Monday, October 26, 2015

KCW - Knits for boys

I made it back to the sewing cave Sunday night and sewed up a top for each of my sons to finish out this KCW.


Niko got another knit Lullaby Layette (size 0-3 months with 6-12 mo length) shirt to match the striped leggings I made for him earlier in the week.  I didn't have enough of the Lillestoff stripes for an entire shirt, so I used some stashed orange cotton/lycra jersey for the sleeves.


I made a few modifications.  I slimmed down the shirt by cutting off about 1.5" from the sides at the hem, tapering to nothing at the bottom of the armscyes.  I cut the placket (scraps of striped linen) 1/4" wider on each side so that I'd have a wide enough placket to use my size 20 Kam snaps. And I cut my neck binding (the same linen) 2" wide instead of 1.5".  

I did not actually mean to attach the placket to the front of the shirt this time; that was a mistake but I'm happy with it.  Though Niko was not particularly happy during our photo shoot, as you can see.


(Niko's pants are O+S Art Museum pants in dove gray corduroy, from our fairy godmother.)

It took me about 70 minutes to complete the Lullaby shirt.  As it wasn't even 9 p.m. yet, I decided to sew Gabriel a Field Trip Raglan (which took about 40 minutes from cutting to hems).


Gabriel wasn't in the best of moods either this morning.


The knits are both Art Gallery from my stash.  I made him a size 3T with the length of a 4T (or so I thought), but it's a bit shorter than I'd like.  Good thing I have more of this fabric as I really like the combination.


Hemming was SUPER fun thanks to the new coverstitch machine.  It just purrs right through the hems and I have such fun streeeeeetching them between my fingers when they are complete.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

KCW - Cozy Squirrels and Stripes


I splurged on some Stenzo and Lillestoff knits off Etsy last winter while I was pregnant.  I bought this adorable squirrel print cotton/lycra specifically for the baby (gender unknown at the time), and chose a cream-and-brown stripe to contrast with it.


KCW was the motivation I needed to sew up a set AND to finally learn how to use the coverstitch machine my family chipped in to buy me for my birthday.


I made a Lullaby Layette shirt in a 0-3 month width with 6-12 month length.  The leggings are my beloved Playtime pattern in a straight 6-12 month size.


I used linen for the placket and the binding.  I wanted the linen side of the placket visible from the front, so I just started sewing it to the wrong side of the fabric instead of the right side.  As it turns out, that wasn't exactly the way to do it - I ended up with a raw edge of knit fabric that I had to somehow ease behind the placket when I sewed the two parts together at the bottom.  I'll have to take a harder look at the instructions and think it through before trying it again.


I did not have the right size snaps for the placket, and I did not want to make buttonholes.  So I just sewed the bottom two buttons through both parts of the placket.  The top button is sewn only to the front placket, but there is a hidden sewn-in snap on the inside to keep it shut.


After I'd sewn everything else up, it was time to brave the coverstitch machine.


The machine feels like an incredible indulgence, especially when I'm explaining its function to people and they say, "So that's all it does?"


Yes, that is all it does.  But it does it so well.  I sat in front of the TV last night after I'd finished, just stretching and stretching the hems, just to see how very much they do not pop.


Setting in the waistband elastic was a breeze, too.  I serged it directly to the raw edge, then turned it and coverstitched it down.


But given how many pairs of leggings my oldest goes through in a season, and given how truly impossible it is to find RTW ones that fit her, my new toy is really a worthwhile investment.  No more trailing thread, no more popped hems.  


Probably a few more pairs of these leggings for Niko, too.  They are perfect baby wear and are long enough that I expect them to fit him through the winter.


He just turned 5 months old, and I can't believe how big he is getting!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

KCW - Baby sleep sacks

Before Niko, I did not have much use for those-elastic bottomed sleep sacks.   I always heard them touted as the most convenient option for babies who still needed to be changed at night.  But I preferred footed sleepers - maybe because none of the others required middle-of-the-night diaper changes for very long.  Or, and this is more likely, it was because my husband always did the changing.  


