Tag Archives: Patrones

Next Size Up II

Jeans. She has them.

Tyo’s replacement capris are finished. Or is that Bermudas? My shorts terminology is lacking. Can I blame being Canadian? The Patrones magazine calls them “pirata,” which I think is totally awesome.

They are pretty standard jeans-styled capris, with a few additional details.

Rear view

Funky, asymmetrical pockets are part of the original pattern (I left off the flaps this time. Not even for lack of fabric—I made them, but didn’t put them on. I don’t really like their shape.) I should’ve piped the pocket edges, although getting the piping crisp around all those corners would not have been fun. As it is, you can barely see the pockets are there. Hmm. I do like the piped yoke—I should’ve piped the waistband, too.

I had better not dwell on the missed piping opportunities. That way lies madness. I added one of those weird, pointless straps between back pocket and side-seam, at Tyo’s request.

I’m too cool.

And then managed to photograph her only from the other side.


Damn she is cool.

I love who I am.

Oh, wait, I’m supposed to be discussing construction, not just posting pictures of my cool kid.

Inside front—pockets, fly construction, buttonhole elastic, bound-edge waistband.

My fly interiors are not generally things of great beauty, and this one isn’t, either, although it’s one of my better ones. I won’t get into how many needles I broke as soon as I started trying to do zig-zags—bar tacks, buttonholes, attaching the belt loops. There was much howling and unpcking. I HATE unpicking bar-tacks. It got better when I ran out of topstitching thread and just used regular blue thread. I may do that for all bar tacks/dense zig-zags in the future. The buttonhole elastics emerge from gaps in the seams where I had to piece the waistband.


I added buttonholes on the outside before stitching the hems, to run the drawstrings (aka shoelaces) through. Back when I made the first pair of camo capris, I bought a metre or so of narrow black twill-tape for the drawstrings. I couldn’t find it when I finished that project, so wound up using shoe-laces instead. It’s kicked around on and off since then, (notably being used in this project) but again today I couldn’t find it. I did, however, find more shoelaces. (And I can never, ever find shoelaces when my shoes need them…)

Front closeup

Can you see that I screwed up the cutting played with the grain on the front pockets? No? Maybe just as well.

Pattern alterations.

Remember my pattern alterations?

Back view

Ok, here’s how they wound up looking. (If you can see through the print, which you probably can’t.) Rear rise is good—not any too high, could probably have gone a little higher, but coverage is maintained even when she squats down. Yay! Yoke curve-in is good but could’ve been more extreme—there’s still plenty of extra ease at the waistband that isn’t there at the hips. There is still some slight wedgification happening—not enough to be uncomfortable (yet) but I can tell that the crotch curve is not perfect for her. Presumably scooping is in order? I’m really not sufficiently enamoured of this pattern to bother, but Tyo may be, in which case I’ll keep it in mind if we end up at Pair #3.


Ok, I’m done. And apologies to Claire for not doing a full-camo photo shoot with the vest. We snapped these pictures in about five minutes just before bedtime.



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Next Size Up

Patrones Niños

Nigh on a year ago, I made Tyo a set of camo capris. The pattern is from this issue of Patrones Niños, which I got from Her Selfishness back in the day. And Tyo was thrilled, with one exception—the rise at the rear was very low, and tended to give her a wedgie.

The pattern of choice (#12)

Unfortunately, while the capris technically still fit—as in, the width of the hips is still sufficient to go around her hips—the low-riding wedginess has reached a point where she doesn’t really find the first pair wearable anymore. So, a while back, I snooped around my local Fabricland and grabbed some lightweight, vaguely camo-esque twill fabric in a shades-of-blue print, to make a replacement pair. I bought two metres, more than enough to make the new pair plus another later when she grew out of it.

Then I went and made fishing vests out of the stuff.


Needless to say, Tyo was not completely thrilled. So this past weekend, whilst she was off camping in the mountains with a friend, I pulled out the scant remainder (just over half a metre) and did my best to eke out the next size up on the capris.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before we get to the issue of fabric availability, there was the issue of fit. I traced off the size 12 (the first version having been the size 10), but this time I made a few tweaks:

Pattern alterations.

  1. I extended the back crotch to the line of the next size up at the inseam, tapering to nothing along the leg. Hopefully this helps with the wedginess.
  2. I added a generous (2 cm) wedge along the CB curve. I’ve had good luck with these wedges in the past, but I’ve never done one this big. Hopefully this helps with the rear rise issue.
  3. I took not one, not two, but three tucks in the yoke pattern, to help it curve in at the top. I will also be using buttonhole elastic in the waistband, but this will help reduce the excess of fabric above her well-rounded butt.

