Friday, December 31, 2010

Butterick 6567

Last in the long line of Christmas gifts is this apron that I made for my MIL.  It is part of a set that included a handmade soap mold made by Mitch.  Donna has for the last several years been working toward a candlemaking business, and has recently been experimenting with soaps and other toiletries.  Her website is here - Big Art Candles.  She makes wonderfully fragranced soy candles for a fraction of what you'd pay for a Yankee Candle - and so much better!!
Anyway, the apron.  Mitch chose the pattern - Butterick 6567 and even bought the fabric himself, although I did help with the selection.  The pattern is a nice basic apron pattern.  It has good coverage both top and bottom, which was one of the reasons he chose it.  Soap and candlemaking can be messy!  It also has simple enough lines that it would play nicely with the fabric we chose, which is oilcloth (purchased at FFC).  We needed something that would be impervious to the waxes she uses.  The fact that it comes in cute prints didn't hurt!
Here is the back.  I like the stay across the shoulders to keep the back straps from slipping down.  I did make a few pattern modifications to accommodate the oilcloth.  I omitted any gathering (the skirt front inset and the gathers at the neckline), and swapped the ties for velcro tabs.  Gather and ties just aren't possible with this fabric.  I also didn't face the waistband, instead I did a simple turned and stitched hem.  The pattern actually calls for most of the edges to be finished with bias which is perfect for oilcloth.  The pattern includes a pattern piece and instructions for making your own bias tape, which I can totally see being adorable in coordinating prints.  I went with commercial tape.  This pink is an unusual shade, and I just couldn't match it.  I think it looks nice with the solid cream though.  FYI, I needed 3 packages of tape for this version.  I also petited the bodice, taking out an inch just above the waist and another inch at the shoulder.
Here is the back velcro tab.  This was totally Mitch's idea as well.  I just inserted it in place of the ties on the waistband.  If I'd been thinking ahead I would have just extended the waistband to make the tab.  Altogether, I think this was an excellent marriage of fabric and pattern.  I hope Donna gets a lot of good use out of it!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Simplicity 2603 and a question for you!

I finally got a chance to sit down to my serger and whipped up the Simplicity 2603 cardi wrap.
I know I'm late to this party - there are already over 80 reviews of this pattern on PR!  There is something to be said for standing on the shoulders of greatness...  I decided to sew this after Judy mentioned in a comment that she had used cardis like this as a nursing cover.  What a  great idea!  Cute, fashionable, and one less thing to shove in the already overstuffed diaper bag.  I was on it!
I don't have much to add to the collected wisdom on PR.  My version is made of a very thin cotton/lycra jersey that I got at FFC.  I assembled it completely on the serger, using a 3 thread overlock and inserting the neckline elastic with my elastic/tape foot.  As many of the other sewists who have made this chose to do, I did not hem, as I didn't want to alter the drape.  I considered a rolled hem, but even with the differential feed at 2, I got some rippling when I tried it out, so instead I used the serger unthreaded (gasp!) to trim off the hem allowance and give it a smooth edge, which I don't ever achieve with shears.

So, my question to those of you with sergers is this - What thread(s) are your favorite for serging and where do you get them?  Here in small town Texas, my only sources are Hancock, which carries a few colors of Maxi-Lock, and Walmart, which carries a lower quality thread that I don't love, but has a few more colors.  I'm hoping for an online thread mecca.  Does it exist?

ETA (11:00) - Wow, y'all are awesome!  So far, Maxi-lock at Atlanta Thread & Supply has the strongest following (and the lowest price at 1.85 a cone!).  SewTrue also has a good price and excellent color selection as well as great prices on zippers and an impressive closeouts selection.  Of course, if I had been paying attention to Liz's sidebar, I wouldn't have had to ask.  Check out all the great online shops she has linked!  I'm about to break the bank...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ottobre 03/2010-6&7

