Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas to All!

Next year maybe I'll do embroidered names instead of Post-it notes...
And this picture reminds me that I need to get a photo of all five kids together, and not just their stockings.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Neat Beat in Pink

I made another pair of these "Neat Beat" pants for Grace this time, but had to downsize the pattern to size 98. She was so pleased that she tackled me with a hug and knocked me over when I knelt down to help her try them on.

The fabric is a really nice stretch pinwale cord from But I'm thinking I'll need to stop using pinwale corduroy for pants, seeing as these pants aren't holding up too well in the knees.

I like the flat front waistband on these....
...with the comfy, easy-on elastic waist back.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I picked these up (technically, they came to me) during Chez Ami's ridiculous $2.50/yd. sale.

3 interlock knits, 2 rib knits

1 green striped microfiber (boys' swim trunk material), 3 tactel (swimsuit material)

2 jerseys and 1 cotton lycra. The offensively bright one on the left was Alex's choice. I couldn't decide between a couple of nice jerseys and called him in to the computer to help me decide. He spotted this one and fell in love. However, I've since seen the same red and blue stripe made up by someone else into a nice hoodie, so I think it'll turn out all right.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Jeans for the Boy

Alex has been begging me to make him jeans for about six months. I've been gearing myself up for them, but in reality they weren't any more challenging than some of the other boys' pants I've done. The addition of the coin pocket and the rivets make them the real thing.
I used Ottobre's "Guitar Jeans" pattern from 4-2008-28, but slimmed it by two sizes. This is kid is solid, but very straight and narrow. Unfortunately, I may still need to open up the back waistband and add some elastic so they don't keep inching down.
This is a slim-fitting jeans pattern anyway, which I was looking for. Ottobre's patterns seem to be a little looser fitting in general.

This was my first try at rivets, and after the first one went in backwards and got mangled in the process, I gave my husband a shot at it. He did three and showed me how incredibly easy it is. I was trying too hard, I guess. His method: make a hole with the seam ripper. Poke the stem through. Place the base onto the stem by hand. Squeeze with snap pliers. This worked well even though I didn't have any sort of rivet tool.
I searched all over the internet for jeans rivets. I finally found some small packages of them locally at Mary Jo's Cloth Store.
Grommet Mart (love that name!) also sells packages of 100 pieces for about $13.

Slimming the pants as much as I did moved the coin pocket over almost to the side seam. I'll have to remember to compensate for that in the future.
The pockets seem so low. I guess that's how they make 'em these days. (Or, in this case, that's how I make 'em.)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Orvokki means Pansy

There's your Finnish word of the day.

This is the Orvokki Jersey Blouse from Ottobre 1-2009-18. It has double sleeves and both the back and front are shirred and gathered to the yokes.

Also featured are the "Pumpkin Pants", which I decided to shorten after all.

Sara's gotten used to this posing bit. As soon as I snap a photo of the front view, she turns for a side view photo and then for the back. Very funny.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

In our house, only dolls wear nightgowns

I don't object to nightgowns in principle, but in practice. There's nothing like extricating yourself from a long twisted tube of fabric in the middle of the night.

However, dolls don't have this problem.

I took a short break from my list of sewing projects when Sara was digging (and cutting) through my scrap bin and begged for a doll dress.

A while back, my mom made this doll and a little wardrobe for Sara and then gave me the hand-drawn patterns. Hmmm....I think the nightgown pattern runs a little big. I don't think she'll grow into it.

After I made this bright bedwear, Sara eagerly dressed her doll, grabbed the camera and posed the doll in the corner for a photoshoot.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Neat Beat Pants

After making these very detailed pants for Sara, I felt like doing something basic (and quick). Enter: Neat Beat Pants from Ottobre 6-2009-17. What in the world does "Neat Beat" mean?

They have a flat front yoke and elastic in the back. The pattern is meant for slim sizes, so I didn't alter it at all, although they are still a little baggy.

