Sunday, January 22, 2012

Beanpole Jeans

No, I made the obnoxiously loud shirt a while ago! It's the jeans I'm looking at now. Alex has worn holes in all the jeans I've made him, even before he grew out of them. In fact, he's already started wearing through these (at the heels where he's standing on them) and they've come through the wash only once.


I was determined to skinnify these jeans for a perfect fit once and for all. I may have overfit them now, but they're definitely skinny. I don't know why, but the front fly looks super long. That must be an optical illusion given the skinniness of the pants, since I really didn't choose a 12" zipper.


I like the curved back yoke and the overall fit. One thing Alex doesn't like is the front pockets. It's too difficult to put his hands in since they're higher and, um, tighter than traditional jeans pockets.

I still used elastic at the back waist. I think everyone could benefit from more elastic in their garments.

Nobody was volunteering to pose in their new pajamas, and pajamas usually remain in the obscurity of the non-blogged anyway, but I had fun making the boys some guitar nightwear. Red cuffs for boy #1, green for #2.

Sources:
"Corduroy Pants": Ottobre 5-2006-19.
Denim: S.R. Harris. 1 yard at $4.50/yard.
Guitar jersey: Mill End Textiles. 3 1/3 yards at $1.60/yd.
Night Owl PJ top: Ottobre 6-2009-34.
Stripey Legs PJ pants: Ottobre 6-2009-35.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Do-It-Yourself Cargo Pockets

*This tutorial originally appeared as a guest post at The Train to Crazy.


Cargo Pocket Tutorial

Step 1: Make the pattern piece and cut out the fabric, adding seam allowances to each edge.
If you want to convert a patch pocket (in other words, a square) into a cargo pocket, just add extensions. My extensions are equal to my seam allowance of 5/8". In the photo you can see that I have added a seam allowance in addition to my pocket extensions.
It's easy to do a shaped or rounded pocket, too. Just cut a long strip (plus seam allowance on both long edges) for an extension and sew it around the edge of the pocket.


Step 2: Finish the edges.
This is optional. I suppose it's highly unlikely the pocket edges will fray to pieces sooner than the knees wear out. But you never know!


Step 3: Press under and stitch the pocket hem at the top.


Step 4: Press all the fold lines.
One set of pressed lines are outlines of the main pocket piece. The other lines will be at the seam allowance edges.


Step 5: Stitch the corners.
Pinch the corner, turn pocket inside out and stitch on the pre-pressed corner line, which is perpendicular to the edge. Before trimming, flip the pocket right side out to check. Repeat for the other corner.


Step 6: Press the accordion folds of all 3 edges.
Push the pocket extensions in and press. The fold will be centered.


Step 7: Topstitch.
This is optional, depending on how you want your pocket to look. Do three separate lines of stitching, rather than one long one around the pocket. Otherwise, when you turn the corner, you'll catch the folds of fabric.


Step 8: Pin the pocket on the garment and stitch.
The stitching you're doing here is just like topstitching; I usually start at the top edge of one extension, and go around the pocket, slowing down to neaten the corners.
Probably the trickiest part of the cargo pocket is positioning the pocket extensions so that they are stitched directly under the pocket piece. It's easy for them to slide outward.


Step 9: Optional - Add a flap and velcro, snap, or button.


Here's a small sampling of cargo pockets. There are so many options!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Paramecium Summer Dress

This is probably my favorite garment of everything I sewed in 2011, although my favorites do tend to be whatever I've made recently. The style wouldn't suit everyone (obviously) but I'm loving it because it's very "me". I rarely wear the handful of dresses I've made myself, and I think I've just been going down wrong track.

The pattern is one of Mrs. Stylebook's traceable patterns (as opposed to draftable, yay!) and I left off my usual shoulder alterations because of the French sleeves. The dress is shown in 3 views, differing mostly in length and I chose the shortest version.

The fabric is a lovely paisley-ish lawn. My dad calls this kind of print "paramecium", and I have to agree, it does remind me of pond life.

The diagrams are the only form of "instruction" for these patterns, and at some point I realized that there is supposed to be a belt, but it is supposed to pass through little thread loops at the sides. Yeah, right. If I had thought of it soon enough, a narrow belt would have gone in the side seams to tie at the back.

