for the time being i will keep my old posts here at blogger, but i have imported all content to wordpress. please don't abandon me! to stay updated, head on over to my new space and follow me there. thanks!

—lisa g.
Showing posts with label kidswear. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kidswear. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

my first jean-like pants

i've made pants and shorts before, so i'm pretty comfortable with the whole process. still, i've put off making any actual jeans. but as with many of my sewing adventures, i try new stuff out on my kids first. i picked up this green stretch twill for pretty cheap and was dying to try out the famed jalie #2908. if you don't know jalie patterns, they specialize in all things stretchy and active, and each pattern comes in approximately 5,987,423 sizes. since i've been into tracing patterns lately, i was okay with this.

i set off tracing each piece suuuuuupeeeerrrrr carefully. the pattern has 3/8" SA, so there isn't much room for error. overall the directions are very good and i didn't need many changes. she wanted a skinny pant so i narrowed the legs in for a custom fit. hey, every kid needs custom fit pants, amiright? i started out by cutting a straight leg so i could taper as needed. i ended up taking in the seams by about 3/8" below the hip, and 5/8" from the knee down.

other changes were pretty minor. i added one of those little change pocket things, which i stitched onto the facing before assembling the front pockets. i made up a separate fly facing instead of the folded in variety, and cut a separate inner and outer waistband. i feel both of these are sturdier when cut separate instead of just folded. the pattern has a seam at the CB of the waistband, i'm not sure if this is just to save fabric or what. the waistband is a straight rectangle, so if/when i make her another pair i'll eliminate the back seam.

i topstitched throughout to mimic RTW and even added a regular jeans hammer it in shank button. i don't have pics of the shank button because initially i had sewn on a regular button because she was so eager to wear them and i hadn't bought a jeans button yet. the shank button makes all the difference in the world for that real look. plus you get to hammer stuff. which is fun. next time i think i'll try rivets too.

she wanted a lightning bolt design for the back pocket because she is a huge fan of the "percy jackson and the olympians" series (one is entitled: "the lightning thief"), not to mention harry potter.

i thought i would give you a comparison between these and a RTW pair. she usually wears an 8 slim, so i decided to make a size 7. in retrospect, i should have cut the waistband and length in size 8, then slimmed down to a 7. they're long enough for her, but an extra inch wouldn't have hurt!

so here they are next to a 7 slim skinny jean from old navy. it looks like the sizing would be very consistent with RTW, though the waist may be a tad snug by comparison.

the only thing that really bugs me is the giant back pocket. see how much larger it is than the ON jean? HUGE! i didn't even think about this before stitching it on. i will definitely make a smaller pocket next time.

after this i feel pretty confident to make some jean-like pants of my own. i'll want to alter some of the SA's for a proper flat fell in places, but overall this is a really nice pattern. call me crazy, but i've been oogling over all the floral/patterned skinny jeans for spring. it's hard to track down floral stretch twill in a pant weight, but i finally found some online at mood... if i feel daring enough, i'm tempted to make my own!

—lisa g.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

duffle coat

you know when you get about 7/8ths of the way through a project and you can see the finish line... 


yeah, that's how i felt with this coat. for some reason it felt like it was dragging on forever, even though i only spent a week and a half from cutting to finishing. impatient much? lately i feel like i'm in some sort of weird time warp and i can't accomplish anything. of course that may be because the sun goes down at 3:30 in the afternoon (okay, 4:30. but still) and the dark makes me move at half speed.

but, enough about that.


i was hoping that everyone's coats would make it through this winter but alas, it was not to be. a quick peek at prices online and it seemed like anything in the $30-ish range was a puffer coat. which the kids have been wearing the past several years, so i was hoping for something a little less... uh, puffer. then this pattern popped up on burda and a quick math check told me i could make her a nice coat for about the same price. i like this pattern because it's casual but still polished looking. plus it's not really tailored so i didn't have to worry too much about a perfect fit or, you know, tailoring.

i picked up this coating fabric for $10/yd at joanns (50% off the regular price of $19.99/yd), so i felt like it was a good deal. it looks like wool, but it's a poly/rayon/spandex blend. not sure what the spandex is in there for, it isn't stretchy at all. as much as i prefer wool, i wasn't sure that an everyday coat for an 8 year old needed to be the real deal. hopefully this will be quality enough that it won't pill too badly. then i picked up some flannel backed satin as lining, which also happened to be on sale. go me!

