Thursday, 29 November 2012

Bye Bye Baby Pants

These are the Basic Pocket Pants from the book 'Growing Up Sew Liberated'. Why Bye Bye Baby? Well my brother declared upon seeing the finished product that they looked like something the Bay City Rollers would have worn. I take that on the chin, they are a bit retro!

I bought a scrap remnant online from Nicole at Dots n Stripes awhile back. I couldn't help it, the gnomes and toadstool houses got me! There wasn't a huge amount but I thought I could use it as a trim so these pants were perfect.

I did my best to get the pictures of all the fairytale folk in the best placements. These pants have contrast trim on the leg cuffs, pocket bindings and waistband casing.

The method in the book calls for the bias tape to be sandwiched around the pocket pieces and sewn in one go. I will be honest, I have never had much luck getting this method to work for me (too many times have I turned a piece of work over only to find I have completely gone off the line underneath). So I attached it in 2 stages. First by opening up the strip and sewing it to the right side of the pocket (see above picture) and then by folding it all over to the back and sewing it in place (creating the sandwich of layers).

I just find I have more success and a neater seam this way.

I forgot to take a shot of them unworn, they went on more or less straight away!

My daughter is nearly 19 months and the smallest size for this pattern is a 2T. The length leaves plenty of growing room and the legs are of a baggy style so although the sizing is a little premature, they look pretty good.

I really love the contrast print. The gnomes are so cute. The fabric is from Stenzo by the way. The solid blue is a quilting weight.

Now I have one bugbear about the fit and given that they are too big for her at the moment I wanted to try and correct it on my next pair. Can you see how they pull down at the back on this photo? It is because of her nappy bum and the rise doesn't seem as if it has got enough length to accommodate this. It is really noticeable as she moves about and they come down far too much for me.

So here is what I did to correct the rise on the pattern......

Starting with the standard pattern piece, pop a bit of paper behind the crotch area and grab a pencil and a ruler.

Measure a line straight out from the point at the crotch. I drew an inch line to see how that looked and then decided a half inch would be better. (Sorry, I drew in pencil so is a bit difficult to see).

Then I drew a line trying to copy the same angle as the original, tapering back towards the leg again. On these pants I managed to get the line to meet back on the leg just by the notch.

After sticking it all down I cut out the new line.

And voila a new longer rise! I will get around to drafting a new (less patched) pattern piece soon else the look of it will drive me mad.

This is my second modified pair and as you can see the waist sits higher up when she is gettng all wriggly and dooesn't pull down nearly as much.


I didn't use the contrast fabric on the bottom cuff as to be honest I don't really like the blue I have used and chose to keep the legs plain in the end. I still used a cuff, just cut out a couple of strips in the main fabric instead.

Now I never registered this the first time I made these, but the contrast piece at the end of the leg serves a double purpose. In the method you attach the cuff from the inside and fold to the outside to be topstitched. Like I say, I missed this the first time but you are meant to take the cuff up past the stitching line about 1/2" so that the length can be adjusted once your little one gets a bit taller. Just unpick, drop the cuff down a bit and you have extended the life of your pants. Clever eh?!

Now that I have adjusted the rise, I feel a bit better about making some more of these. They are a quick and simple sew and range from age 2T to 5T. There are plenty of clever things you could do with them as well and they don't use much fabric. 

I will be making some warm lined versions over the next week as it is sub zero at the moment. Brrr.....

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Ice Cream Top for a Birthday Gift

Another birthday invite, another reason to be glad I sew! This is going to a little girl (obviously!) from my daughters school class. I was wondering whether to make a size 5 or a size 6 in this. Unsure as to which child was the one in question, I have listened hard to the names called out when dropping off at school and luckily managed to spot her. All I wanted was a quick glance to size up. My daughter is already in the 6 for most tops because she is tall for her age but I know that some people have normal sized children!

I did decide to make the 6 after all because it would be nice to get some summer wear out of this top so I decided to upsize.

