Tag Archives: kids’ clothes

Second verse, same as the first!

A little bit louder and a little bit worse!

I’m about 95% sure I’ve used that as a post title before.

Yet it works, so very, very well.

Tyo’s fishing vest is finished. I was able to avoid some of my mistakes from the first time around, and instead make a whole new crop. I’d say overall, I did not improve significantly. Although I think all the practice with cargo pockets has helped some in that department. And some of the mistakes were the ones I have to make in order to learn why X shortcut was a bad idea. Yes, I tend to have to learn things the hard way. Especially with sewing.

Whaddaya lookin’ at?

The details are all the same as this post, the only difference being I had snaps and D-rings this time, so there are two snaps and a D-ring at the nape of the neck, which is apparently a handy place to hang your little fishing net from. To fit Syo I graded the basic vest pieces up, increasing width by about 4 cm around and length by about 1 cm. I interfaced all the vest body, instead of just the back yoke, this time, which will hopefully add to the vest’s sturdiness (it’s a very lightweight denim), but necessitated some extra pocket linings that I forgot to incorporate properly and had to engineer into place rather late in the construction process. Oops.

Back view

Here’s the only shot you can see the D-ring at the back of the neck.

My girl.

Here’s some random poses.

This one was supposed to show the pockets better.

I’m really far too bored by this whole project to go into the annoying details. If you have something specific you’re dying to know, feel free to ask in the comments and I promise I’ll answer.

And now, on to bigger, better things! (and a fly fishing rod case. Ulp.)

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A dress for the boredom

A dress for roasting marshmallows

My kids have been done school for just over a week, although they’ve only really been home for the last two days, since we went Home for Canada Day (July 1, just for reference). Nonetheless, last night Tyo was moping around as only a near-teenager can. “Dad and Syo are out fishing, Grandpa’s watching TV, and you’re sewing! There’s nothing to do!”

This is actually wonderful.

“So, does this mean you don’t want to be homeschooled after all?”

Since the main thing coming out of her mouth for the last three months  of school has been requests to be homeschooled.

“NO! I don’t get to see any of my friends!”

Somewhere, choirs of angels broke into hallelujah chorus.

Anyway, it appeared that the only thing that could possibly alleviate boredom at eight o’clock on a Friday night was sewing with me, or rather, me sewing while she sang me her most recent song.

Front view

The fabric she selected was one of the slinky knits that I can’t seem to resist. I love buying them. I love wearing them. I just don’t. love. sewing. them. This particular knit threw itself at me on the Fabricland Canada Day sale (which took place several days early) when even the clearance racks were fifty percent off. I have a hard time resisting $1.50/m fabric. Fortunately, I bought three metres, so even with this dress for her, there’s still plenty left over.

ANYWAY.

Obligatory racerback shot

For the pattern, we just used the ubiquitous racerback tank pattern, Y1201 from Young Image Magazine (which was a dress pattern, originally). I added what I thought would be enough length to take it to her knees, and a bit of width over the hips because, well, Tyo, and more-or-less happily went to work.

Now, the four previous times I’ve made this pattern, I’ve used a rib-knit. What I hadn’t really grasped on was how much rib knits grow. I mean, my brain knows it, but I didn’t really understand it. This was an easy-fitting tank when stitched in a rib-knit—close fitted but not exactly skintight.

In this slinky knit it’s, ah, pretty tight. Note to self. Also, next time add more to the butt. Tyo is not one of those children who can wear a skirt whose back and front are cut the same.

Because I don’t trust these slinky knits as far as I can stretch them (which is pretty far, actually), I used clear elastic inside the binding on the neck and arm-holes. I didn’t stretch it quite enough on the neck, which is a bit wavy, and then stretched it a little too much on the arm openings, so they’re a bit snugged up. It seems pretty much ok when worn, however. I should really look into elastic and/or binding attachments for my machine…

Back view

I had measured Tyo from shoulder to knee to get the length, thinking I might have to trim some off as the fabric sagged under its own weight. But I forgot/neglected that four-way stretches will lose length as they are stretched sideways, so it’s actually an inch or two above her knees. Not horrendously mini, but a bit shorter than planned. It rides up a bit in back, but I’m not sure if that’s because it needs extra length, or more width so it doesn’t get caught up on her posterior. Probably both.

We left the bottom unhemmed, as I’m congenitally unable to get a nice hem in these thin knits so it would flow nicely.

I was a little worried about how sheer the white base fabric might be, but it doesn’t seem to be horribly bad.

Stretch!

