Thursday, August 29, 2013

Uniform hacking, last one I promise! Also accessories.

So as much as K is attached to the jumpers, I feel that the polos P outgrew need some love. Plus, nice option for warmer weather. More twill, this time into two A-line skirts based on the O+S Sailboat pattern but no buttons on the front, and kicky knit shorts underneath.

adjustable elastic waistbands, but with snaps! 

Uniform-code hair accessories...

Backpack! From Little Things to Sew, yarn-dyed upholstery-weight from IKEA, reinforced twice on the bottom. The lining (magenta bandanna print -- oddly enough, Japanese) snaps in (pink butterfly snaps around on the outside, black hearts and purple on the inside), but big black snaps act as feet together with the interfacing to make it capable of standing up.) or out for easy wash/dry.

Only things needed: lunchbags, and the will to survive one more week.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Uniform hacking, the boy edition

The Easter pants worked out well, and were worn for the last few cold days of the schoolyear. Aside from that, we need new pants for warmer weather, because P's outgrown the length but not the waist of two of them; I was able to get a few more inches from one by adding a hem facing, and cut the other one off into shorts. But new pants were on the agenda, and maybe some shorts to replace the ones handed down to K. 

Prototype for a better buttonhole-elastic waist: Made from a nice heavy denim/twill, with orange-tipped pockets and detailing. I also redrafted the front to do jean-type pockets and remove the pleats. I will try another pattern for this (maybe from Ottobre) but overall happy with the results. I'm planning to swap out the buttonhole elastic for white so I can use this for another pair of school pants. Also, khaki snap!

The first one is straight-up from the same pattern as the Easter pants, Burda kids 9781, in a really nice all-cotton twill. I used broadcloth for the lower part of the front pocket and the inner pocket pieces, to reduce bulk. I did a better job with the buttonhole elastic waist on this one, because of the prototype pair. I also didn't sew in the creases, because this is an everyday pair. Here are the two pants from the same pattern, one washable wool and the other cotton twill.

So all good, the stuff I can't make is the logo apparel... actually okay with that, since it's just a gym set and fleece for K. We're good on the polos for now, but if he shoots up we'll tackle that later. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

I'm gonna do it -- sewing along to Project Run and Play! I think this is the kick-in-the pants I need to be serious about blogging and sewing. I hope the whole starting-school-and-transitioning doesn't make this another bust.
Edit as of 10/8: A total bust! stuff came along (an interview, picking-up logistics, new backback, etc.) and railroaded my plans. I still want to make the lifesavers dress though.

Uniform hacking!

So yeah classic plaid jumpers. $40 they want for one of them. Had to go to 5 different stores on two different days (we won't talk about my online hunt, Pinterest history will attest that California was an option at one time until the shipping killed it), but tracked down the right plaid finally -- at the store next to the great Bernstein Haberdashery where I want to spend copious amounts of money on chambray and shirting. At $8 for a 60-width yard, all good! I also got some fun floral slightly stretchy denim and some upholstery-weight navy vaguely Asian-derived print -- perhaps for backpacks..
Anyway, started with New Look 6018 view A as a jumping-off point, but lined instead of all those partial facings. It has the following pieces: a front bodice, two back bodices joined with a zipper, waistbands cut on the bias, and the skirt has front and back pieces cut on a slight curve, and pleats that all face one way.
Used some mustard-yellow paisley, sort of Provencal-vibe, that I'd gotten originally for myself, lined with yellow voile (singing the praises of Pacific Trimming, they had the perfect color zipper as well as buttons, buttonhole elastic, and so much other lovelies). Sewing it together I felt like such a tool! I made the Mobius of un-invertible horror. Once I figured out that it was not as simple as a strappy sundress we got along better.

As you can see, cute but not perfect yet. Tweaked the neckline, narrowed the shoulder line and bodice a bit, and voila the new and improved pattern. 

To do the skirt -- from the picture, I knew it had to have the pleats be as wide as the yellow-to-yellow repeat, with a red line in the center of each box pleat, and three across the width. It worked out perfectly to just take the 60' width and cut it to a generous length for growing room (note to self: generous. Overcompensated on the second to make up for the first.) Of course, I figured this out after I'd cut an arc-shaped piece from the precious plaid. Because of this, I had to kind of cheat-fit some of the back bodice pieces to have the red stripe running horizontal instead of vertical, and one was a bit of a patch job, but it's the back! I was slightly stunned to get 3 whole jumpers out of two yards. (booyah, $120 versus $20 for fabric (broadcloth lining), $1.50 for zippers, $ 6 for buttons and $3 for thread.)
serged bottom edge, measure for the hem. 

press well.
start pinning the box pleats from the center mark, so there's a flat "apron" at center front.

pin and press, working outward from center front. I ended up fudging the sides so that there is not a full pleat, sort of a narrower box pleat, so that it lies flat and doesn't flare out so much. Pin and press, a lot, with steam.

