Tag Archive | fun

Why I Sew Kid’s Clothes

IMG_0016“So, how many children do you have?” I am frequently asked.

“None” is my reply.

This of course always leads to the next question, when the conversation is about sewing, “Then why do you make so many clothes for kid’s?”

Its a reasonable question and I will give you 3 good reasons why I sew so many kid’s clothes even though I have no children to wear them.

P1030369The first reason is my casual style, and that of the husband’s. I wear mainly shirts and pants/shorts. I basically wear 3 styles of shirts. A t-shirt, a collarless v-neck shirt (a baseball shirt) and a collared camp shirt. I don’t wear dresses or skirts regularly.

P1030399The husband wears tab front knit shirts and on the rare occasion a button down the front shirt both with pants and shorts.

So, over the years I have sewn many shirts and pants for both myself and the husband and I have our basic sloper patterns for these items fine tuned to perfection.

Over the years, I have varied the basic slopers with small changes to the designs, but basically it is still the same pattern I have sewn for us for years now.

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So given this, how could I learn any new sewing techniques and expand my sewing skills by just making these same tried and true patterns over and over again?

How could I learn different seam finishes? How could I learn about sewing with different fabric varieties like fur and pleather?

DSCN0533Why would I waste my fabric and my time to make myself a dress or skirt that I would seldom if ever wear just to learn sewing skills and techniques like gathers, pleats and linings?

There are no pockets on my shirts or the husbands shirts, so where would I learn to make different pocket styles?

There is no bias tape used in the construction of our clothes, so where would I learn to make and sew items with bias tape?

 

The answer to many of these questions for me is by sewing clothes for children of course!

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It has been my experience that kid’s are very forgiving when it come to their clothes.

They don’t care if the fit isn’t quite right. As long as the colors and designs are fun, they are willing to wear the item.

So, while I have been learning some great new techniques and skills while making the children’s clothes, even if it isn’t perfect in the end, I still have a usable item that a child will love to wear.

DSCN4123Plus, just how many shirts can I and the husband have with Snoopy or Mickey Mouse on them? I have so many fun embroidery designs and fabrics for fun kid’s clothes that I would probably never be able to use if I didn’t sew for children.

And how could I not sew and embroider up some of these great items for some children to wear and enjoy?

 

Reason number 2 is practice. You could also think of this as making mini muslins.

I wouldDSCN3413 like to make me a spring/fall polar fleece jacket. I want it to have a collar, a zipper, multiple pockets, and for the jacket to be fully lined. I have already purchased the fabric that I want this jacket made from and I have a basic jacket pattern to use as a guide to sew this jacket for myself.

But, I felt that I was lacking in the skills to sew this jacket. Skills that I need to be comfortable and confident using such as working with polar fleece, sewing pockets, inserting a zipper, and lining a jacket without a pattern.

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To remedy this lack of skills, I started out by making some smaller kid’s jackets and vests. I could learn and practice the skills that I needed to make my jacket by practicing first on the kid’s jackets.

I would waste less fabric if it turned out all wrong and I could repeat the skills that I needed to by practicing them first on the kid’s jackets.

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If you are a reader of my blog, you know that is exactly what I have been sewing recently.

I have made several kid’s jackets and vests. And in the process I have learned how to finish fleece seams, and I have learned to sew several different pocket styles, patch pockets, side seam pockets, welt pockets and others. I have practiced inserting zippers and sewing different collar styles.

And, more importantly, I have learned how to line an unlined jacket without using a pattern.

DSCN3898I now feel much more confident about cutting into my expensive fabric to make my jacket and in my ability to successfully sew my jacket together now that I have made all of these kid’s jackets and vests first.

In fact, I only have just a couple of more sewing skills that I want to practice and perfect on a couple of more kid’s jackets before I will finally be ready to make my jackets.

So stay tuned later this fall, as I might just be wearing a stylish new jacket (or two or three)!

Reason number 3 that I sew children’s clothes is that sewing clothes for kid’s is really FUN!