OK, actually I’m really jealous. I love this fabric, and really want my own garment out of it. I’m thinking flowy maxi-dress.

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Inordinately Pleased With Myself

Smug.

Yeah, that about sums it up.

Which I suppose is why I take on these ridiculous, intricate projects. Especially at times when I’ve been claiming I need all my sewing to be brainless and easy because my brains are occupied elsewhere.

The Fishing Vest is finished. (For those of you paying attention, the missing front lining piece showed up on the cutting table, underneath about three layers of other crap that I swear I went through twice before)

Back & Front

So, as fishing vests go, this one is fairly simple, meaning there’s only eleven pockets instead of umpteen bajillion. And I forgot to pick up D-rings, so there’s no little D-ring doodads, and there’s only one snap tab because apparently I only had one heavy-duty snap left (well, I had 3/4 of the second one, but that last 1/4 is kind of critical. Osiris had asked that the back pocket be deep enough to hold a water-bottle, and I think it probably isn’t. I interfaced the upper back yoke for a bit of extra strength, and possibly I should’ve interfaced the front of the vest as well, but oh, well.

Bias tape “maker” (actually folder)

I waffled back and forth about how I was going to finish the vest, but in the end went for a bound finish, which is common (yes, I’ve spent a depressing amount of time in the last several weeks looking at pictures of fishing vests online) but not universal. I tried to convince myself this was a perfect opportunity to use pre-made bias binding, but couldn’t quite make myself go there. What is it about pre-made bias binding? I have a shitload of the stuff, and every time I go to use it I talk myself out of it. So I made my first denim bias-binding. Fortunately, it’s a pretty darn light-weight twill. I used my jumbo bias-tape maker, possibly for the first time, and it went better than expected, especially considering I totally eyeballed the width of the tape when I was cutting it out. The application went relatively well, as well, despite not always remembering which side I should start on. And after stitching on four cargo pockets (albeit teeny ones) I feel much more comfortable with them than I did last time. The exposed zippers are still a little rough, especially the ones on the pockets.

Details (view at own risk as there’s at least five screw-ups visible in these photos alone…)

Actually, the whole project went better than expected. There were a few inevitable snafus, like forgetting to sew the velcro tabs on the upper pair of pockets before attaching them (actually the hand-sewn finish looks much better, if only because I use black thread to match the velcro that time) and forgetting to make the two zippered cargo pockets on the front mirror images of each other, and there are minor imperfections at every single point along the way, but I’m not going to dwell on them too much because, y’know what, it’s DONE! And, what’s most important, it’ll work. And it’s pretty cute from even a foot away

Oh, and the playing with the grain of the stripey almost-camo-print on the pockets was intentional. I’m kinda proud of that.

Comparing fit

It fits Tyo snugly and Syo more loosely (I did mention their shoulders are almost identical…), so I think the next one should be a little larger. It won’t be hard to grade the vest up a bit (and maybe do a teeny FBA  with the dart incorporated in that horizontal seam above the zipper), and I think I’ll just use the same pockets.

But not yet—I’m going to wait until they have a chance to road-test this one.

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Not my best work

20120609-005049.jpg

Deets

Every time, in the last little while, a friend or colleague has a baby, I think that I should make said baby a homemade gift. I’ve even bought several baby patterns with such things in mind. But so far, every time my own slackitude has won out, and I haven’t gotten around to it.

Well, this piece has, perhaps, made it clear to me why not doing so wasn’t such a bad idea.

This is a present for a little boy born last winter who’s technically my husband’s cousin (or is there such a thing as half cousin?). So this is really a lot of firsts for me—first baby sewing, first little boy sewing. Except, peeps, it’s jeans. I’ve made umpteen however many at this point. Oh yeah, first deep cargo pockets. Joy of 21 Wale did a nice cargo-pocket tutorial a while back that I totally would’ve re-read and applied if I’d had a bit more time, organization, or motivation.

Anyway, details.

This is another pattern from the excellent kids’ issue of Patrones magazine Her Selfishness bestowed upon me lo these many moons ago. Previous makes include this vest and these capris for Tyo. Anyway, there aren’t a whole lot of baby patterns in the magazine, but I did like the idea of the little cargo jeans at the back. I did decide to forego the gathered ankle, and as a result opted to square off the rest of the leg, which was drafted to taper. It has some cute details like the cargo-pockets, and a mid-leg horizontal seam that would let me use up some teeny scraps of denim that have been languishing in the not-quite-scrap pile for… well, since I made my first pair of jeans, frankly.

