Thursday, October 23, 2014

Elena's Fall Jackets & Sweaters

I can't resist Kids Clothes Week. Any excuse to sew and not clean the house, right? So today's excuse is that Elena will never learn to zip a jacket if she doesn't have a zip-up jacket, and every kid needs to learn to zip, right? So we fixed that problem.

Tuesday, I made her a pair of black fleece leggings out of fabric from my stash. They didn't exactly seem blog worthy and didn't even make it into the Kids Clothes Week Instagram pool. This morning I found a few minutes to cut out a coordinating jacket to sew up during her miniscule nap this afternoon. Everything is again from my stash, including the zipper which I removed from her big brother outgrown hoodie. (And what a nice zipper it is- the edges are all bound in soft knit fabric.)

In only 25 minutes I managed to attach the front pieces to the back, attach the pockets, attach the sleeves, sew up the sleeves and side seams, add cuffs to the sleeves, and sew on the collar. Then I had to wake Elena up to pick up big sister from school. When we returned, it didn't take much longer to add the waistband and zipper and bam- a jacket.

All was going well until picture time. Oh man, I've had enough of pictures, cameras, 3 year olds, and computers this week. It is what it is, right? As of this moment, I have no plans to sew tomorrow, but we'll see if I can stay away.

I used McCall's 6782 for the jacket. The only modification was to size up a bit since it's meant for moderate stretch knits and polar fleece doesn't stretch a lot. I also stopped the zipper below the collar because it didn't seem like it would be comfortable all the way up since the zipper is exposed on the backside. It fits great and is so soft and cozy.

The pants are my self drafted leggings pattern with the smallest seam allowances I could manage to add just a little more ease because it's not super stretchy. I think they're going to be too short soon, but I can add cuffs to extend them when the time comes.

Both fleeces came from Joann's over the last few years and are very thick, soft, anti-pill fleece. Elena LOVES it. It can be hard to get  my little nudist to try things on while sewing, but she did not want to take those pants off. I put the half done jacket on her to go pick her sister up since she naps in her underpants and she didn't complain at all about being woken up to wear that softness. She left it on when we got home too. Until I took it off her to finish it up. Then she wore it the rest of the night. A real win for me.

As for Elena's other jackets/cardigans for her all handmade wardrobe, here is a round-up of previously blogged items. Click the pictures to go to the original post for details.
Figgy's Nituna in Wool
Greenpoint Cardigan Modified and Dip Dyed
Aster Cardigan Refashion

That's mainly it. Her winter coat from last year still fits so we may get away without buying a new one. That is one of things I'm not interested in making for her. Maybe I'll even be able to wait long enough to get one on clearance or at least a really good sale. We were also given a nice thick snow suit so we are ready for playing in the snow too - but that had better not be any time soon!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Tumble Tee for Fall

My mom went through her closet and drawers recently and brought me a box of goodies to re-purpose. I loved the colors and thought Elena would love the sparkle of this t-shirt, plus it is incredibly soft, so I cut it down to Elena's size. As you can see, she loves it!

I used the Tumble Tee pattern from Imagine Gnats for the quickest tunic ever. I re-used the decorative edge at the bottom so I didn't even have to hem it. The sleeves are an add-on also found on the Imagine Gnats site when Rachel made some for her girls recently. I used scraps of sweater knit purchased from Joann's last year for the sleeves. The whole thing cost me $0, my favorite price to pay. And it took 25 minutes.

There is only one problem with this shirt. Look at this picture below and see if you can spot it. (And no, it's not the wonky neck hem due to the double needle hitting the bling.)

Yep, my 3 year old is wearing a shirt with a half naked lady on it! Nice boobs. Oh well, it's really only noticeable once you blow up the picture or point it out. I think we'll still wear it, but lesson learned. I will look more carefully in the future.

I crocheted the hat last year as part of another outfit. I love the colors for fall. Shoot, I love FALL!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Corduroy Sally Dress

We liked our first Sally dress so much, that I made another for fall. I found this great 1980's corduroy at the thrift store for next to nothing. I don't usually pay more than $2 for a cut of fabric there and I think I got about 3 yards of this one. We went with long sleeves and no pockets this time.

Why no pockets you ask? Because this girl doesn't care about pockets. Plus the last Sally I made had light pink pockets that got stained from mud her brother gleefully played with her in. Since the pockets are incorporated into the side seams and hem, there is no replacing them once they are there. The stains are still faintly there, probably only noticeable to me, but I wasn't feeling like committing to pockets again. (Without pockets, there is no difference in the front and back so that sure makes it easy to grab and throw on.)

So, so, so cute. I just love the shape of this dress. I will say though that there is a price to pay for having the ease of no closures. The neckline is wide for her shoulders still, but the waist is just right making it a little tough to get on. The good news is that she therefore can't strip down like she usually does when we are in the house.

Still a great dress. The pattern is available here. (Not an affiliate, just being helpful.) It is comfortable and swingy and Elena loves it. She got lots of smiles from people when we went to the library.

And can I just say that we LOVE our library. It has a huge selection of materials, great toys, and such helpful staff. Such a great place to hang out. I love when I can go by myself and sit in a chair by the fireplace and read for a bit. Not that that happens much, but I can remember doing that before and I look forward to it again, some day.
Most adorable doll house. Ever. And the dress is cute too!

That's 2 Sally's for me now. How many have you made?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Review of Elena's Handmade Fall Wardrobe So Far

Do you know Teri from Climbing the Willow? You may know some of her great free patterns like my favorite, the Izzy Top (see my version here.) I was so excited when I saw this post from her announcing her plans to sew her daughter's entire wardrobe this fall. 

