Birthday/camp sewing

image This boy turned 7 this week. he requested a full Luke Skywalker/Jedi costume. Pants (pegged so they bunch up), Tunic (over a white t-shirt, and with the flappy vest-y bits sewn on to a simple shirt), and, of course, the jedi robe.


he also "needed" (I.e. has been hinting since Xmas that he would really like) a smaller amineko that is easier to take places. Here they are doing yoga at a mall fountain.  I used sock yarn and a "C" crochet hook. 2 days of constant hooking, finished in the parking lot with 2 minutes to spare!  His name is Pierre la Vert. (I also made that stripy green shirt for his birthday)


LUCKILY for me, his birthday was wednesday, and today is Hollywood Dress Up Day at their camp.  So, obvi, D wore his new costume, but the Bean was desperate for a new costume too.


last night at bedtime she finally decided on Cinderella's fancy dress, so here it is.


It does twirl, but I've decided that I HATE gathering knits. Also I'm not a huge fan of dirndl skirts in general, SO much bulk at the waist! I might actually remake this one, if she's going to wear it a lot, with a nicer (read: circle/a-line) skirt.

now back to work!

(all jedi fabrics from Joanns, Green t-shirt fabric from the -by-the-pound section at Michael Levine's, and the princess dress is the dreamy Laguna Cotton Jersey from Robert Kaufman in Aqua and Cloud)


I drafted all the patterns myself, but if people want them, I can scan them in, so let me know!

bags and greens.


Another 2ball knitting bag (this one for my friend Liberty)


A fold-over purse, (is it a clutch if it has a handle? Mostly copied from my friend Natalie's awesome bag) is my new favorite make.


A shirt for C. Fabric is a yummy flannel from DryGoodsDesign, pattern is a Vogue pattern. Made it with short sleeves to test the fit. C has the worlds biggest shoulders, so I'll have to grade up the chest/shoulders before I make another.


The Vogue shirt got buttons within 24 hours of being made, unlike this one, which sat, WITH BUTTONHOLES, for 2 years, awaiting only buttons. Lucky C got 2 shirts this week!


And finally, the greens. I'm working on an all green Scrappy Trips Around the World at D's request. But Crockett thinks it's yummy...


Schoolhouse tunic

I need more nursing-friendly clothing. I emailed Meg at Sew Liberated, and she was super helpful about how to use her patterns for nursing.

So I bought the Schoolhouse Tunic, and last night I made a muslin (a wearable muslin, oxymoronical as it may be).


I think I need to take it in in a variety of places to give it a more flattering fit.


(can you tell I'm tired? Last night we had a very sick kiddo)

I made a size 14/16, based solely on my bust measurements, but I think I could easily fit into a 10/12.

But it was pretty easy to make, and works like a DREAM for nursing with a nursing tank underneath,


I added pockets in the side seams, just because I like pockets.

The fabric is red Cambridge Lawn, and I have no words to describe how awesome it is. SO soft, but still densely woven enough to be durable. Here in LA, wearing 2 layers is often too much, but a tank and a lawn tunic is JUST bearable. and it will be perfect for the colder days. I think I'll add some trim or something to the front, but as it stands, baggy and all, it's totally wearable, I LOVE the fabric and the color, and look forward to making more (smaller) Schoolhouse Tunics in the very near future.

Another Ottobre shirt

This shirt honestly takes longer to cut than to sew, (the whole thing takes well under an hour), but the finished product is AWESOME. (it's an Ottobre pattern). I used scraps from my market sewing to whip this out last night... image

IMO, it would look nicer with some solid colored pants or a skirt, but she insisted on wearing it with the helicopters. (because they have pockets).


the Remix heart print is a new knit by RK, and it's a great weight. light enough to wear in the summer, but thick enough to sew easily....


I've made a size 92 again, but I didn't lettuce-edge the sleeves, and they're definitely too short, even though the fit of the rest of it is perfect....


I use snaps instead of the buttons on the pattern, but that's the only mod. and it's just because I'm lazy and have a snap press.

