Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Care Bear Kimono & Footie

One day, I went to clean out A's closet, and texted my (pregnant) Sister-in-law to verify her girls' sizing and see if she had use for any hand-me downs. Her response? "V and L are size 4T and 18m respectively, and have 18 million clothes. Baby boy is a newborn and has ZERO clothes." Well, that's a disparity. I didn't have any hand-me-downs for baby boy at the time, but fortunately I don't *need* storebought clothing to ensure he has something to wear.

The fabric for this project was left over from C's Maternity shirt, and after some time spent on Etsy, I sprung for a Baby Kimono pattern from Brindille & Twig.

I made it in a 0-3 month size, and was pleased with the results. It was my first time working with snaps - so that was an adventure - but overall I was happy with how it turned out. And snaps are way, WAY easier than buttons or zippers, which is good to know for the future.

Since I had (barely) enough fabric left over, I made the footies as well. That way, my nephew could have a full set. I fussycut both toes from the scraps (although if  had it to do over, I would have skipped the cloud), and barely eeked out the legs without color blocking. They're pictured here before I added the elastic.

The set came together quite adorably. I forgot to take a picture off it, but the pads of the feet are also the same yellow as the binding. The left leg of this photo hints at it if you look carefully.

From a sewist's perspective, this was my first B&T pattern, and I'm probably not going to rush back for more. The instructions were clear and easy to follow, and the photos in the instructions were super helpful, but the construction of the garments took some shortcuts I didn't care for. On the top, the binding leaves a raw edge on the inside, and my first attempt at sewing the binding on clamshelled pretty badly (I had to rip it out & try again). On the pants, the method for attaching the elastic was fast, but left a raw edge on the inner waistband that wasn't terribly attractive. Sigh. B&T also calls for 1/4" seams, which aren't my favorite when working with knits. So, there wasn't anything particularly *wrong* with the patterns, but the line definitely doesn't mesh with my sewing style even though they design a lot of cute, unique garments.

That said, the real question is if the final product meshes with my Sister-in-law's dressing style! I have to admit I sat on this for a bit before sending it out, but my Sister-in-law should be getting a package later today. We'll see what she thinks when she gets it.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Long Live Having Fun

My daughter went through a Disney's Descendants' phase last fall, asking to be Mal for Halloween and wanting a Descendants themed birthday party. Good Descendants knits are, as it turns out, REALLY hard to find; I searched fruitlessly through most of October. But in a stroke of what can only be considered AMAZING luck, I scored the second-to-last yard of this beauty on a site I had *just* joined earlier that day (and for other reasons) In November. Serendipity, I'm sure.

When it came, I had to hide it from my daughter so I could finish my Christmas(ish) projects. I'd initially thought that this dress would be another Isla like the Science Dress, and I sketched out some of the options to see if I could give my daughter some input into the design process. On a lark, I also sketched out some dresses that incorporated design elements from two OTHER patterns I'd recently downloaded but never tried as well.

My daughter skipped over all the Isla options, and instantly decided she wanted "the dress with the hood." She pointed me to the straighter silhouette, so CKC's Haven Hoodie it was.

I agonized muchly over which green to choose for the inside of the dress' hood. My daughter initially said pink, but we talked her into green once we pointed out none of the Villain Kids wear pink regularly. Purple Seamstress Gave me two options:  Should I go with the Kelly Green like Mal's outfit? Or the lime green like the logo (and Mal's magic)?

I stared at my color card for hours, ordered both, and *still* couldn't decide. Fortunately, once it occurred to me to ask my daughter, she settled it authoritatively in favor of lime green .

Seeing the green up against the flames of Mal's magic, I do have to admit she was right.

This was my first Create Kids' Couture (CKC) pattern, and I am definitely hooked on the ease of printing and thoroughness of directions. That said, I did make some significant modifications to the pattern to achieve this look: I removed the cuffs at the wrists and added length to the sleeves to compensate, and I removed the cuff at the bottom, opting instead for a contrast band that continued the line of the skirt. I feel this generated a similar look, but with a slightly more fashion-forward (and year-round!) silhouette. Which is great, because my daughter approves!

