Tag Archives: For Tyo

Grand Finale

Have I mentioned Tyo is graduating high school this year?

I’m not usually an anxious parent. I didn’t agonize over sending my babies to daycare, or cry at the first day of kindergarten.

But this one is really getting to me. It feels like my job as a parent is almost done.

I know it’s not, really. Heck, if she has her way, Tyo might not move out for another ten years. But in a few more months she’ll be officially, legally, an adult. The world opens up, and it’s freaking terrifying. Before, there was always a next time, always a do-over. The do-overs are done.

Mind. Blown.

Also she asked me to make her grad dress.

Ok so maybe not so much asked as assumed.

It was also a wise choice, as I can’t afford the $800 dress she fell in love with at the fancy dress shop—but we can put her favourite elements into the dress that we make. Well, some of them. Not all that insane beadwork.

After some dizzying trying on at one of the fancier local dress shops, not to mention some heavy-duty pinteresting, and a bunch of style sketching that didn’t seem to catch her imagination, I finally got Tyo to just come to the fabric store where I work and pick fabric. The much more limited local selection really helped her focus and narrow down what she wanted, and I think we were both really excited by what she ended up going for: navy, a short satin under-dress with a long, full, removable lace skirt over top.

We settled on McCall’s M7281, as a contemporary pattern with the right lines, despite the not-very-inspiring envelope.

The Under-Dress

And despite my fears, the muslin process went quite well. Her measurements put her in the size 10 for bust and waist, size 14 for hips. Grown into the pear shape we have been predicting for her! And the sizing was true enough with only minor taking in. We initially muslined the straight skirt—she wanted a slightly flared skirt, but not as full as the one that came with the pattern. I planned to follow Gertie’s old tutorial for converting a pencil skirt style into a gently flared skirt.

So in the end I made minor tweaks to the bodice, some more major ones to the skirt (mostly to do with hip curve), and converted it from the straight original shape to the cute little flared skirt above.

Which makes it approximately the same shape as every other cute little dress she owns.

Did I mention we included pockets?

Apparently this feature is causing quite a bit of jealousy among her classmates.

The one thing she REALLY loved from her favourite of the store dresses (up above) was a corset-laced back.

It took a bit of mental rehearsing, but I eventually managed something not too dissimilar.

The dress has an inner corselet made of ticking, with metal boning. I used the original straight skirt pieces to draft a princess-seamed, hip-length pattern for it.

My biggest screw-up is that I didn’t choose to underline my bodice fabric. I thought with the dark fabric and corselet it wouldn’t be necessary. But the bodice could definitely have used a bit more support and smoothness in the outer layer. However, it’s not bothering Tyo, so please don’t point it out to her.

After some consultation, we added halter straps. They’re not, strictly speaking, functional, as the boning holds the bodice up just fine, but they definitely make her more comfortable—and they’re pretty. This crêpe back satin makes lovely soft bows. And yes, I forgot to attach them before sewing on the lining so I had to rip and insert.

The overskirt:

Once the base dress was nearly done I started on the lace over skirt.

Tyo was really excited by the idea of having the lace skirt removable. I’m trying really hard not to tell her how much this reminds me of the Teen Sweetheart Skipper doll I had in the 80s with the removable overskirt that could be worn three different ways.

Man I loved that doll. I think she perished in the Great Barbie Massacre of 2003, when I thought it would be a good idea to give the three-year-old Tyo all my old barbies. All of the heads were broken off within two weeks.

Anyway, Skipper aside, I was kind of dreading making the overskirt. The design plan was simple—gather the lace onto a straight waistband, close with hooks and cover the join with a bow. In practice, I was really dreading gathering all that lace.

I shouldn’t have been so worried. I used the zig-zag-over-heavy-thread method, which is interesting in mesh because the zig-zag basically shrinks around the centre thread into a fine line, and then it does very little shifting around on its own when you gather it. Also the fine mesh isn’t as bulky as most things, so even with something like four mètres of lace gathered onto a 26″ band it was remarkably well-behaved.

the waistband is just an interfaced rectangle I gathered the netting on to. We discussed adding another layer of tulle for poof but she says she likes it as is. The waistband closes with some skirt hooks and then a soft, droopy bow covers the attachment. We will have to cut slits in the overskirt so she can access the pockets. Also I’m pretty sure at some point during the night she’ll wear it as a cape.

