Wednesday, June 27, 2012

curiosity killed the... monkey?

if you're reading this blog there's a good chance you've got little ones.  therefore it seems as good a place as any to share this page.  there are two reasons i have to share this.

one: the comments are hilarious.

two: thank goodness i am not the only one who wants to know why curious george is without a tail.

my husband suggested it is to make him more human-like.  i think that officially makes him the artist and myself the pragmatist.  why do i think curious george has no tail?  there is an untold story: how curious george lost his tail =)  curiosity killed the cat, so really george was lucky right?

that is all

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

retro darling.

Now with sleeves =)  Yet another maternity top based on the Darling ranges dress pattern.  I used the same old pieces; nothing new.  That is, I used the same pieces I used for this one, meaning the back is cut out with curved sides as opposed to back darts.  I think I may have added a bit to the FBA over DR the first, though it's definitely not the hot mess I ended up with on the second one.

I think?  That's right...  This top has been in time out for at least two weeks.  Why?  Because as I finished sewing the seams on this top I had two revelations: this material is polyester (I think, it seems to fit with the print, no?) and polyester does not stretch.

I saw the material at the op shop and resisted it for two weeks.  Finally the oh so '60s retro print won out over my common sense and I bought it.  In the store I actually thought it was brown, red, orange, and white.  Upon closer inspection in better light I believe it is purple, not brown.  I wish it was brown though =(  Wouldn't that be an awesomely unusual (and just bearably awful) color combo?

You can kind of see that there's a lot of fabric pooling on the lower back, which I've noticed a problem with before.  I have no idea what to do about it though =(

Obviously a pattern this crazy needs a simple pattern with clean lines.  That's what I love so much about the Darling Ranges pattern; the busier the fabric the better!  It just works.  At least I think so and a few other people do too.

Of course there's nothing to be done about looking like a giant beach ball at this point...

Unfortunately this material, as I mentioned, does not stretch as much as cotton does.  I've always heard that woven fabric doesn't stretch, but it's a lie!  It looks like buttons are about to go flying.  I don't think they are, but it hurts my self esteem to see people donning safety goggles at my approach.  You can kind of see that here, but it doesn't look as bad as I imagined, so maybe it isn't?

I love it anyway.  I can't wait til I can wear it.  That's right, I don't care it's supposed to be maternity wear.  I fully plan on rocking this shirt post-baby.  As a matter of fact I might even decide I don't care about potentially dangerous projectiles and wear it now!  The print, the pattern: it's just so retro.  Since it seems to be synthetic I expect it won't breathe well but I've worn it around the house quite a bit and have no evidence to support those fears.

I went for bright red topstitching just to jazz things up a bit.  I love the way it looks, I think it really brings out the red/orange part of the print.

One of my absolute favorite things about this shirt is that the fabric seems to be actually retro; like decades old!  It certainly smells like my great grandmother's house when it's ironed.  It's like a time capsule, but more fun because it's crafty =)  I also used some more old stash buttons.  I would've used bright red to match the thread if I'd had enough of those.  Interesting thought: the buttons may actually be the same age as the fabric.  Yay for using what ya got and making do.  BTW where did all these buttons come from?!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

the henry shirt.

 This Henry shirt has been languishing for days, waiting for buttons.  It's a bit of a challenging pattern to be just a little boy's shirt.  Ignore his crying, by the way.  He just hates wearing clothes.  Which is tooooo bad.

The raglan seam that connects the yoke to all the other pieces is a monster and you have to sew it twice: once for the outer portion and once for the lining.  I did end up with some "accidental gathers" along that seam, but I can't even bring myself to care.  I doubt anyone will notice and if they do idgaf.  Somehow I'm compelled to post pictures of them anyway, though, so here you are.  I'm going with "design element": slightly gathered through the shoulders anyone?

What finally stalled me on this shirt were the buttons.  After all that work was I really going to just sew on plain old boring stash buttons?  I decided I wanted, no, needed fish buttons, like these or these or these.  Actually those last ones I didn't see til just now, I may have to buy them...  Not that $10 buttons are in the budget right now, but a girl can dream.  Fortuitously (or so I thought) a Joann's 40% off coupon arrived the same day.  I went to the nearest Joann's (a pitiful excuse for a store) and they did not have one single fish button.  But then again, perhaps it was kismet because I have a serious crap-ton of buttons that I ought to use.

