Happy Friday + Simplicity Tween Patterns

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Happy Friday, my friends!

A little while ago, it occurred to me that K has officially outgrown the largest size (130cm) for most of the Japanese sewing books that I own. This was a momentous and startling occurrence. I’ve been sewing from these books for five years, which means I haven’t bought her (or me!) any clothes for 60 months. Wait, that’s not true. I did buy the first day of school outfit here.

Okay, K has received an embarrassment of riches in terms of hand-me-downs from neighbors and she’s worn the ready-to-wear outfits exclusively and exuberantly for the last couple of years. Mildly discouraged but also relieved that it gave me more time to work on books, I had stopped sewing for her.

But joy! K has a sudden renewed interest in handmade clothes and has been squeezing herself into the garb I stitched up years and years ago. It was time to get the sewing machine cranked up again.

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So we hightailed it to the nearest JoAnn’s and found a bevy of tween patterns. I already had a few tween patterns on hand, but we were looking specifically for cardigan patterns. She has big, big love for cardis. And shrugs. And boleros. I’ll do another post on the New Look patterns that was part of the same haul, but these were the two Simplicity ones she liked: 1025 and 1510 — see what I mean about the cardis and boleros?

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The funny thing about this view C of Simplicity 1025 is that it’s actually a faux cardi. The shirt portion is cleverly stitched as part of the cardigan. I didn’t realize this until I started sewing and was perplexed by the instructions and stared at them for a while. Once I figured it out, it was easy to assemble. K loves it. Size 8 seems to be spot on for my petite, almost 11-year-old in all the Big 4 patterns.

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She also begged for the knit skirt, and chose all the fabrics from my stash. That’s my ironclad new rule: no new fabrics. Both were quick to sew, and though my stitches got a little weird around the neckline of the faux cardigan, I’m pretty sure that no one would actually notice.

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It looks sort of business-casual to me, but hey, she adores the outfit. That darn skirt hem keeps flipping up…

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By now, I’ve quietly surrendered all creative decisions to my budding fashionista, and her next request was for a “musical” outfit. For those of you that may not know, K is a musician. She plays the piano, guitar and cello and she also takes voice lessons. All by her own request. As a totally non-musical person who is tone-deaf myself, what she can do with all her instruments is miraculous to me.

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I actually made three boleros total from Simplicity 1510 (the other two disappeared in her laundry basket and I haven’t been able to get photos). The pattern is meant for wovens, but I used a sweater knit, and as per her instructions, I ironed on a big ole gold treble clef. It’s become a fave.

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The dress is made out of quilting cotton and isn’t the best in terms of drape. The pleats don’t really show up much with dancing musical notes everywhere, but it’s a nice detail.

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Speaking of dancing, apparently this is the new “it” dance move called The Dab:

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The Dab from behind:

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It’s all the rage at K’s school. My invisible zipper insertion technique needs some work, and I couldn’t get the waist seams to line up but again, chance of anyone noticing are slim.

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I’ve noticed that the dress isn’t getting much wear compared to the boleros, but maybe it’s because she had wanted the maxi version and I just didn’t have enough fabric. She’s talking to M here and making him pinky promise something, but I can’t remember what it was about.

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Alright, I feel like I’ve assailed you with enough photos for now. As you can see, I’ve been sewing fairly frequently. And I am LOVING it.

I’m not ready to figure out what to do with all the Japanese sewing books, but I will get around to it when the time is right. Baby girls seem to be popping up around me a lot lately, and I do get an outsized amount of pleasure from sewing itty-bitty clothes…

I’m off to sew some more! Have a delightful weekend everyone!

Tween sewing is good
Though our tastes aren’t quite the same
We connect through it

 

Happy Friday + Morgan Jeans

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So. Shall we talk about the brilliance that is the Morgan Boyfriend Jeans by Closet Case Patterns? I happen to be one lucky gal and am real life friends with both Heather (who created the pattern) and Morgan (who is the muse for the pattern). When the energy of two women that I adore converge into a singularly stylish and comfortable jeans pattern, well, I flounder for the right word to describe the magic. Maybe fizazzlepizzazzle?

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I took my time with this one, friends. I lovingly traced the pattern pieces. Slooowly cut them out. I carefully ironed on the interfacings. So on and so forth. And you know what? It was AWESOME. I was enjoying myself so much while making these, a casual observer might have assumed I was on some mood-enhancing drug. Nope, just a natural high from creating the most professional-looking pair of jeans.

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From start to finish, it took me seven hours to make these jeans. Yes. Definitely an investment of time. But I paced myself and worked on it over three days and it truly felt effortless. Would I do it again? No question.

