Monday, December 22, 2014

Vogue 1378 take 2

And here we have another make it took me too long to photograph. I made these pants several weeks ago, and have worn them at least weekly since then. That's a winner in my closet!
The pattern is Vogue 1378, which I made previously here. That pair is still in rotation, although just as lounging around the house pants, as the cool silver foil printing has worn off of the knees. I decided I needed a basic black pair, which of course, makes the seaming impossible to see.
The last time I made this, I used the lapped seam method as directed by the pattern. This time, I elected to use traditional seams, which makes the seaming even less obvious. I'm really making the most of this cool pattern... The only place that traditional seams was difficult is the one inset corner at the top of the leg slit. It was a little tricky to sew as a regular seam. I did the usual staystitch and clip method and it worked out fine.
Since I had made a pair of these before, I though the fit wouldn't be an issue, but this ponte is a teeny bit more drapey than the last pair, and I get a bit of wrinkling around the front crotch and knees that I don't have in the first pair.
The back fit is pretty good, although again, the fabric is draping a bit more. I probably could have taken a fisheye alteration back there.
I just love that kicky little leg slit. It looks so great with heels. This pattern has been a total winner in my wardrobe. It goes together easily and wears well. Secret PJs are the best. If you're curious, the top is Vogue 8919, made last year. You can see it here.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Cowl neck Bimaa

I wear my Renfrews a lot, so Myra sees the cowl neck, cuffs and waistband style on me often, and has several times requested a top "like that".
A couple of months ago I made her one. For some reason have only now photographed it. She wears it all the time, just the camera/good lighting/other kids occupied stars have never aligned. Finally I just decided to take some pictures, even if they aren't super great. Better to have blogged bad pics than never to have blogged at all...
Of course, the natural kid Renfrew is the Bimaa Sweater by LouBee Clothing. It has all the elements of the Renfrew that Myra was looking for - long sleeves, cuffs and waistband, and a nice big, shapely cowl.
Just for funsies, I used the solid coordinate fabric for the underside of the cowl, as well as the cuffs and waistband. The fabrics are both from Girl Charlee. They were supposed to be a Pinny Pinafore for me. How does that kid talk me into this stuff??
I love the fit of the Bimaa on Myra. It's a great length and fitted enough to look nice, with enough ease for play and comfort.
Myra loves her  new (ish) Bimaa. It's comfy and pink, which are the two major requirements for her wardrobe. Bonus that she can match  me without random strangers telling us how cute we are.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sensory Time! A weighted blanket and a bit of navel gazing.

So, I know it's been a while since my last post. I'll get to that at the end, and for those not interested, you can skip it. Now for the sewing! I've mentioned in the past that my oldest son is on the autism spectrum and has some sensory issues. The same is true for my Duncan. Duncan has sensory seeking behaviors, which means he wants all the feels! It makes it very hard for him to focus on a task (even if that task is just eating breakfast) because he wants to feel all the things. His OT recommended a weighted blanket for him. They're sort of insanely expensive and since they're heavy, they're also costly to ship. So, I made him one.
And I'm so glad I did. We've only had it 12 hours and I can already see that it is helping him regulate. Why did I wait so long?!
And the answer is that I hate sewing straight lines and the process of filling 350 teeny pouches of flannel with itty bitty plastic beads filled me with dread. But it wasn't as bad as all that, and if you are considering making one for your little person, please let me encourage you to do it now! And I'll throw in a few tips I learned as I made this one.
I started with this tutorial on the Dandelion Mama blog. I made some alterations to make this work for us. I made my blanket a little longer than hers, so I used 1 1/2 yard lengths of fabric. I also used flannel rather than quilting cotton. While this makes for a very snuggly and soft blanket, it was also extremely difficult to fill each pouch with the pellets, since the fabric sticks to itself. A smooth quilting cotton would have been much easier.
The individual pouches are a little difficult to see. For Duncan's blanket, I made 3 inch wide channels (which I marked with a Frixion pen) and then 2 inch "boxes" to capture the pellets. I marked my lines before I started sewing so that the grid was there before I began. The trickiest part is definitely sewing closed those little packets of pellets, but if you go slow and feel along your stitching as you go, it's not too bad. I actually managed to sew up this blanket without breaking any needles. I just went slowly.
I left myself a little extra room at the top, which turned out to be a good thing, because keeping the pellets under control gets a little tricky as you run out of space in the channels. After I closed the last line of pouches, sealing in the pellets, I serged off the extra length and turned it under and stitched it. I'm not sure it is the prettiest finish I could have managed, but it is secure! I don't want those pellets escaping.
When I first gave it to him, he spent a lot of time exploring the feel of it. The pellets give it an interesting texture, and the flannel is very soft. He touched it with his hands, then explored it with his feet.
But it wasn't long before he figured out how good it felt to be enveloped in all that weight.
He carried it around everywhere yesterday. He even brought it with him in the car when we went to get the big kids from school, and he snuggled in it to go to sleep. I left it on him all night, and he slept an unprecedented 11 hours, and then woke up cheerful! Just for a restful night's sleep for all of us, I have to give this blanket a big win.