blurry pic—only one i got of the back. oops.

i didn't make many changes to this pattern, only a few that i can think of:

the exterior pockets were single welt pockets, that i switched to inset welt pockets. on a regular single welt pocket, the welt is slip stitched to the outside and i felt like that wouldn't hold up very well for such a heavily-used pocket. the inset welt is made essentially like a double welt pocket, only with one fat welt instead of two skinny ones. overall, it feels more sturdy.

the other change i made was to the hood lining. the entire inside hood was supposed to be cut from lining material, but i changed the pattern pieces to made a faced edge. i just thought i would look nicer that way. you can kinda see what i'm talking about in the first picture.

and i changed the button styling. initially i planned to do the toggle buttons, per the pattern, but i couldn't find the number i needed in the size i wanted or with the cording the right color or thickness... it was getting complicated and i didn't want to bother with ordering anything. so i picked up some large buttons and thought maybe i could just work out a loop closure instead. i made loops from bias strips of the coating fabric (the same as how you would make spaghetti straps) and basted them to the front, then cut squares of fabric (cut on the bias to prevent fraying then backed with fusible) and topstitched them to cover the ends of the loops.

i am sooooo happy i couldn't find the toggle buttons i wanted because i really love how this came out. i think the leather buttons stand out nicely and dress it up a bit.

overall this is a really nice coat pattern; i love the styling and all the great details. but, a pattern review wouldn't be complete without a list of complaints, so here goes. my biggest peeve is the zipper insertion. the zip tape is simply top stitched to the front band of the coat instead of being recessed into the seam of the band. i hadn't noticed this on the pattern illustration because their zip matches the shell fabric so well. if i had to do it all over, i would add a little width to the left front piece to properly secure the zip inside the seam.

the other thing that puzzled me was the lining cuff, or windcatcher. i muddled through the directions and figured out how to construct it all, but once the shell and lining were attached at the sleeve hem, the cuff was recessed slightly from the hem. the pictures make it look like it should be sticking out or at least even with the sleeve hem. it's not a big deal, but the pattern doesn't really specify whether to add a SA to the rectangular pieces it says to draft (i did add it) and instead of marking the line on the sleeve where to attach the cuff it just has a point to measure to. which is fine, but i think the measurement was supposed to be taken from the bottom of the sleeve lining piece, not the hemline, which is how i read it. had i stopped to do a little math before stitching it all together i probably would have caught this. at any rate, these are just a couple things to keep in mind. this pattern has a boy's version (longer with patch pockets) which i'd like to sew up for my son next winter so i may have a chance to right these wrongs!

the exterior pockets are pretty small so i
added a patch pocket to the inside.

all told, this coat is a winner. anastasia loves it and had to convince her friends at school that her mom made it. awww... they think i'm cool!

and as soon as i figure out how, i'm going to enter this project in the december pattern review contest, sewing for children. wish me luck!

UPDATE: coat is entered (i think), voting begins jan 2 for PR members. wooo!

—lisa g.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

burda style mini pleated skirt

i made up a quick skirt for my daughter, anastasia, using a pattern from love or hate the .pdf pattern downloads, the taping and tracing, etc, they have been absolutely hitting it out of the park with their kids patterns. i defy you to look at the kids section and not find something you wish came in adult sizes. the directions are, at best, questionable... but since there is a general lack of good kids patterns i don't mind puzzling it out for myself.

from start to finish, this skirt took less than two hours. i used a navy ponte knit from joanns and it only used up about half a yard, plus some lining for the pockets. i stayed true to the design but changed the waistband slightly and eliminated the side zip. my daughter is quite thin and the finished waist measurement for a US sz 7 (she's 8) was equal to her hip measurement. since i used a knit, i figured the zip was unnecessary. i cut the waistband as one piece and so the finished width would be 1 1/2". the pattern has a 1" shaped waistband cut in 4 pieces (front, back, inside front, inside back). all the seaming caused a lot of unnecessary bulk so i ripped it out and cut the simplified one piece waistband, then later inserted elastic.

navy is really hard to photograph!

ponte knit can get a little bulky since it is thick and doesn't really press flat. to keep the waistband nice and neat i sewed the waistband piece into a circle (leaving a little opening to insert elastic later), attached it to the front of the skirt then folded it to the inside then stitched in the ditch to catch the inside of the waistband. ordinarily i would have folded up the inside seam allowance, but this time i just left it flat to keep the bulk down.