I spent much longer in front of all my fabrics choosing than normal as I find it more intimidating choosing something for someone else. What if it isn't their style? Nervewracking!

But, fingers crossed, you can't go wrong with pink for a girl. I say this even though when I showed Boo what I was making, she commented " Laila likes purple!" (this is the sort of thing I could have been informed about beforehand...)

I decided to use a bartack stitch on the opening because it is the one area of the dress/top I feel is a weak spot. I haven't used a bartack before and this is far from my best work. A starting point a little further to the right might have been better but hey ho! It gives a good strong hold on the back opening and so it is better than it coming undone.

The button is one of my favorites because it comes all the way from the other side of the world! Nepal to be exact! My brother climbed Mount Kilimanjaro last Christmas and when they were all at the top the group photograph shows them all wearing locally made hats, each one a different animal. Darren was sporting a panda hat and this was button was once its nose. He gave it to his niece once he got back from his trip. Sadly the button fell off and I never got around to fixing it back on. So here it goes off on its travels once more.

Friday, 16 November 2012

241 Tote from Noodlehead

I have been pinning and favouriting a few versions of this bag recently to get a feel for how I wanted to proceed when I made one. I seem to prefer the ones with a patterned centre panel. Sadly for me I didn't have enough of one print to make it work so used some much treasured scraps on the exterior side pockets instead and made the rest from a medium weight denim.

 I bought the pattern last month and really liked how the instructions were written. The pattern is the 241 Tote from Anna at Noodlehead. There are a couple of variations you can make to the bag: leave off the small exterior pockets, or make a version with zip pockets on the main panel instead. I like the simplicity and detail of the small pockets, let me tell you, they are nice and deep and perfect for throwing your car keys or sunglasses. Looking at my finished bag I can tell I will use it a lot in the summer. It has a casual beachy vibe.

There is a roomy slip pocket inside (you could make one for the other side too if you wanted). The one thing I missed off the bag is the magnetic clasp. If I had one I would have used it, for some reason my eyes never saw it on the materials list! Doh!

The lining I used was a plain brown cotton, also used to line the small pockets. The Red Riding Hood fabric is from Kokka and is from the same half meter I bought to make the Sunday Brunch Skirt earlier this year.

I managed to get both pockets cut at exactly the same point in the pattern. This is one of those items where it looks great sewn up but as soon as you topstitch round the seams, it looks like a million dollars! Topstitching just does that sometimes and this is one of them!

I could have modelled it for you but why would I when I have someone far cuter to show you how it all works?!

When you are this small it is just a great bag for putting all your blocks in. Taking them out again. Putting all your blocks in..... you get the game.

Here are a few shots of my girl giving it the once over in all her crazy-post-naptime-hair glory.


Thursday, 15 November 2012

Open Wide Zip Bag

Today things got the tiniest bit festive around here. It is nearly that time after all. We are so close to knocking on the first advent calendar door!

I have been looking for stocking filler ideas and after browsing a few pins and tutorials I went for this zip bag tutorial from Noodlehead. I like the idea of the wide opening and there were three different sizes to choose from so perfect for making a few sets of bags. Present idea!

I only have a few zips in stock and so had to match up the fabric with the zip as opposed to the other way round. I had a fat quarter of this gorgeous Robert Kaufman fabric from last year to use up. I cut out the measurements for the medium size bag as I had a 12" zipper.

This is a really quick project and so I had it all done in an hour. I had to keep nipping upstairs to the youngster who was adamant she was not having a morning nap, but I still managed to have it all sewn up in about an hours time.

The tutorial is really clear and easy to follow and there is a size chart for the other sizes and also directions for making constrast panels instead of one fabric. The method called for boxed corners and with the medium bag I needed to take off 4" in width. Way too much for my bag! I measured it out but felt sad to be losing so much of my fabric. I wanted more bag for my time so I only snipped off 3" width on each corner. I would even go for less next time. It is still a good size inside but I would like a bit more capacity so will scale that cut down.

