Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cute Kid Outfit

I decided to take M's advice and I scrapped my Ella Moss knock off. So I sewed up this outfit for S instead.  Although I was completely frustrated by the top I tried to make for myself, I did learn some things in those hours. Including:

1) Stripes - not a great choice for a lose fitting top - at least not on me.
2) Beware cutting necklines on knits!
3) Using the zig-zag setting (#8) with spacing of 2.0 and zig-zag width of 2.0 makes for a mighty fine looking stitch - at least on super super stretchy knits like this one.
4) There are a gazillion ways to bind a neckline and I should go through all the ones I can think of and make myself a sample book to refer back to. I spent almost an hour making a collar on my shirt only to find it fell in the opposite way I expected it to so I had the seam line exposed - so frustrating.

So I made a tunic top and long shorts for S.  The shorts are simple. Nothing fancy going on with the shorts. The tunic is cute, I think, but kind of odd if you look at it too closely.

I attempted to make a hidden elastic high waist (like an empire waist). I decided to make the wide hem on the top part of the tunic while at the same time attaching the skirt part of the tunic - which also needed to be massively gathered at the same time. The hem serves as housing for the elastic.  This all worked out quite well except that... oops... I made the hem facing out.  Not sure how I did that, but I decided to go with it and "make it work" because I was not about to try to rip out those tight zig-zag threads on the super stretchy knit.  I think it looks okay. Like I said, it's a little odd if you inspect it too closely, but who's going to do that? No one.

Another oddity about the tunic is the way I made the sleeves.  I'm not sure what this sleeve style might be called but ... I just sort of extended the shoulder and then folded the seam under. They meet at the arm pit. They might be a little tight - though S insists they are fine.  I can always cut them into a typical  tank-top style.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Spring Top Sew Along

I entered the Spring Top Sew Along by Rae at Made-by-Rae!

with this top:

Meanwhile I spent several hours today working on a new Knock-Off/hack of one of my favorite sweater knits by Ella Moss.  I drafted, cut, and sewed up most of it today. But a problem arrose.  The fabric I'm using has much more stretch than the original I'm copying, so it seems much larger.  Now, I think I could live with the size, I could bring it in and just let it be playfully roomy.  But the problem is the neckline is much too big.  I'm trying to decide what to do about it.  I'm thinking maybe adding a cowl or a tie to the collar.  When I showed it to M tonight to get his opinion he asked, "how much did the fabric cost?" (his way of saying - 'scrap it & start over')  Arg.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

My Latest Knit Creation

It rained all day yesterday, and I had a cold.  Luckily it was just a mild cold - but it was enough of an excuse to stay home all day sewing, without feeling guilty.

The first thing I did was finish all the bindings on the two knit shirts I made last weekend.  I experimented with several different binding methods, and I'm still not sure I have a favorite method.  Each has it's pros and cons.  But I digress.

After finishing the bindings, I had about 1/2 a yard left of this knit fabric from Girl Charlee. I decided to use the bodice pattern from Vogue 8727 as my base and then I did my own "hack" by adding a tie at the collar and a wide waist band. I think I will end up making this dress... when I have more than 1/2 a yard to work with. But I used up almost every scrap.  I made the binding and collar pieces by patching  scraps to make a super long rectangle.

Here is a picture of the original dress:

And here is my hack:

Close up:

And now C and I can wear matching outfits! But if you know me, you know I would NEVER allow that to happen.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Kid Shirts

Life has taken over a bit around here and I haven't done much sewing... but I finally got some shirts done this weekend.  It always surprises me how long the process of tracing patterns and cutting fabric takes.  Sewing is so quick in comparison.

These tops come from the April Burda magazine.  Burda-2012-04. They are size 110. I didn't make any changes to the pattern shape, but I omitted the pocket and elbow patches.

I took these pictures before binding the necks, wrists, and waists. I reinforced the shoulder seams on both of these by adding an additional strip of knit fabric to bind the seam. If the fabrics look familiar then scroll down a bit and you'll see why.

This first one is a super soft knit, some sort of rayon I think. I still have about a yard left over (I bought it as a remnant on super sale). So I'll probably make something else for the girls with this fabric.  C loves it because it is so so soft. And she loves pink.

