Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ottobre 01/2012-21 overalls

Duncan's next desperate wardrobe need was for pants. Since we lived in Texas when Logan was this age, we don't have many winter clothes to hand down, and while Duncan has tons of shorts, long pants are few and far between.
These overalls from the 01/2012 issue of Ottobre caught my eye when the issue came out. I love the 70s retro vibe they have and they look so cozy! Last year the smallest size was too big for Duncan, but this year they are just right!
The fabric I used is a stretch twill that was hanging out in my stash, provenance unknown. I only had a yard and a half or so, so it was perfect for small guy overalls. The color in the above pics is the most true. It is a military green, reminiscent (to me at least) of fatigues from the world war era. I used a cotton batik from Hancock for the facings and pocket linings.
These overalls have so many cute details!! I'm not usually a fan of a centered zipper, but that big zip front and center makes these. The topstitching is great as well. I used my Singer to topstitch, with Upholstery weight thread to make it pop.
Ottobre's instructions for inserting the zipper were great. It was all done by machine - no slipstitching the facing to the tape! And it is so clean on the inside. When I first read the instructions, I had no clue what they wanted me to do. I went forward with faith, and it came together perfectly, but there were a few moments... If you are making these, I posted a little picture on Flickr of what the facing assembly looks like. You can see it here.
The front pockets are lined, which is a nice easy way to get a clean edge, I used the same fun batik that I made the facings out of, and you can just see the edge peeking around the sides of the pocket.
In back is another set of patch pockets. The waist is snugged in with elastic and the straps are held in position with a little beltloop. I love the way this looks, but it is also very functional. The straps stay where they need to be without sliding off Duncan's shoulders.
We tested them out tromping around at the park, and they are awesome! I was worried that the slim fit in the leg would be troublesome for climbing, but not at all. He was all over the place, typical Duncan style.
When I put on his overalls yesterday to check the hem, I realized that the shirt I was planning for him to wear these with (a cute striped henley) was now too small. So I made him a quick raglan tee (Ottobre 04/2011-1, the Papana tee) in some leftover yellow interlock. Looks like shirts for Duncan are next up on the agenda...
Linked up.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tanit-Isis Vintage Shrug

So, after the teaser on Saturday, were you dying to know where you can get your hands on this adorable shrug pattern for yourself? I suspect many of you actually recognized it. 
My failed attempt to look as cool as Tanit-Isis. At least you can see the drapey sleeve.
The pattern is from the lovely and talented Tanit-Isis, and is available for free on her blog. I know, how awesome is that?! Click here for the pattern.
I made this out of a houndstooth burnout knit from FabricMart. Since the pattern only has one seam , matching the "stripe" of the houndstooth was effortless as long as your layout was on grain. the edges are all finished with self-fabric bands, which makes for a very easy and quick make. From printing to wearing this took me about 2 hours, but that includes some kvetching about what fabric I wanted to use.
The shrug fastens with a button on the neckband. The pattern calls for a buttonhole, but this knit was way too thin to support a buttonhole well, so I just used an elastic loop. Isn't the button pretty? It is vintage glass and seemed appropriate for this.
The only trouble I has was that this knit isn't particularly stretchy and I should have taken that into account and made my front band a bit longer to compensate. I have some rippling around there that isn't very attractive up close. I'm pretty sure it isn't going to stop me from wearing this though.
I did make one alteration to the pattern, which was to lengthen the sleeves. I generally like a 3/4 sleeve personally, but I wanted to wear this over long sleeves. I just extended the sleeve length to the full width of the fabric, tapering in to the wrist. I love how snug this sleeve is, although in my not very stretchy knit, it is a little tricky to get the band over my hand. Live and learn. The 3/4 length wouldn't have this problem, even in a particularly stable knit, and the style is unfitted enough that the stretch isn't needed for fit. So, this was a trail of the pattern, and I intend to use it for a lovely soft mohair knit my mother sent me. I'm not sure that I want to finish the edges with the bands in that fabric, so I may play with some different finishes. I'll keep you posted with what works for me.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Vogue 1059 - third time's a charm