I felt like we had a lot in common because our daughters are just 3 months different in age and I too planned on making everything for Elena this fall. In fact, I haven't purchased ANY clothing for Elena since last November if you don't count that one $6 clearance party dress at Target (also not counting socks, tights, and underpants). I should also say that I have been given some very nice hand-me-down dresses/jumpers, a couple pairs of jeans, and 2 nightgowns from a friend, so that is very helpful. We also have some of last years clothes that still fit so we are in really good shape.

So my personal goal for sewing for Elena can be summed up like this: Make clothing that is comfortable, functional, and practical so she can continue to learn independence in dressing and using the bathroom. I want clothes that fit her 2T width and 3 or 4T length body, and are creative and fun. As an additional challenge, I want to spend as little money as possible by using second hand materials. I want them to look professional but not store-bought so you likely won't see any tulle ruffles or glittery graphics here. That will come eventually when she discovers the mall herself. And that'll be a sad day. But anyway...

I've posted about all of these projects already, but here is a round-up of just how much I've accomplished so far. That should help me see what we still need or what I can justify making anyway as long as the materials were free or almost free. You can click on the pictures to go to the post if you're looking for details like patterns, fabric, etc. I tend to sew in outfits so it's a little hard to sort these into categories.

Top & Pants Sets
Flat front pull-on pants and Bimaa

Lace Overlay Top and Floral Leggings
Piped Nessie Top with leggings
Plaid leggings and beaded Tinley Tee

Floral Tunic with polka dot leggings
Recycled jeans and sweater

Dresses and Skirts
The Deer Dress
Greenpoint Cardigan and knit skirt
Quilted skirt and reversible vest

I think I'll stop here for now. I'll cover cardigans and jackets next week because this is getting really long. For now I'm feeling like we have just about enough "play" clothes but could use a few more pairs of pants thicker than leggings and suitable for playing outside in cold, cold weather. 

And just a note about the gray skirt and cardigan set, the skirt was borderline too short when I made it and so I've added a 3 inch band of the solid gray to the bottom. It looks and hangs even better now so that worked out great. I'm finding that it's not good though to send her to preschool in skirts/dresses because she doesn't sit like a lady at all. Adding too many layers of tights or leggings beneath makes it hard for her to use the bathroom alone. But there are 5 others days in the week so they will still get worn plenty.

Have a wonderful weekend. I will be driving my teenage son to Michigan for a swimming meet. I'm taking a dress with me that is all sewn and adding some embroidery so that will help pass time. You can't see that one for a couple weeks yet but it's going to be good!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Figgy's Nituna Jacket in Wool

I made a wool jacket! I ventured into new sewing territory here and I'm pretty dang happy about it!

I've had this pattern (Figgy's Nituna Jacket) printed out for a whole year now and finally made it. I found this wool remnant at the thrift store for 99 cents on half price day! I purchased the buttons, embroidered trim and bias tape at Joann's. The lining is from a box of stash my aunt sent me. So even purchasing some of the items, it cost so little.

The scrap of wool was barely big enough for the size 2/3 we needed, but it was totally meant to be. I took a picture just because I was so amazed that I could make it fit.

So the pattern gives you options to line it or not, make it reversible or not, and to use patch pockets or welt pockets. I went with patch pockets because they are easy and Elena still doesn't care whatsoever about pockets. Strange, huh?

In my infinite sewing wisdom, or not, I decided to underline the wool with cotton and bind the seams per the pattern's instructions for an unlined version. Not really a great decision on my part. Always in retrospect I see that pattern designers should be trusted more often than not. It sounded like a good idea, but the problem was that the wool is pretty thick and the lining pieces shifted a little when sewing so it was hard to keep things even and covered in all places. Probably would have been a great opportunity to try my walking foot, right? I should do that someday. I should have taken pictures of the inside because it is beautiful! Black binding on black lining wouldn't show up too well anyway.

All in all, I love this jacket. I love that I made it. I love that I now have the confidence to make more jackets. I'm still not interested in sewing actual winter coats of the kind necessary around here in winter, but jackets that can take us out in 40 degree weather like today, that I can do and will do more of in the future.

The only fit issue is with the hood. It's kind of huge on her but I like it folded back so you can see the trim. I would probably shorten it a bit next time. Otherwise, the width allows for thicker layers than the t-shirt she was wearing today and the sleeves are plenty long and also look good rolled up because of the clean finish inside.

I know that last one is a little blurry but I just love how teeny she looks next to her daddy. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Signature Style Week for PRP Fall 2014

My style is easy, comfortable, and practical but not boring. I love knits, florals, and color. We love nature, so we love clothes that you can wear out for a hike by the creek while still looking cute and being easy to care for when you get dirty. Because you will get dirty.

The tunic is McCall's 6785, View C - a raglan sleeved tunic with a turtleneck. I've used this pattern twice before to make the ruched sided tunic and the hooded circle skirt dress. I used a ponte knit still available at Girl Charlee and I love how it turned out. I modified the bottom to a slight hi/low hem using the back piece of CINO's Nessie Top to get the curve.

The leggings are self-drafted and also use fabric from Girl Charlee but it doesn't seem to be in stock right now. It;s a cotton lycra and super soft and comfy.

There isn't much more I can say. A simple tunic and leggings isn't fancy. It's not complicated sewing, but it's cute as heck and it's what we wear around here on a daily basis. I hope you enjoy the pictures.