Category Archives: Sewing

McCall 7199 – Asymmetrical Zip Outerwear

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I think my body might be shrinking. Or not. Maybe I’m not understanding what “moderate stretch knits” are, since I didn’t think the fabric I used was crazy stretchy.

This is what the envelope image of McCall 7199 view A looks like:

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This is how it looks on me:

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I cut the size 12 and made no mods other than making the hem slightly longer to account for my generous torso length (I folded up 3/8″ instead of 1″). I actually like the loose fit, but it might have been a good idea to go down one more size. I feel like I’m writing this sentence a lot lately. I’m having a bear of a time figuring out the right sizing for myself with so many different pattern companies and very little standardization. Throw in the quirks of each fabric, and I’m constantly scratching my head.

There’s a lot to love here. The double knit is super luxe and soft. I think it’s a sweater knit? I’m just going to put it out there that from here on out, chances are good that I won’t remember where any of the fabric I’m using is from nor am I adept at identifying types of substrate. I’m sorting through stash from years ago at this point and my memory isn’t great on the best of days. That’s why I have to write about my projects right away; otherwise I won’t even be able to remember that I actually made the thing.

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Anyway. I’m drawn to asymmetrical designs, and that zipper! I never thought I’d be able to make something that looks this difficult. Spoiler: it’s not difficult at all.

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I did make things difficult by installing the left zipper incorrectly at first, forgetting that the front was supposed to overlap. I installed it like I would a normal jacket or hoodie, which made it extremely maternity-friendly —  I must have unwittingly wanted it to look like all my other tops. Luckily, unpicking the seam wasn’t a total nightmare, and it was an easy enough fix.

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There’s quite a bit of piecing involved as well as hand-stitching of the facing (I used the thinnest cotton knit I could find in my stash), so it’s not the fastest project on the block but I’m thoroughly digging the end results. I love all the panels and shaping that happens as a byproduct and the overall effect is sporty yet stylish. And sort of futuristic, no?

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Trying to figure out how to get the collar to lay in a pleasing way is a fun challenge. And I need to shift the snap position inside because it’s hitting at a weird spot in my armpit. A couple of other nit-picky things: I noticed that because this pattern is meant for knits, there are no instructions for finishing the seam allowances. However, I like to serge the raw edges of my knits, so I did that where it made sense. And my pocket linings keep peeking out, so I’ll need to sew them down and next time, I plan on skipping pockets altogether because it adds bulk to the midsection that I can do without.

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Other than a few minor, minor issues, this is a top/sweater/jacket thingie that’s going to get a lot of wear! M was very impressed when he saw me zipping it up and declared it “cool”. Now that’s high praise because he rarely notices my clothes — I could be rocking out in a grain sack (which, sadly, many of my dresses resemble), and he would be unperturbed.

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I’m having a blast sewing for myself and can’t stop! Oh, side note: I was perusing my Pinterest board after I finished making this and noticed that I had pinned an image that obviously propelled me to purchase the pattern without me even realizing it. I’d forgotten all about that pin! The power of the subconscious…

 

P.S. Furoku members, part 1 is going out tonight!!

 

Gingers in Indigo and a Shakespearean Valley Top

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So my right calf is slightly bigger than my left calf. These are the things you learn when you make your own clothes. I’m on a sewing roll, and I pumped out not only my second pair of Ginger skinnies, but also the Cali Faye Valley Blouse. It was a good week.

Look at me, trying to mix things up with some props:

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Yes. A little cornball. You can’t help but imagine muzak accompanying this.

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Shall we start with what I’m calling my Shakespearean Valley top? It looks pretty awesome on the hanger, and though the top has grown on me now that I’ve worn it for an entire day and now that the cashier at Jo-Ann’s complimented me on it — she called it my “over-shirt”– I have to admit I feel like I’m billowing all over the place in this blouse. I could probably be airborne if I jumped off of a roof.

