Monday, April 30, 2012

KCWC: Day 7

Sometimes you just need to sit down and work on something easy...  Something that doesn't require lots sharp objects or ironing.  Started this little hat last night and finished tonight.  Hopefully just right for little baby no name to wear home from the hospital.  Hats count as clothes, right?  More details here.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

KCWC Day 6: The Henry Shirt

I skipped out on blogging yesterday because, quite frankly, I had nothing to show for it.  I spent countless hours cutting out the pieces for the Henry shirt, prepping the details, and at the end of the day only had a few real seams sewn.  Today I sat down and started sewing and, much to my surprise, I actually finished it.  Sure there were some disheartening moments...  Like seaming the yoke/sleeves to the rest of the shirt:

I understand all too well now why you don't normally see button up raglans.  This seam is pinned and sewn not once, but twice (the second time through three layers) around all kinds of crazy twists and turns.  And then it says, get this, to press the seam.  That seam?  Right there...  Bwahahahaha.  I can only assume that was a joke because how?  It doesn't seem to have hurt it at all.  Finally I flip the shirt right side out and realize two things:

First, it would seem that I am actually making a bowling shirt.  An honest to goodness bowling shirt.  Sheesh.

 Second: which of these should go on the outside?  I'm honestly not sure...  But I think it's probably the one I put on the inside =P

I think I can live with it.  I do not know if I'll be making any more of these...  Perhaps I'll make him wear it awhile before deciding.  I used a recycled men's shirt (the white) and some fabric I picked up at the thrift store.  The nice thing about using a RTW shirt is that I didn't have to do the button band or snaps,  I just cut the fronts and button bands together (minus the seam allowance, of course) and otherwise sewed everything up pretty much the same.  Buttons and buttonholes included =)

He's wearing it over a white shirt here which was probably not the best choice, but you get the idea.  I used these fabrics so I wouldn't be too upset if it didn't turn out quite right and, to be honest, I don't love the way they look together.  It's okay, though, hopefully it'll grow on me.  And if it does he'll have a matching shirt/pants set because I used the same fabric paired with denim on the Treasure Pocket Pants I made but have yet to blog about.  I think that'd be too much...  Or maybe it's just about right...

New skills: using fusible interfacing! and whatever you wanna call that collar/yoke sewing debacle

Total cost: includes the small amount of that brown fabric and fusible interfacing used.  I would estimate about $2.  The white shirt was donated by my father.

Time taken: about 2 days which, all things considered, I'm happy with.  It definitely would've taken longer if I didn't have KCWC to motivate me.

Friday, April 27, 2012

KCWC Day 4

Last night I finished another raw edged raglan (can you tell I love this pattern?) from an extra large REI shirt.  The shirt is 100% polyester, some kind of high tech material.  It cannot be ironed, it is slippery as all get out, and apparently my sewing machine thinks it's super tasty cuz it kept eating it!

It doesn't really look too bad here, but it's a lie!  I had to leave off the topstitching because I just couldn't get the tension and feed right or the double needle to cooperate.  Except, I'll be honest, there is one line of topstitching on one of the back shoulder seams that looks terrible and I ought to pick out.  Alas... there it is.

I think this pic gives a good view of the gathering up front... the accidental gathering.  There's a little bit of it all about the neckband.  Honestly, the one thing that chagrins me each time I make this pattern is the neckband.  I like having the option of making it out of the same fabric so it matches perfectly, but even after lengthening it quite a bit it's still almost impossible to a) get over his head and b) match up to the shirt without some tucks forming.  I did lower the back neck a little bit on the pattern about 3 shirts ago (there was some kind of hunchback thing happening) so maybe I haven't added enough extra fabric.  The slipperiness of this material, though, really exacerbated the problem.

Anyway, after finishing the shirt I cut out some more kickin' back sweats, but this time out of old sheets.  This is kind of a muslin for some shorts I want to make Dj this summer.  I took in the pattern piece by about a half inch (or an inch I can't quite remember right now) and cut a shorter elastic (duh).

That's my little non-tag that I sewed into the back so I can tell which is which when I'm trying to wrangle him into his clothes.  On the other pair I can never tell which is which and in the moments it takes me to figure it out he's usually run his nekkid little butt half-way across the room.

You can see they're still quite big (and that, as always, I need to pick up in here... again!) but they're not falling down.  The lightweight material definitely helps there, the sweatshirt fabric is a lot heavier so it sags.  All in all I think I'll probably go with this pattern for his summer shorts and sew a longer hem.  I might take it in just a smidge more, though.  I've got plenty of fabric so I may just make another test run and let him wear them around the house a bit before I decide.

