Tag Archives: For Tyo

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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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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Shirt-tales

A long-awaited shirt

A long-awaited shirt (Also, GRASS! NO SNOW!!!!)

A long time ago, I made Tyo a shirt. And she loved it very much, but since I had made it in a pattern a couple of sizes too small, it was outgrown pretty much instantly. A replacement was mandated, but despite my best intentions, I allowed myself to be distracted with frilly dresses and fleece pants and other frivolities for, well, nearly two years at this point. I think it was Gertie’s pattern that put Tyo over the edge, though. Anyway, she marched down to the savage pit of despair that is my basement “sewing area,” dug through the chaotic array of teetering, half-unpacked boxes*, and emerged, victorious, with this fabric, which she had picked out, long ago, for a replacement shirt.

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Burda 04/13, pattern #120

The next question was, of course, the pattern. What she REALLY wanted was an enlarged version of the original pattern. It being a Lekala, this is theoretically not that hard, but I wasn’t quite prepared mentally to figure it out. She’s also been wanting a tie-front shirt, too, which seemed like a more seasonal option, anyway. So I decided I’d use this tie-front pattern from the April Burda, which I picked up a few weeks back, thinking particularly of this pattern for Tyo. Of course, while Tyo (who is nearly thirteen) is now overlapping into the lower end of women’s sizes (when did THAT happen?), this particular pattern only goes down to a 36, and really she needs a 34. And even then, about five cm less of body length. Fortunately, in the foggy recesses of my brain I remembered something about the Selfish Seamstress’s long-ago tutorial on grading down nested sizes. Actually, this wasn’t nearly as difficult as I had thought it would be. I suspect taking the time to highlight my closest line on the pattern sheet helped. Then I added seam allowances, which was basically adding back the width I had just removed, by the way. OK, I know there’s more to it, but just sayin’. For my final trick (such a good mother I am), I removed the five cm in extra length, half from the armscye area and half from the torso above the waist. I even walked my seamlines afterwards to check that they were good. I NEVER do that.

Then, I spent a slightly ridiculous amount of time pinning the major match-points on this wiggly, gauzy plaid. Seriously, I think cutting separate layers would have taken less time. It would’ve been worth it, though… except that I then proceeded to cut out both front and back with absolutely no regard for matching the sideseams. So all was basically for naught. DURRRRRR. This is why we don’t sew (cut out) late at night. *headdesk*

Sleeve

Sleeve

I opted to at least try to match the sleeve in the front armscye.  /sigh.

Closeup, with funny look. Funny looks are mandatory, it appears, these days.

Closeup, with funny look. Funny looks are mandatory, it appears, these days.

I actually think this is a ridiculously cute little shirt. I love the simple collar (even if I couldn’t make heads or tails of Burda’s instructions for sewing it, and consequently winged it and made a bit of a hash.) I love the one button above the tie, and the gathered elastic on the sleeves (even though Tyo has warned me she will probably just roll them up.) The fit is pretty decent. The shoulders are a wee bit wide (and I did measure her shoulder width!) but perhaps that’s how it’s meant to be. I can’t quite tell if the waist length ended up right since the tie kinda scrunches everything up, but I guess that means it doesn’t matter, anyway. Despite being spongy and shifty, this is a really lovely fabric to work with. Also, yes, I was too impatient to wait until I had a real button on, so she has it pinned with her Mockingjay pin.

She's a cool kid.

She’s a cool kid.

The one thing that could’ve been a bit disastrous was the long, diagonal front edge of the ties, which is a hot ripply mess just waiting to happen. Fortunately for me, this fabric was fairly amenable to being steamed back into shape, and fortunately for anyone else who tries this pattern, once they’re tied I think it doesn’t matter too much. I mentioned I made a hash of the collar (well, mostly the finish on the inside.) I also managed to snip through the outer fabric when finishing this seam, so there’s an interesting little “detail patch” in one shoulder that I forgot to photograph for you. It’s totally cute and intentional-looking. Right? Right. We’ll go with that. In an attempt to neaten up my nasty collar-innards, I stitched a white flat-fold bias tape along the shoulder/back neck seam, which worked out reasonably well, and makes for some nice stabilization in that area for this spongy fabric. My seam-finishes are nothing to write home about, serged with a bit of topstitching… except that they are, because I haven’t been able to serge anything this lightweight in aeons without wanting to tear my hair out. I came up with a stop-gap solution for my serger’s overly aggressive needle thread tension—I wrapped some sturdy buttonhole thread in between the tension discs and cut it off short. The extra thread holds the discs open just enough that they have something resembling a normal tension for the actual serger thread. Hooray! Yes, I know this is not an Approved Solution (TM), and it will probably explode without warning into a Tangle of Overlock DOOOOOOM without warning. But it’s working and I really don’t have the money to get my serger serviced AGAIN (especially since the last servicing totally failed to correct this problem and may actually have exacerbated it.)

