Monday, July 28, 2014

KCW Days 6&7: A Bee Swimsuit for E!

My last project for KCW was a much-needed swimsuit for E.  Her butt is literally three sizes smaller than her chest, so RTW just doesn't work.  Luckily, I won the adorable Cosi Swimsuit pattern from one of Call Ajaire's Monthly MashUp giveaways (along with the Shandiin, which I'm looking forward to sewing up soon, too!).  The Cosi has a ton of variations, but none of them were quite what I wanted.  A two-piece is much easier for diaper changes, but I prefer more coverage than a bikini.  I also wanted the bottoms to completely cover her diaper, as well as offer more sun protection.

So with all those things in mind, and the perfect fabric from The Fabric Fairy for my little bee-lover, I came up with this skirted tankini, using a combination of the Cosi, Jalie 2796, and this circle skirt calculator.

For the top, I cut a straight size 5 of view D, lengthening the pieces 2" past the peplum line.  I lined it with some nude swimsuit lining from Joann's and sewed it up as directed.  The only problem I had was topstitching the top edge through the elastic.  I don't know if it was me or my machine (probably a bit of both), but even with my beloved walking foot it didn't go well.  The fabric kept getting stuck, and I'd have to yank it backwards.  I ended up ripping out my first attempt and trying again.  It's better, but I'm still not very happy with it.  If anyone has advice, I'd love to hear it!  The hem along the bottom was fine, so I'm guessing it had something to do with the bulk with the elastic??

I will probably shorten the straps (if I ever get around to it!), but I'm very pleased with the fit overall.

For the bottoms, I used the Jalie compression shorts again, but this time with the size I inseam, and sandwiched a 7.25" long circle skirt between the shorts and the waistband.  The skirt was small enough that I could cut it in one piece.  I did make the waist opening a tiny bit too big, so there's a bit of gathering on the front when it's flat, but not once she's wearing it.

I'm very happy with both the fit and the coverage of the bottoms also.

She appears to be happy with it also.

I have plenty of the bee fabric left, so I'm going to make her a rash guard next.  I also threatened to make myself a bee bikini, which horrified O.  Hahaha.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

KCW Day 5: Farbenmix Henrika & Jalie 2796 Shorts

Days three and four got away from me, but yesterday I went to work and busted out a dress and shorts for E.  Tee-shirt dresses are my favorite. (Okay, I say a lot of things are my faves, but they're so quick and cute and comfy!)

The dress is a modified Farbenmix Henrika.  I made her one in size 98/104 for the Spring 2012 (!) KCW, and it's really just fitting her nicely now, so I used the same size.  For this one, I raised the back neckline and scooped the front more.

Back neckline
I'd added an inch of length to the bottom last time around.  I added another two inches to the middle (where I figured a lengthen/shorten line would have been) for a total of 3".  The original skirt has four panels, but I didn't want the extra seams this time, so I doubled the pieces to make just a front and back.  It's nearly a circle skirt, so when it was time to hem, I first serged the bottom with the differential feed set to 2.0.  This gathered it a bit and made it really easy to work the ease in.  I will definitely do that with similar knit skirts from now on!  Added the neck and sleeve bands and it was done.

While she will mostly wear this with some pink and white striped capri leggings that she already has, I also wanted some brown undershorts for when it's too warm for capris.  I traced Jalie 2796 for that purpose last year and never got around to making any, so I was all set to make a quick pair.  She has a super tiny waist and butt, so they are a size F for the width (and length, not sure what past Sarah was thinking on that -- they're quite short!) and size I for the rise. When I finished, they looked impossibly small, but they're actually a perfect fit, other than the leg length.  They do cover her diaper, though, which was my main goal.  I'll lengthen the legs quite a bit for more modesty in the future, though.

The main fabric is pretty thin rib knit, which is one of those stash fabrics from before I knew what I was looking for in a knit.  I'm not crazy about it, and it was a pain to hem, but for something that's going to be covered most of the time, it's fine.  I used ribbing for the waist, since I didn't think the other stuff had enough recovery to hold up.