P1030564P1030560I enjoy sewing! A LOT! I really enjoy focusing my time and attention into the creative process and completing a functioning and fun item for someone to wear.

It does not matter if that item is for me, the husband, the house, the garage, or a kid, I (for the most part) enjoy the steps of making that item.

Plus, I enjoy learning. I learn from each sewing project that I make.

And, yes, sometimes what I learn and learn again, is patience!

As I mentioned in reason number 1, I have a lot of fun fabrics and embroidery designs that neither I nor the husband is ever going to wear, so for me anyway, it is just fun to sew and embroidery these fabrics and designs into clothes for children to wear.

DSCN3537DSCN3986As I mentioned in reason number 2, I made the kid’s jackets to learn and to practice the skills that I needed to make my jacket in the future, but each of the kid’s jackets or vests was very fun to design and to sew.

I learned from each project and for the most part I was pleased with what I made and what I learned in making them.

In other words, I really enjoyed the journey, from start to finish.

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Lastly, I really love to make something from nothing. I love to take the scraps from mine or the husband’s shirt and to make something from them for a child.

 

In doing so I feel like I am cheating or beating the odds somehow. I was able to take something that was useless, scraps that I could not use to make something for myself or the husband from, and was able to make a functioning, useful item from them.

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DSCN0389This is extra fun to do when I get to stretch my skills by using my creative process to make the scraps work in almost any situation.

So, that in very long form is my answer to question of “Why do you sew so many kid’s clothes?”.

With this complex of an answer to a simple question, you’re now probably afraid to ask any other questions, but don’t be.

In my own way, I will give you an answer that might be longer than expected, but enjoyable to hear.

Until then, sew forth and ask away!

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The Making of the Doctor Who Reversible Sling Bag – Part 2 – The Construction

dscn1157dscn1149The construction of the Doctor Who reversible sling bag began with cutting out the pattern pieces from the fabric. I remembered to cut the length 1 inches longer and the strap 3 inches longer as I had previously decided to do as I cut the black bottom weight pieces and the Doctor Who Dalek fabric.

dscn1150dscn1139But as I cut out the striped fabric, the stripes started to play with my brain and I cut out one piece correctly, and three pieces incorrectly with 3 inches extra on the bottom and only 1 inch extra on the straps. When I realized my error, I thought about cutting the 3 pieces out again correctly but I hated to waste the fabric. I had purchased this fabric for another project and had cut the pieces for this bag conservatively as to leave as much fabric as possible for that other project. That lead me to decide to make my already cut out pieces work out some how instead of cutting out corrected pieces.

dscn1128dscn1126The sewing process started with the insert seams and the bottom seams. I matched the insert seams at the top of the bag because of the extra inches at the bottom of the stripes, then cut off the extra before sewing the bottom of the bag. Next was the seam that I called the pinch. This is the seam that squares the bag to give the bag a bottom. It is sewn by first pinching the corners of the bottom seam of the bag and then stitching across the pinch. The pinch was easy with the bottom weight fabric of the Dalek fabric side of the bag. I measured and sewed carefully and the pinch turn out great.

dscn1129dscn1130The striped fabric was not as easy. Because it is a thin lining fabric, it wanted to slip and slide as I measured and sewed the pinch but with patience, I finally got acceptable results. These pinch seams weren’t that hard so I stopped being as careful and learned very quickly that that was a bad move. My next pinches went terribly wrong when I did not carefully measure and sew them. I ended up unpicking and re-measuring and re-sewing all 4 of the pinches on the second bag to get nicer pinches. Lesson learned, take the time needed to do the job right the first time.

dscn1132dscn1141The next step was to sew the two parts of the Dalek/black bag and stripe/black together. With rights sides together, I sewed around the curves of the top of the bags. Each bag was then turned right side out through the strap. This was a bit of a challenge but with time and patience the bags were turned right side out.