I think this might be my favorite of the Christmas gifts I made this year.  Little girlie outfits are so fun to create!
The outfit is completely handmade - knit and sewn.  I even crafted the flower clip!
Both dress and bloomers are from the 03/2010 issue of Ottobre.  The dress pattern is for a short summer tunic, but I wanted this to work for winter wear, so I lengthened it considerably.  My niece, for whom this was made, isn't yet mobile, so long skirts won't get in her way.  I love this bloomer pattern!  As with all Otto patterns, it is really beautifully designed, with a higher waistline in back to accommodate a diaper bum.  The sleeves and leg openings are gathered with elastic shirring, which is easy to do and cute.  The zip is an invisible zipper, which I would put in anyway, but the pattern actually did call for it.  I love Ottobre.
The knitted items are the Joyful cloche, and the Confection Baby Shrug, both knitted in Red Heart Shimmer yarn.  Rav notes are linked for the knitters.  It's hard to see in the picture, but there is a metallic thread running through the yarn that gives it a sparkle.  It is so cute in person!!  Both hat and shrug pattern included decorative eyelets, which I threaded with a sheer green ribbon to coordinate.  The flower on the hat is actually a removable hair clip, so the wee princess can wear it or not, as she (or her Dad and Mom!) choose.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Kwik Sew 3570 for Father and Son

Gift completed #2 was a matched set of fleece pullovers for my Dad and brother.
This is one of my favorite man patterns!  It's Kwik Sew 3570, and designed for activewear.  It makes a great casual pullover.  I've made it a couple of times for Mitch as well, and he loves it.  It is nicely shaped, comfortable and quick to sew.
Here you can see the side seams, which angle forward.  It creates a very flattering, slimming line.  The zipper insertion is actually pretty easy - thank you Kwik Sew for clear and concise directions with good diagrams!  I made these out of a lightweight fleece.  Here in Texas, we don't need much cold weather gear, but this is light enough for cool winter and spring days.  My brother also spends a lot of time riding motorcycles, and I thought this would be great for layering under his leather when it's cold.
I put it on my dress form to give you a better idea of what it looks like on a person.  Clearly, it is too big for me!  But it looks pretty good!  Maybe I should make a smaller one for me...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ottobre 01/2009-5 and 06/2009-5

Now that Christmas has passed and presents are opened, I can finally share some of my creations with you!  This was the first thing I made for the holidays - way back in November.
It's an outfit for my nephew, who is 16 months old.
The top is Ottobre 01/2009-5.  Ottobre calls it the "Muksis" tee.  I love the fun kangaroo pocket, and all the bindings.  The envelope neckline allows for easy on and off.  I was afraid all those details would make this tricky to sew, but I should know Otto better!  This was a super quick and easy sew.
Here is a closer shot of the pocket and hem binding.  They are stitched down with a twin needle, so they look nice and are stretchy.  I love that the cuffs roll up to give the tee built in growing room.  And I'm very happy with how well the stripes came together, both across the pocket as well as sleeve and side seams.
The jeans are Ottobre 06/2009-5.  This is such a super pattern!!  The pants are lined - I used the same soft jersey as I did to make the tee.  The waistband is ribbing, which makes it soft.  The pattern calls for a drawstring, but I prefer to avoid those in baby clothes, as they can be a choking hazard.  I just ran elastic through it like a casing.  The jeans-style topstitching and faux fly are super touches.
From the back you can see the cute pockets and the yoke.  It doesn't actually provide any shaping, but gives a more authentic jeans look.  I did all of the topstitching on my Singer.  It was so nice to have a dedicated topstitching machine, or I'd have been changing thread and needles constantly.  As you can see, the cuffs are rolled up to show the lining.  More room to grow!
I also knitted a little cap to go with the whole look.  Ravelry notes are here.  Little B is going to be one well dressed little dude!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas to all!

Santa and Co. were very good to me this year!  Here is my crafty haul...
Sewing books
A few books to add to the library,
Patterns
A couple of great patterns, including the brand new My Image pattern magazine!!  I'm so excited about this one!  There are some really cute styles in here, for both children and misses.
Feet
and a couple of new feet. I've wanted a walking foot for some time and can't wait to get this going. The other foot is an elastic/tape application foot for my brand new....
Serger!!
SERGER!!!!! Yay! I really can't wait to get this set up and going. I might just spend the next couple of sewing days seeing what this baby can do.
And for my yarnie friends...
Knitty fun
The yarns are Cascade 220 Superwash - 7 skeins, which should be enough for the Corona hoodie that I've been wanting to knit and Kraemer Sterling silk & silver, a beautiful wool/silk blend shot with actual silver.  It is fingering/sock weight, so I'll have to find a pattern that will show it off properly.  Maybe it's time to knit my first socks...