Due to my vest-making enterprises, it was an extremely tight fit on the remaining fabric. There is selvedge in seam-allowances, and the waistband is in three pieces. Actually, that worked out really well because instead of making buttonholes for my buttonhole elastic, I just left a small gap in the piecing seam for the elastic to thread through. I predict this will be a win. I hope. With any luck. I’ve also added a small amount of piping (piping a random gift courtesy of Claire of Sew, Incidentally, some time ago—Thank you, Claire!), since I find that camo-type prints really make it hard to see the jeans details. Gee, camo making something hard to see!

Not finished.

Of course, I also spent most of my “free time” this past week and weekend madly cleaning house so that the landlady could start showing it, and then avoiding being in the house so as to not mess it up again. So I can’t tell you if my alterations were successful or not, as the new capris are still a goodly ways off being finished. But here’s hoping!

(and thank you, everyone, for the kind words on my last little post. 🙂 )


Filed under Sewing

Not my best work



Every time, in the last little while, a friend or colleague has a baby, I think that I should make said baby a homemade gift. I’ve even bought several baby patterns with such things in mind. But so far, every time my own slackitude has won out, and I haven’t gotten around to it.

Well, this piece has, perhaps, made it clear to me why not doing so wasn’t such a bad idea.

This is a present for a little boy born last winter who’s technically my husband’s cousin (or is there such a thing as half cousin?). So this is really a lot of firsts for me—first baby sewing, first little boy sewing. Except, peeps, it’s jeans. I’ve made umpteen however many at this point. Oh yeah, first deep cargo pockets. Joy of 21 Wale did a nice cargo-pocket tutorial a while back that I totally would’ve re-read and applied if I’d had a bit more time, organization, or motivation.

Anyway, details.

This is another pattern from the excellent kids’ issue of Patrones magazine Her Selfishness bestowed upon me lo these many moons ago. Previous makes include this vest and these capris for Tyo. Anyway, there aren’t a whole lot of baby patterns in the magazine, but I did like the idea of the little cargo jeans at the back. I did decide to forego the gathered ankle, and as a result opted to square off the rest of the leg, which was drafted to taper. It has some cute details like the cargo-pockets, and a mid-leg horizontal seam that would let me use up some teeny scraps of denim that have been languishing in the not-quite-scrap pile for… well, since I made my first pair of jeans, frankly.

The pattern came in three sizes, 3 months, 9 months, and 18 months. Since the baby is currently about five months and (last I checked) a rather large specimen, I opted for the 9 months.


Syo, modeling.

Um, yes, this photo is Syo modeling said jeans. That would be my almost-nine-year-old, wearing the jeans for a nine MONTH old. I mean, there’s ease (and diapers ease) and then there’s ease. The top of the pattern is basically rectangular, relying entirely on the gathered waistband for shape. Considering that they actually fit OK in crotch depth, I’m suspecting there would be plenty of ease even for cloth diapers. (And you’ll have to forgive the crappy late-night flash photos. The fact that it was dark when I finished them should tell you everything you need to know, considering we’re only a few weeks from the longest day of the year.

Er, yeah, they’re a bit roomy. Maybe he’ll get to wear them next summer…

They would’ve been quite fun if I wasn’t on such a tight timeline to get them finished for this weekend. I used two different kinds of denim, plus some grey

Side view

stretch linen for the detailing, and remembered to add some nice touches like flat piping along the side-seams and random patches and flaps here and there. I even managed to attach the snaps on the  cargo pockets without totally mangling them. (I find snaps stressful.) I did a LOT of reinforcing with soft interfacing, in the hopes of avoiding blowing my topstitching, Some of this was useful, some was overkill, and some just caused its own set of problems. A lightweight knit interfacing would’ve been better, but the only nice knit interfacing I have around here is soft but fairly bulky, which I also didn’t want. In hind-sight, I should’ve done the waistband (which is designed as one piece) with a separate facing in the linen. It’s so nice and soft, whereas the denim I used on the waistband is fairly harsh. Though it does soften fairly nicely with wear.

I added studs, but because I didn’t want any metal against sensitive baby (or, as it will be by the time they fit, toddler) skin, I inserted them just in the outer layer of the pocket, before sewing the pockets together. Strictly decorative. I also used a my usual adjustable-buttonhole-elastic in the waistband, rather than doing a stitched-down elastic waistband as the pattern suggested.

All in all, they were fun, I just wish I’d been less rushed—I would’ve been able to enjoy the process more, not to mention taking more time to screw up less (and fix what I screwed up more.) If jeans are all about the precise details, well, these have plenty of detail, not so much precision.

Ah well. They’re done, and gifted, and the mom and I had a nice chat about how she loves the idea of sewing, and the amazingness of Pow-Wow costumes, and geez if I had a nickel for every time someone says to me “I’d love to learn to sew BUT”…

Ah. well. Done. And I can get back to sewing for MEEEEEE.

