Category Archives: Sewing

Little scrap dresses

I didn’t plan to release this on New Years, but I certainly don’t have the brain space for the introspection required of a yearly round-up post! So I’ll just say this year I parented, survived, went back to work, and around the edges got to sew a little. And we survived a pandemic, so we’ll call that a win. Next year, I hope we can get back into routines that feel a little less desperate, and let me feel a little more like myself. Partly so I can be a better mom and breadwinner, but mostly because I like enjoying my life. Anyway, let’s get on with the sewing.

I had a fair bit of scrap print left over from the overalls, so while the machines were threaded with the right colour I figured I should use it up. I figured there was enough for the bodices of two little dresses, plus pockets, and I had some white interlock (the same stuff I used for the white cuffs on the overalls) kicking around, some of it in the form of a failed T-shirt I’d tried to make my husband a few years back. So one of the skirts was pre-hemmed!

My very Helpful Helpers

For the bodice, I just used the same vintage Stretch & Sew pattern, minus the extra swinginess I added for their Christmas shirts. . I have mislaid the original (probably buried in the Pile of fabric in the sewing room) or I would’ve traced out a larger size to have them last longer, but I think (hope) they’ll get us through the winter, anyway. The sleeves could be a bit longer. I made the bodice a slightly cropped length, which I hope will be cuter, and the skirts are just gathered rectangles, size dictated by the size of the T-shirt.

Inspiration dresses, not sewn by me.

The overall style is inspired by the RTW Hallowe’en dresses Tyo (or possibly her best friend) bought the twins for their birthday. They don’t have a lot of winter dresses so hopefully these come in handy.

I wanted some element of the print on the skirts, so I added the patch pockets. I love how big and droopy the rounded ones are—they might even be able to get a toy in there. I didn’t fold under the edges of the pocket—if it’s good enough for Tin Robin it’s good enough for me!

I was a little concerned about gathering the skirts to the bodice, but cotton knits are pretty well behaved and I added some clear elastic when serging the seam so it doesn’t seem inclined to stretch out.

Unlike the Christmas shirts, these are quite neatly sewn, if I do say so myself. So I’m pretty happy.

Getting good modeled pics is pretty hard at this stage. They’re always on the go, usually in a few different directions. Now if we can just keep the white skirts from getting hopelessly stained…

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Wee knock-off overalls

Among the hand-me-downs in the 12-month size bin, which I dug out at the end of last summer, was a particularly adorable set of stretchy overalls in a rayon jersey. The pattern was extremely simple, and I loved some of the construction details like the folded edges top stitched with a zig-zag.

So I was a little shattered when I put them on Tris for the first time and realized that I seemed to have missed my window of them fitting—-they seemed far too snug and pulled too much at the crotch, so that the stretchy open sides were pulled too far down, showing her diaper if she wore a regular shirt underneath.

I’ve since reassessed a bit, and I think the fit is supposed to be quite slim, relying on the stretch to keep everything in place, and they look better on River, who remains somewhat more scrawny (not that Tris is a chonky baby at all)… but what I was imagining in my head was a bit looser with a dropped crotch, and not relying on a diaper shirt to keep the diaper covered.

It was, however, an extremely simple dropped-crotch style pattern, perfect for tracing off. So I did. I made my first version in some more of that purple polyester fleece. The biggest difference from the source material, other than the fabric being completely different, was that I added about 2” of length between the bottom of the side scoop and the dropped crotch, and then about another 1” of length to the leg.

This solved the side-gaping issue, but made it clear that the original had relied on some tension in the fabric to keep the straps on the shoulders, which was lacking in my version, so they tend to slide off. So again, the issue may be my mental picture of how they should fit. Anyway, for the second iteration, I narrowed the shoulders a little bit, which will hopefully help with this issue while still giving a bit more of the “chubby loose fit” I wanted as opposed to the “skinny slinky fit” of the originals.

My second go is with an adorable printed cotton Lycra I found at Fabricland. Now, good cotton prints at Fabricland are rare as hen’s teeth, and it was a half price sale, so I couldn’t resist.

I used steam-a-seam to make sure the hemming around the upper parts was flawless (it felt a little odd not to be using my new coverstitch here but I really liked the zigzag detail of the originals.

And the pockets came directly from the cut-out between the legs, in a nod towards minimal waste patterning. I couldn’t decide between matching cuffs and plain white, and Tyo suggested one of each—I kind of love the detail! Although I think I would also have enjoyed plain white. That’s a lot of busy print.

