Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Thanksgiving Dress

Lisi Loo got a new dress for Thanksgiving.  I had planned on having it finished a couple days early, photographing it, and having the post ready to go up Thursday for (our American) Thanksgiving.  Then I decided to hem the (very very gathered) skirt by hand.  Needless to say, the dress was not ready in advance, but the results?  Worth it.

The bodice is based on my self-drafted scoop back dress - shortened, sleeves added, and back raised enough to fit two buttons.  Unfortunately, I forgot to adjust the shoulders for the addition of sleeves (I should have widened them a bit) and didn't realize until after I had cut out the bodice.  I was worried the dress would be constantly slipping off her shoulders, and I'll admit they did a few times - but they popped right back up on their own.  Crisis averted.

It would have been kind of a crisis, too, because the bodice was made from an old short-sleeved sweater of mine, and I didn't have an inch to spare.  The buttons originally went about halfway down the front, but I cut the back of her dress from the front, the front from the back, and the sleeves from the bottom of the sweater.

The sleeves were another lucky break.  I didn't want short sleeves (it's chilly here in November!), and didn't have enough sweater for long sleeves, so I just cut them as long as I could and hoped they would be a stylish three-quarter length, not an awkward where-did-the-rest-of-her-sleeve-go length.  I suppose I could have measured, but what's a little holiday sewing without some mystery and nail-biting?  The bodice is also lined with some nice thick stretchy white knit from an old t-shirt.

The skirt...THE. SKIRT.  It's three layers - all gathered ridiculously and I'm so giddy about it.  I was originally going to pleat the outer skirt (actually, I did pleat it and then was so excited about what I'm about to share that I took it off, gathered, and reattached it) and gather the two underskirts together to add a little volume.  I tried out this method for gathering on my serger.  I'm not exaggerating when I tell you it had changed my (sewing) life.  I've been anti-gathering for a while now, mostly because I'm pretty particular about getting my gathers even and I found the process to be really tedious.  This method was FAST and EVEN and EASY and I'm never going back.  Never ever.  Okay, enthusiasm coming back down to normal levels now.

The main skirt fabric was picked up at an estate sale last spring.  I have no idea what the content is, but it has white warp threads, and orange weft for a chambray look.  There is also a T design woven in that adds a lovely detail and keeps it from looking too peachy.  The underskirts are from my mom's old curtains.

Lisi Loo doesn't very often have an opinion on her clothes at this point (and I know what a lucky mama that makes me) but both days since she's requested to wear her "Tankstiving" dress before she even says good morning.  

Like I said up top: worth it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Lacey Hoodie

Have you guys seen the new Peek A Boo Hoodie pattern from Lil Luxe Collection?  I saw it pop up a few times on Instagram during testing and it kind of stuck with me.  It was released earlier this week with a discounted price (which still appears to be discounted as I write this) and, pretty impulsively, I pounced.  Then I sewed:

I made the size 3 for my three year old.  The chest and height measurements matched up for that size, and I'd say the fit is pretty good.  The neckline/head opening seems pretty big to me, but she's going to wear it with a t-shirt anyway because the fabric's a little sheer, and it's not falling off her shoulders or anything.

Let's talk about this pocket - so cute!  It's a small kangaroo type pocket across the front, and I found the construction to be a little confusing until I started actually putting the pieces together, and then it all made perfect sense, so I think it was more me than the pattern.  The fabric is a double layer knit from Joann's with a black and white stripes on the back and a cream lace on the front.  I used the "wrong" side for the contrasting hood and pocket linings.

I only made two small changes to the pattern.  First: the pattern is marked for a "waist" length and a "tunic" length.  Even though her height matched up perfectly to the size 3, I was concerned about the tunic length looking more dress length so I ended up cutting it to exactly between the two lengths and I think it worked out perfectly.   Second: the cuffs are supposed to have thumb holes, but I knew she wouldn't use them, so I just skipped leaving the openings and shortened the cuffs by about an inch overall.

I'm excited to find a fabric I like for my boy and make him a (waist length with thumb holes) hoodie of his own.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Match with Me: Mother-Son Sewing Series with Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy!

All this week Stacey of Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy is hosting a sewing series about Mother-Son sewing - and I'm so excited to be joining in on the fun with some pretty awesome sewing mothers-of-boys!  We didn't go for matching, but more coordinating.  We each got a new sweater and a new infinity scarf and we're ready for fall.

When I received Stacey's email and invitation to join, I went through a variety of emotions.  First: I felt so flattered!  I made sure to say "YES" right away before... Second: I felt nervous and overwhelmed and what-did-I-get-myself-into, so... Third: I got ambitious and picked out several new-to-me patterns to purchase and put yards and yards of lovely fabric in my cart.