The lace:

ok, I’m giving this its own section because I’m freakin proud of myself.

Tyo had one other request, which was to add a bit of lace to the hem of the short skirt’s lining, to make the basic dress a little less plain. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough of the wide lace to cut off 1.5m for the lining, and while we did have a sizable piece cut off from the upper selvedge of the lace, it had only a rudimentary, ugly really, scalloped edge.

Fortunately, I was feeling obsessive on a Saturday night, and set to work messing around with the space piece, some wash away stabilizer, and my machine’s fancy stitches.

Some key points:

  1. a hoop was useful but not essential, which is good because constantly repositioning it would’ve taken forever
  2. It works better to NOT work along the edge of your fabric. Much easier to guide things down the middle. Fortunately my remnant of lace was about twice as wide as I needed it to be.
  3. Baste your stabilizer in place, and then draw the outline of your scallop right on the stabilizer.

This took kinda forever, but was also weirdly fun, and saved me buying 1.5 more mètres of fancy 60″ wide lace just to use the bottom 3″ of it.

So this kid, though

This is done as another shop project, so we had to get to it early so it could go on display. It does feel good to have it done, though, as long as she doesn’t lose weight in the next three months. It also feels good to see how happy she is with it.

And now we can tackle the hard part—finding the right shoes!

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Little elves…

… Would have been desperately welcome.

PJ-Palooza

In the end, I did pull it off. Despite having as much No Time as usual, I made more Xmas presents than I think I ever have before. Four pairs of PJ pants, above.

Chemo-Raglan

Two Jalie raglans, one for my husband’s grandmother and one for my cousin

Jalie Raglan Tunic Dress. So hard not to keep this.

A couple of Jalie shrugs, and a Star Wars pillowcase.

Shrug + Pillowcase. Both have been gifted and no better photos were taken.

Whew!

The only ones I have any energy to cover in depth are the PJ pants. I used some random Kwik Sew patterns for skinny sweats for my very skinny nieces, aiming for extra length and WAY overshooting.

Long enough?

 

For my own kids, I used the Sewaholic Tofino PJ pants, which I’ve had in stash for an aeon or two.

I cut the size 0 in both cases, because it was easier and the reviews seemed to suggest that Tofino was fairly ro0my (Tyo’s butt size would have put her in a size 2. I think either would have been fine.)

I took advantage of the part where these are pull on pants and DIDN’T grade up to a larger size at the waist (even Tyo, who is much more pear shaped than either Syo or I, would be at least a size larger in the waist.) This means not so much gathering at the waist, I guess, but I think it makes for pretty sleek looking pants. Other than taking off some length in Syo’s version, I MADE NO ALTERATIONS! No raising the rear waist or dropping the front, no round-butt alteration… partly because they’re PJ pants and partly because Sewaholic’s pants-draft is the bomb. Well, for those who are generous in the deriere*. Love it.

They are quite wide-legged pants. I wasn’t going for skinnies, so that was fine, but if you’re looking for sleek PJs this might not be the pattern for you. Personally, I’m in love with the side panel, especially in a contrasting colour. It just makes them so much more special than plain PJ pants.

Tyo's Pair

Tyo’s Pair

The whole PJ-Palooza actually started when this Monster High flannel came in at a REALLY good price. You see, Monster High came out (at least around here) a year or so after Tyo had officially “outgrown” dolls (Yes, Kid MD, I know… kids!) and Tyo was all like “where where those when I was little?” and will totally secretly watch the TV show and stuff if no one is looking. So it just had to be. And Monster High pants for my nieces were a no-brainer as well. I could have just included Syo in the theme, too, but I really wanted something that would bring about that inner squee…

Fairy Tail Logo

I may or may not have mentioned before that she’s all about the Fairy Tail these days.

 

Seriously, fan-fic-reading-ly obsessed.

Sadly, as far as I can tell, Fairy Tail fabric is non-existant outside prepared items (not to mention virtually impossible to Google since Google assumes you’re good with anything “Fairy Tale”.

However, it does have a fairly stylized and easy-to-trace recognizable logo. And that outer panel on the Tofino pants leg is just begging to be applique’d on. As always when applique’ing I used Steam-A-Seam to stabilize and stick everything together. What can I say—I’m a one-trick pony.

New Sewing Machine has fancy applique stitches!