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I saw the top featured on the Sewing Rabbit via Pinterest, and loved the way it looked so I immediately purchased the pattern. It’s pretty easy to construct, but I noticed that it was labeled “intermediate”. Had I read that first, I probably wouldn’t have attempted the top because I wanted a quick and easy project of the flow-y variety. I’m guessing it’s the fabric recommendation of very light wovens that makes this garment slightly trickier to sew up since I’d made similar types of tunics that were considered beginner-friendly. I used a double-gauze (I can’t remember from where, sorry), which made it even fiddlier. I like the keyhole feature, and I opted to go the non-functional button route. I lined it with a cream voile, and this is what the inside looks like:

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The sleeves are what make this top especially Shakespearean, or of that era if you know what I mean. If I’d sewn it in white linen, I would be spouting sonnets. Such full, gathered sleeves! And more gathers at the front and back yokes…all of this makes for a very cute design, but I think the issue is that I should have gone down one size. According to the sizing chart, I should have been an XL, but when I looked at the pattern pieces, I was certain a large would fit me. Sizing is always such a conundrum. At least too big is better than too small!

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As for my indigo Gingers — I’m a proud, proud jeans-making mama. I made these out of Selvage denim, which wasn’t quite as stretchy as the black denim I used for my first pair, but with a little tweak here and there (letting out the seam 1/4 inch along the sides and 1/2 inch around my calves), the fit of these indigos are almost better than the black ones. I also made these a smidgen longer.

gingersandvalley8Excuse my exposed belly there and hey, you can see a little of the zipper. Also, I know it’s pure vanity that makes me even mention this, but the fly guard is sticking out in the middle image, making me look like I’ve got a bit of a pouchy stomach. Not that it matters since my Valley blouse leaves everyone wondering when I’m popping out the triplets (what else is new, right? I say this about virtually all my tops). It was significantly easier and faster to sew my second pair of jeans, though I ran into a major problemo:

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Ugh. That there is a hole inelegantly patched near the crotch. The lesson here is not to multi-task when serging the fly seam allowance. K was chattering about this cool restaurant she went to with a friend where robots serve sushi, and my hand slipped in astonishment. “Are you okay, Mama? Are you going to cry?” K asked me when she saw my expression as I put my eye to the hole.

Luckily, it is just where no one can/should see unless the person happens to be pervy. Moving along, I used this beautiful striped cotton for the pocket lining. Ditto for the black Gingers.

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The only other issue I ran into was my inability to hammer in the rivets to the back pockets. In a display of foresight I’m not usually known for, I had purchased several Thread Theory jeans notions packets. After destroying 12 rivets, I conceded defeat. I’m all out of rivets now, so I’ll have to order some more. I tried to steam close the pocket corner holes, but no go.

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I tried this outfit with different shoes, and I can’t decide which I like best. That’s the great thing about skinny jeans – so so versatile. I love that I can slip on boots without all the bunching that happens with my bootcut jeans.

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It’s official: my sewing energy is back!
gingersandvalley13P.S. The winner of the giveaway is Jeannie, congrats!

Ginger Jeans of My Own

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“What are you doing?” he asked me. It was the pounding that caused him to poke his head into the room — he looked confused and slightly alarmed.

I stood there with the hammer poised a few inches above an overturned cast iron skillet.

“Making jeans,” I replied. And whacked a rivet into place.

I made jeans.

JEANS.

!!!!!

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These Gingers Skinny Jeans took me just shy of a year to complete from the initial muslin, mostly because I was stymied by the idea of altering the pattern. But before I go into the various modifications I did indeed need to make, I want to address this image above.

As you can see, I used indigo thread for what is obviously not blue denim. Until I saw this photo, I actually thought the fabric was blue. I was going for a subtle look, deliberately choosing to skip contrasting topstitching. So much for that plan. It had been a while since I’d purchased the fabric, so I’d forgotten that I purchased black denim. I’m going to have to do something about the lighting situation in my house. Or maybe my eyes need to be checked.

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At any rate, I’m incredibly proud of my new jeans made out of Osaka denim from here (the link is to the indigo denim, which they were out of when I was at the store. The black denim was slightly cheaper at $15/yd).

ginger-blackdenim1I started out with a size 12 for view B, and ultimately ended up cutting a size 6, predominantly because the Osaka denim is nice and stretchy. However, my calves are solidly a size 8 so I graded up for the lower leg portion. Look at those buxom and sturdy babies. Other changes I made:

– Reduced leg length by 3 inches.

