Tag Archives: Kid-Made

More patterns I don’t need

Thrift store patterns and fabric

I never used to buy patterns. In fact, I had a positive phobia of paying for patterns for a LONG time. But then, I never used to buy fabric, either. So I guess it’s just another example of how far I’ve come (or how the mighty have fallen, depending on your perspective, I guess).

Yesterday, I popped very briefly into my local Value Village. I was secretly hoping for more Japanese pattern magazines, but that’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime find. I did, however, walk out with two kids patterns (somehow I’m more susceptible to kids patterns, or maybe I’m just in a kids-sewing rut at the moment…) and this awesome cotton dragon-print curtain. The patterns are basic, but mindful of the raves Kwik Sew gets I decided to pick it up, and the Simplicity sleepwear set is cute and simple and totally uncut. The patterns are simple enough that the kids could probably stitch them up themselves, although convincing them that they’re interesting enough to try may take a bit more work.

I really love the curtain, too. It’s not a big curtain. I was thinking of turning it into an apron for me when I got it, but am also tempted to make it (with the addition of some coordinating fabric) into a sundress for Tyo, maybe. The print might be cool and tough enough to actually get her into a dress.

Young Image, My Image

Or not. She’s been in tomboy mode long enough now that I actually have a hard time picturing her in anything dressy. But the musing brings me to my next recent pattern acquisition, which includes some really cool kids sundresses. Yes, I jumped on yet another bandwagon and ordered two issues of My Image, the newest pattern magazine on the block. Or blog, as the case may be. What can I say? They emailed me with a 25% off coupon, which brought the price down to roughly what I’d pay for an issue of Burda Style, even with shipping from Europe. The envelope squeaked in right before the current postal strike escalated into a lockout and the dribbling mail delivery screeched to a complete halt. I miss my mail, especially as there were a couple of other goodies I was hoping to receive soon. /sigh.

My Image, winter 2010/2011

Anyway, I ordered the winter women’s version (which includes 11 womens’ patterns and five children’s patterns) and the summer kids-only version. So all in all it turned out to be a pretty big haul for the kids, pattern-wise. And while there are some nice patterns in the adult section, it’s really some of the kid ones that are making me squee. Like the empire-waisted coat third down on the right in the image above. And basically all of the sundresses in the summery kids issue, below:

Young Image, summer 2011

Plus some of the other pieces I can totally see Tyo in. I will admit I’m not super-enthused with their made up samples (which you can peruse in their entirety on the website linked above). They look great and are well-photographed, don’t get me wrong, and I like that they have multiple versions of each pattern. But the designers seem to lean heavily towards intense prints. Again, not a bad thing in and of itself, but it tends to obscure, rather than highlight, the really nifty seaming of some of these patterns. Some of these patterns are crying out for colour-blocking, too, to highlight those nifty panels.

Anyway. As if that weren’t enough potential-kid-sewing, the children have become enchanted with the idea of making some sundresses for their little cousins, whom they are going to visit in a few weeks. Last night I had quite the little sweatshop going on in the basement just before bed; Syo was tracing out patterns, Tyo was ironing the fabric. She’s much more industrious about that than I am, by the way.

In Me-Made June news, here’s a catchup that finally gets me up to date:

June 19

June 19

Posing with R2 at our local comic convention. I felt a little sad not to be dressed as Catwoman or Princess Leia, but I figured this outfit could, with a little massaging, pass as steampunk.

Apparently my husband really likes steampunk. This is odd to me because he pretty much hates anything antique.

I should really pick open the lining of this skirt and add some boning. I knew it probably should have it when I made it, but I didn’t have any on hand so tried to do the job with heavy interfacing. Silly me. I am happy to report that by the very end of the day I was actually a little too warm in my (beyond)high-waisted wool skirt.

Corset-Waist skirt
50s shrug (Free multisize pattern now available! 😉 )
Absolutely boring tank-top

June 20

MMJ 20

An almost summery day, interspersing warm sun with sudden thunderstorms. Which I guess is the definition of June. I think this is a pretty good almost-summer outfit, simple but cute.

50s Shrug again. I’ve been getting a LOT of use out of this version. It’s great for throwing on top of a plain tank or short-sleeve shirt to spice it up a little and add a tiny bit of warmth. Unfortunately my fancy knit got a major snag in the back and I’m not sure how long it will last before that turns into a big hole.
Very old tank One of my first knit projects from last summer.
Jalie Jean capris I’m very glad my best attempts to screw these up failed. They remain one of my favourite denim makes yet.

