Tag Archives: McCall’s 4821

Sewing to Exhaustion

I have a confession. I was bad. I sewed yesterday—pretty much all day. This doesn’t happen very often—in fact, I think this is the first time in months that I’ve sewed to the point where I was tired of sewing. 

We had planned to spend the day at the river, but Syo wasn’t feeling well, so I wound up dropping Osiris and Tyo off and heading home with the saddest child to ever miss out on a day of fishing (Osiris caught his first fish last week, so it is officially Fishing Season chez Isis). The upshot was, I bundled Syo up on the couch with blankets, hot lemonade, and H2O (ugh) streaming on Netflix, and headed downstairs to sew. Anything to escape the Australian mermaids.

And sewed.

And sewed.

McCall's one-shoulder top

I finished off another version of the off-the-shoulder kids top (McCall’s 4821)for Syo—she had cut out the pieces (BY HERSELF) weeks ago, but I had black thread in the machine for stitching the Pink Suit, and then I was busy with slips. This version is from her pink leopard spandex, and fits much better than the ever-growing thin knit of the first version. Which almost makes up for the annoyingness of the pattern, and, y’know, the fact that it was cut out by a nine-year-old. The combination of leopard-print with the one-shoulder style does give it a distinct, mm, “Me Tarzan, you Syo” vibe… I used my “athletic stitch” to topstitch the elastic around the neck/armholes this time, just out of curiosity—it worked fine, although I’m not convinced it’s any better or more “professional” looking than the triple-stitch. The hem isn’t the prettiest—I didn’t bother using any steam-a-seam, just folded over and stitched away. Can you tell I really don’t give a flying f#&$ about this little shirt? On the other hand, I have every confidence that Syo will wear the snot out of it.

Coat---PROGRESS!

And then I worked on Osiris’s jacket. Yes, that long-neglected UFO that’s been hanging over my head since before Christmas. I finished the fusing and got the entire shell assembled. I even (ZOMG) stitched sleeve vents (now I just have to figure out how to line them). But I didn’t want to get ahead of myself before checking the fit, so I called a halt before cutting the lining.

Syo's Snuggly

So I moved on to Syo’s current pet project. She wants a new housecoat, reminiscent of Tyo’s. Except, not a kimono. But with the applique and stuff. Last time we were at Fabricland, she picked out a white, not-as-thick as-I’d-like, but inexpensive, fleece. After some discussion, we settled on the directions described in Sew What: Fleece (which I won in a giveaway from the gracious Clio) draft the pattern. And, well, I suspect she’ll be happier with the finished product than I am, but anyway.

In fact, I sewed so much that I’m going to milk it for the rest of the week and dribble out more detailed posts every couple of days.

One thing I did do this weekend was go through the jackets, boots, and other outer-wear—ousting the worst of the winter stuff (so if it blizzards, it’s my fault) and bringing in more of the summer stuff. Unfortunately, this also brings to the fore the more painful side of sewing for your children—what to do with the handmades they’ve outgrown. Now, I’ve said before that I have an excellent hand-me-down chain, and I do, in the form of two little nieces, but we really hit a lot of style issues going from Tyo to Syo. This jacket, my first “real clothes” make, is now too small for Tyo. In fact, it never really suited her, but for some reason it looks ADORABLE on Syo (I think it may suit her darker colouring and broad shoulders better). Syo, however, would rather wear a potato sack. Similarly, she is unthrilled with wearing the first pair of jeans I made Tyo, and the jean-jacket I made Tyo. Although I’m hopeful that practicality will win out in the last case. Which puts a big hitch in my hand-me-down chain, because my stylish sister-in-law gets a little annoyed when I send her stuff that she’s going to have to store for years and years before it’ll ever remotely fit.

But I sewed! Helped by the fact that Osiris and Tyo didn’t want to be picked up until 8:30 that night (after Tyo’s bedtime, I’ll add). And for once, I’m ready to do something else…

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Buffy-tastic

Buffy the Vampire-Slayer Costume (in progress)

As I mentioned before, it took quite a bit of convincing to get Syo to agree to “Movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer” as opposed to “TV-show Buffy” for her Hallowe’en costume. Not that I have anything against Sarah Michelle Gellar’s take on the character—I haven’t watched enough to judge one way or another, but plenty of my friends and family, kids included, are firm fans—but in my mind the movie version is more iconic. That’s where Buffy started, y’know, the wonderful juxtaposition of teen-cheerleader-ditz with stark, undead horror. Or something. (OK, it’s been a while since I saw the movie, either, and unforgivably it’s not on Netflix. Dude.)

So, now the costume is progressing, and she’s still not overly thrilled. /sigh. I’m torn. On the one hand I have an intense recollection of that sinking dread/obligation feeling that goes with a costume being made for you that you don’t like. (Hmm, I think I was less tactful and thoughtful of my mother’s feelings than Syo, actually.) On the other hand, as an adult, I am serenely confident that my idea is better, and she should just suck it up. Gotta love how parenthood can bring out one’s inner dictator. Sigh.

