Thursday, September 30, 2010

Reversible Car Hoodie

It's done! Whew! This FELT like it took forever, as most things I make for the Rileyman do. They're just so much bigger than Q and Sawyer sized clothes, they feel like such sllllloooooow projects.

I used the Reversible Zippy Hoodie pattern from Kitschycoo for this one. It totally gets two thumbs up in my book. Amanda's instructions, particularly when connecting the sleeves, are spot on. I've had several other patterns try to get me to connect sleeves this way, but I could never wrap my head around what they were telling me to do until seeing the photos are reading the instructions in this pattern.


I made a couple of changes to the pattern, mainly to make it large enough for Riley. I used the size 8 pattern, but added two inches in length to the jacket, an inch in length to the sleeves, a half inch in width to the sleeves, and I lengthened the cuffs by 2 inches. Riley is VERY tall, so I think the pattern was true to size, and I knew going in I would need to alter it a bit. I think I will give the sleeves ANOTHER inch next time I sew this.


The fabric is a yellow sweatshirt fleece (from JoAnn's, on sale, with a coupon) and Echino cars in black (SPLURGE!). The cuffs and trim are red rib knit from JoAnn's.

There are a few problems with my hoodie. So, I didn't do such a hot job with the knit, and it looks like I stretched it a bit oddly while sewing in some places. After I finished and zipped it up, I notice that my pockets aren't even either! BOOOOO. I somehow cut the yellow back piece larger than the car back piece, so I actually had to make a little pleat in the back of the yellow side to make them fit together. Finally, I lengthened the main body pieces, but forgot to account for that in my zipper, so my zipper is actually a few inches short. Despite the lack of perfection, Riley seems very excited about it.


Ok, so maybe not in THAT picture, but seriously, he seemed very enthusiastic. :)

Confession time: this isn't actually totally complete. It still needs a side seam stitched up, and the zipper top-stitched. Why, you ask? BECAUSE I RAN OUT OF BLACK THREAD. Who runs out of black thread? Oh wait, I do. I also ran out of diapers today so I guess I shouldn't be so surprised. I need to get some more tonight because my little man wants to wear this tomorrow!

So Riley, what's the verdict?


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Keeping Kids Involved: Spoonflower

As evidenced by last week's Kids Clothes Week sew-a-thon, many of us spend many, many hours stitching for our kids. All to often, however, mamas get their hearts broken when the little ones won't wear the awesomeness we spend so many hours creating. I suspect that at least some of this is because we leave kids out of the process when we create clothes for them. We make what WE like, without asking them what they want in terms of both fashion and function. I know many little girls who have no use whatsoever for skirts, yet have tons of them, both store-bought and handmade, because that is what the adults in their lives think is cute.

I'm lucky that my oldest thinks sewing is cool, and really genuinely appreciates anything I make for him, and is always asking me to make him more. Unfortunately, there is such a void out there in terms of interesting fabrics and patterns for boys (especially older ones) that I find it very difficult to come up with creations for him. I want him to have things he likes, but I'm just not finding the resources out there to make them for him, and I fear that without cool fabrics and patterns to keep him interested, he will eventually lose interest.

So, this is where Picnik and Spoonflower come in to play. Riley and I sat down today, and in just about a half an hour or so, he came up with his own fabric design using the Picnik design tools (see homemade by jill's tutorial if you are unfamiliar with the GAZILLION things you can do with Picnik). We uploaded it to Spoonflower, tweaked it a bit, and sent off for a test swatch (only $5!!).


He is so excited about seeing what his fabric looks like in person. He wanted to know if it could get popular enough to be sold in stores. Very sweet. :)

Here is what Riley came up with:


and here are some of the other fabric designs we (mostly me) worked on today, in a quest for some "cool" boy KNIT fabrics (LOVE that Spoonflower has an organic knit option!). You can see my spoonflower profile here.







What do you all do to get or keep your kids interested/involved in your handmade items?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

KCWC Wrap-up

I just realized I haven't posted about my projects in several days. That is NOT, however, because I'm not sewing - it's because I'm not finishing! I've got a reversible zipper hoodie in the works for my biggest (little) man, but I'm waiting on fabric. He's obsessed with hot wheels and all things cars, so he requested the black Echino car fabric for his hoodie. I've only got it in purple, so we wait.

I also cut another baby-in-the-hood jacket for my littlest man. This one will be mainly navy corduroy, but the lining and hood stripe will be some adorable Anne Kelle fabric from Fabric Shoppe.

