Monday, December 30, 2013

Ottobre 1/2010 #9 - Little Man Jacket

It was beginning to seem like my siblings and in-laws only knew how to produce girls. Then I did get a nephew thrown in the mix earlier in the year. Since I didn't think he would appreciate a little girl's coat, I had to come up with an alternative. I went straight to Ottobre.


I loved this little jacket! This is the tenth (TENTH!) pattern I've used from this issue (1/2010) - the very first one I bought. I'd say it's a winner.


I chose to make it in this khaki-colored wool rather than the sweater knit recommended. It'll fit smaller than the pattern suggests, but everything still worked. The wool was really lovely to work with.


Those little semi-circular pockets are my favorite detail. The seaming is pretty sweet, too. I left off the collar tab. I like how it looks in the diagram, but I really had a hard time getting it to look good.


The inner collar is quilting cotton, but the rest is a heavyweight poly satin (but not too shiny because it's for a little dude). I think the hanging loop is a must in a coat, especially a kid's coat.

I think I like this jacket as much as the little girl coats! More nephews, please!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Ottobre 1/2010 #14 - Burgundy Wool Coat

I'm not one to mess with a good thing. Ottobre 1/2010 #14 has worked well for me to give to new nieces (See here. And here. And don't forget here). The nieces just keep coming and I'm happy to come up with some new looks from this pattern. Truth be told, I'm rather behind. The niece receiving this coat is almost 18 months old already.


I did trace off the pattern again, a couple sizes larger than the other versions. Said niece is above average in many ways for an 18 month old, most notably in size. The fabric is a dark red wool that I picked up at a thrift store awhile ago. It is beautiful fabric, but the piece wasn't large. It isn't a coat-weight wool, so I lined it with a quilted lining.


I really like how it makes the inside of the coat look, but it was not fun to sew with. The fabric is quilted to a very light batting and then a layer of foam.


That foam is super grabby and would not go through the machine. To make it work, I had to put a strip of tissue paper over the foam layer - both under the presser foot and over the feed dogs. In the end it worked out, but it took much longer. I do think it will make it comfortably warm.


I love the patent leather piping around the collar and waistline. I would like a coat for myself with the burgundy/patent leather combo - so classy! The black buttons are from Fabricland. I like the rounded square shape. They're plastic, but apparently quite shiny. I can see my reflection with the camera in the photo!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Wrapping it Up

My sewing machine has been busy here lately, but not much of it has been blog-able. Some client sewing, some gifts. The client sewing has all been picked up and the gifts are all done. This is the point where I start thinking, "I could still make such-and-such for so-and-so!" I've learned it's best to squelch that voice with one big "NOPE!" Being done a little early and having a little breathing space makes the holiday break with the kids much more enjoyable.

Yesterday, I thoroughly enjoyed sewing a simple little thing just for me:


This is Noodlehead's Open Wide Zipper Pouch. Sometime in the last year the zipper broke on the cosmetics-counter freebie bag I used for makeup when traveling and I threw it out. I'm just getting around to replacing it now.

Behold! The wide opening! This is great for pouches that you might need to root around in. Or just want to see into. Love it.


Sometimes it's the little things. I love that green tab at the end of the zipper.


I'm hoping for some good chunks of selfish sewing time over the holiday break, but for now my daughter is logging some good time on the machine. Fabric choices are all hers and, yes, those are zippers (we can do it!). No questions from the Grandma's, please (it's a surprise!).


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Kwik Sew 3453 - Faux Fur Vest

This vest was actually completed a couple of months ago, but I had very mixed feelings about it and it just hung out on my dress form for a long time. I finally decided that I needed to actually wear it to determine how I really felt about it.

Fur Vest

The fabric is a synthetic fur that I found in the clearance section at Fabricland. It looks striped from the pile being quilted in different directions. I liked it when I saw it, but knew that it would require a simple pattern for it to work for me.