The pattern came in three sizes, 3 months, 9 months, and 18 months. Since the baby is currently about five months and (last I checked) a rather large specimen, I opted for the 9 months.

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Syo, modeling.

Um, yes, this photo is Syo modeling said jeans. That would be my almost-nine-year-old, wearing the jeans for a nine MONTH old. I mean, there’s ease (and diapers ease) and then there’s ease. The top of the pattern is basically rectangular, relying entirely on the gathered waistband for shape. Considering that they actually fit OK in crotch depth, I’m suspecting there would be plenty of ease even for cloth diapers. (And you’ll have to forgive the crappy late-night flash photos. The fact that it was dark when I finished them should tell you everything you need to know, considering we’re only a few weeks from the longest day of the year.

Er, yeah, they’re a bit roomy. Maybe he’ll get to wear them next summer…

They would’ve been quite fun if I wasn’t on such a tight timeline to get them finished for this weekend. I used two different kinds of denim, plus some grey

Side view

stretch linen for the detailing, and remembered to add some nice touches like flat piping along the side-seams and random patches and flaps here and there. I even managed to attach the snaps on the  cargo pockets without totally mangling them. (I find snaps stressful.) I did a LOT of reinforcing with soft interfacing, in the hopes of avoiding blowing my topstitching, Some of this was useful, some was overkill, and some just caused its own set of problems. A lightweight knit interfacing would’ve been better, but the only nice knit interfacing I have around here is soft but fairly bulky, which I also didn’t want. In hind-sight, I should’ve done the waistband (which is designed as one piece) with a separate facing in the linen. It’s so nice and soft, whereas the denim I used on the waistband is fairly harsh. Though it does soften fairly nicely with wear.

I added studs, but because I didn’t want any metal against sensitive baby (or, as it will be by the time they fit, toddler) skin, I inserted them just in the outer layer of the pocket, before sewing the pockets together. Strictly decorative. I also used a my usual adjustable-buttonhole-elastic in the waistband, rather than doing a stitched-down elastic waistband as the pattern suggested.

All in all, they were fun, I just wish I’d been less rushed—I would’ve been able to enjoy the process more, not to mention taking more time to screw up less (and fix what I screwed up more.) If jeans are all about the precise details, well, these have plenty of detail, not so much precision.

Ah well. They’re done, and gifted, and the mom and I had a nice chat about how she loves the idea of sewing, and the amazingness of Pow-Wow costumes, and geez if I had a nickel for every time someone says to me “I’d love to learn to sew BUT”…

Ah. well. Done. And I can get back to sewing for MEEEEEE.

As soon as I have the energy to do more than stare at a screen, anyway.

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Sweet Finale

Y1111

OK, I promise this is the last on this little dress. Once again, pattern Y1111 from Young Image Magazine, from their first issue, Summer 2011.

Snug. (and that’s the zipper side! :) )

I made the size 128, as per Syo’s chest measurement, however I did lose a small amount of width due to taking slightly larger seam-allowances on the skirt gores. I don’t imagine it was more than one or two centimetres around the whole dress, though, so the dress is very close fitting to begin with. We can just barely get it zipped up around Syo.

Unfortunately, my old camera didn’t want to focus on anything more than a foot away.

Which, of course, she thinks is absolutely perfect.

Side view

I also lengthened the skirt by about 4 cm. It now comes to just below her knees. If I had been actually trying to fit it to her, a small swayback adjustment would’ve been in order. Or, y’know, a bit more ease for that bottom.

Front

Hmm

The hem.

Ok, I am now officially completely out of things to say about this dress. Definitely time for a dress for me.

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Twee Whee Wheedle Wheet

Twee.

This is a sweet little dress.

A very, very sweet little dress. Too saccharine to have any business anywhere near either of my children, frankly (although Syo will probably bat her eyelashes at you to confuse the issue.)

Once again, this is Young Image Magazine pattern Y1111, from their inaugural issue. My first installation of wittering on the dress is here.

Looking at the photos and the line drawing, one has the impression of a rather complicated dress, but there are actually only four pattern pieces: front bodice, back bodice, skirt panel (gore, if you prefer), and front overlay. And a few instructions for making the ruffle and ties for the shoulders and the drawstring, not that I actually paid attention to them. I will confess, once I had figured out basic things like how many of the skirt pieces needed to be cut out (five pairs, by the way) and where to put the zipper, I didn’t look back at the instructions. I did improvise a fifth piece, for the skirt lining, but in hindsight I could’ve just used the front overlay piece and fudged a normal hem curve. I realized this right after I finished laboriously tracing the skirt panel five times to get a five-gore width. (Then I realized I only needed a two-and-a-half-gore-width if I cut it on the fold. *headdesk*)

As with Burda, you do need to add seam allowances to the patterns. I know some brave seamstresses who just eyeball these, or use little gizmos like the seam-measurers; I am not so brave, and add them on the tissue.