One final face

One final face

And I think that’s all I have to say, except that this is actually only the second Burda magazine pattern I’ve sewn, ever. And I’d be totally tempted to make myself one, except that there’s no way it would look as good on me as it does on her. I would like to figure out that collar, though.

Oh, and she wants another—in red. That’s my girl. 🙂

*I have a high tolerance for functioning around mess. This is particularly unfortunate for my neat-freak husband.

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Lots of little leggings

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Jalie 2920 Leggings

Jalie 2920 is getting a lot of love around here. Maybe because a pattern with just one piece is about my speed these days. Stylish helpfully traced the sizes for her girls out, so when I had a smidgeon of downtime I found myself cranking out a couple. If I spent half an hour on either of these I’d be surprised. I feel a bit bad because I probably should’ve left the fabric for Stylish to practice on… but there’s enough left to make a couple more pairs, anyway.

I’m a little bit perplexed with this pattern, though. I get that it’s designed to stretch in length as well as width, and for snug, extra-stretchy fabrics…   well, I dunno. This purple is NOT such a fabric. I mean, it’s a pretty nice, beefy knit. The amount of stretch is good. But it’s definitely not a four-way stretch. When tracing, I had Stylish give lots of extra room in the leg length, to compensate for this. I used the longest lengths here, and I’m glad I did. The Waif’s are a little long, but she seems to grow up rather than out, so that’s probably a good thing, and Fyon’s are spot on. And that’s five or six extra inches beyond the pattern’s “proper” lengths. Well, the length dictated by their heights, anyway. The Waif’s pair are a size 2(F), lengthened to the five length and then beyond. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen her in a pair of pants that wasn’t way loose and baggy on her.

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The Waif, Tyo, and Fyon in their new leggings

This was after I had attempted to make myself another set of leggings from some luverly denim-look knit I’ve been sitting on and petting since I acquired it around New Year’s. The whole bolt at my local Fabricland recently got marked down to half price and I’m having a hard time not rushing in and buying up the whole damn thing. I used the same Jalie 2920 as for my black leggings. However, peeps, this is where those stretch gauges on the patterns become important. This stuff is stretchy, but not leggings-type stretchy. Length was not an issue, but while I could wriggle into them, well, um, let’s just say that it was putting undue stress on the fabric. D’oh.

Fortunately, as with the fleece pants, I have a suitable candidate with a derriere just a little bit smaller than my own handy in the house, so Tyo now has her first pair of jeggings. I guess I had better enjoy that while it lasts… we just had to buy her a whole new crop of skinny jeans, as the ones she got in September are getting too snug. (This is why I don’t make her jeans very often any more). The time until her hips surpass mine may be measured in months rather than years at this point. Oh, you cursed curvaceous pears.

I guess I just need to get some more denim-look knit for myself. /sniffle.

Anyone else addicted to deadly simple projects? I swear I’ll do something actually interesting one of these days…

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Fleece Pants: A Family Odyssey

Episode 1: Failure
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Those of you who follow me Twitter or Instagram may have caught the odd hint of one of the winter obsessions Chez Isis this year—fleece pants. The perfect antidote to a Saskabush winter, especially for people who spent the last five years in balmy southern Alberta. And yet, and yet, they have remained curiously absent from the blog. Unforgivable, no? I agree. I kept waiting to get them ALL DONE, and do a great big family fleece pants post.

I have come to the conclusion that if I do that, I may still be waiting come next winter. So, here I go with one installment at a time.

Dredging deep, deep into my memory, may I present my first attempt at making fleece pants? A veritable antique by blog standards, stitched in the fall of 2012.

I used the pattern for the Jalie 3022 yoga pants, of Pink Suit fame (or infamy), with the same alterations to length and rise I had had success with in the pink pants. Fleece is really a nice fabric to work with—bulky, but not slippery, and with enough stretch to make the fit forgiving, right?

