Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sewing up Christmas: Skinny Jeans

For the C-man, I decided that the perfect complement to his Ethan Shirt, would be some nice, trim, Skinny Jeans.  And if anyone can wear them, this kids can.  My typical problem with his clothes is that they are huge around the waist, but to short in length.

Sewing custom-made clothing for him is a perfect way to finally get some clothes that fit!  So, in this case I decided to make the pattern in a 5t size with a 6 length. 

They fit C perfectly!

  I also decided to go for the adjustable waist with button hole elastic.  This was a little more complicated,  but not by much and is usually quite necessary.  Unfortunately, (or fortunately, as the case might be) the pants fit so well that he doesn't seem to need it.  It was a good lesson at least.

I used the same grey cord that I did with Ryan's Coastal Cargos which I purchased from Hobby Lobby on a great sale and added just a little contrast with the belt loops - again, the same.  I wanted to make then pretty plain so that he can get a little more use out of them since he really needs some pants that fit!  
Anyway, he seems to love the pants, they look great with his larger tailored shirt and, for once, he is not swimming in pants that don't look like capri pants on him. (Did you follow that double negative?)

I call it a win!


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Sewing up Christmas: Vintage V-neck

Phew - almost done!  I finally finished the boys' outfits with this Vintage V-neck. 

Believe it or not, this little tee has taken me the longest of any of the garments to sew!  You may think that's because of the knit fabric, but knits and I actually get along quite well.

It's all because of the stinking V-neck collar!  I must have ripped that thing out 7 times!  It was truly perplexing to me and when I finally got it, I think I had stretched out the fabric enough that it made it extra difficult and a little wonky as you can see above. It kind of looks like a little pleat that I made intentionally...   Oh well, live and learn.

The material is actually a re-fashion from a sundress that seemed obscenely short once I had three kids. I always loved the color.

In a way, it was actually the inspiration for my entire Christmas palette this year since I really wanted to use it, so I shopped for some materials to coordinate.  Truthfully, it was a little thin for the shirt, but super soft, so this little bug seems to love it.  (ninja pose)

That and he's super excited it's not a button down like his brother has gets to wear.

One more garment left!  The dress.  Actually, it's already finished! Just in time for Santa pictures tonight, but not in enough time to photograph and post about yet.  I just want to keep you hanging :)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sewing up Christmas: The Ethan Shirt

Yes!  Another item is down!

This one really tested my patience, however.  Not because it was particularly difficult, but rather, because I seemed to be stymied at every turn. 

The first hurdle came in the form of a two year old wielding a pair of scissors.  Unfortunately, the little bug has learned the value of stools recently and I keep forgetting that nothing is safe anymore...

The sharpies are now stashed up high in the dish cabinet and I guess just pushing my scissors back away from the edge won't cut it anymore either.   Thankfully, it was just one arm, before I sewed it on and I had a good deal more of the same fabric.  Otherwise, it would have been a disaster!

The second hurdle was a little less pleasant.  It came in the form of a nasty 24 hour stomach virus that stole the entire Saturday that my old man gave me to work on my projects.  Instead of sewing, I spent it sleeping and groaning.  There are no pictures of this and, trust me, you don't want any.  Unfortunately, my poor husband now has it and we are desperately hoping it doesn't work it's way through the rest of the family.  Please, God...

Anyway, to get back to my point, the Ethan Shirt from Sis Boom Patterns is a traditional boys button down, as you can tell.  It was quite easy to sew up, but I must admit it was intimidating.  I decided to add contrasting cuffs, an inner yoke and collar stand for the "Cam from Modern Family" look.  The C-man loves the look and said, "It's not scratchy."  So, I guess that's good.

The thing I love the most is that this shirt actually fits him!  He's kind of skinny and small for a 6 year old, and almost all shirts he wears are too long at the cuff.  I love the ability to custom tailor things so he doesn't look like he's swimming in clothes. 

As I said before, the short was quite easy to sew, but it did take a fair amount of precision. 

I also had to read the directions two or three times to make sure I knew what was going on with the construction. 

Having never made something tailored like this before I had to go slow, but I learned a lot and I'm proud that it seems to have turned out!

Now it's time to kick it into high gear to finish this out.  Santa pictures are schedules for December 18th - eeekkkk!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sewing Up Christmas: Coastal Cargos

So I was off for a bit for a family Thanksgiving trip.  It was wonderful, but I did miss the machine.  Fortunately though I am not too behind.

Just prior to leaving for the big feast, I finished my first garment for Christmas!  This pair of Coastal Cargos from Blank Slate Patterns. 

The pattern is great with lots of options.  I actually dropped lots of the options in favor of simplicity and speed.  These are not really cargos anymore, but still, the other details are fun and make the pants look super, custom cool, without a lot of fuss. 

I had a lot of fun with the material more than anything else.  The main pant material is a very soft grey cord from Hobby Lobby.  The boys both seem excited to wear it since it feels like PJs.  I opted for some aqua and white polka dot bias tape on the seams.

I have never made bias tape before and was a little leery, but turns out it's as simple as having a steady hand and a good ruler.  Now I am jonesing to do all sorts of projects with cute custom bias tape trim! 

I decided to get more creative with the pockets and add some contrasting fabric.  It's called Canyon Stripe from the Free Spirit line by Westminster Fabrics.  I love the texture in the stripes AND it works great to tie my palette colors together.