They kind of look like boxer shorts, which to be honesty cracks me up.  Especially in this pic with his shirt tucked in just a little bit

All evidence to the contrary, I'm really more of a knitter than a seamstress...  Come to think of it, there's not much here to establish me as much of a seamstress either, but the fact is I've just been sewing a lot in the past couple of weeks and normally I spend most of this time knitting.  So, think of it as I'm cheating on my knitting with my sewing.

As usual I've got plenty of projects already on the needles, but in honor of KCWC I decided to cast on a long overdue baby blanket.  The baby isn't long overdue, I just should've started this blanket awhile ago.  It's the Latvian Baby Blanket.  It'll have pink hearts, then chart B in brown and chart C in a golden yellow.  All yarn from stash (stashbusting for the win!).

I know it's not clothing, but with summer coming I don't feel like knitting kids sweaters is the most logical move.  I've got to be knitting something, though, so at least it's for a kid.  I'm pretty excited about this one, I love colorwork for one and this'll be my first time doing a backed blanket (more sewing, squee!).  I know it doesn't really belong here but, well, here it is anyway.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kids Clothing Week Challenge: Day 3

Day 3 has been somewhat more productive than days 1 and 2: behold the Little Heartbreaker Pants!

The shirt is blogged about here and is also sewn by me.  The awesome Kermit the Frog hoodie, though, is sadly not.  Back on topic, I love this pants pattern.  It's got lots of interesting details like Hong Kong finishes and sewn on cuffs.  It was actually my first time doing the Hong Kong seam finish and also the turn and stitch finish (which I didn't like too well, but mostly I think it was difficult with this thick corduroy material).

Too bad the pants are waaaay big on him.  It's better, really, since summer is coming and he won't be needing them (much) til the fall.  I was hoping to make him some shorts for summer, but I'm thinking I'll go back to the Kickin' Back Sweats pattern and try and tweak it a bit to be the right size.

Obviously he's about ready for this week to be over so he doesn't have to model his new clothes anymore (as if that's gonna happen haha).

The material is from a very large corduroy dress (I can't imagine wearing a corduroy dress, especially in that size, that thing was heavy!) which my mom gave me and I think she probably got at the thrift store.  That makes these pants pretty much FREE which I always like.  Other than, of course, the buttonhole elastic which I most certainly did not have any of lying about.  There's a bit of it left, though not enough to do much with.

I'm actually more proud of the inside of these pants than the outside.  Check that out: I made that bias tape.  MADE IT!  I've never even used bias tape before.  By the way, I don't think that's how you do Hong Kong seams but it worked for me.  The book's explanation is very vague.

I also have yet another raglan tee almost done; it just needs the neckband sewn on.  And I went to Goodwill today and got a bunch of new fabrics and a few old sheets...  I'm already thinking about what's next.

KCWC Day 2

Day 2 yields no pics, but great progress.  I am 90 percent finished with my first run of the Little Heartbreaker Pants from Sewing for Boys.  All they lack are cuffs and elastic.  I'm actually pretty surprised that they went so quickly considering how, erm, professional? they look (because that's what Dj really needs: more professional attire).  I love the Hong Kong finish, too, though it makes the inside of the pants look a little busy.  Barring any major disasters or distractions tomorrow morning, Dj should be wearing them tomorrow.  With a little bit of luck there may be a new shirt too...  Pics tomorrow guaranteed!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Kids Clothing Week: Day 1

 Day 1 of KCWC is quickly coming to a close.  I don't have much to show for it, but I'm not too disappointed.  I actually didn't know it was coming until two days ago so I haven't had much prep time.  Today I finished this eye shirt (I don't know if you can tell, but yes: it's a big drawing of an eye).  I actually didn't have much to do to finish it, but I spent the rest of the morning cutting out the rest of the pieces for my first pair of Little Heartbreaker Pants.  Actually, I also spent the better part of the morning in the fabric store trying to order refills for my rotary cutter which was no fun and really cut into my sewing time =P

 Since it was such a beautiful day (for Seattle in April) we went to the zoo so Dj could model his new eyeball shirt.  Of course, he wasn't terribly interested in striking a pose whilst there were fences and balls to be climbed.

And the nitty gritty: the pattern is once again the Raw Edge Raglan Tee and the material is (as usual) a 99 cent thrifted tee.  You can't really tell from these pictures but I had an eyeopening moment today where I realized I've been using the twin needle wrong.  I thought there was a special stitch setting for it but there is not.  Now my topstitching is all pretty and correct!  Hopefully tomorrow will have most of a new pair of trousers.

