Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How to turn your sweet 6 year old into a scary chainsaw-wielding maniac

Gone are the days of cute, innocent Halloween costumes for Jonas, apparently.  His request this year: Cool Chainsaw Guy.

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Earlier in the month, we went to a local amusement park, that was already geared up for Halloween.  There were spook alleys and scary decor all over.  And there were these weird characters dressed in coveralls, butcher aprons and metallic masks, weilding chainsaws.  Jonas thought they were The Coolest Things Ever® .  He kept running up to them to shake their hands and give them high fives all over the park.  I finally got a picture of my six year old with one using my cell phone.  I forgot to turn on the flash, and when I realized it, the guy was already off to scare some other park patrons.  But you get the idea. 

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After that night, there was no convincing Jonas to be anything else.  And so I made him into Cool Chainsaw Guy!  minus the wig, though, because he decided he hates the way wigs feel.  We’ll probably do something fun with his hair for actual Halloween.  And then there’s the chainsaw.  I told him I would make him the costume, but he was NOT going to get to carry around a real chainsaw.  He was disappointed, but understood.  I put my husband in charge of cardboard-chainsaw duty while I made the costume.  Instead, he pulled out this small chainsaw from our garage and handed it over to the kid!  He did remove the power source, and the blades are covered.   

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Dads are so much cooler than moms.   

For the coveralls, I started with the Jumpin’ In coverall pattern from Ottobre 6/2010 (#13).  The pattern is for stretch velour, but I used a stretch poplin and it worked great.  I changed the collar and the pockets.  And I screwed up somehow on the waistband, totally making one side wider than the other.  Whatever, I got the lower edges of it lined up, at least.  I also didn’t make the collar long enough, or get it centered.  Again, whatever.  It’s a costume.

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The mask is from Jo-Ann Stores.  It’s paper mache, and was in with their Halloween decor, not costume supplies.  But it looked too cool and creepy to not use, so we risked it.  Jonas spray painted it a shiny silver, and I stitched some elastic at the sides to keep it on his face.  It did tear, due to some rough-housing by the wearer, at the top.  But we both agree that just makes it look even creepier. 

The chainsaw guys at the amusement park all had their character names on the back of their coveralls.  Jonas wanted to use the same name as the character he had his picture taken with.  How he even remembered/noticed the guy’s name, I do not know.  But he did.  And now Jonas is Bones, Jr.

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I free-handed the lettering with chalk, then went over it in puffy paint.  I went back in with glow-in-the-dark acrylic paint.  It really does glow, so that’s cool.

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And to go along with his name, I used this fun skeleton cotton from Jo-Ann Stores in the pockets, and to cover the collar seam and the waistband seams on the inside. (forgot to get pictures of those)

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The apron was just self drafted.  It’s the same faux leather I used on the Headless Horsman costume on the Jet Pack bag.  It’s so easy to work with, and looks so real.  I love this stuff!  I added pockets along the width of the apron, because why not.  And then we squirted wine-colored puff pain on for gore.

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Add a pair of $1 black knit gloves, and we have a Cool Chainsaw Guy!  And a pretty stoked six year old.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Aviator Pants

When the Aviator Pants Pattern by Winter Wear Designs was released a couple of months ago, I immediately noted it as a pattern I’d love to sew for my kids. The design is modern and cool, but also look comfortable.  And now the designer, Suzanne, has released a grown up version of the pattern and invited me along on the pattern tour.  Yay!

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I had big plans for these patterns.  The Aviators, both kid and women’s, are versatile and fun, casual and just a tiny bit funky.  I thought it would be great to make a few different versions, for myself and the kids, using the different options in the patterns, and different types of fabrics.  Show you all kinds of ways to use this pattern, for all kinds of clothing needs.  I have two to show you today.

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First, a super simple kids’ Aviator for my sporty 6 year old.  He loves football, it’s pretty much his life’s passion at the moment.  So I made a pair of aviators using his sweatshirt fleece in his favorite team colors.  I love the triangle detail in the pattern, especially for adding color.  I also used the pop of orange at the waistband, pockets, and cuffs.

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We went with a size bigger than he’s in right now, so he can get a lot of use out of these. The fit is great, just a tiny bit big, like I was hoping for.  And he loves them.  He begged to stay up the night I was working on them, so he could wear them to bed as soon as I finished.  Then he wore them to school the next day. 