I had almost enough fortitude to face three appliques—so I opted for the asymmetrical thing and put them all on one leg.

Fairy Tail Applique

Since she declared this the Best Christmas Ever on the basis of these pants (as well as some Fairy Tail jewelry from my brother and some more of the mangas from my Dad), I will deem my efforts successful.

Buttonholes for waist ties

One other cute feature of the Tofinos is the tie in the waistband. Now, the way I consructed it is NOT the way the pattern directs (I was kinda confused about the pattern directions, but I wasn`t reading very closely.) I added about a 5″ length of non-roll elastic between the two halves of the tie, so it’s both adjustable and elastic. The kids seem to be a bit mixed in reaction to this feature—I think they would’ve probably liked a built-in elastic, maybe with the tie as well, but that seemed like a lot of work. We’ll see—it can be modified at any point, after all. This was the fist time I’d done buttonholes (for the ties to run through) using my new sewing machine, and it did them very nicely indeed, although doing buttonholes on a single layer of waistband (plus a bit of interfacing behind that section) is pretty much the ideal conditions, so it doesn’t prove much.

 

 In any case, I’ll call that Christmas Managed. 🙂

*I do not have a generous derriere at all, but a well-developed swayback mimics some of the bubble-butt issues, namely the unequal lengths in front and back rise and the gaping-above-the-butt issue.

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Best Laid Plans…

Burda 6849

Tyo wanted a plaid flannel shirt.

She has several, but the best one actually belongs to one of her friends and she’s going to return it. Tomorrow. Totally. So could I make her one just like it? I made Syo a whole dress for her cosplay a few weeks ago, and the last thing I made Tyo was a lousy sports bra like six months ago. Jeez, mom.

She was complaining that she no longer knows what to do when modeling clothes for photos; the ease she felt at nine and ten and twelve has melted away. I think this is code for “You should make me more stuff so I can get more practice modeling,” though I’m not convinced I believe her.

It’s been a long time since I made Tyo a flannel shirt. Like, um, five years? How the hell did that happen? I will say, that was an awesome shirt, even if it was too small. One of my nieces still has it, and a few weeks ago it floated back into our house and I was looking at it and I was all like, man, I did a great job on that shirt! I had always planned to make Tyo a bigger one just like it, and had even bought more of the fabric. I found the piece shortly before I started this project; I got a one metre cut. How the hell did I expect to make a shirt for a ten or twelve year old out of 1m of 42″ wide flannel? How the hell did I even manage that the first time, which was something like a kids’ size 7, but lengthened?

What all the cool lumberjacks are wearing.

While I’m not going to complain about the final product (and Tyo is thrilled, so that pretty much fixes everything) there was definitely a fair bit of, um, sideways on this project.

It started with the fabric. Tyo wanted red. I leaned toward a red-and-black plaid myself, but I thought Tyo would love this more colourful one, with its blue and green and bits of yellow. That are not, as you may notice, symmetrical (Is that the right word? I’m too lazy to google proper plaid terminology, though I know I’ve read posts on it before.) I didn’t even think about this until I started cutting out, and trying to mirror left and right. Yeah, doesn’t really work. Headache number one.  It didn’t help that the fabric had dried slightly off-grain after the pre-wash, so getting the lines on one side to match up to the lines on the other side when cutting was, um, not working. The sane thing to do, by the way, would’ve been to iron and steam the fabric back square, but I’ve been trying not to leave my ironing board up in the kitchen between projects (at which I am intermittently successful) so I didn’t have it out when I was cutting this out. What I did instead was yank and fudge so that my plaid lines roughly matched up, although everything looked weirdly twisted, and then iron them back into submission (and symmetry) after everything was cut out. It worked, fortunately, but I do not recommend this method.

Burda  6849 is a beautifully tailored women’s shirt. What Tyo wanted, on the other hand, was a loose, slouchy I-stole-this-from-my-boyfriend kind of shirt. Archer would likely have been perfect, but I don’t have that one, and I wanted to do this as a shop project—and while I can and do use Indie patterns for those, the cost can`t be included in the budget and I didn’t want to shell out the money. I figured I could make it a size up, and with a mod or two, all would be well. I left off the front and back darts, and cut the back on the fold with a little more width than the pattern called for, to make a pleat. Tyo was a bit concerned that it wasn’t going to be long enough, so I also lengthened the back—through I think it would’ve been fine; I removed most of the length I had added before hemming.

