Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Catching up

I realized that I've done some sewing in the past 6 months-1 year or so that hadn't gotten recorded, so I thought I'd take the time over the weekend and document them. I'm really bad at remembering to take photos of the things I make - mostly because I end up finishing them late at night and the light is awful at that time for taking photos. I always promise myself that I'll take pictures of them in the morning but I often forget and then weeks go by before I remember - usually because one of my kids is wearing whatever it is that I've made and that triggers the memory.

Anyway, here are the things I've done and only just now documented.

Pajamas for Maeve:

These are really spring-summer pajamas. The top is the Brooklyn tank top from Sewing Clothes Kids Love and the bottoms are the "Darla" pajama pants from the 6/2009 issue of Ottobre. These pants were meant to be longer but because I was making warm-weather pajamas, I decided to make them slightly cropped.
The tank is made from a cotton-lycra knit stripe from Sewzanne's Fabrics that I purchased about 5 years ago. The binding is a light-yellow cotton-lycra ribbing from JoAnn's. The pants are 100% cotton voile in a light pink. I'd originally purchased the voile for the lining of a dress I had planned for Maeve and I used the leftover voile for the pants. These are actually made from 2 layers of fabric because the voile was so see-through that I felt 2 layers were needed. It doesn't add a lot of weight to the pants and provides just the right amount of opacity.

I used some ribbon that I got online several years ago. The seller said it was a farbenmix ribbon but I've never seen it anywhere else. Then again, I didn't really look for it back then and it may have been sold at the farbenmix website at that time, but I didn't really look for it until I used it for these pants. The manufacturer doesn't really matter, though - what matters is that the ribbon is the perfect accent for tying the pants to the tank top. The drawstring at the waist is a recycled pink twill-tape drawstring from an old pair of lounge pants of mine. It was the perfect length and color. I think these were done in October 2010. You'll notice that I've used quite a bit of stuff from my "stash" for this - I'm trying to be good and not buy new unless it's absolutely necessary, since every pound counts when moving via the army. You're only allowed a certain amount of weight depending on rank and number of dependents, so I'm making an effort to make things from what I have.

Overalls for Tallon
I have a terrible time finding pants that fit over cloth diapers. It's truly the bane of my existence when it comes to my children's clothing. Thank goodness for Ottobre patterns! These overalls fit fine over cloth diapers, as you can see. These are from the 1/2007 issue of Ottobre, which is actually the first issue I ever got. I've always liked these overalls and was really excited to be able to make them. They're made from a fine wale corduroy in a sort of teal color that I got at JoAnn's. If you look at the magazine you'll see that the overalls are very similar in color, with theirs being slightly brighter. I was hoping this color would match the darker teal-grey stripe in his shirt; unfortunately the lighting in the store was deceiving and I didn't have the shirt with me. I've got plans for another shirt to go with this, though, so no worries.

What I like most about these overalls is the way that the legs are pieced together. It just makes sense to me, somehow. And the legs are baggy but with the elastic at the ankles, which I like, for some reason. There was quite a bit of topstitching on these and I alternated between using a reinforced stitch and simply stitching twice. I'm not sure which effect I like better. I chose to use a thread that matched the fabric, as opposed to a contrasting one, as shown in the magazine. It probably makes them slightly plainer and maybe even makes them look more home-sewn but I felt like the color I chose was already limiting in a way and I didn't want to lock myself into certain colors of shirts because they would look better with whatever contrasting thread color I'd chosen.

Not sure if you can see it in this photo, but I did have a problem with one of the buttons for the clips. These are the sort that you have to use a hammer with in order to get the button attached. Well, somehow I hit it on an angle and bent the button as well as the backing part. I had a bit of trouble but was able to remove it and find another back in my button stash. However, I had no more buttons that matched this color so I had to use it in its bent state. It works fine, though, and isn't too noticeable.

Here you see all of the topstitching required for these overalls and all of the little details: pockets on the front of the legs, a pocket on the bib portion, the belt loops, the faux fly. I chose to stitch the faux-fly down because it kept poofing out in a semi-open state and it looked odd. I don't do that for all faux fly pants, only if it seems to pop open frequently. All in all I'm quite pleased with the way that these turned out, though if I made them again I'd make the elastic at the ankles slightly shorter than called for. I did that portion while T was asleep and was unable to measure the length against the circumference of his ankle. I went with what the directions said was the proper length for the size but the legs don't always stay down and frequently I find him playing with the ankle parts up around his knees, as though they're meant to be knee-pants. These were finished a few days after Christmas 2010.

