Tag Archives: For Tyo

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

20140401-050602.jpg

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.

20140401-050625.jpg

MMMM. Wolverine and Thor…

Next up: Pattern.

20140401-051124.jpg

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.

20140401-060427.jpg

No? Not even version B?

But she did eventually bite on McCall’s 6331:

20140401-052151.jpg

McCall’s 6331

20140401-050651.jpg

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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Pikachu: the Epic.

PIKACHU!

Tyo’s Pikachu onesie is finished.

So, this thing was a lot of work. Probably more than I was expecting. It was the face that put it over the top. And the zip-off feet. I don’t have a lot of spare brain-power these days, figuring those out (or, as the cae may be, not figuring them out) took a lot out of me.

It’s kinda hard to know where to start. Did it begin a week and a half before Christmas, when Tyo hit upon the idea of a Pikachu onesie for herself, and promptly found five eBay sites all ready to sell her one that she wouldn’t shut up about? Did it begin when someone gave her a yellow Pokemon stuffie for her third birthday?* Did it begin when she was a baby and I decided for a year or so that footie pyjamas were my favourite thing? (I had a couple different pairs, storebought, so apparently I wasn’t the only person who thought that in the early aughties. The problem turned out to be that the legs were always too short and so they tended to make my toes go numb. Poo.)

Anyway, let’s just say that it was an idea whose time had come. So I’ve basically heard nothing for the last three weeks but PIKACHUCHUCHU. I had to scrap my previous onesie plans (PANDA FABRIC!) and buy a whack of yellow fleece.

Fortunately (?), I had ordered Jalie 3244 in the nick of time. It arrived literally the day before Christmas Eve. GO JALIE, and hooray for in-Canada shipping! So the kids got boxes of fabric each and a wrapped pattern for the both of them. I know, not the best “Christmas sewing”, but what I could manage this time-starved year.

Excited child.

Now, the Jalie pattern is (I think) a good starting place. It has footed and foot-free options, and, of course, every size in the book. Plus different-coloured lines! Which makes the tracing just a little bit easier. 🙂 Although, there is some piecing to be done during the tracing. The front and back piece are actually the same piece, except for the top neckline portion that you have to trace on to each piece. This mean the front and back crotch-curves are identical, but I’m somehow thinking this is not a huge deal for a glorified sleep-sack.

I was rather bemused to realize that Tyo is officially a size R. That’s the size I use to make my jeans, people. Which makes sense considering she’s been stealing my jeans since last summer, but anyway.  (I should note I’m not really a size R, more S or even T** on the bottom half, but I like my jeans closer-fitting than Jalie 2908) Although, having put the onesie on her, I wish I’d gone a size up, and lengthened a bit. This is not a voluminous onesie. And Jalie patterns do not, as a rule, run large.

In any case, we traced off the pattern and got started. By which I mean, I traced off the pattern and Tyo bounced around excitedly, and then got bored and went off to facetime*** her friends.

And then things slowed right down.

Largely, it’s because it’s a project I needed to think about. While Jalie 3244 may be a great onesie pattern, it doesn’t have a hood, and a Pikachu onesie would hardly be Pikachu without a hood to put the face and ears on. I took some measurements and drafted a rough hood pattern. Jalie 3244 has feet, but not with a zip-off closure. So I had to think about (and procure zippers for) that.

The stripes and tail

The first (easiest?) problem I tackled were the stripes and the tail.

Stripes and tail

I was really at a loss about the tail—looking at a stuffie doesn’t give you much idea of size. How long should it be? How sharp and big should those zig-zags be? How far our should the brown base extend? In the end, I’m pretty happy with my first attempt, which is good, because I didn’t have enough extra fleece to do a bunch of test versions. Once we figured out where the tail should attach on her butt, (and I added some extra stitching and elastic to support the seam in that area) the next problem was the stripes. Tyo wanted the stripes to extend around onto her sides. This caused me to alter the construction order; I sewed the back pieces together and then the front pieces to each side, so I had one big onesie-piece to applique the stripes onto. There was just barely enough space to fit the two stripes between the tail and the bottom of the armscye.

The Hood

First, I drafted a hood. I started by carefully measuring the neckline of all the pattern pieces, and then measuring roughly how humongous Tyo wanted it to be in terms of height and depth. The resulting pattern piece looked pretty ridiculous, and was really long. So I wound up cutting about four inches off the bottom of it. Which totally messed up my careful neckline calculations, by the way. Fortunately, fleece is exceptionally forgiving.

