Friday, October 21, 2011

Getting into fall sewing

I've found myself woefully unprepared, wardrobe-wise, for the cooler weather we've been having. To be more precise, it's my kids' wardrobes that are severely lacking. Since they have all grown about two feet since last year, I can't just pull out last winter's clothing! Sewing up some cozy clothes was definitely in order.

Here is a little set I made for my 3 year old son. I did have a moment of panic once I cut everything out, thinking this would end up looking like a Gymboree outfit, circa 1985. All those color-blocked, bright colors! In the end, I love how it turned out. I used bamboo french terry for both the red and the blue, so it is deliciously cozy and soft.

Pattern: Ottobre 4/10
Embroidery: Kiki Tomato
Fabric: Bamboo french terry from Bamblue Fabrics

And here's a sweatshirt for my oldest son. I have a ton of boy knits in my stash, and it's getting a little hard to figure out what to do with them. My oldest has pretty much grown out of prints, and in any case, the prints sewn up as shirts always looks like pajamas to me. My solution for this was to use the prints for sweatshirts. Of course the t-shirt jersey is much too thin to use by itself, so I fully line it with another knit, making it a perfect weight for our mild winters.

A close-up of the Mario fabric, which I got on Etsy:
 Pattern: Ottobre 1/07

Here's a Zoe for my daughter. I couldn't believe how fast this was - 30 minutes start to finish, I think. It's amazing how quickly I can put a shirt together when there is no embroidery involved!

Pattern: Farbenmix Zoe

And finally, a rocket ship shirt for my little guy. Can you tell I had red in the serger and was too lazy to change it? The fabric is some lovely, but extremely pricey European campan. How I wish this stuff wasn't so expensive! The colors are just fantastic.

Pattern: Ottobre 1/10
Embroidery: Kunterbunt

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ruffles for my girl

I was scouting out eBay a few weeks ago, trying to come up with some sewing inspiration (as if I really needed any more of THAT!). A friend of mine introduced me to the Australian brand Paper Wings, and I just love the elegant simplicity of their clothing lines. I found this dress on eBay, and fell instantly in love with all those ruffles! I had to make one for my daughter.

I used the Mamu Katrin pattern for my base, which ended up being pretty much exactly what I needed. The original PaperWings dress is gathered in the front and back, and I originally thought I'd have to extend the skirt panels to make those gathers. But I know from experience that this pattern runs really wide, so I just left it as is and added lastin to the seam to create the gathers. That worked perfectly.

The original dress only had a couple ruffles going up the back, but I kind of miscalculated how much I would need and ended up with a ton of ruffles. Having rolled all those hems, I was determined to use all of them! So my dress ended up being a little more ruffly than originally planned, but you can never have too many ruffles, right?

For the fabric, I used some red jersey that may or may not be bamboo. It's an old piece I pulled out of my stash, and it predates my store, so I'm not 100% positive what it is. I do know that it is supremely soft, so bamboo or not, it is heavenly.

Pattern: Mamu Katrin
Fabric: Either bamboo or rayon jersey

I also decided to make the kids some Halloween shirts. Despite the fact that I have more Halloween embroidery designs than I could ever possibly use, when Urban Threads had a sale not long ago, I stocked up. I fell in love with their Primitive Macabre series, and bought the whole lot of 'em.

Embroidery: Urban Threads
Patterns: Ottobre Design

As long as I had that Ottobre pattern out, I decided to upcycle a men's shirt for my son. I've long been a fan of Little Overcoat's recycled children's clothing. The way she combines fabrics and colors is masterful! I've been copying her style for ages, but mine never turn out as nice as hers.

Despite the fact that it looks like the dragon is sniffing his armpit, my son loves this shirt.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sewing for sweater weather

I am in dire need of a new winter wardrobe. Where I live, it doesn't really get cold until December, so I usually don't have any motivation to sew wintry stuff until well into November. By that time, of course, I am frantically making Christmas presents and up to my eyeballs in all the usual holiday stuff. After Christmas, I'm usually looking forward hopefully to spring. So, the winter stuff just never gets sewn.

This year, I decided to change all that, in large part because the average age of the garments in my winter wardrobe is approximately 8.5 years. Drastic measures have to be taken. So, despite the fact that it was hovering around 100 degrees for much of last week, I pulled out a few of my sweater knits and started sewing.

The first fabric I picked up was this amazingly soft sweater knit that I got on a recent fabric shopping excursion. Apparently it was a leftover from a local fashion designer, and I snagged all I could. Wanting something  a little unusual, I turned to Butterick 5564, which bills itself as being Fast & Easy. Snort! No, it is not fast nor easy. I suppose it could be if the instructions for the sleeves made sense, but they don't, so you are left to flounder, swear, or break out in a cold sweat (I did all 3). Thank heavens someone had written how to do the sleeves on, so I didn't need to go completely crazy.

After struggling with those sleeves, I wanted to do something that was truly fast and easy, so I turned to Jalie 2911 for a shawl collar hoodie. I love Jalie instructions - so simple! And the patterns don't have a lot of fuss to them, which is much appreciated by someone who is coming to despise fussy patterns. (Just don't ask about the Jalie button down men's shirt I recently had to throw into the garbage midway through. Sore subject.) For this hoodie, I used some of my yarn dyed hemp/organic cotton jersey from Bamblue Fabrics. I love this stuff! I bought every colorway available. This will be a staple in my winter wardrobe, I think. It's roomy enough that I can wear a shirt underneath on the coldest days, but still doesn't look like a tent.

Pattern: Jalie 2911
Fabric: Hemp/organic cotton jersey from Bamblue Fabrics

And now for a little bamboo sweater knit. I have three colors of this amazing fabric in stock at Bamblue at the moment. I'm totally in love with the stuff - the softness is just incredible. If it were realistic, I would make my entire winter wardrobe from it! But for now, I just have this:

Pattern: Burda 7866
Fabric: Bamboo sweater knit from Bamblue Fabrics

While I love, love, love how this turned out, I was annoyed by the instructions for how to do the neckline. It looked simple, but turned out to be a fussy mess. Nope, don't like it at all. Next time, I will do something completely different. What, I don't know. But it certainly won't involve any hand sewing, I can tell you that right now.

Having sewn a bunch of stuff for myself, I was starting to feel a little guilty about not sewing anything for my kids. As I had promised myself that I would make at least one Halloween costume this year, my daughter's witch costume was next on the list. I have never actually made a Halloween costume before, despite my best intentions, because whenever the costumes come out at Target, my kids fall in love with one and I hand over my $20 and everybody is happy. Not this year! This year, I really wanted to struggle with gathering yards and yards of tulle and slippery costume satin that unraveled all over everything! Who wouldn't?

I do love the end result, and my little witch is quite pleased with her costume too.

Pattern:  Simplicity 2569

I also made a raincoat. How I hated sewing this. I will never use laminated cotton again. It is ghastly. So stiff and unforgiving! But it had been sitting in my stash for two years, and my daughter kept asking over and over when I was going to use it, so I finally broke down. I hated every second of this project, but at least my daughter has a new raincoat. It's not totally waterproof because I didn't treat the seams, but at least she can go out in a light rain. Also, the sewing is just atrocious because about midway through I had given up the will to live. But it is done, and I can move on with my life.

Pattern: McCall's 6392