Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Harry Potter Halloween III: Characters Most People Don't Remember Edition

I'm sure this will come as a major shock, but we chose Harry Potter as our family costume theme again this year (2011's costumes and last year's).  At this point, we're starting to dip into the secondary and probably tertiary characters, so whenever an average person (read: non-obsessed) asked who we were going to be, there was generally a lot of explanation on my part, followed by them smiling and nodding and most likely still having no idea what I was talking about. Ray was Professor Lupin, I was Tonks, E was Luna Lovegood, and O was a "generic Slytherin student."

Inspiration photos

Last week was Kid's Clothes Week, and while I didn't officially sew along and keep up on the blogging this time (I have such a major backlog from summer still to post about!), I did make a couple of the kids' costume elements.  As much as I love crazy costumes, I was happy that this time their things are all re-wearable on a daily basis.

I started with Luna's skirt, the Montmartre from Ottobre Design 4/2010.  It's a pleated woven skirt with a knit fold-over waistband and an elastic casing.  I made the size 98 width/104 length and cut the waistband only half as high to eliminate the fold.  I also cut the waistband off of some RTW knit shorts and serged them on at the same time as the skirt's waistband.  I love how it turned out.

The stars glow in the dark!  I think the "real" Luna would approve

Next up was a Hogwarts sweater for O to go with his button-down, black jeans, and Slytherin tie from Ebay.  I had some charcoal grey sweater knit in my stash and sewed it up using my old standby, the Fishsticks Designs Charlie Tee.  I sized up, as recommended for the hoodie version, and winged a v-neck based loosely on the Mamu Design Sabrina pattern.  I was a little nervous about both the fabric and the v-neck, since I'd never used either before, but it went together really seamlessly (heh).  I serged everything except the neckline and had zero problems.

So much faster than knitting a sweater!

His shirt is untucked underneath, so it looks kind of bunchy, but the fit is great.  I think he'll get a lot of wear out of this.

Then this week I made E's Luna jacket from the Ottobre 1/2010 Variksenmarja coat pattern, size 104.  It's meant to be corduroy with a lining, but I made it unlined out of sweatshirt knit that I ordered online.  IRL it's more of a burgundy than the pink I thought it was going to be and as it appears in most of these photos.  I was a little bummed about that, but it turned out so cute that I'm over it.  I rounded the collar and cut about 4" from the length.  

The sleeves were also just about perfect for her before I hemmed them, so to eek out as much length as possible, I used single-fold bias tape for the hems.

The neckline is finished with the same thrifted vintage bias tape. This technique always makes me inordinately happy.

This might be my favorite project all year.

The lion hat was from a thrifted costume that I cut the hood from and finished with bias tape.  We added tights and legwarmers over her AFOs and her usual footwear, Chuck Taylors, which Luna also wears.

It was super windy last night when we were taking pictures.  E was not a fan of that part.
Lupin's suit and tie were from the Goodwill Outlet (textiles by the pound!!).  There were matching pants too, but they were several sizes too big and I ran out of time to alter them, so Ray just wore some brown pants and a dress shirt he already had, and we added some facial scars with makeup.

I had planned to sew a more Tonksish coat for myself, but of course ran out of time. On the plus side, our costumes were actually ready before we needed them, and I was never sewing into the middle of the night.  My sweater, hoodie, t-shirt, and leggings were a combo of things I already owned and bought knowing I would wear them otherwise.  I also got to dig out my vegan Doc Martens that were a College Sarah wardrobe staple.

I remembered them being a lot more comfortable.  Those suckers are heavy!
 The driving gloves and wig were Ebay purchases.  I wasn't expecting to like the pink hair at all, since I don't do much pink, and pretty much never pastel.  But I really like it!  Too bad I'm both too cheap and too lazy to do it for real and keep it up.

I made the necklace from faux leather and ribbon clasps from Joann's and buttons from St. Vincent de Paul.  I don't know about you, but our St. Vinnie's has a fantastic button selection, and they're so much cheaper than buying them new.  I always try to check there first on the rare occasions that I plan ahead.

E was giving O some serious side-eye by the time we finished with photos.  It cracked me up when I saw this one.

I think she was confused by his spell-casting.  He was very, very into it.

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!


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