Faux Fur Fabric

I chose to use Kwik Sew 3453 with a few modifications. I moved the pattern's forward shoulder seam to the actual shoulder, eliminated pockets and zipper, added a lining, and shortened the length a little bit. The fur made a horrible mess of my sewing room, but was otherwise easy to sew.

Fur Vest

I like the side panels on this pattern and chose to place the stripes on the bias for interest. This isn't as visible as I thought it would be. In my mind, the side panels came more to the front than they actually do.

Styling this vest had me stumped for awhile. I'm still not sure what would be best. While wearing black with it, I did notice that the vest still does a fair bit of shedding. Not ideal. Maybe some other outfit inspiration will strike soon.

Fur Vest

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Wonder Woman Apron

Awhile ago I saw a picture of a Wonder Woman apron and knew immediately that I wanted to make one like it for my friend's birthday.

Wonder Woman Apron

I started with the pattern I made for this apron and modified it slightly. After I had the pattern how I wanted it and settled on the other details (logo and waistband), it was a pretty quick project to sew up.

Wonder Woman Apron

I found the logo through a Google search and adjusted the size to my preference before transferring. It is fused on and then appliqued with a satin stitch. The waistband is stitched on top of the apron front and the ties extend from the ends of it.

Wonder Woman Apron

The neck strap is adjustable with D-rings. This is a good thing for this version - I think the bodice is rather short. If I make it again, I will make it longer. The outer red part is a cotton twill and it is lined with a lightweight broadcloth.

Wonder Woman Apron

I'm happy with how this project turned out and it was a gift well-received!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Ottobre 1/2012 #33: Girl's Denim Skirt

After botching the jacket part of the "jacket and skirt outfit" plan, I figured I'd still go ahead with the skirt as planned. Until I can make another nice jacket or top, my daughter can wear something she already owns with the skirt.

To keep it versatile, I made the skirt out of denim. I will likely make her a nice winter dress in a couple of months and wanted this to fill in the gap now and also hopefully work into the spring. To guard again growth spurts, I made the pattern quite a bit longer than as drafted. Honestly, between that and other changes, it doesn't look all that much like the technical drawing!

(Pardon the wrinkles in all the pictures. My daughter was snuggled up with a book on the couch when I pestered her for these pictures. She wasn't really pleased at all. Hence, no faces in the pictures!)

Ottobre 1/2012 #33

I used buttons instead of the recommended ring snaps. Because of the added length, I had to use five rather than four. It looks like I should move the top button over a bit so the button bands line up better below the waistband.

Ottobre 1/2012 #33

In the name of simplicity, I left off the belt loops and back pockets. I guess the back pockets weren't just a matter of simplicity. I don't care for rear patch pockets if there isn't a yoke. Just a personal preference...

Ottobre 1/2012 #33

The skirt was a bit big when we first tried it on. Since I want this to fit for several months yet, I opted to add elastic to the back of the skirt rather than taking it in. The waistband accommodated 1" elastic perfectly.

This skirt has been a practical and helpful addition to my daughter's wardrobe and I think I'll probably use the pattern again.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ottobre 1/2011 #32: Girl's Military Jacket

My older daughter was in need of some nicer clothes. I found some large-ish leftover pieces of fabric from other projects and thought I would use those to make her a jacket and skirt outfit. I took her measurements and traced off the jacket pattern. She's tall and thin, so I decided I needed to use a smaller size and add length like I always do. Except this time, I only added length to the sleeves and completely forgot about the bodice. DOH!

Thankfully, there is another girl around here that could use the jacket after I cut the extra length off the sleeves.  This girl is not in need of any more clothes, but she sure loves this jacket.

Ottobre 1/2011 #32
Please try to over look that bit of lunch spilled on her skirt!

The fabric is what remained of this jacket project. The pattern is designed for sweater knits. This twill has a good amount of stretch and it worked just fine. I have liked this pattern since I first saw it and I'm glad I finally got around to making it.

Ottobre 1/2011 #32

The flaps are supposed to be fully functioning, allowing the jacket to be worn closed also. But, I was in a hurry and decided to omit the buttonholes and just sew the flap down with the buttons. The pockets are functional.

