Friday, March 26, 2010

Sew new

How cute is this? Today I made a shirt for my little man. This is the Outo Otus shirt from the 6/2009 issue of Ottobre. Normally I don't make entire outfits as shown in the magazine, but this shirt was shown on the cutest baby and I immediately thought of my little man. The fabric is Hilco's Campan knit in a brown/red combo that I got from !st European Fabrics group on yahoo, purchased specifically for this item. Actually I really liked the brown/green version in the magazine, but I couldn't find it anywhere so I went with the brown/red.

This shirt went together pretty easily but after trying the lap-seam method that was recommended in the instructions I decided I didn't like the look and after ripping out the stitching I re-sewed the seam with the serger in the standard way, then topstitched the seam allowances toward the sleeve. The flat construction (sewing the arm and side seams all in one pass) is fast, but I'm not fond of the way the seam allowance sticks out at the cuff when done this way. I think that if I make this again (and I plan on it) I'll sew the cuffs to the sleeve in a single layer, then do the arm and side seams so that I'm able to fold the raw edge of the cuff in and then hand stitch it to the sleeve allowance, so that the underarm seam allowance is concealed within the cuff. I think this provides a much nicer finish, although that could be because I'm such a glutton for hand-sewing and finishing. I think a lot of people like the fast way, but then you run the risk of seeing the seams and to me that just screams "Poor Construction!!"

Another note about the fabrics and finishing: The binding isn't as nice as I'd like it to be. To begin with, I wanted to use brown ribbing but what I had in my stash was darker than the brown in the Campan. My husband thought the darker ribbing looked fine but to me it was off just enough to be noticeable and annoying, as opposed to noticeable and contrasty. I figured that if it wasn't going to match I'd better go farther so that it looked deliberate, instead of being a poorly matched fabric choice. Yeah, I'm anal like that. Anyway, the ribbing I went with is the same as the tan that I used in the Kaarna pants for which this shirt was made, so it was a good choice. However, this ribbing - while nice and firm and substantial in weight - has less stretch than I probably should have had. This made it difficult to fit the neckline and still have enough to adequately wrap it to the other side as described in the instructions. I made it work, but it's not pretty if you look at it from the wrong side. Also, I transposed the snap parts on one of the snaps, so that the post is on the wrong side. The snap still works fine and it's not at all noticeable when on, but it's another annoying mistake. Then too, the snaps are a red which doesn't really match with the red in the fabric, but I really had little choice. I wanted brown but they didn't have any so I had to go with red, even though it's a bit brighter than I'd like. It works.

So here he is in the entire outfit:

As mentioned in a previous post, I made the Nala combi by Farbenmix for Miss Gwyn. Finally I've got pictures to show of this one:

The second one shows how cute the leggings are. This is a really easy pattern and it went together really fast. I had some issues with it that were based on fabric and on not really taking time to translate the entire thing from German. The fabric part was due to a very small amount of the stripe: another Campan knit by Hilco that I purchased from Banberry Place about 3 years ago along with the floral. I bought 1 yard of the floral and I thought I bought a yard of the stripe, but either the fabric shrank drastically when I laundered it or there was less than a yard left when I ordered it and Corie just gave me what was left. Anyway, I had to make things work with what I had. The only problem really was that I didn't have quite enough to do the entire neck binding in 1 piece with the stripes going vertically. There's really no point in doing horizontal stripes on the binding because the effect is pretty underwhelming. I tried to rectify this by cutting 2 pieces and then sewing them together, but I ended up not being able to line up both seams in the binding with the shoulder seams. In retrospect I could have easily avoided this if I'd done the 2 binding pieces separately and then sewn the shoulder seams afterward, but hey - hindsight is always 20/20. For the record, Corie still carries the floral knit I used.

Which brings me to the other minor problem I had with the construction. Not bothering to translate the entire instructions or to really look at the sew-along, I didn't bother to slash the circles which are the ruffly cuffs. Instead I finished the edges of the circles (a bit tricky, I must say) and then applied them in the round to the legs and arms after sewing the leg and arm seams. This method works well, but is a bit more picky than I'd like if I were to make it again (she likes it so I probably will). So next time I'll do the slash to make the finishing of the cuffs easier and then sew the entire side, arm and cuff seam in one go. I let Gwyn choose where to put the Farbenmix label and she thought that was cool; it's on the left arm, near her shoulder.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Purple Princess

Earlier in the week Miss Maeve was able to wear her tunic and leggings that I made for her SWAP, which continues to be a work in progress. I might finish by the end of this month, if I'm lucky. I really love this fabric and I have to say that it was expensive as hell. In fact, I'd only bought enough of it back in 2008 to make a blouse for her, since it was something like $32/yd! Okay, it is Liberty of London, but I don't know if I can justify paying that much. The funny thing is, it's such a sophisticated fabric for someone her age and I thought it was too pretty to pass up, even if she changed her mind. My thought was that I could use it for myself if she ended up not wanting it.

