Friday, July 27, 2012

Keep it secret. Keep it safe.

Frodo: "I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened."

Gandalf: "So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."

Fitting advice from Middle Earth....

I first devoured the Lord of the Rings series when I was in about 5th grade. My uncle Joe lent me his precious copies. I later found my own copies - a fancy boxed set with illustrated covers - for a few dollars in a used book store. The boxed set would cost more now!

This was long before the movies burst on the scene, so I felt that Middle Earth was all my own!

I never imagined I'd make a Frodo costume, but Peter's off to camp next week and one day the kids are to dress as their favorite fictional character. Hence, the Frodo costume. I loved envisioning it, choosing patterns, and searching for fabrics for it, so I'm not complaining!

The most difficult part was finding a gold ring. The party store and the dollar store were a fail. I finally found Amazon sold gold rings as cake decorating supplies (from Wilton). So...we have 48 gold rings!

 Now for the details:

I used a plush burnt orange upholstery fabric for the shell. Peter insisted on navy satin for the lining. I had to laugh, but I think it was a good choice.  The welt pockets are just flaps. It would have been wonderful to have real pockets, of course, but after working with the eager-to-fray upholstery, I was relieved the pattern didn't include real pockets so as to tempt me to make them.

Turning a tube of that fabric proved impossible, so what we have in the back is a turned-under-and-topstitched-fake-buckle-strap. Lacking a buckle, I used a small d-ring. Peter chose the nice wooden buttons.

The shirt pattern originally has some western-style front yokes, as well as front pockets, but I left off the details to whip up a quick shirt. Ha ha. Actually the shirt went together smoothly thanks to the new collar construction I've been using (see sidebar for link to Convertible Collars). I used broadcloth, something I normally use for linings, but it's so very soft and I'm liking it for this shirt. Peter chose the buttons for the shirt, too, this time my nice akoya shell buttons, hehe. Certainly there was no plastic in Middle Earth!

I'm very pleased with this shirt's fit. Do-it-myself in this case means his shoulder seams aren't hanging off four inches into baggy space.

And lastly, the pants are just elastic waist trousers, cropped to Hobbit length. They're made from rustic brown homespun.

Grey 'n Cool Linen Shirt: Ottobre 6-2009-24
Onni Vest: Ottobre 6-2007-20
Taku Linen Pants: Ottobre 1-2009-21.

Ottobre pulls through for me yet again!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

London Polos

The name of this shirt is "London Polo" which, for some reason, has made me think of all the nursery rhymes and songs I know with the word "London" in them. Pussycat Pussycat, where have you been? I've been to London to visit the queen....London bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down.... and many more referencing London.

"Minneapolis bridge is falling down", although also an historical event, doesn't have the same ring.

I think the "London polo" is a very sharp shirt. The neckline is finished with the v-neck band and the collar is simply stitched to it.

This worked fairly well, except my collars are stiff enough they don't want to curl smoothly around the neckband and lay nicely. Interfacing a knit collar seems like a really good idea if you want neat stitching (and I do!). But  if I make the knit collars again, I'll have to use my super light interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply instead of the lesser-quality-but-not-cheaper stuff I've been trying to use up.

Of course, I made two London polos. My only slight dislike of the shirt is that the sleeves seem too long.

To complement Peter's polo shirt, I stitched up these shorts I cut out for him last year. Clearly he's not outgrown them yet.

The plaid trim at the front pockets is a clever design involving the pocket facing folded over at the front edge.

The front fly is faux and there's elastic through the entire waistband.

Originally, the shorts are supposed to be "man-pris", but I shortened them. As is, however, I had a hard time squeezing those cargo pockets on without overlapping the back pockets.

London Polo Shirt: Ottobre 3-2009-27
Wailers Linen Bermudas: Ottobre 3-2010-19.

On the homefront, crews have been digging up our road to install a tunnel under the highway. Now we'll be able to access the area bike paths without risking our necks by crossing the highway. Every day or so, the kids like to go down to inspect the road crew's progress.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Piping and Rick Rack

This summer I've been noting how long and lanky Grace had been getting. Extremely so. So much so, that I finally realized her shorts were actually way too small, not that she'd grown quite so much.

Miss Particular wanted khaki elastic waist shorts that looked like they zipped up. I slightly altered an Ottobre pattern to give her something close to her favorite too-small shorts. I thought it was fun to add the piping, and the back pockets are cute (huge, but cute) with the elastic gathering the top hem.

I don't think she was keen on all the neat details, though, since she didn't start wearing them until I sneakily retired her old shorts.

