Girl’s Fleece Jacket (Done Backwards) – Part 1

DSCN3413Over the years, I have accumulated a massive amount of polar fleece in the stash. At first, these fleeces were only purchased with blankets in mind, but over time, my ideas for fleece fabric has expanded. So, when I saw this pattern, McCalls M4981, especially designed to be made from fleece, I knew what I wanted to sew next.

IMG_0002 (2)M4961 is a pattern for a girl’s unlined fleece jacket with a peter pan collar, patch pockets and buttons closures. I was excited to get started, but I quickly learned that this project was not going to be an easy sew or a fast sew.

To start, I selected a piece of fleece from the stash. I chose this cute girl’s design of froggy’s, bees and rainbows on a brown background. I did not have to launder the fabric before I got started since their was no preshrinking needed with this fleece. I traced the pattern, size 6, and got started with the cutting process.

DSCN2575Cutting out this jacket was not an easy or quick task. The print on this fleece was so far off grain that it was almost impossible to cut the pieces so the froggy’s and rainbows were standing up straight. I pulled the fabric and repositioned the pattern pieces until I finally got the pieces cut out. When I finally finished the cutting process, I realized I had lined up the right and left front backwards from each other.

DSCN2572When I folded the right front over the left front for a girl, I got a nice froggy edge on the right side and half of a froggy edge on the left side, but if I folded the front as you would for a boy, left front on top of the right front, then I had a nice froggy front. So, should I have a poor looking front with half froggy’s and cross the jacket for a girl or have a nice looking front and cross the jacket for a boy? That was the question. This question did not have to be answered right away so I decided to move on.

DSCN3411I did add some thin interfacing to the facings and the collar. The husband thought I was crazy for adding more bulk to the fleece, but I explained to him that was why I was using such thin interfacing. I just wanted something to stabilize the fleece at those spots and keep it from stretching while sewing, particularly when it came time for buttons and buttonholes.

DSCN2074To start the sewing process, I did not read the pattern guide at all. Looking at the pattern pieces, the sewing of this jacket seemed pretty straight forward, So, I just got started. Who needs directions anyway? Am I right? I sewed and pressed the collar, serged the facings edges, folded them over and sewed the facings to the collar. Normally, my next step would be to sew a piece of twill tape to the collars inside edge to finish it and then tacked the facings to the shoulder seams. This pattern has a back facing as well though, and I stopped for a moment as I pondered how I was supposed to sew it on. I then turned to the pattern guide and read that sewing the back facing to the side facings should have been the first step before adding the collar.

Too late now!

DSCN3410I was certainly not unpicking all my sewing that I had done up to this point. My first instinct was to grab my twill tape and just throw away the back facing but then I came up with plan to attach the back facing. After some tedious sewing, I got the back facing sewn on, only to find out that I had sewn it on backwards. The wrong side of the fleece was facing out. Augh! There was no way I was unpicked the back facing just to flip it over. It would just remain backwards. Sometimes, just when you think you know it all, and you certainly know better than some pattern maker and you get ahead of yourself, you find out too late just how wrong you are…

DSCN2080When it came time to sew the pockets, I debated about how to get nice smooth curved pockets since the use of the iron was of limited use with the fleece. I had read about using piping to help curve the pockets so I decided to give it a try. I cut bias strips from yellow cotton scraps and made the piping for the pockets. When it came to sewing the piping to the pocket, I was having trouble starting the bias tape in the fold of the pocket because of the bulk of the fleece. I turned to some liquid stitch for help. I folded the yellow fabric over the top of the cording in the piping and glued it down with the liquid stitch. This gave me a finish at the top of my piping so I did not have to keep tucking it into the fold. I did the same thing at the other end of piping on the other side of the pocket.

DSCN3409I don’t know if I really like the look of the piping at the top of the pockets done this way but it is fine for this time. I think I need to read more on how to start and stop the piping on pockets. The piping did do its job and it helped to curve the edges of the pockets and hold the curve in place as I stitched the pockets on.

