Monday, March 23, 2015

just add detail - a little bit of plaid

Anna from MadeIt Patterns and Olu (Needle & Ted) are having a fun little challenge for a few bloggers - to take the MadeIt Ziggy Top pattern and put your own spin on it.  At first I thought I would have to pass on this opportunity since March has been insanely busy, but I had this idea for an oversized sweatshirt with a faux shirt hem bouncing around in my head for a while, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it out!  When you're done reading this post, make sure to head over to Olu's blog to see the sneak peeks from the other bloggers too!

I'm going to put a little disclaimer right here at the top:  I did receive this pattern for free when I agreed to participate in the challenge.  I would love to say that this is a review of the pattern as well, but I made so many changes that I don't feel I can review the fit of original pattern.  However, I can say that it includes a size chart (which seems accurate) and also has finished garment measurements and fabric requirements (all in both cm and inches) which I know most people like.  The sewing instructions are thorough and easy to follow, and I feel that even though the pattern is rated as intermediate, a confident beginner (who is not afraid of sewing with knits) could probably tackle it with good results.

The Ziggy Top is a fairly basic, oversized, boxy top pattern. Basic, at least in my mind, does not make this pattern inferior, but rather the perfect pattern to customize.  (Although, if you do purchase the pattern, there are several options included so it doesn't require any modifications to result in a cute top for either boys or girls.)

I started with the size 3 which I knew would be a bit big on Mae, since I want the sweatshirt to fit next year as well.  I made quite a few changes to the original pattern to accommodate the details I wanted to add. I'm not going to go into too much detail, but here's a basic list of changes:
  • Split the front and back pattern pieces to create a center seam
  • Changed the angle of the taper on the sleeve so it would be wider at the wrist making it easier to roll the sleeves
  • Cutting a few inches off the bottom of the front and back pieces to create a wide hem
  • Lined the sleeves
  • Slightly changed the shape of the side seams to make it easier to sew in the lined sleeves
  • Cut a wider neckband
  • Added a split hem
  • Added a faux shirt hem

I love the final result!  I don't always say that about the things I make, but this sweatshirt turned out exactly like I hoped it would.  And anyone who sews knows how great that feels :)

Sometimes when I'm looking through sewing blogs I wish I could see the inside of the garments, because I love seeing construction methods.  I don't think I've shown the inside of anything I've made so far, but I'm planning on doing that whenever possible from now on.  It's a nice way of showing the finishing details and construction methods which can't be as easily described with words.  Or, to put it another way, in this case a picture truly is worth a thousand words :)

You can get your own copy of the Ziggy Top pattern for 20% off for one week only.  The 20% is already reflected on the website, so there's no need to enter a code of any kind. :)  Just click on the button below which will take you directly to the Ziggy Top pattern.  Although you should check out the other patterns too while you're there!

20% off Ziggy

Knit - Birch Organics Flight
Plaid - Joann's
Snap - Kamsnaps
Jeggings - Osh Kosh
Boots - H&M

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