haven't made a shirt from it before, unlike the other three.

Joy recently posted about sewing basics vs. fun items. I feel much like she does. I like my kids' daily clothes to be things that I've made. Honestly, I find it freeing. I don't like supporting the sweatshop industry or the slavery required to sustain it. I don't like seeing my kids' bodies used as advertising space for Disney or Nickelodeon (even though they don't see it that way) and sewing their clothes is a great way around that. I like that they can have clothes that fit without lots of wasted and unpleasant shopping time. I like that it is a tangible way to provide for my family. So, even though many people think it is boring, I'll keep sewing the basics for my family and me. I just wish it were easier to keep up with the demand! They grow so fast!

I also cut off two pair of pants with blown-out knees and turned them into shorts. These things, along with some hand-me-downs mean that one of the three kids is ready for spring and summer!