I'm not usually one to remake patterns multiple times. I love the idea of a perfectly fit TNT, but I crave variety and so despite my best intentions, I always reach for the new and shiny. But I think I can finally call these pants an honest to goodness TNT for me.
The pattern is Vogue 1059, and this is my third make. The first two are here and here. Both of those pairs are in such frequent rotation in my wardrobe that I knew I needed a third. This time, I pulled out all the stops.
The fabric is a lovely lightweight wool blend from Trim Fabric. I wanted these to have a sleek line, so I moved the zipper to the side - invisible, of course. After sewing up the side seams (which I saved for the last so that I could insert the zip through the yoke) I tried them on, and ugh. I couldn't zip them! Seriously!! This is my third make!! I think that I must have trimmed too aggressively when I was serging the side seams. That and the fact that this fabric is non-stretch (which the first two were) combined to almost kill these pants. I Persevered though, and ripped out my perfect zipper so that I could resew the side seams with a smaller seam allowance. Whew. They are perfect.
I also fully lined them with Bemberg rayon. Oh, how I love a lined pant! You just can't get more luxe than sliding into a fully lined pant. The lining also nicely conceals all of the pocketing and flappy bits from the back welt pockets.
I wore my new pants with my burdastyle turtleneck and a new shrug that I haven't told you about yet. It is totally fabulous, but it deserves it's own post, so stay tuned. In the meantime, I am so pleased to have that holy grail for we sewists, the TNT pant pattern. That said, I think after three pairs, I'm ready for something shiny.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ottobre 06/2012-12 jacket

While I've been busily sewing totally unnecessary clothing for Myra, Duncan had a massive growth spurt. The most urgent need was a new coat, as his old one is now sporting 3/4 sleeves. Ooops. Not useful in the snow.
He's ridiculously cute. Focus on the coat. The pattern is from the latest issue of Ottobre, and I have to pause a moments and say what a great issue this is! I've only had it like 3 weeks and I've already made two things from it! And have plans for more. Myra particularly likes it and has requested the cover look and a duffle coat.
So, back to the coat - This is pattern #12 in the "baby" (62-92) sizes, but is repeated in the "school age" sizes (98-128) as #15. It is intended to be sewn from jersey, but I had this blue separating zip in the stash that was a perfect match to some blue corduroy I thrifted, so I decided to go with that.
Inside is fully lined with fleece and all of the bands and binding are cotton-lycra rib knit - all from stash. Ottobre's lining directions for the cuff are excellent, and you end up with a completely enclosed seam, but not having diagrams makes it a little tricky to decipher, so if you are making this, be sure to check out Amanda's reversible sleeve 'tute, as it is basically the same method, just with a cuff stuck in between.
With regard to sizing, Duncan is pretty much an 86 at the moment, but since this pattern was drafted for knits AND I was using a bulky fleece to line is AND I didn't want him to outgrow it before Spring, I sewed a 92. I think it is perfect. There is a little bit of growth room in the sleeve, but it isn't swamping him and he can play easily in it. I love how the binding (applied slightly stretched) snugs in the waistline to keep out cold breezes.
The hood is a particularly nice feature. It has a high neck and the binding cups it around the face, which keeps wee ears warm. Duncan refuses to wear all headgear, but it was easy to sew, and if he needs it, I know it will keep him super cozy.
I'm really pleased with it overall. It is cute, soft and snuggly. He seems to like it and is comfortable wearing it. As a bonus, it's perfect for eating playing in the snow.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Go To Leggings!

Myra REALLY didn't need new clothes, but when Andrea released the new Go To Leggings pattern, I had to try it out. So many cute details!! (And if you haven't been to her shop, be sure to click the link. She has an amazing collection of PDF patterns from all of your favorite designers.)
I also made another Ottobre cross-front tee, but since I just made one last week, I won't bore you with that.

