Friday, September 19, 2014

A Romper and a Unique Sweatshirt

Even though summer has left us in the dust, I still wanted to make this romper for Molly (age 5). I had earmarked some of those last toddler patterns I'd be sad to have skipped, and this was at the top of the list.

I did make it large so she *might* be able to fit it next year.

The fabric is a stash-cured jersey from Chez Ami. The front closes with an invisible zip. It has two patch pockets, and some elastic stitched to the inside of the waist.

I imagine it's comfortable, but she thought it was a little weird and didn't want to wear it at first, despite being excited about the fabric.

The pattern is "Owl Tree Romper" from Ottobre 3-2013-28.

Now this one is more suitable for fall. It is "Tipitii Velour Tunic" from Ottobre 1-2010-30. I made it in a super stretchy sweatshirt fleece that was already pilling, blech. I figured I wouldn't be sad about the fabric if Grace didn't end up loving this unique tunic.

The front bodice is supposed to be gathered to the yoke, but the gathers just stretched as I sewed it. You can see how it should look in the back view. The sleeve caps are also gathered.

The pockets are my favorite part. I also lined the hood.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Swim Shorts, for Swimming and More

Well, summer came and went (whoosh!) and I hardly saw my sewing machine. But I did crank out some swimwear for my weed who keeps sprouting up.

The three suits are identical (saves time!), but they're in different fabrics, so that's something.

This kid spent the summer obsessed with dragonflies. She even started trying to identify some of the species. Let me say, dragonflies are MUCH more difficult to identify than birds are.

But back to the swimwear. I made Jalie's new swimshorts (Jalie 3351) and they are as nice as I expected them to be.

The outside shorts and the inner briefs connect at the waistband. I like the shape and clever construction of the side panels, which create a pocket. Coverstitching all those pieces got a leeetle picky, especially on the 5 pairs I made, but the finish is very nice in the end.

I paired the shorts with Jalie's tankini top pattern (Jalie 3023). Unlike her sisters, this kid had NOOO desire to wear the swim skirt that comes in that pattern, so I'm very pleased to have this new swim short option. For a couple of years, I had been creating my own swim shorts by blending patterns. These are better, hehe.

Above you get a better view of the waistband. The inner waistband is cut smaller than the outer band, causing the seam to stay inside out of sight. Narrow (3/8" ?) elastic is stitched to the upper edge. It holds the shorts up just fine, and yet is comfortable and unbulky.

I made myself two pairs. I didn't photograph the shiny black swimwear lycra pair. Ewww. Much too shiny. They're my swimming pair and I haven't used them yet.

However this matte navy blue pair has seen constant use: I've worn them running, canoeing, hiking, sitting around at the beach, cycling, and doing pilates and yoga (although they're a little floppy for the latter two). Phew! When I make future non-swimming pairs, I think I'll omit the briefs.

I made one fit change for the second pair: I raised the height 2" by adding to the tops of the shorts and side  panel pieces. The lower waist is great for my 10 year old daughter, but the added height for me is much more comfortable in my opinion.

Conclusion: I see many more iterations of this pattern in my future both for swimwear and activewear.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Comino Cap Dress and Top

So, I just beefed up my summer wardrobe: 5 new garments all from the same pattern! This is the Comino Cap Top and Dress from Kitschy Coo. 

I had a lot of fun with the fabric much fun that my girls were getting jealous that I was the one getting all the cool fabrics I had just ordered from Girl Charlee. Too bad, bwahaha!

Well, as you can see, the main feature is the sweetheart style bodice - although I did do a single fabric version as well (see below).

I like the not-quite-sleeveless sleeves. And best of all, probably, is the overall fit: slim, but not quite fitted with an ideal waist-seam placement, which gives the skirt a nice skimming silhouette.

It may look daunting, but the sweetheart curves were really easy to sew. I pinned and serged all the way across. Topstitching helps neaten the seam, too.