Then reality took hold.  Both my kids have October birthdays, plus birthday parties, plus Halloween.  It all adds up pretty quickly and I didn't think my kids would look favorably on a blog post in place of birthday presents this year, so I needed a new game plan - it was time to get thrifty.  I headed to Goodwill and, after quite a bit of digging, found two gray sweaters and a couple of coordinating blouses in seasonal colors and I think my total bill was about $15.  That I knew I could swing.

Unfortunately, I didn't get any good before pictures.  I tried, but they turned out terrible and aren't very helpful, so please engage your imaginations.  We'll start with the kid.  I grabbed a men's xs v-neck cardigan with the intention of taking it apart, cutting it down, and reassembling it to be basically the same sweater but smaller, but when I was putting everything in the wash and reviewing the 100% wool care label I decided, on a whim, to try shrinking it down first.  It worked great!  The arm and body width shrunk to the perfect size so I just turned the bottom up a couple times and used my twin needle to hem, and removed the sleeves at the shoulder, shortened them a few inches from the top, and reattached them.

My sweater was a XL men's sweater in cotton.  I liked the sleeve and overall length but needed to take it in A LOT, which I did on the sides and the sleeves.  I also prefer a scoop neck instead of the existing crew neck so I cut off the original neck band and used some knit scraps and my twin needle to bind the new neckline.

My original idea was to use some big flannel shirts to make some cozy fall infinity scarves that incorporated the buttons for some extra detail, but there was a surprising lack of flannel at the thrift store so I expanded my search.  I found my vintage floral blouse first and fell in love with the orange-black-gray thing going on.  My son's scarf was a woman's plus-sized blouse, orange with black stitching.  They're both lined in basic black knit from my stash.

Thanks to Stacey for inviting me to join in on this fun series - it was such a wonderful idea and has filled my head with more ideas for clothes for my boy, as well as myself!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Birthday Zippies

This post is about three weeks late, but there was a frenzy of birthday sewing that happened the first week of October, then actual birthday celebrations, and then KCW, so here we are.  Better late than never, right?  Except when there's a growth spurt...which there was.  Oops!

Two more Little Zippies!  The first is the original pattern, but fully lined (like this striped one).  I rarely use quilting cottons for kid clothes but this top really lends itself to a fun print, not that I got very daring with this one.  It's a cream background with gold hearts - I knew Lisi Loo would love the hearts and I was right.

It's just lined with a simple cream colored sheet my grandmother passed to me - it's a little satiny and I guess she and Grandpa kept sliding out of bed, or something like that.  Need a laugh?  Picture your grandparents trying to sleep on satin sheets.  Anyway, it was the perfect color and after I stopped giggling I got back to work.

I used a maroon metal zipper from my stash - I love the contrast and I feel like it adds a nice autumnal touch, as does last winter's cardigan!

Both these Zippies were wrapped up and given to her on her birthday.  She chose the blue one to wear on her actual birthday.  It's the same size as all the others on top but I lengthened it into a dress!
It fit perfectly on her actual birthday but, as you can see, is getting a little risque these days.  Time to lose the tights and throw on some leggings and boots, I think!

I was going to go with a bright zipper, then second guessed my choice and chose this mauve one, then regretted the decision but not enough to change it.  The fabric is a seersucker - isn't it perfect?  (Both main fabrics were from JoAnn's.).  This one is also fully lined with the PERFECTLY matched solid that just happened to be sitting at home in my stash!  Birthday luck, I suppose.

And the obligatory cardigan shot - because I would not have purchased this wonderful pattern if not for my cardigan obsession.

There is one more dress I made for her to wear to the birthday party that I'll try to share soon, too - NOT a Zippy!  I'll give you a break from those...for a little while, at least.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

KCW - One more Sweatshirt

Look at me - eeking out one more KCW garment!  I was just so happy with how the last sweatshirt turned out, I wanted to try another version.  This one turned out a little differently because the fabric I used has more drape to it - it's my second favorite of the two, but still something I predict will get a lot of wear:

The fabric is the same reversible fabric I used for this Aster cardigan.  I really wanted to use the striped side this time to mix it up but I just love dots too much.  Can't say no to a good dot even if maybe I should.

The striped side did make an appearance in the semi-circle cut-out pockets.  If there's a more official name for them, I don't know it, but I'm pretty sure you understand what I'm describing.

It's actually a kangaroo pocket - it goes all the way across the front - intended for hands meeting in the middle, but we're still working on mastering that one.

I like the stiffer sweatshirt fabric better for this top, since it really shows off the shape, and will probably make another one when I get my hands on some appropriate fabric.  I'm really liking the idea of sweatshirt knit main with a woven pocket fabric.  We'll see, won't we?

