Hey there! And Happy Last Week of August. I'm moonlighting over at the Upcraft Club today and chatting about making this shirt, tie and pants. Come and check it out!
Salutations! Thanks for finding me here. Today I'm joining the Twisted Trousers tour being hosted by Laura of Titchy Threads.
The Twisted Trousers feature a clever, curved shape that has the appearance of a slim fitting pant but are actually relaxed enough to accommodate the big movements of little folks and the limitations of woven fabrics that have very little stretch. I've made several pairs of Laura's Small Fry Skinnies in the past, which are designed to be made using stretch wovens. It's my favorite pants pattern shown here in a harlequin stretch twill, here in knit denim and here where I re-drafted the lines to include ease for wovens. I have a hard time sourcing stretch wovens so even though I adore that pattern, I was pleased to see that the Twisted Trousers are designed for regular woven fabrics.
My little guy has been begging me for pink trousers for a couple of years and I've got some great canvas in the hopper for that purpose but it's nice stuff and I didn't want to hack into it until I had succeeded with a muslin. These here are made using sheets from Target and some lime green piping that I made using bias tape from Purl Soho and some narrow rope that I got from the hardware store. The advantage to making these pants out of the sheets is that they are "easy care" (which probably means that there's some polyester in there, eep) so I don't have to iron them when I wash them, which is something that bums me out about sewing garments with quilting fabrics.
I made a Rowan Tee to complement the pants in this Heather Ross strawberry print that I've been hoarding. I'm sure that you can grab some on Etsy if you're interested. It's from her Briar Rose collection. That little pocket is made from some fresh Alison Glass Handcrafted fabric, which will be debuted this weekend at Quilt Market in Minneapolis. I so, so want to go! But we've got some family obligations and no way to squeeze the ten hour round-trip in betwixt them. Sigh...
About that little pocket, though; it's just one example of the careful attention that Laura gives to each detail of her patterns. The Rowan Tee pattern offers more than 100 combinations to create your own unique top and shows you a cool little trick for getting a professional looking pocket hem every time. This is the sherpa-lined hoodie that I made using this pattern last fall.
The hat that he's wearing is one that I made for Stylo last spring:)
Laura's patterns make you a better sewer. They are cleverly, carefully written and chock-full of technical details and descriptive photos.
Be sure to check out the other folks on the tour this week and throughout the month! Thanks for stopping by, dear friends. I have missed our chats. Hey, are you on Instagram? If so, consider dropping me a line over there. The link is in the sidebar.
This post was originally featured on the Kids Clothes Week Blog last February:)
I spend as much time as I can making things. And even when I can’t, it consumes my thoughts. And kids things in particular. As I considered this post over the last few weeks, I couldn’t come up with exactly what it was that compels me to make. Compulsion is the nature of it, to be sure – but why?
There was a time when my marriage was new and my babies were both so little and unfamiliar that hand-making helped me to make sense of domesticity – a concept that I had always flailed hard against.
But that’s not why for me anymore.
As I worked on this leather-feathered vest (using this pattern), I finished listening to a novel, The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. About midway through, the book’s writer answered this question for me and much more eloquently than I could have.
“In the evenings, she lit a lamp and unfolded the fabric on the table. Following the pattern offered a kind of comfort, a quiet balance [to her day's work which was] coarse, exhausting [and unpredictable]. Sewing was different. She knew if she was patient and meticulous, if she carefully followed the lines, took each step as it came, and obeyed the rules, that in the end when it was turned right-side out, it would be just how it was meant to be (205-6).”
That passage about a woman sewing a coat for a child is one that I’ll be thinking about for a long time. Even though she’s musing there about stitching, the passage also contributes to the book’s persistent theme of impermanence. The stitching, it helps us to cope with the fleeting nature of things. Of kids and of youth and of thwarted meant-to-bes. And, I think, that’s why I do it.
I didn't do anything weird to the pattern.
Laura's work is thoughtful and complete. And in this particular pattern there are just under 150 potential variations. So, you know, I felt like I could just settle in and sew.
With Laura's patterns, there's never any need to second guess the sizing or the instructions. Her garments have a modern, stylish cut but are roomy enough to play in. The sewing instructions are exhaustive.
Plus, when you have a good, soft, green, stripey knit, it's already a party. Mine was Lillestoff from here but I don'e see it there anymore:(
I chose the version with a hood, with a patch pocket and with contrast shoulder stripes. I kept it simple by just changing the direction of the stripes on the shoulders and on the pocket. I lined the hood with sherpa and then I got a little brazen and monkeyed with the finish on the hood...