inside waistband

incidentally, if you ever have trouble "stitching in the ditch" i sometimes pull out my invisible hem presser foot and adjust the guide to line up directly with my needle. the little guide piece sits inside the seam and keeps it all in line as you sew. after, i added some elastic then slip stitched the opening closed.

stitch in the ditch with the blind hem foot

as writ, this skirt is really, really, really short. half the reason i bother making skirts and dresses for my girls is because i hate the itty bitty minis found in RTW for kids her age. she's thin, so she has to size down her skirts making them even shorter... this pattern has a longer version, but i felt that one was too long. i compromised by adding 2" in length to the shorter skirt. ah... just right! it's still shorter than pretty much any other skirt she owns, but i intended it to be worn with thick tights or leggings. i finished off the skirt with a machined blind hem.

she loves this skirt a lot and i fully intend to make at least one more, maybe in a brighter color. i do wish the fabric had more body, i feel it hangs a little limp. the pattern suggests a sweatshirt-type knit, but i think a woven would be really nice too. twill, denim, or even corduroy.

on another topic, i was bumming around pattern review and decided to check out what the december contest was going to be. turns out, it's kidswear. i'm in the middle of making anastasia a winter coat ( duffle coat) so i signed up! i'm super loving how the coat is turning out and hope finish it up soon!

—lisa g.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

mccalls 6388

i've been needing to add a few pieces to my oldest daughter's wardrobe. whenever i bring home/receive in the mail new fabrics, the first thing out of my kids' mouths is: "is it for me???" the answer is usually no, so i have to appease my conscience by occasionaly making stuff for the ones who are constantly outgrowing their clothes. since anastasia is the first of three girls, she gets all the love (much to the chagrin of her younger sisters). once she outgrows the "mommy-mades" at least there are two standing in the wings to be the next recipient. the baby brother sometimes gets new makes, but since he's the only boy i have a hard time bringing myself to make clothes that will only get a few month's wear.

anastasia already has loads of knit tops (of the old navy and target variety) so i picked up mccalls 6388 to make her something in a woven. i found this bright fabric on the clearance table at joanns for $1.50. stupid cheap! it's from their "homespun" whatever line that hides out in the quilting section. maybe people quilt with this stuff, but all i see are visions of cute dresses and button down tops.

the only design changes i made were to the sleeves. the pattern has a short sleeve with a gathered piece attached to make it long sleeve. i guess that's cool, but given the bright rainbow-yness of the fabric, i decided to err on the side of not looking like a clown and simplified it. i adjusted the sleeve to be one piece, gathered at the cuff with elastic in a self fabric casing, and shortened to a 3/4 length (she adores the 3/4 sleeve).

other cosmetic changes... i used snaps in place of buttons and cut the yoke portion on the bias for contrast (interfaced to retain shape). the inside yoke/facing i cut on the straight of grain since i didn't need any stretching to happen. she loves this top and the roomy fit will make it so she doesn't outgrow it in two weeks. i'm sure her next-in-line sister will have to pry it from her hands when the time comes.

wishing my fellow usa people a wonderful thanksgiving! try not to get trampled on black friday, okay?

—lisa g.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

light jacket: burda 9487

i'm interrupting the tedious winter coat posts to show you a jacket i finished for my daughter a few weeks back. see, around these parts the seasons change from fall to winter very quickly so the window for a light jacket is pretty small. regardless, she needed one because cardigans just weren't cutting it.

i used a heavy duty canvas (about the weight of a denim) i found at an awesome local fabric shop for $3-$4/yd. i had to wash this stuff 3 times before it quit turning my hands blue! but i really like this color for fall, and it works well with just about everything in her closet. and even if it doesn't match, she wears it anyways.

i used burda kids 9487 which is an unlined jacket. it is slightly cropped and swingy, perfect for her slender frame. since i didn't line the jacket i opted for a hong kong finish on the exposed seams.

the only change i made was to pleat the back instead of gathering it as the pattern suggests. i didn't think there was any chance i would be able to get this canvas to gather, and i thought the pleat looked better anyways. i made her a size 7 (EUR 122) and this pattern certainly does not run big. i probably could have gone up a size to ensure that it still fits in the spring, but as long as her arms don't grow too many inches, it should be fine.