The maxi skirt variation doesn't come with the pattern (maybe there will be instructions for it online at some point?) but I just, you know, made it longer and slimmer.

Considering how often I've reached for these garments in the just the first half of summer, I will probably make a few more single fabric versions.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Puffed Sleeves

Well, I've made myself two pairs of Jalie swim shorts and they're awesome! But, I have no tops to go with they'll feature in a future post.

So for today we have the Olivia Puffed-Sleeve Blouse (Ottobre 6-2007-13) and the Ashlee Capri Pants (3-2009-45).

They weren't joking when they said "puffed sleeves"! The non-drapey fabric doesn't help, but the sleeves were bit too 1980s.

It doesn't look wonderful, but it is improved with the stitched-down pleats I added to the sleeves.

But I really like the collar and yoke.

Sara chose the plaid fabric from my stash. Even if the fabric is less than perfect for clothing, I'm happy to report I really AM making a dent in my quilting fabrics (:

But a shortage of this fabric led to the under-collar design feature.

I've made several pairs of these capri pants now, generally a new pair for Sara every summer. The other girls are the lucky recipients of the well-loved pairs. (And it turns out littlest sister Molly isn't as scrawny as her sisters were at her age, since they don't even come close to zipping up!)

These are in a lightweight stretch poplin (?).

The pockets are cute, even if they are too tight to actually use.

And the (largish) side vents.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Summer Trifectas

Summer came. It was time to do some t-shirt supplementation.

I made some long-sleeve versions of Kitschy Coo's Trifecta top earlier this spring. In my short-sleeve versions, it was fun to try out some of the variations ... v-neckline, pocket, triangle inset (which I faked and serged on top instead).

It turns out, I reach for these first whenever they're clean, beating out my custom-made self-drafted tees (boo).

Next up: Jalie's new swim shorts. They must have been reading my mind (or my posts) since up until now I've been frankenhacking assorted swim shorts with varying degrees of success.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

State of the Wardrobe Address

Another year has rolled around, bringing my Handmade Wardrobe Quest to its 6th completed year. (You might also call this a nerdy 6 years of data collection...) 

Last year, at the five year mark, I tallied up my wardrobe to see my stats (because stats are almost as fun as patterns, you know.)

Originally, my goal was to avoid buying any clothes, except for underwear and knitted items. But eventually I realized, gee, I can make underwear! So, for better or for worse, with the exception of some underwear, a coat, and a jacket, I have stitched everything.

[RTW = Ready To Wear]

So how do the stats stack up?
Total Garments
Last year: 55% Handmade
                  45% RTW

This year: 61% Handmade
                  39% RTW

Garment Categories

  Bar chart of individual garment categories. (Click to enlarge.)

Total tops
Last year: 71% Handmade
               29% RTW

This year: 77% Handmade
                23% RTW

Total Bottoms
Last year: 73% Handmade
                27% RTW

This year: 77% Handmade
                23% RTW

Friday, April 25, 2014

A whole lotta blue

For the girl-who-doesn't-wear-dresses, I thought I'd flip through my Ottobre magazines to find some dressy item she might approve of for Easter. I don't really care if she never wants to wear a dress, but this shirtdress seemed like it might pass muster.

She pre-approved the pattern and chose the fabric, and - yay! - even likes the end product.

I don't love the somewhat boring fabric choice - a lightweight stretch shirting - but I do love all the details on the dress.

The front closes with an invisible zip. Which is grey. Because that's how I roll! Hey, except for the pull, it's invisible.

The dress is "Helmi Shirtdress" from Ottobre 4-2008-35.

And blue item number 2 is a plaid shirt, made from Ottobre's 6-2011-28 ("Blue Poplin Shirt"). It's shown as a boys' shirt in the magazine.

Both the front and back have princess seams and there is a back yoke. The shirt almost looks curvy in the back.

I'm glad she loves this shirt and has plenty of growing room, because this was one of those well-loved fabrics intended for a me-shirt.