Pikachu Face. And my other helper.

I spent quite some time looking at pictures of Pikachu’s tail and back-stripes, and even more time looking at pictures of the face. I’m not a Pokemon afficionado, so I needed to do some research to get the details right. Tyo assured me that the red cheeks on her stuffed Pikachu are actually far too small, so I should make them bigger; as it turns out, I made them the same size as the eyes. I discovered (very carefully!) that you can use steam-a-seam on fleece. Very carefully! I experimented with applique stitches and scoured my scraps for the right fabrics. I spent a LONG time laying out that face. And I made ears. Deciding how big to do the ears was nerve-wracking (Based on most of the online examples, mine are a bit big. I think they’re cute that way, though.) Laying out the face was worse; Pikachu has a very high bar of cute to attain, and I was terrified of falling short. I would not want to produce some lame, un-cute Pikachu knock-off. We aim for only the best knock-offs here at Tanit-Isis Sews. 😉

Completed hood.

Pikachu’s face, as it turns out, is a bit too big for the hood. Or something. It looks good from the front, but there wasn’t much space across the back to put the ears in. The result, I think, looks a bit microcephalic, but it will have to do.

Zip Feet

Zip-off feet. I went with black grippy-fabric for the bottom.

Tyo’s other request that took some thought was for zip-off feet. I was secretly hoping she would opt for the footless version, but really, is it a real onesie without feet? Or is it just a baggy jumpsuit? But she wanted to wear it to school, and out and about, so zip-off feet were a necessity.****

I looked at a pair of my husband’s pants, which zip off just below the knee, for inspiration, but there was still a bit of learning at the school of hard knocks, which is always my favourite kind:

1) Put the zippers in in the round. It’s tempting to try to do them in the flat, as that’s easier but it works much better for the final flap-over if they’re done in the round.

2) allow more overlap than you think you need. Fleece puffs up and doesn’t cover as much as you wish it would.

3)attach band (I added a band above the ankle-seam as part of the foot unit; in the Jalie pattern the foot unit stitches directly to the bottom of the leg-piece) to foot-piece AFTER sewing the zippers in. This would’ve made the Tragedy of the Backwards Foot much easier to prevent.

The Tragedy of the Backwards Foot

Wait, did I mention the backwards foot? Yes, despite all my attempts at spacial reasoning and careful paying of attention, when I went to zip the feet on, this is what happened. If you look up at the picture above, you’ll note that there is an extra seam between zipper and foot. Slash, reverse, re-stitch. Much better than trying to unpick fleece. We’ll call it a design feature. I really don’t have it in me to do a full tutorial on adding a zipper to pants (or footies, as the case may be), although Google seems to be well-supplied with them. Anyone reading have a tutorial they like

Pikachu

Closing thoughts

Did I mention this was a lot of work? More than I really thought it was going to be. I don’t think I was thinking about the face.

Back view

I’m glad the ears are big and the tail long.

Footies

It is very warm and cozy. Also slightly grubby because it took me a while to pin her down for pictures, and the onesie has been worn to school once and around the house more or less constantly. Tyo’s teacher thought the onesie was pretty cool, but then he has a Tardis onesie.

Pikachu is small, but fierce!

I do kinda wish the whole thing was baggier, but that would’ve taken even more fleece. I used up a whole three metres on this project as it is, just of the yellow fleece.

Sad face.

She does not like taking it off.

There are a lot more things I could say, about binding zippers and seams finishes and changing the pockets, but at this point, I think I just need to hit publish. This is already well into too-long-didn’t-read territory. And, I’m tired. I think I want to go make fleece socks.

*I actually have absolutely no recollection of how the Pikachu stuffy came into our lives. I certainly didn’t buy it, so it must’ve been a gift. Tyo never particularly played the card game, nor am I aware of her watching it on TV. (Is there a Pokemon TV show? I sorta assume there is but I’ve never seen it.) And yet, Pikachu.
**Post-Christmas
***My children don’t phone their friends. Like, ever. But they do facetime, Skype, and text. Constantly.
****to those bemoaning the sad state of the world, that kids are wearing giant baby clothes everywhere, I can only say, at least it’s a warm trend. As a Canadian, I’ll take those whenever I can get them.

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