It still might be fun to try this out in a slinky rayon like the original (I have lots of that cinnamon rayon for one thing…) We’ll have to see. For now, at least, I think they’re pretty frickin’ adorable.

Oh, and then I googled the brand of the original, Tin Robin, and it turns out they’re made by a small business in Manitoba… so I feel like a bit of a heel for knocking them off but also it’s not like the original was exactly what I wanted and it’s a pretty generic style of baby clothes… so I dunno. They are super cute and exquisitely stylish in that modern-hippie-minimalist kind of way, which I love but could never actually implement in my own life. And if you feel like spending money on a Canadian small business, I can definitely recommend the product—the fabric is delicious and the sewing is impeccable. And she does make adult sizes! But if your baby isn’t the string-bean type, maybe size up. You’ll want them to fit for a good long while anyway!

As for my versions, I think they’re comfortably different, and pretty close to what was in my head. The twins seem to like them, anyway. And hopefully those saggy crotches will get us a few months of wear.

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Christmassy shirts

Last year, when the twins were just wee, my stylish sister-in-law got them some adorable 6 to 12 month size Christmas leggings… that were hilariously huge since they were still basically newborn-sized at that point.

However, this year the leggings are perfect sized! I’m not usually really big on holiday-themed outfits, since I tend to try to “save” them for the holiday and then feel sad that they only get worn once or twice, but since we had the leggings, I figured some plain red tops to set off the leggings would be a good idea.

I used the same vintage pattern as the last few shirts, tweaked to a swingy tent shape (again) because I like it with leggings. Considering my initial annoyance with it, I’ve gotten a lot of use out of this pattern (and more to come).

There’s not much more to say. They’re not at all well-sewn, being thrown together hastily in the last days before Christmas. Sewing in the moments of distraction while the twins are playing is getting harder and harder now that they can climb chairs and things. The neck bands are too tight and the cover stitching is questionable and there’s a hole in one armpit where the serger missed some stitching (that at least is easy to fix). But on the whole they’re cute and served their purpose! And will hopefully continue to be worn for a bit yet.

They used up some scraps from my second Adrienne blouse, which I haven’t managed to blog, not that there’s much to say about it since it’s identical to my first except in red. So, cute, “free”, scrap-busting, and just in time for Christmas… it’s been a bummer of a week for us (one of our old cats died, and we’re pretty devastated, frankly, on top of all the weirdness of the pandemic Christmas) so these are a win I’ll take.

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Simply difficult

(I wrote this post a month ago, and I swear I thought I posted it, but I think I held off hoping for better pictures. Which I should never do because they never happen. Anyway, here it is, better late than never?)

It’s the Sewcialists’ TNTee challenge! (TNT is a tried ‘n true pattern)… and I wanted to participate, ie make a tee shirt of some kind.

Despite the fact that this was a super simple make, maybe two hours work all together, which included tracing and altering the pattern and rethreading both serger and coverstitch machines, this was hard to make. Hard because of, no surprise, the two sweet and extremely short people who are occupying most of my waking, non-work moments these days.

Apparently we were in a bit of a honeymoon phase back in the summer and early fall. They were napping, and playing fairly independently (for short periods at least) in their designated play space.

Well, as the fall progresses, the naps are getting shorter and their inventiveness with getting out of their play zone, and into trouble, has been going through the roof. Especially now that they can open drawers. Maybe I already said this all already. I can’t even remember.

Anyway. I’ve been wanting to make another, slightly longer, crop top to wear with my York Pinafore hack. And long sleeved. And I thought this cinnamon colour, while well out of my usual palette, would look good with the dark teal of the pinafore. I think (hope?) I was right. It’s a really luscious heavy rayon spandex.

So this is just my trusty knit sloper again, merged with the mock turtleneck neckline from Jalie 2805. The merge probably wasn’t completely necessary but I wanted a bit of a closer fit than the perfectly-skimming Jalie tee. The part I was most uncertain of was the length, since my previous crop tops are all a bit short now that I’m, ah, rather more endowed on top than I used to be. I think it turned out pretty much perfect, though, at least in this fabric.

The sleeves, on the other hand, may be a bit ridiculously long. But even after ten years of sewing my own wardrobe, I’m not quite over the trauma of decades of too-short RTW sleeves. So, as the kids these days say, sorry not sorry. Oh and I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve sewn anything turtleneck-adjacent; it really is the single easiest neckline to sew. Though I might raise it a smidge if I do it again.

