Tag Archive | boy

I’ll Never Fall In Love Again!

Screen-Shot-2013-11-05-at-9.01.40-AMYou can see it from across the fabric store and there is a whole wall displaying it…

You’re drawn to it and it is so soft, fuzzy and warm, and some of the cutest designs ever are printed on it…

You MUST buy some and, as a general rule, its on sale…

Of course, I am talking about polar fleece and everybody just loves this fabric! Everyone it seems except me. Dare I say it out loud, I may not be in love with fleece or enjoy working with it as much as everyone else on the planet seems to be.

And here is why.

I, like everyone else, love the idea or the concept of fleece fabric. And who wouldn’t? It’s soft, warm, fuzzy fabric with no fraying, no shrinking, it looks good on both sides, it has some stretch but not too much stretch, and all the other fun features that fleece offers a sewer. What isn’t there to love? But, after sewing the last girl’s fleece jacket and starting my next sewing project with fleece, I’m not convinced that it really is all that easy and wonderful of a fabric to work with.

When I first started purchasing fleece fabrics, I planned to only make blankets with it, and who cared if the blankets were a little off grain and the print wasn’t perpendicular, or that it can’t be easily ironed or caused several headaches when sewn with the serger due to the amount of bulk.

DSCN2567For the blankets I was making, I did not give these concepts a second thought, so I was in love with fleece just like everyone else, and I bought any and all I could get to hide in the stash for future projects I had dreamt up. When I decided that I wanted to expand my skill set a little bit and make more than blankets from the fleece, I was at a point in my sewing skills where I did not worry about grain line, or matching designs, or ironing seams. So for the first couple of fleece projects that I made, I just cut it out and sewed it up, and I was still in love with fleece.

DSCN2575 (1)As my sewing skills have advanced over time, I am now far more concerned with thing like grain lines, matching the designs, and ironing the seams. So, when it was time to make the latest girl’s fleece jacket, these things were foremost on my mind. As I cut out the pattern and the froggy’s and rainbows weren’t straight, making it difficult to cut on the grain line and match the designs up, working with fleece became more than just cut and sew.

DSCN2572Looking at the piece of fleece, there were spots where I had to move over 21 inches from the edge of the fabric before I could find a good spot to cut. This was crazy! I decided that the froggy piece of fleece was just flawed until I started my next fleece project. Although not as much, I had to move 9 inches from the edge to get the footballs and helmets to line up.

Does all fleece suffer from this problem?

DSCN2563If it does, I’m going to have to watch WAY more closely when I buy fleece for pieces that I only have to move over 9 inches rather than 21 inches, or hopefully I can find some fleece that I will only lose a couple of inches on the edge. Plus, I’m going to have to buy extra fleece to accommodate for the lost fabric. I wanted to make my latest project a size large but had to switch to a size medium when I lost the 9 inches along the edge.

DSCN2566I turned to the Internet to see if I was alone in my wavering love of fleece, and from what I was reading, I was alone, everyone else seems to love fleece, but I did find several article titled, “How to sew fleece.” So, maybe you just have to learn the skill of sewing with fleece, just like learning to sew knits, furs, silks, actually any and all other types of fabrics. Maybe after learning some lessons about sewing with fleece, I will then be completely in love with fleece like so many others are.

Well I ldid learn a lot from the articles that I read on how to sew fleece, and I am excited to try out some of the things that I learned.

Luckily, I have my next sewing project involving fleece all cut out and ready to sew, so stay tuned to see how it turned out!

Until next time, sew forth and hopefully fall in love again.

Invested

DSCN1372DSCN2485 (1)Do you ever have a pattern speak to you when you see it?

Me! Me! Me! Sew me next! Sew me next! Pick me! Pick me!

Well, this pattern did not just speak to me, it screamed at me!

The minute I saw this free vest pattern on the internet, I abandoned all of my other sewing plans.

Since I could not ignore its request to be sewn next, a boy’s vest became my next sewing project.

DSCN2491DSCN2492What caught my attention about this vest pattern was the endless creative possibilities that it presented.

From the fabric I would use to make this vest, to the type of pockets I would sew, to the embroidery and details I would stitch, there were dozens of designs decisions to be made.

First off, I picked the fabric. I choose some sport weight scraps for the outer layer of this vest and some flannel for the lining.

I did question using flannel for the lining though.

The smooth slippery fabric of a lining helps with taking an item on and off. Flannel is not smooth or slippery and would actually make it more difficult to pull an item on and off.