As soon as I have the energy to do more than stare at a screen, anyway.


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Capri-cious Camo

The Capri Girl

Tyo’s camo capris are finished. It’s been rainy so I’ve been carless* and hence unable to make it to the fabric store for the finishing touches (buttonhole elastic for the waistband and twill-tape for the leg drawstrings), so I had to improvise. I found the missing black thread under the couch, bought shoelaces at the grocery store for the drawstrings, and liberated the buttonhole elastic from the fishtank, where it has been holding down our improvised fish-tank-cover** for the last several months.

I must say, these were really fun to make. The fabric was cooperative, and just the right weight—heavy enough to feel sturdy, without being so bulky as to give my machine fits.

The pattern, as I mentioned before, is from a 2009 Patrones children’s issue. It features five pocket styling (I made six by putting a change pocket on each side… oops!), funky-shaped rear pockets with nifty-shaped flaps, and a waistband designed for buttonhole elastic.

Elastic back waistband

Now, adding buttonhole elastic to a kids’ waistband is easy as pie, but it’s kinda nice to have it marked on the pieces so I don’t forget, since you have to work the buttonholes and ideally attach the buttons before putting the waistband on.

Look, ma! Rivets!

I used my triple-stitch (aka straight stretch stitch) for the topstitching. This is nice because it doesn’t upset my machine the way topstitching thread often does, but it can be a little feisty and you have to pay attention to where you are in the three-stitch cycle when turning corners. It worked quite well on this fabric, though. If you click through to the full size photo, you will also see that in addition to double-topstitching the inseam, I did a single row of topstitching along the outseam! This is much trickier, as you have to do it once the pantlegs are already tubes, and involves sewing down the inside of the inside-out leg, bunching the fabric up around the needle as you go. Slow and fiddly, but I figured these were short and loose enough that I had better try it here, as I might not ever try it again. 😉

Interior waistband finish

Another touch I tried is a bit of a cheater finish—I used some of the bias left over from my 70s jacket to bind the inside of the waistband. I feel justified in this finish because I recently got a pair of (thrifted) RTW jeans that have the same finish. It makes for a super-easy waistband; you just topstitch from the right side, not worrying about catching the underside at all because there’s plenty to catch. Also this is the same fabric I used for the pocket-lining and the underside of the flaps.

Of course, it's all about the shoes.

I cut a Patrones size 10, the smallest the pattern came in. According to her measurements Tyo is a Patrones size 8 on the bottom and six on the top, but with the wonders of  buttonhole elastic, they fit fine. The pattern is cut very wide and flat on the backside, relying on the elastic for any fitting. I took it in a couple of cm at the CB seam, to give Tyo a bit of extra shaping in this area.  My only complaint is that the rise is quite low. Really low, for a kids’ pattern. Especially considering Tyo, ah, needs a bit more coverage in the rear. If I make this again, I’ll add a generous wedge to the CB.

Back pocket with patch

Although I made buttonholes in the rear pocket flaps, I haven’t cut them or attached buttons. We’ll see if I bother or not. I did decorate one rear pocket with an embroidered patch Tyo had purchased at a street fair last summer. It was originally intended for her jean-jacket, but since that’s still sporting its punk/zombie patches from last Hallowe’en, we decided to use it here. I like contrast of camo fabric with hippie/Buddhist patch.

Have I ever mentioned my daughter is way cooler than I ever was?

I can’t wait until these have been washed about a dozen times and get that worn-in-faded-camo look. In fact, I like them so much I might have to think about making myself some. I haven’t worn camo regularly since my feminazi/survivalist-lookalike phase back in Uni.

Tyo's Toque

Also you may have noticed one other hand-made item in these photos. The blue tasseled toque Tyo is wearing was knitted by my mother, for me, when I was about kneehigh to a grasshopper. Isn’t it cute? It has a matching sweater somewhere, too, although that was only finished in time for my little brother to wear it.

All righty, I think that’s more than enough sewing for the house apes (thanks, Katie, for that one!). Time for something for me!

*Our second vehicle is a motorcycle. This is not nearly as practical as a second car (especially in our climate) but is definitely WAY more fun. Except when it rains.

** Instituted after the tragic leap of the much lamented One-Eyed Jack. (scroll down)


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Unintended stitching

I didn’t plan on spending this weekend sewing for my children. But no sooner had I finished Syo’s stretchy outfit (yes, there’s a shirt to go with the bike shorts, but frankly it didn’t work out so well and I haven’t even bothered hemming it. Which isn’t stopping her from wearing it, but anyway.) then Tyo had to assert her requirements.


You see, the other week Tyo and I found ourselves on the far side of town, in proximity to Fabric Depot, a large independent fabric store I hadn’t yet had the occasion to check out. So we did. Their website boasts that they are one of the largest single fabric stores in North America. Which may be true. I had high hopes of finding some good-quality stretch denim, having largely given up on my local Fabricland for this.

