Monday, November 25, 2013

Jalie 2908: The Jean Gene Jeans

Jeans. Wardrobe staple. And I had none. Seriously, not a single pair of plain old blue jeans. Have I mentioned my tendency to avoid sewing wardrobe basics?
Jalie 2908 to the rescue. For this version, I straightened the legs just above the knee to give more of a slim, boot cut.
Of course, just because it's a wardrobe staple, it needn't be uninspired...
I love a creative back pocket design. In this case, I'm inspired by  the graceful double helix of deoxyribonucelic acid. At first, I planned to indicate the base pairs with simple silver studs, but a few red rhinestones had made their way into the bag of studs, so I decided my DNA needed a point mutation. I know. Lettin' my nerd flag fly high with this one...
It just looks like abstract swirls unless you get close. But I know... And so do you.
The insides got some quirky mushrooms. I also used crystal rivets at the pocket corners. They tie in nicely to the pocket design. And I love bling.
From the side, I think I still need to tweak the fit in back, just a tiny bit. They are very comfortable though.
The fabric is a Theory denim from Mood. It's a very nice weight and stretch for jeans. I know I'll wear these a ton. I've got a plan to build my Grunge Sew-along look around them, but today I paired them with a casual Stretch & Sew top

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sewaholic Renfrew, with added leather

I'm not huge on following trends, but I have noticed that leather has been a thing lately. So, inspired by Elizabeth, I decided to make my own leather sleeved Renfrew.
How fun is that? It's a little out there for me, but I like it! The fabrics I used are a creamy cabled sweater knit that I found at Nuttall's here in Salt Lake. They've really beefed up their offerings of apparel fabric, so if you're local, be sure to check it out. For the sleeves and neckband, I used a stretch faux leather from Vogue Fabrics
I used the Sewaholic Renfrew pattern, since I've had success making it out of many different types of fabric. I've never sewn faux leather before, so I didn't want this to be a pattern fight as well as a fabric fight. As it was, both my serger and coverstitch machine hated this faux leather. I turned in desperation to my vintage Singer, and she purred right through it without a hiccup. Fortunately, the fabric doesn't fray, so trimmed seams work just fine.
I think this pattern was a good choice, as I am pleased with the fit overall. The sleeves look twisted, but I think that is positional, and since the faux leather is quite stiff, it shows every movement. They fit comfortably.
I also chose to make the neckband out of the faux leather. This probably wasn't the best option, as the stiffness of the leather makes it ripple a bit, but it was a better option than the thick sweater knit, which has zero recovery. I omitted Renfrew's signature hip band in favor of a simple turn and stitch hem, which I did on my coverstitch machine.
You can see the fit from the back a little better. This sweater knit is quite soft, so it drapes nicely despite being fairly bulky. The sleeves have a tendency to pull on the armholes, which you can also see in this shot. It makes the shoulders look a bit wide. Since that visually narrows my waist, I won't complain. I think in a more stable knit, this wouldn't be a problem though.
I wore my new top today with Vogue 8330 skinny jeans, knee high boots and a hand knit hat (knit by my sister). I love these jeans, but they are starting to get a little threadbare, so it's time to replace them. Do you think it would be too much to use the rest of my faux leather to make skinnies and wear them together? Or should I stick with a more basic pant and let the sweater do the talking? Help me out, fashionistas!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Simplicity 8170: A fairy gown

PJs are something I really enjoy sewing for my kids. I don't always blog about them, but I do sew them often.
This is vintage Simplicity 8170, which I've made in the pajama version here and here. This time I made the nightgown. Myra is all about her gowns. Especially if they have fairies on them.
This is the first time I have used the pocket on this pattern. It seemed silly to put a pocket on a nightgown, but Myra loves them.
They keep her hands warm.
The neckline is finished with bias tape. I used the last scrap of this pretty purple floral bias that I made for this dress.
The closure for this nightgown is a slit in the center back seam. Super easy to do, since you just stitch down the seam allowances to finish the slit edges. 
For the button loop, I've tried several different things with this pattern, but the previous ones have all come apart with wear. This time, I'm using 1/8 inch elastic to make the loop. Here's hoping it holds! And aren't those buttons awesome! Opalescent purple buttons seemed a natural match to the fairy print.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Ottobre 06/2008-17: the Rosy Red coat