Ottobre 1/2011 #32

Very small, but functional.

It was easy to remove extra length from the sleeves. To allow for the gathering, the edges of the pattern piece didn't taper in toward the wrist. Getting the gathered sleeve attached to the cuff may have been the hardest part of the project - that circle was pretty little!

Ottobre 1/2011 #32

If I were going to make it again for this daughter, I might decrease the height of the collar a bit - it's pretty tall. But, it does work this way, too.

Ottobre 1/2011 #32

While I was pretty annoyed with myself over this stupid oversight, my younger daughter really, really likes this jacket. She pulls it out of her closet to put on for at least part of the day most days. It's pretty cute. And doesn't she look like quite the little lady?

Ottobre 1/2011 #32

Honestly, she looks like this a lot of the time, too...

Ottobre 1/2011 #32


Monday, November 11, 2013

Using the F-word*

About three years ago I bought a simple black half-zip pullover fleece top. With some embarrassment, I'll say that I wore that top out. I prefer to feel "dressed" most days and stay away from yoga pants and sweatshirts. But, on the days when I knew I'd be staying home or on lazy Sunday afternoons, I was always reaching for that top. It needed a replacement.

In considering a replacement, I hoped to move up a bit from the poly fleece. Cotton fleece? Sweatshirting? Sweater knit? I didn't find a great alternative in the fabric store here and the cost of shipping and duty makes me hesitant to order online. Since the fleece had worked before, that's what I stuck with.

Half-Zip Pullover

The other top was worn out and was exactly what I wanted, so I just cut it apart and made a pattern from it. The zipper was the right length, so I ripped that out of the old top and reused it.

Half-Zip Pullover

I like the side panels. The top is not very fitted, but I think the side panels still provide a flattering shape. While the first top's sleeves weren't exactly too short, I did add an inch to the pattern and like the addition.

It's been good to have this new version in my closet. Hurrah for being warm and cozy on the home front!

* My mom is a former Home Ec. teacher. Her dislike of fleece is so great that it was referred to as "the F-word" in her classroom. :)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Comfy Pants Make Happy Kids

The amount of time or effort I put into a sewing project makes no difference in the amount of appreciation I get from my kids. They each have their own idea of what makes something special (a certain print, twirlability, sparkles, etc) but they all love comfy, cozy clothes. Who doesn't, really? I guess that doesn't make my kids unique.

My son is my most tactile child and in his mind cozy and fuzzy are synonymous. He felt a pair of fuzzy pants in a store and badly wanted to take them home with him. They were a terrible fit, so I told him I'd make him some.

Ottobre 4/2013-27

I picked up this ribbed fleece fabric at Fabricland and used Ottobre 4/2013 #27 to make his new favorite thing to wear. The pattern is called "Ultimate Casual Basic Sweatpants." I thought that was pretty perfect. I stripped down the basic pattern even more by leaving off the pockets and bottom leg cuffs.

My daughter needed some more warm clothing as well, so I made the pants again (just adding length) and added the hooded top to match.

Ottobre 4/2013 #26 & #27

The top is #26 from the same issue and I'm a big fan of this pattern. The hood is a good shape and size - it actually covers the head, but isn't huge and droopy when it's not on. The overlapping front edges make for a nice neckline. I bound the front edges with the fleece used for the pants, but did not line the hood as the pattern calls for. The star applique on the arm is a simple, but fun detail.

Ottobre 4/2013 #26 & #27

Not to be left out of the cozy pantsapalooza, I made myself a new pair of black leggings. I like to have a pair of leggings made out of ponte knit fabric so that they're sturdy and opaque and maybe slightly warmer than the super lightweight ones sold everywhere. The pair I made a couple of years ago was badly pilled and looking very worn. This time I purchased a ponte that is a blend of rayon, poly and lycra. Perhaps that will slow the appearance of the pillage? Is there a secret to finding ponte that doesn't pill? If there is one, I'd love to know it!