This is already rather more words than such a simple little top deserves, but man it took a lot of effort. Every little step was a slog to get done, full of interruptions and detours. But, it’s done, so I will celebrate!

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Chaos Tank

That post title could be describing this make or my whole house right now. Did I mention the twins are walking now? How about climbing? How about getting into absolutely freaking EVERYTHING. Something new every day. You know how people talk about battles with raccoons, where each new layer of security buys at most a few days of peace… like that.

Anyway, it’s been harder to sew since they can now climb over the fabric bins I’ve been using to barricade off my sewing room from their play space, especially since their favourite thing to do for a while has been climb around underneath the ironing board. Although today they mostly abandoned that in favour of pulling out the drawers of my sewing desk.

But anyway, enough whining. With a bit of determination (and intermittent help from Tyo) I got a wee bit of sewing done today. I managed to squeak out a Jalie 3245 tank top from a remnant of rayon jersey that has been kicking around driving me nuts for a while.

It’s a piece I got from a deadstock batch at Fabricland several years ago, in that smudgy greenish kind of tie-dye I love so much. I got the last of the bolt, just over 1.5m, I believe, and I figured there would be JUST enough to squeak out a Jalie 3247 maxi dress if I added a back seam. Unfortunately for me, about two years ago Syo was puttering around (and I love that she occasionally WANTS to sew so I can’t be too mad) and cut herself a shirt out of this fabric. Maxi dreams crushed, the remnant has been haunting me ever since.

My size has changed a wee bit since I last made this tank, but this fabric has lots of stretch so I wasn’t too worried about the bust (and no way I was taking time to trace out a new version). I did add some flare to the waist and hip, and at the CB below the waist since I had to add a back seam to fit the pattern on my remnant. I may have actually made it a bit too swingy, if that’s possible.

The last couple of neckbands I have made turned out a little floppy, so I attempted to make the bands for this more snug and went a little too far in the other direction. Fortunately the coverstitch topstitching MOSTLY controlled the attempt of the neckline to gather up, at least for the moment, but we’ll see where we end up. I did better at the topstitching than I have in the past, at least!

There’s not much to say otherwise. I did all the seaming on my serger and the topstitching and hemming on my coverstitch. This is a profoundly unseasonal make since winter here arrived with a bang today, dropping nearly a foot of snow since this morning. BUT, I’m trying to work through the piles of junk cluttering up my sewing room, since I don’t seem to be able to muster the time or energy to tackle the kind of large and cozy projects that would be appropriate for this time of year.

Oh, and I’m wearing it over a Jalie Julia bralette that I cut out ages ago and stuffed in a project bag, and finally pulled out and finished. (See above about working through piles of junk) The straps are the (almost) perfect match for the tank’s racer back. Anyway, I hope your life has a little less chaos in it than mine right now (but hopefully just as much cuteness because whining aside, they’re so much fun at this age), and that your weather is a little nicer than ours!

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Fall Drama

Life certainly has no shortage of drama right now… I’m back at work, COVID cases are on the rise, life with toddling twins is the definition of insanity… but today I want to talk about adding some drama back to my sadly-shrunken wardrobe.

I bought several Style Sew Me patterns back in the summer, despite having no good way to print PDF patterns since my home printer (which is almost as old as Syo) has bitten the dust. But the absolute standout was, of course, the Madison Cardigan. And when I recently learnt that the print shop on my local campus does A0 sheets for $1.50 (1.75 for colour)… well, the Madison was at the top of the pile to get printed.

I don’t have a lot of sweater knits, and of those I do have, I don’t typically have the three or so yards the Madison calls for. I was actually thinking about trying it out in a drapey woven, when a dig through a bin yielded a sizable chunk of black wool jersey I had forgotten about (or at least forgotten how much there was).

It took a bit of deep breathing to commit a precious piece like this to an untried pattern, but I knew that the style was awesome and a comparison with my beloved Blackwood Cardigan pattern convinced me that the sizing was reasonable. And I had JUST enough fabric, or not quite enough but by cutting the front slightly off grain (it was too wide for my folded fabric anyway) I got it to fit. I was hoping, considering the whole thing is expanded and drapey, that the grain wouldn’t matter much, and it doesn’t seem to at least so far.