In any case, the essential, iconic bits are done—crop-top and twirly skirt. Hopefully Syo will like the skirt better than the top (as I write this I just finished the skirt and she’s already in bed, so she will have to check it out tomorrow). Although technically she already had a skirt picked out (the black one in the photo. It’s not one I made). I’m hoping she’ll be amenable to layering them, with the yellow one on top. This may go over like a lead balloon—we’ll see.

T-Shirt pattern

Anyway, the top is drawn straight from the T-shirt portion of this Kwik Sew pattern, but cropped off at the handy “lengthen or shorten here” line. It’s snug in the sleeves and loose in the body, which works in my opinion but is less than thrilling to Syo who’d prefer it to be skin-tight. She likes everything skin-tight these days. >_<

Hem and navy strip closeup (I used Steam-a-Seam inside the hems, too, which makes them pretty much effortless)

The photo I’m going from has navy trim on the yellow costume, so I pulled out some navy stretch-velvet I bought on a whim last winter and have been too terrified to actually do anything with. It wasn’t actually cheap, and I have some very traumatic history involving sewing polyester velvet, although that horrible stuff wasn’t stretch. I cut some rectangles and topstitched the strips down the sleeves using a a handy-dandy stretch stitch on my machine that looks vaguely like the athletic-style coverstitching you get on some RTW. Most importantly, it makes a nice, stretchy topstitch—I actually used it on the hems in the shirt, too. It’s stretchier and less fiddly (and less tunnelly!) than twin-needling.  Anyway, I’m quite happy with how it worked for appliqueing the strips on the sleeves. I actually (first time ever!) used the pattern-piece for the neckband strip, and I have to admit I was a little disappointed. All my reading plus previous experience suggests to me that a neckband strip needs to be a wee bit shorter than the neckband when working in a knit. This one was dead on, if not in fact a teensy bit longer. Boo. It was easy enough to shorten, but if I’d been trying to put it on in the round and hadn’t checked, it would’ve been a bad situation. Perhaps the instructions have some clever notes about this—if I ever make an outfit from this pattern that isn’t a complete throwaway I may actually read them.

Skirt pattern (View D)

The skirt comes from this McCall’s pattern. View D is the handkerchief skirt in the middle. Now, remember my whining about excessively dumbed-down patterns? Well, my next-biggest pet-peeve is pattern-pieces that are shaped like squares and rectangles.

Square and rectangular pattern pieces

Now, just for the record, I understand why people selling patterns include pattern pieces like these. And I would actually be a bit dissatisfied if I opened a pattern and got a bunch of directions for cutting squares of a particular size. But square pattern pieces are still silly. The handkerchief-skirt piece almost has a right to exist because of that circle in the middle… almost.

Although I did a pretty decent job on the shirt, construction-wise (if I do say so myself), everything went to hell a bit on the skirt. First, I was comparing the yoke-size to the RTW skirt, which is also a pull-on elastic skirt that I knew fit Syo (perils of sewing for a child when the child is in bed—no fitting opportunities), and it was way too long (the smallest size in my envelope is 7, which is a bit big). So I shortened it. Of course, I did this from one edge, which threw all my notches off. Oops. Next, the skirt appears to be cut to a somewhat larger size than the yoke. WTF?

My basic approach at this point became: It’s a knit. It’ll stretch.

I’m not sure the original skirt calls for an elastic at the waist (again, I could have read the instructions), but I figured one was in order. And then it just seemed easier to keep it place by turning the yoke into just a regular elastic-casing waistband. And then when I started to sew the skirt pieces to the yoke, I tried to match my notches, forgetting that that would throw off one side of the skirt. Also there are a lot of gathers, staring from the skirt’s centre hole being cut to a larger size, and ending with me taking a wider hem to narrow the yoke.  And because of the notches being off, the gathers are not particularly even.

It’s not quite the sleek, cute thing on the envelope cover. Oh, well—hopefully it’ll work anyway. I mean, what little girl can resist a handkerchief skirt?

Don’t ask that.

Kwik Sew 1670

So that’s the major bits. If I get time/energy, I may turn the rest of the velvet into a leotard and/or leggings from this pattern. I do in fact have a leggings pattern I drafted for Syo back this summer, but it has a fair bit of negative ease—which was perfect for the fabric I was using at that point—and this stretch velvet doesn’t stretch that much. On the other hand the smallest size of the Kwik Sew pattern is a bit big for Syo… but she’s growing. And I’m pretty sure she’d live in stretch velvet leggings.

We’ll see.

Probably I should figure out some pom-poms, too.

Oh, and it turns out we are actually going to the Hallowe’en dance on Friday, so everything needs to be done by tomorrow, not for Monday. Oopsie.

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