Friday, August 21, 2009

Kukerrus Kimono

This one was great fun to make. Even though Grace gets plenty of hand-me-downs from big sister, I can't avoid making her some fun things.

This is the Kukerrus Kimono from Ottobre 4-2008-12 made with 3 coordinating Marcus Brother cottons from Mary Jo's. I like the precoordinated fabrics; I'm not daring enough to be too creative with combining prints.

It closes with two buttons but has a tie on the inside to help keep it together.

This top is fully lined. You put the shell and the lining each together separately and then sew them right sides together, leaving an opening for turning. But here's the trick: if you're not careful with the sleeves, you'll end up with something like a straitjacket (oops).

The above picture shows how you should NOT sew the sleeves. Do not insert the sleeve lining into the sleeve and sew the hems right sides together.

The right way to do it is counterintuitive. Place the inside out sleeve lining and sleeve hems facing each other, making a sort of sleeve tube, turn out the seam allowances and stitch right sides together.

When done, the two sleeves look like this. If you do it the other way, this is what the top will look like when turned right side out.

Grace thinks photo shoots are for being goofy. I told her, "Let's take some nice pictures first."
"Good job!"
"Okay, now you can be funny."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Handicraft is good for the brain

My sister-in-law has just reminded me of the beauty of raising children in a do-it-yourself family. My husband far excels me in this area (he was already recovering furniture and making croissants from scratch in his early twenties). I can see the evidence of this benefit in the way my small kids think. They think mom and dad can do anything (of course, don't all small children think this way?!) My three-year-old daughter is under the impression that I (or grandma or auntie) have made all of her clothes and soft toys and will ask me why I did this or why I didn't put a bow here, and so on.
I was in Hobby Lobby the other day with just the three girls (we had a nice, relaxing time since there were so few of us, he he) and Sara was drawn to some Disney purse making kits. They were, naturally, overpriced and cheap at the same time.
I said something like, "Of course we can make a much better one at home. Maybe a little bird purse." (Thinking of a pattern I have for a bird purse.)
Not good enough. So I asked, "Princess?"
"No," Sara said, "I want a WARRIOR!"
The rest of the shopping trip, the girls were pointing to fancy packages and asking, "Can you make me this, mom? Can we do this at home?" Oh dear.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Army green pants

Alex is thrilled with all the pockets on these pants and I'm thrilled he finally owns a pair of pants that will stay up. I made the pants two sizes slimmer than the size for his height and removed an additional two inches from the waist.

There are a lot of time-consuming details here, but I'm sure when I make these for Peter, they'll go much faster. I procrastinated a bit because I knew the fly zipper was looming, but with the excellent instructions and a small amount of cumulative experience, the zipper went very smoothly. Actually, I think it's easier to make a fly zipper look nice than an invisible zip.

The pattern is from Ottobre 4-2008-33. It calls for buttonholes and snaps on all those pockets, but I opted for metal jeans snaps - a much faster process, and neater, considering my machine's wretched buttonhole stitch.

The fit is perfect - with a little extra length, which I'm sure he'll need before long.

These pants are the first item in the SWAP I have planned for the boys. I have the same material ("Rough Rider" brushed twill from in khaki ready for Peter's pair.

I used a cowboy hat print for the waistband and pocket flap facings. I think that's my favorite part - where can you get that rtw?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Boys' SWAP Fall 2009

This is my big plan for the boys. I'm unofficially joining the Ottobre-english group in a SWAP (sewing with a plan). I have one planned for the girls and for myself, as well. (High hopes, high hopes, I know). I have the fabrics picked out for each of the patterns, but I'm pushing the limits of my techno-savvy skills as it is. You can see the fabrics once they're made into garments.

I'm nearly finished with Ottobre 4-2008-33, the "Hi-hat" casual plaid pants. Anticipating the fly zipper (my first) has stretched this project out for a week. But I finished that milestone last night and tomorrow will do a fitting and finish them off.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Chambray Tunic

I really liked this nifty tunic when I saw it in the magazine (Ottobre 5-2008-3). I should have known that it wouldn't suit me as well as the model because I'm not one for belts. I think it would have turned out fine if I had waited until AFTER I'd figured out my shoulder-fitting issues. I have a lot of work to do in that arena, but I'm looking forward to the process because, when I do figure it out, I will finally be able to wear woven shirts with comfort. Comfort is paramount, in my opinion, so I generally wear t-shirts.

