Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Floral Dress and a Frozen Lake

Molly's so happy I made her a dress. Somehow it happens she has only two dresses, despite having two older sisters. I really wonder if I lost a box of toddler clothes when we moved 2 years ago. Ah well, never despair when you have a sewing machine!

I'm trying to use my beautiful Chez Ami fabrics instead of saving them forever. They're so much more enjoyable running around on a toddler than hiding in a cupboard.

The Ottobre magazines I have are very sparse on dress patterns for the toddler size. Molly's size 92 now, just at the end of the baby sizes. I like this dress a lot, but I do think it's challenging to find two fabrics that coordinate nicely.

Shoulder darts

The funny thing about this pattern? It has shoulder darts AND elbow darts. What a great way to get the perfect fit for the 2 year old shape!

I used an orange zipper from stash. I would have loved to use a solid orange for the hem panels, but there's not much orange hiding in my stash. Blaze orange camo, yes. Orange twill, no.

Elbow dart (just above the hem panel)

Floral Dress: Ottobre 4-2004-12
Floral twill: Chez Ami
Unpleasant poly/cotton twill: Mill End Textiles

And a scene from our daily lives: our lake, our daughter, and our plastic chair.

We've had an unusually warm winter thus far (setting some records) and very little snow. Last year several feet of snow covered the lake at this time, but now it's clear and great for learning to skate. (Don't worry. The ice is very thick - you can see air bubbles frozen into the ice at least 8 inches deep. By February, it will be 2 feet thick or more.)

When it does snow, we'll resort to one of the nearby outdoor skating rinks. I love Minnesota's dedication to the Great Outdoors; there are parks and nature areas within walking/biking distance of wherever you live.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Shawl Collar Cardigan

I've thought about making the ubiquitous shawl-collared cardigan for a while, but didn't want to buy a pattern, especially since I remembered I had a draft-it-yourself pattern in one my Japanese magazines.

Earlier this year, Cindy made a nice variation on the shawl collared cardi.

Well, I ended up going the draft-it-yourself route, using diagrams from a Lady Boutique magazine. It took me ages to settle on a fabric. I never found a sweater knit I liked, but found this nice brushed interlock - but it's still not ideal. I realize now, the pattern is more of a jacket than a cardigan, so I'm getting all this jacket ease with a fabric meant for a cardigan.

This cardigan isn't as much of a fabric hog as some versions since the collar piece is cut separately. I had some mental turmoil trying to figure out how to stitch it so the seams wouldn't be visible. I didn't want the front edges flipping open, revealing the seams just inside, but unless I arranged the collar just so, the seams were very visible on the front! So, I ended up doing a French seam (a little odd in a knit, not to mention bulky). Now no seams are visible either way you look at it.

Lady Boutique magazines utilize three different bodice slopers. I've made two of the slopers now. It seemed whenever I found a pattern I liked, it used the sloper I hadn't made.

How are the slopers different? (Not very.)
#1. Fitted with darts (bust, shoulder and waist).
#2. Less fitted but with shaping built into the side seams. (Shown in the diagram above).
#3. Straight with a curved hem. (I have yet to use this one. This one seems to be unique to Lady Boutique, as I have not seen it in Mrs. Stylebook magazine.)

I can't tell from looking at the model photo what the fabric is. A sweater knit? Or possibly a boucle?

I like it because it's soft and comfortable and I'll wear it while lounging around the house. I was imagining a drapey cardigan, but chose a more structured pattern. I'd probably have gotten better results with a thicker, heavier fabric.

Brushed interlock: Mill End Textiles
Lady Boutique Magazine: 2-2009-59.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Vintage Fashion for a 5 Year Old

Do you consider 1977 vintage? In my mind, it's vintage. The only problem is that definition puts me squarely in the vintage category.

My poor 5 year old is a victim of my various fabricated ideas (pun intended).

This latest outfit is from a 1977 Simplicity pattern. The pants are plain elastic waist pants, which are much wider-legged than modern pairs. The waist is also right at the natural waist, which Grace is not used to.

The blouse has gathered sleevecaps, pleats in the bodice, and a tied split neck. The pattern's method for inserting the ties in the seam between the bodice and the facing held the ties for about 30 seconds. I had to stitch them all on again on the inside.

The sleeve hems are supposed to be elasticated, but I liked the bell shape they had, so just gave them a narrow hem.
I think this is the first vintage envelope pattern I've sewn. I'm looking forward to delving into my 1977 Burda magazine soon.

Purple corduroy: Mill End Textiles
Cotton woven:
Pattern: Simplicity 8216 (from 1977).

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pajamas, a Refashion, and some Embroidery

I made some pajama pants for myself a while ago and, while I liked the fabric, the rise was so short/low that they were too annoying to wear even for pajamas. I've made the pattern since for myself and it worked fine after I added several inches' height to the waist.

So, I traced the same pattern in the smallest size (plus height to the waist) and my pj pants became a Sara sized pair, or rather a size too big since I didn't feel like downsizing the pattern. The crazy thing is that, even though Sara is clearly a lot smaller than me, there wasn't a lot of fabric to spare when I placed the new pattern pieces on the old pants. It surprised me, but then I haven't done much refashioning.

The shirt is raglan-sleeved, but the shape of the raglan seam is interesting.