But, since this is a vest, i.e. without sleeves, I figured the flannel would be fine to use. Plus, it would add a layer of warmth to the vest, and as an added bonus, I would be using some of the flannel hiding in the stash and most importantly, I could incorporate the print of the flannel with the embroidery design that I would be stitching on it. So, it was not difficult to pick the dinosaur flannel fabric for the lining and a dinosaur embroidery design.

DSCN1364DSCN1365When it came to deciding on pockets, I liked the patch pockets that were used on the pattern so I decided to make them.

The pockets are not just typical patch pockets so there would probably be something new for me to learn from sewing them.

I started the process by downloading the pattern, printing it out, taping it together, cutting it out, and then throwing it away. Yes, you read that right. I threw it away.

DSCN1373DSCN2488As I laid the pattern pieces on the fabric, I did not like the way they looked at all. I couldn’t get the shoulder seams to match and the armscye looked misshaped.

I could see many problems occurring during the sewing process using that pattern and I did not want to waste my time or fabric on a doomed project.

I was disappointed to say the least.

I was so excited to make this vest and I had already put so much planning into it’s design that I did not want to just abandon the project.

So I turned to my pattern stash and what do you know! Lying right on top was a jacket pattern, Simplicity 8902.

Could I possibly use this jacket pattern to make a vest by just leave the sleeves off?

DSCN2487DSCN2486 (1)I did not know the answer to this question but I was certainly willing to find out.

I began to cut out the pieces for this vest from it. Since I was going to use buttons instead of a zipper, I added an extra 1 inch to the front pieces.

I also ironed on a strip of interfacing to this extra inch to strengthen it for the buttons.

My first step in the sewing process was to sew the pockets on the front of the vest.

Embroidering the dinosaur design was next. Then I sewed the shoulder seams and collar. It was then that I realized I should have reversed these steps. The collar is slightly covering the top the embroidery design. If the design had been any bigger, it would have been hidden under the collar.

The next time, I will sew the shoulder seams and attach the collar first and then embroider the design placing it so the collar is not in its way. Then I will attach the pockets last.

DSCN1368DSCN1369This way I will have no problem hooping the fabric for the embroidering without the pockets on the front, and after embroidering, I can place the pockets over the fabric that was hooped.

The original vest pattern had a bottom band. I liked the look of the band so I decided to keep it on this vest, so I cut the vest and lining 2 inches shorter than the pattern called for to accommodate the bottom band. Because of the bottom band, it was easy to sew the lining to the vest.

With right sides together, I sewed around the vest and lining before sewing the side seams then turned it inside out and sewed the side seams. After a lot of pressing, I sewed the band to the front side of the vest and lining and then folded it to the back and stitched in the ditch to finish up the band.

DSCN1374DSCN2490 (1)The last step was to sew the buttonholes and buttons.

I sewed vertical buttonholes so that my buttonholer would not have to move over the pockets. I don’t believe that vertical buttonholes will make a difference in how the vest wears.

In the end the vest turned out absolutely adorable!

I just love it, and it was so much fun to design and make that I can’t wait to make another one.

I have not given this vest to anyone yet so I do not have a “wear test” to tell me whether a jacket without sleeves makes for an acceptable vest, but it looks good to me.

I could always make the armscye a little bigger on the next vest to ease my mind and the fit.

So until the next time, sew forth and vest on!

Monkey See! Monkey Do!

IMG_7123So, I did! I fell in love with this monkey pattern the minute I saw the e-book on Amazon. I could not press the purchase button fast enough. It took forever for the e-book to load. I could not wait to start crocheting this adorable monkey with the big eyes.

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This is a great pattern. It is well written and easy to follow. Most of the parts of the monkey were fun to crochet. The feet were a little tricky but easy enough to figure out but the pupils of the eyes were the real challenge. The pattern called for the black pupils to be made from embroidery floss or crochet thread and crocheted with a small hook. I tried this but didn’t like the results. So, I went back to regular 4 ply yarn and an F hook, a step down from the G hook I crocheted the other parts of the eyes with. Because of the heavy yarn and the larger hook, after I crocheted the 1st round of the pupil, it looked to be the right size so I did not crochet the 2nd round.

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P1030136The arms and legs had to be stuffed as I crocheted them up. The more amigurumi’s I make the more I like to stuff things as I crochet. I dislike the stuffing part of the process so stuffing as I go helps break the task up for me. Sometimes you have to stuff as you crochet the rounds because of the size of the parts, but even when I don’t have to stuff as I crochet, I am finding that I am going ahead and stuffing as I crochet any way. As you know, the stitching together of the parts in my next least favorite part of the process and I always learn something from the stitching parts together as I did with this monkey.