This pattern has so many options to fancy up your leggings that I had a hard time deciding which one to try first! Since we still have snow on the ground, I decided the ruched leggings looked nice and cozy. Of course, Myra insisted on the skirt, which is included in the pattern. You can make it with the leggings or alone.
Isn't the ruching great? Myra says her pants are ruffly. She told me that she wants me to make all of her pants like this now. It was really easy to do, and the pattern instructions are really great, but I thought I'd share my little method for keeping my elastic ruching straight and where I want it.
I like to use clear elastic tape for ruching, since it stretches really far and has really great recovery, but it can be a little slippery and hard to control. To make my job a little easier, I always draw a chalk "I" along the line where I want my ruching to be, with the long line where I'm stitching my elastic, and the top and bottom marked clearly, so I know when to start and stop stretching the elastic. It also helps to cut your elastic an inch or two longer than you need and mark the actual length you need on the elastic itself (I use a Sharpie on clear elastic). Then you have the "tails" of elastic at the beginning and end to hold on to as you stretch. Just match your marks up with the top and bottom of your "I" and away you go!
The fabrics I used were a cotton jersey print for the skirt and top contrast, and some ITY left over from this dress for the leggings and shirt body. The cotton was one of those thin, curly jerseys, but it paired well with the slinky ITY. For the ruched leggings, you definitely want a fabric that isn't too bulky or it won't ruche well. The ITY was perfect in that regard, and it is very comfortable.
Myra LOVES her new leggings, and I love this pattern. It goes all the way up to a size 12, so I know I will get a lot of use out of it. Myra will definitely be getting the keyhole capris next Spring. Off you go then. Go get your pattern!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sewing For Boys Goodnight Sweetheart PJs

Both my boys were in need of new jammies, and I happened to have a very large piece of boy-themed flannel that had been given to me, so I decided to make them matching PJs. I don't think Logan will tolerate this sort of behavior much longer, so I thought I'd better get them made now.
The pattern I used is from the Sewing For Boys book. The PJ pattern in the book is only graded down to the 2/3 size, which is too large for Duncan, so instead I used the Out on the Town jacket, which is collarless and has a curved neckline, just like the PJ pattern.
Very few modifications were required to make the jacket into PJs. Since the jacket is designed to be lined to the edge, I did add hem allowances to the sleeve and bottom edge, and had to create my own facings. The pattern has a shaded area that indicates where the main jacket pieces are to be interfaced, and I used those as my facing pieces.
They didn't match up to each other perfectly, but they aren't intended to be facings, so I don't consider that a problem with the pattern. If you're doing this though, do be sure to true your pattern pieces before you cut fabric.
I followed the instructions for the PJs and I love the way the facings are attached with piping. It was so easy and it looks really great! The insides are lovely, with the seams enclosed within the facing. For my boys, I used two different colors of piping and buttons, so that they would be easy to sort out in the wash/
For the pants, I used the Kicking Back Sweats and Two Faced pants that I had already traced for the boys. They needed a little length added, since both boys have grown since I traced out those patterns in February, but otherwise they were great.
I didn't do the cuffs or faux fly that are included in the pattern, but I did stitch a little button to the waistband. It's always nice to have an extra button around, and it makes it easy to tell back from front. In this case, it will also make it easier for me to tell Duncan's pants from Logan's since they are pretty much identical other than size.
Getting reasonable pictures of two very active, wiggly boys in low light was well nigh impossible. But they both really like their new jammies, and so do I.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ottobre 03/2004-9 & 03/2011-20

These two patterns are old favorites, so I don't have much to say about them.
This is the fifth version of this top, which I have now made in three different sizes. You can see the other versions here, here and here. I cannot be responsible for any deaths from cuteness if you click that first link...
The skirt is an old favorite as well. This will be my fourth make of it, and the second size. The prior versions are here, here and here.
While I've made this top many times, this is the first time I've made it since I got my serger and coverstitch machine, and boy, what a difference that made! It was lightning fast to sew! I thought about using my binder on the neckline, but I really like the wide band, so I used to chainstitch function on my coverstitch to do a single line of topstitching.
The fabrics I used are both single jersey, but pretty different. The solid coral is a rayon jersey that was left over from a top that my mother made. It is so soft and silky, but also fairly hefty. The polka dot is a cotton jersey from Girl Charlee. It is a little on the thinner side, but still paired fairly well with the beefier rayon.
Lest you think I am an evil, abusive mother who forces her child out in the freezing snow just for blog photos, it was totally her idea. And we're thawing. It's actually really nice outside, as long as you stay in the sun.