Things I'm Excited About...

I love the online sewing community.  It's not all neatly compiled on one website (like Ravelry is for knitters, ahem) so you have to do a lot of surfing to find what you're looking for, but it's very active.  I love that a lot of people host challenges and sew-a-longs on their blogs.  I just found this challenge here through a link from another blog, and I am so excited to participate.  Why?  Since I've mostly been sewing kids clothes since I started anyway...  Well, the word challenge to me means it's time to step it up.  I'm planning on making a few more t-shirts, but also a pair of Little Heartbreaker Pants, at least one pair of shorts, and maybe even a Henry shirt.  And if there's more time, well, I've got more fabric!  I'm ready! As a matter of fact, since it starts today I suppose I've technically already finished half of my one hour requirement for day 1.  Not that that'll stop me ;-)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My Pet Robot

One more shirt from the raw edge raglan pattern:

The orange shirt was 99 cents at the thrift store and the grey I used for the sleeves and neckband came from a shirt a friend gave me (which I noticed when I got home was slightly bleach stained).  So all in all this shirt cost a dollar!

 I have enough of the orange to do short sleeves on another shirt, so watch out for that.  It's kind of hard to see, but the front has an awesome drawing of a robot sitting beside a record player listening to headphones. Then there's a person leaning up against the robot's leg with another set of headphones coming from the same player.  The tag on the shirt says "My Pet Human" which I thought was cute.  I could not get a decent shot of it, though, so it'll have to wait til he's not wearing it.

I'm really happy with the results on this shirt.  All the seams are finished (unlike in the original pattern) and I only used the double needle for topstitching on the collar and the hems.  I didn't like the way it looked on the raglan seams on the shirts I've done so far.  I'm very happy with it and I feel like I've got a pretty good beat on this pattern (that's always a good feeling).

Sunday, April 15, 2012

That's Not Right....

I've been looking at this for 3 days now thinking that's just not right

Finally I had an epiphany.  Pants have two separate legs; I'm thinking of skirts.  I've been trying to make a pair of Kickin' Back Sweats (my second pattern from Sewing for Boys).  While I'm really liking this book so far, and I think it has a lot of great info for less experienced sewers (ahem, like me) such as what needle and stitch to use and what fabrics will work well for which patterns, sometimes I'm just beyond all reasonable help.  But I digress.  I had an epiphany, and five minutes later (after snapping this pic for purely comical reasons) I had this:

times two of course.  I was pleasantly surprised how shortly thereafter I had this:

and still had time to sew up another raw edge raglan before el monstruito woke up.  I already had the pieces cut out so it was all sewing.  Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to get to the fabric store for a new twin needle.  On the bright side, though, I now have a better understanding of why it's recommended.  C'est la vie eh?

You can see the pants are kinda long.  They're made from a thrifted sweatshirt and the cuffs were the waistband of the sweatshirt so they're ribbed.   (Yet another pattern where you can have nice finished edges without the finishing when you start with recycled materials).  Rolled up they're the perfect length.... and he'll grow.  Oddly, the shirt is a lengthened 4/5 and it fits perfectly.  The pants are a 2/3 and they're huge!  He must take after me: long torso and short legs.  Either that or the sizing on these patterns is a bit off.  That's why it's so imperative to measure you're little guy and refer to the sizing chart at the front.

The shirt is super soft with neon designs: some sort of writing on the back and this crazy looking scarecrow with a Chinese kind of hat on the front, all in neon orangey-pink.  I had to put the lettering upside down on the back (so presumably it's nonsensical) to squeeze four sleeves and a front and back out of this one shirt.  I'm not sure what it's made of since there was no English lettering anywhere on the tag but it seemed kind of sticky on the iron without actually melting so I think there's some elastic or something mixed in there with the cotton.

It wasn't quite warm enough to continue jacket-less, but it was nice enough to break out the sidewalk chalk!

Check out that concentration!  All in all: love these patterns, love that baby, love summer (wish it would get here!)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Surf's Up

 This is my second Raw Edge Raglan from Sewing for Boys.  I was so excited about the success of the first one and the fact that he actually wore it all day long (which is rare with any clothing at this point) that I was motivated to finish #2.  As a matter of fact, I finished the first one yesterday morning and finished this one last night, so this is definitely a quick pattern.  It's a good time for sewing, too, because spring is slowly coming on and we haven't bought Dj his summer wardrobe yet.  We even found a caterpillar while we were outside modeling today...

And it apparently looked delicious...