I did my usual standby alterations: square shoulder, raise the underarm, small swayback adjustment (I usually would skip this in a knit but the back princess seams are there so why not?) and of course adding about 4” to the sleeve length. I cut a M, grading to an L for the hips, which is technically correct but doesn’t actually matter much because this is a floaty, open design. I also cut the length for the largest size, because who doesn’t like a bit more length and drama, but the nesting isn’t really designed for this so there was some futzing and re-cutting of the curved edge.

Trying to point out the invisible pocket.

The Madison has a two piece sleeve, which is probably good in a more structured fabric, not really necessary in most knits. I was, however, a good girl and slashed and spread my extra length in in two different places. (Spoiler alert: I have actually outdone myself, I think I only needed about three extra inches in length. The sleeves are very long, and unlike the Blackwood Cardigan sleeves they don’t scrunch up nicely). They aren’t terribly full but I did end up taking them in about 1/2” along one of the seam lines for a closer fit. Again, in a more structured fabric I might want that width.

The pattern has you staystitch the back neckline and hem all around the neckline and the drape. I have opted (thus far) to leave the edges raw for maximum drape, but I did want to make sure the back neck was nice and stable. So I fused a narrow strip of knit interfacing along the back neck, stay stitched on top of that, and finally bound the edge. I also wanted to make sure the shoulders didn’t stretch—they are just a little wider than the Blackwood and I’m not really into the dropped shoulder look, so I stitched them with a straight stitch and then added some clear elastic with the serging, and top stitched after. So I’m pretty happy with how that turned out; I might shave a smidge off in the future. I used the serger for the rest of the construction and I may regret that as I think the tensions could use a bit of tweaking…

Looks better when not overexposed.

The one thing the Madison doesn’t have us pockets. This is understandable as they tend to interfere with the drape and flow of a style like this, but I’m also pretty attached to pockets in my sweaters these days. After some cogitation I decided to go with patch pockets (modified from the Blackwood, because when it works it works), but locate them over the side seam. This is similar to what I did on my York Pinafore hack, and I like it—not ideal for putting your hands in, perhaps, but I need somewhere for phone/keys/masks, especially when I’m at work. They’re not overly pretty, but in practice they’re almost invisible, and will increase the practicality of this sweater immensely.

In conclusion? Fun and happy. Definitely considering a lightweight knit version, and wishing desperately I had three mètres of French terry to make a yummy baby-proof version…

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Gloriously simple

I suppose it was inevitable that I’d eventually fall for the statement sleeve trend (which is probably long past now, but don’t get me started on trends…) Anyway, I had purchased the Adrienne Blouse pattern from the Friday Pattern Company over a year ago, but what with pregnancy and preemies and all never made it. Until now.

This is a really simple pattern. Like, simple enough that I almost hated to buy it. But sometimes you just want your hand held, and also I feel a bit guilty knocking off indie patternmakers.

Anyway, no regrets about buying it. I do kinda wish I’d printed it out twice, as you have to cut the sleeve on the fold twice and the front and back piece are the same so you have to cut that twice as well. Or traced it out in full pieces as per the cutting layout. But yeah, really simple.

Back, which is identical to the front.

One of the reasons I wanted the pattern was I was curious about the construction of the shoulder. Turns out it goes together pretty much exactly how I thought it would, but it’s still nice to have the brain-work done for you. And the elastic measurement (and yes, it is as short as it says, I spent a good while looking for reviews because I thought it should be a longer piece over the shoulder. It is not.)

Based on my measurements, I cut a medium in the sleeve and bust grading to a large in the waist and hips. Other than that, I added a bit of length to both sleeve and hem (simply by cutting to the length of the longest size), and a bit of fullness to the sleeve mainly to maximize fabric use. I would definitely keep the extra body length in a future version, but maybe not bother with the extra sleeve length. I have long arms but that doesn’t matter so much when the sleeve is meant to be 3/4 length. I also cut the two bands at the neckline on the straight grain, which isn’t really a good idea but the heavy rayon spandex I was using has lots of stretch in every direction, and it let me use up more of the sliver of fabric left between cutting out the bodice and the sleeve.

The sizing turned out pretty perfect for skimming without being too tight, and this heavy rayon knit is the perfect fabric for this pattern—the weight and drape are just luxurious.