This morning I got up and decided that the only person who would ever notice the lack of fish buttons was me, and I could live with it.  I did pick some marled buttons that remind me of seashells out of the stash, though (yay for compromise).

Too bad I didn't have 4 matching ones.  I ended up using 2 dark and 2 light.

I cut out the 2/3 size for my 3 year old but lengthened it by an inch and a half.  It fits him just right with some room to grow (out only, not up; it's just the right length).  This shirt is cut really wide and my boy isn't.  All his store bought clothes are really wide and short on him.  That's why we sew, though, right?  Now he has some clothes that fit him =)  And this shirt definitely fits perfectly.  If only I can get him to wear it.

I also lengthened the pocket piece by quite a bit.  I read some reviews on the blogosphere that said the pockets were too wide and shallow to be useful.  He hasn't tried these out yet but I think they'll hold his stuff.

The fish print is a "vintage" sheet I from the thrift (I love fish stuff!) for $2.50 (and half price day!) and the blue is from a shirt my dad donated.  The shirt was fraying badly at the hems and had developed some holes and lost some buttons, but it's ooohh sooo soft.  Hopefully it holds up til he outgrows it.

I'm pretty excited that I can play along with the "Sewing for Boys" Sew Along over at Boy, Oh, Boy for the first time.  A little late to the party, but aren't I always?  I can't help but ruminative that misery loves company...  I swear it wasn't really that bad though.


the day of finishing...

I don't know how normal people work but I go through creative cycles.  There are periods where I plan, begin, work on, and finish projects in an orderly manner (more or less).  Then there are times where I can't really focus on anything and I just keep starting new projects, many of which don't necessarily make it to finished objects.  Often it's because I've got a project or two in limbo, their fates as yet undecided.  It weighs heavily on my mind until I get it figured out.

Necessarily following these phases of manic but unfocused energy I need a day (or two) of finishing.  Thankfully, that day was today.

First I finished up slipstitching the bias tape on the bottom of this baby dress.  For some reason last night it was just killing me (I've got the huge puncture mark on my thumb to prove it!) but I suddenly remembered how to sew and just sat down and got it done in a matter of minutes.

It's an(other) Itty Bitty Baby Dress.  The skirt is made from a fat quarter cut in 2 pieces and all the other pieces are from thrifted (or just old) sheets.  I skipped the piping on this one just to save myself some time and grief (I'm looking at you, zipper foot) and I like it, but I do think piping to match the bias tape would look nice.

Then there's the Henry shirt I started way back on Wednesday (I think).  There will be a full post about this shirt.  Believe me, it needs one.  I've been procrastinating about buttons for days, though.  I finally woke up this morning and made a damn decision and sewed some buttons on.  They look fine.

He's crying cuz he hates wearing clothes apparently.  The fish print is a thrifted sheet and the blue print is an old shirt donated by my dad.

I also finished tracing and cutting out the shorts pattern I've been working on for days.  I just haven't been able to dedicate the time to it (and DC has been demanding all my attention lately.  Combine a 3 year old with tissue thin paper draped over a table and the results will not be good).  That and my back has been killing me for obvious reasons.

I also finally wove in the ends on this baby hat from waaay back when so it's ready for baby.  Just in time I expect.  

I also managed to finish knitting these baby legwarmers I started yesterday.  Everything but pompoms, which will just have to wait til tomorrow.

They're quite large as you can see but they're for this winter so that's ok.  Or if she doesn't like them obviously I can wear them as glove/sleeve type things.  This yarn was super cheap at my LYS's annual mother's day sale.  I wish I'd bought it all.  I was skeptical but I love the way it knit up.  It's Encore worsted, btw.  It's white light pink and a brighter pink plied together.