– Tapered the leg opening by about 1 1/4 inches

– Moved the pockets up to the size 12 markings (I think this means my rear end sits high? Or maybe having a non-existent butt means the pockets need to be moved higher. Dunno).

Most of the fiddling had to do with trying to figure out which size worked best for me. I’m embarrassed to admit that I printed out and taped together the pattern pieces from scratch 4 times instead of just modifying what I had already printed up. What can I say, sometimes you just need to start fresh. In my case, it takes a lot of fresh starts. I’ve killed a small tree, I know.

I also killed another tree by printing out the über helpful ebook Sewing Your Own Jeans that Heather created. It was well worth using up my ink cartridges for the 90+ pages because I doubt I would have been able to sew the jeans without this handy guide. With clear (and always witty) step-by-step instructions and plentiful photos, this visual learner was thrumming with happiness. I was also blown away by the alteration tips and tricks — that Heather, she knows what she’s doing.

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about high rise jeans, concerned that I might be spiraling into mom pants territory, but they are so crazy comfortable that I don’t even care if the hipster youth of Seattle are sniggering behind my back.

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The best part was that once I figured out the sizing and read this AMAZING post by the genius behind the Ginger Jeans herself, it really wasn’t difficult to sew at all. Sure, I made mistakes and the pockets don’t want to stay entirely flat and there are some extra pooling at the ankles as well as generous whiskering around the knees and at the back of my thighs that might indicate I need to make a few more tweaks, but you know what? They look profesh. Truly. And I love love love love them.

They even look good rolled up like I usually do with all my jeans:

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Very Pacific Northwest, right?

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The verdict? Jeans are fun to make! In fact, I had such a great time that I immediately cut out a second pair. I’m about half-way done, and I’ll show you next week!

P.S. The winner of the giveaway is Mary Ann. Cograts!

P.P.S. Secret Valentines! Emails have gone out with partner information. We ran into a minor snafu when we found a couple of dupes after we’d sent out some emails, but they should all be sorted out now. Please let us know if you have any questions at secret.valentine.exchange@gmail.com.

P.P.P.S. Happy MLK Jr. Day to my fellow US residents!

 

Faux Fur Infinity Scarf + Giveaway [CLOSED]

 

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Well now. Ute and I are simply blown away by the enthusiastic response to the Secret Valentine Exchange!! It’s been so enthusiastic that my server crashed a number of times last week. It’s true that I have a wimpy, tiny server, but still. I also think there’s something problematic about multiple people trying to fill out the form simultaneously, but that’s an uneducated guess on my part. We’re approaching 130 sign-ups!! If you were one of the folks who couldn’t access the form to sign up, please email secret.valentine.exchange@gmail.com and we’ll send you the form directly. Quick reminder: the deadline is this Wednesday, January 13th!

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Today, though, I’m talking more faux fur. There’s a pint-sized fabric store near my house called District Fabrics, and during the holidays they sold these infinity scarf kits. For $10, the kit comes with a 19″ x 30″ faux fur piece, a spool of coordinating thread and instructions. I thought it was a decent deal and a good idea, particularly for a little someone obsessed with all things wild and animalistic in my household. Plus, I’d just seen something similar in Anthropologie, so it was totally on trend (not that we’re ever on trend or ever feel the need to be).

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I didn’t get around to sewing it up in time for Christmas, but I did find a few minutes to bang it out this weekend. So fast! It was done within 15 minutes, and then I realized I didn’t follow the instructions because I’ve made so many infinity scarves. Instead of sewing the ends right sides together, leaving an opening and hand stitching the opening closed, the instructions call for finishing one end of the tube, slipping the other end in and sewing through all four layers with the right side facing out. I guess that part would end up at the nape of the neck so the flattened section won’t show, but I’m glad I did it my way for the overall fluffiness.

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K decided that she would create a special ensemble – a faux-furnanza, if you will —  and I’ve dubbed her “mini sasquatch”. Actually, with the ear muffs she looks like the love child of Princess Leia and Chewbacca (yes, we’ve seen the Star Wars movie that just came out).

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And here she is, playing the part of an infirm Victorian poet with a furry ascot — or is it a cravat?? She’s engrossed in a game of Mancala (an African game with which she’s obsessed).

