Tuesday, March 3, 2015

craftingcon - once upon a time meets family history

This month's theme for CraftingCon (to see my post, click here) is Once Upon a Time, which, in terms of the competition refers to anything more than 100 years ago either real or fictional.  In other words, pretty much anything you can dream up is fair game :)  And since I haven't sewn a single thing since November, I had way more ideas than I needed tumbling around in my brain, and I had a really, really hard time focusing on only one!

Mae is three, and she has really embraced all that is unique about that age from telling me to "Go away! I do it myself" all the way to "I'm too little, you do it" usually uttered in fairly quick succession and often referring to exactly the same thing ;)  Along with her need to only do the tasks that she feels are not beneath her is her belief that no clothing at all is totally the way to go.  She informed me just the other day that she wasn't getting dressed because she doesn't like clothes any more ;)  But, since we live in Michigan, and the day I took these pictures the windchill was -25, I'm pretty sure clothing is a necessity! So I made Mae an outfit with a bit of attitude (just like her!) with a nod to her Norwegian heritage.

I had only sewn one Ottobre pattern prior to this outfit, the sweatshirt from this post, and I loved the pattern, so I decided to sew a few more.  If you are interested in learning more about Ottobre patterns, check out this post from Rachel at Stitched Together.  It does a really nice job of going over what to expect while sewing Ottobre patterns.

The first pattern was for this top which is a modified version of pattern 12 from Autumn 4/2013 in a size 92 with the 98 length.  I started by creating a short sleeve from the original long sleeve pattern.  Then, since the faux leather I used for the sleeves had no stretch, the shirt would not fit over Mae's head without some type of opening, so instead of cutting the back on the fold, I added 3/8" to the center back and cut it in two pieces in order to add an opening at the top.  I finished the opening with a leather tab that buttons on to the back of the shirt.  The final change I made to add a band to the bottom of the shirt simply because I wanted it a little longer than the original pattern.

My husband's family is Norwegian, so I decided to add a nod to Mae's Nordic ancestry by appliqueing a crest to the front of Mae's top.  Originally I was going to use the family crest, but I ran out of time, and the family crest is quite complicated, so I drew a simpler shield using the cross design on the Norwegian flag.  I'm sure I would have liked the family crest if I had gone that route, but I kind of prefer the simplicity of this one instead ... maybe because it feels a bit more modern and bit less oak tree and acorns with hearts and a knight's helmet ;)

The second pattern I used was for a pair of boy's corduroys, pattern 14 from Winter 6/2011 in a size 98.  I omitted the side cargo pockets and modified the front of the pants to make the knees look like their are knee pads.  I did have to cut the back waist elastic about 1" shorter than the pattern calls for, but other than that, the fit was perfect without any changes to the pattern pieces.  I will admit that these jeans took quite a while to make, but they were definitely worth the time and effort!  Please ignore the fuzz all over the pants in the next couple of pictures.  The faux fur vest had a tendency to shed a bit and the fibers seemed unusually attracted to the jeans :)

The details in this pattern are wonderful!  I added the knee detail, but the rest, such as the v-shape created by the front hip pocket and the back panel, are included in the pattern.  All of the topstitching and bar-tacks add to the professional finish as well.

The last two patterns I used are the vest and the arm covers.  The vest is pattern 22 from Winter 6/2011, using only the front and back bodice pieces.  And the arm covers are pattern 20 also from issue Winter 6/2011.  I chose to line both pieces with faux fur.  If you haven't created a fully lines vest before, I would suggest this tutorial which happens to be the same method I learned many years ago.

For the arm covers I just winged it and I wasn't incredibly happy with the results. I'm not sure if lining it made a huge difference to the size or if my daughter just has bizarrely large hands, but I used a narrower seam allowance than the pattern called for and it was still a tight fit to get them on. Plus the shape is a bit off.  And then when I went back and looked at the finished pattern in the magazine, it looks like someone cheated a bit and rolled the thumb and hand openings to alter the fit, so I may not have been the only person who found the arm warmers to be not quite right ;)

My inspiration came from the character Astrid from How to Train Your Dragon. If you want to hear more about why I chose this inspiration, you should go read my CraftingCon guest post over at Mae&K since that's pretty much what it's about!

I thought you all might need some evidence that I have a "threenager" in the house.  Every one of these pictures were taken after me telling Mae to smile for Grandma :) Enjoy!

Everything is from Joann's
Top - Ponte knit
Jeans - Stretch denim
Faux Fur
Faux Leather

Friday, December 5, 2014

sew it all series - upcycled knit tunic

I know that the projects on the blog haven't been very inspiring (or frequent!) lately.  In fact, boring and almost non-existent may actually be better words!  But I've been swamped with commitments in the non-virtual world, and sewing has really taken a back seat, as it should.  I considered stopping blogging altogether, but I really do enjoy sharing what I sew, so I think I'll keep at it for now.  Just don't expect anything all that special or interesting in the sewing arena for the next few months while I immerse myself in Science to make several teenagers happy!  Although it's possible a banner for our Science Olympiad team may show up on the blog at some point if I decide to sew one :)

Mae's newest top is an upcycled shirt from Salvation Army.  I originally bought the top to use as fabric for another project, but then didn't end up using it.  I put it aside for a few weeks ... ok, maybe more like a few months :) ... and promptly forgot about it.  After making Mae's floral pants, I realized she had no tops to match, so I went digging in my upcycle bin and rediscovered this gem.  At first I considered just cutting it up for the fabric, but in the end I chose to keep some of the features from the original top, like the button tab sleeves and the split hem.