Bodice chevrons (back view)

Being the brilliant thing that I am, I decided I was going to try and do chevron stripes on the bodice. Not being completely idiotic, I decided I would underline the bias bodice pieces with some  leftover cotton (lawn? batiste?) cut on grain. This was a good idea since by the time I had the chevroned seams (mostly) matched and stitched the bias pieces, they weren’t exactly the same size and shape they started out as. Seersucker’s kinda shifty at the best of times, and my relationship with precision is, well, hit and miss.

I realized after stitching up the skirt panels, that I’d had my needle set in the left-most position, so each of those many seam allowances (it’s essentially a 10-gore skirt) was just a smidge wider than it should’ve been. Oops. So I did have to shave a smidgeon off the bodice. I cut the size 128, as I was told my husband’s little cousin is a “skinny 8″ and that was the size which corresponded with Syo’s bust measurement. Of course, Syo is on the shrimpy side for her age, too, but mostly that’s in height—she’s fairly sturdy and has my broad shoulders. Here’s hoping it fits. If not—I’m sure there’s a niece somewhere it’ll fit. I also added about 4 cm to the length, just at the hem of the skirt.

Can you spot the zipper? (PS the bodice seam is actually matched. I gave up on the chevrons, however. Also the difference in angle/grain between the skirt overlay and the gores at the side seem preclude stripe-matching on the skirt)

The pattern calls for a side-zip, so I pulled out one of my vintage invisible zippers, since I am officially “off” regular zippers after attempting one in the blue tunic. This was my first time installing a metal invisible zipper, and it was interesting. I remembered to stabilize the fabric with a little strip of fusible interfacing before stitching the zipper in, and I’m very glad I did because I think it would’ve driven me nuts. As it is, there’s a bit of poof around it, but not too bad. Anyway. I use Sherry’s method and install it with a regular zipper foot. In some ways this was easier with a metal zip—it’s easier to see the teeth, and they feel a bit sturdier so I was less paranoid about wrecking it. On the other hand, I was terrified I was going to needle down on one of the teeth and have sharp flying metal flying at my eye. It took me a couple of passes to  get the feel for how far back to rotate the teeth, and I did nearly sew my fingers a couple of times, but in the end it worked really well, and I even managed to figure out the trick of sewing the lining on by machine this time.

There’s the zipper! :)

The combination of a drawstring and a side zip is, um, not intuitive. Basically, I ended up with the drawstring in two parts, both stitched to the zipper tape (if I’d been a little more together they would’ve been attached before I put in the zipper, but anyway)—a short one which goes from the side to the CF opening, and a long one which goes from the side, around the back, to the other CF. Hopefully this’ll work out—it’s mostly decorative anyway.

Front notch with drawstring.

The pattern (OK, the photos from the magazine, again, didn’t look at the instructions) has you leave a gap in the stitching at the CF notch for the drawstrings to emerge.  This is easy, but there’s no real good way to finish the edges, and I’m kind of convinced that after a few wearings there’s going to be threads poking out like crazy, barring some hand-stitching. I considered putting a tiny little buttonhole in the front on either side of the notch, but when the chips came down I took the easy route. An eyelet would be cool, too, if you made a punk-y version of the dress. Which would be really fun, actually. Wouldn’t it be awesome made out of old metal-band T-shirts, with exposed construction and some scraps of black lace and studs?

… ANYWAY.

I did the topstitching around the drawstring casing last. It was a little nerve-wracking making sure that I didn’t stitch down the drawstring itself, but it wasn’t as bad as I feared. I did hold the fabric very taut, since I was stitching three layers at that point, the top one of which was on the bias, and I was terrified the fabric was going to move and ripple. It did a bit, but not too much, at least on the outside (the inside, as you can see in the zipper shot above, isn’t lovely, but it’s done so I’m not going to sweat it.

I was going to wait until I could try and shove Syo into the dress to get some modeled shots before posting, but a) mysteriously she didn’t want to get up extra-early for a photo-shoot in the snow (yes, snow) before breakfast and b) I’m not 100% convinced it’s actually going to fit her. Although given that she likes everything skin-tight these days, that might be right up her alley.

Coming soon: more bodice fun!