Sleeve tabs.

She loves shirts with those button-up tabs to keep the sleeves rolled up, so I added some of those as well.  It was pretty simple, although I should’ve made them a little longer.

Flannel and toques go together like peas and carrots.

Other than shortening through the waist a little bit, I made none of my usual fitting alterations.  It felt really weird, especially when I didn’t add four inches to the sleeve length. In hind sight I could’ve graded out another size at the hips, but ah well.

This.

Either the sleeves are very narrow, or my bias cuffs stretched before I interfaced them, because there was no little bit of gathering or pleating—the sleeve fit smoothly right into the cuff. I always use this technique of Sherry’s to attach cuffs—I’m so happy I can link to that again! 🙂 My one disappointment with the pattern was that there isn’t a real sleeve placket piece—the opening is just finished with a bias band. This is a technique that reads much more “blouse” to me than “shirt,” but whatever. It’s also fast and less nerve-wracking, so there is that. I’m pretty sure Tyo hasn’t noticed.

The Importance of Cardboard Templates in shaping Bias Pockets.

I have been trying to skip pocket templates lately, but it was not a good idea in this case. That was definitely three minutes well spent.

So many options

I initially planned to include bias pockets, pocket flaps, and front yokes, all great features included in the pattern. Except, when I got them all laid out, my eyes started to bleed. And I made the pockets and flaps in bias so I wouldn`t have to match the plaid, but I didn`t match the plaid of the flap to the plaid of the pocket. D’oh. In this busy fabric, it was much better to dial everything back and just use the pockets. Another piece of sideways.

Attempting at a chebroned back yoke.

My attempt to do a chevron back yoke by adding a CB seam there was foiled, as well. Turns out, when your plaid is very even (Like, the same stripes vertically and horizontally), the chevron effect doesn’t show up at all and you might as well just cut the whole thing in one bias piece.

Adventures with snap setters.

One of the things I wanted to experiment with (this is encouraged in shop projects) was using a snap setter. I tried out this hammer-in style, that basically helps hold the snaps in place for you, and I also managed to figure out that the ancient set of pliers below, which have been kicking around my sewing hardware since I found them at my moms aeons ago, would also work for this size/style of snap. Which was a big relief. I have been so close to getting rid of these so many times, but I’m a hoarder at heart and couldn’t quite do it. I’m so glad I’ve figured out how to use them now.

Vintage snap pliers, used at last.

I’m still not completely convinced that the snaps will hold, mind you, but we’ll see. One side of the collar stand popped right off, but the fabric there is really thick; I wish I would’ve trimmed my seam allowances much more aggressively.

Back View

The back of the Burda pattern has a centre seam and fisheye darts for shaping. Both of these seem like REALLY good ideas to me… but were not right for the shirt Tyo wanted. So I cut on the fold, and added a wee bit of ease to include a pleat below the yoke. I could probably have used a bit more, but oh well.

Just needs snaps…

In any case, it’s done and hanging, and when she gets it back Tyo will be a very, very happy teenager.

Fabulous Lumberjack Child

Fabulous Lumberjack Child

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Jammie Pants

McCall's 6641

McCall’s 6681

Over Christmas, I was wanting to do a wee bit of sewing for my children, but by wee I do mean wee since I had about as much free time as I ever do lately, which is on the order of a few hours ever other week. For Tyo, stretchy cozy PJ pants seemed to fit the bill, but they needed to be as simple as possible. Even the Sewaholic Tofino pattern, which has to be one of the cutest PJ-pants patterns out there, and is sitting patiently in my stash, seemed too complicated.

So, after a bit of stash rummaging, I settled on McCall’s 6681, a Stitch ‘n Save pattern that I can’t quite decide if it’s cute, or just dated and butt-ugly. Anyway, the bottoms were a completely basic PJ trouser, which is what I was looking for. As it turned out they’re a teeny bit tapered, which I thought might suit the kids these days.

Batpants!

Batpants!

Despite the deliciously-soft panda fabric featured throughout this post, the first Christmas pair was made with Batman fleece. This was a rare score, indeed, since Fabricland has had mostly bugger all for licensed anything the last couple of years, so I had to snaffle it up when I saw it, since this year Tyo is All Batman All The Time. I’m not terribly into taking on pop-culture as totem or mascot, myself, but, well, I suppose there are worse mascots she could adopt than Batman. And this was a LOT easier than the Pikachu onesie.