Plus, it looks really cute and makes the pockets stand out from the rest of the jacket.

There is a lot more to say about the sewing of this jacket but I’m going to stop here and give you a break from the long list of lessons I was learning on this project. Stay tuned for the finale of this backwards jacket next time!

Until then, sew forth and fleece on!

Sammy the Seal

DSCN2357DSCN2358It didn’t last long, but then it never does.

I broke my current crocheting criteria of only making patterns that I have had for a while, but that I could never seem to get made. The minute I saw this new pattern for this seal, I knew that I wanted to make it and it became my next project.

Even though I have piles of old patterns that I have been trying to get around to making, for some reason I just wanted to make this one instead and so I did.

The pieces for the seal crocheted up without any problems and I enjoyed the process. The pattern was well written and easy to follow. The stuffing and stitching together of the pieces went smoothly as well. It was a little odd for me to not stuff the flippers of the tail but to put stuffing in the tail portion only. I thought about stitching a line between the tail and the flippers just to keep the stuffing in the right spots, but the stuffing seemed to stay where it was suppose to, so I did not stitch the line. The seal’s nose and mouth were easy to design but his whiskers took some work to get just right. The pattern had 3 big long whiskers but in the end I liked my 2 short whiskers better.

DSCN2340DSCN2155When it came time to crochet the hat and scarf, I had a little trepidation. The seal had been turning out so cute without the hat and scarf, so why go to the trouble of making them? But, as I looked at the pictures in the pattern, the hat and scarf added to the seal’s cuteness, so I decided to get crocheting and get them made too.

The hat was easy to crochet. It was crocheted in rounds just a little bit larger than the head with double crochets for the last round to give it an edge. When it came time to make the pompom for the top of the hat, I had to have the husband help again. I could not get the knot tight enough to keep the yarns from just falling out of the pompom. The husband was able to tie the knot tight enough and the pompom came out really cute. My hat is a little squarish. If and when I make another hat, I will vary the increases in the round to keep it a little more rounded.

DSCN2335DSCN2285I liked the scarf that I made for the Hello Kitty so much that I decided to make the seal’s scarf the same way instead of following the pattern for it. I made a chain of yarn to the desired length, then double crocheted back to the other end. Next, I changed to the white yarn and slip stitched around the double crochets and chains. I was concerned about how the back of the scarf would look in the places where it would be seen when the scarf was tied to the seals neck, but the tied on scarf looks great.

I used a dab of clear fingernail polish on the yarn ends of the hat and scarf to finish them off. The nail polish will seal the ends so that if this seal is played with, there will not be any yarn ends coming loose. I thought about stitching the hat and scarf to the seal but then I decided that if the seal is being played with, that being able to remove the hat and scarf might be more fun for someone.

DSCN2184DSCN2158This seal was a fun and quick project that turned out so very cute. It was easy to pick the name Sammy for this seal. What else would you name a seal? With Sammy the Seal completed, I will again return to my crocheting criteria of picking my next project from patterns I have been longing to make. Unless another more fun pattern pops up first that is!

Until then, crochet forth and seal on!

Down, down into the briny deep we go! Where we will stop, nobody knows!


Ahoy thar’ Me Matey’s!

Please be forgiven me for it be International Talk Like a Pirate Day and I’ve nothin’ ta say to ya robbers, scoundrels and thieves that be reading’ this here parchment of a declaration!

Bfootonchestsut please be enjoying’ yer day off from the netherworld as tomorrow I may have something’ more ta say to ye!

So off with the lot of ya. And be stayin’ out of trouble on this pirates bounty of a holiday or ya will be forced to walk the plank, the whole lot of ya!

Yo ho yo ho a pirates life for me! I’ll be off to findin’ me some RUM for to quench my ever lovin’ thirst!

Many landlubbers be offering’ FREE BOOTY on this day! Check out Long John Silvers Fish and Chips and Krispy Kreme Rings of Joy (Doughnuts). They be offering’ up FREE GRUB today!

Enjoy this here pirate video from the two pirate scalliwags that started it all!

