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!