Now, while one of the major downsides of having a teenage daughter is her ability to steal your clothes, in making these as a present, it became a bit of a boon—I made them to fit me, just a little bit shorter. It worked fairly well, though I should’ve made the waist a bit more snug—not sure if that’s to be blamed on my comparatively-larger waist (do you see the hips on that kid?), or the way the elastic stretches out a bit in sewing. Anyway, they aren’t going to fall off. And she was very, very happy with them.

So, when I finally dug out this panda fleece (purchased a year ago last fall, originally for Tyo before she came down with a bade case of Pikachuitis) to make a pair of comfy pants for Fyon’s birthday (who is eight now, by the way, how the hell did that happen?), I figured I should make Tyo a pair too, for old time’s sake, even if pandas are so year-before-last. Since I had the pattern all ready to go ‘n everything.

The pandas will get you if you don't watch out!

The pandas will get you if you don’t watch out!

So I did.

Tyo-fitting pattern changes

Tyo-fitting pattern changes

Being the second make, I tweaked the pattern a bit, finalizing the changes I’d made to the rise the first time. I make these changes kinda preemptively to a lot of pants patterns, especially when I know they were designed for a higher rise in the front than I like. (I’ve become comfortable with a very uneven rise, nice and high for lots of coverage in the back, dipping low in the front to sit under the belly. Tyo seems to like it too, but it makes it really hard to wear most storebought pants and leggings. For this pair, I added a bit of length (depth? I always forget which it is) to the back crotch, as well, just for good measure.

The front.

The front. I forgot to get her to hike her shirt so you could actually see the rise.

Now, I’m certainly not going to be a fit-Nazi about some baggy PJ pants, but I am pretty pleased with how they turned out, anyway. No smiles and straining, but not so huge she’s swimming in them. How much can be credited to my alterations and how much to the fact that these are loose PJ pants, I don’t really know (I suspect mostly the latter, though.) And no, I didn’t even try to pattern-match panda-faces across her butt.

The back.

The back. Also, why can’t I have hips like that? /momsulk

The back hangs almost straight, and the rise is nice and high.

The side.

The side. You can kinda see the angle of the waistband under her shirt.

The best thing about PJ pants like these is how damn fast they are to put together. These didn’t take more than an hour all told (it helped that the pattern was ready to go, mind you), and I also managed to churn out a couple of fuzzy pants for Fyon and the Waif. And I think I have just enough panda fabric left to make some 3/4-length comfies for Syo.

Small fuzzy pants

Small fuzzy pants

There’s only one problem: Osiris is now wondering where his panda pants are.

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Jeans for the Cool Kid

The Happy Teenager

The Happy Teenager

Tyo’s been making out like a bandit this year. I mean, really—Syo got some yoga pants she doesn’t like and a quick stretch-knit birthday suit, and Tyo has racked in a pikachu onesie, an Avengers grad dress, and now this. I realize in terms of project numbers they’re similar (and both low… but my sewing time is at an insane premium these days, peeps), but if you look at hours committed… Tyo is way ahead. Obviously I have some parental imbalance to redress. (In my defense, Syo has benefited from at least a couple of other things that never made it on the blog, but still nothing that required more than a couple of hours to knock out on the serger.)

But anyway, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and Tyo was so very, very squeaky about this project. She was starting high school (which, in our neck of the woods, starts in Gr. 9, or roundabouts age 14), and very nervous, and determined that she had to make the most badass first impression ever. Her father was committed to drive her to school for the first day on the motorcycle. She campaigned for (although she didn’t get) freshly-blue hair.  (I like the blue hair just fine—it’s the pain in the ass of getting it applied, followed by the days of blue-getting-everywhere (blue towels. Blue bedsheets. Blue bathroom. Blue clothing.) that drive me nuts.)

But she did get a pair of jeans.

I haven’t made Tyo a pair of jeans in, um, a long time. There were these shorts, over two years ago. The last pair of Jalie jeans was 2011. This was around the time Tyo became a reluctant (but eventually fervent) convert to the Cult of the Skinny Jeans, at which point the lifespan of a pair of jeans on a growing child became numbered in months, rather than seasons or years. Handmade disposable pants? Even with a little sister and littler cousins for hand-me-downs, this was Not Happening—I declared a jeans-for-kids moratorium. Actually, I declared a moratorium on any jeans that cost more than $10… thrift store scores only, it was.