I'm also working on a pea coat for my middle man. It still needs buttons and some hand stitching on the sleeve cuffs and back of the coat. Here are some in-progress shots:

I'm using the most exquisite wool blend from my favorite local fabric store for the outer coat. Seriously, I've never sewn with a more lovely fabric. LOVE it. The lining - not so much. It's adorable, and I want to love it, but it is really stiff and doesn't rebound well from pinning. I can see every place I put a pin in that fabric! I'm a bit sad about it.

I've also got a stack (7 pairs) of little man pants just waiting for hems in my sewing room. So, fo the next week or so, I'll be wrapping up what I started during the KCWC. Thanks so much to elsie marley for hosting!

Sunday secret

Found here

Love this. Maybe my creations for my boys needs some messages in the seams as well.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

KCWC Day 3: Heidi and Finn Urban Unisex Hoodie Pattern Review

As part of the Kid's Clothes Week Challenge, I made the Urban Unisex Hoodie by Heidi and Finn. I made a Size 3T, and plan on making a smaller version for my littlest man as well.

I LOVE THIS PATTERN. It is a super value for the cost! It is adorable and totally versatile. The only thing I changed about the pattern was to use a rib knit fabric for the bottom trim and the sleeve cuffs.

The outer fabric is a sweatshirt fleece, and the lining fabric is a gray interlock. When I make it again, I probably won't use a fabric as heavy as sweatshirt fleece again. Some of the seams are really bulky and were difficult to get through my machine, especially while attaching the bottom trim. If I had used the sweatshirt fleece for the trim, like the pattern calls for, I could have never gotten it under my presser foot, because when sewing on the bottom trim, you are sewing through FOUR layers of your outer fabric and two layers of lining fabric.

My favorite thing about this pattern? The sleeves fit the shoulders perfectly - no easing required. Just pin and sew. LOVE that.

The only problem I ran into was sizing. I made the 3T, and it doesn't fit my 2T boy. There is some possibility that I printed the patterns wrong, but I still will be sizing up in future versions of the pattern, and I would DEFINITELY size up if you are using a woven rather than knit fabric.

So, this version will be heading to the closet for Sawyer in a year or two, and a new, bigger version for Quinn will be made soon!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

KCWC Day 2

Remember those scenes from Edward Scissorhands where Edward would just start going crazy with the scissors on someone's hair, and there was hair flying everywhere? Yeah, well, I was sort of like that today with fabric. For day 2 of Kids Clothes Week, I cut and started sewing an adorable hoodie sweatshirt for Quinn. I've already seen several awesome versions of the sweatshirt in the flickr group, so I am looking forward to adding my version tomorrow!

In the meantime, since I don't want to bore you with nothing but words, check out my little men playing football in the yard afternoon. After Quinn saw Riley in his Crew jersey, he insisted on wearing his. Despite wearing soccer jerseys, they decided to play American football.

I'm hoping to have some kids clothes to show you tomorrow, but I also start back to work tomorrow. Even though I only have to be away from him for MAYBE an hour, the thought of leaving Sawyer breaks my heart. :(

Monday, September 20, 2010

The boys

Today, for the first time ever, my big guy came home and wanted to shoot hoops with me. I love to shoot hoops, so for me, this was perfect, and I was pretty sure things couldn't get any better.

Then, he went and did this. That sound you hear? Yeah, that is my heart melting.

But seriously, who can blame him? Because, really, who WOULDN'T want to smoosh on this guy?

Baby-In-The-Hood Pattern Review

This morning, I put the finishing touches (buttons) on the Baby-In-The-Hood jacket I've been working on for the past week.

Baby-In-The-Hood Jacket

I have to say, I really liked this pattern, but it definitely was not an easy pattern. I became well acquainted with my seam ripper, and redid the hood and re-attached the sleeves several times before I got it the way I wanted it. Part of this was because I'm generally not so great at sewing curved seams. The other part was because of my chosen fabric - velveteen. It is really "grippy" so it made it difficult to maneuver the fabric to get the curves just right. I think the next time I make this, I will use just a regular cotton and it will go much smoother.

I made the 6-9month size, and I would say the sizing looks pretty good. It is quite loose on my little man right now, but that is exactly what I wanted. He's only 10 weeks old, and I wanted him to at least be able to wear it through the fall.

All in all, I would definitely (and have plans to) sew this pattern again. The only thing I would change about the pattern is that Anna Maria instructs you to sew the outer jacket parts, and then repeat steps on the lining pieces. I would definitely switch this, and sew the lining pieces first. That way, you get to practice easing in the shoulder seams, or building the hood on the inner pieces that won't be so prominent, in case it isn't quite perfect. My 4th shoulder seam is MUCH prettier and smoother than my first, and I am glad the first one I did is concealed inside the coat.

Also, while reading the pattern, I could not for the life of me picture how the button placket was going to work, but once you get to that part of the pattern, it makes perfect sense and is quite clever and lovely.