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Now, the other pair.  Oh, friends.  This pair was not meant for my son.  They were supposed to be for me!  As soon as I saw the women’s Aviator pattern, I thought they would make great hiking pants.  I ordered some waterproof, lightweight sport fabric from Seattle Fabrics, and was so excited to make myself some outdoor pants.  Sportswear is so expensive, and it’s hard to find good hiking pants for less than $50.  The fabric arrived, it was fantastic and perfect.  Except it had no stretch.  Zero.  Zilch.  The pattern calls for stretch fabric, but says that even as little as 10% stretch works. But still, 10% is a lot more than 0%.   blergh.  So I sized up, and hoped for the best. 

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And was super stupid and didn’t measure anything. 

I just got to work, doing all flat-felled seams for durability, zippered-welt pockets, and really making sure these would be awesome hiking pants.  And then I couldn’t even get them over my hips.  At all.  Gah!  So, the 11 year old got a new pair of too-big hiking pants and I got a whole lot of humble pie.

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I need to order myself some more fabric, because I will make myself hiking Aviators.  Next time, though, I will measure out the pattern pieces against other woven pants I own, since knits are so much more fit-forgiving than wovens.  The other women’s Aviators that are popping up on the tour are all looking fantastic.  Since I have none of my own to show you, check out these:

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Karly’s cozy, long-leg Aviators at Paisley Roots, Kelly at Handmade Boy has two pair and super fun photos you have to check out, and Jessica’s hip and chic pair at Pattern Revolution.  So many ways to sew, style and wear this pattern!  You can check out all the stops on the tour

Pattern Revolution       10/20
Paisley Roots                10/21
Handmade Boy             10/22
Sew a Straight Line      10/23
Lady & the Gents         10/24
Shaffer Sisters              10/24
Additional Fun      10/25

And you can grab any Winter Wear Designspatterns, including the Aviators at a 15% off discount using the code AVIATORTOUR (excludes bundles) through 10/26/14.  Buy both the women’s and kids’ Aviators, and save 30%!!

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I was given the Aviator patterns to sew and tell you about.  I’ll be telling you more about them just as soon as I make a pair for myself I can actually get over my womanly hips!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Perfect Pattern Parcel: this one’s for the ladies

You need to go back up and re-read the title in your best Berry White voice.  Go on, I’ll wait.  

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Done?  good.  
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Now, let’s talk Perfect Pattern Parcel: Ladies Edition.  I swear these Parcels just keep getting better and better.  This collection includes:

Syrah Skirt by Selvage Designs
Bronte Top by Jennifer Lauren 
Julia Cardigan by Mouse House Creations
Hudson Pant by True Bias
Zsalya Top & Dress by Kate & Rose
Bonus Pattern:Odette Dress by BlueGingerDoll 

Every pattern looks so good, and they all work so well with each other. I only had the chance to sew up three to share with you all for now, but I think you can see from just these three pieces how fun this collection is.  I sewed the Hudson Pants, the Julia Cardigan and a Bronte Top.  I really enjoyed all three, so let’s discuss them a bit. 

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Also, let’s discuss that I think my camera is dying .  Do they die?  Is it possible I’ve killed it? I cannot get it to focus any more.  Perhaps you’ve noticed?  I can’t figure out what’s up.  Manual, auto, kit lens, that other lens I own: doesn’t matter: no focus unless I’m right up against the subject.  It’s probably user-error, I’m so very inept at camera stuff.   But let’s just pretend the grain and blur is some sort of hip new photog filter and I’m just super cool.  Or something.

Back to the patterns.  
This is my second Julia Cardigan (see the first one HERE), this time in a French terry left over from my nephew’s robe, and I still think this pattern is pretty much the greatest. It’s a fast sew, a fun twist on a classic look, the pattern is drafted well, and it keeps me warm = greatest.  Almost as great as my modeling skills, as evidenced by these beauts:

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It’s like I’m channeling GOB and his chicken dance



I need to sew my kids more stuff so I can take grainy pictures of them instead.