I hope that those of you who celebrate are having a wonderful holiday!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sew Baby Zippy Bunting

I really didn't think I'd be back at my machine this quickly, but this was a need!  And retail totally failed me.  I can't find sleepers and buntings small enough for my little guy, and it gets seriously cold at night!  He needed a bunting, and conveniently enough, I just won this great bunting pattern from Sew Baby.  Unfortunately, even the 0-3 month size is intended for an 8 pound baby.  The pattern includes a doll version as well, which I considered, but the proportions are different, so in the end, I just compared the pattern pieces to a romper he has that fits reasonably well.  I ended up taking out 2 inches of length and a total of two inches in width, as well as an inch in length in the arms.
One thing I really love about this pattern is the hood.  Babies lose a lot of heat from their heads and hats don't stay on well at night.  Unfortunately, my alterations didn't include the neckline, and the hood pulls the body of the bunting up over Duncan's face.  Since the whole point of a bunting vs a blanket is to PREVENT fabric from covering baby's airway, this is a clear fail.  I don't think it's the pattern though, just the way I altered it.  When Duncan grows a bit I'm planning to make it again as drafted, and I suspect I will have greater success.  Since it totally didn't work as it was, I took the hood off and just added ribbed band to the collar.  I also didn't love the elastic in the sleeves, so I added foldover cuffs there.
My final version works well and keeps my little man cozy at night.
It's even nice during the day, since I don't have to wrap him up in blankets that get twisted around and bunched up.  Good thing I have more fleece.  I need a couple more of these!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

burda style 09/2010-121 again and again

I REALLY love this turtleneck pattern.
So I made it a few more times!  The pattern is burdastyle 09/2010-121, a 3 piece turtleneck with a cut on collar and long sleeves (for scrunching).  This version is made of a super thin rib knit that I got at Walmart.  This stuff has zero recovery, so it really isn't good for much, but it actually works quite well in this pattern.
This version is made from a medium weight interlock given to me by a good friend.  It is super soft and cuddly, but definitely firmer and heavier than the rib knit.  Still, it works beautifully with this pattern.  I am really impressed with the breadth of fabric weights and stretch factor that really works with this.  I have so far used slinky, rib knit and interlock, but I have another cut out of ITY, and I've seen out there in blogland and on PR every kind of knit fabric imaginable.  While I have been a bit disappointed with burdastyle lately, this one is a clear winner, and worth tracking down the September issue for.

And lest you should think that I gave birth and then headed straight for my sewing machine, I made these and Myra's top last week.  Now I think that I am all caught up on posting projects, so it may be a little quiet around here for a bit.  At least until after Christmas, then I have a few fun things to show you!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Butterick 4910

We all got some serious sewing done at our last sewing group meeting.  I finished up this peasant top for Myra.
The pattern is Butterick 4910, which I also used to make her Renaissance dress.  This time I made the top version without the ruffle.  I left the sleeves long so that they would pouf nicely with the wrist gathering (done with elastic zigzagged on).  The body length is oddly short as compared to the arm length.  The bodice pattern pieces for the ruffled and unruffled version are the same, so I guess the ruffled version would probably be appropriately long.  Next time I make it, I'll definitely lengthen the bodice.  Otherwise I really like this pattern.. It's a nice basic.
The fabric is an Anna Maria Horner print that I've had in stash forever.  It's a good color for Myra (and hides chocolate stains well), and I have a couple of yards left, so you will probably see it again...

Monday, December 13, 2010

FO: Duncan Seth

Our sweet little bundle of joy has arrived!! He came at 3:00 this morning, and weighs in at exactly 7 pounds. We think he's just perfect!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ottobre 06/2010-5 sort of

The Wee Professor is my first winter baby, so as I've been sewing snuggly fleece jammies for my big kids, I couldn't neglect him!  I really prefer a sleep sacque for wee babies, but footed sleepers are a nice thing to have as well.  I was so excited to win Ann's giveaway of this adorable sleep sacque pattern, but until it comes, I decided to sew up a footed sleeper from the most recent issue of Ottobre.  I really prefer a front zip closure, so I made a few modifications.
The pattern is Ottobre 06/2010-5, but with a front zip closure, no pocket and no rear diaper flap.  This pattern felt a bit like an afterthought in a magazine full of well planned and thought out garments.  The pattern didn't even include full dimensions for the binding - just "cut binding 4 cm wide".  I measured along the pattern pieces where I was binding the edges and cut that amount, then trimmed off the extra, since I had stretched it a little to sew it on.  Typically Otto includes a separate pattern pieces for the binding, so I was a little surprised at the omission here.
Here is the back.  Since the front is cut on the fold in the original design, all of the shaping for the diaper and crotch are incorporated into the back panels, so I couldn't just merge them all into one piece, since there is significant shaping in that curved seam above the bum.  It does give the sleeper plenty of diaper space!  I don't cloth diaper, but I imagine you could fit a diaper, cover and soaker in there with no problem.  I did forget that the bottom was supposed to lap over the top, so I really didn't need to add as much seam allowance.  Fortunately, it was a minor matter to ease in the extra length in the back - it was less than 1/2 inch.
I don't like having to flip a baby over to dress him, so a front closure is my favorite.  I used a zipper here, and added a little tab over the zipper pull, so that it doesn't scratch his neck.
It seems like all I've sewn this month is fleece.  Perhaps I'll find something new to sew next...  Until my bunting pattern gets here, that is!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wow!!