At five months old, Niko still requires an overnight change after one of his feedings or he will wake up soaked in the morning.  And now that I do all the night-time changes all myself, I have found that I have zero patience for wrangling cranky baby legs into footed pajamas at 3 a.m.  The elasticated sleep sacks (which I layer underneath a zippered fleece sleeping bag now that it has gotten colder) really are much more convenient in the wee hours of the morning.  But we only had two, and both were very nearly outgrown.


Since I already had Growing Up Sew Liberated, I used the sleep sack pattern from the book.  I was a little leery of using another pattern from that book after the dramatic failure of the basic pocket pant, but then I remembered that I had previously made the book's envelope tee and sleeping john patterns and they were fine (and in fact, Gabriel is still wearing them, though the tee is nearly cropped on him now).

I made two sacks.  The first in a buffalo plaid double-faced cotton knit from Fabric Mart.  It is a lovely heavy weight for cool nights.  The reverse side is a natural-colored rib knit.  I used that side to make a quick wonky star appliqué for the front.


I love the combination of plaid and knit - as far as I'm concerned, its one you don't see often enough!  For the neckbands, I used some black ribbing from my stash.  I would have preferred a bright color for the ribbing but I only had black, white and brown on hand.  (Inder and Rachel both recently blogged about their favorite sources for colorful ribbing and now I am itching to buy a whole rainbow of it to have on hand.)


I made the 6-12 month size for my stalwartly 50th percentile-in-height nearly 5-month-old in hopes that they would last us through winter.  After I cut out the plaid sack and basted the shoulders together, I laid it out next to the baby.  It seemed quite short - one kick and his feet would stick right out.  Ugh, I was annoyed.  I should have measured him before cutting, but really, he is of average height for a 5-month-old, so the 6-12 month size should have been plenty long enough!


Grumbling all the way at the whack sizing of the pattern, I cut two more 5" wide strips of fabric to attach to the bottom, matching the plaid ok vertically but not really horizontally, and then made the elastic casing as directed.  I didn't hem the sleeves, but just serged the raw edges and turned them up to leave plenty of room for growth.


I made a second out of some lovely medium-weight red cotton/lycra (also from Fabric Mart) that I now wish I had bought more of.  It is a great weight for a sleep sack - and I have enough left for a pair of leggings for Natasha.


I used some Laguna jersey in aqua for the neckbands, which I cut narrower for this version.  I think the proportions are a little better this way.

He has now worn both sacks to sleep and his feet have remained fully covered!  Plus he looks adorable. 


I won't be doing this KCW as doggedly as I usually do - I did not manage to get to the machine today - but I hope to turn out one or two more items before the end of the week.  My mother-in-law is visiting, so I am optimistic!

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Big Boy Bed and the Hudson's Point-inspired Duvet Cover

When my girls moved into their toddler beds three years ago, I made their bedding.  I cut a twin sized comforter in half to make two little comforters (the cutest things ever, seriously).  And I dropped a bundle on some Moda quilting cotton that wasn't even on sale to sew two duvet covers and four pillow cases.  They were so stinking adorable on those little beds.



Fast forward to now.  Niko still sleeps in the co-sleeper in our bedroom, but it won't be long before we move him into the crib ... which Gabriel is still sleeping in.  So we bought the girls a bunk bed (!) and moved one of the toddler beds into G's (soon to be both boys') room.   He asks to sleep in it every night, but I keep telling him he needs to wait until I finish his bedding.  But really, I'm just not looking forward to his being mobile overnight and early in the morning.

 

Anyway, I finally made the bedding.  I had saved this tutorial for a Hudson's Bay Point quilt from Skirt as Top.  I really wanted to make the quilt version, but knew that it would be getting colder by the time I got to it.  So I turned it into a duvet cover.

 

My colors are a little different then hers.  I did a little Googling and came across some vintage blankets where the green stripe appeared more of a sea foam color. When I went to the fabric store, I looked at a number of combinations and settled on the sea foam in place of the green.