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The one rub: I think I cut one size (or possibly two sizes) too large. This is a size 8, and I knew from the instructions that the non-stretch denim would expand in size over time and based on the measurements the 8 seemed like a safe bet. I took the photos as soon as I finished them and the fit was perfect, perfect, perfect. Snug, but not tight around the waist. Casually slouchy but not ballooning around the thighs and calves.

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I don’t have pictorial evidence, but by the end of the day of the third wear, the jeans looked like they belonged to a hefty bodyguard three times my size.

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I’m going to toss them into the washing machine and hope they shrink up back to the amazing initial fit. If not, that’s okay. I’m not one to shy away from too loose jeans.

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It just means I’ll have to size down, which means less fabric to cut and hey, that sounds like a win-win to me. On a side note, I went with the cropped version but due to my legs that have the DNA of wiener dogs, they don’t look as cropped as I’ve seen on others. I like this length a lot though!

Spurred by the success of my Morgan Boyfriend Jeans for which the instructions are excellent, I decided it was high time I made K some skinny jeans again. I’m afraid the lack of pictorial evidence is deliberate this time. I used the Blaverry KoKo pattern (the company no longer seems to be in business) and maybe I was exhausted and double-visioned from already making grown-up sized jeans, but I couldn’t make heads or tails of the zip fly insertion instructions. I completely flubbed the whole thing, but K wore it for a full day anyway just because I had spent so much time on it (a speedy 4 hours compared to the Morgan). But in the end, she had to admit that the jeans were terribly uncomfortable. If I get around to it, I’ll add the photo of the finished KoKo jeans here at a later date — it actually looks pretty good at first glance, but oh, the zip fly (suck in breath through teeth here)…it ain’t pretty.

Upon reflection I’m certain that I messed up K’s jeans because I felt rushed and through no fault of her own, K’s eager expectation added some pressure to the experience. With the Morgan jeans, I thoroughly and leisurely enjoyed the process of it and didn’t really focus on the end result. With the KoKo jeans, it was all about the end result. Hm. Thoughts to chew on. Have you made the Morgan? Was it as fizazzlepizazzle for you too? What about the KoKo? I’m sure it’s a great pattern and that all errors were just from my misreading the instructions.

Anyway. I have another deadline next week so I better focus on that. Have a delightful weekend, everyone!

Jeans are fun to make
Even if they don’t fit well
Just gotta make more

P.S. I almost forgot! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

P.P.S. I’m wearing the Linden sweatshirt in the lovely french terry I mentioned a few posts ago.

Petit a Petit Block Party: Tip Top

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Had it been entirely up to me, this Tip Top dress would have been sewn in a sophisticated indigo linen with perhaps some Sashiko stitching along the sleeve edges. Or, I might have just simply copied Celina’s version and made it out of buffalo checks. Those days when K was a pliable, acquiescing dress-up doll? GONE.

There are two things that ensure K will wear something I make:

  1. It’s made out of stretchy fabric
  2. It’s tight (sigh, this does not bode well for upcoming teenage years)

I figured one out of two would work, and I pulled out some knit fabric options that I hoped would light her up and she pointed to this black performance knit from here in a non-committal way. I chortled with satisfaction when “piping!” popped into my mind, thinking it would add a sportiness that would be in line with the intended use of the substrate.

tiptop2Oh my friends, she completely rejected it.

I think it’s such a cool and versatile dress, but she didn’t agree. “Only little girls wear that style, Mama,” she informed me.

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So what’s a Mama to do?

Make another one in a lacy stretch knit, of course. I figured that if a similar top from Target can capture her heart, surely a garment that her own flesh and blood has stitched into its likeness would be acceptable?

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I’m pleased to report that she wholly approves of this version. I shortened it, for starters, and also slimmed down the silhouette. As always, I did it all by feel and estimation, so I’m not exactly sure how much I modified the pattern. Because the lace knit was quite sheer, I lined it with an off-white stretch fabric for the bodice part only, leaving the sleeves to flutter in semi-transparency.

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The fact that she loves the lace version leads me to believe that it’s actually piping that turns her off because she despised this top that I made a few years ago too. Hmmm, I just noticed that there’s a piece of black thread on her tunic top. Oh well.

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The lace knit was from my stash as well, and I realized that it might be a good idea to use fabric from the sponsors. Imagine Gnats and Raspberry Creek Fabrics are the lovely sponsors for this epic block party going on in celebration of Petit a Petit patterns, and I am not one to pass up discounted fabric. K selected this fabric from Imagine Gnats (we seem to have snapped up all of it), and I was about to start on yet another Tip Top version, but then I heard a voice intoning, it would look so awesome as a tight dress with a turtle neck. The voice sounded exactly like my 10-year-old and was, in fact, her.

