Saturday, December 15, 2012

Once There Were Three Hobbits

It feels like the Shire around here. Except our doors are, unfortunately, rectangular instead of round; we eat only three meals a day; and are entirely incapable of blowing smoke rings.

I made Peter (in the middle) his costume this summer, but thought it'd be fun to have a couple more costumes in honor of Sara's inaugural reading of The Hobbit. And, oh yeah, the movie came out yesterday.

Once again, I used all Ottobre patterns for the costumes, and really didn't have to alter much. The pants were cropped to hobbit length.

Sara's costume was a pre-movie surprise. So I placed her costume on her dresser for her to see when she woke up in the morning - except I hadn't finished the "hobbit maiden skirt" I'd cut out. But I should have known, she desperately preferred hobbit pants to any kind of skirt, hence the third pair of hobbit pants (very easy to make, at least).

Alex's vest is identical to Peter's, except bigger. It is Onni Vest (Ottobre 6-2007-20). I had to upgrade this pattern 3 sizes for the length - that's the first time I've upgraded so many sizes and it did work fine.

The fabric is a gold flecked upholstery, which I also used for Robin Hood capes I while back. Lined with navy satin.

Sara's vest is from Ottobre 1-2008-36 (Juliet vest). I was sorely disappointed to have only 4 brass buttons instead of 8, but being short on time, and (amazingly) having made everything else from my stash, I didn't want to buy more. It's faux double breasted, so the bottom of the vest does swing out a bit without the other two rows of buttons keeping it in alignment.

I used my handy-dandy snap pliers to punch holes and apply eyelets. The laced flaps are separate pieces sewn into the back princess seam.

The shell is embroidered upholstery fabric and it's also lined with navy satin.

And since I'd cut out the skirt pieces, I decided to stitch it up anyway. I have two more girls, so somebody's bound to wear it on a hobbit adventure. 

The top portion of the skirt is a yoke, and the overskirt (blue) is attached at the yoke. I don't really like wide expanse of tan before you get to the rest of the skirt. You can't see it well, but the outerskirt is gathered at the side front. The skirt is Double-Layer Skirt (Ottobre 2-2008-33).

 And lastly, the blouse (Amanda Blouse - Ottobre 6-2007-15). I really like this blouse, and may make it again for everyday wear. It has a Peter Pan collar and the bodice is slightly gathered to the front yoke.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hearty Sweatsuits

Greetings from the North. Lots of sewing has been happening, but so have many other things, so photo-taking's been at a minimum. 

Well, I have to admit I've taken a lot of bird photos. I've spotted 140 species this year so far. Especially exciting was photographing the Pacific Loon, an ocean bird, on a Minnesota lake. Minnesota is nowhere an ocean.

Maybe because of winter's onslaught, I've been stitching up lots of cozy clothing, especially pants for the girls.

I've made this hooded sweatshirt (Ottobre 1-2004-14) numerous times, but I think this is the first time I've done the Jump Sweatpants (1-2008-19), which have a wide yoga-style waistband.

I'm happy to have finally used up my super stiff 2" elastic (ribbed non-roll). My new roll, knitted, is so much softer. I'll have to take note of how much it rolls during wear.

After a dry, warm fall and early winter, we suddenly got over 13 inches of snow in one day. Wahoo!

My outdoor photo spot. Farewell till spring.

 And the sun sets on our winter wonderland.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Stitch Details

Late this summer, I'd planned out a little wardrobe to participate in Pattern Review's wardrobe contest in October. Well, I started sewing the last few days of the month. I could probably sew a full pajama wardrobe in a week, but not a wardrobe meant for public viewing.

Now I have sewn most of the pieces and will get to wear them even if they didn't get to debut in a contest.

I liked quite a few items from the newest Ottobre Woman magazine (issue 5-2012). In fact, I think it's their best issue yet, with this summer's issue a close second.

The details on this dress appealed to me - I like the simplicity with the subtle details. Above, you can see the hand stitches at the neckline and empire waist, and the pleated sleeve trim.

I think there's an interesting juxtaposition of casual fit with formal styling here. The sleeve caps are high and narrow, but the dress itself is loose. I was able to leave off the side zipper, which is good, because I wasn't enjoying trying to put it in between the side seam pocket and the armhole.

