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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)…

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…

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'sOpen 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…

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.


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.


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.


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 actu…

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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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!)


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 bu…

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.

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.


The flaps are supposed to be f…

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.


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.


I like the side panels. The top is not very fitted, but I think the side panels still provide a flattering sh…

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.


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 …

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.



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:



Oiy. Hibiscus b…

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 probl…

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!


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:

Undercollar and inner collar stand cut from chambray:

Sleeve placket and inner cuff also from chambray:

Bias-cut yoke (inner yoke is chambray):

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 …

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.



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 al…

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.


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.


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.


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…

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.


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.


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 sc…

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.


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 so…