I did most of the sewing on this pattern with the serger and my new coverstitch. I used the coverstitch for topstitching the neckline bands, as well as hemming and creating the elastic casings on the sleeves. The only thing that gave me pause was how to use it for the sleeve hem, since the instructions would have you leave a gap for inserting the elastic and I didn’t think that would be a good idea for the coverstitch. So I basted that casing with the regular machine, inserted the elastic, and then cover stitched, painstakingly since it’s VERY GATHERED (especially since I made my sleeve hem elastic quite a bit more snug than the measurements given, since I wanted it to stay up if I pushed the sleeve up my arm.) I’m not sure if this was the 100% best way to do it—stitching the casing and inserting the elastic before sewing the underarm seam would be a lot less fiddly and almost as tidy—but it worked in the end.

Other than basting the sleeve hem, the only thing I used the regular sewing machine for was basting the parts where the neckline joins the sleeves, since this needs to be really precisely positioned. This worked pretty well. I also took the time to thread my serger tails back into the seams here, since they need to be sturdy.

So I’m pretty impressed with the combination of simplicity, fit, and dramatic flare. I’m also currently fighting off the urge to make this in five different colours, because it is pretty distinctive and I probably don’t need THAT many versions. I do really like Strict Stitchery’s version with the lace sleeves, though, and I also wonder if it might work with a lightweight non-stretch for the sleeve…

Maybe just a red one though?

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Wee babbie bits

The sudden appearance of the Euphoria in my life has prompted another little spate of baby sewing. The day it arrived I pulled out a number of baby patterns and did some tracing, mostly of very basic pieces.

We’ll start with Stretch & Sew 850. This is a vintage knit pattern (dating to around the era of my birth, so yeah, I guess I’m officially old now?), a very basic baby sweatsuit type of thing, in what it claims are sizes for 1-18 months.

There are only three sizes in the pattern, and the pants in the picture above, which fit the twins quite nicely, are made from the smallest size. So the “1 to 6 month size” is really more of a (large) six month size. Not the first time I’ve run into this with older baby patterns, but it still confuses me. I compared the pattern to some pants and shirts that currently fit before picking a size.

And I will say, it’s a very satisfactory little sweat-pant pattern, with one issue—there is neither pattern piece nor lengths given for the ribbing bands pieces anywhere on the pattern (so cuffs, shirt hem, and neckline). Instead, throughout the instructions tell you to measure the required length, calculate 2/3 of it, and cut a strip that length for the band. Not really too big of an issue for the cuffs, but a bit annoying for the neck of the shirt. Also, I’m like “really? You couldn’t bother to measure your own damn pattern?”

Come to think of it I don’t think I finished my post on these white dresses…

I’d chalk it up to being spoiled by the excellent hand-holding of most modern indie patterns, except I’m pretty sure the last Kwik Sew I used of a similar vintage had not only pattern pieces for all the bands, but separate ones depending on whether your bands were going to be of ribbing or self fabric.

(I won’t confess that I pretty much never use band pattern pieces anyway… so really my irritation is more a matter of form than substance.)

Also, instead of indicating a shorter cutting line for the version of the shirt that has a band at the hem, the instructions would have you cut the shirt out and then cut off 1 1/4” from the bottom. And that’s not even mentioning that the pattern calls for putting a zipper in one shoulder (with 1/4” seam allowance) to facilitate getting the shirt on and off over giant baby noggins. Anyone who was dealing with baby clothes in the 70s or early 80s, was this a thing? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a shoulder zipper in baby clothes. But maybe it’s a thing?

My first go at the shirt was a bit of a fail. I used the same thick purple fleece as the pants, but in the heavy fabric it was just too small (and a sweatshirt should be roomy). It was cute, though. I wound up binding the neck rather than adding a band, so as not to make the opening any smaller. Since I did not, y’know, install a zipper. I should probably try again in a larger size.

I opted to try again in a lighter fabric—the scraps from my birthday top, in fact—but I couldn’t resist tweaking it a bit into a tent shape. And it’s very fun and swingy and perfect with leggings.