And since I try to make everything in multiples, a denim pair was in order, this time with rainbow colored rick rack.

I added a button to make the faux fly look a little less faux.

These are great shorts. The pattern has these as bermuda length with additional trims at the hems, but I like the shortened length here.

And, yay, I was able to use up some less than half yard lengths of otherwise useless bottomweights.

Beach Boulevard Bermudas: Ottobre 3-2011-29.
Denim and khaki leftover from previous projects.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Paisley Border

If she had her druthers, Sara would never wear any dresses. We went to a wedding last weekend and Sara's take-away thought was, "I never want to get married because I don't want to wear a poofy dress." I do happen to have a Burda magazine pattern for a wedding jacket and slacks ensemble for the bride! But maybe she'll change her mind when/if the day comes. Or I'll pay her to elope.

But for now I made her a dress for the wedding (to be blogged later) and this knit dress. Knit dresses are like long t-shirts and therefore quick to make.

In the line drawing, you can see the details much better. The sleeve caps are gathered and the sleeves hems are pleated. The yoke is a single layer and all the hems - even the neckline - are coverstitched. 

The dress on the magazine model looked fairly short, so I added a couple of inches to the length. But I think the original length would have been better, especially since much of the shaping is lost with the long length. If I didn't have a border print, obviously I would just shorten it.

I think the pattern has great potential, and I'd like to try it in a solid color, to emphasize the details.

The sleeves are pleated then hemmed, and cramming that pleated fabric under my coverstitch machine foot meant something of an ugly hem. Is there a better way to do this? Hemming it in the flat or I suppose basting the whole thing first, would help.

I thought you'd enjoy the selvedge printing on this one. And here all this time I thought it was a paisley border!

Border print cotton jersey: Mill End Textiles
Nana Knit Dress: Ottobre 6-2008-37

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Embroidered Apple Green

I purchased this embroidered cotton for this dress more than a year ago. Finally, we had a summer wedding to attend, and that pushed me into gear. You see, I wasn't the one getting married, so I could wear green instead of white.

I've been wanting to make a maxi dress for a while, and this was the perfect opportunity. Just a little skirt lengthening was in order. Let me say, maxi skirts take a lot of fabric. I used about 6 yards total for the dress - fashion fabric plus interlining.

The pale green batiste curtains that used to grace my windows 2 houses ago have a new life as an interlining.

This dress also comes in a top version, which doesn't have the shirring. I made that last year and really liked it except is was restricting in the rib cage, so I donated it. I hope someone who needs less breathing room will enjoy it.

This time I used the same size bodice, but didn't sew the back darts, and I can breathe fine now. Besides gathering the skirt, the shirring is mainly decorative since you don't need its expansion factor to get the dress on and off. I will say all that shirring at the side seam makes the invisible zipper a little trickier than normal. It's just bulky enough, my zipper isn't sliding as smoothly as I'd like.  An invisible zipper expert would probably have had better luck.

Also, note that the shirring will take more than 1 spool of elastic thread.

Verdict? I like the fit and love the length. Also, I love the fabric. I'm really happy a fabric I love and a pattern  I like happened to come together in the same garment. That doesn't always happen!

Apple green embroidered cotton: Mill End Textiles
Summer dress: Ottobre 2-2008-7

Friday, July 6, 2012

Beach Duds

For once, I've made something other than swimsuits for beachwear. These should last a lot longer than swimsuits since they're fairly size non-specific.

The pattern is from the June 2012 issue of Burdastyle. I don't know how it's happened, but I haven't sewn any Burda for a while. That's partly because I've been making an effort this year to sew my unused patterns.

 Anyway, the pattern comes in three sizes, but the difference between the sizes is almost negligible. So all my girls got the same size beach poncho. Now, the girls come in three very different sizes! I think the fit looks best on the middle girl (in blue). It works fine on big sister, too, but Molly was tripping a little on hers.

The style is your basic poncho - a rectangle on a fold, with a hole cut out for the head (or hood, in this case). The sides are partially seamed, and everything's finished with bias tape.

That's a lot of bias tape! It took me about 10 seconds to decide I didn't want to go the mental effort of deciphering, so I ignored Burda's instructions for how to finish the neck vee and the side slits with bias tape and went with the intuitive method (i.e. "my way").

Finishing the hood/neck slit circle in the round gives a nice, clean finish.

Once we settled the disagreement over who could have the blue one, the girls enjoyed wearing their "personal towels" after swimming lessons

Beach ponchos: Burda 6-2012-149.
Terrycloth from Mill End Textiles (1 1/2 yards per poncho).


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