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IMG_7132After learning what I did from the stitching together of the parts of this monkey, I wanted to make a second monkey from this pattern, but I wanted to change it up a little, so I decided to try something I read in the Complete Idiots Guide to Amigurumi book and give this second monkey a skirt and make it a girl. So, on the first round of the shirt, I crocheted in the back loop only, leaving the front loop for the skirt. The book really did not give instructions for making a skirt so I followed the pattern from the Bride of Frankenstein I made several years ago. I did two single crochets in each front loop for the first round of the skirt. Then just single crocheting in each crochet, I did 5 rounds which looked IMG_7131like a good length for the skirt. At this point the skirt was kind of boring, so I crocheted a scalloped edge around the skirt like I do on the fleece blankets that I make for some variety. This added just the right touch to complete the skirt and I am pleased with the way it looks. Another option I found for crocheting the skirt was to add single crochets to each round as I crocheted. This would make the skirt wavy. I could also add the single crochets at the end of the skirt to make a ruffle on the bottom of the skirt. I may try these ideas on another amigurumi project, perhaps another monkey.

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IMG_7135I crocheted each of the monkey’s tail exactly the same but they turned out so differently. I am not really sure why. At first, I was upset and started to make another tail to see if I could get it to match one of the other two that I had made. Then I decided that every monkey is different and that differing tails were actually ok. Differing tails gave each monkey a unique personality.  

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I just love these monkeys and I just love this pattern. And I do want to make more monkeys. Maybe the next time I will use different colors and make a blue or a pink or a yellow monkey. That would be fun. The ideas for more monkeys are abounding so it’s time to start crocheting again!

The Top Half

P1030359After declaring the bottom half of my second try of the Simplicity 2771 pattern, the shorts, done, it was time to dive into the top half, the shirt. I had a lot of ideas on how I wanted to construct this shirt differently from the first shirt I made from this pattern and I was excited to get started on it.

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The first change, of course, was to cut the sleeves down and make it a short sleeve shirt. I thought about turning to my Kwik-Sew patterns again to use as a guide but I did not want to work with differing sleeve caps, so I just picked a length and cut the sleeves off at that length. I don’t know if they should be longer or shorter for the final fit but they looked like a good length to me. I did go ahead and fold the sleeve back up against itself to cut the little edge for the hem. This little extra edge at the hem line makes it so I can make a larger hem so that the sleeve can be shorter or longer if needed. It also makes the sewing of the hem so much easier.

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P1030310I purchased some smaller cording to make the piping for this shirt, even though I had liked the piping of the last pajamas made with the larger cording. It just seemed larger than I had pictured before I started sewing, so I wanted to try some thinner piping on this shirt. The smaller cording was of course easier to sew in both the making of the piping and the sewing it on to the shirt but not so much easier that I would choose it over the larger pipping for that reason. I like the look of the smaller pipping but not anymore than the look of the larger piping. I believe the size of the piping will just have to be decided on a project by project basis. Looking back at it, I probably should have picked the larger piping for this project just because the print on the fabric is so busy.

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As I mentioned before in my previous post on piping, I rolled the dice again this time and pushed my luck with not making the piping on the bias yet again. And once again, I got away with it ok because of the stretch in the brushed tricot I was sewing this with and I was still learning where to clip it as I sewed just like I did with the first shirt. I know one of these times I will regret not cutting the piping on the bias as the reference I have says I should but for now it works ok my way.

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P1030342The next change I made in the construction of this shirt was the lengthening of the facings to match the front of the shirt. By lengthening the facings, I can make the hem of on the shirt any length I want, and not have the length of the hem determined by the facings. I almost forgot that I had wanted to do this when I was cutting out the facings so I made them extra long. I knew I could cut off the extra when I did the hem. It is easier to cut off extra than to add more on later. The extra length on the facings made the sewing of the facings or the hemming of the shirt no more difficult and I liked stitching the hem my way instead of the pattern guide’s way.