Here be a great humorous tutorial in How to Speak Like a Pirate (PROPERLY)

So ye have decided that ye want to be a pirate have you? This here video be the one ya be searching’ for!

Here be a list of some great pirate moving pictures ya be wanting’ to watch!

And enjoy these other small bites of humor while ye be at it! ARRRR!

Dave Berry’s 24 hour Pirate Blog was the best! Ya be findin’ it here!



It A Trap (ezoid) Skirt!

DSCN2926When I found this trapezoid scalloped edged girl’s skirt pattern on the internet, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the scraps that I had leftover from my minion shirt. The combination of the minion fabric, the banana fabric and the blue fabic had made for a fun shirt and it would definitely make a fun skirt too.

I was excited to get sewing but I knew that I had to start with a little math before I could take the first stitch.

Yes that’s right kids! Your teachers WERE RIGHT about the using math outside of school thing! Imagine that!

Since I was sewing empirically here, and not making this skirt for anyone in particular, so no particular size, I had to calculate how big I could make the trapezoids versus the amount of scraps that I had.

DSCN2554Luckily I’m not afraid of a little math, so after a few calculations, I found that I had enough scraps for a girl’s size 6 to 8 skirt, making the trapezoids 3 inches at the top and 5 inches at the bottom and 15 inches long. And as per my calculations, I would be cutting out 18 trapezoids in total, 6 from each of the three different fabrics and that would use up all the scraps I had.

I first cut myself out a trapezoid pattern piece and then I used it to start cutting. I tried to cut as accurately as possible so that all the pieces fit together nicely and would be even.

DSCN2717Cutting out the pieces took some time, but sewing the trapezoids together took even more time, plus each seam had to be pressed after I sewed them. I sewed each trapezoid from the bottom to the top to keep them as even as possible.

After the trapezoids were all sewn together, I used the skirt as my pattern to cut out the lining for the skirt. The pattern only called for only a small strip of lining to be used at the bottom of the skirt to make the scalloped hem, but I decided to fully line to skirt. This would take care of finishing all the trapezoid seams, and it would keep the girl’s panties from showing through the thinner minion and banana fabric and eliminate the hand stitching the pattern called for at the hem from only using a strip of lining.

DSCN2718Cutting the lining caused me a few moments of anxiety because of the amount of fabric needed to cut the lining. The skirt was made of scraps so really no large or useful sizes of fabric were used, but when the trapezoids were sewn together, they formed a circle skirt, and cutting a full lining on grain for a circle skirt did require a real size piece of fabric.

In fact, cutting this lining pretty much used up all the yellow lining fabric I had purchased on sale a while back. I was sad that this lining fabric was now all gone. It had been a great piece to turn to when I needed a lining for the little girls dress I had made. But, the husband comforted me by reminding me that there was now one less piece of fabric in the stash and that now I could go and buy more lining fabric. And who doesn’t love to go fabric shopping? Not me, that’s for sure!

DSCN2720With the lining all cut out and the its side seams sewn, placing right sides together and matching the hem, I sewed around the hem. At this time I cut out a cardboard circle to use as the pattern for the scalloped hem. I traced the circle onto the skirt, matching the seams of the trapezoids and the stitch line at the hem. After tracing a scallop on each trapezoid, I carefully sewed around each scallop edge. Trimming and snipping around each scallop was the next step followed by turning the skirt right side out. It was now time for a lot of pressing to the skirt hem.

DSCN2727Once the scalloped hem was done and pressed, it was time for the waist band. I had planned to use 3/4 inch elastic in the waist, so with a few more calculations, I cut the waist band from the blue fabric 2.5 inches wide and long enough to go around the top of the skirt. With right sides together, I sewed the waist band to the top of the skirt, serged the edges and pressed it towards the top of the waist band. I then serged the top edge of the waist band and pressed it over about 1/4 inch. I then folded and pressed the waistband over and stitched in the ditch to finish it off. I left a small unsewn portion to insert the elastic. I also added a small tag to the waist band to denote the back of the skirt from the front, although this skirt really does not have a front or back.