It was sort of a pain to make because the fabric is so slinky, my machine kept wanting to eat it, so I had to start the seams in the middle and work my way to the ends.  Making the binding is not fun, and I haven't decided how to deal with the neck binding yet.

This also comes from left over fabric. It's a cotton knit. C loves this one also, but I'm hoping S will wear it too.  I had C model it for me and I asked her if I should make any changes but she said, "don't change a thing."

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

An OMG moment!

I squealed with delight this morning when I checked my google reader...saw one of my favorite bloggers had a new post...clicked on it, and... near the bottom saw that she mentioned me and my blog! I'm swooning, blushing, and feeling like I need to STEP UP MY GAME as far as photo taking and sewing!  Thank you thank you Cation Designs!

Size 6 Shorts!

What have I been sewing lately? Lots of shorts in size 6.  I'm trying to use up some fabric scraps and my kids need new shorts. Last time I bought them shorts was 2 years ago, and although they still fit, they're starting to be very tight and very very short - neither of which are a major problem when you're just 5 years old but... it's time to move into a new size. For those of you that don't know, I have twins, and so I end up needing lots of one size all at once, and then never ever again once they move through it.

Why shorts in winter? My girls love to wear them, both alone, on warm days, and also under skirts or over tights.  Cutting out the pattern and sewing them up is quick and easy, so I'm using it as an opportunity to improve and experiment: french seams, binding internal seams, strengthening crotch seams, and trying out various methods on knit edges. Unfortunately I ran out of wide elastic.  The 1/4 inch elastic works, but it's definitely not as nice.

Pictured today are the shorts I made in a woven fabric that I bought (just) over 20 (!) years ago, at the tender age of 18. This is one of the few fabrics I've lugged with me from college to my various homes over the years. Finally I decided to cut it up. I only had a yard.  Part of it went to a quilt for a doll that I made a few weeks ago (not documented) and the rest is now shorts.  I just have pictures of these because the others (all in knit jersey) are in the laundry.  In fact the ones I made yesterday were worn (over tights) today and came home with blue paint all over them. Oh well!

I used the last of my wide elastic when I made these.  I hemmed them using a version of this technique described at Grainline Studios.  Actually, I read the tutorial a few weeks ago and followed it by memory, but now that I look at it I realize I didn't clip the excess, so mine is much bulkier.  I'll try follow it more closely next time I sew some shorts from woven fabric.

I took care to cover each exposed seam with some scraps of jersey, so they are extremely soft inside.

A last view. These take about 1-2 hours to make from cutting the fabric to pressing the final seam. It depends on what (if any) internal finishing I decide to do.  The pattern is a self drafted one based on taking apart some old shorts that no longer fit & scaling them up and adding some ease. These have a purposely roomy fit so they can hopefully last 2+ years!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A new dress!

I made this dress last week and wore it this weekend to my mother's birthday party! It was fast and easy and very gratifying to get almost instant (2 hour) results!

I was inspired by this post by Cation Designs.

I used the knit fabric that I purchased from Girl Charlee.  I still have about a yard left, so the price of the fabric I used was about $10.00 (+ a bit for fabric shipping) and the pattern was free (thank you!)

I followed the instructions almost exactly, but I made the dress 26" wide instead of her recommended 24".  This added unnecessary bulk around the neckline and so next time I will make it 24" wide.  Next time I will add a slit along one side of the dress, maybe about 12" to make wide steps easier (I like to take long strides).  Right now I could use a small slit, but it's fine without. But if I made it less wide, I'd need a slit for sure.

I made the tie from the dress fabric. Next time I might make it even longer and it could be narrower. I cut it about 10" wide and folded and sewn it's about 4" wide now.

I ended up hemming the dress by about 1 inch after cutting off 2 inches.  It started out about 58-59" long (the original width of the fabric).

I didn't get pictures of the inside of the dress, but I tried very hard to sew all my seams neatly and they're all covered inside. This dress is perfect for our hot summers and it's very comfy to wear around the house without a belt. Then if I want to go out I just add the belt & I'm instantly dressed up! So easy. I'll definitely make another one of these if not more!

Sorry for the blurry pictures - I'm still getting to know the auto-click feature on my camera.