Not only did she not change her mind, but she decided that this tunic needed to be made in addition to the blouse (the one I just finished - sorry, no pics yet!). I didn't have enough fabric, so I had to search for it. The local store where I got it no longer had it. They offered to order it, but a special order was going to be more expensive, so I turned them down. After an exhausting search on the web I found it and ordered it from a place in London. It was still expensive, but this time I was paying about $27/meter, so I was getting more fabric for less money and that seemed worth it. I picked up the car-print fabric for T's birthday shirt at the same time.

Anyway, I had enough to make the blouse and the tunic, with enough left over to maybe use in a future project for someone. Plus, the solid-looking raspberry color on the placket is also used on the blouse yoke, so there's actually some kind of continuity in the SWAP. I like this tunic made in the longer dress-length - mostly because I can't stand that so many kids her age wear skirts that practically show their bums. Sorry, I like her bum to be covered, plus she has long legs and I know that come May she's going to want to wear this thing as a dress, without leggings. I may have to make a pair of bike shorts, though. For that I'll probably use the Riviera leggings pattern in Sewing Clothes Kids Love.

Last night I completed the Farbenmix Nala combi except for the waistband for Miss G; I didn't have the right elastic. Or rather, if I do, I can't find it. Anyway, I'll stop by the store on the way back from gymnastics tomorrow so I can get some, then I'll finish it and hopefully have pictures tomorrow to share. It looks super cute and she's totally excited for me to finish it.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Cute pants!

Yay! I've finally been able to sit down at the sewing machine for more than 2 seconds and I actually did a garment from start to finish! To say that I'm thrilled would be a bit of an understatement.

These pants are the Kaarna lined corduroy pants from the 6/2009 issue of Ottobre. I really like lined pants in the cooler months for babies - especially boys - because then I don't have to put tights or leggings on them under the pants. These pants are lined in a woven cotton, so they're more appropriate for early to mid-fall or early spring in this latitude. Perfect for right now, anyway. I'm enamored of this style, too, because it's so reminiscent of the baggies that mini Boden sells in their catalog, with the knit waistband.

Overall, the fit is good, though this pattern runs bigger than I'd thought. I think these will still fit him in September, since I can turn them up twice and they still only come to his ankle. Of course, September can be really warm here so he might not wear them in the fall, but I'm not bothered by that. Next I'll be making a shirt from the same issue to go with these pants.

I wasn't sure about the colors, though I fell in love with the lining fabric the minute I saw it. I actually bought it before this issue came out and had it in my mind that it would be an excellent fabric for something for T, though I wasn't sure exactly what it would be. A week later my magazine arrived and I knew that this was the pattern for that fabric - all I had to do was get the brown baby cord. For some reason I'm really drawn to brown pants for T and I find that unusual since I like so many bright color combos for the girls. Maybe it's because I like monkeys for him, too. He now has 3 stuffed monkeys, plus a scary sock monkey that I hate and won't put out. I didn't buy it - it was a gift. It seems I'm drawn to brown animals, too.

I plan to make these pants again, despite the fact that the pattern runs big. In fact, I already have a pair cut out, from a striped fine cord. Very cute and more colorful, though the predominant color is brown! I plan to line these with a teal cotton that I have had in my stash for a very long time. since they're already cut out I'm going to just go ahead and make them the way that they are, rather than take the time to alter them in some way. I may decide to make them with a 5/8" seam allowance, rather than the 3/8" that I've cut, in order to take in the fullness somewhat. I have a third pair planned for part of his Easter/1st birthday outfit. This pair will be made from a green cross-dyed chambray and I don't plan to line them, so I'll have to finish all of the inside edges with the serger. I'd rather do that and have him be able to wear that pair into the summer. Plus, I'm considering not adding a seam allowance at all when I sew that pair, so that they'll be less baggy. We'll see. The shirt of this birthday outfit will end up being a traditional button-front shirt made from a Liberty of London lawn in a car print. It's super cute.

After the shirt to go with the brown pants, I've got a little outfit planned for Miss Gwyneth, since she seems to want something for me. I was able to finish another one of Maeve's SWAP items - the Olivia blouse from the 6/2007 issue of Ottobre. All it had needed was the buttonholes, buttons, and the elastic on the sleeve edges, but due to the machine malfunctions I'd had it had gone unfinished, languishing in a basket until a few nights ago when I did all the buttonholes and buttons. Tonight I finished the sleeves and it's now hanging in her closet. Pictures of it tomorrow, I think. Anyway, Miss Gwyn was hinting that I needed to make her something. "Next Mommy, you need to make my Easter dress and then the skirt for me," she told me. I've got to trace the patterns for that - Farbenmix Insa skirt and the Rachel dress - but I felt that she was looking for something right now, so I quickly traced out the Farbenmix Nala leggings and top, which I will cut out tomorrow. Fingers crossed that I have enough of the fabric. I've planned to use a floral print and Campan stripe from my stash, but didn't realize that I only have a 1/2 yard of the stripe. Thankfully, Miss Gwyn is tiny and I should be able to squeeze the leggings out of the 1/2 yard. I'll let you know.