Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sewing For Boys: First project and review

I haven't done a "What I got for Christmas" post because I thought it would be more fun to spin things out as I used them and tell you what I thought. One of my gifts from dh's parents was the book Sewing For Boys. By way of introducing the book, and as a part of the Sewalong over at Boy, Oh, Boy, Oh, Boy, I thought I'd show you my first project from the book.
This is the Raw-Edge Raglan, which is the first pattern from the book. In terms of the book itself, it is not typical of this type of project oriented book, in that there are no general sewing instruction. I think that is great!! I've never found that a project book does a great job at teaching sewing, and this way there is more room for the patterns. For this project, I found the pattern itself well drafted and the instructions were clear. You'll be seeing more from this book, I guarantee.
I liked the results so much, that I had to make one for my littlest guy, too! The pattern in the book is only graded down to a size 2-3 and Duncan is a 12-18 month size, so I used an Ottobre pattern (04/2010-1 if you're interested) for the basic pieces, and the assembly instructions from the book.
Overall, the book is easy to use (love a spiral binding!) and nicely arranged, with glossy pictures of all of the pieces, mixed and matched in various ways. The patterns are in a tidy envelope in the front of the book. The patterns are nested by size, but not overlapping like Burda or Ottobre, so tracing is a breeze. The instructions for each pattern are well written and illustrated with line drawings. As a bonus, they use very technical sewing terms, you know, like "wonky". I love that!
And here is why it is called the Raw-Edge Raglan! The seams are sewn wrong sides together, then topstitched down for a slightly deconstructed look. To mine, I added Logan's name, stenciled on with freezer paper. I was going for a sloppily spray painted on the side of a Hum Vee sort of look, so I didn't use a paintbrush. I just sort of smooshed the paint on there to give it some texture. I think it turned out pretty cool.
I did a similar stenciled embellishment on Duncan's tee, and also added cuffs. The Otto pattern I used included cuffs and I thought that would be cute, not to mention adding a bit of warmth. I applied the cuffs the same way that the neckband is applied, which is to stitch the band to the wrong side, flip it the the right side and topstitch. That left me with a TEENY little loop to try to topstitch down. Way too small for the free arm on my machine, so I basically sewed it blind. It turned out reasonably well, but I don't think I'll be doing that again...
As a cool side effect of the inside out seaming, the inside of the shirt is incredibly smooth. For Logan, who has some sensory integration issues and does not like anything itchy to touch his skin, this is an extra bonus.
And here is my inspiration for this shirt! This is my Dad, taken after he returned from some sort of overseas mission, the details of which were classified, but involved growing a beard.
This song ran through my head the entire time I was sewing. Makes me cry like a baby every time...


  1. oh I love the shirts! I'm doing the sew along too, and think the raglan tees are such a great pattern to start with! I've made three thus far and my son just LOVES how "snuggly" they are and how the seams don't irritate him

  2. I love these t-shirts. The freezer paper stenciling did turn out nice! Your Logan sounds like my Logan when he was a little guy. Now that he is older, it doesn't seem to be as much of an issue.

  3. Very cool. In a young boy camouflage cool way.
    And extra points that it's easy to wear.

  4. Great tops!I have this book on my wish list in amazon. I may just have to ordered it after your great review..thanks!

  5. Those are wonderful little shirts. I love that you stenciled their names!

  6. I hate that song.
    They always played it at Special Forces funerals. [whole body shudder]

    On a plus note: LOVE the shirts!!! I especially love the stenciled names -- they turned out great!

  7. Those tops are way cool!
    Thanks again for the heads up with the NL FB page! I wouldn't have known otherwise!!

  8. Ah, I just love them. My boys just discovered GI Joe and would say these are way cool. Even cooler is the fact that they have a military connection to go with the camo. Great job!

  9. Great looking tees! I like how you added their names to the front.:)

  10. Awesome shirts and stenciling! Boo that the book is only up to age 7 - I missed the boat on that one.

  11. Love it all! I think I need to get this book. Great stenciling too. I especially love the pic of dad. Awesome to have such a hero in your family.

  12. I totally LOVE your shirts, but my favorite part of this post is where you describe your dad's overseas mission "the details of which were classified, but involved growing a beard" Oh my!!!

    I'm really happy to see you liked the seams on the outside. Many of the projects of the book are designed this way. I have a Kid with sensory integration issues, and hes the reason I started sewing for kids and not just myself!