I have an amazing friend, who I have known, in a way since birth.  We were BFFs in High School.  Life has separated us a few times, but we have managed to reconnect.  Although it is more years since those days than I care to admit, we are still good friends, and as adults, both have discovered sewing as a hobby.  Britta is much more accomplished than I at fiber arts.  She recently destashed and asked if I would like some of her knit fabrics.  You all know how much I love to sew knits, so naturally I was excited to adopt them!  Today two boxes arrived!!!
Wow!!!!  The back row is all knits - interlock, pointelle, jersey and rib knit.  That mulberry interlock on the left is going to become a burda style turtleneck before the week is out...  The other two rows are an amazing assortment of silk, velvet, eyelet, linen, satin, seersucker and a few other things.  And the little gold tin?  Full of homemade fudge!  Yum!!  See what I mean?  She's amazing!

Now, I must get to my machine!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

FO: Cloud Bolero

I knit my first grown up sweater!
Admittedly, it is knit on giant needles and is a short sleeved cropped bolero, so it wasn't a terribly complex project, but I am still excited and thrilled with how it came out.
The pattern is the Cloud Bolero by Ysolda Teague.  My Rav notes are here.  It is a top down raglan design, so no seaming.  The sleeves are knit in one, so no stitches to put on holders and pick back up later.  I'm not overjoyed with the skinny brown ribbon.  When I wore it Sunday, I got a little more creative with the closure, and used a hair barrette.
I'm thinking a wider sheer organza ribbon in solid brown or black would be nicer though.  I love that the closure isn't affixed, so it is a great opportunity to get creative with brooches and pins.
You can appreciate the lace pattern better from the back.  I love the way the lace shapes the hemline.  The raglan shaping is done with yarn-overs, which I think works really well with the feather and fan pattern.
I also really love the picot edge bind off.  I knit it with Lion Brand Wool Ease, which I initially bought thinking it would be a good option for the Wee Professor cardigan, but it is a bit rough for baby wear.  I think it works really well here.  I like the contrast of the rough, tweedy yarn and the delicate lace pattern.  It also makes for a pretty cozy sweater!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Simplicity 2290 and Ottobre 03/2004-19 (and Otto 06/2009-3)

My sewing group at church just started working on PJ pants.  We're using Simplicity 2290, which is a part of their Learn To Sew line.  Thanks to Beth for recommending this pattern to me.  It is really great for learning the basics!  The instructions are very complete and clear, and the diagrams are bigger and easier to understand.  For this one pattern piece pants pattern there are 6 pages of instructions!  The pattern comes with all sizes from child size 4-5 up to adult XL in one envelope, which is nice.  I had this cute duckie flannel that was calling to be PJ pants for Logan.
Naturally, I couldn't stop at just pants.  Those duckies are too cute!  So I traced off Ottobre 03/2004-19, which is a basic sweatshirt pattern with bands at neckline and wrists and a stitched hem.
Ottobre appliqued their version with a fish motif, but I went with an octogon.  Logan has a bit of an obsession with polygons right now.  I used self fabric for the neck and wrist bands, partly because matching this particular shade of red was impossible, but also because the fleece is so soft and snuggly.
The fabric is more of the Black Friday fleece from Hancock.  Logan chose this dark red and told me he wanted me to make a shirt.  My turnaround time with this fleece purchase has been really fast!!  I haven't even had a chance to put it in the closet yet and already have made 3 garments from it!
Because of course, the Wee Professor needed a mini version to match his big brother!  For the wee one I reused Ottobre 06/2009-3.  Instead of binding the neckline, I just added an allowance and did a turned and stitched hem.  The fleece is already so bulky, I didn't want to add more layers of ribbing.  I'll be working on the mini PJ pants at sewing group on Tuesday!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas blankies