Monday, November 12, 2012

New Look 6130 peplum top (sort of)

I've seen so many cute peplum tops out there, and I am so glad that the trend hasn't faded yet, so I can jump on board. It seems like the major peplum top patterns that are en Vogue at the moment are Vogue 8815, BurdaStyle 08/2012-113 and New Look 6130. The first two have a darted bodice, which I am still a little shaky about fitting, so that left the princess seamed New Look as the clear winner for me.
I also really like the vee neckline, as opposed to the high jewel neckline of both the Vogue and burda patterns. All that fabric covering the girls just makes them look ridiculously large. A vee neck is a busty gal's friend.
The fabric is a cotton knit with about 20% stretch. I intend to make the "final" version of this top out of ponte, so this was a good muslin knit.
Unfortunately, the New Look bodice draft and I are not friends. I won't go into the ugly details of the 3 muslins - all failed. I finally gave up on it and pulled out Simplicity 2996, which I made a few years ago and was happy with the fit.
The back of the New Look bodice was actually darted and I always find that New Look patterns are gappy at the back neckline, so using the Simplicity pattern was a win in back particularly. Since I didn't really like the huge puffy sleeve on the New Look pattern, I just used the tailored sleeve from the Simplicity pattern, just lengthened to elbow length. Since I made the top in a knit, and the neckline is fairly open, I didn't bother with the zipper in back and just cut on the fold.
For the neckline, I made a simple band, mitered at the vee. It wings up a little at the shoulders, so I think I need to shorten the bend just a teeny bit, but otherwise I am pleased with how it looks.
The part of the New Look pattern that I used unaltered was the peplum, which has cute little pleats at the princess seams. Since I had used a completely different bodice, the placement lines on the pattern weren't in quite the right spot, so I just walked the peplum pieces along the bodice from either side, and pleated when they met at the seam. It was a little fussy, but it worked.
And dear readers, lest you doubt the measure of my devotion to you, allow me to assure you otherwise. I braved a snowstorm of epic proportions to snap these little shots. The sunlight off the snow made for great lighting! But it was a bit chilly.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ottobre 06/2012-13: Onni jeans as cords

When this winter's issue of Ottobre came last week, I didn't even bother putting it away. I knew I needed to make the elastic waist jeans for Logan. He just had a major growth spurt and suddenly all his pants are high waters. Not cool. But pants for Logan can be a bit of a challenge. As in, storebought isn't an option. He hates anything on his waist that might bind or scratch, like a button, stable waistband or really anything that isn't a basic elastic waist. If I didn't sew, he would wear sweatpants 24/7.
I love Ottobre, but in Logan's size (now 116) there just aren't a whole lot of options for an elastic waist pant, which is why I jumped on this pattern, #13 from the 06/2012 issue. The details are great, but won't be a problem for my sensitive guy. Although Ottobre says that it is designed as a plus size pattern, I think perhaps these are meant to be a plus size slim pant, so they work well as a relaxed fit jean on an average sized child.
The fabric is a wide wale cotton corduroy from Joann. It's a little on the thin side, so I don't suspect these will wear very well, but it is very soft and Logan likes it. If the pattern is a win, I'll try it out again in something a little sturdier.

The pattern includes all the jeans style details. There are even belt loops, a coin pocket and rivets, although I omitted them here. The front fly is faux, but topstitched just like "real" jeans. The waistband is basically just a casing for the elastic, but it is a separate piece and is topstitched down. Since the corduroy has a pretty high pile and is a bit bulky, I decided to make the waistband in 2 pieces so that I could face it with a thin cotton.
In back there are typical jeans pockets, which I didn't embellish. Most of the RTW corduroy pants I looked over had plain back pockets, so I went with that. Topstitching wide wale corduroy is a bit dodgy anyway, so I was glad to not have to attempt it here. There is also a back yoke with pretty minimal shaping. It is cut on the cross grain, which looks particularly cool in the cord. I even managed (by complete chance) to match the wales across the yoke pieces. Woo hoo!
Logan's favorite part is the sneaky peek of Lightning McQueen in the pockets. Mater is in there as well, just a little deeper. Overall, I am pretty happy with this pattern, although I will say that I didn't find it to be as perfectly drafted as your typical Otto pattern. Now, perhaps this was a tracing or seam allowance error on my part, but I found the side seams didn't line up by about 1/2 inch at the top. I ended up just trimming off the excess length from the yoke, and it wasn't a big deal, but if you make this, do be sure to match your side seams based on the notches and hem edge, or you may end up with a twist in the leg.