I made the sleeves about an inch longer and they’re still a bit short, but the shoulders are loose. So obviously drafted on the square baby model (which is fair, my first two babies were deliciously solid chunks, but the twins never really got there and seem to already be moving towards lean toddlerhood…)

At the same time I was tracing S&S 850, I thought I would check out what the smallest size of my trusty old Jalie 2920 leggings pattern looked like. The smallest size is for 2 years, but it was actually smaller than the sweatpants pattern I used above, so I figured I’d test it out. Obviously it’s for leggings, not sweatpants, so the amount of intended ease (and stretch) is very different. I made it up in this beautiful/horrible slippery polyester blue print (covered in shiny silver dots) that is perfect for making a toddler happy. I figured the worst case scenario is I add them to the boxes of size 2 hand-me-downs I’m already hoarding. But the poly fabric actually isn’t super stretchy, so while they’re a little roomy now as leggings go I don’t think they’ll make it to age two. And I’m sure I don’t need to tell you I’m much fonder of the Jalie pattern.

As I dug through a box looking for knit fabrics for an Adrienne blouse or Luna tank, I stumbled across a couple of wee scraps obviously hoarded from other projects. Why they’re in general population and not the scrap bin I couldn’t tell you except that outside of work my approach to organization is, um, lackadaisical. But anyway. There was a bit of pale blue burnout fabric that became another swingy tee, though I did have to cut the wee short sleeves on the cross-grain (this fabric hasn’t much stretch so it seems to be working)

I will say, the Euphoria handles these lightweight hems like magic. I haven’t needed to stabilize anything, a bit of tweaking of the tensions has been all it’s needed. I’m getting a bit better at folding the hems under consistently. I do think I’d like to invest in the clear presser foot, to make topstitching the neckline tidily easier.

Uneven hem from lazy cutting, not wonky folding!

A second piece must be an off-cut from a knit maxi dress I made some time ago. I love this fabric. The piece wasn’t quite long enough for leggings, but I figured with the addition of a coordinating black extra-wide baby-grow style cuff they would work (and I was feeling bored with shirts.)

I used Jalie 2920 again, but pinched out about 1/2” from the width, plus the aforementioned length modifications.

I’m pretty happy with how they turned out although I’m not sure how sturdy they’ll be. Still cute.

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The “90s Teacher” pinafore

Once upon a time, long long ago, Helen of Helen’s Closet posted a series of hacks on her blog to her fun, basic York Pinafore pattern. I, of course, fell in love with the most complicated hack, the combination of spaghetti straps and a gathered tier skirt.

Fast forward to last month, and I found myself purchasing three metres of this deep teal cotton/linen blend from the half-price sale at Fabricland. It’s soft, more cottony than linen-y, with one side very slightly brushed. (Which I didn’t notice until halfway through construction, so fortunately I was consistent about which side I used for the outside.) I wanted to make something that would transition well to fall, but wasn’t too complicated/didn’t require tracing a whole new pattern, because that’s pretty hard for me right now.

As “hacks” go this one is pretty intensive, as the only line from the original pattern that stays the same is the three or four inches of side seam. As such my version ended up a bit different from Helen’s—my front bib is lower (since I started from my low-necked version of the pattern) and I think I inadvertently squared off the neckline curves a bit more. I would raise the front (I’ll get into that) but I don’t mind the square necklines.

I also did my tiered skirt a bit differently. I decided I wanted a long skirt with a ruffle rather than three equal tiers, and also that I wanted the longer part to be flared, not just rectangular. I thought I had calculated pretty carefully to still get the 1.333:1 gathering ratio she followed, but I think my mental math was a bit off for the top of the skirt, as the gathers are very minimal. Also, minimal gathers are WAY harder to get nice and even, by the way. I don’t think I’ve ever consciously aimed for less than a 2:1 ratio in gathered tier skirts, so even though I’ve made a million of them this felt pretty awkward. And I had to pull my first go at the bottom tier off because the gathering was way too minimal. I thought I would try to get away with using only two fabric widths, and have a bit of fabric left over for baby dresses. This looked terrible. So I added a third fabric width, got much better results, but baby dresses won’t be happening unless I happen to go back for more fabric. Really that’s ok.

I made the spaghetti straps into adjustable ties, partly because the mental work of figuring out the exact right length seemed too much, and I’m glad I did although the babies also love to pull on and untie them. This way I got to play around with where the whole thing sits, with the side scoop at my waist (as originally drafted) or dropped way low—turns out I mainly like the “way low” version (as seen in these pics), although I probably wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing it with a crop top at work.

It also works backwards!

It also works backwards! at least in the “dropped” length. So that’s a fun variation. If I were to do it again I would definitely reduce the discrepancy between the height of the front and back panels, so that the front stayed over my boobs even when “dropped”, and as it also makes it harder to get the ties tied nicely.

