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.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cozy Up by the Fire in . . . Denim

It's another good day to keep warm by the fire . . . snow, sleet, ice, frozen rain... Except there's really no fire this time. We need to buy more wood or gather some from the back yard.

Alex conceived of and described this outfit for me to make (which color denim, the colors of the shirt and guitar...). He also thought up this very cool pose (:

The jeans are a repeat of the slim corduroys I just made Peter, the Paperback Writer Jeans (Ottobre 6-2010-131). I remembered to put in buttonhole elastic this time, which is nice because of its adjustability (obviously). It does make the waistband look a little funny on the sides.

This denim doesn't have any stretch to it, while the corduroy had some give. I think the back side looks less baggy in the non-stretchy fabric (same size jeans and this kid is actually skinnier than the other one). I also reduced the back pocket size and added rivets. I'm trying to use up my Dritz rivets before I delve into my new stock of rivets from Grommet Mart.
Can you tell I forgot to topstitch the belt loops? Somehow I didn't even figure that out while I was trying to attach really floppy, unstitched loops to the waistband.

I even used rivets on the shirt! Alex loved his short sleeve guitar shirt and really wanted a long sleeve version. This is the Riff T-shirt (Ottobre 3-2018-18). Made here previously. This time I made sure the guitar was centered on the shirt. Great idea, huh?

Here Alex demonstrates the method for playing applique guitars.

And this photo is for Sandra, who was curious about our stone fireplace. The original owners of our house poured the cement and set the stones in by hand. Right below this room is a basement, and you can see the cement column which is holding up all that weight. Our house has split levels, so you can see the stone wall is just a half wall.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cozy up to the Fire in Corduroy

After the snow storm we had on Saturday, we feel a lot more like relaxing by the fire than traipsing down to the beach.
This is especially nice to do in cozy new duds: a soft t-shirt and slim-fitting corduroy jeans.

The pants are classic 5-pockets jeans with slim legs (Paperback Writer Corduroy Jeans Ottobre 6-2010-131).

The pattern emphasized their slimness, so I didn't slim the pattern as I normally would. They definitely fit skinnier than most Ottobre pants. Perhaps they'd be better in this case with smaller pockets and less fabric under the pockets?

Anyway, the fit's pretty good, especially with the added elastic in the back waist. The t-shirt is another basic (Jalie 2918) out of Chez Ami interlock.

I wouldn't say Molly had the time of her life during her first snow experience. But she did love wearing her snow clothes IN the house, especially her theoretically reversible mittens from Auntie.

An assortment of kids (our kids and the neighbor kids all unidentifiable in snow gear) made a giant snowman base. They were too exhausted with the effort to add any more body pieces.

We got around 8 inches total.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The ubiquitous and stark white

Here's the white shirt that doesn't quite work with the teal corduroy skirt. Although the bright white is certainly not a good color for me, a basic white shirt that actually fit was a hole in my wardrobe.

The feature I like most is the v-neckline. It also has turn-up cuffs and shoulder darts. Shoulder darts? You see those so rarely and yet I'm sure the vast majority of the population would benefit from them.

You can just barely see the gathered sleeve heads - there was a lot of ease in those sleeves. The line drawing doesn't show gathers, so I was a little surprised when I found they were unavoidable in real life, especially in this crisp sateen. Maybe I'll cut out some of that sleeve cap height when I make this shirt in another color.

And what about shoulder adjustments, you ask? I made my newly adopted forward shoulder adjustment, which meant I left out my old technique of pinching out a diagonal line in the bodice from neck to armscye (tapering to 0 at the neck), to allow for the hollow created by the jutting shoulder knob. The question is, should I try to fix the diagonal line or leave it alone?


cotton sateen from

pattern Ottobre 5-2009-4

Cord and Argyle

I just looked back on my sewing log (slog?), which starts in May of 2008, and realized that this is the 3rd skirt I've ever made. No, I'm not a huge skirt or dress person, but I was surprised I hadn't made any for my girls either. Do we unconsciously impress our preferences on our children? Hmmm. Daughter #2 will wear ONLY skirts or dresses, so never mind about that idea.

I also made a white button up shirt, but it doesn't look right with the skirt. So you get the t-shirt and will have to wait to see the shirt.

I was liking this skirt a lot when it was on the ironing board, but now I'm thinking my instincts were correct in thinking that the pattern should have: #1 called for interfacing the button placket and, #2 called for more closely spaced buttons. The skirt is somewhat loose, so the pulling you see is just what you get when a button pulls on fabric. The gaping between the top two buttons isn't indecent, but I'll probably add an inner snap for the sake of aesthetics. The modeled photo of this skirt in the magazine shows the same gaping.

I do really like all the darted waist shaping. I think it'd look good to skip the button placket altogether and do a back or side zipper.

Oddly enough, the pattern features VERY clean lines. You see no visible stitching! No visible stitching = lots of hand sewing. Even the pockets are slip stitched on the front.
pattern: Burda Magazine 7-2009-111.
corduroy: Mill End Textiles
buttons: a Chez Ami button assortment

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Q & A x 3

1. Misty asked about the braid I used for the baby sailor outfits. Here's a closeup:

This has a width of 1/4" (6mm) and is thicker than middy braid, I think, which makes it slightly less flexible. I used whatever I could find, but soutache would have been a good choice.

2. Sam asked about the mysterious stretch needle. The stretch needle takes the ballpoint needle a step further with its larger indentation (scarf) which forces the thread to form a larger loop which is easier for the machine to catch. This is good because you tend to get skipped stiches on the strechier knits.
3. Connie noted that she hoped the trench coats were not merely costumes. If I were making costumes for a theater production, I might just go to all that work for a costume. But these coats are definitely for everyday wear - and it's a bonus that they can double as costumes! One of my boys was wearing his trench coat while shopping with dad and a little girl shouted (as they always do), "Mom! That boy looks like a detective!"

Friday, November 5, 2010

I Love Argyle

Have you ever purchased something to go with the outfit you haven't made yet? The outfit's not in my closet, but it is in my head. Coming soon....

©2009 21 Wale | by TNB