Restricted arm movement is the drawback to the high, narrow sleeve caps, and when I raise my arms the bodice fit looks fairly awful, despite the normal fit adjustments I make for shoulders. If I made it again, I'd swap this sleeve for one with a wider, flatter sleeve cap.


And some replacement pants were in order for the boy, don't you think? He loved these pants with all the details - the fun back pockets and front patch pockets, as well as the darted knee segments.

Even if the knees weren't hole-y, nearly 2 inches growth since May (yahoo!) necessitated a new pair. After more than a year of growth hormone therapy, we're finally seeing results. It's not good to go 4 years without having to trace a new pattern size.

Stitch Details Linen Dress (Ottobre Woman 5-2012-1).
Linen blend from Mill End Textiles

Frogs Pants (Ottobre 1-2008-25)
Stretch khaki denim from who knows where

Monday, October 8, 2012

Polar Paws

Life's been very full lately, so I'm happy to say I did not forget how to find my own blog on the internet. I have a lot of blog reading catch-up to do, but I'll be coming around to visit you soon!

The cooler weather (we had snow flurries yesterday) has inspired me to dig out the polar fleece scraps and my stash of winterwear patterns. Given my sewing sparsity lately, I thought it'd be good to start with the easiest winter pattern: mittens.

In fact, I made the mittens in my husband's size, because when you are sewing fingers, larger means easier. This pattern has only three pieces: 1 thumb, 1 mitten on a fold, and 1 cuff. And the thumb is symmetrical, so you don't have to worry about attaching it to the wrong-handed mitten.

The "cuff" piece is ribbing which is zigzagged to the inside to cinch up the wrist area. This is done in the flat before the mittens sides are stitched up. A soft elastic could be used instead of ribbing, especially since it would have better recovery.

And then the mitten is hemmed with a zigzag.

Here's a view of the inside. The pattern includes 1/8" seam allowances and the seams are left unfinished.

My husbands loves his new mittens  - and it was a funny coincidence that I was stitching these football print mitts while he was watching the Vikings game.

I'm eager to try the glove view shown below. These gloves and mittens will be a good companion to the pattern from Controlled Exposure for shell overmitts.

Polar Paws: Green Pepper #508
Polar fleece scraps - for adult size large, I needed just a smidge over a third of a yard (12 inches) for the height of the mitten, but would be able to get two pairs from the width of the fabric

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Scarf-Collar Top

After oodles and oodles of kids' sewing, it was time for a little variety. Besides, my own closet needs some attention, since I've been wearing out some of my handmade things. Others have gone into the initially-accepted-but-finally rejected pile.

Someone just bumped her head.

I've been itching to make a few more Jalie's tops, which are more interesting than tees, but just as comfortable. This one's Jalie 2921, the scarf-collar top. I really like the clever construction. I won't try to describe it to you, but at one point, the entire shirt is rolled up like a sausage inside the scarf! It makes for a neat finish.

The scarf can be tied in several different ways. I did it this way because it's the one I figured out first. I think it looks rather elegant on the pattern photo, but on my version I'm a little nervous that it looks, well, weird. Opinions?

Strangely, this lavender interlock is the same exact fabric I used for my last Jalie top (the hooded tunic). Hmmm...I thought I was going for variety.

Do you want to see a wadder? Happily, it's my first hands-down wadder of the year, although the My Image dress may qualify as a failure since the bulging zipper hunchback shape has prevented me from wearing it in public. I don't know if it's possible to fix that sort of thing.

These sad shorts didn't even make it to the finished stage. They're from an old Burda magazine pattern - 2002, I think. The shorts call for "outdoor" fabric, whatever that is. You can see my choice of leftover heavy denim was not so great. Not only are they weirdly puffy, Sara thought they were ridiculously uncomfortable. I couldn't justify foisting these on a secondhand store, so they went to the bin for scraps. I'm sure the shorts would have been nice in a drapy "outdoor" fabric.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Yet another border print and 6 pairs of pants

Do you keep track of your sewing projects? I keep mine in a spreadsheet for the year, and noticed that in the last 6 weeks, I've stitched 25 Ottobre garments in a row! That's all kid sewing, mind you. I enjoyed making myself a Jalie top this weekend, which I show you soon.