Although these are intended to be Christmas gifts, my kids don't read my blog, so this won't spoil the surprise.  This morning I whipped together the easiest Christmas gift ever, and I thought some of y'all might be looking for ideas.
Every time we go to the fabric store, Myra begs for this Cinderella panel, and I've been seeing cute Thomas the Train throws and thinking I should get one for Logan.  So I decided that I would make them each a fleece throw with their character of choice.  Myra's is a printed panel with Cinderella and her castle, and Logan's is printed fleece yardage.
Although fleece doesn't ravel at all, I finished the edges with satin blanket binding.  I think that gives it a nicer look, and it doesn't take long to do.  The binding is sold precut and prefolded, so you just wrap it around the edge and sew it on.  For a more comprehensive discussion of attaching pretty bindings, pop over to this tutorial on my Mom's blog.

So how much fleece do you need to make your own blankies?  The printed panel was easy - they come a specific size - but I actually think they are a bit small for a bigger child, although they are OK as just a throw.  For a crib-sized blanket, a one yard piece is perfect.  A standard crib mattress is 27 inches by 56 inches, so a 60 x 36 inch blanket is big enough to completely cover the crib mattress without any loose ends.  (Side note/Pediatrician hat on - You should never have an infant in a crib with a loose blanket.  It is a suffocation hazard and increases baby's risk of SIDS - end rant)  For a crib blanket, I like to just pink the edges to remove the printed selvage.  Binding or hemming adds bulk to an edge that is otherwise soft and smooth, not to mention that it tucks more easily under the crib mattress without any edge finish in the way.
Here is Myra's baby blanket.  The edges are pinked with regular pinking shears, although you could certainly get creative on the scrapbooking aisle and find some cute pinking shears.  I wouldn't generally recommend using craft scissors on fabric, but this is a special case.

For an older child, a 2 yard piece of fleece is perfect for snuggling in a "big kid" bed.  With this one you can have more fun with your edge finish.  Pinking or trimming is an option, or you can fringe the edges.
Here is a purchased fleece blanket that just has a turned and stitched hem done with a coverstitch machine.  I also think this would be fun done with a decorative stitch, although you would need to be sure your stitch is nice and stretchy as fleece has quite a bit of stretch.

If you'd like to bind the edges like I did, you will need two packages of blanket binding for either size blanket.  It comes in a zillion colors or you can get cool prints or any Disney character you can imagine.  Wouldn't Tinkerbelle be cute on a solid green blanket?  Or Lightning McQueen on a black and white checkered flag fleece?  Get creative!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ottobre 06/2010-13

Myra is not a peaceful sleeper.  Now that it is starting to get really cold at night, her habit of kicking off her covers is problematic.  She gets chilly and wakes up, which means the rest of us do as well.  I thought I'd try making her a coverall that would keep her warm and that she couldn't kick off.
Doesn't she look cozy?  I'm not sure that she is in love with that high collar.  Perhaps for the next version we'll just use a ribbed band, or at least narrow that collar.
The pattern is Ottobre 06/2010-13, which is a jumpsuit that they style on a boy, made out of velour.  Despite the piecing and zip, it actually sewed up very quickly and easily, and as is typical for Ottobre, the instructions were great!  My only deviations were to add elastic ruffles at wrist and ankles.  I was going for a slightly more girlie look, as well as hoping a little elastic would help keep the arms and legs from riding up.  I also elected to stitch in the ditch for the collar, rather than handstitching the undercollar down.
I'm VERY happy with the zipper insertion!  I managed to match all three seams and the topstitching across the zipper on the first try!  Woo-hoo!  The fabric is a fleece from Hancock that I got on Black Friday.  At 1.99 a yard, I couldn't pass it up!!  Myra chose the color, of course...
The only surprise I had while sewing this up was with the sizing.  The last Otto item I made for her was a size 86, and fits her beautifully.  I did want a little extra room in this, in case we wanted to layer it over her jammies, so I made a 92, which as you can see, fits her very well with nothing on underneath.  I'm glad I didn't sew an 86!!  I've noticed this trend with the more recent issues of the magazine.  The 2004 issues that I have seem to run a little larger than the more recent issues. Something for me to remember...

ETA: It totally worked!!  She not only slept completely through the night without a peep, she slept in an extra half hour this morning!!!  We need more fleece.