So, that's the sewing, You can skip the rest if you wish, but I wanted to put it out there. If you've been following me for long, you've probably noticed that my posting has really dropped off. I hate it when bloggers disappear without any explanation (I worry!) and I'm not planning to disappear altogether, but I just haven't been feeling the yen to blog lately. I've still been sewing. A lot. Because I have to sew like I have to breathe. I know you guys understand that. Blogging just hasn't been a priority. I'll still blog bigger projects (like this one) or new patterns, but really, do you want to read about my 400th Renfrew? Yeah, me either. So, that's it. I'm fine. I'm still here. Tweet at me and say Hi! I'll be around! But the blog might be a little quieter. That's all.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Jalie 2792 becomes Wonder Woman!

This Halloween I only did one costume. My boys went with storebought costumes, which was actually kind of a relief, but Myra really wanted me to make her a Wonder Woman costume.
I'm so glad I did. I think her costume ended up much  nicer than the storebought Wonder Woman costumes we saw. She was very happy, All of the fabrics came from Cali Fabrics. I can't tell you how thrilled I was to find star printed metallic lycra!! And the service at Cali Fabrics is always excellent.
The base for the leotard is Jalie 2792. It's pretty much perfect for a Wonder Woman costume, since the bodice already has the yoke built in. Myra is long but lean, so she needed a 104 in width, but a 116 in length, Rather than tracing two sizes, I just added the gold band, since we needed a gold belt anyway.
The only other change I made to the pattern was to lower the leg opening for more coverage. Myra has a ghetto booty, and we were going for the Linda Evans Wonder Woman with a lower cut leg anyway.
The scariest part of the costume was the Wonder Woman insignia that I appliqued to the front. These fabrics are incredibly thin and stretchy, which made them tricky to stitch. I used my favorite knit applique trick and used a glue stick to adhere the gold applique to the leotard. Then I sandwiched the whole thing between two layers of wash away stabilizer. I used a triple stretch stitch to outline the W's and define the logo inside. This fabric doesn't fray, so I left the edges raw.
To complete the outfit, I made a set of gauntlets and a crown out of the metallic lycras. I backed the pieces with fleece for stability and comfort. The gauntlets close with velcro and the crown has wide elastic in the back under her hair. Myra loves the bling on the crown! I appliqued a small star with the red metallic lycra and decorated it with HotFix crystals and rhinestuds.
Myra loves her costume, and she was the perfect addition to our little Justice League.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Playscale Halloween

Halloween always seems to sneak up on me. I have no excuse. It's the same time every year...
Pris is a little pissed off that she didn't get the epic witch costume I had in mind for her, but this little top and skirt number will have to do. I think it's pretty wicked looking, at any rate.
This top though. I'm super pleased with it. The little waist cut out and peplum are so on trend. I started out with McCalls 7428, view C. Babs was pretty fashion forward in 1964! This view is a dress with a gathered skirt, but I was intrigued by the wrap bodice. It doesn't look like much on the pattern envelope, but it is really interesting. The skirt and bodice don't attach in front, leaving the keyhole opening you see here.
In back, the top has a pretty little v neckline, and is topstitched to the peplum waistband. The peplum is a simple 1/2 circle skirt that I nabbed from one of the other views and shortened to hip length. The only closures on the top are two snaps. One closes the skirt portion and the other the wrap top.
The skirt is Simplicity 4702, my go to pencil skirt pattern for Barbie. I was going to make it maxi length with a thigh high slit, but I think this mini works really well with the top, and my girls will definitely get a lot of use out of a basic black mini.
I hope those of you who celebrate it have a wonderful Halloween. But watch out for witches with shiny apples! Mwahahahahaha!!!