Then the fabric sat in my sewing room for a month until I put my WIP Josephine in time-out for the fourth time and was casting about for another project. From cutting to buttonholes it only took about three hours, with another half hour minutes for cutting the holes open and sewing on the buttons.



In my haste, however, I pieced the stripes in the wrong order. And I left off the black lines that denote the "points" of the blanket. So it's not so much Hudson's Point as it is "inspired by."


I more or less followed Kristin's cut list, with a few changes (I'm posting them at the end of this post for my own reference if I later want to make a matching one for Niko).


Gabriel has slept with the duvet in his crib the last two nights, and I find that it stays on his tossy-turny little body much better than the smaller blankets he had been using.  It's a hit.  I think it is perfect little boy bedding and I like how it plays off the striped accent wall in the bedroom.  I will make a matching pillowcase whenever I do finally move him into the bed ... maybe this week?  Yikes.


CUT LIST

Red: 2 each at 2.5" x 43"
Yellow:  2 each at 2.5" x 43"
Sea Foam:  2 each at 2.5" x 43"
Navy:  2 each at 2.5" x 43"

(I actually had to piece some of the colored stripes to get the required length - there was a lot of shrinkage!)

Cream:  6 each at 2.5" x 43"
              1 at 18.5" x 43"
              1 at 6.75" x 43"
              1 at 8.25 x 43" (for button flap)
              1 at 61" x 43" (back of cover)

For the button flap. I folded the 8.25" piece over 1/4", then applied a 1" strip of interfacing lined up with the fold. Then I turned over another 1".  I sewed the buttons to the inner part of the fold.  On one end of the back of the cover, I folded and applied interfacing in the same manner, but then I edge-stitched it into place before sewing the buttonholes.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Oh, Josephine

Made By Rae's Josephine caught my eye as soon as it came out.  That happened to be just a week after I completed my Amish Washi dress.  Someone cautioned me that, if I didn't like the fit of the Washi, I probably wouldn't like the Josephine either, because they would be based on the same blocks.  It seemed like sage advice, and there were plenty of other things to sew, so I held off.


Nearly two years later, I find myself searching for something to sew my postpartum self.  As I am 30 pounds up from pre-pregnancy weight, none of my TNT patterns fit.  For some reason it seemed more reasonable to buy a totally new pattern, than to refit the Plantain or Lisette Traveler that were my cool-weather mainstays before I got pregnant.

So I threw caution to the wind and bought Josephine.  And I am SO glad I did!


I made a few modifications.  The pattern does include two cup size options, but there was no way C/D was going to cut it these days.  I'm rocking a G cup at the moment, so I did an FBA on the C/D bust size Large (which corresponded to my high bust measurement).  I also moved the dart down, so that it pivots to the bust at an angle.  I find this angled dart much more flattering than parallel-to-the-floor horizontal darts.  I had previously thought this dart was called a French dart, but I recently read that French darts start just above the waist, and mine is higher than that, so I am not sure what to call it.  


(My six-year-old took these photos in the rain using our DSLR ... they are a little blurry but I think she did a pretty good job!)

I did not sew the pin tucks all the way down, but ended them a bit below the bust line a la Rae's release tuck version.  I also omitted the back elastic because I just wanted something loose and floaty.  In the wrong position it does look a bit maternity, but I am still rocking the baby belly and there is only so much you can do to camouflage that.

I suspected that I would not like the degree of sleeve puff at the top, but I put them in per the pattern anyway ... and I was right.  Rather than cut a new sleeve, I just removed them and sliced an inch off the top of the sleeve cap.  I am sure this is the absolute wrong way to de-poof a sleeve, but it actually worked pretty well.  I found some good tutorials for sleeve adjustments here that I followed on my second Josephine (I'm halfway through but having a little trouble).