June 21

MMJ 21---Happy Solstice!

Another simple, cute, summery outfit. I love that my ironing board matches my shoes.

Jalie 2908 capris
Crazy cowl topThis is one of my favourite knit tops at the moment. I really should make a jillion more, but I hacked up the pattern in my attempts to refine it, and wasn’t as satisfied with any of my changes as I was with this original. Joke’s on me!

Oh, yes, and happy Solstice! It actually feel summery here today (forecast high of 23C!… sad that I’m rejoicing over that, I know). I love the long days—light at 4, dark only well after 10. I like that they’ll now start getting shorter less, but am comforting myself that the hottest part of summer is still to come.

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Loved Ones and Little Things

MMJ 17.

Today’s Me-Made June Friday Challenge was a photo with loved ones. I hereby submit my paltry effort. I spent the day at home taking care of a sick hubby (which is considerably more onerous a chore than taking care of sick children, I’ll add), which leads to less than glamorous photo-taking. I am limping along with my self-imposed 70s week, although the weather has not been cooperating so I may have to call it off early without wearing my two remaining (very summery) 70s dresses. Poop. For what it’s worth, I’m wearing the bellbottoms (again) with one of the several JJ blouses. Although a contemporary pattern, I think the JJ fits stylistically quite well with the 70s patterns I’ve been collecting, with the ruffles and little puffed sleeves.

Syo's Vest (waistcoat, not tank-top)

In between making toast, iced tea, and “just being there” (because apparently me sitting in the living room while he sleeps on the couch half the afternoon is much better than him sleeping on the couch while I’m off doing something, oh, productive), some little bits of sewing has gotten done. The finishing handwork on my niece’s little coat, of course, but also a little vest for Syo from this nefarious pattern, made from the scraps from my niece’s coat. This pattern is one of those depressingly dumbed-down patterns, the kind that makes you feel embarrassed about being a home sewist. Although the instructions are to line the vest, there’s no lining pieces or even facings. So of course the lining is bound to peek out. Especially when it’s a knit and the shell is a woven. I cut the shell a bit bigger to attempt to give it some turn of cloth allowance, and topstitched after, but the fleece still peeks out a bit. Naturally I could’ve drafted a lining and facings, but that would’ve been work, as well as probably used up more scraps that I actually had. Anyway, Syo is very pleased with it, despite putting it on the first time and declaring: “It’s a bit loose.”

I have concluded this is Syonese for “It’s not skin-tight.”

She sewed the shoulder-seams herself, but chickened out on the other, highly curved seams. Also, grading seams makes a big difference when your fabrics are this bulky. I should do it more consistently.

Tyo's Bear

Tyo, on the other hand, finally got back to work on her teddy-bear, which has been languishing as isolated head and arms since well before my sewing-room migration, and we finished it. She did fairly well, considering the 1/4″ seam allowances and sharp curves. I had to do more than I really wanted to (including hand-stitching all the bits together), but less than I had feared, so I guess it’s all right. It’s stuffed with rice, so it can be microwaved to serve as a hot-pad. It’s cute, in a rather floppy way.

I think I’m starting to wrap my head around the idea of actually teaching my kids to sew. Not having been actively taught myself, it’s hard to figure out what to teach. What needs to be said, what they’ll figure out on their own through trial and error. But progress is being made, and I guess that’s what matters.

Oh, coincidentally the girls are both wearing shirts I made, neither of which have been blogged, due to generally shoddy half-ass construction and lack of interesting or meaningful detail. I’ve noticed that I tend to make some pretty half-ass things for my kids. Mostly when they’re picking something I don’t much want to make, or I’m getting annoyed with the fabric of their choice. Both shirts are getting worn a fair bit, though, despite their inferior construction. My children have not yet learnt the stigma of “home made”. Tyo gets more flack, apparently, for wearing her (very expensive) Harley Davidson jacket. Go figure.

70s blouse pattern

I did get started on a 70s blouse (well, more of a tunic, View C on the left) for me, out of some white cotton gauze. I hope to get it done this weekend,  if I can wrest control of the sewing machine away from my children long enough. Although probably not in time to save 70s week. I’m sad to say I think there’s probably more kids’ sewing in the immediate future, too. Tyo has fabric and pattern for a shirt picked out, and I got some really cute sundress patterns I’ll talk about another day…

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Syo’s Sewing

Syo's First Project

No sewing today—I am moving sewing spaces! Yes, the found table has been wrangled down the stairs (my poor walls) to the basement, and installed in my “sewing room”, so my excuse for keeping my machines on the computer desk in the kitchen—that I had no sewing-room furniture—has evaporated. My long-suffering neat-freak of a husband has issued an ultimatum—all sewing paraphernalia is to be removed from the kitchen before nightfall. The entire process is really highlighting just how MUCH sewing stuff there was crammed in the kitchen… I guess I really can’t blame him for wanting it out.