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There’s a little twist to the front of the scarf, which I like, and because of the thicker material, it’s a simple circle scarf, meaning it doesn’t loop twice like most infinity scarves.

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At any rate, after sewing the vest, the trim on the jacket, and now a scarf, I’m all faux furred out. I have an extra kit, but I can’t bring myself to sew it. Would anyone like it? This one is a lighter shade of brown, sort of chestnutty or squirrel-colored. Even if you don’t end up using it as a scarf, there’s plenty there to make at least one side of a pillow cover, which happens to be all the rage right now — something that mystifies me. Or you could add a fur trim to a garment. So many possibilities.

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It seems like I should ask a New Year’s Resolution type of question, but I’m going to turn it on its head a bit: what worked for you last year that you want to continue? So often it seems like we try to change when we flip the calendar to January 1st. But there are so many things that we already do right and well and I’m a firm believer that those things ought to be acknowledged. Last year I met with at least one friend a week for coffee or some sort of get together, and it was so uplifting and wonderful, it’s something I’m very conscientious about continuing this year. Another funny little thing that worked for me last year was getting rid of the word “busy” from my vocabulary. Whenever people would ask me how I’m doing, my automatic response used to be, “Good, but so busy!” I can’t remember where I heard or read it, but I came across the term “glorification of busy” and how it’s become so normal in our society and is essentially a humble brag or a way to feel important. So I experimented with not saying that I’m busy for the whole year. And you know what? It was awesome! I felt like I was less in default mode and it forced me to pause to think about how I’m really doing and what I’m spending my time on. I’m going to keep up this habit of not saying I’m busy for sure. What about you?

I’ll leave the giveaway open until this Friday, January 15th and will announce the winner on Monday. Entries from around the globe are welcome. I hope someone’s interested – I’ve had enough of faux fur for the time being!

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The New Year’s Day Puffer

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Good morning! Over the years we’ve perfected the last-minute micro-vacation, and this past weekend we drove out of Seattle to a small mountain town called Cle Elum. I snagged the last room at the Snowcap Lodge (aka Best Western), and though K declared that it was no Comfort Inn, we thoroughly reveled in the rare experience of snow everywhere.

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It was beautiful up there – frigid but serene.  But I’m not here to regale you about our budget trip just outside of the city. Do you see it?? A puffer jacket?? I did it, friends.

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After browsing through the various options available (thank you for the suggestions!), I ordered the Puperita Tiger Hoodie. I liked the basic shape with a full lining, and the simple zipper insertion seemed entirely manageable. I figured it would be easy enough to make it into a puffer.

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I started by cutting out the size 10, and meant to add several inches to the length, but K said she wanted it “short-ish”. So short-ish it was. Then I proceeded by quilting the water-resistant black fabric layered atop generic poly batting. The front pieces have diagonal lines; the sleeve and back piece have horizontal lines. This step was a piece of cake. The velour/minky-esque aqua lining fabric was a shedding monster, though. It was as though Elsa let loose in a Frozen fury in my sewing area, and I spent far too much time cleaning up the aqua fluff.

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I attached knit ribbing for the sleeve cuffs as per instructions, but made a bunch of other changes: instead of the cool pockets that came with the pattern, I drafted my own and made them inseam. K sighs with happiness every time she slips her hands in the pockets. “So soft…” she murmurs. I also added faux fur trim to the hood, and thankfully the faux fur didn’t shed nearly as much as the lining fabric. As for the hem, I was supposed to fold the outer fabric over to the lining side, but I skipped that extra effort and simply sewed the hem right sides together (I left an opening of course, flipped it around, then topstitched across the entire hem).

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I realized that separating zippers aren’t all that difficult to install — what a revelation! I believe I’ve installed one before, but sewing for me is a constant relearning process. By the way, the shot above was taken in the adjacent town of Roslyn, which we love. How awesome is that mural? I think it’s James Dean, but I could be wrong.

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I spent a good chunk of the first day of 2016 finishing up the jacket. The level of excitement that K displayed when I showed it to her the next day was deafening. It was such a relief to finish it just before we left for our trip…I’m a lot of things, but a non-procrastinator is not one of them. And I’d like to highlight those crazy ear muffs. K bought them with her own moolah (well, money from grandparents for Christmas) and she’s insanely smitten with them.