But, lately, that pesky growing thing that children do has slowed down for Tyo, and this was a big occasion, and she had a very specific idea she was very excited about. And, well, she’s been stealing all my shorts for months. So I had her go try on my most recent pair of jeans for myself. And, while she’d probably rather be shot than seen on the internet in floral jeans, the fit was pretty much spot on except for length.

It’s a very weird feeling any time someone else puts on your carefully crafted, custom-fitted handmade clothes and they FIT—it’s even weirder, IMO, when it’s your daughter. At least I’m still taller than her, unless she gets a grade-9 growth spurt, anyway.

So the good news was, I didn’t need to trace another copy of my pattern—just take a few inches out of the length. And Tyo wanted her vision completed badly enough she was even willing to help cut the fabric.

The cutter.

The cutter. (In my floral jeans, although you can’t actually assess the fit in this picture)

Which is not a thing that happens, ever. So yeah.

As for the Vision behind the Pants? Well, we don’t have Hot Topic in Canada (at least, not in my backwater corner of things), but Tyo has a dear friend whose parents are, um, a little more well-heeled than we (mind you that does describe a fairly large chunk of the Canadian population) and tend to take their children on cross-border shopping trips of fairly epic proportions (Fellow Canadians should note we are not part of the 80% of Canada’s population that lives within a two-hour drive of the US border. Such trips require hours of driving and hotel stays). And said dear friend had a pair of Hot Topic jeans that were one colour on one side, and another colour on the other side. So we scoured the stash for the best black denim, and then went through all the purples (how on earth did I end up with four different lenghs of purple denim? I may have a Problem.) to find one which best matched, which turned out to be this totally-intense primary (OK, secondary) purple. That I couldn’t photograph in true colour to save my life, but anyway. It’s a very bright, clear purple.

One good thing about cutting jeans this way—you pretty much have to cut in a single layer, which is a good idea anyway if you want jeans that hang straight, but I am lazy and always talk myself into cutting folded. Sometimes I get away with it, sometimes I get really annoying twisty seams.

Other than that, I don’t have much to say about the actual construction, except that I did modify things for a stitched-on fly extension, which I think I prefer to the cut-on one all my other jeans have had to date (storebought jeans always have one that is stitched on—I think the seam gives needed reinforcement to the fly edge, especially in stretchy jeans). It’s obviously not a make-or-break detail, and I’m still not terribly comfortable with how you do a fly this way, since it’s a bit different and I did end up having to do some unpicking… but it’s a thing to work on, anyway.

Back Pockets

Back Pockets

Tyo specified that the main construction should keep colour to its appropriate side—probably a good thing. Left to myself I would probably have colourblocked everything, and it would have ended up looking really busy. As it is, I couldn’t resist swapping the back pockets and the belt-loops, and I’m not sure if it adds to the overall look or takes away. Minimalism might have been a better idea. Oh, well. I do like the doubled belt-loops at the sides as well as the back.

Two buttons

Two buttons

I finally remembered, after regretting it my last couple of projects, that my currently-favourite-waistband pattern piece is a bit wide, and the jeans buttons I can get a hold of here are a bit small, so a single button results in a rather insecure attachment that lets the waistband roll over in weird ways. Two buttons, however, is perfect. (I also made Tyo try them on while I marked the button location, so I don’t THINK I need to move them over, which I still have to do with my flower jeans, because the position that looks like it’s lined up  nicely when the jeans are laying flat is actually too “loose” when the jeans are on a body and the waistband is under tension—leading to chronically-low-flying flies.

One final detail, which you probably noticed in the earlier pictures, was inspired by some jeans a character in one of our favourite family TV shows, Lost Girl, wears. I can’t find any good shots, but I screen-capped this one:

 

Kenzi's laced-up jeans

Kenzi’s laced-up jeans

 

The Kenzi character wears at least a couple pairs in this style, with the sneaky inner-thigh lacing, which I knew Tyo loves as much as I do. And, Fabricland recently started carrying some fairly sturdy grommet-tape (where was this stuff two years ago when I was looking for it for the steampunk Hallowe’en costumes?!?)

Lacing!

Lacing!

So I added some. It was ridiculously simple to do, although its obviously a bit of a different look than the inspiration. Still, a fun, unique detail, and definitely one no one else has.