I also got lots of laundry done and bag #1 for the hospital packed =)

Now I'm working on my cotton cardigan and feeling pretty good about my productivity.  There are still a few projects that are in time out.  Two diaper covers (anyone know how big around a 3 month old baby's upper thigh is?  I have two diaper cover patterns and neither says) and another darling ranges top.  Maybe tomorrow...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

old man pants.

Yep.  More Little Heartbreaker Pants for my growing boy.  I love this pattern, it's just the best.  I'm not even tempted to try a different pattern...  I might, though, since I just got Cute Clothes for Kids and there's some cute details on the pants in that book (back pockets, anyone?).  The shirt is my first raw edge raglan tee.

The material is a pale blue cotton shirting courtesy of his growing grandpa.  If it seems like a lot of clothes are hitting the donation pile from grandpa and daddy... what can I say?  I suppose it's sympathy weight?

I hoped they'd look like a light denim but they really remind me of my great grandfather who lives in Alabama (I'll bet it's hot there right now).  The material is in great shape and has a nice hand, though it's kind of lightweight for pants.  They'll be great for when it's hot and they seem terribly comfy.  Presumably that's why old men wear the exact same pants.

I cut the 4/5 this time since the 2/3 is getting to be a bit small for him, especially in the back rise (what would you even call that?)  I guess baby's got back haha.  Anyway, he's swimmin' in these but I'm not worried; they'll fit him soon enough.

 More than enough room back there now, as you can see.  The cuffs are rolled up in all of these pictures.  I think if I flip them up, maybe towards the inside, and sew them down the pants will probably fit all right.  Then I can just let them down when he's ready.  The butt will still be saggy, but seriously: who's looking?

I think I'll probably put pants on the back burner for awhile and focus on making some shorts for summer... and about a million other things on my to do list.  I don't want to make more pants that he'll outgrow before winter andwhy bother making him pants he won't be wearing for months?

That reminds me, though.  I ran across this today here.  It's like having company when you do chores or run errands.  Maybe it's not necessarily an exciting task, but if a bunch of creative minds get together it can be fun!

Of course all the great stuff already pinned on the Pinterest board is making me want to do something fun instead of just something useful and necessary.  The baby should be born soon, which means I'll need some post-maternity clothes so maybe I can do a little of both =)

Is it summer yet?  Is anyone else up north just waiting for shorts weather?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

prairie darling

I told myself it was pointless to make any more maternity clothes...  But I found myself wanting to wear my first darling ranges top all the time (which apparently isn't legit; you're supposed to wash clothes between wearings I supppose?) so I decided to just bite the bullet and make another one.

This fabric is from the op shop.  It lured me in with it's brownness and cutesy floral pattern that is just too Little House on the Prairie.  However, as soon as I got it home I decided it isn't really adult garment appropriate.  The nice thing about being pregnant, though, is that maternity clothes aren't the same as regular adult garments: they're overly cutesy and, more importantly, temporary.

So was born the prairie darling...

I added to the FBA this time and it fits quite well... except that the way I did it was kinda cracked out and I somehow made the armholes a bit tight?  I was trying to do it from memory and definitely did something weird.  Oh well, it's certainly still wearable.

On my first one I cut the back out in a curved shape since that's how my back is shaped.  The sides kind of pull and twist weirdly, though.  I guess it's got something to do with bias and grain and all that.  For this one I did back darts instead.  Unfortunately, as you can see, I didn't take enough out and there's some weird excess fabric at the bottom of the back.

 Actually I think I'm beginning to sense a theme here...  Maybe that's what a swayback adjustment is for?  I actually think the first DR top has the least problem.  Maybe because the seams are on the bias it drapes better.  I really don't know.  I am tempted to cut another one like that to see...

And here are some guts: french seams and pretty bias tape.  I made it myself =)  It's so cheerful I love it!

All in all I'm happy with it, especially since the front closes.  I could probably make some improvements if I were to make another one, but I don't know how likely that is since I'm due any time now =)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

environmental on the cheap

I am not claiming to be carbon neutral at all, but I feel like one thing you can do with sewing if you choose is drastically lower your carbon footprint.  How?  How can running an extra appliance for an hour (or, ahem, several) lower your carbon footprint?