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Thank goodness that she finally has a warm jacket again. It was 7 degrees Fahrenheit in Cle Elum/Roslyn, and the puffer kept her toasty. And because it’s water resistant (though not entirely waterproof), it’ll be good for the ensuing months of Seattle rain.

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We had so much fun this weekend, and it was well-worth the 2-hour delay we stoically sat through due to icy conditions on the way back. Snow fights! A cozy family movie night, which involved gathering around M as he held his ipad (there was a regular TV in the hotel room, but there was something extra silly and delightful about watching Kung Fu Panda 2 on a tiny screen). A fun dinner at a diner with pull tabs — have you ever heard of them? M calls pull tabs the most boring gambling game ever. The food was surprisingly good and the pie was excellent.

I’ve been pretty sick these last couple of weeks, and this getaway was exactly what I needed. We’re back in Seattle now, refreshed and ready to get this year started!

 

 

2015 RECAP: Sewing for K

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Good morning! I hope you all had a restful and celebratory Christmas, and perhaps you too are now looking back upon all the happenings of 2015. It’s been a big year for me: one book launched, another completed. I inadvertently started something that could be considered a side business. My little family of three had highs and lows, but the good times outweighed the bad. I hadn’t been quite prepared for the emotional turbulence that was part of this year, but in hindsight it stretched and pulled me like taffy, loosening me up, adding flexibility.

Given the many life-altering events that happened in the past 12 months, it’s no wonder that my personal sewing took a major hit. But I can’t really blame it all on book activities. The inevitable seems to be happening, and as K grows older, she’s less interested in wearing clothes that I’ve made. She wants to live in t-shirts/knits and leggings, preferably with characters and bright designs on them. “The non-stretchy stuff you make is uncomfortable, Mama,” she tells me.

So it makes sense that I tended to default to stitching up knit clothing, just because that upped the chances of them getting worn. Even so, she’d rather wear the store-bought hand-me-downs from our neighbor — I can understand that.

I’d assumed I made about a dozen things for K this year, but as I looked through my archives, the grand total came out to 27 (if counting each component of her Halloween costume separately). Not too bad! An average of 2+ a month is far more than I thought I could manage.

So here they are by month (surprisingly, the only month I completely skipped was May):

JANUARY

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Raglan Navy + Floral

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Frogtastic Tee

 

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Perri Pullovers

FEBRUARY

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Front Placket Dress (Wool Plaid)

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Front Placket Dress (Geometric)

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Coral Giraffe Print Top + Leggings

MARCH

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Bow Dress

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“Robe Jacket”

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Sailor Dress

APRIL

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Easter Bunny T-Dress

JUNE

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Maritime-y Dress

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Recital Dress That Wasn’t

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White Tee + Nani Iro Knit Shorts

JULY

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Bralette

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Henry Dress in Gradients of Grey

AUGUST

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Bedford in Black and Floral

 

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Rockstar Pants

SEPTEMBER

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Ottobre Marja Top

 

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Second Day of School Dress

OCTOBER

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Superhero K

NOVEMBER

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Faux Fur Vest

DECEMBER

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Gilded Recital Dress

27 items! There were a few pairs of leggings I didn’t post, so it’s probably closer to 30. I’m not sure how to approach 2016 and sewing for K… I’m in the midst of making her a puffy jacket — it probably won’t be done until this Saturday — and I will continue to make her necessary clothes, I’m sure. But it’s different from when I first started this blog and I could make whatever I wanted for her and she happily donned the outfits. She’s no longer my dress-up doll, and we are entering a whole new phase of tweenhood and strong opinions and self-consciousness.

I’ll figure something out, though. Maybe 2016 will be about teaching K how to make her own clothes. Now, wouldn’t that be something?

Sewing Little Things

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K made me a tote bag! We discovered a while ago that my attempts of teaching her sewing was not an enriching experience for either of us, so she’s been taking an after school class taught by Little Hands Creations. Brilliant move if I do say so myself. At first K was dubious about the class, but now she’s officially hooked.

