Thursday, May 31, 2012

Jacket for Marcus (sewing for boys)

This is another from Sewing for Boys by Shelley Figueroa and Karen LePage.

It's the 2-in-1 jacket, modified a bit to make it non-reversible.

It supports running...
I modified the jacket because I wanted to put lining fabric in the sleeves.  Last year I made the MakeItPerfect Downtown Boy jacket, which is also reversible (pre-blogged).  It was a great jacket and looked fantastic on both sides, but it was a pain to get on and off when he was wearing a jumper or something grippy.  He is in the "I can do it myself" phase and so anything to make this process easier is probably worth the effort!

Works for looking super cute on a rocking horse...

I made the outside in black pin-whale corduroy.  I love how this looks, except that it picks up every single bit of lint which in my house are all suddenly white or light coloured.

The sleeves are lined in black acetate lining fabric, which I cut a few inches shorter and then attached a strip of corduroy to the bottom.  This means you can turn back the cuff a bit without showing lining.

More cute...

I used a quilting cotton for the inside except for the sleeves, a cute blue with cars all over it.  From memory the collar should have been different on either side, but I made both sides corduroy as I don't ever intend for him to wear this inside out.

Those were really the only pattern modifications I made.  The whole thing was easy and quick to sew, even with the details like welt pockets (see below) and I really rate this book.  I wish I had time to take part in one of the sew-a-longs for the book which have been going on, but the sewing time I get is patchy and prone to mad rushes in the lead up to birthdays or similar.


I used quite large buttons which he commented on while wearing it the other day.  He said:  "look Mummy, really big buttons!  I LIKE big buttons".  This was most pleasing :)


The tricky bits of this pattern are the notched collar (which you can see an annoying little tuck in in the picture below) and the welt pockets, which are sadly just about invisible in all these pictures.  I should have laid the coat out and taken a few non-Marcus-distracting pictures, but these were so much nicer for me to use than close ups of sewing details...the welt pockets went mostly OK.  The pattern did recommend doing a test run (a muslin pocket...!) if you hadn't made them before.  I got by without doing that but it may have been easier were I not working with corduroy the first time I ever made them.  I am not awfully good at visualising from instructions, so again the "pocket-muslin" might have been wise.  On the other hand, I am reasonably happy with how they turned out so...

And apparently so is he:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mummy-ness: party bags and twirly fairy dresses

This is a post I feel I already wrote, but can't find in the published list.  Am clearly not entirely with it...

So the young lady of the house turned five on 12th May.  She is now especially big and important and grown-up.  Someone at another birthday party asked their son to move "out of the little girl's way" the other day, and she turned to him and solemnly informed him that "actually, I am five years old".  Apparently a little girl no more :)

I, on the other hand, consider five to be the perfect little girl age.  They are worldly enough to know what is special effort (hand making stuff for them for example - hurrah!) and innocent enough not to think it's daggy or to have to not be excited by anything.  For her party I organised a fairy to come to our house.  Happily we have a biggish house and ten kids (including her and her brother) was considered sufficient (more than fourteen apparently incurs the need for an additional fairy...!).  I dug out the twirly fairy type dress I was going to make her ages ago and got to work:

Mission Accomplished!

I am so ridiculously pleased with this dress.  She had a store bought thing my sister sent her which was similar (t-shirt top, tiered skirt not circle) which she loved.  When she grew out of it I set about making a similar one with the three layer circle skirt for supreme twirling action (2 layers chiffon and one layer satin).  I let myself get all worked up and sidetracked by someone asking me how I was going to attach the skirt (with non-stretchy cotton) to the (stretchy) t-shirt.  I left this awesomeness in the bag for literally months :(

Silly mummy...

Then I sucked it up and decided to finish it for the party:
  • I sewed the three circle skirt layers together with a gathering stitch.  
  • I marked where they should attached to the dress. 
  • I marked two sides and pinned to the hems of the t-shirt
  • I marked the middle front and back on both pieces and pinned there
  • I kind of gathered the remainder until the skirt was pinned to the t-shirt while the t-shirt was stretched enough to get it on and off. 
  • I sewed them on (right sides together) with a medium-long zig zag stitch.
  • I flipped it over to see if it was awful was brilliant!
After trying it on her, I overlocked / serged the edges of the three skirts (mmm fun times...) and then tried it on again.  Looked great!  She loved it!  She suggested a butterfly on the front of the t-shirt...thanks kid!  I made it up out of a single layer of the chiffon (edges overlocked) which was semi gathered in the middle to make them wing-y (it's totally a word) and then secured to t-shirt with a purple bias binding I had with a ribbon over the top.  I think I might have added wool antennae too.