Burda Leggings 


Monday, October 21, 2013

Swimwear for the Kiddos

I had to interrupt a nice stretch of selfish sewing I had going on to make swimwear for two of my three kids. They had swimming lessons starting up and their suits were so shot after the summer that wearing them even just once more was not a good option. Shopping for new suits this time of year sounded painful. Thankfully, I could make them and I even had everything I needed on hand: fabrics, patterns, notions. Stashing for the win!

My daughter's suit is made from a fabric that someone passed on to me. I don't really care for it, but my daughter does like it quite a bit. I used Kwik Sew 2605 (now out of print) - a basic one-piece racer back suit. Sadly I did not add enough length to the size I made. This will get her through the next few weeks and probably not much longer.

Kwik Sew 2605


I didn't pay any attention to print placement when cutting out (I was in a hurry!) but I find the three flowers diagonally across the body rather pleasing. But, then there's the back:

Kwik Sew 2605


Oiy. Hibiscus buns. Actually, the double flowers are on her lower back, so it isn't so egregious, but it isn't pretty, either. It'll work for the few weeks we need it to and then it can be on its way.

We couldn't let my daughter have all the fun. Large-scale flowers for my son, too!

Ottobre 3/2011 #25


This is my first attempt at sewing swimming trunks. It was pretty straight forward. I modified Ottobre 3/2011 #25 a slight bit and was happy with how it worked out. The front has a fake fly and the back has a curved yoke, both of which are good for interest.

Ottobre 3/2011 #25


I added a mesh liner to the inside. The pattern was loosely based on the Kwik Sew 2605 pattern I used for my daughter's suit. That part of the project was a bit of a guessing game, but it seems to have worked out well.

Ottobre 3/2011 #25


This felt like "emergency sewing" to me. I like being able to meet my family's needs with sewing, but I don't like trying to beat the clock at it.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Trying Something New: Graphic Tee

At the end of the summer, my family went on a lovely vacation through Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. These are beautiful states and we enjoyed experiencing them and learning more about them. New Hampshire's state motto is "Live free or die." That wasn't news to me, but it was interesting to see it stated so many places. It feels a bit edgy and unique to me. After reflecting on it a bit, it reminded me of this quote from Robert Louis Stevenson that I really like:

To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive.

After making that connection, I decided I wanted a T-shirt with the motto on it. I like graphic T-shirts, but usually feel torn about them - sure that's a nice bird/flower/bike/whatever on the shirt, but shouldn't it mean something? Maybe that's too much thinking about a T-shirt, but here I saw my chance to have a graphic tee and have it be meaningful. The problem was that all my choices were the classic, boxy souvenir T-shirt style. I pulled an XXL from the bottom of a pile and figured I'd remake it.

Kwik Sew 3338

After I used Kwik Sew 3338 last, I knew that it was going to take some reworking to get a decent fit. I used fabric with the same amount of stretch as this T-shirt (i.e. not much) for muslins. I knew the shoulder was an issue, so I made a 1/2" forward shoulder adjustment (ugh. sit up straight, self!). That was a good adjustment, but the first muslin also indicated that I needed a full bust adjustment. I didn't want a dart in the T-shirt, so I just eased that into the side seam.

Other changes were adding length to the bodice and choosing a neckline somewhere between view A and B.

 Kwik Sew 3338

I trimmed the neckline with this double raw-edge finish. The voices in my head are still debating about whether that was a good idea. After it's worn and washed, the edges will likely curl more and I think that will improve the look. We'll see. It's different.

Here's the motto up close:

Kwik Sew 3338

What's a motto? Nothing! What's a motto with you? Well, actually there is the little motto of what to wear with this. I think I'd like a jacket for this one, too. Hmmm. I'd better get busy...

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Trying Something New: Big Plaid

Okay, plaid shirts aren't really something new to me. I wore plaid shirts all the time in high school (hello, 90's!). But, that was awhile ago and there hasn't been one in my closet for many, many years. I made most of those shirts I wore in high school and I am happy to say that my shirt-making skills have come a loooong way since then!