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She told me that she chose this fabric because I “don’t like color.” I love it! I thought it was interesting that they taught her to add the straps without finishing the raw edges, but I’m very impressed with the overall quality of my new tote bag. “Mama, use your new bag!” K said, eagerly tossing it in my hands when I dropped her off at a sleepover birthday party on Friday, and as I ambled home, I noticed that my wrist suddenly felt empty. Somehow the bag had fallen off!

I backtracked my route twice, but it was such a dark and rainy night with little in the way of street lights, it was nearly impossible to see anything on the ground. Why I didn’t think to use my iPhone flashlight, I don’t know, but on the second pass, there it was midway between the friend’s house and ours. Crumpled and drenched but intact. Whew…

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Bursting with relief that I found the bag and to say thanks, I made her a little pouch. I had in mind the time we went to the pet store to get frog food the other day — there was a rescue cat that K fell in love with named “Epic.” Though he seemed affable and gentle, M is allergic to cats so it was a no-go. Epic was inky black and big, but I figured cream-colored and little would be just as appreciated. It’s the size of a coin purse that easily fits in my palm.

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The back is a simple envelope closure and I’m debating whether to add snaps or velcro…or maybe leave as is? K was thoroughly delighted and immediately went to show the neighbors (a sign of utmost approval). I didn’t use a pattern or anything and made it up as I went along. It was a snappy and fun project that took less than an hour even with the embroidering and painting on the blushing cheeks.

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Despite our unsuccessful history of sewing together, we’re giving it another joint effort with a small puppy toy. It’s not looking too promising so far since I downloaded a free pattern from a Russian site assuming I would be able to wing it, but I’m a bit mystified by how the pieces go together. I need to find a different pattern, preferably in a language I can read.

All these non-garment sewing projects are making me think about the holidays. Are you gearing up for the craziness? I’d like to scale way back this year and keep it super simple. That’s sounding mighty good to me right now.

Monday Outfit: Faux Fur Vest

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Good Morning! We had a bustling weekend filled with celebrations and Ultimate Frisbee (in the rain! K called Uncle midway to avoid getting sick again). I also stole away for a few hours to luxuriate in some crafting, and remembered my minimalist sewing plans. The warm zip vest seemed like a practical item to tackle for these days with rapidly cooling temperatures, but I couldn’t get myself worked up into a frenzy of excitement about sewing with batting.

As I waded through my stash of fabrics, I came across a piece of white-and-grey pelt the size of a placemat and recalled how K lingered to touch a faux fur vest at Target. I believe it was this one. K rarely stops to look at ready-to-wear clothes, so that moment stuck in my mind. Naturally, I had to make one for her.

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I used this book, which actually has a pattern for a faux fur vest. I am thrillingly close to have sewn every pattern, and I’ll have to do a round up of all the clothes I’ve made from this book soon. I derive a lot of satisfaction from seeing all the outfits lined up together — it’s the small things in life, right? Or maybe it’s the touch of OCD in me.

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I did change things up a little bit:

– K wanted a cropped vest, so I cut out the size 130cm, but shortened the length to 110cm.

– There are separate instruction for spring and winter versions for this vest pattern, and the winter faux fur version recommends a hook-and-eye closure. I didn’t have one, so I used one of the other closure options of a loop and button (the third option is a tab closure). The loop is leather, and the button is a vintage metal one from my mom.

– Since I had so little of the faux fur, I used it for the front only, and found a nice neutral grey wool for the back piece.

– I lined it with leftover jersey knit from the Halloween costume cape instead of rayon lining fabric that I usually use. This was purely out of laziness since the knit happened to be right there by my cutting table. I’m glad it wasn’t too fiddly!

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I love quick, unnecessary and fun projects. Necessity sewing gets me down for some reason (underwear comes to mind).

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If K could have given me a thousand thumbs’ ups, she would have. “I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE it,” she declared.

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(She accidentally threw the hanger on which the vest was hanging, which is why she looks like that up there. I think it’s cute).

The only tricky part is that faux fur starts shedding uncontrollably once you cut into it, so I was very, very gentle about handling the front pieces. I looked like a 90-year-old offering up a sacrifice while concentrating on walking meditation: I carried the faux fur pieces on upturned, flattened palms as I took painfully slow micro steps from the cutting table to the sewing machine. It worked. There was minimal fluffy tufts floating about, and the vest practically assembled itself.