Initial impressions were quite promising. A whole room of zippers. Another of lace and elastics. Beaded and sequined panels and appliques to outfit a thousand bellydancers.  An entire upstairs devoted to home-dec fabrics—not what I was looking for, of course, but impressive and some very attractive.

Downstairs again, a series of crowded warehouse-type rooms, fabric bolts stacked on shelves all the way to the fifteen-foot ceilings, often wrapped in plastic to protect them from dust. And there were truly gorgeous fabrics in there, too. The problem was finding them.

There seemed to be, again, a lot of home-dec. A fair selection of swimwear/dancewear lycra knits. I don’t even kinow what else, really. Not only was the seleciton overwhelming, the layout wasn’t condusive to finding anything. Eventually I had to ask to be directed to the denim section.

It was a single shelf on a single unit. The denim range, though small, was gorgeous—a lot of lovely finishes and weights—but none of it was stretch. Not one bolt.

Tyo's pants---centre

My fantasies of sturdy denim in an interesting wash (or even RED!) with just the right amount of lycra came crashing down around my ears. However, the price was right, and we were on the far end of town, so I selected a lovely indigo wash with great texture (and a soft enough weave that there’s a hint of stretch) and Tyo picked out a metre of camo print.

Of course, Tyo could think of nothing for her camo but the centre pants from this pattern—draw-string-bottom capris. She was terribly excited until she realized that the pattern lacks the other attributes necessary of camo pants—waistband, belt-flaps, POCKETS.

So, we went back to our mainstay of kids’ patterns, that gorgeous Patrones Niños I got from Her Selfishnesslong and long ago. It has any number of jeans patterns, including a varietyof capris, including drawstring capris. However, the ones Tyo

Tyo's eventual pattern selection

eventually settled on (perhaps without too much thought, but anyway) were this pair. Which you can see almost nothing of except that they  have a loose, below-the-knee leg. The line drawing reveals slightly more (although it’s not actually accurate about the change pocket, if you look closely at the photograph…), including some nifty back pockets.

Line drawing

With terrifying, tightly-curved flaps.


Camo pockets

Anyway, we spent yesterday evening tracing the pattern (I remembered to add seam allowances this time!) and cutting it out. I even managed to track down a zipper of the kind I use for jeans—I thought I was out. We debated the merits of topstitching and settled on black. And this morning, I started merrily stitching away.

And now I’m out of black thread.

Back pockets, with flap

Somewhere in this house, I’m quite certain, is a massive jumbo spool of black thread. But can I find it? There’s plenty of serger thread, but I’ve been suffering catastrophic failure on the jeans I made last summer that I used it on, so I am reluctant to use it for regular stitching. And, of course, it’s May Long (aka Victoria Day) so nothing is open, plus it’s pouring. Which may not deter those of you from soggier climates, but I don’t even own an umbrella, much less a rain-coat.

So instead I’m blogging half-done kids’ jeans, and debating what I should do with my gorgeous non-stretch denim.

I’m thinking bell-bottoms.


Filed under Sewing

An edgy little vest


One cool kid.

Tyo wanted to make her Patrones vest out of the same fabric as her lounge-pants. This was not ideal, but when has an inappropriate fabric choice stopped us? 😉 So I interfaced the skull print pieces with an iron-on knit interfacing, used scraps of sweatshirt-knit left over from the Kimono Lady Grey for the rest, and went to town. Tyo did much of the cutting out, but I did all the sewing. Mostly because I haven’t done many shawl-collars and was kinda winging it and didn’t want to confuse her and screw her up. It was also my first time making a lined vest since learning about the trick where you sew the neckline and the arm-hole edges before the side-seams so you can pull them right side out without hand-finishing. So I wanted to try it myself. I did manage to sew one of the side-seams with the front twisted around the first time… have I mentioned how much I hate picking out serger seams? And I managed to pick out half the front princess seam first, by mistake. *head-desk*

I did a particularly poor job on the little belt at the back, which I really should have interfaced, too, but fortunately it really doesn’t show (it does need a buckle still, but anyway). I wish I’d had enough of the skull stuff left over to do the front side panels in it, too, but it was touch-and-go as it was.

A stylin' girl

Her one request (besides the fabric) was the little pocket inside the front. Just the right size for her MP3 player.

Other than the little belt, I think it turned out really cute!

Also, nothing like a quick before-bedtime photo-shoot to bring out the silliness:

Stylin' Syo

But the Badass Badguy takes her down!

Even bad guys like to chill with their tiger.

Just for the record, I’m pretty sure that’s the only toy gun we have in the house. Toy swords… plenty. Guns… not so much. We are not really gun people.


Filed under Sewing