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Children, magazines

My husband’s aunt (who is only a few years older than him) just invited us down for her daughter’s birthday (her daughter, my husband’s cousin, is Syo’s age.) Since they live quite a bit closer than the rest of the family, and we are always saying we’ll come down and then failing to, I was excited. I know she sews a little bit (sock monkeys have been mentioned), so I asked if a home-made gift would be welcome.

On being assured that it was, and getting a rough (very rough) estimate of the daughter’s size, I pulled out my two summer Young Image magazines and began leafing through.

After a fair bit of angsting, I decided on this pattern, from the original (2011) summer issue. Which is not only really cute, but has ties (adjustable) and a drawstring through the top (adjustable) and a raised “waist” so her actual body dimensions won’t matter so much.

Young Image Sundress

Fabric selection was actually easy-peasy. I found this seersucker in the clearance at Fabricland ages and ages ago, and picked up 3m (I think it was $1.50/m) with the express intention of making dresses for little girls. Unfortunately it didn’t seem quite right for *my* little girls, and I hadn’t gotten around to making something for my little nieces with it. But it seemed perfect for this gift project. (Yes, for those of you paying attention, this is the same fabric as I suggested for my Fantasy Pyjamas. Don’t worry, there’s plenty left…)

Sparkle seersucker

Anyway, the other night I managed to trace of the pattern, and yesterday, as I muzzily clawed my way back towards “normal” functioning, I finished cutting out the fabric and started assembling. I didn’t get ridiculously far, but I did manage to construct front and back skirt panels, some shoulder-ties, and some ruffle trim for the front overlay.

Skirt front

That’s an overlay on the front skirt, by the way; the pattern pieces for the skirt itself are identical front and back. I didn’t realize that until I actually started tracing out the pattern. It makes the construction much simpler.

Next confession: after figuring out how many times the skirt-pattern-piece had to be cut out (five pairs, for 10 panels, as it turned out) I haven’t even glanced at the instructions.

The Dread Ruffler

I did, however, do battle once again with my rolled-hem foot to finish the edge of the overlay and the edges of the ruffling strip. It was almost disappointingly well-behaved after the bias silky polyester. Not having much in the way of seams to go over certainly helped…

Feeling cocky at my triumph, I decided to tackle using the ruffler foot to gather my finished strip. And not just any ruffler foot, no, the ruffler for the Domestic Special*, far and away the most terrifying of my sewing machines. Actually, the machine works perfectly well, I just keep trying to use the more exotic attachments it came with, with decidedly mixed results. Which really isn’t the machine’s fault. The main thing with the ruffler is to remember to lower the presser foot before you start stitching. You can’t actually tell the difference, visually, because the foot is so bulky and the fabric feeds through it rather than under it, so it’s easy to forget, and disaster will ensue.

I normally reserve ruffler feet for things where I need vast quantities of ruffling of indeterminate gather ratio. This length was decidedly intermediate, although the consistent, fixed gather-ratio is nice for a trim. I wouldn’t say that in this case it was any great time-saver, since I had to make several samples to figure out what my gather-ratio was and which setting was increasing vs. decreasing it. But, it was fun anyway, and the needle did not shimmy out of position, nor did it strike the edge of the throat plate and shatter, which is what typically happens when I use the ruffler on my Janome. Of course, sewing the ruffled strip down was a whole ‘nother continent of annoying, but that’s certainly not the ruffler’s fault (after all, it’s perfectly possible to ruffle and stitch-down in one pass, if I had the guts to attempt it.)

Bias-cut bodice and chalk pencil

For the bodice, I tried cutting out on the diagonal to make chevroned stripes (the lining and underlining are on the straight grain). We’ll see how that turns out. The stripe-matching on the skirt sections is pretty much a dog’s breakfast, but I was much more meticulous about the bodice. I hope.

Also, Fabricland’s current 50% off sale on notions persuaded me to pick up this nifty, if rather expensive, Dritz chalk-pencil gadget. I’m always looking for something that will make marks efficiently and accurately. So far it seems pretty decent—not as accurate as the wash-away marker, but a little easier to lay down in large segments (like when tracing a pattern piece). A lot will depend on my ability to keep from losing it, or shattering the chalk refills.

All right. Now, much as I’d like to go down and sort out the rest of this little dress, my house needs to be rescued from three days of illness-related neglect. Ouch!

*Mostly because the Domestic and Janome are the two machines set up right now and and I hate using the ruffler on my Janome—something about the lighter weight of the modern machine just lends itself to vibrating the needle loose or jamming and breaking a needle.

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