Myra loves wearing her fleece hoodie, but winter weather in Utah requires more serious warm gear.
It was time for a coat. A real, warm, cozy wool coat. With a hood. THE CUTEST HOOD EVER. Myra calls it her unicorn horn, but I think she looks like a little elf.
It's cute with the hood down too, but Myra always wears it up.
The pattern I used is Ottobre 06/2008-17, the Rosy Red coat. It has a generous cut, with the shoulders and chest shaped with yokes.
Here is the front yoke seam, as well as the bling-tastic buttons Myra chose. You can't really see it in the picture, but they have iridescent glitter embedded in them. Very Myra.
The back yoke curves across the shoulder and provides shaping there. The sleeves are one piece, but eased at the elbow for shape. Very nice drafting.
The length of the coat is really great. Long enough to be very warm, but short enough and with enough ease to allow for play.
The fabric I used is a wool/poly blend coating from I'm not sure how long I've had it, probably about a year. The colors are a little unusual, with a neon yellow and pink plied yarn woven with a graphite grey in a houndstooth pattern.
Myra chose this neon pink satin as her lining fabric. It's a perfect match to the pink element in the wool. I used an all machine method of lining this coat that I learned testing a pattern that is soon to be released. I'll tell you more about that when I can, but suffice it to say, the method is awesome.
The pattern called for a layer of batting for warmth, but my wool is plenty thick, so instead I underlined the shell with cotton flannel. I used up some scraps from Myra's nightgowns. Since it is hidden under the lining no one sees it.
The only hand stitching I did on this entire coat was to catch stitch the pocket bags to the underlining. I didn't want them flopping around in there.
The pockets are nicely recessed, and since I underlined them with flannel as well, very cozy. You can see just a flash of pink here as Myra jumps.
Myra loves her new coat, and I'm pretty thrilled with it, too. I was looking back today at some of my early projects and it kinda hit me how far I've come. I made a COAT! And it didn't even scare me!
Can you believe how grown up she's getting?? It wasn't so long ago that she looked like this. We've come so far, the both of us.

Friday, November 15, 2013

"Tis the season...

Not THAT season (although that is coming soon too...), I mean it's time for the Great Gingerbread Boy Escape!
If you were following along with our adventures last year, you'll remember my plea for help. This year, Myra has the same wonderful Kindergarten teacher, so now it is her turn!
Myra's Kindergarten class will be learning about maps and geography, and they need help! Ms. Baldwin has asked for some kind hearted souls to drop a postcard or note in the mail from wherever in the world you might be, so that the kids can have a real experience of places far and near.
They'll begin in a few weeks by baking a Gingerbread Boy, who escapes!! The notes and cards from friends around the globe are how the class will track the Gingerbread Boy on his path around the world, then back home again.
If you would be willing to write a little note about our escaped Gingerbread Boy and send it to Ms. Baldwin's class, please send me an email at katiedeshazer (at) gmail (dot) com and I will send you the address. Thank you!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pattern Anthology Winter Wonderland Collection

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email offering me the chance to be a part of the Winter Wonderland Blog Tour for this season's Pattern Anthology.
I've been kind of swamped lately, so I wasn't sure I'd be able to do it justice, but after I saw the patterns, I had to get in on this party! Seriously, the styles are so adorable.
And Duncan did need some new winter duds. Doesn't get much cuter than that, y'all.
Our outfit starts with the Tree Climber Trousers, by Go To Patterns. I think these were designed for my little Dr. Destructo here. Padded knee patches, a slim fit and plenty of pockets for storing rocks. They're perfect.
I also made him the Johnnie B Good Hoodie by Shwin Designs, but with the regular collar. Both options are included in the pattern. It features your choice of short or long sleeves, back yoke and front yoke patches as well as a breast pocket option. Tons of options in this one pattern!
Styling outfits for my busy guy has to start with functionality. If he can't play in it, he's not going to be happy wearing it. Duncan has some special sensory needs that mean his clothing has to be non-irritating, so soft waistbands and easy fit tops are a must.
When I'm planning what to sew (or buy) for Duncan, I like to start with an outfit, and then mix and match within his existing clothing by building around a palette of colors. For Duncan, his neutrals are black, grey and white and I accent with brights like yellow, blue and red. This way, most of his wardrobe coordinates, so even if he chooses his own clothing (or Dad does...) there's a good chance it will match.
For this outfit, I tied the handmade pieces together with a matching accent fabric - the black and white gingham, which I used in the patches and pockets on the pants as well as the cuffs, plackets, yokes and undercollar on the overshirt. I found a tee that incorporated the same graphic feel in a black and grey color scheme, but which brings in a pop of yellow.
Duncan was very happy with his new outfit, and gave it a workout on the playground, but it was just as comfy for a quiet movie with Mom. A win! Be sure to go check out all of the beautiful patterns offered in this season's Pattern Anthology!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

FO: Sleek and Skinny Ear Warmer

With the cold weather, comes my desire to play with yarn. I have a few projects on my needles from last spring, when the urge to knit disappeared, but they are both kind of detailed projects and I wanted something quick to finish to boost my mojo, so I turned to crochet.
Except that I couldn't find my hooks!! Y'all, I have no idea what I did with them. I'm sure I put them somewhere that I wouldn't forget... D'oh. Fortunately, I had a couple of hooks stuck in with my knitting needles that I use to pick up dropped stitches, so I grabbed a 'G' hook and some Knit Picks Chroma Worsted and went to town.
The pattern is the Sleek and Skinny Ear Warmer. You can find all my Ravelry notes here, if you want the technical details (and the free pattern!). It is a combination of single crochet, double crochet and puff stitch, which gives it the slightly nobby texture. I love the sort of ombre stripe effect that happened with the yarn. I totally couldn't have planned that if I'd tried!
The headband closes in back with a big 'ole button. I did my first crocheted buttonholes! Spoiler: They were super easy. My tabs are a little rough, but I played a bit fast and loose with the stitch counts, so that is probably to blame.
The resulting ear warmer is super duper cozy. It'll keep my ears nice and toasty on the playground. I might have to make another to wear with the black half of my wardrobe.