She deemed the butterfly to be good (phew!).  I had the super agonising moment where I asked her if she wanted to wear this or one of her other (bought) fairy dresses for her party...she chose this!  I was stoked :)

The rest of the party was great.  I made some simple party bags out of stash fabrics:

They look so pretty all together :)
The fairy painted faces:

Birthday girl first...

Her brother did actually like the spider - contrary to appearances!

She was very happy with all the butterfly fairy-ness

Daddy made a toadstool cake (note the dolly varden tin making itself useful...)

And there was some serious fairy story-telling.

 The whole party was lovely - I got to do the bits I really wanted to do (sewing things, spending time with her at her party and craft with the kids) and to hand off the bits I was less confident tackling (cake - to my husband, face painting and dressing up - to the fairy).

And at the end of it all - she was tired and happy and still twirling! And so beautiful.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Superhero Costumes (The Incredibles)

When a five year old party called for superhero costumes I was a bit stumped.  We have lots of dress ups but nothing in the Spiderman or Superman vein, and superhero outfits for girls of that age are fairly thin on the ground (or astonishingly inappropriate).  Then my rather clever husband suggested The Incredibles - not only girls and boys but easy-peasy and something they know about/love!

And here are my little super heroes about to leave for the party:

Apparently these are superhero poses...(!)

I bought red tights and red long sleeved tops in the appropriate sizes from Target.  I used black underpants they already had over them and tucked the tops into the tights (nice...).  Then added some lycra knee-highs which are adult sized but still worked doubled over at the top for the "boots".

The crafty bit was to make their masks and the Incredibles logo.  For the mask I traced an existing mask we had onto two layers of soft black jersey which  I had fused together.  I wanted the masks to be soft and mould to their faces as much as possible.  I satin stitched just inside the traced edge and the eye openings, then simply carefully cut away as close to the stitching as possible without actually snipping any of it.  I sewed some elastic on both sides and also coloured in around the cut edge with black marker, as the white interfacing layer in the middle was showing a bit.

For the logo I used some fusible web to adhere a yellow oval onto the shirt.  Then cut a smaller black oval, which I cut in half and offset the two halves so one was nearer the top and one nearer the bottom and fused them in place.  Then fused the bottom of the i shape and the dot on top of those; and finally fused a white dot onto the centre of the yellow dot.  And that was it!

I love these costumes - they were really quick to make (assuming you can find the basics underneath pre-made), and looked fantastic.  They were also comfortable for the kids to wear, which a lot of ready made costumes aren't.

And most importantly, they were very happy with them!

I promise Marcus was happy, he just doesn't look it here...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Two exciting Hobart developments!

I have been on mission finish-some-things-off recently.  I have been successful, but managed to misplace the SD card for the no pictures until I give up on looking and buy another.

Meanwhile two super exciting things have happened in Hobart in the past week or so.  Firstly, we have a new yarn/wool shop.  A new shop full of insanely gorgeous yarns.  Yarns you only read about.  Yarns to dream about.  The shop is called The Stash Cupboard (website inconveniently under maintenance when I went here earlier today; they are also on Facebook here.  The shop is light and airy and full of loveliness.  They have Cascade, Jo Sharp, Debbie Bliss and also a fair bit of locally produced yarn, one called (I think) Tarkine which was just beautiful.  I came away with three balls of Sausalito by Crystal Palace Yarns.  You can see the colour here.  I am going to use it to make these:
I can't wait (in fact, despite having many projects on the go already, I didn't wait and already cast on for the first sock...naughty).

Not content with making my week with a new yarn shop, I casually called into a newsagent I don't normally frequent on Friday on the stupidly slim off chance they would have something I have been looking for.  And here it is:

Actually not this one on the top, the other one hidden underneath (Feb 2012)

I am so ridiculously excited by this.  The issue was February, which is a little out of date, but this is heading into Spring so I can use it to sew for 6 months time.  I am not fashionable enough that I feel like I will like radically different things by Australian springtime!

Amusingly, I was so excited that I found two copies.  One was green with no proper spine and the other was white with a proper book-style spine.  I couldn't discern the difference or even easily see a month of publication so I grabbed them both, thinking I would work it out later.  Quite often here places will have February and March of a magazine simultaneously - one fast tracked from the place of publishing.  However on the way back to work, I did work it out...same magazine, same month, one German!  I laughed (a lot) at myself and managed to talk the newsagent into refunding me for the identical but still unreadable German version :)

I am so happy - new treasure trove of yarn AND a magazine I have been after for ages has been sourced!  Good times :)