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Fun fun fun. I can now cross off the knit tunic, the skinny jeans and the (modified) vest from my minimal sewing plan:

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Not too shabby, I’d say. K agrees.

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P.S. I did not make the jeggings, though I wish I had because they’re so awesome. They’re from the neighbor hand-me-down pile. We’ve made very little progress on the clothes elimination front….

Ginger Skinny Jeans Revisited

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When we last left off with my Ginger Skinny Jeans adventures oh, a mere seven months ago, I had gone down from a size 12 to a 10. And then something mysterious happened and although all my clothes are fitting just the way they always have, I recently attempted to shave the muslin down to a size 8, and they’re still too big. Could this be the result of the denim somehow stretching out over the months of neglect?

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In my craziness of sewing up samples for the book and moving my supplies helter skelter, I’ve lost fabric and pattern pieces for my original muslin and am thoroughly confused. At this point I figure I might as well go back to the drawing board and start fresh. I’m now happily assembling the pattern pieces, anticipating more progress this go around.

A few weeks ago, I had the enormous pleasure of meeting Heather in person, and the woman is a dynamo. I love her. We perused the essential pit stop for all fabric and sewing aficionados — Drygoods Design, naturally — and she kept me in stitches over lunch. Fiercely intelligent, wildly witty and full of gorgeousness, you could practically see her brain pumping out ideas every nanosecond. Once again, I’ve discovered how easy it is to transition online friendships into face-to-face ones, and it makes me believe in the power of the internet for good.

So of course, when I finally found my own brain again, I wanted to resurrect the sewing of the now desperately necessary pair of skinny jeans (I’ve patched and patched my last surviving pair from 8 or 9 years ago, and we are reaching a point of no return). I’ve learned not to promise anything, but maybe, just maybe, I might be sporting a brand spanking new pair next week…

Here’s what gives me hope at least: I may let projects languish, but I rarely entirely give up on them. There’s a chance that I’ll be enjoying senior citizen discounts by the time I finish a successful pair of skinny jeans, but I will get them done, and they will be awesome!

Monday Outfit: Superhero K

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Good morning! It was a weekend of highs and lows — shall we start with the lows? I had been looking forward to large chunks of sewing time, but it was not to be. Much to my dismay, I discovered that our basement was flooded and spent my allotted sewing time moving a large number of plastic bins and wiping down the the floor. Not fun.

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On the bright side, however, our basement is now sparkling clean and I managed to finish K’s costume in time for the school event. We even got our photo shoot squared away in record time.

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Remember her instructions? My one rule was that I wouldn’t buy any fabric for the costume because I simply cannot add any more to my already excessive pile, and I’m happy to report that I abided by my own rule with flying colors. The top, shorts and cape are all from my fabric stash, and I drafted them all myself.

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K is in love. We hauled ourselves to Fred Meyer (sort of like Target here in Seattle) and found the mask, belt, boots and fingerless gloves. I had actually been planning to make the gloves, but at $1.49 a pair, handmade gloves seemed pointless.

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M conceded to model for the photo shoot as well. They’re so funny.

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I had to redo the tie to the cape twice because the sparkly ribbon I used initially was too itchy, and then I found the perfect strip of faux leather and it was a done deal. This is a virtually no-sew cape made out of some shiny black knit and I watched this youtube video to construct it (the sound quality of the video isn’t great, but his instructions were very clear and I had a cape in 15 minutes).

In fact, I didn’t finish any seams, nor did I hem the shorts, so this costume came together ridiculously fast. The part that took the longest was the “K” stencil, only because we had to wait for it to dry.

At Fred Meyer, we got one more thing:

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And yes, K did wear the whole get-up including the wig to the school event. Her friends squealed with delight when they recognized her after the initial confusion.

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To me, she looks like one of those troll dolls, though I think these photos are super fun:

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She’s all set for Halloween 2015! On the actual day, she’s going trick-or-treating with one of her best buddies outside of our neighborhood, followed by a special Hallow’s Eve sleepover. M and I may actually have a date night!

My sweet girl – she absolutely adores her costume and it’s these sorts of moments that make me so happy that I sew.

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P.S. The winner of the giveaway is Ksenia, congrats!

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