For my Hudson Pants, I wanted to add some fun stretch leather.  I added a tuxedo stripe of it down the side seam of both legs, at the pockets, and at the cuffs.  The back of the leather (which is actually not leather, but “stretch faux leather” is a lot to type out) is a soft knit.  Matched up with the main fabric’s French terry, things feel as good as they look.  And I really like the look. 

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However, as stretchy as this stretch [faux] leather is, it’s not that stretchy.  And it probably wasn’t the best idea for the cuffs, though I really like it everywhere else.  My husband asked me if the pants were hard to take off my feet because he thought it looked like I had wrapped electrical tape around my ankles.  They are hard to take off, it’s true.  But once on, they’re totally comfortable.  Solution: I never take these pants off!

Electric tape. pfft.

Finally, I sewed up the Bronte Top.  And then took insanely grainy pictures of it.  Seriously! What is up?!?!

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Here, let’s look at some in-focus close-ups of the darling neckline details of this pattern.

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The Bronte Top is like a fancy-upped tee shirt.  Just as fast to sew, just as easy to style, just as comfortable to wear, but fancy!  What with its envelope shoulders and with or without buttons.  I chose with.

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I used a charcoal/white stripe knit from Nosh Organics, that sewed like buttah.  I am so very happy with how this top turned out.  I want to wear it everywhere and with everything.  I will say, however, that I feel like the fit is a bit too fitted (read: tight).  I went by my measurements, and looking at other Brontes others have sewn, it looks like it’s supposed to fit snug.  My next Bronte, I’m sizing up.  Also, I lengthened this Bronte by about 3 inches.  I wanted to make sure it would  cover everything even when paired with low-rise pants, like my new Hudsons.

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You can grab the Ladies’ Perfect Pattern Parcel by clicking this thing:

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And just in case you didn’t know…
How Pattern Parcel Works:
Here at Perfect Pattern Parcel, we believe in supporting independent pattern designers. It’s our opinion that indie patterns are just, well, better than big box patterns, and we’re pretty sure our customers think so too. So, we allow customers to show their support in naming their own price for each Parcel. We also encourage customers to allocate part of their Parcel price to the charity Donorschoose.org in order to help classrooms in need. Pattern Parcel donates all profits after expenses from Parcel sales to the charity as well. Together we’ve raised over $12,000 for classrooms in need!

Bonus Pattern:
Choose a price of $32 or greater for Parcel #6 and you will automatically also be sent the Bonus Pattern! That’s only $5 a pattern. The Bonus Pattern for this Parcel is the Odette Dress by Bluegingerdoll. Vintage inspired silhouette is had two flattering necklines and a gorgeous skirt. The Odette Dress pattern goes from a size 4 through a 24!

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Costume Tutorials!

My goal was to have all four of my kids’ Halloween costumes done two weeks ago.  We are less than two weeks away from Halloween night now, and I still have two costumes left.  Blah.  So much for goals.  In case you’re still working on ideas and need some inspiration and help along the way, here are 17 free costume tutorials and patterns

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Now, get makin’, and I guess I will, too.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Whatcha wearing under there?

Underwear!  Ivy’s done with diapers, which means I am done with diapers: wahoooo!  To celebrate, I pulled out my knit scrap bins and made her seven sets of undies, complete with matching camisoles.  One for every day of the week!

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And friends, let me tell you, there are few things I have encountered in this life cuter than a two-year old in skivvies.

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The patterns are both from the 6/2013 issue of Ottobre, #32: Peppi  and #33 Annica .  The undies pattern starts at size 92cm, so I graded that pattern down a little bit for my daughter, who wears an 86.  The cami pattern starts at 86, so I was able to stick to the pattern completely for the tops.
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I’m very happy with the fit of both top and bottom.  Originally, I thought the legs were a bit too big, but I adjusted how tight I was attaching the binding, and that solved any gape issue.  Now they are perfect. 

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I only planned on making the bottoms.  But then the cami pattern was just so cute, I had to make one.  After making one, I was so in love, I decided every pair needed a matching top.  With winter fast approaching, they’ll add an extra layer of adorable warmth.  And in the summer, she can wear them as PJ tops.  Currently, she’s just lounging around in the sets because they’re just too cute to cover.