DSCN2723After the waist band was sewn up, it looked short, too short to fit 3/4 inches elastic into it. I am not sure where my calculations went wrong but I should have cut the waist band wider. I debated about unpicking the waist band and cutting a new wider waistband, but the thought of unpicking all the serging was unbearable, so I decided to use 1/2 inch elastic instead of the 3/4 inch that I had planned on. The 1/2 inch elastic fit into the waist band just fine and I think because this skirt is for a younger girl, the 1/2 inch elastic will wear fine too.

DSCN2725To determine how much elastic to use in the waistband, I measured the length of my finished skirt of approximately 15.5 inches. Looking at a chart I had downloaded off the internet, I cut my elastic 25 inches in length. 24 inches for the waistband and 1 inch for sewing it together. This length of elastic plus the length of the skirt meant I had made approximately a small size 8 skirt.

This worked for me. I do not think an eight year old girl is too old for a minion skirt. If I’m not too old for a minion shirt then an 8 year old girl is certainly not too old for a minion skirt. Perhaps I am just still young at heart!

DSCN2734I decided to do a decorative top stitch around the scalloped edge of the hem of this skirt. I think the scallops were sewn fine before I did this, but because this is a play skirt, and I am expecting it to be worn while running and jumping, a little extra strength at the hem certainly won’t hurt.

I think that this skirt turned out to be just adorable, and I am excited for a young girl to wear it and enjoy the minion and banana fabric as much as I have enjoyed making it!

This skirt has also given me one more option to use up my scraps with and I will keep it in mind that next time I am debating about what to do with a pile of scraps.

Until next time, sew forth and trapezoid on!

Hello Kitty

DSCN2341I debated about it a long time, but I finally decided to crochet a Hello Kitty for a coworker/friend of mine. She just adores Hello Kitty. I have seen a couple of patterns for Hello Kitty during my internet pattern browsing and they all look very cute. So I picked one that I thought my coworker would like and got started on it.

DSCN2280The pattern that I picked has Hello Kitty in a dress with a scarf and of course the bow on her ear. The red dress and scarf gave the Hello Kitty a Christmas type of vibe, so I thought about changing the color of the dress and omitting the scarf, but the husband liked the red dress and the scarf so I decided to follow the original design and colors of the pattern.

I started with the legs as I like to do when I am crocheting an amigurumi. In this pattern the legs and body are crocheted as one piece. I followed the pattern and the little feet and legs came out so cute, but when I got to the body and finished crocheting the body’s last row, something was not right. 

Where was the rest of the body? I re-read the pattern again. No, I had not miscounted. This short stubby piece on top of the legs was the body. I debated about adding more rows but then decided to crochet the other pieces and see how it all looked before I started modifying the pattern.

DSCN2157The arms and ears were crocheted next and then I got started on the head. Crocheting the head took some time and concentration. It took a lot of counting while crocheting. When I finished the head it looked so funny and misshaped to me. I wondered if I might be in an alternate universe or something where everything that should be right was wrong. 

I was beginning to have second thoughts about completing this project, but I decided to press on instead. After a lot of debating and the husband’s help I got the eyes inserted and then I started to stuff the pieces.

IMG_1787Stuffing the head presented another challenge. It would have been easy to overstuff the head and make it round but Hello Kitty’s head is flat like the rest of her body. So, I had to stuff the head with enough stuffing that it was full and firm but still flat which was very unusual to me. 

When I finally got all the pieces stuffed to where I liked, I laid all of the pieces together on my cutting table. I was not pleased with what I saw. The head was misshaped and it looked funny with the short stubby body and the long legs. At this point, I really wanted to abandon this project and move on to another project, but I had too much invested in both time and yarn in this amigurumi to quit. So I soldiered on.

DSCN2350As I started to stitch the pieces of this Hello Kitty together, she finally started to come to life. Her head did not seem as misshaped once her ears were actually stitched on to her head. And her body was not as stubby once it was stitched to her head and it was even less stubby once I had crocheted her skirt to her body.