I knew before I sewed the pattern that I would need to lower the neckline to avoid looking matronly. It's funny - I actually like almost all the Josephines I've seen, and I only think a couple of them look matronly - but I knew that, on me, it just wouldn't work.  I cut the neckline written, and then tried it on after I'd put in the darts, pin tucks and sewn the shoulders together to decide how much to lower.  I ended up bringing it down a full 2" and I think I could even drop it another 3/4" or so the next time I make the pattern.  It is really quite a high neckline, though it doesn't look that way on smaller busts.  I bound the neckline to the wrong side with prepackaged bias, and managed to avoid the dreaded neck gape on my first try!  Clipping the neckline really makes a difference.


I used a crinkly gauze purchased for $4.50/yd from Fabric Mart last May.  I didn't like it as much in person, as on the screen, so I figured it would be an easy sacrifice for my first try on the Josephine, and as it turns out I love it made up in this pattern!  It's interesting, but not so busy that it completely obscures the pin tucks.  And it's a nice weight for a summer-to-fall transition piece.


Oh, Josephine.  I never should have doubted you.

Linking up with Gray All Day.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Corduroy disappointment


Fall arrived rather suddenly here, and with it the realization that Gabriel is in dire need of pants.  Like, he only has one casual pair that actually fits (in addition to some high-waters and a pair way too big in the waist), and one weather-appropriate pair for church.  While outlining "dream sewing" plans during our vacation, I mentally reserved some stashed pinwale corduroy for him.  I really like this fabric.  The piles are a deep purpley-brown, but the vertical threads (warp, I think?) are white, and they combine to make the wrong side of the fabric a lighter shade, which works well if you want to reverse the fabric for accent purposes.


When I managed to carve out a couple hours' precious sewing time a few evenings in September, these pants (Basic Pocket Pants from Growing Up Sew Liberated) in this fabric were at the top of the list.  I was so excited to try them on him when he woke up the morning after I completed them ... and then I was unbelievably frustrated at the way they fit.


It is partly my own fault.  I sewed three pairs of these  pants in flannel last winter as pj bottoms for my daughters and my niece.  At the time, I noted that the rise is way too short ... but I only noted it mentally and never wrote it down.  The paper in my mental notepad is flimsy and prone to flying away at the slightest cross-breeze of a new thought ... I didn't even remember that I had sewn the pattern at all until I was nearly done with these!  Lesson learned - always mark up your patterns!


In any case, the finished rise on the 3T is only 15.75".  Which is really crazy short - my research (which consists mostly of measuring RTW pants and sewing patterns) indicates that a 3T should have more like a 17.5+" rise.   Interestingly, I found the rise on my Sew Liberated Skinny Jeans also unwearably short.


This works ok when Gabriel is standing, but the minute he curves his booty (i.e. by kneeling to play with his cars, sitting down to inspect a bug, flinging his body over the armrest of the couch or any of the other 100 contortions a 2.5-year-old is wont to make in a 5 minute period), the pants slide down, showing a good 4" of diaper.


If you look closely in the following picture, you can see on his left side just how far down the waistband has slipped.  From the back, it's all diaper.


I was doggedly determined to make the pants work because of G's aforementioned dearth of pants. and my dearth of sewing time.  Thanks to the pattern's somewhat unusual waistband construction, it was not terribly difficult to squeeze 2" more rise out of the pants.  As drafted, you only cut one waistband piece, which you sew to the wrong side of the pants, and then turn it to the right side and stitch it down there.  I unpicked it, cut a second waistband piece to attach to the first, and then stitched the bottom of the new piece to the top of the pants.  I also tightened the elastic (it now has about 1.5" of negative ease). But the pants still migrate downwards. This photo was taken right after he stood up, before he'd had a chance to pull his pants up in back.


Upon further inspection, I think the trouble lies in the back crotch curve - it's not curved enough and creates a basically flat bottom.   You can really see how flat the rear area is in the following photos.


The back also needs to be a bit higher in general. I think adding a back yoke to the existing pants might really make them work, but then I'd have to draft new waistband pieces.  It feels like more work than I want it to be, so I think I'm just done with this pattern.  I think I will revert to my Oliver+S Sunny Day pants for the next pair, or maybe just buy their Sandbox Pants pattern, which has the casual vibe I was going for.  It's a bummer about this pattern, but I need to move on.