I realized early on in the stitching process that the armholes were way too tight and that it was unlikely I'd get a wearable garment (it's a shame because of all those pintucks I'd already done!). So I left off the back zipper, and it's not strictly necessary. I didn't want to overhaul the whole shoulder and armhole area, but I got some space in the armhole by letting out the shoulder seam a bit and then putting the sleeves back on and gathering them less than before. It helped some, but the shirt is still too uncomfortable to wear - the broadcloth has no give whatsoever.

Here's a shot without the belt.
Right now I'm working on a muslin for a basic sleeveless blouse, using some fitting tips from the helpful gals on the Ottobre yahoo group.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Pooh and Piglet sunhat

For my birthday a while back, my husband had the two older girls each pick out a half yard of fabric for me. What did I get? Pooh and Piglet and Hello Kitty!

I didn't need any Pooh and Piglet things for myself so I made that half yard into a much- requested sunhat for Grace. I'm still undecided about the Hello Kitty piece.

This pattern is the "Hermione" sunhat from Ottobre 3-2009-4. It's quite simple to make. I've had many of those "aha" moments lately as I've been sewing. "So THAT'S how they do it!" I'm loving the learning curve (most of the time).

The topstitching adds a more professional touch. I suppose it would be more so if it weren't a little wavy.

I think Grace is a little disappointed it's not pink with flowers. But it is so nice to work with non-pink, non-floral fabric once in a while.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Swimming in Flowers

I finally decided to stop putting off making this swimsuit. I've had the pattern cut out and fabric purchased for months, but have been trying to overcome my hesitation to make swimwear. If only I had known . . . this took less than an hour to stitch up. I was amazed.

Something that helped me forge ahead was the fact that I was using this horrid fabric - which meant I wouldn't be too disappointed if I ruined it! This spring, when I was searching for the perfect little girls' swimsuit fabrics, I thought I'd let Sara choose one for herself. She thought this one was so beautiful and I couldn't talk her out of it. Of course, after trying the suit on, she told me she'd "changed her mind" about the fabric! And...she has grown since I traced the pattern and the suit is a little tight.

Two lessons learned: 1. Narrow down the child's fabric choices to ones you like. 2. Sew the item soon after you trace the pattern.

That said, I'm very excited about the possibilities for inexpensive custom swimwear for our family. This little suit took about a third of a yard at about $4 a yard. Can you beat that?

I uncrossed the back straps to get a little more length. Plus the suit will be much easier to get in and out of.

After basting the lining pieces to the edges, I stitched the seams with a tiny zigzag stitch. For the armhole and neck edges, I turned under and zigzagged, and turned under and zigzagged again. I did the same thing with the elasticated edges, stitching the elastic (while stretching it) next to the raw edge in the first step.

The pattern is from Ottobre 2-2002-28 which has Finnish instructions. So...I assembled this without instructions. I think that was a good way to go in this instance, because I put my mental efforts toward figuring out how I should assemble the suit rather than toward understanding instructions.

A little silliness.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Bandana Baby

I made this dress for a friend's baby, but Molly was kind enough to model it for us. (Unfortunately, now I also need to wash the dress....)

There are three inverted pleats at the neckline (difficult to see, I know).

The pattern is the "Alicia" dress from Ottobre 3-2009-5. It has a contrasting hem panel and neck binding (obvious from the picture, I suuppose), elastic-gathered sleeves and buttons in the back.

I know it's not strictly necessary to have all these pictures, but I couldn't narrow down my selections any further. I love this baby stage.

The bandana print fabrics are both quilting cottons from Hobby Lobby.

After doing the "photo shoot" I realized I really needed to make matching bloomers to send with the dress. For those, I used the "Cassia" velour shorts pattern from Ottobre 3-2009-2. Rather than velour, I used a poly/cotton poplin from and it worked fine.


©2009 21 Wale | by TNB