This dress is called upon at least once a week, sometimes more if we do a load of mid-week purple laundry. Little A is thrilled that she can put both her hands into one big pocket, and she's already said she wants her next dress to have a hood too. This dress isn't quite as *fast* as the Isla or the TDD Peasant, but I somehow suspect I will make it many times over just the same.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Scientific Seamstressing

A friend of ours, who has a daughter A's age, has had a really rough year. The company she loved working for went under, and she had an application to PA school rejected not because she wasn't qualified, but for administrative reasons that can't be fixed until next year. Ugh.

I can't fix what truly ails her: a "gap year" for a person whose type A personality abhors uncertainty and loose ends. But I *can* send her a vote of confidence for her (eventual) chosen new profession. Last year her daughter *lived* in a science-themed dress from Princess Awesome, and it doesn't take a rocket-scientist seamstress to reverse-engineer *that* sewing pattern. Especially not if that seamstress has already made two OTHER Islas from Simple Life Pattern Co.

I'd looked for a nice, science-y print for a while last year, scouring all the custom knit sites. But when I went to the Quilter's Festival in Houston with my Mom (you can see her recap of our trip here), this print called "Geek Chik" by Studio E caught my eye. I wasn't *Opposed* to wovens (they're what Princess Awesome uses after all), I think it just hadn't been on my radar at all. So, I picked it up.  

I paired it with a nice, solid royal blue from Sweet N Charmed, and I was just going to leave the front plain until I saw the corresponding panel. I couldn't resist! It is woven, so I'm hoping it won't limit the stretch of the garment as it goes over the head *too* much, but I love the way it looks. Apparently the molecule on the front is Caffeine - not a substance that I think mixes with 5-year-olds overly well - but hey, the organic structure and the magnifying glass are still cool.

Also, there was one other detail I couldn't resist. The Isla has directions for a heart cutout on back, and a files section with pattern pieces for other cutouts. None of those cutouts was a scientific tool, but it did give me the idea. So, bonus beaker on back!

I think my friend is waiting until it warms up a little bit before she lets her daughter wear it, thanks to the cutout on the back (in January! Oops...) but I know she was happy to receive it!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Rampaging Raglans!

Normally, Sewing projects take me a while. A couple minutes of cutting out here, a few quick seams there... I'm a working mom with two small kiddos, so I take what I can get. But in early December, I really lucked out; My husband (who often has to work weekends in the fall) had off, we didn't have anything major planned, and the kids were in a surprisingly independent mood.

So, I busted out the sewing machine, and made not one, not two, but THREE Raglans for my kids. Be still my heart!

First up was a Ninjago Raglan for my son, who loves that show with a passion. He has waited with WAY more patience than my daughter has between garments (probably because he is littler and less opinionated), but when I showed him his choice of three fabrics, this is the one he was quick to pick.

I got it from a Destash group and so I don't know who ran it, but I am also in quite a bit of love with it, because of the slightly-watercolor feel and vibrant colors. Initially I auditioned a LOT of different colored solids with the print, but ultimately my husband talked me into using black, and I'm glad he did. It makes the characters stand out, rather than the sleeves.

My son actually loves the shirt, but every time I put it on him, he revolts at the idea of taking pictures. I made this in a size 4 but shortened it by 1.5" since last time the size 3 I made was ridiculously long. There's extra length in the hems should I elect to use it: we'll see if my son's love for the shirt eclipses my hatred of ripping out knit stitches.

Next up was my daughter, who developed a sudden obsession with the Nightmare Before Christmas. The weekend I did this, it had been all she could talk about for a month. Even my 2-year old son can now say "Jack Skellington" - although at Custom Destash Prices (and on the heels of his new Ninjago wear), he did NOT get his own version of the shirt. But I DID get to satisfy my urge for color sleeves!

