Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Ahoy, Matey!

So, my girl is not the girliest of girls. She likes pirates. I think she has a secret desire to be like Pippi Longstocking. Back in 2010, I made Miss G a pirate girl outfit for her birthday present. She's since outgrown that one and was begging me for a new one. Since the whole thing was based around a velour iron-on that I'd found at Bunte Fabrics it would have been a bit difficult, but for the fact that before Yvonne closed her shop, I managed to score another one, plus a boy version.

Left sleeve.
Right sleeve.
The shirt is basically the same as last time -  I used the Imke pattern from Sewing Clothes Kids Love and I made it in a faux 2-layer style, with the pointy version of the hood. The short-sleeves and the body of the shirt are a black rib knit and the sleeves and hood are red and white cotton-lycra - both left over from the previous shirt. Like last time, I managed to get a red velour pirate skull iron-on (plus one to go with the boy pirate for Mr. T) and that goes on the right short sleeve; the long sleeve has 2 layers of ribbon - the bottom layer is black grosgrain with white pick stitching and the top layer is light blue with red stars. The star one is from Farbenmix. On the left long sleeve is a stripe of pirate boys and girls ribbon that I got from Banberry Place; the short sleeve has iron-on stars of various sizes in a red holographic vinyl. The hood has a tassel of several different ribbons, including the stars ribbon and the pirates ribbon.

Ribbon tassel on the hood.
The previous pirate girl outfit had a skirt, made from black denim with embroidered skull-and-crossbones motifs in white. This time I opted for pants. I'd been wanting to make the Farbenmix Nonita pants pattern for a while - how can you not love a pant called 'piratenhosen' (pirate pants) by its' maker? I knew I didn't have enough of the denim from the skirt, so I found some stretch red denim and used that for the main fabric, with the embroidered black denim as accents. I like how they turned out, though the denim is pretty stiff; hopefully it'll get softer as it gets worn in. I really like the look of some of the topstitching done by others on these pants, so I tried to go for a similar look. I'm not entirely happy with the look but that's probably because I had to use doubled thread, since I didn't have white topstitching thread. Also, I don't know if I'd use the thicker thread for the more complicated stitch patterns on such a heavy fabric again. They probably would have been fine with a single thread.

Pirate pants- front.
Pocket on left leg and ribbon detail on cuff.
The other thing I had a problem with was fit, but my girl is so skinny that I'm kind of not surprised that the waist is a bit big on her. This is often the case with the Euro patterns when I make them for her. There's always a good amount of ease and sometimes I have to compensate for that. After one or two wears we decided to undo the waistband a tiny bit and redo the elastic. The fit is much better now. The buttons were the coolest part, since I discovered them by accident at JoAnn's. The pirate skulls appear to be printed on them, but I'm hoping they won't rub off in the wash.
Topstitching detail, skull and crossbones buttons, pirate ribbon and Farbenmix label.
 The pants look super cute with the cuffs rolled up, since that exposes the pirate denim on the underside. And they look great with boots, sneakers, clogs or pretty much any other shoe. Miss G. likes to wear her pirate print clogs with them. I kind of want to use this pattern to make pants for my son's pirate boy outfit, but I'm not sure the fit would be good for his body. I do think it will be fun to make another pair of these for G. in a lighter weight cotton for summer. First, though, I need to finish some other projects!

Stars and Stripes

Ideally, this post should have been written back in September, except I forgot about it. I mean, I do a lot of sewing but don't always end up documenting it as I go along or even right after I finish it. I'm working on changing that, but it's a process.

This outfit for Miss Gwyn (who else?) was actually her first day of school outfit, and I stayed up all night to finish it - literally. The birds were singing when I went to bed. Anyway, she had asked me for "an adventure skirt" and had chosen a star-print twill from JoAnn's. After perusing my Ottobre magazines I found the perfect pattern - #14 in the 1/2005 issue. It's a pretty quick and easy pattern but with a lot of topstitching. I used a yellow thread, since yellow is her favorite color.

She needed a top to go with it, so we went with the ever-popular Farbenmix Imke (or was it Antonia? I don't remember now!), with hood and short, puffed sleeves. The green and white striped knit I had in my stash, grabbed from the bargain table at G Street Fabrics in Rockville, MD back when we lived on the east coast. It was a huge piece, but at $2.97/yard you really can't go wrong, can you?