Use your waistband pattern piece to adjust the top edge of the skirt into a curve. Move the pleats on an angle so that the outer pleats go under the center ones inward, and follow the arc shape of the waistband. Press again, and serge the top edge to hold everything in place.

Optional last part of the skirt: edgestitch on the inside to hold the pleats in place. I have my two fingers on the inside pleats where this really makes a difference -- the front "apron."

The lined bodice actually gave me more trouble than I thought it would. I tried a few different approaches:
Version 1-- according to Fashionsewingblogtv, zipper and side seams done then poke the strap parts out through the bottom and finish as a tube. Super-tiny, had to do it by hand -- not a hassle since it was short, but fiddly. 

 Version 2 -- according to slapdashsewist -- batwing/BSJ style: shoulder seams, neck and armholes first, then feeding the seamed-up bodice through the strap tunnels, then add zipper and seam up sides. Worked out okay but had to redo the zipper.

Version 3 -- according to freshly-picked -- Sew the neckline on both pieces, sew up the armholes partially, turn and press. Pin and stitch the shoulders lining to lining and outer to outer, then topstitch to close. I put the zipper in after the neckline/armholes but before the side seams, like v 2.
another, more comprehensive way:Angela Kane, relevant part is at the beginning of part 8.

I chose to only line the bodice and waistband, not the skirt, because that's what the bought one is like... topstitching around the waistband finished the lining to the waistband.

 I splurged on the buttons ($1 each!)but really like the results. 

 Next time I'm buying them from sew true (which is surprisingly out-of-the-way but worth investigating)..

Next on the agenda: white buttoned-up Peter Pan blouses. I made one out of habotai silk with s16 snaps (she's wearing this one in the pic), and one broadcloth with heart snaps, out of Burda 9792 with just a re-drafted collar. The last, I fiddled with my frequent-flier o&s Jump Rope pattern again, with sewn-in buttons, because I didn't have enough broadcloth for another Burda. It came out short, but ok for wearing under the jumpers.

Cupcake one-shoulder birthday dress!

I can't believe I forgot to make a post about the cupcake dress! 
For K's birthday, she chose the cupcake fabric I'd just gotten, of course. Like these things do, a one-shouldered, breezy classic but modern dress with giant bows popped into my head. Obviously I wasn't going to find a pattern for that, so I drafted one.

two giant bows on the shoulder.

I used my basic bodice draft that I use for most of her dresses. Any bodice pattern without closures will do, as long as it fits the chest and has a scoop neck. You want it to fit over the hips or head without struggle, so loose rather than tight -- she's five and narrow, this was 13 inches across including a 1/2" seam allowance.
First, do the one-shoulder by drawing a line sweeping up from the armscye to the opposite shoulder -- it should angle up about 35 degrees from the horizontal, because you don't want it hanging too low in front. 
I decided to do two straps on the same shoulder, which helps fine-tune the fit because the inner one takes care of the cross-bodice and the outer one takes care of the height -- my pet peeves when it comes to little girls falling out of their summer dresses. Just extend the shoulder into straps,widening so they make nice big bows when tied -- mine were about 10" up from what was the shoulder seamline. As for the bottom, from here it can be empire or drop waisted, or even A-line. I decided to go with a slight drop waist so as to eliminate the need for elastic but allow for a gathered skirt. Curve up at the sides for a nice line.

Cut two out, it doesn't have to have a front and back as long as you cut them with the fabric folded (so that one has the ties on the left, and one on the right when you look at the print...) Since it's a summer dress out of quilting cotton, it needed a lining -- I think this one was $2/yd at my neighborhood place? White for the bodice and pink for the skirt, to pick up the silly colors. So, two of the print and two of the lining. 

You'll also need rectangles for the skirt, I usually go for the full width of 45" and about 12" long, just a basic rectangle, with the short sides seamed up, hemmed and gathered. (I love gathering now that I have a serger!) Remember to have the seam of the lining face out so it doesn't rub. It's fine to gather the lining and the print to the final measurement of the bodice bottom (24 inches, in this case), and set them aside.

To sew up the bodice, start at the bottom of the left armhole and pin a lining piece and a print piece together, right sides facing. Stitch all the way around the gnarly strap parts, coming in quite tight and going up again between the two straps ( i ended up fudging the seam allowance a bit at the lower point, it's more like 1/4"... so it's not too narrow to turn.) You can decide now whether you want the ties to come to a point or be squared off. Clip deep into the corners and V, and turn the whole right side out (a chopstick helps with turning the skinny ties). Do the same thing for the second set of lining and print fabric.  
Then pin and sew each side seam all together on the inside, starting with the bottom edge of the lining and finishing at the bottom edge of the print continuously from the edge of the lining to the edge of the print. You don't have to finish the seam allowances if the dress is fully lined. 

Sew on the skirt (either all together, or the print to the print and the lining to the lining, so seams are inside), turn it right side out, and press. (I added contrast topstitching all around the top edge to define the line, but that's just my thing.) 
Make some cupcakes and party on!