Burda 04/2010 #114

This shirt marks the fifth time I've used Burda 04/2010 #114 (only two other version are blogged: here and here). Having the fit issues all worked out means I can just pull out the pattern and start cutting. I love that. In this case, I spent some time matching plaids and made some minor detail changes.

Chest pocket:
Burda 04/2010 #114

Undercollar and inner collar stand cut from chambray:
Burda 04/2010 #114

Sleeve placket and inner cuff also from chambray:
Burda 04/2010 #114

Bias-cut yoke (inner yoke is chambray):
Burda 04/2010 #114

I have to say I'm a bit flummoxed about the plaid on the sleeves. I'm pretty sure I thought to match them to the bodice, but now I'm not sure what part of the bodice I matched them to! Shouldn't the plaids match across the shoulders? I don't know what I did (or didn't do). It looks like maybe I used the markings on the back pieces? You can see that the horizontal pattern matches across bodice and sleeve lower down. It actually matches better than it looks here due to the camera angle.

Burda 04/2010 #114

I am happy with how the plaid match both horizontally and vertically across the center front. So, yay for that, at least.

I finished this shirt a couple of weeks ago and haven't worn it yet. I felt a little stumped about how to style it (deep thoughts from The Preacher: "looks pretty farmer girl to me") and now I think I've decided that I'd like a jacket (probably a blazer) to wear over it. This was supposed to be the year of the jacket for me. It'll take a little while to produce, but I do have the fabric! Onward!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Trying Something New: Printed Jeans

This fall, my want-to-sew list seems to have a lot of items on it that have new-to-me elements. Whether it's the style or the fabric, I'm eager to try some things that I haven't done before. As always, the want-to-sew list won't be entirely completed but I think it's good to have the inspiration and ideas.

One of the things on the list was printed pants. They moved to the top of the list when someone gave me some printed denim. Since making another pair of shorts like these at the beginning of the summer (never blogged them) I've been curious if I could alter that pattern to a traditional jeans look.

Printed Jeans


For the alterations, I started with making the pant legs narrower. This article from Threads was a big help and gave me good results. Then I cut off the top of the back piece to create a yoke and incorporated the dart by overlapping it along the dart stitching lines. On the front, I drew different shaped pockets and created the facing and pocket bag pieces to go along with them. I did a quick muslin and was happy with the changes.

Printed Jeans


Jeans take awhile to make, but I didn't find it took any longer than the trouser-style pants I usually make with welt pockets. I didn't add any rivets or back pocket detailing. I thought there was enough going on already.

Printed Jeans


I had a little trouble with the waistband. I used a poly-cotton broadcloth to face the waistband and I think it shrunk while I was pressing it. It's possible it was not pre-washed. I forged ahead even though I thought maybe I should scrap it and start over. In the end, it isn't very pretty, but it does work.

Printed Jeans


My five-year-old daughter was my photographer for these shots. We had a lot of fun, but didn't end up with good pictures. Lots of weird angles and shots at inopportune times...

Printed Jeans


I'm happy with how the jeans turned out - both the new pattern and the printed fabric. Win, win!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Oliver + S Seashore Sundress

It's been awhile since I've used an Oliver + S pattern. I bought this Seashore Sundress pattern quite awhile ago and am happy that I finally made use of it. It was as enjoyable to sew as every other Oliver + S pattern I've used.

Oliver + S Seashore Sundress

This sundress is for my older daughter. The fabric is a lightweight twill that I picked up on clearance around the same time as I bought the pattern. As it turns out, it is a Lisette fabric, created by the same designer as the patterns. I thought the stripes might not be ideal for this pattern since I didn't have enough fabric to do much matching, but I'm pretty happy with it after all.

Oliver + S Seashore Sundress

I finished the facings with bias binding and added a tag for fun. The instructions are both good and thorough, but the techniques used are not advanced, so this would be a good beginner pattern.