But don't worry because no caterpillars were harmed in the making of this post--just severely annoyed for a brief period of time.  And because the worst picture of your face is always the best picture of the garment (or am I the only one who's noticed that) I present this:

The sleeves and body of this shirt are from two different 99 cent thrift store shirts.  The blue shirt I already have cut and pinned for a single color version and there's enough of the green to do sleeves and collar on another one.  All in all I feel like this is a pretty thrifty way to build Dj's summer shirt wardrobe and brush up/build my sewing skills.  I've got my first pair of pants started which will hopefully lead to some homemade shorts as well.  I am having some problems getting my sewing machine to do what I want it to do but I think once I get a copy of the manual that'll help.  Oh, and I broke my twin needle trying to sew through too many layers on the collar so no more topstitching for me til next week =(  I had to use an alternate stitch on the neckband collar and it looks awful.  Lucky for me he's cute enough to pull it off.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Successes and Failures

Sometimes it amazes me just how much time and money I'm willing to waste in my quest to do it without a pattern... Knitting, sewing, whatever. I like tutorials but, I'll be honest, I enjoy the mindlessness of working from a pattern sometimes--especially when I don't really know what I'm doing.

I found this tutorial for a little boy's shirt on Cirque du Bebe which I am totally addicted to. She has done some very inspiring versions of the 90 minute shirt. The tutorial has you draft a pattern from an old shirt and it's got a cute little lapped collar (is that what you'd call it? I don't even know.

On my first version I forgot to add seam allowances... but only to the bottom half of the shirt. For some reason I thought it'd be okay to just add them on to the top half which hadn't been cut yet. The result was pretty much unwearable, or, at the very least, a bit too far off the shoulders for a little boy. Plus, I used a straight stitch instead of zigzag which isn't stretchy enough.

Version 2 was done with some old sheets that were lying around. While better, the stretch of the fabric ran perpendicular to the pattern so it just looks weird. I know Dj doesn't much like wearing it.  I think this pic says it all =P

Version 3 was the first one I went all out on; I went and bought a thrifted shirt for 99 cents, ribbing from the fabric store for significantly more than that, used a zigzag stitch, did french seams (why? i don't recall). Unfortunately, the shirt is a bit tight in the armholes and Dj hates wearing it, too.

On Version 4 the fit is all right but a bit loose in the body and Dj still doesn't like wearing it. I finally decided that it's the neck detail (which I thought was soo cute) that he doesn't like!
That's a pretty cool graphic, though, right?  Oh, and on this version I pulled the ribbing waaaaaay too tight so the neckline has this weird scalloped effect to it.

Finally I bought a pattern. Actually, I bought the book Sewing for Boys and used the raglan pattern out of it. I measured Dj and opted for the 4/5 size with a bit of length added. The first one fit perfectly even though I had some problems cutting out the pattern pieces and ended up making the back piece lower on top (and as a result had to make a longer neckband) which was still almost impossible to stretch enough.  But finally a shirt he doesn't mind wearing!

There will be more of these to come. As a matter of fact I have one almost finished (just need to finish sewing on the collar and hem it) and another one mostly cut out (just deciding on sleeves). I finished the first one this morning, so they're definitely quick to make. As a matter of fact, if you strategically plot your pattern pieces onto thrifted shirts you can even get finished edges without doing any finishing!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Coffee, Tea, Shrug?

With the epic failure of my recent sewing and crochet efforts I need to give myself a little back pat for a more successful knitted endeavor. I'm in need of some new shrugs; I love them for warmer weather to dress up/warm up an outfit and with baby impending I certainly don't plan on any full sweaters any time soon.

The pattern is Flowers After the Frost from Ravelry and here is the direct link. I've been wanting to try a pattern of this shape to see how I like it and I couldn't resist the beautiful lace pattern on this shrug. The written instructions are dizzying but Tribute has a nice, easy-to-read chart. For slightly longer sleeves I cast on 104 stitches (basically an extra half repeat on each side of the original 78 stitches). My original plan included ribbing on the sleeves, but I ended up liking the way they looked after blocking.

It still isn't quite warm enough here for short sleeves, but here I am hanging out with our sad looking hyacinths trying to stay warm.

The yarn is from a recycled thrift store sweater; I can't remember the exact blend but it's got angora and it's oh so soft! I dyed the yarn with coffee, tea, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, and a little bit of anything yellow, brown, or gold that wasn't nailed down! It's held double for about a light worsted weight or heavy DK and I used size 7 needles for a nice open lace. I have enough dyed yarn to do a matching fairy hat and enough undyed to do another shrug, with longer sleeves I think... I just have about a million things to do first! Oh yeah, and look: I found some new tricks in Picasa which I'm pretty psyched about