KCWC raglan t-shirt

My son has a really big head, so when I saw this snapped raglan shirt pattern from Ottobre Magazine, I KNEW I needed to make it for D. But it's only in toddler sizes. SO, I decided to make the pattern in the largest toddler size for the Bean, and the then figure out how to size it up for D.


so we made it this afternoon, just in time to wear to a party at My Gym. I made it a little longer than the pattern, and did a lettuce hem instead of real hem, and left off the cuffs, because I wasn't sure on sizing, but it's PERFECT.


I also used snaps on my snap press instead of buttons, because I only had tissue jersey, and wasn't sure how it would hold up to buttonholes....


I LOVE the collar, it was so easy to put on her! (she has a big head too), and the whole thing took about an hour, so I foresee MANY more of these for both kiddos.

also, it's really hard to stay motivated to do stuff when this is happening on your bed....


don't you just want to snuggle in with Radiator (smaller/darker/fatter) and Killian (fluffier, bigger)?

Spring Top, more animals, more roses

I whipped this sucker out in 2 hours tonight. LOVE IT. I used the pattern from the new issue of STITCH magazine (though I tweaked it a bit)... the turquoise is a rayon/spandex tissue jersey remnant from Joanns, and the eyelet is an AMAZING silk cotton from Mood. (I treated myself to a stop there today, since I drove past it TWICE to have lunch with the kiddos and C's dad)...

I have a whole day left to photograph it for real and enter it in the contest!

of course, it needed a rose to really make it awesome... luckily for me, I have plenty of fabric roses!

fabric and felt! (and a kitty, hiding in there, see him?)

now do you see him? this is the felt version of Kieran, the darkest kitty ever. I'd photograph him more, but he's very very dark, and always very sleepy, so all you'd see is a dark blob... (the brown bits lower left are going to be Guinness (our dog, not the beer), hopefully tomorrow night...)

and here's Babe, the Gallant Pig. We just finished reading it (D and I both LOVED it, he wants to start it again RIGHT NOW), so he needed his own Babe...

I've been doing 1 toy per night, and then having me time for the rest of the night... tonight was the pig and top, last night was the roses and kieran... and tomorrow afternoon, my husbie comes home!

he's been gone for most of the month, so we're pretty excited to see him... i just have to figure out how to keep sane in the am... we can't leave for the airport till at least 1:45, and D is DYING to see his papa....

And I said baby (baaaaaby) it's 3 am I must be lonely...

You know you're deliriously tired when you can't get old Matchbox 20
lyrics out of your head...

I started out this evening thinking it was gonna be an easy/early night... I made myself a little zip pouch/wallet-y thing as a temporary card holder to keep stuff safe from the Bean while I wait for the metal buckles and frames to arrive in the mail...

I used some denim from an unflattering pair of C's jeans, and some random scrap fabric for the inside...

Then I had C try on the shirt I made last night, for my dad, just so I could see what I needed to change for him.

well, a) I put the sleeves in backwards, so the slip/snap is on top of the wrist... oops! luckily C ALWAYS rolls up his sleeves, so if I give it to him, I don't have to fix it! b) it fit him REALLY well, (I took in the sides a bit, and shortened it so he can wear it un-tucked, but my man has broad shoulders, so I was thrilled that it fit across them!), and he asked for it, rather than give it to my dad...

so I showed C the fabric I had gotten to do HIS muslin... it's bright bright turquoise n white plaid. I LOVE it, and wasn't sure if he'd like it... I planned on making it for him (just to test the pattern) and then stealing it back...

but he really loved it... and he's leaving Tuesday very early for 10 days of filming in AZ, TEXAS, and FL.... so CLEARLY he needs more western shirts... with hand-stitching details.

but it's 3am (330, now) and I don't know which color/design he likes better, so I'll stop now and finish tomorrow... I also need to buy some of those teeny buttons for the collars...

(option a is light brown cotton floss with a little loop in the bottom of the V)

(option b is dark brown crochet cotton all the way around...)

here's the whole shirt, with mismatching embellishments, but lovely anyway, IMHO.


My first western shirt!