Oliver + S Seashore Sundress

My daughter likes the small pockets in the skirt, but they are not very noticeable. I had absolutely no length to spare, so I used bias tape as a hem facing. I think I should have gone up at least one size overall and maybe more for length. You can see that the dress isn't any too big:

Oliver + S Seashore Sundress

Summer is a short season here, so I think it will last until fall. Truthfully, she's only worn it once as a sundress. The other wearings have also required leggings and a cardigan. The pattern is designed as a sundress, but it could make an awfully cute jumper, too (given a bit more ease). I'm sure I'll be revisiting this pattern again!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Kwik Sew 3169 - Peasant Top + Twirly Skirt

It's that time of year - the seasonal change and the ensuing wardrobe upheaval that it brings. As always, my oldest child has the least number of suitable warm weather clothing items, so my spring/summer kid sewing begins with her.

Summer Top and Skirt

These two pieces were very quick to make and turned out really well. Both she and I are pleased. And, bonus - the fabrics for both are leftover from other projects! The skirt is made from fabric I purchased for this shirt. I also made this shirt from it. There is none left. The top is made from the fabric of this dress - using the border print left some strangely shaped remnants and the pieces for this top fit them just right.

Summer Top and Skirt

The pattern for the top is Kwik Sew 3169 - one I've used multiple times. I like this short-sleeved version the best. For the skirt, I graded up the measurements for this twirly skirt initially made for my younger daughter.

I started assembling both of these after my daughter went to bed one night and she had new clothes for school the next morning. Love that!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

McCall's 5525 - Green Trench-style Jacket

When I thought through my spring sewing plans, I came up with five things I really wanted to make for myself. That was the short list and I'm not sure I will actually make it happen, so I thought I would start with the most involved project. If I left it for the end it certainly wouldn't have gotten done.

McCall's 5525 - Green Trench

This is McCall's 5525 in my very favorite color - sour apple green. The pictures don't really show the color accurately. It's pretty bright, but I love it. I should have noted the date when I actually started this project because it feels like it took me forever - partly because I just didn't have significant chunks of time to work on it and partly because I did some tailoring work on the lapels and the collar. That meant that I had hours invested before doing any assembly.

I haven't done much classic tailoring work at all up until now. This book was a big help to me and I followed the machine method outlined in it. I also referred to this book and used some of the tips King offers. While it is time consuming, I really liked doing the tailoring and I will do more of it. I love how the lapel rolls so beautifully when it's taped and steamed and the structure and support that the hair canvas gives along the front and across the chest. Just writing about it makes me want to go do more right now!

McCall's 5525 - Green Trench

Before making a muslin I made some basic changes to the pattern:
-added 2" of length to the body
-added 1" of length to the sleeve
-removed a bit of sleeve cap ease

After making the muslin, I made some more changes:
-added 1" more length to sleeve
-took a lengthwise tuck down the back piece from shoulder to hem for narrow shoulders
-increased the pocket size

The pocket is the only thing about the finished jacket that I'm not all that impressed with. I enlarged the pocket pattern piece in both directions and I think I should have adjusted the placement of the pocket accordingly. It seems too low in the seam and it wants to droop. The pattern was so small it seemed useless, but maybe that's the size that it works best as.

McCall's 5525 - Green Trench

I completely forgot about the front yoke flap. I wasn't paying attention to the pattern directions and was well past the step where it should have been added by the time I noticed. I think I would have liked the look of it included, but not enough to do all the ripping that would have been necessary. Something about the back flap sure makes me happy, though.

McCall's 5525 - Green Trench

Here you can see the epaulets and the collar tab. I like these little details. The buttons match better in real life. The collar is a good shape and size.

McCall's 5525 - Green Trench

Since I wasn't reading the directions, I messed up these sleeve tabs on the first go. I assumed they would be caught in the sleeve seam and then tacked down with a button. Instead, they are sleeve bands (not tabs) and go all around the sleeve.

McCall's 5525 - Green Trench

This picture makes it look like the jacket is lined right to the lower edge, but it isn't. I again used this tutorial for a great finish at the facing/lining/hem juncture.

I'm so happy to have this finished - both so I can wear it and so I can move on to the next thing on my spring sewing list!