At this point, I did deviate from the pattern. I wanted to crochet her bow instead of cutting one from felt. I followed the same pattern I had used previously to make a bow tie but I made it smaller. With some red yarn, I chained four then crocheted 3 in rows till I had the desired length I wanted for the bow. I then folded the ends to the center and stitched them together. Because of the smaller bow, I did not crochet the center piece of the bow but simply wrapped the red stripe with white yarn to make the bow.

DSCN2273For the scarf, I did not count how many chain stitches I started with. With some red yarn, I chained until it looked like the right length around Hello Kitty’s neck and called it good. Next I crocheted once around the long chain, then slipped stitched around the edge with white yarn. I think both the bow and the scarf turned out very cute. As I stitched them to Hello Kitty, she took on a personality and came to life even more.

Stitching on Hello Kitty’s whiskers and glueing on a pink round felt nose were the finally touches to complete this Hello Kitty.

DSCN2352Even though there were multiple times I wanted to tuck this project away with other UFO’s (Un-Finished Objects), I am glad I did not.

It the end, she turned out to be very cute I think!

I gave my coworker her Hello Kitty and she thought it was adorable and that did my heart good. 

It made be think about the UFO’s I still have tucked away. Maybe with a little more work, they could turn out to be as cute as this Hello Kitty did. 

Maybe I had better pull them out of their hiding place and see.

Until then, crochet forth and Hello Kitty on!

WWWHHHAAATTT!?! – The Minions – Part 2

DSCN2582I had already spent the appropriate amount of time worrying about making this minion shirt so it was easy to get started on it.

I really wanted this shirt to sew together without any problems, so I decided to take my time and think things through carefully. So after laundering and ironing the fabric , it was time to start cutting.

I cut very carefully and added the alterations that I wanted to the pattern as I cut. I was quite selective about the interfacing I chose to use and I went ahead and cut it out too.

DSCN2584As I started to sew, I realized that I did make one cutting/design error, well not really an error, but a small change to the design. In my mind, the shirt had the minion fabric on the right and the blue on the left, but I had cut the left front from the minion fabric and the right front from the blue fabric. Mmmmmm, was this going to look ok? After much thought, I decided it would look fine, and maybe better because the buttons would be on the solid blue fabric instead of lost in the the minions fabric.

DSCN2581The sewing when smoothly. I took my time and tried the shirt on after each step. I also ironed each seam carefully as it was sewn. As I serged the edges of the sleeves, preparing them to be hemmed, I did not notice that I I was running out of thread on one of my loopers. Once the looper ran out of thread, my serged edge was ruined. Luckily, I had debated about cutting 1/2 inch off the length of the sleeves and had not done so yet. So, I cut the 1/2 inches off the length of the sleeves ridding me of the bad serged edge, threaded new spools of thread on my loopers and serged the new edges.

With the sewing on of the final button, I declared the shirt done and tried it on. The fit seemed to be good, but as I looked at myself in the mirror, the shirt needed to be something else. The right blue front was just that, blue. I grabbed some scraps and started adding to the blue front piece.

DSCN2493At first, I wanted to add a stripe of minion fabric down the blue front, but that was too much of an accent. I thought about digitizing a minion embroidery design. But since I was too excited about wearing the shirt, and it would take time to perfect the design and I wanted to wear the shirt now. My next thought was a pocket. This would not be a functioning pocket, just something for show, so it would not have to be any certain size or style. I decided to make a temporary pocket and see how it looked pinned on.

DSCN2496To make the pocket, I cut out two squares of fabric and then rounded the corner on one end. Next, with right sides together, I sewed completely around the two modified squares. Next, I made a small cut in the fabric that would be inside the pocket. I turned the pocket right side out through this slit. After a lot of pressing, with a little seam to seam, I mended the cut that I made in the pocket to turn it inside out. This worked well and I had a finished pocket. Since I will not be putting anything in this pocket, I am not worried about the seam to seam mending holding up with wear and tear.