I finished the shirt for my dad! I need to work on snap placement/
installation, but it's totally wearable, and it IS just a muslin,
after all! I'm pretty pleased with it. I think I might need my own,
with pretty embroidery... I'm psyched, especially about the pretty
snaps. I used the Dritz #16P Pliers with white, size 16 Pearl Snap
Fasteners(all bought when the notions wall at Joanns was 50%off). I
also got a rolled-seam foot (#64 for my bernina), a per the directions
in my shirtmaking kit. I ordered the flat-felled-seam foot too (my
dealer was out of stock when I went in last week), so when I make the
real one, I'll have that to make my seams pretty.

A shirt for my dad...

Ok, so we have 2 big dogs... our XL dog door cost over a hundred dollars, and the flap ripped within 6 months... supposedly that's just what happens. So I found a tute on the internet showing how to make your own dog door using various wooden things and then cutting down a car floor mat for the flap, and I made C make a new flap that way. It lasted for about a month. and fell off completely yesterday... so we looked into buying a new flap, but they retail for $60!!! and some reviewers say that they replace every few months! YIKES!

So i thought about using leather, and I thought about using vinyl, and then maybe ducttape... so at Joanns today, I bought some duct tape (black, with a 50%off coupon, so totally affordable), and I also noticed the "outdoor canvas." I bought yellow to match the walls, even though my plan is to coat the canvas with layers of woven duct tape... for now though: tada! duct tape to hold up the cut canvas flap!

luckily it's almost summer, we mostly just need the flap to a) keep flies/chickens OUT, b) keep the bean IN. this will, at least temporarily, do both... hopefully....

In OTHER news, both C and my dad love western shirts... and have requested some custom ones...

I found a Simplicity Pattern for $.99 last week, and, having looked at the pieces/construction, am using it more as a sloper than as the actual pattern... It's just a little too over done, while being simultaneously really oversimplified... So I took apart a really really really old threadbare shirt of my dads, and used the Simplicity pattern as the base to build off... I've made new yokes, pockets, etc... I'm trying to use Shirtmaking so I can actually pull this off...

I went shopping with my dad, last week, and had him choose fabric (it's a very bold orange and black African geometric print). I steered him away from stripes and plaids, thinking they'd be hard, but, of course, that's actually recommended for your first attempt, as it's easier to check grain... so I went back to joanns, and bought more fabric, this time in a nice simple "homespun check" of forest green and tan... it's working up quite quickly (I cut it all, and have sewn up the body/collar in 3-4 hours, just the sleeves left for tomorrow!)

I cut the pockets/flaps on the bias, which I love, and I cut the front yoke at an angle (because I didn't have enough fabric to match the stripes, or to do straight bias). I like the angle though, I think it's interesting...

the matching on the back is so perfect as to be practically invisible! I think I need more intense top-stitching, but I'm not sure what to do... maybe thicker thread? maybe a fancy stitch? with more forethought, I could have used my embroidery machine, but it's too late now, as its all sewn up...

I'm really looking forward to a) using the pretty pearl snaps, b) playing with the decorative options in the future!

How to make a toddler playsuit/romper from an adult t-shirt (part 1)

Today I'm going to show you how to make THIS:

I took OODLES of pictures, so every step should be really clear, but email me if it's not!
you will need:
a shirt (I used adult small. It needs to be as long as your child from shoulder to ankle.... (or to knee if you want shorts) too big and you will have to hem/fix the collar, and the whole point of this is to use what's already done....)
some coordinating scrap t-shirt fabric (for the crotch facings)
sewing machines, clothespins, thread, etc.
Measure your baby from shoulder to mid-crotch (where a onesie would snap). add an inch to get your "body measurement"
My daughter is about 17" from shoulder to crotch...
turn your adult t-shirt inside out, and then fold it in 1/2. Measure down from the top of the neckline to the legnth of the body measurement
My daughter was 17" so I marked (with a sharpie, since this will all be covered) at 18" down from the top of the neck
at the hem, measure in about 1.5 inches, and draw a line up, curving the corner to get to your measured body length.
cut it out. (so you're cutting through 4 layers of t-shirt)
discard the U's you just cut out.
Now line up the sleeves/the top of the shirt... make sure the shoulder seams line up!
find a shirt/onesie that fits your child, fold it like the adult shirt, and lay it on top, lining up the center folds and the top of the arms.
If the shirt is a little big for your kiddo, leave it there, but if you're grabbing something that fits perfectly, or you want to make the next size up, scoot the baby shirt over and down a little, equally.
I moved mine over about 1.5" but only down about an inch, because my bean has skinny little arms!
mark the corner made by the armpit (give yourself a smidge of seam allowance... I put about .5") It's pretty easy to go back and take a little more off after you've fitted it to your child, but if you cut too much off now, you've wasted a shirt!)
Ok, go put away the baby shirt, and grab a ruler.
make a straight line from the corner mark you made to the sleeve hem. Ideally, the line would meet the sleeve hem in a 90 degree angle.
Clearly, my world is not ideal.
Now draw a line from the corner mark to the hem of the shirt, ending JUST BEFORE THE HEM. (it's not actually that dire, but it's prettier if you don't cut/sew through the hem)
so here's the serging line you made. you only need one right now.
cut off the extra, leaving a little bit more seam allowance... (this is mostly just so you can put your clips on the seam lines)
now if you unfold the shirt, you should see the basic shape of a toddler playsuit!
measure your crotch "U"
do some math (or make google do it for you) to figure out what 70% of your crotch measurement is (70% of 17 is 11.9, so , as you can see in the next photo, I rounded to 12") to get your edging measurement
cut strips 5" wide by the length of your edging measurement. You can cut strips from ribbing, although it's a bit thick, and might be difficult to put snaps through. I used regular-t-shirt-fabric scraps.
cut 2

Use clothespins (really, it's a knit trick that WORKS! no snagging, no breaking pins on your serger blade, and easy to remove from either side!) to clip together the sides of your playsuit (or, if you don't have enough clothespins, clip the side with the marker)
so once you have the sides all clipped together, stop and move the kitten away from the machines so you can actually serge/sew!
I use both of my machines to make these, so if I say "serge," use a serger, or zigzag and then straight stitch (or whatever floats your boat when seaming knits), whereas when I say "sew," I mean straight stitch on a regular machine...
start serging on the side with the markings, starting at the arm, curving through the armpit, and heading down to the hem of the shirt...
try to end up so that you don't actually serge through the bottom hem (because that way you're guaranteed a nice even hem)
ok, so now you have one side beautifully sergered...
turn it over so that the WR of the front is on top (serge on the left) and fold it over, so you can trace the serge line on the other side. (you want the markings to show when you start serging from the arm down)
here's a picture of the markings, just in case you don't know how to trace)
serge the second side, again, starting at the arms, going toward the hem, and try to not serge the hem, so you have a prettier hem.
turn the romper right side out, and you should have something that looks like this!
now all you need to do is the crotch! and that's in the next post!
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How to make snap crotch for a toddler romper/playsuit

OK, so hopefully you've read the part about how to cut/sew the basic shape of the romper, and all that remains is to make the snap crotch (that sounds so weird!)
so, take one strip of stretchy coordinating fabric, serge the narrow ends, and line the ends up with the ends of one "U", wrong sides together. Clip the ends and the mid-points together like this:

It should seem impossible to sew, but the stretch, assuming you cut it the right way, will STRETCH (and the crotch area is not a good area for oodles of extra fabric... taut is good!).
start serging, and as soon as the fabric is caught by the needle, start stretching the fabrics so they are the same size... (you might want to practice with some scraps, you need to stretch evenly, not pull, which could mess up the timing on your machine...)
just for comparison, here's the fabric, romper on top, edging on the bottom, before I stretch it