You can see the seam a little better in the back view. It's also obvious that Sara's an inverted triangle! She got her red hair from Dad and her shape from me.

And check out this embroidered heart my 11 year old son did. This is his first attempt. Maybe when he's not climbing trees, I can have him embellishing my projects for me!

Raglan sleeve top: Villi Viikinki Undershirt (Ottobre 6-2010-15).
Darla pajama pants: Ottobre 6-2009-39.
Cotton fabric: Mill End Textiles.
Cotton jerseys

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Scandinavia meets Japan

Here's a small dose of three of my obsessions: all things Japanese, all things Scandinavian and ... corduroy, of course. Grace doesn't care about those things, but she is crazy about dresses, so we're both satisfied.

Since the last buttons at the bottom don't like to stay buttoned anyway, I could have buttoned just the back yoke, and stitched the dress shut, thus saving myself a lot of buttonholes!

The dress comes in even larger sizes, but I think the poofy side profile makes the style a little babyish for someone much older.

And a close-up of the embroidery. My kids hung over my shoulders while I was stitching this row of little people and were so inspired that they started their own embroidery projects on my fabric scraps. Which means I spent more time on their embroidery than I did on my own (:

The dress pattern came from the Japanese book Natural and Layered Style (it's the dress you see on the cover), which was a gift from Sigrid of Analog Me. I made denim leggings from this book in May.

It was fairly simple to make up with just the pictorial step-by-step instructions. The skirt is gathered quite a bit, and the bodice is lined with self fabric. The bottoms of the armholes are finished with bias tape.

And where does Scandinavia come into play here? I first saw this fun book, Scandinavian Embroidery Designs, when Calder & Company showed some designs she had done. I was tickled pink that there was a Japanese book featuring Scandinavian embroidery designs.

So....I emailed Megumi, the purveyor of all things Japanese (Pomadour24 on Etsy), and asked if she'd be able to find this out-of-print book for me. Then I realized that if she did find me a copy, I would have to buy the book. My husband had a lot of fun with that one. "Oh, I think I'll call Home Depot and see if they can find a table saw for me, hahaha!" Well, she did find it for me and actually offered it for a very good price.

Babywale corduroy
Natural and Layered Style (a Pochee series book, ISBN 4529047091), pattern A1
Scandinavian Embroidery Designs (ISBN 9784834728026)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Blueberry Stripes

I've been sewing a lot, among other things, but falling behind on the blogging front. The question is, how do you prioritize when everything is a priority? A funeral and Christmas cookies came higher on the list this week.

Speaking of Christmas cookies, my kids wanted a non-traditional chocolate frosting. No red and green cookies this year!
Also higher on the list was this little romper for a friends' baby. I recently got to see two long-time friends who each had fresh babies. You can see the first outfit I made here. I used the same pattern here, but added sleeves to make a quicker-to-make one-piece outfit.

To add sleeves, I traced a new armscye and sleeves from a knit shirt pattern, as armscyes in sleeved garments are different from those in sleeveless.

No, the stripes on either side of the invisible zip don't match perfectly. After two tries, I despaired of ever lining them up, especially after realizing I'd forgotten to stabilize the area.

I still think it's cute, though. I remember some similar stripey rompers my boys had as toddlers.

To round out the gifts, I added some bibs from my bib stash. I had to make up a few more boyish ones, though.

Bibs: self-drafted
Bib flannels: Mill End Textiles and an unknown fabric store in small town North Carolina
Mustikka Romper (modified): Ottobre 6-2009-4
Striped jersey: Chez Ami

Thursday, December 1, 2011

New Ottobre Duds

I'm afraid it's indoor photography from now until spring. I must not be a genuine photographer since I'm not willing to freeze to take photos. Oh wait, I'm not even taking the photos - my 11 year old photographer is happy to stay inside, too.

I didn't get close-ups of the top, but it's a v-placket and collar. Silly me forgot to do any shoulder alterations until the fabric was cut out, so I eeked the most important one (the square shoulder) out of the seam allowances and let the rest be.

I love the shirt - it's a basic, but interesting. Next time, I'll stitch the vee up an inch higher.

I've been wearing the pants a lot; they're my favorite of all the pairs I've made so far. I love the wide waistband, the interesting pocket detail, the shape of the back pockets and the flared legs.

I found the lightweight denim at S.R. Harris, a fabric warehouse. Denim colors are so hard to decipher online and I wanted something different from the same blue color I always seem to end up with. This is a slightly lighter color with some white crosshatch look to it. The bad news is: it needs to be ironed after washing!

The pockets are not as, um, precise as they could be. I think the slit should be narrower, but I imagine it would be harder to get my hands in if it were narrower. The pocket is constructed very much like a welt opening: you stitch the pocket pieces on the outside right sides together; cut the slit; pull the pocket pieces through the slit; press; topstitch.

And there's a side zip in the side you can't see. I put in an invisible one and found it next to impossible to zip while wearing, even though the denim's lightweight. Invisible zips and denim don't mix too well, I guess. So now there's a regular zip which is completely visible. Next time I will plan ahead for a lapped zipper.

Both patterns are winners.

Sea green interlock: Mill End Textiles
Denim: S.R. Harris
Elegance Pants: Ottobre 2-2009-12
Jersey Top with Collar: Ottobre 2-2006-3


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