Placing the pocket on the blue front, I liked it, then with another look, I did not, then after a few minutes, I liked it again.


DSCN2498I turned to the husband for his opinion and he said that he did like the pocket, so I sewed the pocket to the front of the shirt. I am still up in the air as to wether I like the pocket or not but it is sewn to the shirt for now.

The shirt has passed the “wear” test and I really like it. My alterations seem to be good. This shirt is fun to wear and is very comfortable.

It also makes me crave bananas for some reason…

Until next time, sew forth and banana on!

WWWHHHAAATTT!?! – The Skulls – Part 1

Despicable-me-minions-480x477Its what I want for Christmas. I told the husband that all I wanted for Christmas this year was a minion. Now, not one of those little ones from McDonald’s or a plush one, or even one of those plastic ones that talk. I wanted a really live, living, breathing minion. And, of course, I don’t want my minion to be lonely while I’m at work so I had better have a couple of minions. The husband said he would see what he could do but in the meanwhile I decided to satisfy my minion need with some minion fabric.

When I saw the minion fabric at Walmart, I knew that I just had to have it. I had absolutely no idea what I was going to make from it, but I just knew that I must have some. I purchased 1 yard and brought it home. The fabric sat on the cutting table while I debated what I wanted to make from it. I thought about all kinds of fun kid’s clothes that I could make from it, but instead I only wanted it for myself, so I decided to make myself a shirt from it.

Because let’s be honest here… Who doesn’t need a minion shirt?

DSCN2591Before I could cut into the minion fabric, I found myself fabric shopping again when I ran across this banana fabric. Seriously, it was bananas! BANANA! So of course, I needed some banana fabric to go with my minion fabric so I purchased one yard of the banana and headed home. Once I was home, I placed it next to the minion fabric on the cutting table. And I thought I was all ready to go. But, before I could cut into the minion fabric or the banana fabric, I found myself scoping out Walmart’s fabric department again, only to find a different minion fabric that I liked better for my shirt than the first minion piece, so one yard of this second minion fabric made it way to my cutting table as well.

DSCN2586Finally all set and before I could go fabric shopping again, I decided it was time to design and make my minion shirt. I quickly decided to make one front from the second minion fabric that I had picked up, the collar and sleeves from the banana fabric and then to find some blue in the stash for the other front side and the back. After laundering and ironing the fabric, I pulled my sloper pattern from the closet, only to remember that I was in the process of altering my basic sloper.


I did not want to cut into my precious minion and banana fabric with a pattern that needed it’s alterations tested.

DSCN2585So, I folded up my minion and banana fabric and pulled some fabric from the stash to test my alterations on. I like the colors of this fabric a lot but it has not become a shirt till now because it is very thin. I was skeptical of how it would wear being so thin, but I decided that since this was a test shirt, I would go ahead and use this fabric to give it a try.

So I cut out my altered pattern and I started to sew it up.

The sewing went smoothly. I was afraid that my machine would argue about sewing this thin fabric but all went well, and soon it was time to sew buttonholes and buttons. Sitting on the top of my button box was some sugar skull buttons that the husband got me awhile back when I needed skull buttons for the girl’s cross back tops. I laid the buttons out on the shirt. They did not really match but they looked fun, so why not. Again, this was just a test shirt.

DSCN2589Rather than picking out just one design of sugar skulls, I sorted through the pack of buttons and picked five different designs. When I sewed the buttons on, each button had its holes in a different spot. One button’s holes were vertical, one was horizontal, and the others were at a variety of angles. This presented a challenge to sew the buttons on straight. I had to measure and turn the fabric every which way to keep the skulls on the buttons right side up. Luckily with some patience and time, I got the buttons sewn on correctly.

DSCN2590I have had a chance to give this shirt a “wear test” and it passed just fine. There were a couple of small alterations that are needed to the armscye and button placement but I had solved the fitting problem at the neck from my last shirt made from this pattern.

But the good news is that I feel good enough about my alterations to my pattern to start the minion shirt as my next project.

Until then, sew forth and BANANA on!