Not my best work, but it got the job done.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

KCW Days 1&2: Upcycled Pillowcase Dress and Charlie Tee

Hi!  It's been a while, huh?  I have a bunch of things on my to-blog list, but I've been lazy about it this summer.  Kid's Clothes Week is always good incentive to blog, though, so I'm planning to get back to a little more regular posting again.

Monday was mostly prep, along with pretty much the easiest dress ever for E.  I was inspired by the Tiered Pillowcase-style Dress, but made it from a linen skirt I'd thrifted for myself a couple of years ago and never wore.  Pastel pink is just not a color I wear.  BUT it made for a super cute dress for the girl. 

Since it was already tiered, pretty much all I had to do was cut the arm holes and create the casing for the drawstring.  I even used the original drawstring from the skirt.  Felt a little like cheating!  I hemmed the armholes instead of using bias tape like the original tutorial.  I also kept it the existing width, which is larger than the pattern called for.  It's pretty roomy on Miss Skinny Minnie, but it also comes to mid-calf on her, so she'll be able to wear it for years.

Closer to the actual color

I thought I was done that night, but when I woke up yesterday, I decided I'd like it better with a centered bow.  It looked kind of sad and droopy with that narrow of a drawstring.  I ripped out the front casing, found a scrap of interfacing, and added two buttonholes.  Much better! 

It was crazy hot yesterday, so this was a perfect breezy little dress for E to wear.

Yesterday's make was O's billionth Charlie Tee (okay, really the fifth one, I think).  He found this Adult XL Stonehenge tee when we were at the Goodwill Outlet a couple of weeks ago and asked me to make it into one in his size. 

Speaking of, is there a Goodwill Outlet near you? There's one by my aunt's house, so we go pretty often.  Textiles for $1.79/pound?  Sign me up!  I have a ridiculous pile of things to upcycle, but at least this shirt is one thing done.

Lightened a little, but still looks mostly like a black blob.  Ha.
Not a whole lot to say about something you've made so many times.  I made my usual change of narrowing the neckband to 2".  I also zigzagged the hem this time, since he's been popping the hems I've finished with a twin needle.

Now I should get to work on today's project!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Ottobre Summer Basic Running Top

When I first discovered that you could buy wicking fabric a few years ago, I bought some questionable prints and colors in a coop, just because I was so excited about the existence of such things.  And they've been sitting in my stash ever since, because well, kind of fugly.  But with the convergence of the Spring Top Sewalong and the Spring Race Challenge, I decided to just dig in.  I wear a lot of things when I run that I wouldn't be caught dead in otherwise (see: super short skirts and leggings as pants), so I figured why not make a crazy top?

When I brought this fabric upstairs, Ray gave it the serious side-eye.  I'm still not sure how I feel about it, but I think it's better sewn up than it was as yardage.

I used the Summer Basic top pattern from Ottobre Woman 2/2013.  It doesn't get much simpler than two pattern pieces and some binding!  This is a straight size 36, but for future makes, I will grade to a size 34 from the waist down.  I like my running tops to have a looser fit through the middle, but where it comes in at the hips is just barely snug enough to stay up above my bum.

I followed the instructions as written, other than leaving out the clear elastic on the shoulder seams.  I didn't think it would be necessary with this fabric and also was concerned about potential chafing on long runs.  I even did the binding the Otto way, which I think is only the second time ever that I've done so.  I usually go for the serge on and topstitch method.  I'm really happy with how it turned out, especially the double needle topstitching.

I cut the neckline binding on the crosswise grain (I think? I always get lengthwise & crosswise confused) to get the stripes to to go the other way.  Since this is a 4-way stretch fabric, it worked fine.

I wore it on a 4-miler after I finished it up and was really happy with it.  I can definitely see more of these in my future, both for running and casual wear.