So I obliged (though I didn’t make it too tight).

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I chopped the bodice pattern pieces even more, and eyeballing the Linden sweatshirt sleeve pattern — incidentally, I’ve been a Linden making machine and will share them soon — I drafted my own raglan sleeve. Not too bad, if I do say so myself.

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“Love” is not a sufficient word to describe how K feels about this tunic/dress. She’s worn it multiple times already, which is the ultimate sign of approval. As you can see, the Tip Top pattern can be a great base for modification, and I had a lot of fun playing around with it.

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But really, the sewing project that steals the show is that pillow, don’t you think? K made it for me on a whim in between Tip Tops, and this was truly an undertaking filled with blood, sweat and tears. She wanted to do it solo, without any help from me. Yet, on several occasions I heard her defeatedly padding down the stairs and she whispered to me, “I think I might have to give up.” It was enough to melt the most hardened of souls, and I’m already a pushover sap.

Ultimately, I helped her finish up the heart applique and close up the pillow. She eagerly stuffed the heart section with polyfill and after the pillow was complete, we stared at it together in silence. “Does it…” she tentatively ventured, “…look like a boopie?” Indeed, the heart swelled in a distinctly bosomy curvature. We burst out laughing, and I hugged it. I love how hard she worked on it, I love how much thought she put into it, I love my boopie pillow.tiptop15 tiptop13

 

And yes, I love the Tip Top pattern too! And guess what? Celina is doing a pattern giveaway (ALL of them!!) and here’s the Rafflecoptor to enter:

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

That’s it for my contribution to the block party — check out all the wonderful participants!

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Nov. 1st – Sweetkm | Nov. 2nd – The Sara Project | Nov. 3rd – La Folie | Nov. 4th – Hello Holli | Nov. 5th – Chalk and Notch | Nov. 6th – Sewing Like Mad | Nov. 7th – Beatnik Kids | Nov. 8th – Stitched Together | Nov. 9th – Coffee and Thread | Nov. 10th – Made by Toya | Nov. 11th – Stahlarbeit | Nov. 12th – Lily en Woody | Nov. 13th – My Petite Sophie | Nov. 14th – Handmade Frenzy | Nov. 15th – Paisley Roots | Nov. 16th – While she was sleeping | Nov. 17th – My Cozy co | Nov. 18th – A Jennuine Life | Nov. 19th – Knee Socks and Goldilocks | Nov. 20th – Sanae Ishida | Nov. 21st – Little Cumquat | Nov. 22nd – Gaafmachine | Nov. 23rd – Craftstorming | Nov. 24th – Made by Sara | Nov. 25th – Buzzmills | Nov. 26th – Bartacks and Singletrack | Nov. 27th – Moineau & Petit Pois | Nov. 28th – Naii | Nov. 29th – Just Add Fabric | Nov. 30th – Mie Made Memories | Enjoyful Makes | Dec. 1st – Petit a Petit and Family

 

Happy Friday + Grecian New Look 6297

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Happy Friday and today is the day to honor our veterans! What a week, right? I don’t talk politics in general and don’t plan on starting now, but I do want to acknowledge how heartened I was by the groundswell of positive solidarity that came out of the election results. I voted, of course, and I am a concerned citizen. Yet, at the end of the day, I feel very strongly that what we do as individuals on a daily basis matters far more than who we end up appointing as heads of states. We all have so much tremendous power within us to do good, I believe, and I’ll leave it at that. Besides, I know you’re just dying to find out about this New Look 6297 dress I made for K.

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It’s a dress that I wouldn’t have thought to sew, but it was the one K wanted pronto (remember the tween patterns I got from JoAnn’s a while back?). View C sports cut-out sleeves, an asymmetrical hem, and a gathered waist. Those cut-out sleeves were constructed by overlapping two pieces, and was much easier than I expected. I cut out a size 10 and the fit is pretty much perfect. The waist could have been lowered a teensy bit, but it doesn’t seem to bother her much.

nl6297-icyblue5The fabric is a slinky, icy blue stretch fabric of unidentifiable origin from my stash. It has a slight sheen to it and is super thin — not what I’d call easy to work with — but I can’t even begin to describe how much K loves this dress.

nl6297-icyblue11 nl6297-icyblue14She decided to wrap the waist tie around her left leg for the Greek Goddess effect and had loads of fun glamming it up with a feather in her hair and turquoise jewelry. Digging through my scarf collection, she found one that made her sway and swirl to imaginary music:

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With a more cooperative fabric, this would have been an effortless dress to make. Though I wish my seams hadn’t gotten so puckered, the obvious joy she’s deriving from the dress allows me to shrug my shoulders and laugh at my need for better results.