Usually at least once a year old worn out and grown out clothes go to Goodwill and we have to go get DC a whole new wardrobe.  This year, though, those old clothes are becoming his new clothes!

This shirt used to belong to my husband but he ripped an enormous hole under the arm on the side of the shirt.  Had there been a seam there it could have easily been fixed, but it was one of those knit tees with no side seams.  Plus he pretty much ripped it incredible hulk style; the shirt did not fit him anymore.  To hear him tell it, though, I shrunk it in the wash.  Yeah...  Right...

That means this shirt was totally free and free from sweatshop labor.  In it's reincarnation anyway.  Hubby only buys the popular brands from stores at the mall which pretty much guarantees the shirt originated in a sweatshop.  The only new material required was thread (and energy to run the machine, of course).  The shorts I made out of a thrifted shirt.  Not quite as cheap or environmental, but close.

By the way these pictures are from the zoo.  If you've got kids and a zoo in the area definitely look into getting memberships.  The zoo here has a big indoor play area which we go for on rainy days and the rest of the time he loves to go see the animals.  And part of your membership fee goes towards conservation programs around the globe.  I know a lot of people are anti-zoo but I can understand how they're necessary to conservation efforts.

Perhaps if they'd been around they could've saved:

The dinosaurs!  That's right, that's a tiny dinosaur on his shoulder.  Lemme 'splain.  The orange shirt actually fit DC about a year ago.  Needless to say those days are long gone and it was hardly in any condition to save for baby girl to wear.  So I very strategically cut the sleeves out of the old baby shirt and the body out of one of my old shirts.

I could actually just barely get the dino on there at all, but I think it's a nice subtle detail.  It's a nice coincidence that DC saw Jurassic Park for the first time about a week ago and is now obsessed with all things dinosaur.  Really...  there are dinosaur stickers all over the floor in my sewing room.

And here he is discovering about the amazing properties of sand.  He loves the beach...  What can I say?  He takes after me I guess.  Too bad this summer will never get warm enough for swimming =(  Note that he's fully clothed including pants and a hat at the beach in June.  Oy.  Summer in Seattle?  Maybe someday.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

too late for the party....

I stumbled across the pyjama party sew along far too late to participate.  Actually I discovered it the day it was ending (I don't know how people find out about these things in a timely manner!) and cried a little because I know I need new PJs and I wanna play =(

I might've tried to bang something out really quick, but without a pattern I didn't think it was happening.  I did stumble upon a pattern sale a short time later though and got (among others) Easy Endless Options M5248 with one thing in mind: new PJs for me.
I needed the robe most of all because both of my robes mysteriously disappeared last time we moved.  I'm still not fully convinced that my husband didn't have anything to do with that, seeing as how both robes had certainly seen better days.

PJ shorts are next (for summer, which it allegedly is) followed by pants because basically everything I sleep in is worn out...

So worn out I'm too embarrassed to show them off.

So worn out I can't even hang out around the house in them because what if someone rings the doorbell?!  

Now you know that's bad.  I don't usually care cuz, hey, it's my house, but answering the door like that might be bordering on public indecency.

But back to the robe:

It's a relatively heavy cotton flannel from a thrifted Martha Stewart bedsheet (because recycling is... a good thing).  If you don't understand that reference watch 5 minutes of her show and you'll get it.  I actually love the fabric, it's soft and warm and is a subtle white and light brown (or lord help me I suppose beige?) floral.

The pattern calls for interfacing in the shawl collar but I left it out worrying it would be too stiff.  It's not an Oxford shirt after all, just a comfy hangin' around the house sorta thing.  I'm satisfied with it this way, the cotton flannel has a lot of body to it anyway.

I'm not a flasher, just trying to show the pockets I added.  What is a robe without pockets?  Useless!  You've seen that fabric before.  I'm using wherever I can in hopes of using most of it up.  Still most of the fitted and all of the flat sheet to go.

I actually used the pocket pattern and method of attachment from the Darling Ranges dress pattern.  Not that it would've been hard to draft those pockets.  They're nice and inconspicuous from the outside.