and here it is stretched.... see how I make them match up?
Do this to both sides, and you'll have something that looks wonky like this:
Iron your seams down so that the romper is flat, and the edging is creased...
then turn down about 1/3 of the raw edge of the ribbing (just at the ends).
fold over again, so that the edging is folded in thirds, and the seam is covered on the right side of the garment. pin at the ends, and then pin in the middle....
now start stretching and pinning wherever you can (about every inch)
it should feel smooth when you stretch it taut... that way, you can iron it (with oodles of steam), and get something that looks this awesome:
isn't that pretty and flat!!??!!
now, on the right side, SEW down as close to the edge as possible (I love my blind-hem foot for this purpose, and highly recommend them!), and then again, about 1/4 from the edge (lack of a good camera meant all the pics of this were blown out and blurry, so you have to imagine how to sew a straight line along the edge ON the edging, covering the serged seam)
now you just have to put in snaps!
Measure the front crotch, roughly in the middle of the edging piece
do math (or just guess based on how many snaps you have...) to figure out where to place the snaps (I did mine every 2.5" and really like that spacing!)
use a sharpie (or whatever) to mark your snap placement ON THE RS OF THE FRONT.
(I'm going to simplify snap parts... there's a flat side, and a functional side (the functional side is either male or female, one of each, obvi, to make a working snap), but as long as you do ALL male on one romper side, and all female on the other romper side, it doesn't seem to matter which is which)
so the RS of the front will have flat parts, and the WS of the front will have functional parts.
I find it easiest to make a hole with a yarn/tapestry needle and then push my flat piece in, but the prong snaps are sharper, and will go through more easily, I think)
when all the front snaps are in, pin the ends of the front and back together, overlapping with the front on the bottom, and (using your knee, or someone else's hands) stretch so the pieces are flat.
now mark the matching points on the RS of the back.
Put the flat snap pieces on the INSIDE (WS) of the back, and the functional pieces on the RS (outside) of the back. this way the crotch strips will overlap in the crotch, which is ideal (if this is confusing, look at some RTW snap crotch pants before you put ANY snaps in!)
TADA! put it on a kid and enjoy!
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Uncle Jon's Shirt....

The Bean's godfather gave us one of his company's shirts a few years ago....

yesterday, I realized that, like the boxers I made a few months ago, a large t-shirt could easily make a suit for a small toddler...

It worked out PERFECTLY, see:

and you can still see all the logo on the back!

this would probably be even cuter on a baby boy, but I think it's pretty cute on my baby girl....
tutorial coming soon!

(more pictures of the model HERE)
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Yesterday was productive:

Two shirts for D (more onesie-collars. I can get 1short sleeve and 1
long sleeve out of 1 yd jersey, so at $2.69/yd, these are awesomely
cheap shirts. This green print has small racecars all over. D found it
himself, and loves it)
I also took an old stretched out waistband off one of my gram's
squaredancing skirts and replaced it. New fabric and elastic!
Tonight I took the night off from crafting and read trashy novels in a
hot bubblebath. Fun. Tomorrow I plan on going out dancing, so I'll be
back to show off on Saturday.

adrenaline/caffeine/cold medicine

I'm sick. I have a really painful sore throat, so talking is rough right now.

but once the kiddos were in bed, I had no need for talking!

I drew this cement mixer...

and then cut lots of little bits, and did a LOT of blanket-stitch, and some thread painting, and got this:

I'll get good pictures with a real camera in daylight, but I was so excited, I had to post a preview right away.

I also made yet another race car shirt for D (this is #5 or 6). I clearly bought too much of this fabric, but it's finally all used up. This shirt has long sleeves, so at least its not exactly the same as the others (which were all really just muslins, and hopefully I can disappear some of them, or fix them and give them as gifts).

I also got lots of ironing done.

I think/hope this stack is about 150 semi-circles... Just need to sew them together to make my pie pans...

oh, and I need to add to it (I'm planning some 4leaf clovers for the immediate future), but this is on my front door right now:

Coffee Filters! (LOTS of them)!

What I accomplished last night...

the kids went out early, I didn't...

I was so excited to get the fabric for the 1st Wednesday Block Swap, I got right to work...

I made a pinwheel star for Flic (she asked for stars, 12" square, in black and red)

I used the Made Tutorial as inspiration for a shirt for D... His head is really big, and he hates the pulling-over-the-face part of getting dressed/undressed, so I thought the onesie collar might work...

but I don't believe in stealing patterns (copying from a store-bought item of clothing *is* stealing, unfortunately), so I drafted this my self... The armscye needs work... luckily the fabric is cheap, and the sewing is fast, so I can make several more attempts....

D is pleased with it, though, he LOVES race cars...

here're some scraps from the block I made... don't they look cool like this?

I'm assuming my dude doesn't read this, at least not regularly, so I can sneak a post with his valentines present... he (and the two kids) will get an envelope, with his name embroidered, and then some bits that can button onto the cards... (the one in the middle says "*heart* my stinko")

here's another pic of the shirt, from the side...