Shirt front detail.
Anyway, the green matches the green stars in the skirt perfectly but it's a bit plain, so we added some iron-on stars in red holographic foil and some Farbenmix ribbon. I'm not sure what the middle ribbon is called, but it's still available at the Farbenmix online shop. The other two both have stars - light blue with red and orange with red, also available at Farbenmix and at Banberry place, respectively. Because, you know, you can't have too many stars. The hood on this shirt is the pointy version, naturally, and it has a tassel of the 3 ribbons that I used on the front of the shirt. I like that these two pieces are easily worn separately - I think she's worn the skirt with a solid red shirt and the striped shirt goes with any jeans, so she doesn't always feel like she needs to keep them together as an outfit. I think that they'll fit well through the summer, but Miss G. has had a slight growth spurt lately, so it may not last into the next school year.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Summer SWAP for the boy - Part 1

I'm trying to get a jump on the summer garment sewing for Mr. T, since it usually sneaks up on me. He's pretty much growing out of the size 4T things from the past year, so everything is needing replacement pretty soon. Back in February and March I started going through my Ottobre magazines and sketching out things I wanted to make for him, just so that I'd have an idea of what fabrics I wanted to use and what I'd have to buy. I really tried to focus on using fabrics already in my stash so that I'd have to buy very little. This meant that I could also try to make everything fairly mix-and-match so that there wouldn't be any mismatched clothing if someone other than me picked out his clothes. I've got all the patterns traced and am cutting things out in bunches, keeping the knits together in groups so I can sew several garments at one sitting without having to change needles or rethread the serger. It makes the process go really quickly.

As of right now I have 4 t-shirts completed and 1 short-sleeved hoodie. The hoodie is from a burnt-orange and cream 100% cotton French terry. It has some stretch because of the lofty, almost loose knit but no lycra, so the stretch is fairly minimal. For this I used the # 25 "Eleven and One" pattern from the 1/2011 issue of Ottobre. This pattern actually calls for a lining in the hood and the sleeves, but I felt that it would be too warm for summer if we used a lining, even if it wasn't in the body. Additionally I thought that a lining would drag down the loftiness of the hood and make it droopy. Instead of using the lining, I simply turned the edges of the hood under twice and stitched it down. I did the same thing with the sleeves. I contemplated making a front pocket but then the summer 2013 issue arrived with a short-sleeved hoodie pattern for babies and I thought I could use the leftovers to make a matching hoodie for the baby. I wasn't sure if I'd have enough fabric for that if I added a pocket to the larger one, so I left it plain. I did add a piece of contrasting ribbon with dragons on it at the bottom, just for a cool detail.

The first 2 t-shirts are made from the 3/2007 issue of Ottobre -# 20 Slim Fit T-shirt. The first is made from a striped interlock knit in aqua and chartreuse, with dark brown ribbing. I can't remember where the interlock came from but I think I got it on eBay and it may have been a Chez Ami knit. Don't quote me on that, though. All I know is that it's super soft.

The second of the Slim Fit T-shirts is made from a surfboard-print stable jersey that also came from either an etsy seller or eBay. My only problem with this shirt is that the fabric was a beast to work with due to the fact that it was twisted and the print was off-grain, making the rows of surfboards slant. I tried to avoid this at all costs but it would have created a shirt that twisted miserably if I had tried to make the surfboards line up straight. I almost gave up on this print but T. wanted a surfboard shirt so much that I decided to try to make it work and the end result isn't that bad. The ribbing is orange ribbing from my stash.

The last 2 t-shirts are from the 3/2008 issue of Ottobre - the # 10 "Bat" t-shirt. This shirt has a looser fit than the first 2 and a chest pocket. The first is made from 2 different interlock knits - one solid orange and one a cars print in cream with brown, orange, aqua blue and sprout green. I like the contrast of the bright solid sleeves with the print body and I really like the way the turquoise ribbing looks with the orange.

The second "Bat" t-shirt is made from a beautiful tie-dye 100% cotton rib knit that I got in a remnant bin somewhere. It was already dyed when I bought it, though it does look like I could have dyed it myself. The binding on the neck and sleeves is made from an olive green interlock remnant from my stash and I decided on the interlock based on how thin the rib knit is. I felt that a chunkier knit or ribbing would have distorted the neckline due to the difference in weights. These 2 are really close in weight and look great together, as evidenced by the really smooth seam. I love the way this looks. I added the dragon ribbon to this one, as well.

Next up, a couple of pairs of shorts, including some 'summer' sweatpants and probably 1 or 2 more t-shirts.