I would've preferred patch pockets on  each front, but I ran way short of material.  I had to piece the second front facing.  My main failing is that I didn't realize there were front facings til it was too late.  It might've been possible with great planning, but as it is there's hardly anything left over.  I don't think it's too noticeable, though.

You can see the pattern well here, it's not even so much floral as it is, umm, botanical?  It's plant parts but not flowery.

I cut the XL to be sure it fit over my belly.  Of course I didn't really check the measurements first and it's huge.  But then, so am I.

Yikes right?  Not a pretty picture.  Upon checking the measurements I should've gotten the next size group down, but the website seemed pretty vague about sizing.  Oh well, they're PJs.

I'd love another one of these in some slippery fabric, and maybe a light cotton one with short sleeves...  I'll definitely try the large next time and hope it's smaller.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

diy maternity: darling sans sleeves and self drafted skirt

I'm so happy to have discovered diymaternity during this pregnancy.  It hadn't really occurred to me to make my own maternity clothes; knitting takes so long and pregnancy bodies change so fast it's hard to keep up.

Quite conveniently, the same way I took up knitting during my first pregnancy (uhh.. obsessively?) I took up sewing during this one.  It's easier for me to learn new skills when I'm not worried about creating timeless masterpieces.  I'm certainly not planning on wearing maternity clothes forever (hopefully not even for much longer at this point) and cute little baby clothes are quick to make and quick to be out grown.

The brief hot spell we had prompted me to make this:

A maternity skirt.  Out of such pretty pink eyelet material.  I used an existing skirt as a template, but it's basically just ten long skinny trapezoids sewn together.  It produces a nice circle skirt effect. Except I totally ran short of yardage with two pieces to go so I cut 8 trapezoids and 8 reeealllly skinny rectangles. It would've been a bit fuller had I had enough fabric.  I'll definitely make a non-maternity one of these soon in anticipation.

My mom said it doesn't need to be ironed.  But omygato can you  believe that wrinkling?

There, that's better.  I cut some white lining material I already had into a regular A-line shape.  I actually didn't even hem it, I just cut it shorter than the skirt and zig-zagged over the edges.  

Lazy (1000).  

Each piece is slightly convex at the bottom so I couldn't figure out how to hem.  Thankfully the Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing told me to do this:

It took me awhile to slipstitch all that bias tape down, but it was worth it.  I didn't have anything even remotely close to that pink in stash so I used my old Carebear's sheets.  The sheets had certainly seen better days, so I'm glad I found a use for them.  Plus it cheers me up everytime I see the hearts peeking out around the hem.

I used an old too small knit shirt for the belly band, but I should've used something thinner.  This one's a bit bulky.  Actually the only thing on this skirt I paid for/bought new was the lining so the project set me back about $2.  My grandmother bought the fabric for me last time I visited her along with the notions and pattern for a dress (all in a size that I'm unlikely to ever see again, let's be honest).  Here's the belly band in action:

I need to clean that mirror =(  Belly bump!  37 weeks just about.

I also decided to go sleeveless for the Darling Ranges top... so you've seen this before but this time it's actually finished!  The hot spell really inspired me; too bad it didn't stick around.  

I basically redrafted every single pattern piece:
  • The front and back I shortened to be closer to an empire waist
  • The front also got an FBA (which was not big enough and will have to be tinkered with for the next one)
  • The back I cut to be fitted.  I took quite a bit out and added some shaping.  Unfortunately I didn't use darts to shape it but instead just cut the sides in a bit around the waist.  This causes the side seam to pull oddly.  Lesson learned.
  • The front I cut longer than the back (though obviously shorter than the dress version) to allow for belly coverage.  I think I cut it a bit on the long side.

It didn't photograph too well, but I actually really like it.  It's perfect for wearing a light shrug or sweater over.  Plus I'm always hot now anyway so I needed something cute and sleeveless for the remotely warm days.

I actually wore this outfit out that day: me made shrug, me made Aeolian, and me made Darling Ranges top.  It makes me happy when I can pull something like that off =)  And it's certainly been too long.  Yay for DIY maternity clothes!