Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 Stats for Your Inner Nerd

It's that time of year again: looking back while looking forward. A year ago we sold our house, packed up the kids, and drove halfway across the country. It was bitterly cold when we arrived here and my toes were numb for two weeks (not exaggerating). It was a crazy up and down time looking for a house and finally moving in 2 months later.

Now, a year later, we're satisfied with our furniture arrangements, have figured out this house's particular quirks, have grown to love our neighborhood and . . . I have a decent selection of wool socks (thanks, mom!).

And now the part you've really been waiting for ... the statistics. The graphs below are based on 117 finished garments. I didn't include my Mrs. Stylebook sloper, 4 stool covers, or the sad capri pants I fed my serger. [Thanks go to my husband for creating these charts. His inner nerd includes databases. He dreams databases like I dream pattern drafting.]

[Note: Burda refers to BurdaStyle Magazine.]

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pajamas for All and to All a Good Night

These are the jammies that didn't quite make it for Christmas. But they're finished now. For some reason, I think I work more slowly when I have a deadline.

The kids wanted to redo the funny photo idea they had earlier this year: four monkeys wrestling on the couch.

The girls' pajamas were an effort to use up some ugly fabric that snuck into my stash somehow. It's not too bad for pjs, is it?

The boys got fun fabric, though: lizards and camping.
The patterns are all from the 6-2009 issue of Ottobre.

Christmas Eve day we happened to drive past the collapsed Twin Cities' Metrodome (or should we say "Metrobowl"?) It collapsed under the weight of snow during a recent blizzard. You can watch a video of it collapsing here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Cowl Contrivance

I've had my mind on cowl necks lately and lacking a pattern (or actually forgetting about the Burda download I had) I decided to have a little fun with my drafting books. Since I already had a basic long sleeve t-shirt worked out, I just altered the neckline of that block (or sloper). The entire cowl is cut on, with a facing matching the top 2 or so inches of the neckline. I cut the front on the bias.

Now, homemade patterns don't come with any sort of instructions. So I didn't think to do anything with the back of the shirt and I should have matched the back neckline to to the front. In this case, I unceremoniously coverstitched it down. Next time, I will: increase the size of the front facing to at least 4 inches, match the back and front neckline facings and slim the sleeves.

Do you like my three different attempts at decent lighting? My natural lighting area is knee deep in snow, and my photographer and I are still searching for decent spots indoors.

I used a random unknown-content jersey with no stretch for this version. Now that I've made some progress on drafting the cowl neck, I think I'll cut into one of my drapier knits for another version. The question is, should I cut the back on the bias too, or leave it on the straight grain?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Jänönheinä Tunic

I don't know why I'm making summer clothes for a baby who doesn't need clothes anyway. I suppose impulse isn't generally directed by need.

But Molly's happy to help me use up odd fabric pieces and doesn't mind dressing in layers for winter.

This is a raglan sleeve tunic with the neck gathered and bound and with elasticated sleeves.
The pattern is the Janonheina Tunic from Ottobre 4-2010-2. All my googling didn't reveal what "Janonheina" means in Finnish.

This is the winter wonderland view I have from my sewing room window.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Hunkering Down

Unfortunately I misplaced my camera until this evening, so I have some lousy through-the-window night shots here, but you may recognize my summer time photo shoot venue beneath all that snow. We got a friendly blizzard last night and today; our official snow total as of suppertime was 15.2 inches (38.6 cm).

The kids made a giant (so they say) snow cave. Hubby snowblowed the driveway three times. Baby and I stayed warm inside.
I think it was the festive snow that inspired my husband to dig out his Grandma Marie's krumkake recipe. My husband's family is a couple generations closer to their Norwegian roots than mine is, and while my family eats ham, they still eat things like ribs and cod for the Christmas meal.

Anyway, back to the krumkake. Put some batter in the iron.

Close the lid to cook for a while.

Peel off the cookie, which is soft, and quickly wrap it around the cone shaped rolling pin. As it cools, it becomes crisp.

We usually eat them plain, but they're good with whipping cream or ice cream. You can see a few of them made their way into ice cream bowl shapes - and are waiting to be filled with ice cream and lingonberries.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Raggedy Rompers for Two

These rompers remind me of my ancient Raggedy Ann doll I have stashed away somewhere. All my girls need are some red and white striped tights.

My husband thought I made them clown outfits. Ha ha. Actually, this is how it went... When he came home from work, Sara walked into the room and he said, "Wait, I thought Grace was wearing that." "No, I made them each one." "You made them both clown suits?" I guess we've moved to a new stage of sewing. I've stopped proudly showing him everything I make straight off the sewing machine. He's stopped fawning with amazement over everything I've made. Reality sets in (:

Anyway, I'm not so fond of how the front bib part of these turned out. It looks awkwardly low and you can see that the pleated portions above the straps pouf out, even though I tacked them down. The straps button to some button tabs stitched on the inside. However, I think the romper works better on the proportions of a 4 year old than of a 6 year old.