Well, I had double-checked the stretch requirement on the pattern envelope, and the fleece matched it, but I neglected to think about one startlingly important aspect, the difference between “two way” stretch and “four way” stretch.* In particular, this pattern needs something that stretches both in width AND length.

The fleece stretches in width, but when it does so it loses length.

As it turns out, a lot of length.

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Enough length that the vertical seams, which were beautifully smooth when I topstitched them, bubbled out like crazy. The length which had been more than adequate on the pink fabric (I cut off two inches of the four I had added) became inadequate even for hemming. But most disastrously, the rise, which ended up perfect (after tweaking) on the Pink Pants, became somewhere between risque and just plain indecent. And if it’s too low for me, dear readers, well, it’s too low to show you. 😉

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Which is not to say I didn’t wear them. Oh, no. Many a dark and icy winter morning was softened by reaching for my fleece pants. Long shirts and oversized sweaters compensated for the problematic rise, and they were particularly perfect for walking the kids to their bus stop, which has to be one of the most grueling treks of the Canadian prairie winter.

But finally, I had to admit that they really weren’t adequate. It would make much more sense to make myself another, larger pair. And, well…

They fit Tyo perfectly.

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All the photos in this post, as you have probably noticed, are of the pants on Tyo.

Coming soon: Episode 2, the Sister-in-Law Edition.

*And I’ve seen this defined differently in different places, so, in the absence of a Central Fabric-Describing Authority, I’m going with what is convenient for this particular post.

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Hallowe’en Roundup

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Actual Hallowe’en photo

Okay, why is it so hard to get good Hallowe’en photos? every year I vow that I will, and every year I end up with a couple of fuzzy shots of kids running away to the next house while trick-or-treating. >_<

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The best actual Hallowe’en picture.

Anyway, I’d say the Steampunk costumes were a success, at least as costumes. As costumes for Hallowe’en in Saskatchewan… not so much. I think the last several years in balmy southern Alberta kind of messed with my head in the Hallowe’en-costume-planning department. Note To Tanit: Saskatchewan Hallowe’en costumes should be: showing NO skin, ideally can cover a snow suit. Scarves are a bonus.

It took me the better part of a month to work up the energy to wrangle the girls back into costume (and makeup), and at this point I’m really too tired of all of it to do much introspection. Which is too bad, because there’s probably a fair bit left to say, if only about the jackets.

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Yes, so late the Christmas tree is already up.
(Note—I didn’t put the tree up.)

OK, I know you pretty much saw that one already. Anyway, prepare for pretty much a photo essay, with minimal commentary.

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Tyo, giving me crap for taking the photos so late.

Pocket watches were an important elements of the costumes.

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A long-awaited closeup of Syo’s hat

I must confess, I think Syo’s hat with the painted holly berries actually crosses the seasons nicely.

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Syo’s pocketwatch. All pocketwatches courtesy of my mother. (Without whom these costumes really wouldn’t have happened, I think.)

The tailcoats were adapted from the much-maligned McCall’s 5312.  Originally Syo didn’t want one, but it turned out the size 10 was too small for Tyo, and Syo consented to wear it (thankfully, as she would’ve been even colder than she was already without it). She’s been wearing it at least weekly since, so I think that’s a win.

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Tailcoat and monocle.

Syo requested an internal pocket for her pocketwatch. Tyo didn’t, but I should’ve included one anyway. Oops.

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Internal pocketwatch pocket.

Syo’s monocle actually turned out really cool (and had an actual magnifying lens, too). It’s made from an old earring and some kind of jeweller’s loupe. Unfortunately it spent the entire actual Hallowe’en tucked in a pocket with the pocketwatch.

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Syo with monocle

I had a lot of fun painting the jackets with black, brown, and silver. Why? Well, mostly because. Also, it was fun. I lined the jackets with this fun printed quilted lining fabric I picked up at Value Village on a whim sometime last spring—it was one of those things I really wasn’t sure I should ever have bought, since it’s right on the border between awesome (a cool print) and horrible (quilted lining is one of those things I generally loathe). However, it really came into its own here, I think—giving body to the  wimpy suiting fabric I was using for the shells, and adding much-needed warmth. Seriously, I can’t believe how long my kids wore these outside. It was -7C, -14C with the wind chill, and we were out for almost three hours, with only a couple of warm-up stops.

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Jackets. Also, I want to eat your brains. But your hat first.