I had originally cut inseam pockets but completely forgot to install them and was too lazy to unpick the side-seams once I had them all sewn and serged. So I made patch pockets. This turned out well in the end as I had decided I wanted the option of wearing it backwards, so I put them centred over the side-seams like cargo pockets. This wouldn’t’ve worked so well with the inseam pockets I had planned. So sometimes being brain dead and distracted while sewing in five minutes bursts is actually helpful? they stick out a bit as the skirt is gathered but I don’t mind, though I could add a button if I really wanted to. It makes it easy to drop a phone in them, though. And they are plenty big enough for phones, masks, baby snacks, and a plethora of other doodads.

Back view of the front. Apparently my only back view of the back photo was weirdly cut off.

I got a bit of a mixed reaction from the older kids. Tyo (who is the Twenty Year Old, now, by the way) said it was very “90s teacher” and reminded her of Miss Honey from “Matilda.” Which is apparently a good thing? Syo (the seventeen year old) is just confused by it. I might be a little confused myself, as it’s definitely not my “usual style” … not that I actually even know what that is these days, I gotta say. But I think I like it. At the very least it’s comfy and practical and more stylish than leggings and a tank top. Now I kinda want to make a bunch of cropped sweaters…

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Ridiculousness

If you think Tris looks unhappy here you should see the other pics…

If you’ve been following along, you may have noticed a trend of impractical white baby wear on this page that experienced parents like us should be wise enough to avoid. What can I say? Having two more babies just as the first two are almost grown wasn’t exactly practical either.

Anyway, my husband bought a white baby jean jacket the other day, but there were no white jeans at the store to go with it. So obviously I had to make some.

I also skipped the snaps on the inseam.

Fortunately, my hoarder tendencies come in handy in the sewing department. I’ve had this vintage pattern (I actually have gathered a collection for the whole family, women’s, men’s, and several children’s sizes) for a while. My mother, in fact, recognized the pattern line and told me she’d made me a pair of little jeans from them back in the day. A little bit of digging turned up a lightweight white twill (poly-cotton, I’m pretty sure) and white topstitching thread.

Anyway, the pattern claimed to be a size 1, however between the twins being rather shrimpy and patterns tending to fit large I figured they would be roomy. But if you’re going to sew ridiculous white baby jeans, you can at least make them with room to grow, right?

The pattern, as one might expect for baby jeans, is a bit stripped down. The fly is just for show and there’s no back yoke at all. The front pockets are real but have no lining—the cut-out curve is hemmed and the back portion is just top stitched in place.

This is the only white 1” elastic I had, and it’s salvaged off something else. There was just enough.

There’s a few other bulk-reducing points that I appreciated in a baby pattern. The waistband (only present in the front half) is cut on the selvedge so the inside doesn’t need to be folded under. The elastic is applied to the inside of the back, not folded into a casing. And finally, the “jeans stitch” the instructions recommend has you trim one seam allowance, overlock the other, and topstitch down. I was surprised at how much bulk this cut down, too. Usually I just overlock both edges together and stitch down, and I like the bulk in regular sized jeans, but for baby jeans anything that reduces bulk is awesome.

They close with snaps at the side-seams, a bit of a rudimentary closure where the top couple of inches of side seam are just left open. I doubt any closure is really necessary, given the elastic across the back waist, but I went with it as I figured if they were too big I could easily add another set of snaps to adjust them. Which I had to. Although I’ll already have to replace at least one. Oops.

My favourite touch, though, is the little dragon patches I added to the back pockets. The iron-on patches have been kicking around the stash for years, originally for Tyo and her bestie to put on their jackets but since that hasn’t happened I don’t feel bad yoinking them. I did iron them in place, but I trust that about as far as I can throw my husband, so I also spent my Saturday painfully hand-stitching down the edges. Hand-stitching through fusible guck sucks, by the way, and it’s hard to use a thimble when you can only get about three stitches done at a time before a baby face plants on you.

I had a lot of fun making these, impractical and oversized as they may be. The topstitching was fun, and white on white is forgiving. And the little dragons add a dash of personality. I was pretty dubious about the waistband construction the whole way (to be honest I really didn’t understand what they were going for until the very end) but I’m not mad at it, though I might not bother with the side openings if I did it again. But it’s definitely time to get back to my own jeans. These darn baby projects just like to sneak themselves in there!

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