The print is a parody called "Merry Nightmare," by Mk*Designs and my husband gamely kept our daughter out of the kitchen the entire time I was cutting it, and through about 80% of the sewing process;  she caught on eventually, though, and escaped him just as I was hemming the sleeves. Secrecy is not big at our house. Ironically, I her shirt was ALSO a 4T (in width anyway; in height I went with 5T and didn't need to), because she is taller but not that much bigger around, apparently. She loves the shirt and was more than happy to model it. I've also caught her climbing up her closet shelves so she can reach it. It's one of the first things to disappear from her closet after laundry day.

And finally, in what can only be described as a state of disbelief akin to winning the lottery, I realized that I had finished this shirt on a Sunday afternoon with no plans for the evening (other than cleaning, but Mr. RLQ indulged me), so I started in on a THIRD raglan.

This one uses a print called Color Wars, which seemed custom made for my son who immediately yells "Saber! Light Saber! Light Saber!" whenever he sees an image of the iconic Jedi weapon, He's also a huge fan of light saber battles at home, and can name at least half of the characters represented on the fabric (for which his father, also a star wars nut gets credit). The 4T Ninjago shirt for my son turned out a LITTLE big, so I went back to 3T on this one, figuring it was more 'of the moment" and did not need to last so long.

It's definitely not a favorite the way the Ninjago shirt is, but you can't win everything all the time. And really, the idea of finishing 3 projects in, well, basically a weekend (technically Monday to Monday, but the bulk of the work was done over the weekend)? HUGE win. I am assisted by the fact that raglans are basically composed of straight line seams + some hemming and a neckband, but hey: a finish is a finish. Here are my little achievements side by side,

And here they are on their respective owners:

So glad they are loved!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Bears that Care for an Expecting Mom

Late last year we received some exciting news from my brother; he and his wife were expecting their third child, and our first nephew on that side of the family! C has already been pregnant twice (with my nieces V and L), and was a consummate trooper with her last pregnancy. So, since by pregnancy #3 it's easy to start thinking of pregnancies as "routine" and "the status quo," I wanted to do something special to commemorate the event. 

Like a handmade maternity top. 

My own experience is that Maternity wear is perfectly calibrated to last *exactly* 1.5 pregnancies. So C, who is usually pragmatic about not spending too much on limited-use things like maternity clothing, could probably use an infusion of nice, new maternity stuff by pregnancy #3. Also, I thought it might be fun to make something in an undeniably boy-ish color since previous maternity wear has, for the most part been used to gestate girls. Enter the perfect fabric.

C is an 80s child like me, and her nickname growing up was "Care Bear." So when I saw this "Bears that Care" print I thought of her, although it wasn't until my brother called that I had an actual justification to BUY some of it. I picked it up from Firefliez Fabrics in Cotton Lycra.

For the pattern I used the Layer Me Up Shirt and the Layer Me Up Maternity Add-on from Patterns 4 Pirates. This was my first P4P project, and I was pretty pleased with the instructions and how simple they were, although putting together the cutting guide/pattern itself was kind of nervewracking. The Layer Me Up Top uses one pattern piece for the torso front and torso back, and then a couple of interchengeable pattern pieces for the armscyes up top, and the Maternity option uses the same back but a different front (obviously), so it was a lot of different pieces to keep track of. It's the same basic concept as a flipbook:

But if you get the pages wrong, you ruin the fabric. Given that my fabric was practically irreplaceable, I spent a fair amount of time asking "do have the correct combo, right?" at every step. That said, the top went together *reasonably* quickly, and I loved the final result.

I paired the main bear print with a delightful yellow solid from Purple Seamstress, which I think gave it just the right amount of POP. From the back it looks like a normal shirt, but in the front there is plenty of room for a baby bump. 

And, speaking of baby bump... here's C with hers! This photo was taken at 22 weeks, just after my creation arrived. C looks amazing, and I'm really flattered that she was excited enough to try it on first thing. 

Looks like in P4P patterns, "tunic length" gets dangerously close to looking like a dress (at least on C, who is 5'3"), but even if this particular tunic/dress combo just gets worn around the house, I'm still glad to see my SIL (and my Nephew!) sporting a little Auntie RLQ love.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

2017 Completions

2017 was the year of the Custom Knit. And of the garment! Here's what I got done...