Now it was time to fix my cutting error. The striped fabric was 4 inches too short on the strap, 2 inches on each side. I had several options for fixing this problem, like just sewing more fabric to the stripe fabric dscn1146but I wanted to make sure it was very secure at the shoulder. I finally opted to dscn1144make a patch from the black fabric to cover the missing stripe fabric. I cut a piece of the black fabric big enough to cover the missing piece with seam allowances. I folded over the edges and ironed them in place then applied some seam to seam to the edges. I then ironed the patch in place. I sewed the patches in place as I top stitched the edges of the bag. The patch worked great to solve my cutting error, and because the patches are at the shoulder, it looks like I meant to add the patch to the strap as reinforcement.

dscn1134dscn1136The final bags turned out great. I was concerned at first about the bag not having a closure as it gapped when I placed it my shoulder but when I added a book to the bag, the weight of the book closed the bag. I took the bags to my coworker the next day. I showed her that they were reversible and told her if her daughters wanted a closure on the bags to bring them back to me. Her daughters called me the next day to tell me how much they liked the bags and that they had used the bags for their books at school that day instead of their regular back packs. I was excited to hear that the bags were a success and that they liked them and that they used them. It did my sewing heart good.

dscn1135dscn1159These bags were great fun to make and as always I learned some new sewing lessons from making them.

After this project, I see more sling bags in my future. Maybe next time with pockets and closures with Snoopy or Mickey Mouse fabric or maybe even more Doctor Who fabric.

I also have some great Marvel Comics fabric that I was wondering what to do with and San Diego Comic Con is coming up shortly!

dscn1155Oh, this is going to be fun!dscn1154

Until next time, sew forth and Trust the Doctor on!

The Making of the Doctor Who Reversible Sling Bag – Part 1 – The Design

Doctor_Who_diamond_logo_by_gfoyleAs promised, this post will tell you the trials and triumphs of the making of the Doctor Who reversible sling bags. Just to recap, the pattern for this sling bag was the April pattern of the month over at Project Run and Play. Although I don’t usually participate in the link parties on that site, this time I had already purchased a yard of Doctor Who Dalek fabric that was on sale and a bag of some type was just what I wanted to make from this fabric.

One of my coworkers has two tween daughters who adore Doctor Who and making something for them is why I had bought the fabric in the first place. In deciding what I wanted to make the girls, this sling bag came to mind and I thought it was a great idea. I would not have to worry about the size Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 2.34.13 PMor fit, and since they have to wear uniforms to school, the bags would be something they could use all the time instead of just on the weekends. I was excited to get started.

The hardest part about making this sling bag was deciding on the details.

The pattern is very simple, and it is reversible so you don’t have to worry about finishing edges.

It has no pockets and no closure, but it would be no problem to add pockets and/or a closure. Did I want to add pockets? If so, what kind of pockets should I add, a patch pocket, a zippered pocket, or a welt pocket? Did I want the pockets on the outside of the bag or the inside? If I add a closure, should it be a button, a snap or velcro? If I add pockets or a closure, would the bag still be reversible?

I finally decided that I wanted the bag to be reversible and very simple to make so I decided on no pockets and no closures for these bag.

dscn1125The next decision was what other fabric to use with the Doctor Who Dalek Exterminate fabric. Since I wanted to use the Doctor Who Dalek fabric on multiple projects, I chose it for the middle insert of the bag. I knew I wanted a heavier bottom weight fabric for the rest of the bag in either black or blue, so I did not have to worry about interfacing anything. I found some nice black bottom weight scraps in the stash that would work great. But, what should I use for the inside?

Laying on the cutting table was this striped lining fabric that I had purchased at Walmart for the lining for a different upcoming project. I did not really want to use a thin lining fabric on this bag, but the husband convinced me to use it when he said that the stripes were the Doctor Who scarf colors. This lead me to decide to use the black bottom weight as the middle insert with the thin, striped fabric to give it more structure.

doctor-who-daleks-exterminate-poster-GBfp3134The last design decision for this bag was size. After printing and taping the pattern together, I measured the size of the middle insert. I wanted the Doctor Who Dalek fabric to be the highlight of the bags, so I wanted the middle insert larger than what the pattern called for. I taped the pattern pieces together and then I drew a new cutting line for the insert, making the other pieces of the bag not as wide.