We took a bout a bazillion photos of Tyo in the jeans, but it was the end of the day and we were rushed so there was a lot of blur and not a lot that did the jeans justice.

I’ll still subject you to them anyway.

Back view, with pockets and blur.

Back view, with pockets and blur.

I should note one more thing: these are not true “skinnies.” They were made according to my personal favourite leg-style, which I would call a stovepipe—tapered and form-fitting to the knee, absolutely straight below it, which creates jeans that are snug through the calf but not actually skinny in the ankle. I asked Tyo if she wanted them skinnified, but she said she likes this shape, and it doesn’t seem to have decreased the cool factor (although it has its drawbacks when we get to stuffing-pants-into-winter-boots weather).

Great pose, plenty of blur.

Great pose, plenty of blur.

'Tude.

‘Tude.

I did try them on, but lucky for Tyo, they’re just a little bit too short. 😛

Obviously this first-day-of-school project is a bit out of date at this point >_<—I’m currently working on a Hallowe’en costume for the Stylish sister-in-law, and hating it mostly because it’s not for MEEEEEE, and dying to work more on ridiculous historical clothing projects that I have no actual need for. Not that I have a need for much clothing, at the moment, other than perhaps warm fuzzy things to get me through the impending winter. Hopefully I’ll manage to blog some of that in a more reasonable time-span… hah.

In the meantime, I’ll just be happy that my kid still thinks the things I make are “cool”.

At least sometimes. 😉

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A dress to end an era

The Avengers (not the Emma Peel variety) grad dress is done.

Quirkyy? Maybe.

Quirkyy? Maybe.

Of course, it’s been ALMOST done since early May, just waiting on the zipper and hem. My motivation to finish anything so unselfish ahead of time? Zilch. But, with the grad only days away, I got it done.

Almost done (back in May)

I’m not sure how much resemblance my final product has to the original pattern—I replaced most of the details that make that pattern cute and unique with my own. But I do think it’s a reasonable take on what Tyo wanted.

Hmmm

Hmmm

Quick recap:

1) cut size 8; narrowed darts towards waist to increase waist size. (sewed the pleats on the skirt a teeny bit narrower to compensate)
2) removed fold-over “collar” bits, replaced them with bias “collar” strip.
3) added length at front waist, removed at back waist.

Pockets!

Pockets!

4) I added pockets. I just made up a shape, and tucked them in the side-seam. Tyo was VERY happy when she found them. It does take a bit of hunting, since they’re within a seam that’s covered by a pleat, but they’re there.

Skirt

Skirt

5) I made the skirt straight (or rather, smoothly curved) along the hem, not petaled. I just cut off the bottom curves of the petals; it becomes really short if you do this, by the way. I took the teeniest hem with a facing, and it is none too long on my daughter, who is none too tall. It’s not a full circle as cut but once it’s pleated up it might as well be.

Grum!

Grum!

6) black piping along both edges of the straps and around the “collar” strip—I imagine it’s like the black frame around a comic-strip panel.

Lapped zipper

Lapped zipper

7) I attempted to print-match only along the back bodice seam. This was generally successful, although not as impressive in a lapped zipper as an invisible zipper would’ve been.

Happy child.

Happy child.

Looking at photos, I can see a few tweaks I might make, but on the whole, the aim of the project was a happy teenager, and this was achieved.

Faced hem, my favourite kind.

Faced hem, my favourite kind.

I am, I think, out of things to say. But not out of pictures, so bear with a couple more.

Captain Wolverine

Captain Wolverine

Tyo would like to draw your attention to this accidental bit of print-not-actually matching.

Happy dance

Happy dance

Tyo would also like to do a happy dance, which means that I, as a mom, am doing my own happy dance x1000!

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Special plans

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Me and my girl.

Tyo is going to be 14 this summer. This means, and doesn’t mean, all kinds of things, but in particular, she’s finishing grade eight, which around here is the end of elementary school. Next year is high school, in all its iconic glory*. (I’m not sure who’s more scared, she or I. Okay, it’s her. I love watching my kids hit new milestones—it’s my favourite thing about parenting.)

Anyway. Tyo’s friends have been bugging her to wear a dress to grad. Tyo would just as soon go in jeans (preferably ripped), but she concocted a compromise. She would wear a dress, if I would make her one. Isn’t it great when our teenagers come up with a reasonable compromise? I know!