The pattern calls for finishing the hood with twill tape along the inside. I didn't like how my hood was finishing up. The sherpa feels fantastic against the skin but it is a beast to work with. It sheds, it's really stretchy and it's bulky. So! My hood was looking both lumpy and stretched out. I gave it a good press and then cut ribbing the length of the hood opening. That still didn't quite fix the problem, so I cut three inches off of the hood ribbing and did it again. I like the finish. I think it looks clean and it saved what was almost a wonky-to-the-point-of-being-a-throwaway hood.
This project could totally have been such a quick sew but I took my time to finish it in a way that I could be proud of. See the little triangles on the pocket?
We're pretty excited about this new, for-the-boy option. Now to get proper outerwear on the wee one...
Joining the Frontier Dreams readers today too:)
Sometimes (most times) when I talk about parenting, I stick my foot in my mouth. Like last spring when I was chatting, poolside with this gal. I was rolling my eyes about Disney and Frozen and just plain bragging about how clever we were for not letting our kids get sucked into all of that when my daughter began to recite the plot details for Frozen. Um, she had seen it. And the truth is, I had been wanting to see it too. So, we watched it together after that. And, ladies, I am not a fan. I'm just not. I mean, c'mon. We can do better. But that's a topic for another post, perhaps for another blog altogether.
Of course, she wanted to be Elsa this year for Halloween and of course I agreed to make something that would resemble Elsa's snow diva outfit. It's shown here post school day and banana smearing incident (sorry) but you get the gist.
She wanted all of the good glitz but I refused, knowing that it was going to be freezing (literally) on Halloween and thanks to the interwebs, I was able to show my girl Cheri's girl in a Frozen-ish costume that included some knit fabrics and my daughter agreed.
I did buy one panel of Frozen Fabric Glitz for the cape but the rest was stuff that I could put in the wash.
I badly wanted to make a circle skirt for the bottom of the dress but I didn't have enough fabric plus I think that the dress would have been too heavy. Instead, I used the Flashback Tee patten as a base. For the top of the dress, I color-blocked the arms and bodice with a heavy double-knit that I had plus some Laguna knit from Imagine Gnats. For the bottom, I made an A line skirt that was 4" wider at the hem than at the waist. I added a layer of stretch tulle over the top of the skirt. I stitched the cape crudely over the top of the whole works and had to take it off to attempt what was an unsuccessful attempt to treat a smashed banana stain on the dress. Boo. Then I had to re-attach it. Double boo.
She loved it. And I swear that I purchased and used hairspray and bobby pins during the first part of the day on her braid. Although, I must admit - I put that braid in on Wednesday morning and my mom finally took it out today. Because that is how we roll. We are not hairspray girls.
We had a big party. It was a blast.
I grew up here.
But this pointy shoreline and I, we have a tenuous kinship. I remain here because I am desperately in love with a boy that I met here and a boy that I grew here who are both blissfully entangled with the landscape and with its extraordinary occupants.
My clever, perceptive littles absorb a lot about this place that I never had the capacity to notice. My son is fascinated by the stories of old, big cargo ships. And, in particular, the Edmund Fitzgerald. Both of my littles know all of the lyrics to the song. And they have forbidden me to giggle as they solemnly sing them.
Eero talks about the "Fitzgerald" incessantly (quoting my Dad who also loves the old ships) and his kindergarten teacher even let the kids listen to the song in class today:) When he made a representative self portrait this week at school, he chose to construct the "Freedom Bell" from the book. At five he is certain that the ship is inextricably linked with who he is. And I think that's cool.
Yesterday, as I struggled to come up with an appropriate answer to the Kids Clothes Week Challenge, I realized that the answer was literally sitting right in my lap. We have been reading this book over and over and over.
I sketched a boat, then simplified the design to make it easy to print. I used a freezer paper stencil to put the boat and the name on the Oliver and S's School Bus Tee. The whole thing from print to finish probably took me two hours, although it is a little sloppy:(
I used a gray knit from Simplifi, which appears to be gone now and I am not surprised. It is the MOST BEAUTIFUL, buttery fabric that I have ever used. LOVE!
The Fancy Pants Leggings took about 30 minutes. And I made them out of a Laguna Knit from Hawthorne Threads but I must warn you - the fabric is cheap looking and faded after the first wash. Boo.
So, boom! Another Kids Clothes Week make complete. And now that I have the storybook challenge off of my chest - there is certainly NO EXCUSE to avoid the Elsa Dress that I have promised my girl any longer...
The quest for flashy boy duds continues. I think that this top counts.
I grabbed this knit from Simplifi several months ago now without really having a plan for it. When the little guy (not so little) saw it this summer he asked to have it be his and I was happy to oblige.
I did worry, though, about the busy print and wanted to man it up a little (which I am ashamed of - I see no reason at all philosophically to do such a thing) so I added these shoulder patches ala Trine. And I like the effect. The tee is the Oliver and S School Bus Tee with about two inches added to the length plus cuffs for the arms and waist.