Clearly, Sawyer loves the jacket too. :)

Project 3/5

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I'm totally in for kid's clothing week. I have a stack of corduroy in the corner begging to be turned into Quinn and Sawyer's fall/winter pants.

But mostly, I think I will be tackling the Baby-In-The-Hood jacket in Anna Maria's Handmade Beginnings. I am using an AMAZING gold velveteen that I purchased at my favorite fabric store. LOVE.

Also, I am looking for a good unlined zip-up hoodie pattern. Any suggestions, or am I going to have to make my own?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Car Seat Toy Tutorial

So, my littlest guy HATES the car seat. HATES it. His big brother hated it before him. For the past few years, dread creeps into my heart every time we consider leaving the house, because I know it will result in a screaming baby. Alas, everyone has to leave the house some time, and thus the car seat toy was born. Yes, you can buy them at the local baby store, but they are super expensive and, in my experience, tend to go the way of baby socks and other small baby items - they get lost. So, I decided to make a bunch to have on hand in case they get lost, and also to be able to change toys frequently to keep my little man from getting bored.

10x10 scrap of fabric (this is enough for 2 toys)
1/4 inch elastic (6.5 inches per toy)
Computer printable fabric OR Cute fabric to use as the main feature of the toy. Fabric featuring animals, flowers, trucks, etc. would be good choices.

Step 1: Decide on the "main attraction". What do you want the main body of your toy to be? This will be the part of the toy that attracts baby's attention the most, so it should be colorful and engaging. I created several images using Picnik and then printed those images onto printable fabric using my home computer. If you would like to use these images, I uploaded the full size versions here for you, or if you want to try your hand at creating some, homemade by jill has a great tutorial on how to do this.

If you're printing images on printable fabric, follow the instructions for your fabric and print. If you are using preprinted fabric, cut out the main body of your toy, making sure to leave your preferred seam allowance around the edge. You should have two pieces - a front and a back. Also, now if the time to gather your other supplies.

Step 2: Measure your car seat. You want two measurements here. You want to measure around the handle, where the toy will attach to the seat. Then, add for seam allowance AND total velcro overlap. So, if your handle was 3 inches around, and you wanted a quarter inches seam, and were using 1 inch velcro squares, you would have 3in + .25 +.25 + 1 + 1= 5.5 inches long. I cute my strip 2 inches wide, so my final measurement for this piece was 5.5 inches long by 2 inches wide.

Then, measure the distance from the handle to where you want the toy to hang. For me, this was about 6 inches.

Step 3: Cut your fabric and elastic. Cut TWO 5.5 inch (or whatever your measurement was) by 2 inch strips of fabric. Then cut a 10 inch x 1 inch strip of fabric. This will be the "dangly" part covering the elastic. At this time, I also cut my 6.5 inch (added a half inch for seams) elastic.

Step 4: Fold your 10x1 in strip in half, right sides together, and sew closed. This will be the casing for your elastic.

Step 5: Use a safety pin as a bodkin to help turn your casing right-side out. Do this by attaching a safety pin to one end of your casing.

Then push the safety pin down into the casing, taking the fabric with it. Scrunch the fabric up over the safety pin until it pops out the other side.

Step 6: Thread your elastic through the casing. I do this by attaching the elastic to one end of the casing via safety, and attaching a safety to the other end of the elastic to help thread it through.

Step 7: Sandwich your elastic and casing in between your main toy pieces, right sides together. Stitch around the edges and secure the elastic to the main body of the toy, making sure not to catch your strap in the other seams, AND remembering to leave an opening for turn right-side out. Probably the best way to do this is to pin the strap in the middle of the toy body, but I just sort of moved it around while I was sewing to avoid catching it in the seams.

Step 8: Turn your toy right side out, and lightly stuff with your stuffing of choice. Also, if you wanted to add a bell or rattle to the inside of the toy, now would be the time to do it. I opt not to do this, because with three boys, I have PLENTY of noise happening without creating more! Once your toy is stuffed, hand-stitch the opening shut using an invisible stitch (I like the ladder stitch).

Step 9: You're almost done! With right sides together, sandwich the other end of your elastic strap between the SHORT ENDS of 5.5 x 2 inch fabric strips you cut. Stitch all around the strip, leaving an opening to turn.

Step 10: Turn right-side out. Press flat, and topstitch all around the strap.

Step 11: Take your velcro and attach one piece right above the hanging strap. Then, flip the piece over and attach the other piece of velcro on the OPPOSITE SIDE SHORT END from where you just attached the first piece of velcro.

Step 12: Attach to carseat and enjoy your handiwork!

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Project 2/5
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