The denim is super duper stretchy denim from I bought this for jeans for myself, but it's so stretchy I realized it could only be appropriate for denim leggings. My wardrobe simply doesn't have a place for denim leggings right now, so that yardage will turn into little girls' trousers.

I made these jeans-style with double gold topstitching. Neither of my machines (coverstitch or regular sewing machine) liked this stretchy stuff. It was tricky business to stitch semi-straight lines while also trying to prevent a knotted nest of threads from forming.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Is it is purple or pink?

I can't decide what color this purplish pink interlock is, but it's one of the (too many) knits I picked up at the Chez Ami warehouse sale this summer. It's nice and warm for this sweater-style tee-shirt.

The pattern (Ottobre 5-2007-5) indicates that this is a fitted top but, as you can see, it isn't terribly fitted even with a tank underneath.

If I make this again I'll lengthen the sleeves so I can make wider sleeves hems to match the shirt hem.
Also featured are the slightly rumpled Burda cuffed trousers.

I did a slight forward shoulder alteration here. I'm still playing with this alteration, but what I did this time works nicer than the last method I used. This time I slashed from the neckline to the armscye and spread in back and overlapped the same amount in front. This moves the shoulder seam forward and widens the upper back just slightly, while removing some of the extra fabric in front of the armhole. This is smoother, I think, than just widening the back and moving the seam forward. Maybe I'll draw up a diagram in the future when I'm satisfied with how the alteration works for me.

The shirt in action with the smallest member of our family. She loves to sing along when I play.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tiku boatneck

I'm so tired of seeing this green striped shirt, I just had to make Peter another shirt. Today, I went through his closet and discovered that, lo and behold, he does have more than just that one shirt! I asked him, "You have plenty of nice shirts! Why aren't you wearing these other ones, too?" Answer, "They're not as nice as the ones you make." (Thanks, honey, but I'm still tired of lime green...)

This is the Tiku Boatneck Tee pattern from Ottobre 1-2009-20. As I was stitching this up I was thinking I didn't like the neckline - the construction (per the instructions) seemed odd and I couldn't get the neckband pieces to line up perfectly. The instructions have you attach the front neckband to the shirt, then attach the back neckband to the front band at the sides, and then stitch the back band to the back.
But now that it's finished I'm happy with how it turned out, especially with the contrast stitching, and I like the interesting shape of the neckline.

Side vents.
Also featured: Cargo pants which, incidentally, are very uncomfortable to sit in with those snaps in the back. Thus all the squirming in church on Sunday.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bell-Bottom Cords

The next installment in Sara's winter wardrobe is a pair of brown corduroy pants - called "Pumpkin pants" in Ottobre 4-2006-22. They turned out a little long and I couldn't hem them much shorter because I'd already done the applique. But she will no doubt grow into them soon.

The patch pockets each have 5 pintucks in them and, let me tell you, my finished pockets don't look quite like the pattern intended. Mine turned out narrower at the bottom, so they look a little silly with the big pocket flaps.

Otherwise, the fit is really good, after I took out about two inches from the sides up to the waist.

The applique design is from LollyChops.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

You can't get any more basic than this

The basic white tee is an essential wardrobe piece, especially for going under pinafore jumpers and tunics. I used the Ottobre Design creative workshop #301 tee-shirt pattern in the slim fit version, which is fitted enough that I don't have to slim it down for Sara.

Also featured are the "Audrey capri pants". (And new socks from Target, of course).

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cuffed Trousers

After numerous trials on kids' pants - progressing from pajama pants, to elastic waist pants, to trousers with zippers - I have finally made a pair for myself. As I was cutting out and sewing these up, I had pretty low expectations for the outcome, since I've had such trouble fitting shoulders. But, to my surprise, they fit pretty well straight off the pattern and are extremely comfortable.