Also, I broke the law. Well, not really and not just now. I made these for his first day of school but I haven't shared them on the interwebs yet. I think because they're so plain. But they are his favorites. I've made several pairs of these skinnies now, in harlequin here and in seersucker here and I even re-drafted the whole pattern to relax it for wovens here. Obviously, I like the pattern a great deal. But I have just a terrible time finding wovens with stretch that feel good and that would work well for the boy. So here is my solution, unlawful though it is: USE A KNIT!!! So, the pattern instructions say not to. But I'm telling you, I think that you should. I did here and I think they're quite perfect.
They've taken a few runs 'round the playground now and they're showing some wear but that is because I typically cannot separate the boy from these trousers. He LOVES them. They look like jeans and feel like fancy sweats. Perfect for kindergarten. Perfect for running and tumbling. Do it, you'll be glad you did.
Joining Frontier Dreams today over here:)
Am in a boy-pant quandry. I adore the Small Fry Skinny Jeans Pattern. His favorite pair of pants and the most worn handmade, ever, by a long-shot is a pair of Kudzu Cargos. Both of these pants patterns are skinnied - a cut that I am committed to. And my boy is even more committed to it. For me, it's about style. For him, it's about tucking into boots and running as fast as he can. He claims that anything with a wider leg will get caught and trip him or something. Makes sense.
The dilemma, is that both of these patterns require that I find a woven with stretch in it. I have decided that I need to be able to touch this type of fabric, since it varies greatly. And we live one million miles away from the fabric stores so 98 percent of my fabric shopping is done online. It makes it almost impossible to get my hands on a stretch twill or something like that.
Plain old, bottom-weight wovens are what I have to use or just quilting cotton. So, I have a couple of ideas. The most exciting one is to leave the skinny jeans pattern as it is and to cut the pants out on the bias. The other, less daunting experiment was to add a wee bit of width to the existing pattern, which is what I did here.
I added 3/4" to each vertical plane on the pants pattern plus I made the pockets 1/2" bigger all around.
I think that the fit is good. And I'm excited to have the pattern with a little bit of ease in my arsenal in case I come accross a really good print in a woven that I want to use. I made a quick Bimaa too (which may go unworn since it has been made, apparently, for a "burgular" - a role that my son is not interested in playing).
So, you know that saying that, "behind every good man is a great woman..." blah, blah, blah? Well, I'd like to think that I am an adequate mate and a whole-hearted mom. But really, this guy. He's the real brains of this operation. It was he who gently urged me, one step at a time, back to school, he who lead the home and rural deliveries of our two children and he who bought me a sewing machine that was way out of our price range a couple of years ago to help me to do what I loved. It is he who now sits reading Teach Your Own while the littles squirm through their bedtime Sparkle Stories. And he who skates into the kitchen to give me a thumbs up, meaning: "let's do this homeschool thing!" while I lazily slurp a glass of wine and browse cookbooks.
It is he who has been the brawn behind some of my favorite sewn items. And when I say he has been the "brawn," I mean he designed and printed things like this piliated woodpecker tee and tote and this Valentines Day tee.
But, you know, the guy works more than full time designing and building stuff and so, I can't always lean on him. And I wanted to start printing on fabric myself!!! It is my secret dream to get to print on fabric for real, like in large scale someday. So, in June, when he was exhausted after a big bike race and my daughter brought in the sweetest little mushroom from outside, the learning could wait no longer.
Armed with the new experience of having made a stamp for the very first time in Maya Made's class at Squam, I set to work sketching the the mushroom and transferring it to the stamp surface. Once you have the drawing complete, you just flip it over onto the stamp surface and then rub the back of the drawing with a pencil to transfer it - it's super slick and easy! I had never before seen this pink eraser type stampy stuff but it is great because you can easily cut away the excess so that the print doesn't show the carving lines around the drawing.
It was a little too much flutter for me and the stamp washed away in the wash even after heat setting:(
So, next, I worked at trying to use fabric paint to stamp with but with the delicate little gills - it just wasn't working. The grooves were getting clogged with paint. So, I went for a freezer paper stencil and I'm totally in love! Another School Bus Tee for my boy .
Plus a high low swing tee for her using more of this dreamy fabric that I used to make his pocket tee. Okay, gratuitous photos of the mushroom print, since I guess that you can't really tell the difference between the brown tee above and the grey one below...
Don't you think that Mr. Moody should get a mushroom tee of his own? I just purchased the yarn to make him this epic sweater (the guy in the yarn shop told me that he's never actually seen one finished) so, perhaps if I'm able to accomplish that I'll have evened our scores?
Photo by Brooklyn Tweed. Source