I do think the back view is pretty cute, though. The back waist has about six lines of shirring. I stitched these with elastic thread in the bobbin like usual, but even six rows did little to gather the fabric. However, I held my steaming iron over it, and it shriveled up tight - as you can see in the picture. That was my ironing fun for the day! The ankles are shirred as well.

I think I'd like the front better if the top edge were about four inches higher.

More pleats on the patch pockets.

Pattern: Ottobre 4-2010-19 (Vahvero Linen Romper)
Fabric: Poplin made to look like linen made to look like denim from

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Geisha Babe

With so many hand-me-downs, Molly doesn't get mom-made very often. I was surprised that, at 22 months, she was so excited about her new shirt. I let her try it on before I put on the buttons, and she pointed at the open front complaining, "Butt-? Butt-?" [Translation: this needs buttons, Mom!"]

The print is a quilting cotton I picked up a few years ago. Good thing (or bad thing?) most of my quilting prints are in 1/8 or 1/4 yards or they would all turn into little shirts. Little shirts are a lot faster than quilts!

I told her to turn around for the back view and she started turning in circles...

And the shirt in action: a new reading style she's learned from her sisters.
Cotton: Aunt Gracie's Around the World print from Mary Jo's Cloth Store
Pattern: Ottobre 1-2008-4 (Maya Blouse)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thanksgiving Paisley

We had to drive 3.5 hours to our family Thanksgiving dinner, so I helped the kids lay our their clothing the night before. Grace has a "healthy" selection of shirts, but in her opinion none of them was suitable for the occasion. Which shirt was she desperate for? The one that was half finished on my sewing table, of course.

Well, this is a very simple and quick top, so I obliged. This is a fabric she picked out herself from the fabric store...after I steered her away from a strange ballerina print. I'm really liking paisley lately and I won't deny that my opinion had some affect on her choice.

I've made this blouse several times before: it has a gathered neckline which ties just at the raglan seam. It works fine as a winter top with a tee underneath, but should serve her well through the spring and summer too.
Fabric: Cotton from Mill End Textiles
Pattern: "Polka dot Blouse" Ottobre 1-2008-16

Monday, November 29, 2010

Crazy Birds

Burda Magazine calls this a blouse "for little pirates", as part of a series of costumes. Made up, it does seem a little costumey, especially with the very puffy sleeves. I can really imagine it as a 17th century pirate shirt, except maybe for the silly bird print.

The blouse (Burda 1-2010-149) has a band collar, polo placket, front and back yokes, and sleeve vents with ties. Since I cut this pattern in January (eek!) I thought it might be a little small on my little weed, but you can see there's plenty of room.

The bird print is from Yes, it's crazy, but it will match the corduroy pants I plan to make soon(ish).

Happily, the sleeve poof has toned down a bit in the wash.

Hurrah for the conquered polo placket. They've given me grief in the past and so did this one. The one you see was made up of newly cut pieces after I ripped out my first (disastrous) attempt. But hurrah all the same.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Day Skirt

ETA: I forgot to mention that the idea for the waistband is from a pair of pants I made from an Ottobre pattern (6-2009-17, Neat Beat Pants). It gives a nice smooth front waist. I changed the construction of the yoke a little using the sausage roll technique (as is used for bodice yokes) to get all the yoke seams sandwiched in between yoke layers.

Our family Thanksgiving gathering was postponed to Saturday because of the forecasted snow and ice storm. So, naturally, Thursday dawned clear and sunny, if a bit on the chilly side (11 F/-11.7 C). It turned out to be a quiet day of games, homemade pizza, and a little stitching.

I finished up a blouse for Sara and decided to make her a much needed skirt.

A simple skirt was a good option for trying out the new drafting book I got for my birthday: Metric Pattern Cutting for Children's Wear by Winifred Aldrich. I've made a few things for myself using the women's version of the book.

I drafted a basic fitted skirt with front and back darts. I moved the front dart shaping to the side seams (referring to the handy book "How to Make Your Own Dress Patterns" by Adele Margolis) and cut out a yoke. The yoke has a facing for a clean front waistline.

For the back, I left the darts unstitched and used elastic to gather the extra width.

The tulip shaped pocket has been swimming around in my brain for a while and I thought it might be low-key enough to satisfy Sara's request for "no decorations". I squeezed this skirt from a half yard, so part of the pocket had to be cut from some other denim.

The pocket is two identical pieces, each sewn right sides together with calico and turned. Then I stitched them together, forming a regular patch pocket.

Here are the basic skirt pattern pieces. I made tracings of these to turn into the specific skirt I had in mind.


©2009 21 Wale | by TNB