What do you think about this print -- hideous, cute, or somewhere in between? I honestly can't decide.  I also have a pale pink with tiny black flowers (everything about that is so not me) that is destined to be an XYT tank in the near future. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Birthday Shirt: Lego Hero Factory Splitface Tee [with Template]

Today is O's ninth birthday!  Most years one of his presents is a special tee (earlier shirts: age 5, 7, 8), often one that he designs himself.  We've been talking about this year's for quite a while.  His first idea was a half gunmetal grey, half red shirt, a la the Lego Hero Factory character Splitface.  Easy enough.  Then he showed me the chest plate piece and I said, "Oh, why don't we freezer paper stencil on the design? That would be cool!"  He quickly agreed.  On the one hand, I didn't need to sew a shirt (although I did hem the sleeves of a long-sleeved tee to get one in the right color).  On the other hand, I didn't look closely enough at the piece.  It is super detailed!  I could have simplified it, but O is a detail guy, so I knew he'd appreciate it if I made it as accurate as possible.  I would not necessarily recommend that you try to replicate this in one day or cutting by hand with an x-acto knife.  But that's what I did.

I started by taking a photo of the chest plate using a macro filter.  Then I used this tutorial (more or less) to make a stencil in Photoshop.  I decided to stencil the black outlines and fill in the rest with a paintbrush.  I'm sure there are simpler ways to do this, and you could definitely leave out more of the details and still get the general idea, but that's what I thought would work best for how we wanted it to look.  We decided to leave out the part below the belt.

Cutting took around 2 1/2 hours, even leaving out some of the smallest details.  My tips for such intricate freezer paper stencils (other than giving yourself a lot more time than I did) are to: 
  • Print out a copy on regular paper to use as a map of sorts to keep track of the pieces as you cut.
  • Keep the map and pieces on a tray so nothing gets lost.  I used a jelly roll pan.
  • A hole punch works great for the tiny circles.
  • Have a tweezers handy! 

After all that time cutting, I was pretty worried I would screw it up, but the outline turned out great.  Then I used a small -- very small -- paint brush to fill in the red and silver.   You could also cut the stencil so that you're painting the silver and red parts and then add the outline after.  It would be easier cutting for sure, but I wanted the placement of all the black elements to be exact.  Yes, I may have a problem.  The painting was actually really fun.  If I had spread this project out over a few days, I would have enjoyed it a lot.  It was cool to see it all come together.  O was home by the time I was painting, and he was really encouraging about how it was looking.  That was pretty adorable.

He went to bed before I had finished the silver, though, so the final product reveal this morning.  He was thrilled, which made the many hours so worth it.  We both agreed that the image could have been a bit larger, but that it looks good anyway.

He commented many times on how accurate all the details were and how I had only left out a few tiny things.  He said something like, "Anyone who knows Lego Hero Factory would know right away that this is Splitface's chest plate!"  Haha.  I think that's a small target audience, especially since it's a discontinued model, but I'm so happy that he loves it.

I can't imagine there are a lot of people out there who want a Splitface shirt and would like to put several hours into making one, but since I made the stencil template, I put it up here.  If anyone DOES make one, I'd love to see it!

Happy Birthday, O!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

A Trio of Lady Skaters

I might have a bit of a Kitschy Coo Lady Skater addiction.  I made my first one back in March out of a jersey sheet, thinking it would just be a muslin, but it turned out so cute that I ended up finishing it up. The fabric's a bit thin, but it'll be great for around the house in the summer and is wearable in public with a slip.  O took a quick phone pic for me when I made it. 

The size 3 fit almost perfectly right off the bat; I just decided to add 1/2" to the shoulders for future makes.  RTW shirts hardly ever have shoulders wide enough for me, so this whole sewing for myself thing has some exciting benefits.  :)  The waist on RTW dresses is nearly always about an inch too high, too, but this one is spot on.

I used some charcoal stretch french terry that's been in my stash for a shamefully long time for a long sleeved version.

Accessorizing with my boot toppers!
The widened shoulders fit perfectly now, but I should have (and since have) added another inch to the sleeve length.  I measured the pattern pieces, but forgot to think about them riding up when bend my elbow.  Obviously still new to this whole fitting thing.  Ha.  This knit is also firmer than the sheet I used for the muslin, so it's a little snugger than I wanted through the torso.  Ray said it was fine, but he has never, ever thought anything was too tight or too short, so he's not overly reliable.  A friend who I trust to be brutally honest said it's fine, so I'm hoping she's right.  