The pattern is from Burda 4-2009-118. These are pretty basic pants with so-called "witty" patch pockets on the front. I didn't realize how often I used those regular side pockets until I didn't have any. Ah well. I ended up lopping off a total of six inches from the leg length. Ha! That would have made me, what, over 6 feet tall!
After wearing them for several days, I think I may redo the cuffs to make the trousers a tad longer.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Another Spotted Cape

Grace is modeling the fleece cape I made for her cousin's birthday. It's nearly identical to the one I made Sara earlier this year, except this one has blue pom pom fringe and blue organza ribbon.

The pattern is Ottobre 6-2008-22A and very simple to make. I used my coverstitch to attach the pom pom fringe and didn't finish the edge beyond that.

I like the pointy hood.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Princess Dress

Our family went to the Renaissance Festival on the 31st and Sara was the only one without a costume, so I needed to "whip up" this princess dress. I modified a basic dress pattern (ottobre 4-2006-10) and embellished it just a bit. The boys wore their knights' tunics and Grace wore her droopy-winged fairy dress.

Not wanting to go shopping with so many other things on my plate, I dug through my stash and found some scraps of fancy fabrics and hoped they would go well together. The outer skirt is net and the underskirt seems like a metallic satin. Sadly, after a full days' use, the metallic fabric couldn't hold its own and was ripping apart - not just at the seams but even in the middle of the pieces! Metallic satin and elephant rides don't go together, I guess. (I got to ride the elephant too! Fortunately my clothes stayed intact.) I'll have to replace that skirt with some regular satin.

The bodice seems a little wide, even though I thought I'd slimmed the pattern down two sizes. I'll have to check before I sew it up in a regular dress for this winter.

Monday, October 26, 2009

"Powder Puff" Raglan Tee

Here's the next installment in my quick-make-some-basics-so-Sara-has-something-to-wear scramble.
This fabric is so busy it's hard to see the raglan sleeves and the shirring detail. It's only after I've made two garments with shirring near the neckline that the solution to the neck binding poking out has revealed itself (thanks to an ottobre yahoo group member). I should have stitched the gathered/shirred neckline to avoid stretching it while applying the binding. That way it wouldn't gather the neck binding along with itself.

The sleeve hems are gathered with elastic.
I added some length because, as usual, I expect some more shrinkage from this Hobby Lobby Fabric.
Oh...the pattern is from ottobre 6-2008-20.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Very Green

I wouldn't think of lime green as a staple wardrobe color, but I've nearly used up my second spool of lime thread this year.

I wanted to make a quick knit dress for Sara, so I chose a pattern I'd used before: this bubble dress. I eliminated the bubble skirt feature and made a normal dress. I also added three inches to the length since I knew the dress was on the short side. There's plenty of length there now, since I've started tracing the next size up to allow for the ridiculous amount of sprouting up that happened this summer. At this rate, she's going to pass up her older brothers!

You can't see the details well, but there are raglan sleeves which are gathered with elastic. The bodice has some decorative shirring close to the neckline and, as you can see in the photo above, that cute feature which Sara likes so much makes the neckline poke out. Sara didn't notice that, of course. She's well pleased and wore the dress to church this morning.

If I made this again, I'd take the waist in a bit. The style is all right, but a bit on the frumpy side.
The fabric is from Chez Ami.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Kaisa Jersey Blouse

I realize I have way too many stitches planned to fit in between now and Christmas. I held off on buying Sara any fall/winter clothes because I wanted to make her a little wardrobe - but then, of course, I've been distracted with making birthday and baby gifts, as well as with clothes for the boys. Well, because I'm desperately tired of seeing her wear the same few outfits (and because my husband is threatening to go buy her some clothes at Target, he he), I'm "whipping up" a few basics.

This is the "Kaisa" jersey blouse from Ottobre 1-2009-12. The neck and bodice are gathered with clear elastic tape and the sleeves are slightly cropped. Sara's grown a little since I traced this pattern in May, so I added 2 inches to the length and a little to the sleeves. Plus, I expect this Hobby Lobby knit to shrink even though I prewashed and dried it twice.

The heart pocket pants, which she wears continuously, are featured here.


©2009 21 Wale | by TNB