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P1030349Next came the biggest change to the original pattern, stitching in the ditch to hold the back facing down. According to the pattern guide, you fold the edge of the back facing under, fold the back facing back and then stitch in the ditch of the piping to stitch the back facing down catching the folded edge as you go. As you may remember, I ended up with a mess on my last go around trying this. At some points the stitching missed the back facing all together and at some points the stitching was so far from the edge of the facing that the folded over edge was not caught in the stitching leaving it to unfold. So this time, I serged the edge of the back facing to finish it and did not fold the edge of the back facing over before stitching. Yes, once again the stitching varied in how close it was to the edge of the facing but this time it did not matter. There was no folded edge to catch in the stitching. And this was so much easier to sew and looks so much better than the wavy mess I ended with last time as I hit and missed the folded edge. And I don’t believe that the spots where there is a little extra fabric beyond the stitching will make any difference in the wearing of the pajamas.

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P1030348I am pleased with the end results of this pajama shirt now that it is completed. It was fun to make and I like my construction changes. What did not turn out well was the matching of sizes of the shirt and the shorts. This has happened to me before. The shorts look so small compared to the shirt. I believe this problem occurred because I used two different patterns. I should have paid more attention to the size of the shorts from the Kwik-Sew pattern compared to the pants pattern and cut them wider and longer. It also did not help that by doing the hems and the facings on the shirt my way that the hem is smaller so the shirt is longer. This just adds to the size difference problem. With all this in mind, I sewed the buttons on the left side to make the pajamas for a girl. I figured a girl would look better in smaller short pajama bottoms with a long full pajama top than a boy would.

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P1030358And with that, my second set of pajamas from the Simplicity 2771 pattern, pajamas with piping, is done. I have enjoyed the pajama/bathrobe journey but it is time to fold up the pajama patterns for now and move on to something else. As of this moment, I don’t know what the something else is yet but I bet it will be a fun and new learning experience as I continue my sewing journey. I have many patterns hiding in the closet that are just waiting for their turn to be made up.

The Little Brother, Red

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Roxie, the amigurumi cow I made awhile back, has been lonely lately so I decided to make her a friend. While surfing Raverly.com, I found the perfect friend for Roxie. Someone had taken Roxie’s pattern and given it big long steer horns. How cute! I could not wait to get started.

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IMG_0065Crocheting the parts for Red, the long horn steer, was easy and fun since I had already made the pattern once before minus the horns. This is a fun pattern and is simple to make. I totally enjoyed the crocheting part of the construction. As always though, yarn sometimes can vary, and sewing together the crocheted parts presented some challenges. I used Red Heart yarn which one would think would be fairly consistent across manufacturing lots, but the beige color called aran stretched so much more in the stuffing process than the orange carrot color had. It made Red’s nose huge compared to Roxie’s nose. I tried to stuff the nose less but then it seemed under stuffed. I spent quite a bit of time trying to shape Red’s head so that he was not all nose. When I finally declared that his head was done, I stitched the buttons for nostrils to Red’s nose and they instantly became his eyes because of how big his nose is. This was very discouraging to me. But with a lot of positioning of Red’s head on his neck, I finally got Red to sit so that you could see his real eyes and could tell that the buttons are his nostrils and not his eyes. The mouth did help with this. This was not something I experienced with the construction of Roxie.

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P1030115Because Red is a boy, I did not get the pleasure of making him a popcorn stitch udder, but I did get to make him two long complicated horns. The pattern started at the tip of the horn and worked it’s way towards the head. This meant that the first couple of rows were only 3 single crochets big. The horns were difficult to crochet and count and then to stuff. I learned a lot while making the first horn. I learned to stuff it early on and as you crochet with just a little bit of stuffing. I also learned to use a post-it P1030113note to mark on the pattern which row I was on and move the note on the pattern as I completed rows. That way I did not have to go back and try to count those small rounds as I went. The turns in the horns took a lot of patience and counting to crochet them. I learned that I don’t really like crocheting into slip stitches. After completing both horns I pinned them to Red’s head to sew them on and realized that the width of his horns and head was going to be over 2 feet wide. That was just way, way, way too big! I unpinned the horns and undid the crocheting to the first turn of both horns. Pinning the horns back on Red’s head, this made a big difference. I was much happier with the width, now just 17 inches. I was disappointed that I had spent all that time crocheting and stuffing only to undue those parts of the horns, but at least I had not sewn the horns to his head before I decided to shorten them.

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IMG_0066Now with Red completed and sitting next to Roxie, he immediately became her little brother. He took on a mischievous personality all his own and quite different from Roxie’s personality . It is amazing to me even though they are from the same pattern, they ended up being so different. But, I guess that is what is so fun about making amigurumi’s. They are never the same twice and their own look and personalities as you crochet them.