This brown one has been worn and washed multiple times, now. It's a raglan sleeve and the sleeves (front and back) are gathered to the raglan seam. Very cute, but a little lost in the print.

Interestingly, the neckline is faced but the top edges are left raw. So there's a double layer raw edge, which is coverstitched close to the edge. I almost ignored the instructions and 'did it my own way', but reconsidered. Why not try something new?  It doesn't look any worse for all those washes.

Pattern is Frenchie Stripes T-shirt (Ottobre 1-2011-30). It's 3/4 sleeved, but I shortened the sleeves.

I gave Sara free choice from my personal fabric stores, and she chose my favorite border print knit, gah!

The striped shirt is Daisy T-shirt (Ottobre 1-2008-39). With these two shirts, I overcame my temporary hatred of clear elastic and have now sworn to use it anytime I ever have to gather something. It's so easy to get perfectly gathered fabric - at least compared to the traditional method

After the shirts, I went crazy and made 6 pairs of my favorite Ottobre pants, the Neat Beat Pants (6-2009-17). The girls got 3 matching pairs - denim, khaki, and navy twill.

But this time I added back pockets and I really love how they look now.

I've made so many of these, Grace will *only* wear pants with front yokes and elastic in the back. They must be really comfortable.

The navy twill pairs . . .

The lightweight khaki stretch twill pairs . . .

This is just one of the 'model' shots she  insisted I take.  

And the denim pairs . . .

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Rose Dress in Border Print

I made this for a wedding we went to at the end of June. See what blogging mojolessness will do to you? I had liked the pattern ever saw it on the cover of the 1-2008 issue of Ottobre (see below), but was feeling a little meh about it after making it up.

That's partly because I was rushing to finish it up the night before (no time to go shopping for the perfect ribbon color), but also because I would have liked the waist to be gathered a little slimmer. Plus I had to make a quick half slip (I think some of you call this a petticoat?) mere minutes before hopping in the car after discovering that the batiste was really that sheer.

But all in all, I like how it turned out, especially with the fun border print. I have several border prints, and never stumble on just the right pattern for them. So I just dove in and used this print without thinking about it too much.

The front and back bodices are both gathered with the waist ribbon and the neck binding pinning the centered gathers in place. 

Not being a dress-wearing gal, Sara has worn this a grand total of twice. Younger sisters will no doubt appreciate it more.

Rose Dress (Ottobre 1-2008-20) - upgraded up size
Border print batiste (Fabricland in Thundar Bay, Ontario - a wearable memento from our vacation last year)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Frodo Goes to Camp

I lost my blogging mojo a bit while stitching up duplicates of kids' basics. "Look! I made a t-shirt! Hey! Some elastic waist shorts!!!"

But, camp sewing is over. (Summer's almost over. Where'd it go?)

When Peter returned from camp he was exuberant. Somebody had a rip-roaring time! It took him about four days to stop bouncing around. Adding to his exuberance was the fact that his Frodo costume WON the costume contest! I couldn't believe it, especially since I didn't even know it was a contest. I thought it was just a fun dress-up day.

The camp he went to was Camp Oasis, a camp just for kids with Crohn's and ulcerative colitis. I was really impressed with how well-run it was. Can you imagine the logistics of running camp for 100 kids with varying health needs and complicated medicine regimens? At each meal, they called up each of the cabins one by one, for the kids to take their meds which were sorted sequentially in little bags. Besides having a bunch of nurses and doctors on the staff, it was a normal camp with swimming, crafts, ropes course, rock wall, campfires, canoeing, etc.

Other than the costume, I stitched up a few pj shorts and a spare blue t-shirt for him to pack for camp.

The shorts ("Green Check Boxer Shorts" a la Ottobre 6-2011-37) have a faux fly decorated with buttons. The buttons are meant to be working, but on a faux fly, why bother? I shortened them a little. They're quite baggy even after I slimmed them a bit.

The t-shirt is "Monster Car T-shirt" (Ottobre 3-2011-24) which has a nice slim fit.

Look here for the Frodo costume post.

I love the outhouse print on these!

This is a "what was I thinking" fabric, but it's kind of fun. Those are all different kinds of spurs.


©2009 21 Wale | by TNB