Puppet theatre for Gwyneth

I'd been meaning to make a puppet theatre for the kids since Maeve was an only child. In fact, I've had this pattern for years(Simplicity, sadly out of print now) but never gotten around to it. Silly, really, because it's so easy to make. This was Gwyneth's homemade Christmas present this year. What makes it even more special is that I only had to buy the red velveteen, gold ric-rac, gold lamé for the star and the gold tassels. Yeah, that sounds like a lot but it really wasn't. So the main stage portion that hangs down is made from a dark red cotton velveteen from JoAnn's and is trimmed with gold ric-rac. The valance at the top is from a beautiful purple cotton velveteen I had in my stash, with a gold lamé star fixed to the velveteen with fusible web and then zig-zagged on the edges. The ribbon trim is something that I had in my stash of trims. The curtains are made from purple taffeta left over from the pirate skirts and they get tied back with gold tassels on gold-colored rat tail trim, which hooks onto gold buttons from my stash. In fact, these are the buttons I originally wanted for Maeve's pirate frock coat but couldn't find enough of. I tension rod in the top and a piece of wood trim at the bottom of the "stage opening" to stabilize it and ta-da! A puppet theatre.

This present turned out to be more popular than I thought it would be and has already shown many performances of short "plays".

Farbenmix "Roxy" dress for Maeve:

This is probably the oldest thing that I have documented in this post. I made this back in 2009, around the time we were getting ready to move from WV to our current digs in Rockville. Maeve likes dresses for summer and this seemed like a quick, easy dress that she could run around and play in without worrying about getting it dirty or torn. It's a floral print rib-knit, purchased on ebay. There was a ton of this fabric and it was really cheap. I made a sundress for Gwyn out of it around the same time but Gwyn is now far too big for it. So they had matching dresses for a while. Luckily, this one was long-ish and seemed to run a bit bigger than I expected, so she's been able to wear it for 2 summers. Not sure if it will get through a 3rd but we shall see.

Instead of doing a facing at the neckline, I chose to bind it with lavender fold-over elastic because I didn't want any bulk at the neckline. And just to make sure that Maeve was able to get it over her head, I did the back placket option with purple snaps.

"Olivia" blouse and "Dora" skirt for Maeve:

The Olivia blouse is #13 and the Dora skirt is #14 in the 6/2007 issue of Ottobre. Originally these were to be a part of the SWAP that I was doing for Maeve back in Fall 2009. Due to several problems I never ended up finishing it but I'm still working on parts of it. The blouse is made from a Liberty of London cotton lawn and a lovely cotton calico in a coordinating color. I really enjoyed making this blouse and working with this fabric - I also used it for a tunic that was part of the SWAP.
Like the tunic, I used the floral for the main blouse pieces and the coordinating calico in the smaller areas - here the yoke and the inner collar are the parts made from the calico. Also, the buttons are a very cool iridescent magenta-purple color. This blouse was specifically made to go with the skirt and in the very top photo you can see how they look together. I really like that the blouse shape is very demure but the skirt is more fun, with the poufy shape and the fabric choice.
The skirt is made from a tie-dye fine wale corduroy that I fell in love with at JoAnn's and knew I had to buy and use for this skirt pattern. I think the tie-dye keeps the outfit from looking too fussy and gives a hipper vibe to the skirt. The lining is made from a very high-quality cotton shirting in a sort of mauve and burgundy/plum gingham/laid that I got for a steal at G Street Fabrics. I found it on the remnant table for $2.97/yard. For a shirting it's not thin at all and has a really tight weave. I also used it for the waistband on the skirt itself. And then, of course, I had to do the little ribbon embellishment they show in Ottobre. Actually, the skirt looked unfinished without it. I was able to find velvet ribbon in 2 colors similar to the tones in the corduroy and the blouse; not matching exactly but similar enough that they don't look out of place. Because this was for a SWAP and potentially Maeve would wear the skirt with different tops, I felt that anything that contrasted too much would keep her from wearing it with anything but the blouse, even though I thought the moss green tones in the floral print would have been lovely as ribbon trim and made a beautiful contrast.


  1. Love your Roxy! I got your comment in my email box. Thank you so much for the heads up! I was not able to publish it though, something weird happened and it disappeared. Don't want you to think I didn't publish it!

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