Linking up to KCW here.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

KCW - A-line Sweatshirt

The concept for this sweatshirt developed as a way to use some more of the awesome ruffle fabric from yesterday's leggings.  As I searched my stash, though, I didn't find a main fabric that coordinated in a way I liked with the pink and white.  I decided I was more excited about making a sweatshirt than I was about using the ruffles (for now) so I regrouped and grabbed a pair of Daddy's old sweatpants and a different knit scrap I had on hand.  This is where we ended up:

The pattern is self drafted.  It's mostly long sleeved swing tee up top, with a bottom that's about halfway between swing tee and little zippy.

The heart was reverse appliqued to the sweatshirt.  I used an extra layer of white knit behind the stripes to help add a little weight since the sweatshirt fabric is so much thicker.  I just kind of made it up as I went and (thankfully) it worked out perfectly!  Phew!

Instead of just folding them over, I decided to try binding the neck and hemline with some more of the striped knit and it worked nicely.  I also broke out my twin needle for the first time in probably a year.  I kept getting frustrated about not being able to get my tension set correctly.  The back thread, which is supposed to weave back and forth, and so provide a little flexibility to the stitches, would be almost straight.  So no stretch and lots of snapped threads.  Then I read somewhere, at some point, that you can adjust the tension of your bobbin.  I had no idea!  Did you?  So I loosened the screw on the bobbin case a little, played around with my tension adjustment on my machine, and voila!  My twin needle did its job like a pro. amazing is her hair?  This is second day straightened hair - even more amazing than first day.  Ugh - I feel so guilty for feeling jealous, but c'mon.  Look at it!  Ha!

Sadly, this will likely be my last KCW post for this season.  I've got to get going on the other costume but there's no sewing involved.  Boo.

Linking up to KCW here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

KCW - Peg + Cat!

I'm not a Halloween person.  I don't decorate, I don't like handing out candy, and I don't like costumes - bought or made.  This, though, this I have to say I'm kinda nuts about:

I'm hoping at least a couple of you out there are familiar with the show Peg + Cat?  It's Lisi Loo's favorite show and was the only thing she wanted to be for Halloween.  It was definitely do-able, and she was just so excited - I couldn't say no.  Luckily she's too young to care that no one will have any idea who she is when she dresses up.  Here's a picture for reference:

Pretty close, right?  The leggings are a little different because I couldn't find striped fabric in colors I liked, and she was disappointed she wasn't getting new red boots, but other than that we're both tickled with the outcome.

The dress/jacket are based off of the Mini Mod dress pattern by Sewing In No Man's Land.   I split the front in two and added room for the button "placket", lengthened and slightly tapered the sleeves, and fully lined it.  I made the size three to be sure she had room to layer under it, but did end up shortening it about two inches.

The leggings were self-drafted and made from a really cute dark pink knit with little white ruffles on it.  I LOVE this knit and am brainstorming ideas for the rest of it.  I've complained before about the lack-luster selection of knits I'd found at Joann, but they're really stepping up lately.  There's still a ton of stuff I wouldn't take even if it was free, but I'm finding more and more that appeals to me lately, and that's exciting (and dangerous!!).

I based the cap pattern off a few different free crochet patterns I found online.  It's a little small, but that actually works well for the costume, I think.

Oh - and the Cat pattern was self-drafted, too, if that's not obvious.  Made out of blue and white fleece.   It was the part I was dreading most but (except for the leggings) probably went most smoothly.

All in all a success!  One happy tricker treater down, one to go.

Linking up to KCW here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

KCW - A Brand New Bimaa

As promised, my day two KCW sewing is a new version of an old (if a year counts as old in pattern time) favorite: the Bimaa sweater.

Since her sweaters from last year still fit well, I used the same size but lengthened the sleeves by about an inch.  I just checked my post on the first Bimaa I made to note the size and imagine my surprise to see that my 3 year old is wearing 12 month sized sweaters!  The next size up would probably fit fine now, but that would mean more tracing and who's got time for that during KCW?  I just want to SEW!!

Anyway, the sweater knit was from last winter, I think.  I was going to make myself a dress.  That dress was turning out super unflattering so I called it quits about halfway through.  Now I  have a lot of this pretty green fabric with no projects in mind.

And if those boots look familiar, thanks to an instagram tip I was able to get her current size of the same boots I was obsessed with that she wore last year at the Gap Outlet last month.  SO HAPPY.  And she is, too.

I made some good headway on her Halloween costume after finishing up this Bimaa.  Hoping to have it finished and ready to share by tomorrow afternoon.  Halloween isn't my favorite (to put it mildly) but I'm almost enjoying making this costume.  Almost.

Linking up to KCW here.
Other Bimaas: one, two (hack), three, four.