Kalidescope dresses (link)

Completed: Jan 2017
Fabric: Lumina By Rober Kaufman
Pattern: Easy Peasant Dress by Tie-Dye Diva
Gifted to a My nieces in honor of 1st and 3rd birthdays

Dress for a Darryl Fan (link)

Completed: Feb 2017
Fabric: Knitorious Print
Pattern: Isla by Simple Life Pattern Co.
For a newborn nice with a Zombie-loving Dad

Resurrected Zombie Dress (link)

Completed: April 2017
Fabric: Walking Dead By Alexander Henry
Pattern: Easy Peasant by Foo Foo Threads
A replacement for an outgrown zombie dress, using scraps from the original

Even MORE Mingoes (link)

Completed: May 2017
Fabric: Flamingo Print off eQuilter
Pattern: Easy Peasant by Tye Dye Diva
"More Mingoes" owner got a new little sister... who got a matching dress from scraps!

A Simple Shark Dress (link)

Completed: May 2017
Fabric: Knit solid & Jason Yenter Shark Print
Pattern: Isla by Simple Life Co.
For my own Shark-loving Daughter

A Magical Gift (link)

Completed: July 2017
Fabric: Knitorious
Pattern: McCall's 2149
For my own dad, a Harry Potter Fan

A Selfish Sew (link)

Completed: August 2017
Fabric: Fabricmail
Pattern: Raglan by Hey June
My first selfish sew since I traded quilting for garments

A Super Bros. Dress (link)

Completed: September 2017
Fabric: Fabricmail
Pattern: Paisley by Simple Life Co
Modeled by my daughter, but ultimately given to a friend w/ daughter the same age

A Superhero Shirt (link)

Completed:  September 2017
Fabric: Fabricmail
Pattern: Explorer Raglan by Made for Jack's Mum
A fun interlude for my hulk-loving son

A Dress for a Rebel Princess (link)

Completed: October 2017
Fabric: Fabricmail
Pattern: Isla by Simple Life Pattern Co.
A dress my daughter loves & refers to as her "comic con dress" after its debut there

Alice in Cotton (link)

Completed: October 2017
Fabric: BerryPosh Custom Designs
Pattern: Easy Peasant by Tye Dye Diva
Made for my 6-month old Niece

Care Bears for C (Not Yet Posted)

Completed: November 2017
Fabric: Firefliez Fabrics
Pattern: Layer Me Up with Maternity Add On by Patterns 4 Pirates
Made for my SIL in honor of her third pregnancy, and first boy!

Rampaging Raglans (Not yet Posted)

Completed: December 2017
Fabric: MK*Designs, Backstitch, and Custom Knit Destash
Pattern: Explorer Raglan by Made for Jack's Mum
Three shirts in one week! One for my daughter and 2 for my son.

Garments: 16
Woven vs knit: 5 vs 10 (1 is both)
Dresses vs. Shirts: 8 vs 8
Kids vs Adults: 13 vs 3

WiPs without any progress in 2017Star Wars IIChristmas Traditions . Quilting is shelved while the kids are little, I think.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Alice in Cotton

Thank goodness for babies that grow! Apparently my newest Niece, V, is quite the grower. At 5 months old, she had already blown through all her 6-month-sized clothing, including her Dress for a Darryl Fan. Not optimal, but also not a bad excuse to go buy more fabric either. Like a good auntie, I headed straight for Custom Knit Destash on Facebook.

V's Dad loves horror movies, and V is her Mom's third daughter, so I've been given the green light to indulge Dad's taste. Which I did. This Dark Alice print was originally from BerryPosh Custom Designs, and I was in a hurry, so Tie Dye Diva Baby Peasant it was.

I think the most important thing I learned with this dress is, don't do a folded ruffle with 12oz Jersey spandex. Even with topstitching, the resulting ruffle had a life of its own, and it took me several minutes with the iron to tame it for pictures. Not the optimal gift for a couple with 5 children.

But on the bright side, if my BIL loves this dress as much as I think he will, I'm betting he will ALSO learn to love the iron: at least when it comes to ironing the ruffles on his little girl's dress, anyway. And someone else to do the ironing is a gift V's mom can get behind, I'm sure!