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She was so eager to wear the dress, she wouldn’t even let me finish the hem so it’s just raw. Already, she’s worn it twice, and it’s only been four days since I made it.

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Steadily but surely, I am relinquishing my tendency to sew only what I find aesthetically pleasing for her. We have vastly differing tastes, and that’s OK. I love that she’s her own person with her own opinions and I don’t want to ever discourage her from expressing herself. It’s very much the same process I underwent when K started assembling her own outfits. My way is not the only way.

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I thought it was hilarious that she insisted on wearing the dress even though she had gym that day. So she wore exercise-appropriate shorts and a tee that totally showed through the dress and popped on a pair of sneakers to school. I wish I’d gotten a photo, it was awesome. Ah well, at least I have about a million of these ethereal shots of her dancing about. It was a good sewing week.

Alright my friends, it’s time to call it quits for now. I hope you have a spectacular weekend, and I leave you with this poem that K wrote for me. She’s currently composing a song to go with the words. I’m one lucky mama.

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Happy Friday + Power to the Unicorn

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Happy Friday! Hello everyone, K here! Every year there’s a Halloween party at my school. Everyone dresses up in their Halloween costumes and comes for food and games (the fifth graders make a haunted house too). This year my mom made me an awesome unicorn costume with a rainbow mane and horn. I can’t wait for next year!!!

Haiku by K

Rainbow horns and mane!
Power to the unicorn…
Happy halloween!

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Well, that’s a hard act to follow, but I thought you might want a few more details about the costume?

2016-halloween-unicorn2I am dubbing this the world’s most expensive unicorn costume.

Back in late September, I was cruising through Fred Meyer (similar to Target here in the Pacific Northwest) and saw a costume that looked strikingly like the one you see above. For $14.99, I was ready to insert my debit card into the nearest reader and call it a day.

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However. My child was oddly insistent that I make her a costume because it’s a “tradition.”  Not one to pass up a tradition, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work.

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Goodwill was the surprising source for the horn and the wigs that became the mane and tail. They were actually new and were probably slightly less expensive than buying them elsewhere, but one wig alone cost the same as the entire costume at Fred Meyer.

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A hooded onesie was what I needed to make, and I rooted around my existing pattern stash to see what I could hack together. I remembered the puffy jacket I’d made earlier in the year from Puperita’s Tiger Hoodie pattern and knew that would be a good starting point. I decided to frankenstein the hoodie pattern with a self-drafted pant pattern based on one of her pajama bottoms. Here’s the first prototype which we call her Kermit onesie:

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The fit was pretty good though she wanted the inseam to be raised a bit which was an easy fix. Then there was the issue of ears. A few years ago I went on a hat-making bender and what made them an instant hit were the bear ears. I made K a version here. The pattern was from the Oliver + S Little Things to Sew book, and with a little futzing about, I was able to replace the Tiger Hoodie hood with a modified version of the bear hat. Voila, the Miss Piggy vest:

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It’s possible that K loves the Kermit onesie and the Miss Piggy vest more than the unicorn costume, but that’s neither here nor there.

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I felt that bling was important for a unicorn. My mom had brought me an insane gold lamé flouncy dress a while ago, and I kept it in the bin with other fabrics fit for costume-making. It came in handy for the ears and “hooves” though they didn’t hold up well at all. You can already see the gold filaments sproinging in that image above. K wore the costume twice: the first time for the school Monster Mash and the second time on Halloween proper, but by Halloween the hooves were a disgrace.

I bought 4 yards of white fleece just in case I made a mistake and couldn’t believe it when I used up almost the entire yardage just for one version. K must be taking steroids! Thank goodness that I didn’t make any obvious errors. It’s a costume, after all, so I wasn’t too concerned about prettifying the raw edges and such.

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I sandwiched the tail wig between the back center pieces, and hand-stitched the mane onto the hood. I had a momentary loss of composure when I couldn’t find the hot glue gun for the horn, but there it was right where I put it under 19 tons of fabric.

Do I wish I’d gone the store-bought route instead? Hmmmmm…I would have saved a lot of $$ and time, but the look on K’s face when she saw the completed costume was priceless. She got so many compliments that she was positively luminescent and I have to admit, she looked pretty darn magical. Oh well, I better start saving up for next year’s costume…

2016-halloween-unicorn3Have a happy weekend, my friends! See you next week!