I started with a not-yet-released Wee Muses pattern designed by Anneliese from Aesthetic Nest for the bodice, and then kind of winged it from there.  Honestly, the original design of the shirt pretty much dictated what I could make so it wasn't a very difficult project.  The construction was pretty easy too since the hem and the sleeves were already finished.  All I needed to do was add the neck binding and attach the bodice and sleeves to the skirt and I was done.  Sometimes a simple project like this is exactly what I need to feel like I've accomplished something in an otherwise completely unproductive day!

Here's a close-up of the cute details.  This picture kind of annoys me ... I spent a lot of time aligning all the stripes on the rest of the top, but on this side seam, which was finished by the manufacturer, they don't line up perfectly!  Although, if I'm being honest here, it doesn't annoy me enough to actually fix it :)

Upcycled tee

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

sew it all series - floral ponte pants

There hasn't been much sewing going on around my house lately, so I've been lacking a bit in blog content for the last couple of weeks.  I finally did get around to making something, and I thought I would go ahead and share it here, even though it's not exactly the most exciting project :)  Once again, I used pattern #9 from this Japanese sewing book, which I've already used here and here.  What can I say, once I have a pattern I like already traced and cut out, I'm unlikely to look for a new one!  I  used the size 110 with the 100 length since I was going for knit pants that were not as fitted as your average legging.  If I make this pattern in a size 100, which is Mae's usual size in Japanese patterns, it fits like a traditional tight legging, so the 110 is perfect for a more relaxed fit!

I just love this Ponte Roma floral from fabric.com, which is unfortunately no longer available :(  The colors are beautiful, and the weight is perfect for a heavier, winter legging.  I just hope it holds up over time - the knits from fabric.com can be so hit or miss!

Floral Ponte de Roma knit from fabric.com - no longer available

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

madeIt florence - christmas blog tour

Welcome to my little corner of the Florence Christmas blog tour!  I have to be honest, my little corner almost didn't exist.  I totally got the date for my post wrong, and then I got sick and didn't get anything to Olu on time!  So, I've got to give a huge thank you to Olu (Needle and Ted) and Anna (creator of MadeIt Patterns) for their patience and understanding :)

This blog tour is a little different than most - it is also a competition!  The version of the Florence with the most comments over on Needle and Ted will be the winner.  So, if you like my version (or anyone else's) head over to Needle and Ted and leave a comment! 

For this week only (November 17-23) you can get the Florence Blouse Pattern (and any other pattern from Anna's shop!) for 20% off with the code Tour20.  Just click on the button below!  And (yes, there's more!) if you sew up a Christmas version of the Florence, make sure to post it on Madeit Patterns Facebook page by the end of January 2015 for a chance to win a MadeIt pattern of your choice!

Now that all the blog tour details are out of the way (because I totally would have forgotten to include them if I waited until the end!) we can get to my Christmas-ish version of the Florence pattern!  I say Christmas-ish because I don't generally sew holiday specific clothing for my kids.  I prefer sewing things that can be worn for an entire season.  So this jumper is a little less Christmas and a little more winter :)

I know at first glance it looks nothing like the Florence Blouse, but I actually kept most of the pattern pieces as is.  I used the front and back pieces without any modifications and eliminated the collar and sleeves.  Then I doubled the width of the placket to make it double breasted and added a simple pleated rectangle skirt.  It's amazing how small changes can make such a big difference in the end!  Although Mae wears a size two according to the chart included with the pattern, I sewed the size three because I wanted a little bit of room for Mae to wear a shirt under the jumper.  And I would have to say that the pattern fits true to the measurements which is always a good thing!  Obviously, you can't see the fit with these pictures, so you will just have to take my word for it that it is perfect :)

This fabric was a bit of a challenge to work with.  I purchased it at Joann's last year, and it was located in a miscellaneous spot in the store, so I'm not sure where it really belonged.  I don't think the women who worked at Joann's knew either which is why it was stuck on an endcap!  It's a polyester suiting fabric, but it is more of an outerwear weight.  And it frays like crazy!  I accidentally caught a corner of one of the pieces with the button on my sleeve, and suddenly the piece was 1/2" shorter!  I learned really quickly that I had better be careful, or the entire jumper was going to fall apart :)  I thought the fabric felt a bit prickly (although my kids told me it didn't) so I fully lined the bodice with a stretch sateen ... in red of course!  After all, I at least have to give a nod to Christmas since it's the theme of the tour :)

I really love the details included with the pattern!  The princess seams are lovely, as is the back bodice.  I didn't finish this jumper following the directions in the pattern since my version is fully lined, but I did read the pattern through, and I have no doubt that any blouse made with this pattern would be finished beautifully inside and out!

White Suiting from Joann's
Lining - Stretch Sateen from Joann's
Snaps - Kamsnaps

Make sure to check out the other blogs that are part of the tour!