After the bias tape, the second new construction feat that I tackled this time was a zippered fly.  I'm not going to lie, this took some figuring on my part.  The directions were pretty clear, but it always takes some mulling over in my mind to turn the written description into something I can visualize. 

In the end, the pants close!  And the zip fly adds a finished professionalism that I love. 

I was forced to omit the button for the fly when my little guy said, "I hate those because I can't pee."  Alright then.  Minor detail.

The slide closure looks perhaps, even more chic and makes everyone happy.

So my first pair of "real" pants are ready for action!  Christmas is coming along!  Hopefully I will finish in time for Santa pictures!

Anyone else working on Christmas too?  Leave me a comment and tell me what you are getting ready! 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Sewing up Christmas: The Practice Dress

Time to practice up for my big sewing adventure! 

To sharpen my skills - and test my plan - I choose the Sally Dress, by luvinthemommyhood.  The is an adorable little dress that I wanted to try because it has sleeves.  Most of the other patterns I have are either tanks or flutter/cap sleeves and I just don't think that's going to work for a Winter Christmas dress.

As you can see, it turned out pretty good!  My little bug choose the fabric - she wanted purple and I picked the accent from my stash. 

The big new thing is that I tried piping around the bottom of the bodice! 

I bought the cord for like a dollar at Hobby Lobby and decided to use the green as contrast.  Now, I do have to admit that I cheated somewhat on my first use of piping.  I used knit to make the piping.  I figured that since knit stretches, it didn't really matter if the strips were actually bias tape or not, which allowed me to practice making it with some scrap material and not have to worry about wasting a lot of good stuff.

Now for the non-sewers out there, biased tape is fabric cut on the 45 degree.  This makes it "stretcher" (don't ask me why)  so that it is easier to use to sew around curves like arm holes or the bottom of bodices...  When you make it, you use a large piece of material and cut it all the way across the diagonal making it essentially unusable for anything else.... 

So basically, all I did was cut out a strip of green from a scrap I had and sewed the piping cord inside using a zipper foot.  Worked like a charm! 

The dress turned out pretty good.  The piping worked.  The sleeves aren't too bad and Little Missy loves the pockets... Success!

I even threw together some matching leggings with ruffles because really what else would go with this dress?

Tips and Hints:

1.  It's tough to tell the front from the back of this dress.  It probably doesn't really even matter most of the time... unless you sew on piping... and then you sew the skirt of with the pockets facing the place where your piping begins and ends...  yeah I did that...

2.  The bodice is somewhat hard to get on and off since it doesn't have closures.  I made a 3T and it fits great, but I have to wrestle and control my girl to get in and out of it.  For the final version I will be making a 4T bodice and 3T skirt.  I think this will give her a little more arm room with out making it turn out too big. 

3.  Get really close to the piping cord when sewing the piping on.  Otherwise there's a gap and it looks strange.  It's not too hard, you just have to be conscious.

The bottom line:  I'm glad I practiced.  I learned a lot and I think the real version will go a lot faster and better!

Now, on to pants...

Friday, November 8, 2013

Sewing up Christmas: The Palette

So, much to my dear husband's chagrin, I am one of those people that loves matching holiday outfits.

Sometimes my kids are into them..... 
And sometimes not so much....

But I simply can't resist!
Last Christmas I decided to branch out and go for a coordinating look instead of the traditional matchy-matchy. 

Last year was also the year I taught myself to sew, bought 5 yards of material and went for it!  Not too bad, I think, but my sewing skills and my design aesthetic has changed a bit since then.
This year I'm Sewing up Christmas again and I'd like YOU to join me! 
I have decided on a more "non-traditional" palette of aqua, olive and grey...

I was inspired by the gorgeous aqua velveteen, which I just love with the olive contrast. It looks somewhat darker here since the camera can't quite capture the sheen, but I assure you it's very winter ice-princess.  I can't wait to sew up a little dress with it!

For the boys I have planned some more ambitious garments (for a self-taught sewist) with this white and aqua polka dot cotton, silvery-grey corduroy and a delicious olive and grey accent fabric.  I plan a button-down, complete with collar and buttons and not one, but two pairs of "tailored" pants with zipper fronts.  I have used zippers before, just in things like pillows....  Should be interesting...

I'm not fooling myself into thinking this will be easy here, but I'm hoping for some Christmas pictures I will be proud of not just because my kids aren't crying in them. 

I've got 6.5 weeks, a dress, two pairs of dress pants, a button down shirt and a dressy knit long sleeve ahead of me....  Hard work (for me), but I'm sure it will be fun and I plan to keep you all updated every step of the way.

This is one of those proving to myself "I can do anything if I put my mind to it" moments so, wish me luck!  (And feel free to send coffee and chocolate because I'm sure I'm going to need them :)) 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mail Day!

Don't you just love those days when you get some great mail?!  What's even better?  When it's delivered right during nap time so you can actually open, play with, and enjoy your mail candy in peace!!

Well, that was me today!  Yippee!!  And it's sunny today to boot!

And it even came from an exciting place - Hong Kong....

What is it?!

Can you guess yet?

Yep!  Labels! 

I'm so excited to have these delicious looking little babies to play with!  I've been busy sewing them into whatever is around and finished...  a couple dresses, a top and Conor's new superhero pants.

And while I know any old person can hop on the Internet and order some up, it makes me feel so legit and professional.  I can't wait to get to some of the exciting projects I have in the pipeline, because, hey - I get to use my new labels!