Pooh.

Ah, well. It’ll be all right for the summer. I may have to invest in another space heater come winter, though.

Strap, with rick-rack and topstitching

Anyway, with the absence of sewing on my part, I thought I’d show off Syo’s “first machine-sewn project”, made up last week. This isn’t her first sewing project—she’s been hand-sewing little cushions and things (although she was not very good at knots), and the shirt/dress/thing she’s wearing in the top photo is actually her own creation, too, although I did the actual (minimal) serging at her direction.

Lined interior

But this little purse was several steps up. We measured out the length and breadth of the strap. We used a pattern for the purse body (actually a sheet of standard paper). I helped with the pinning but she did all the cutting herself. She also chose the fabrics. The exterior is a cream cotton damask, a remnant from this pair of bellydance pantaloons I made a couple of years pre-blog. The interior is a remnant of cream synthetic something that I had at one point started making a shirt for the hubby out of  (the vastly inferior prototype to this shirt, frankly). It was a costume pattern, not full and blousy enough for the look it was trying for, the lace-up front placket instructions thoroughly defeated me at the time, and to put the icing on the cake, I melted the back of the neck ironing just as the shirt was almost finished. Anyway, I was a little hesitant when Syo selected it… while it’s not the worst to work with, it ain’t no cotton, shall we say. But it was the right colour and this project would pretty much take care of the last shreds of that painful memory, so I agreed.

I won’t say I didn’t hover nervously. I also helped with some tugging where the layers required taut sewing (a walking foot would be great for a project like this). Syo has a particularly alarming habit of accidentally pressing down on the foot pedal while attempting to re-position or maneuver the fabric with the presser foot up. But she distinctly improved over the course of the project, and managed not to puncture either of our fingers.

1/4" Edge-Stitching Foot

Also, I think it was Marie-Christine who made the comment once that technology will trump skill in most cases. I must (again) concede th truth of this. This little fellow is a 1/4″ edge-stitching foot that I bought on a whim when I got my marvelous new zipper foot. It set me back a whole five dollars or so. I won’t say it’s revolutionized my topstitching—I’ve gotten halfway decent over the last year—but it certainly makes some things that took a bit of concentration before almost effortless. More importantly, it made it possible for Syo, who can barely sew a straight line, to do almost-perfect topstitching. She also did a really darn good job sewing down her rick-rack, even in the centre of the strap, so it’s not all the little gadget, but anyway. All in all I’m a pretty proud Mama, and Syo is excited to try many future projects…

In Me-Made June News…

My back yard. Oh, and my outfit for June 5

Here’s a slightly more panoramic shot of my back yard than usual, just because we finally mowed the jungle lawn, and the crab-apple trees are absolutely gorgeous right now. This is, of course, Simplicity  6023, the 70s dress pattern I won off MPB. Possibly I shouldn’t’ve worn such a nice dress on a day that included a fair bit of sweating and yard work (yay, heat!), but ah well. It’s washable.

Also, I was a little sad that I missed the twirling on Friday, so I decided to twirl today.

Twirling

It’s supposed to be rainy and cool again tomorrow, but at least we had one truly glorious day! Now, back to the sewing-room-moving…

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Tyo’s Creation

Tyo's First Sewing Project

So after more than two weeks of being missing in action, the bag portion of Tyo’s first sewing project resurfaced in the “sewing room” (stuffed at the bottom of the bag with the Selfish Seamstress’s fabric, no less… That woman’s evil pervades everything she touches!). Since all that was needed to finish it off was one, maybe two seams, it really didn’t take long.

The kid, the bag, the cool socks

I wouldn’t really call it an independent sewing project—I did the darts in the bag, theapplique skull, and sewed the ribbon on the strap, but she did most of the rest, including turning the strap. Probably she could’ve done more if I could bear to be a bit more hands-off, but I have issues that way. It’s not good, I know.

But the bag looks pretty cool and she’s pretty stoked about it, so I’d say life is good. Now we just need to find a big skull button 🙂

The inside, fully lined

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