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Bimaa gets expanded!

The Bimaa sweater by LouBee Patterns has been a staple in my kids' wardrobes for a while now.
I know I'm not the only one feeling the Bimaa love. It pretty much dominates Kids Clothes Week in the fall and winter months.
So when Sarah asked for some helpers to refine the pattern and expand the size range, I was all over that party!
And so, Duncan is thrilled to introduce the new and improved, sizes down to 6 month and up to 12 years Bimaa sweater!!
Yes, you read that right - sizes from 6 months to 12 years!! The other changes were minor - the hood shape and size were refined and the pattern tightened up. The soul of the Bimaa that we all love hasn't changed.
Duncan is modelling the size 4 here, and it's an excellent fit on him. I made his hoodie out of some super soft organic cotton jersey from The Seeds of Three. The cuffs are a viscose rib knit. It's very cuddly and Duncan really likes it.
He even likes the hood! He's usually not a hood wearer at all, but he keeps this one on. Pretty sweet.
As an added bonus, the Bimaa pattern is the Friday Fiver over at crafterhours! You can read how to get your Bimaa for $5 here, but only until Saturday at 10am, so hurry! If you've already purchased the Bimaa, Sarah is offering a GIANT discount to get the expanded size range. Just email LouBeeClothingPatterns [!at] with your proof of purchase for the discount code.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pattern Parcel #6: La la la la Ladies!

Hey sewing sistas! You know what makes me want to kick up my heels and dance? New patterns! You, too? Well, have I got a great deal for you!
Pattern Parcel #6: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win!
If you've been following me long at all, you know how much I loooove these pattern parcels. If you haven't already heard about them, pop over to the website (just click the pic above) to get all the info about how this works, and what your donation is doing to help others. It's seriously awesome and worth supporting. The patterns are a huge bonus.
Speaking of the bonus, this would be the Bonus pattern for this parcel! One of the cool elements of Pattern Parcel is that you get to pick your price and how much you want to donate. But to sweeten the deal, if you choose to pay more than $32 for the parcel, you get an extra pattern - the Bluegingerdoll Odette dress!
The Odette has a lovely vintage-inspired shape, with a flared skirt and fitted bodice. A slim waisband accentuates your waist and a cute, optional neckline insert frames the face. The v neckline is modest enough to wear without the insert, and there are three sleeve options, so this dress is very versatile.
I made mine out of a pink pinstripe suiting with white contrast, for a girly menswear inspired look. The dress is fully lined (love that!) with heavy satin, so the flared skirt has plenty of swish!
I made a few alterations for fit. My original FBA left me with giant, pointy darts, so I converted the front bodice to princess seams to conserve the sleek shape. I did a broad back alteration and narrow front shoulder, which is typical for me. In retrospect, I wish I had shortened the bodice a wee bit above the bust. You can see my insert is wrinkling a bit. My muslin didn't, but I didn't muslin the insert. Live and learn.
The fit in back is divine though. I only needed my broad back adjustment for a perfect fit back there. I also added about 3 1/2 inches to the hem. I wanted a below-knee length. I find a slightly longer skirt more practical for my life, and I love how elegant it feels.
Did I mention that the pattern includes pockets?? Pocketses, precious. They are a must for me. And these are well-placed and roomy. Perfect for keys, my phone, Lego minifigs, Barbie shoes and Matchbox cars. #momlyfe, y'all.
Pattern Parcel #6: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win
Now that I've sewn up the Odette, there are a few more in this parcel I have my eye on. Seriously, you guys, this is a great group of patterns. Head on over and get them now, while you can name your own price and support a great cause.