In the side view, you can see the dress might benefit from a little cinching, but it doesn't bother me too much. Next time!

The front and back each have six pleats. Here's a close-up of the paramecium print:


I interlined - after all, it's lawn - and used the combination underlining/faux Hong Kong finish I learned from Trena here. It was a little interesting to use the finish on the drop sleeves, too, but it works and was easy to do.


Verdict: I love it and am thinking about another version in a border print. How many more months until summer?

Sources:
Lawn: S.R. Harris.
White batiste: Mill End Textiles.
Pattern: Mrs. Stylebook 7-2009-9.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hilda Hooded Dress

When Molly's not wearing her swimsuit and a tutu, her strong preference is for "soft and cozy". I have to admit, her swimsuits have "disappeared" from her drawer, since watching her walk around in her swimsuit now that it's winter makes me feel cold and uncomfortable on her behalf. I don't feel too cruel, since she has a full Rubbermaid tote of (warmer) dress-up clothes at her disposal.


I'm happy Chez Ami did my fabric coordinating for me here. Otherwise, I would most likely have gone with a solid color for the leggings. The top is cotton jersey - a little thinner than I expected. And the coordinating striped fabric is cotton/lycra.

Ottobre calls this a dress, but it's more of a tunic length. I like the hood and kangaroo pocket style. And Molly thinks if the top has a hood, then she should wear it.

The hood is unlined - I think I prefer lined hoods, even though they're a little heavier. In this case, you want to have a very neat hem since the stitching is easily visible.


Sources:
Jersey: Chez Ami
Cotton/lycra knit: Chez Ami
Hilda Hooded Dress (Ottobre 6-2007-27)
Lily Leggings (Ottobre 6-2007-28)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Checked Vintage Romper

It's hard to pick out favorite items from an entire year of sewing but this romper, made at the end of the year, would make the list.

Giant checks + vintage overalls + enthusiastic 2 year old = happy sewist.

The overalls are from a 1975 Simplicity pattern. The legs are fairly wide, but not very bell-shaped. The bodice has a good-sized facing, which is always nice. I've been tracing some Burdas the last few nights, rolling my eyes at the teeny tiny facings, wondering if I will even use them.

Molly loves them, although at her age I think she'd be excited about anything I made her. Every two year old should have "romper" in her vocabulary, no?

I'd like to make the shortall version this summer. And wouldn't it look cute with a pointy collared blouse underneath?

Sources:
Giant checked twill: Chez Ami
Giant blue buttons: Chez Ami
Overalls: 1975 Simplicity 7322

Monday, January 2, 2012

Stats for Your Inner Nerd: Version 2011

It's that time of year again. I always like fresh beginnings. Evaluate the old; make a fresh start.

I wouldn't say I have a lot of new goals for sewing. I'll probably try some new techniques and work on some fitting and drafting.

The big thing I hope to do this year is to organize my recipes and do better meal planning. One of my kids eats a special diet (no grains, starches, sugar, or dairy, and some other things), which means every single thing he eats is made from scratch. Being better organized is the only thing I can think of that will make that a little easier.

But, on to the statistics, which is what you're all waiting for!

All the charts below are drawn from the info in the spreadsheet I use to record everything I sew (pattern, yardage, size, recipient, etc.). I did all the sewing and my husband (spreadsheet guru) did all the charts you see, which took him about 20 minutes. I also contributed opinions on bar chart color schemes.

In total, I sewed 166 items, using 174.4 yards of fabric. That doesn't include 1 unblogged wadder, Hot Patterns' All Wrapped Up Tank, the Fabric.com free download.



Items and Yards sewn by month


Pattern companies used. Burdastyle refers to the magazine. Japanese is a catch-all category of magazines and books. Do you think I've gotten my money's worth from my Ottobre magazines?


Garment types sewn. Yes, I did have a pantsuit category! More pantsuits to come!


Who benefited from my sewing? At least I made for my husband than I did for "Home Sweet Home".


Happy New Year to all my wonderful readers!