See & Sew 5306

Since I have been enjoying the sewing of kids clothes recently, I decided to continue on and try another pattern that’s been hanging out in the closet for many years, See & Sew 5306. What makes this pattern different than other little kid’s outfits is that the sleeve and bodice of the shirt are all one piece. So, there are only four pieces to the shirt, two fronts, a back and a collar.

The fit of the shirt was a concern to me as I started this pattern. With the sleeves attached to the bodice, the sleeves are wider and the armscye is lower than on a pattern where they are not attached. So, I decided to make some pajamas using this pattern. Pajamas need to be roomy so the wider sleeves and lower armscye would work out well for them. I picked some of the flannel I had just purchased rather than digging through the stash to find fabric to make the pajamas from. Because I was making pajamas I decided to not to add the pockets to the shorts or to the shirt.

As I cut out the pattern, I noticed right away that the shirt pattern required more fabric than other shirt patterns I have made because of the attached sleeves. This also made more non-usable scraps than usual. To me, this is a disadvantage to using this pattern. It would make me choose another pattern over this one in most cases since I am usually frugal with my fabric if I can be.

Sewing the pajamas together went easily and quickly. The elastic waistband on the shorts was done with two pieces of 3/8 inch elastic rather than a larger single piece. I really like the results of the two pieces of elastic.

I gave the pajamas to the little neighbor girl. When she tried them on, she did not object to the wider sleeves or the lower armscye and they seemed to fit her well. I had her hold her arm out and the fit still seemed to be good.

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Encouraged by the fit of the pajamas, I decided to try the pattern again using some cotton from the stash. Since this was going to be an outfit for a child, I decided to add the pockets this time around. Once again, it took extra fabric and there were lots of scraps, but this time I could use some of the scraps for the pockets.

Because the fabric I picked had a texture to it, I used a softer white cotton for the shorts pockets. It took a bit of thought to sew the pockets into the shorts. I read the pattern guide and tried to follow it but I ended up sewing the pockets closed following the directions. After a bit of unpicking, I improvised and finally got the pockets sewn in. I made two pockets for the shirt but it looked better with just one, so one is all it got. Because this fabric was more masculine, I used a 3/4 inch wide piece of elastic in the shorts rather than two 3/8 inch pieces I had used last time. It worked out fine and looks more masculine than the two pieces of elastic in the waist band of the first set.

Because summer is now over, I have not give this outfit to anyone yet, so I don’t know it the fit is as good as a the first pair of flannel pajamas I made. Next summer once I give these away to someone to wear, I will know how they fit. So even though I really enjoyed making this pattern, I have put it away until next spring.

Thanks for the Memories

My niece recently posted some pictures on her blog of her kids in clothes I made for them many years ago. It is always great thrill for me to see new pictures of the kids. But to see them in the clothes I made is extra special, and it sent me on a trip down memory lane.

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The first picture was of her two youngest boys. She has 4 now, by the way. The older of the two boys in the picture is wearing a jacket I made for her oldest boy’s 3rd birthday, 7 years ago. Both boys looked so cute wearing the jacket. With a little reminiscing, I remembered the construction of this jacket. It was the first time I had made welt pockets. I did not want just patch pockets on this jacket and I remember reading about welt pockets in one of my sewing reference books.

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I remember sitting at the sewing machine hurrying to complete the pockets because they were coming to see us, and we were going to a local craft show at the high school. I remember hoping that the little guy would like the airplanes on the fabric and that he would be able to zip up the jacket by himself. I remember being concerned about the zipper because it was a smaller tooth zipper than I wanted to use but the color was right.

The second picture that my niece posted was of her youngest boy in a shirt I made for the oldest boy back when he was just one year old. All 4 of her boys have wore this shirt now. I am amazed it lasted this long. I made this shirt just after I got my very first embroidery machine. I used the scraps from a shirt I had just made for my husband.

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In fact, there ended up being enough scraps for two shirts in size 1. One shirt was embroidered with Mickey Mouse and the other shirt with Donald Duck. Donald Duck is my niece’s favorite Disney character so you can see which one the little guy is wearing in the picture. On these shirts, I put ribbing around the sleeves. Each time I see I picture of one of the boys in these shirts, I regret adding the ribbing. To me, the ribbing gives the shirt a feminine look and I have not added ribbing to the sleeve of a boy’s shirt since.

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I would like to thank my niece for posting the pictures and for taking care of the clothes, I made so that each boy could enjoy them and I could see them wearing them.  Now that she has 4 boys and the oldest is a tween and is becoming very particular about what he wears, I have not done any sewing for them recently. But, with as much as I love sewing for kids, it might be time to get back to the sewing machine and get some new clothes made.