I then measured the size of the bag versus a big book and decided to make the bag one inch longer. I then held the strap pattern piece to my shoulders to measure the length of the strap and decided to add 3 inches to each side of the strap for a total of 6 inches in length added to the entire strap.

dscn1190I thought about taping some scraps of paper to the top and bottom of the pattern and drawing in the changes I was making to the pattern but then decided that I would just try and remember the changes I had made. This was a poor choice on my part which you will learn about later.

With all the decisions, the design, the fabric and the size, finally made, it was time to start cutting out the pattern and get sewing.

Stay tuned for the construction process in the next post!

Until then, sew forth and Doctor Who on!

The Whovians of Whoville

I have been reading the Project Run and Play website for awhile now and some of their monthly projects interest me, and some don’t since I don’t have children.

But this months (April 2015) project challenge of a Reversible Sling Bag really caught my eye! I know several Mom’s that have young daughters that would just love for me to make them one. I also figured it would give me a chance to try out something new and fun and to increase my sewing skills along the way.

Now one of those daughters just happens to be a huge Dr. Who fan, and I had just happened to come across this wonderful Dr. Who Dalek Exterminate fabric on my last fabric shopping trip and I was wondering what I should make with it.

Then the two just clicked together like LEGO’s!

And so here I present the Dr. Who Reversible Sling Bag! I hope you like it! Dr. Who Reversible Sling Bag I will post a detailed “The Making of the Dr. Who Reversible Sling Bag” soon, but for now I wanted to get this posted so that the other people making the project in April could see what I had done.

Until then, Sew Forth and Exterminate on!

Ribbit

P1030323Yep, as you have guessed from the title of this post my latest amigurumi project is a frog. I found this frog’s pattern on Ravelry.com and I knew it would be my next project when I saw it.

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Mr. Frog’s pattern said to make him with an “F” hook. As you know, my favorite hook size is a “G” size but I decided to use the “F” hook as the pattern called for and I am glad that I did. I would not have wanted this frog to be any bigger. Mr. Frog’s parts crocheted up easily and because the arms and legs are not stuffed, he also sewed up easily. The pattern called for the arms and legs to just be long and flat so you could pose him in a jump or just fold them up against his body when you wanted him to sit. I found that the legs did not want to stay folded while he was siting and since he will be sitting most of the time, I stitched his arms and legs folded to his body.

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When it came time to add his eyes, I got out my purchased frog eyes but I did not like the way they looked on this frog. They were too small. I tried larger black eyes but they did not have a frog look to them. I finally picked the yellow eyes and I like them a lot on him. Next was Mr. Frog’s smile. I knew I wanted him to have a big smile so I used yarn instead of embroidery floss to give his smile a thicker and bolder look.

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P1030325There is only one thing I would change on Mr Frog’s pattern and that is that I would make his arms and legs longer. To me, they seem a little short in comparison to the size of his body.

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Mr. Frog was a fun and easy amigurumi to make. It was great just to have a quick and enjoyable project without a lot of hassles involved.

Experimental Monsters

P1030333P1030332I remember when I had first started crocheting amigurumi’s, and all my animals had tall pointy heads. And I remember how I learned that the reason my amigurumi’s had tall pointy heads was that I was only crocheting in the front loop of the stitches instead of both loops. And I also remember that once I learned this lesson, and started to crochet in both loops instead of just the front loop that my amigurumi’s heads and body parts turned out flatter but rounder the way they were suppose to. And after remembering all of that, then you will understand my trepidation when I started my next amigurumi project.

