Tag Archives: McCall’s 5312

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: lace-up leather shorts

Lace-Up Shorts

It’s been a Hallowe’en sweatshop around here for the last little while. Last weekend was devoted to, as Steph of 3 Hours Past has put it, sewing with hammers. I spent Sunday with the kids at my mother’s, working on the goggles, and also Syo’s lace-up shorts. Rivets and grommets and wire, oh my.

I was already using McCall’s 5312 for the kids’ tailcoats (more on that later), so I decided to use the pants also included in that crime of a pattern.

Cutest pattern ever?

OK, I’ve whined about McCall’s 5312 before. Despite their supremely cute illustration, these McCall’s “Sassy Girl” patterns are dumbed down almost to the point of not being worth the time, IMO. I hate dumbed-down, simplified patterns.*

On the other hand, that makes them perfect for costume patterns, right? This might be why I hate making costumes…

Anyway, since I had the pattern out, I figured it would be a good candidate for Syo’s shorts—basic pants, no pockets, no waistband to worry about.

Laces!

I traced off the size 7 as shorts, and cut them out from my fake leather. This was my first time working with vinyl, and not being able to pin really threw me for a loop. It’s funny, because I tend to think I don’t use pins much. Well, working on this high lighted every single instance I reach for them. Closepins were helpful, but not really satisfying. I made about half the shorts on my machine, and half over at my mother’s; her old Pfaff has one thing none of my machines have—a roller foot. It made a BIG difference in sewing with the vinyl, especially for the topstitching bits. Topstitching was essential since I couldn’t exactly press this stuff in any meaningful way. I also used a lot of Wonder Tape.

Back darts

I used a very quick ‘n dirty pants-fitting method for these where I sewed them up sans darts and then added the rear darts by pinching to fit. I skipped the front darts, which really don’t make any sense to me when fitting any kind of a rounded tummy—something I’d say about 90% of kids have. Though, I don’t think the darts I wound up sewing are hugely different from the original pattern darts. And, yes, they’re pointy. I’m not worrying myself about it.

Front view

To make the laced sides, I just folded over the edge about 2 cm (I ended up folding the front edges over a further 2 cm) to make the placket, topstitched, and added a “modesty panel” attached to the back side. She was not thrilled about this, having wanted “real lacing,” which apparently doesn’t have fabric behind it. She can deal, at least until she’s eighteen. Not that she would ever not be wearing leggings and tights underneath for a Hallowe’en costume. This is Canada, after all. And not one of the warmer bits of Canada. (Although comfortingly free of both earthquakes and hurricanes. I hope all you easterners are doing OK with Sandy.)

Grommets

We added the grommets last. Actually, Syo did the front grommets more-or-less on her own, since by then my fingers were so sore from setting the back ones (plus all the goggle-making). It took her a while, but she got them done, only one ending up a bit distorted. I’m not sure why I am always startled by her strength and coordination. You’d think I’d have it figured out by now.

Back View

I don’t know if it’s a “good fit”, but they stay on, come up more or less to where she wanted them, and the gap between the lacing is a good width. So, really, I should probably apologize to McCall’s 5312. It really came through for me this time.

Except that I just made two tailcoats out of the jacket pattern, and, well, I’ll go into that later. Not horrific, just dumbed down and predictably bad.

And, sorry for the fuzzy iPhone photos. My mom’s house has gorgeous backdrops but terrible light, and I keep forgetting to take my real camera along.

*Note: I have nothing against simple patterns, where simple is called for. What annoys me is patterns for intricate designs that are simplified to make them “easier”, generally at the expense of fit and style.

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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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Pattern Envelopes and Sizing

Cutest pattern ever?

Both can be slightly frustrating. For example, I scored the pattern to the right at Value Village the other week (snatched from under the hands of a Hutterite woman browsing the patterns… though I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t’ve gone for this kind of pattern anyway. The Hutterite dress code is pretty strict, from my limited observation). Looks cute, right? and size 7-16, should be perfect for my kids. Includes cute pants, vest, and jacket with two sleeve lengths, adorably illustrated in a somewhat cartoony style.

To my delight, both children were highly enthused when I showed them the pattern (given their different taste in clothing, this is a rarity). I was cheerfully envisioning cute camo capris for Tyo, maybe a short-sleeved jacket for Syo (who’s always too warm)

“I want the bag!” says Tyo, pointing to the girl on the left.

“I want the hair!” says Syo, pointing to the middle girl.

*headdesk*

They were both extremely disappointed to hear that neither was included in the pattern.

Now, a case could definitely be made that I prefer talking about sewing for my kids to actually sewing for my kids… but anyway, in the interests of furthering the fantasy, I went looking up the sizes for my children. Syo will be eight next month, but she’s pretty small for her age so I was fairly confident she’d fit a 7, the smallest size in the package.

According to her chest measurement, she’s still a size 5.

And Tyo would be a size 6.

Neither of which are sizes I have. *headdesk*

Now, as we all know Tyo has the bootay. So her bottom half would be, apparently, a size 8. So I could make her the pants, at least. Here’s to runty children.

But then I had a thought. How big do these girls’ sizes go? I mean, if a size 16 fits an “average 16-year-old”… I’m not significantly bigger than I was when I was sixteen…

Yup. My measurements fit the girls’ chart MUCH better than they’ve ever fit a women’s chart. I am a girls’ size 16 (at least on a padded bra day). Well, aside from the six inches of length I’d have to add…

*headdesk*

UPDATE: Had another thought. That girls’ size 16 is drafted for someone who is about 5′ 1″. Now, a quick check of the girls’ height-weight growth charts for Canada (and I imagine American ones would be similar) shows that the median height for girls at age 16 is about 5′ 4″. 5′ 1″ is passed sometime between ages 12 and 13. Have average heights really changed that much since the sizes were compiled (in the 60s, I believe?) I am doubtful.

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