Raglan Re-Do

Monday, February 17, 2014

Over at the Oliver + S blog, they've been doing a series of posts about changing up their raglan t-shirt pattern.  There's a whole bunch of great ideas there, but the one that got me going was the color blocking one.

Now, I've made probably a bazillion raglan t-shirts in my sewing career.  I've sewn with knits for years, and the raglan t-shirt pattern from Kwik Sew (my back-up go-to pattern company) was a staple of mine.  There's something really satisfying in making up one of these t-shirts; they're so quick, and I've never had one rejected by any of my kids for not being comfortable/stylish or any other reason.

Well, one of my co-workers went on a six-week visit to her home in India.  Lucky woman.  I really don't even know how you return to work after being gone 6 weeks.  She brought me back a lovely bag:

I, however, am not a funky bag type of person.  I have one purse, that I use until it dies.  Then, I buy another.  I don't change bags to go with what I'm wearing - I generally wear black, and my purse is always black.  Yeah, boring, I know!  Well, when I looked at this bag, I thought about what I could turn it into....and, after cutting it up into strips, came up with this:

My original idea was much more ornate, but when I put the trim on the sweatshirt, I knew simple would be better.  I used some wonderful cottony sweatshirt fleece.  I bought it at least 19 years ago from a shop in Toronto.  I used to go there all the time, and bought many, many meters of his wonderful fleece.  I still have about 3 yards of a light blue left, but this little bit of the off-white is the last of this.  I really feel like I'll never find fleece as nice as this ever again.

I added a hood to the size 6 t-shirt.  I knew I had to go up a couple of sizes to accommodate the heavier fabric.  I also made a bit of a high/low hem to make it a bit more girly.  I used a hood from a Kwik Sew pattern I had for my older kids and the size  6 hood fit EXACTLY in the neck for the raglan.  Yes, meant to be!  I lined the hood with some random cotton print I had, and I think it works.

The sweatshirt is perfect for a gray morning on the beach.  I walked along the beach with Julia this morning, and based on her request, I may add a kangaroo pocket to the front.  I believe I can squeeze one out of the remnants.

I'm really, really happy with the way this turned out!

Tulip Tunic and Dress

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Heidi and Finn Patterns came out with a new pattern - it's for knits, and comes with the option for a tunic or a dress.  Really cute.  It's their Tulip Tunic and Dress pattern, and you can get it in either sizes 12 months - 12 years, or if you prefer, for sizes 12 months to 5T.

I got the opportunity to test it out for them.  I previously tested another of their patterns, their Ballet Sweater, which Julia wears to dance class all the time.  So, I knew their patterns fit well, were really well thought out, and were a great result.

This was my first version, before she revised the sleeves.  Some of the testers cut a bunch of inches off their sleeves, but maybe my kid has long arms because they were really just about an inch too long.  Once people started submitting their test photos, a bunch of people mentioned that the pattern would easily be made into a dress, so Christine adapted the pattern into a dress length as well.

Here's my next versions - you can see the great bodice detail better with these fabric combos:

Really cute, eh?  No sleeves to set in - by the dress version, I think I cut and sewed it up in less than an hour.  The fabric for both tops were interlock jersey from my stash, and the dress version is velour on the top, and sweatshirt fleece on the bottom.  So, really, you can definitely use different weight fabric in this pattern.  I was also thinking of trying using a non-knit for the bottom part, and maybe making a tunic without the bottom band....so, another versatile pattern that I'm sure I'm going to be getting a lot of use out of!


Sunday, February 9, 2014

I have a big tub of scraps under my sewing table.  Yesterday, my 19 year old son told me about a friend of his - another 19 year old - who, although he's kind of a hipster, he's cool.  (Quote from the son).  This 19 year old boy has apparently got himself a sewing machine, and is teaching himself to sew.  He's making backpacks.  So, my son left the house with a box of fabric to take to this kid and to get himself a custom made backpack. 

See, we sewing moms are cool!

While going through my scraps, I came across a pretty large piece of Happy Robots from Kokka by Nancy Wolff.  Her art is so cool - I loved this fabric right away.  The scrap in the scrap bucket deserved more than relegation to the bucket, so I made up this:

I used the Divided Basket pattern by Noodlehead.  I've got several versions of this basket in my "favorites" section in Flickr, but have never made the basket up.  Really, the trip to the fabric store to get the appropriate interfacing and fusible fleece took longer than making up the pattern.  I highly recommend it - it goes together beautifully.  There are a couple of spots where there was quite a bit of bulk (hence the tiny pleat in the front that I'm way too lazy to pick out) and I'm sure if I owned a walking foot that it would have been helpful. 

I see many, many more of these in my future.  What a great way to present a teacher's gift, a baby gift?  I'm keeping this for myself.  Julia is not happy about it, but tough!

KCW - Days 6 and 7 - Simply Sweet!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

So, I purchased the Simply Sweet Tunic pattern on September 7, 2012.  I finally sewed one up as part of Kids Clothes Week.  Seriously, I need to do a better job of using patterns that I actually own!

I used some Kokka double gauze from my shop.  I've said it previously, but if you've never sewn with double gauze before, you owe it to yourself to give it a try.  It's such a pleasure to sew with.  It's soft like a knit, but with the stability of a woven. 

This particular print is kind of wacky, as some Japanese prints tend to be.  It's one of those prints that you can look at for a while and see new things - like the fact that there's a bear shooting a slingshot....

The tunic came together as nicely as I knew it would - the pattern designer tests her patterns thoroughly, and they're really well thought out.  This is a size 5 - I really can't believe my kid is a size 5 - I could definitely make a 4 and add length, but the fabric is super flow-y, and I'd imagine very comfortable to wear. 

In retrospect, this Kid's Clothes Week was definitely a success.  I made a dress, two tops and a pair of shorts.  Oh yeah, I also did some pattern testing for Heidi and Finn's new pattern release - I'll be showing off those photos soon!  So, if I include both versions of that, my kid ended up with 6 new pieces of clothing in just one week!