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P1030318I found some patterns online for some fun amigurumi monsters. I love monsters, so here was my next project. I chose the pattern named Lark, one of the smaller monsters to try first. Upon reading the pattern, the author said to crochet the entire monster in the back loop only (BLO). What? This went against the lessons I had learned before. Wouldn’t my monster come out tall and pointy, not cute and round? Contemplating the construction of the monster, I figured that the author of the pattern must have designed the pattern that way and she also clearly said that if you crocheted in both loops that your monster would not be the same as the picture. So, I decided I P1030317would crochet this monster in the BLO even though that was going against what I had previously learned and see what I got.

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When I picked up my favorite G hook to start crocheting, I completely forgot about only crocheting it in the BLO. It wasn’t until I had crocheted both arms, ears, and eyes and had a good start on the body when it dawned on me that I was not crocheting in the back loop only. I thought about undoing all that I had crocheted but then I had a brilliant idea. I would continue making this monster crocheting in both loops and then make a second monster, of the same size and using the same hook and the same yarn, but crochet it in the back loop only P1030319and see just how much difference there was between the two. I would do a little experiment to see which way I like the monster best.

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I finished crocheting the parts for the monster in the both loops and then I crocheted the parts for the monster in the BLO. Both were easy and fun to crochet as long I kept reminding myself BLO, BLO, BLO. Next, came the stuffing and stitching together. They both stuffed easily. This was not a complicated pattern. But, when it came to sewing the parts together, it was easier to stitch the arm and the eyes on to the BLO monster. The arms on the both loop monster were short and stumpy which made it P1030321more difficult to sew them on and the eyes of the both loop monster were flatter, so I had to hold them in a cup shape as I sewed them on. But, when both monster were done, they were equally cute. So what I learned was that, yes, the author of the pattern did adjust the pattern for crocheting in the BLO, but that in the case of a monster that does not have a specific look, it did not really matter too much in the end. That might not be true for an actual animal pattern. If the author has adjusted the pattern for BLO crocheting and you choose to crochet in both loops then your animal may come out looking a little funny, like my first pointy headed ones did.

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P1030314With these monsters done, I named them Mark and Clark. Mark is the older monster brother crocheted in both loops. He has the straighter smile. Clark, the younger brother, is the monster crocheted in the back loop only. He has the crooked smile. Clark also has ridges because of being crocheted in the back loop only. The ridges are formed from the exposed front loop. I asked the husband which one he liked better and he said he liked them both, but he really liked the ridges on Clark better. I can not pick which one I like best. I think they are both fun, silly monsters and I can’t wait to start the next monster pattern.

Happy Easter

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With Easter being so early this year, I had decided early on to not make any amigurumi’s for the holiday this year. But when I came across the pattern for these googly eyed easter eggs and bunny, I changed my mind. This project became a must do for some reason! I just fell in love with the pictures on the pattern and I could not wait to make my own eggs and bunny.

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The pattern said to use a size 3 hook, but you know me, I used my favorite size 4 or G hook instead. But who cares if they are a little bit bigger than the pattern called for? Not me! In fact, “who cares” became the theme of this project. Who cares if the bunny is a little lope sided? Who cares if the eyes are a little bit crooked? Who cares if the smiles are off slightly from the eyes? These little guys were supposed to be lop sided, and crooked and off center. That’s what makes them so much fun! And, that is what made them so much fun for me to crochet and stitch up.

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These guys did end up being a little time consuming in the end though. Crocheting the pieces and stuffing them were no big deal but the small details on them did take some time to finish. They have a lot of small felt pieces that need to be cut out and glued on. After I had cut out all the felt eyes, eyebrows, nose and teeth, I invited the husband to a glue party and he helped me to glue all the felt pieces onto these guys in one go. I could have used safety eyes instead of felt but since it is a meant for a decoration, and not a toy for a child, I decided on the felt. Plus with felt eyes I could make the eyes different sizes and shapes and make everything look just the way I wanted.

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So what do you think? Have you fallen in love with these crazy googly eyed easter decorations like I did?