i have to say, i'm really impressed with the burda kids patterns. there really are some gems over there, and they have all the details in styling and on their patterns i've been lacking with the regular simplicity, mccalls, etc. this jacket has a two piece sleeve for a nicer fit and the pattern even had the roll line marked. the instructions don't have you tape the roll line (though i did) but it's so nice to have it included without me having to fumble about or just guess.

made her that knit dress over the summer. unblogged... sorry!

burda, i appreciate your efforts!

the sleeve head is not actually puckered, i threw this jacket
in the wash as soon as i finished sewing to help break it in.

she loooooooves this jacket and hardly ever takes it off. she made her friends at school guess whether it was store bought or home made. the consensus was mixed, but i believe she received many compliments. i'm glad she's still young enough that home made is still acceptable. perhaps the tide will turn some day, hopefully not too soon!

—lisa g.

Friday, August 24, 2012

a shirred dress of my own

last time i showed you how to insert a shirred panel in a dress. i modified mccalls 5838 and made different versions for two of my daughters. i loved how these came out so much...

that i had to make one for myself! i really loved the silhouette of the bridesmaid dresses (new look 6776) i made earlier this summer and decided to use the same pattern in a different view for a shirred back summer dress. in gingham.


i love this dress so much... words cannot express.

so after my first shirring experience, i made slight changes to this. i inserted 1/4" elastic at the top of the panel and at the bottom, out of the way of the waist SA. this worked out a little better than zig zagging in the skirt SA. i threaded the elastic through and secured it at the ends when i sewed down the sides of the panel (see my last post).

worked like a charm! in future dresses i would probably either shirr the entire back or insert a size zip. as is, it's a little bit of a struggle to get the dress on and off. but once it's on, it's completely comfortable!

i cut the slide thingies off a cami and made the straps adjustable

i basically just guessed how much of the back i wanted shirred, and went with about half the back width, centered obviously. after some test scraps, i determined that 5" of material would shirr down to about 3.25". from there it's a simple ratio math problem: take the desired finished width times 5 then divided by 3.25. then add about 1.25" in width for a 5/8" SA.

this worked for a medium weight material with a very light lining. if you do this, make up a small test on scraps first.

i love this dress so much i need to find a way to wear it into early fall.

jean jacket and boots? oh yeah, that'll do.

—lisa g.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

inserting a shirred back panel

i know summer sewing is winding up, but i recently became addicted to shirring and wanted to show you how i incorporated it into dresses for two of my girls recently. it turns out, adding a shirred panel to the back of a dress is pretty easy.

here's a pictorial (with poor lighting... sorry. one day i'll remedy this situation.)

i have cut the panel to be shirred out of the shell and
lining, stitched and understitched at the top

sew rows of shirring at 1/4-1/2" intervals

stitch down each side, back stitching several times over each elastic

finish the raw edges and snip the extra threads

i have the rest of the bodice sewn, however you could
just have the back side panels by themselves

pin shirring to bodice shell, lining up the top edges

pull the lining over the shirred panel, pin and stitch

trim and snip the top corner

pull the shirred panel out, turning the bodice right side out

repeat on other side

attach the skirt and finish the waist seam allowance

sew narrow elastic to the skirt seam allowance

back stitch both ends to secure

no more wavy edge

hidden waist elastic

all done!

i should note, you can also make a casing at the lower edge of the shirred panel to feed elastic through instead of zig-zagging in the seam allowance. the kids dresses turned out great. so great that i decided i needed to make something similar for myself. i'll show all the finished dresses in another post because this one has enough pics as it is!


okay, not really. but i just want to put this out there. i will be making a winter coat this year. i was chatting with my lovely sister who also sews and i mentioned that i need a new coat and really want to sew one this year. she mentioned that she also would like to make one and i said she and i can have a little sew-a-long to help each other through it. then i figured, why not take this public? i don't plan to offer expert advise (because i have none) but i thought if anyone else out there is sewing up a winter coat, we can all hold hands and do this together!

i don't plan to start this project until late-ish september and probably have a finished coat by mid-ish october. so if anyone is inspired to join in, i thought i'd put this out there plenty early. so there you have it. a winter coat not-quite-sew-a-long! feel free to spread the message on your own blogs, i completely welcome the advice and knowledge of those who have already ventured into coat-making territory!

—lisa g.