The medium size would be a great handbag makeup supply size, or if you are crafty a good travel sewing stash kit. 

It has made me think I need to order a few more of those lovely FQ bundles that are out there. I worked out that I could get two of this medium size from one FQ. That is a pretty good stash buster!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Knitted Blueleaf Headband

I recently signed up with Ravelry, curious about what sort of things were on there. It is the sort of site that if my mum were a bit more computer savvy, she would spend all day on there! Luckily for my dad, she has no paypal account, knows nothing of Ravelry and is not that speedy with computers!

I have only just started to knit again and as with most beginnners wanted a series of small projects to get me into the swing of things again. Hats, mittens, scarves etc...

I found this pattern for a lacework headband/earwarmer and it looked well within my comfort zone so I chose some wool from my stash and got going.

As with most knitting patterns it never really takes any form until you are well into it. You know you are doing well when somebody walks in and says "oh you are making a hat" (at least then you know you are doing well!). This one started off by looking like mini bunting flags.

This is the first time I have done the ssk stitch and thank goodness for You Tube! I found a really good video showing me exactly what to do. The creator of the video is theknitwitch and she has some great tutorials for most of the basic knitting stitches.

One of the features on Ravelry allows you to post your work in progress and this I like for one reason. When I think back about a project I can rarely remember how long it took me to do. Once you log your wip on Ravelry you can then go back after completion and put the date you finished it on. Great reference tool for when you want to make something again!

This headband took me three days to knit. I tend to knit mainly in the evening and if I can sneak some in during nap time then even better. So I was pleasantly surprised that it only took three days. Yippee!

I chose to secure the two ends with elastic which I sewed on using a larger stitch setting on my machine. I am told the wool will stretch a little with constant use so hopefully the elastic will help to keep it snug.

What I used:

Needles: US 8 - 5.0mm
Yarn: Wendy Beach Baby DK Shade 622

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Make It Perfect: Uptown Girl Jacket

My second coat of the week, this one took no time at all the pattern was so simple. It is the Uptown Girl Jacket from Make It Perfect.

This is the first time I have used a MIP pattern and I am so impressed with both the pattern and the end result. I have made the size 2T with no modifications. 

The jacket is fully reversible. Having made it with a wool type fabric (melton, which feels like boiled wool) on one side and a cotton poplin on the other, it would seem odd to reverse it. So the thinking behind this one is that it is just lined. I haven't added the button to the inside with this in mind.

I don't dress the girls in matching clothes really but I could see the common sense behind ordering a little bit more length on the fabrics I chose to make the eldest a School Days coat.
So they match, but not quite!

This pattern really appeals to me as it is a quick sew. The temptation to make another one up is quite strong but since they don't need another coat I will have to wait until the Spring! I only have the pattern size that goes up to an age 5 and am awaiting a stock shortage to be filled so I can get the larger size. I think it will be a great Spring/Summer school coat.


Friday, 2 November 2012

Oliver + S School Days Coat

Here it is! My half term project is finally done! I have just finished all the hand sewing on Friday afternoon in time for return to school on Monday. Phew!

I have wanted to make this pattern for so long but really held off because I was a bit scared of making a coat. A coat seems like such a big deal to make. 

If you feel the same way, then let me just say how fantastic this pattern is. I shouldn't be surprised given that it is O+S. But, all the same, I still approached it with caution, only to find myself steaming ahead with no problems.

The outer fabric is a purple melton which was a dream to sew with. The inside is a microdot poplin. I bought the toggles locally at the market and the leather cord off ebay. 

I have got some sew-on snaps for the inside which I will attach later tonight while sitting in front of the telly (instead of being at my sewing machine, for a change!).
 This is the first thing I have made that my daughter kept asking to try on as I was sewing it. That bodes well and she certainly seems to adore it. Success! 

Happy is a mother whose child wants to wear her clothes!