My mom offloaded generously gave us a bag of old stenciling supplies a week or two before Hallowe’en, including a lovely, delicate rose stencil. I couldn’t resist adding it to the coats in a couple of places. I just used the same acrylic paint I used on the rest of the coats. I don’t particularly expect a lot from this down the road, but it served the purpose at the time.

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Painted jacket: ruffle trim and stenciled rose.

I think that’s about enough. I added length to the sleeves of the coats, and the tails, of course. I think I didn’t get the button positioning quite right, as the lapels (which I interfaced) rolled nicely but sat better before I put the buttons on.

And now, on to more recent things. I have a backlog building up, as those (few) of you following on twitter or instagram probably know already…

Of course, none of it’s been for me. *pout*

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Hallowe’en Spotlight: High Waisted Shorts

I know. This post (and the next, where I will finish up the whole Hallowe’en costume craziness) are late. Late late late. Late enough that some organized person (not me) has the freakin’ Christmas tree up. This is the post where I tell you about one more bit of Tyo’s Hallowe’en costume: her high-waisted shorts.

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Way back when, when Hallowe’en was just a misty possibility on the horizon, I doodled a costume sketch for Tyo. It included, as a bit of whimsy, a feature completely and utterly alien to children of her generation—high waisted shorts.

As an avid adopter of the low rise myself, I know for a fact Tyo’s never worn anything (pants, shorts, skirts) as high as even her bellybutton, ever, in her life. But there I was, offering to make Tyo her very first pair of high-waisted anything, ever.

Despite my doodling, I was hesitant. They won’t open like jeans you’re used to, I pointed out.

They will feel different.

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She assured me it would be fine.

I went through a lot of different thought processes—even started to draft out a pattern using Pepin. Then, when I found Butterick 7759 in a vintage size 12 (33″ hips, within an inch of Tyo’s these days), it seemed like fate.

Butterick 7759

Well, I can’t say I’d call it fate. I’m not really super-duper-enthused with Butterick 7759. Although it clearly is supposed to rise about an inch above the waist, there’s no flare-out above the waist to accomodate what (I would think) most people’s bodies do. But my biggest quibble is the shaping of the crotch—back and front are almost identical, and there’s not a whole lot of “space” created. After comparing with the fit of McCall’s 5312 (Yes, I actually used that pattern as a fit comparison!?!), I added a crotch length extension. I considered adding my usual rear rise wedge as well, but figured there would be plenty of height in the rise anyway, since the pattern was probably drafted for someone rather taller than Tyo (who hasn’t cracked five feet yet, although she’s getting perilously close.)

Pattern pieces

So, aside from my small pattern mod, and adding the points at the front, I sewed them up as is except for the back darts. In hindsight I might’ve skipped the front darts and saved myself some headaches—they make the front of the shorts a bit poofy, which Tyo was not really a fan of.

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I assume there actually is a person out there with a figure suited to front darts. I just haven’t met them yet. Or maybe that’s how pants/shorts like this are supposed to fit, all poofy in front? How the hell would I know—I haven’t worn anything but stretch denim voluntarily since I discovered the stuff.

This is an actual photo taken Hallowe’en morning before school. Shorts. With snow pants.

When I first started fitting the shorts, Tyo was suddenly very sceptical of the high-waisted fit, and I was very close to tearing her head off. Fortunately for her (and for my continued jail-free existence), once I had the zipper in and they actually stayed up, she really, really liked it. The only hitch came with me adding in my own (made up, half-ass) facing. I had incorporated some above-waist flare when I made the custom-fit back darts, but when I was measuring the facing against the shorts themselves, that flare kind of folded itself up. So the facing rectangle wound up slightly shorter than the shorts had been. It eased in all right and doesn’t really show, but the waist/rib section is a bit more snug. Most of the time she wore it, the zipper was down about one or two inches. Which actually looks pretty cute, but fit, it is not.

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All in all? I don’t know if she’s a high-waisted convert (although my 15 year old niece was asking about shorts “to her waist, to tuck things into,” so you know the times they are a-changin’) but it was certainly an interesting exercise outside both our comfort zones. And the results were pretty darn cute. Even if I do still have a long way to go in fitting what we’ve affectionately dubbed the Gigi booty. (After the paternal grandmother to whom we can trace this particular figure in my husband’s family)

Also, anyone remember when Tyo looked like this? What the heck happened to my baby?

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