Oh, one more thing. It must be made out of Avengers fabric.

Challenge accepted. Confession: having never made a grad dress for myself**, I’m kinda excited to make one for my daughter anyway. Avengers fabric just puts it into the awesome category, though. The only downside is that I can’t, quite, steal her clothes yet.

Sadly, my local fabric stores are not hotbeds of superhero activity. Ok, the odd Batman fabric does show up. eBay, however, turned out to be a treasure trove. Tyo picked a very old-school, garish print. Perfect. The original price of 6.99/yard seemed quite reasonable, although shipping and that pesky conversion from American dollars nearly doubled it. Still not bad, though. What arrived is not the finest of quilting cottons, but perfectly respectable.

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MMMM. Wolverine and Thor…

Next up: Pattern.

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Tyo sent me this pic way back last summer as an example of a dress she wouldn’t mind wearing. So with that as our inspiration, we thumbed through my pattern database. Sadly, she was not going for McCall’s 4778.

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No? Not even version B?

But she did eventually bite on McCall’s 6331:

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McCall’s 6331

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View B, without the bustier cups. Tyo may someday embrace things like bustier cups but, fortunately for my reflexively-prudish-parental-nerves, she hasn’t yet.

We finally made up the practice version last weekend. I say finally because I have literally heard nothing but “When are we making my dress?” for like a month straight.

You will note some changes have been made.

In terms of fit, I traced off the Misses’ size 8, to match her bust, in the A/B cup size, and shortened the bodice by a good 3 cm, since her back length is nowhere near the 16″ the patterns are drafted for. Then I added that length back on at CF, in a kind of a reverse swayback adjustment, lengthening the front rather than shortening the back. This is my daughter, after all, even if the booty is all from her dad’s side of the family. I won’t exactly say the waist is level with the floor, but at least it’s closer.

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The practice dress.

Originally we were going to keep the cute little collar-like flaps on the front of the McCall’s pattern; not quite the inspiration dress, but it seemed like a neat detail to me. But when it came time to test the straps, it was clear that they were too far set for her narrow shoulders (those she does NOT get from me. OK, really the list of things she doesn’t get from me is much longer than the things she does.) And because of the nature of the fold-over, moving that point inward shrank down and threw off the shape of the little triangle and it just wasn’t working. Grum. So, back to the drawing-board. Or the cutting table… a few snips and the folds were eliminated, the points reduced to a gentle curve. Bonus: without the fold-over, it became much easier to cut the front on the fold, eliminating a seam. I must admit, the little sundress-collar-thingies are just about my favourite detail for a sundress. I probably over-use them, like an indifferent novelist who has the same character recurring under different names in every book.

Oh, and the original skirt pattern has these cute scallops to each panel. Yeah, that ain’t happening.

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Did I mention Tyo sewed the skirt seams herself? So helpful! Anyway, since I was using my Featherweight for the first time in months (it spent the winter at my Stylish sister-in-law’s house, in anticipation of coat-making that we never… quite… got to. 😦 ), and I had the nifty attachments like the adjustable hemmer, I thought I’d give it ago. With a little bit of adjustment and practice, I made a remarkably neat hem, just a touch over 1/4″ wide. Honestly, I’m pretty darn preening. I used all the tips people suggested in comments on my rolled-hemmer post, and they were very helpful—especially the trimming the seam-allowance when crossing seams one.

I actually kinda love how this practice dress turned out, even in the two different fabrics. I’m inclined to finish it (I need to practice my lapped zipper skills, anyway). Tyo assures me she will even wear it… next time someone has a garden party.

Although I suspect that is teenager-speak for “Never in a million billion years, mom.”

Next up will be the real dress. Plus red crinoline. I’m jealous already—I think I just might need a red crinoline. >_<

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Adjustable hemmer foot. Scary Sewing Machine Attachments rating: 7/10.

*Yes, the Breakfast Club has been watched.>
**I blogged about my gr. 12 grad dress, here. Spoiler: my mom made it. In 1970. My gr.8 grad, on the other hand, did not involve home-stitched anything. I wore a souvenir blouse my father brought back from a trip to Montreal (a foreign and exotic land,) and one of those lightweight cotton broomstick skirts that were all the rage in the early nineties. It was a beautiful skirt, and I held on to it for years after, until, early in blog-hood, it became a part of this dress.

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