See?  Kinda tight.  I think some of the problem is that I feel completely awkward and am therefore standing funny.

Snugness aside, I really like this one.  I said on Instagram that I was planning on wearing it every day and just changing tights and accessories.  I was only sort of kidding.

Photo by O.  He was directing me and was pretty funny about it.
My third and favorite I just made today for Selfish Sewing Week.  I'm totally in love with it, so there are lots of pictures.  I used a leopard print knit from that was listed as primarily cotton, but it felt off and then melted when I used a hot iron, so I think it's mostly poly.   I'm more of a natural fibers girl, so I was kind of bummed, but it doesn't really wrinkle, so that's a bonus.

This time I went with 3/4 length sleeves (with the additional inch added, and I'm so glad I did that) and a keyhole cut out in back using this tutorial.  I felt like Goldilocks applying the binding because it took me three tries. The first time was too loose, the second was two tight, but the third was just right!

I ran into some bulk issues where the seam allowances from the keyhole binding meet the neckline binding.  It doesn't look too bad from the right side, but the inside is ugly.  Good thing no one inspects my clothing.


This fabric was a little firmer than the muslin too, so I sewed the side seams at 1/4" instead of 3/8" and it's about perfect. 

So yeah, kind of obsessed with this pattern. I want to make another short sleeved one in nicer fabric, and then a sleeveless one, and maybe one with a gathered skirt...


Friday, May 2, 2014

Selfish Sewing (er, Knitting) Week: Thicket Hat

It's Selfish Sewing Week hosted by Rachael of Imagine Gnats!  It's perfect for my 2014 goal of making more things for myself, so when I saw a call out for knitters, I jumped at the chance.  One can never have too many hats.  I chose to knit up Thicket by Brooklyn Tweed, since you know I'm all about cables.

My first try, though, was a fail.  I should have gone with my gut, along with a few Ravelry projects that said the pattern runs big.  I tend to be all, "Oh, I'll knit this up and even though it seems like way too many stitches for a worsted weight hat, it'll be fine!"  And then no.  Ginormous.  It's kind of cute from the back and side, but just silly from the front, not to mention in danger of falling off any second.  I know some people wear hats this slouchy and look adorable, but it doesn't work for me.

Shoddy bathroom selfie
I absolutely LOVE the cable pattern, though, so I sat down and figured out how I wanted to size it down.  How great is this detail?  I love how twisted stitches pop.

I dug through my stash and found this Knit Picks Merino Style, which was sold as DK weight, but knits up as more of a light worsted.  Then I cast on only 110 stitches and did five repeats of the pattern instead of six.  I also skipped to row 36 after I finished knitting row 27.  That did the trick.

Just the right amount of slouch

I love how the top comes together and forms petal-like shapes.  Having five sections makes it look like a star.

The main pattern is a chart only, not written out.  When I first started knitting, I thought charts were super intimidating, but once I used one, I was sold on them.  It's much easier to "read" your knitting, especially if you have to rip back a few rows.  Not that I ever have to do that because I was distracted while binge-watching Supernatural on Netflix...

One of the cables requires you to hold one stitch to the front and one to the back, so if you don't already know how to cable without a cable needle, I would highly recommend learning.  It made things much simpler.

Now that I've finished up my selfish knitting, I have some selfish sewing lined up.  I've been so inspired by the other SSW projects on the Kollabora page, as well as these participating bloggers:

milkybeer · Behind the Hedgerow · jm_subrn · Sew What, Sherlock? Lladybird · sew Amy sew · the Brodrick Design Studio · adirondack inspired The Crooked Banana · Sewbon · Idle Fancy · girl like the sea oona aloona · Lauren Dahl · verypurpleperson · la inglesita Groovybaby...and mama · Buzzmills · La Pantigana · sew a straight line Dandelion Drift · JustMeJay · B Yazoo · Disaster In A Dress the quirky peach · Fishsticks Designs · Seamstress Erin · a happy stitch Casa Crafty · Sarah Jane Sews · YoSaMi · Call Ajaire · miss matatabi
There's also a fantastic giveaway that you can enter below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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