Most of the scraps I used to make these, I have been hanging onto since making diapers for my boys, up to eight years ago.  I know, I have a problem.  It’s just so hard to toss cute knits, even little pieces.  And now my hoarding has paid off, so I guess I’m not going to reform that habit any time soon :)

And now for Undies on Parade!

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I had so little of this cute mermaid knit leftover, that I used the View A of the cami pattern, rather than the View B the others come from.  I pieced the front with a panel of the print.  I’m not happy with the neck on this one.  The pattern calls for lace-edged elastic around the neck of this view.  But I didn’t have any and instead tried a decorative stitch.  It didn’t turn out.  I may go back and pick out the stitches.  Or I may not.  This is actually Ivy’s favorite set.  So I guess the ugly neck isn’t bothering her. 

Back to the parade…

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days of the week ottobre undewear 6 2013 sew a straight line 

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Top Pattern: Ottobre 6/2013 #32 Peppi Camisole
Bottom Pattern:  Ottobre 6/2013 #33 Annica Panties
Various knit fabrics

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Rainbow Dash costume

Ivy decided she needed to be Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony back in the summer when the boys first started discussing costumes.  I didn’t even realize she remembered what Halloween was, or what a costume was, but she jumped right into the conversation and announced her pony plans.  Ever since, whenever I would go down to sew, she’d ask if I was making her Rainbow Dash costume.  It took a couple of months to finally get to it, but it’s done.  And it’s adorable.

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I used the tutorial from Sugar Tart Craft’s Pony Sew Along as inspiration, and her patterns for the ears and wings, specifically. The fabric is cuddle fleece from Jo-Ann stores.  I love the texture of cuddle fleece, hate to sew with it.  So very, very messy and all but impossible to find and remove errant stitching.  It’s also more bulky than regular fleece,  so Ivy’s Rainbow Dash ears aren’t as perfect as those at Sugar Tart Crafts.  Still cute, though.  And I sewed them directly to the hood, rather than make them removable clips.  I also lined the hood, using a My Little Pony knit remnant I had.

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For the jacket, I used an Ottobre pattern from 1/2006 issue, number 8.  The pattern worked great, but it’s a bit small.  If I had looked at the sample pictures in the magazine first, I would have known the hoodie was short, and would have lengthened it a bit.  But I didn’t look, and I didn’t lengthen.  I added front pockets, because it seemed the right thing to do.  And then they ended up just a tiny bit off and drive me crazy.  But I’m not about to go pick the stitching out of that ^#*@* cuddle fleece, so they’re just going to have to be uneven.  I chose the Otto pattern because liked the ribbed hem and cuffs on the pattern.  And I really liked that the hood was three pieces, with a wide center piece.  Because of the design of the hood, I was able to do two lines of “hair” down the seam lines on either side of the center piece, making the mane nice and thick. 

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I also pieced the center pattern piece in rainbow colors, though it’s hard to see in the pictures since it follows the same pattern as the fleece strips of the mane.  The pattern for the wings from Sugar Tart Crafts was perfect, though I chose to sew the wings directly to the jacket.  I also skipped the batting recommended, and tacked the wings down at the shoulders instead, so they don’t flap too much.  The wings are Ivy’s favorite part.  She refused to even try on the jacket until I had attached wings.  And when I finally got the wings on and showed her, she gasped and jumped up and down.  Yay wings!

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You can see, below the dimensional wings, where I stitched the wing pattern directly onto the jacket back, thinking that would be fun.  Then decided it looked dumb, but gave up on picking out the stitching after about 20 seconds.  Stinkin’ cuddle fleece.

For the pants, I just traced a pair of PJ pants Ivy has.  I made them way too long.  And then I hemmed them and ended up making them too short.  Whatever.  They work.

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My very favorite part is the cutie mark on the leg.  I traced out Rainbow Dash’s cutie mark onto a rectangle of white felt, then set my sewing machine to a satin stitch and got to work.  It went surprisingly fast and I was thrilled with the results. After getting the design all stitched in, I just cut the excess felt off and stitched it onto the pant leg.  My eight year old told me it “looks like you bought it at the store or something.  Like, the Cutie Mark Store.”  Not bad for a regular ol’ sewing machine, huh?!

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Now I just have to keep Ivy from trying to trick-or-treat at the neighbors for the next couple of weeks, because she is ready to go!

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