Tag Archive | kid

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.

P1030970

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!

P1040073

DSCN1299

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.

DSCN4045

 

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.

DSCN0977

 

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.

DSCN2582DSCN2926

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.

DSCN0651

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!

Oh! That’s Gonna Leave a Welt… – Part 2

DSCN0977Continuing on from my first part of the welt pocketed jacket project, the rest of the jacket sewing went smoothly.

I used pleather for the collar as well as the pockets and it all sewed up great! Because the zipper was not inserted into the collar, there was no hand stitching and I was able to finish off the collar with some twill tape. I also remembered to press the pleather with a press cloth on both the pockets and the collar so that the iron did not damage the pleather. Before long the sewing was done and the jacket was complete.

With the jacket completed, I studied it closely and something was not right.

DSCN0981I stared at and studied the jacket until I finally figured out what that something was. The neckline on this jacket is HUGE! It is way too big around. I returned to the pattern, but as far as I could tell, I had traced and cut the pattern pieces correctly. Had I sewed something wrong or was it the pattern? I had a few options to try and fix it. I could try to fix the neckline, but for a trial jacket, I was not willing to spend the time and energy on a fix, especially to find out that the fix didn’t work or made things worse. Disappointed, I thought about not embroidering on the jacket, but then decided that some kid somewhere would be willing to wear this jacket, and he or she would need something fun embroidered on it to distract from the huge neck line.

DSCN0922Picking an embroidery design for this jacket was not an easy task. Since I did not know who the final owner of this jacket would be, I tried to make it as unisex as possible, but each embroidery design I picked swayed the jacket to the feminine or masculine side. I looked and debated over many designs until I finally realized that I was wasting all my sewing and embroidery time picking out the design. I finally went back to one of my first choices and embroidered The Lady and The Tramp design on the jacket. The jacket is definitely for a girl now but I love the design on it.

DSCN0982I am still not happy with the collar on this jacket, but I am very pleased with the welt pockets, the pleather accents and the embroidery design.

Ultimately, I am happy with the end results of this jacket and hope that there is a young girl out there willing to wear this jacket even with the oversized collar. I am super excited about learning to make welt pockets and I cannot wait to start another project with welt pockets!

Until then, sew forth and welt on!

Oh! That’s Gonna Leave a Welt… – Part 1

DSCN0977I decided that is was time to try making welt pockets.

Welt pockets always look so nice and professional, plus I had something special I wanted to try for the welts. One day while shopping at Walmart, I saw a couple of bolts of patterned pleather and I knew right away that it would be perfect to make the welts for the welt pockets from. I quickly purchased some, and headed for my sewing room.

First, I needed a pattern. After looking through my pattern stash, I turned to my Kwik Sew books on the shelf.

Yes, there were jacket patterns with welt pockets and instructions in these books. I was super excited and ready to get started!

Next, I had to choose a fabric for the jacket. I had a bright yellow sweatshirt fleece hiding in the stash and debated if pleather and sweatshirt fleece would look good together. I finally decided that they would, especially for a first try of welt pockets. It was easy to pick out some left over scraps from one of my shirts for the body of the pockets.

DSCN0827DSCN0830And I decided to make a size 8 jacket because of the length of the zipper I had. I would need to lengthen the jacket a little to accommodate the zipper, but I didn’t think that would affect the wearing of the jacket.

The first step in making this jacket was to see if pleather would survive the washer and dryer.

It did! And beautifully I might add!

The next step was to see if my sewing machine would sew the pleather or if I was going to require a special foot, needle and thread for sewing the pleather. I did not. The pleather sewed beautifully with just my normal pressure foot, regulars thread and a new Schmit universal needle.

DSCN0833DSCN0836Wow! I had read horror stories on the internet about sewing with leather but I guess pleather is different, or maybe just these particular pieces. Regardless, I was excited!

With the pattern traced and the fabric cut, it was time to get sewing.

To sew the welt pockets, I started with some scraps to get an idea of what I was doing, then I moved on to the jacket.

DSCN0838DSCN0842I started by applying a pieces of interfacing with the sewing lines to the front of the jacket. Next, I taped the pleather in place and then O sewed around the lines.. I taped it because I did not want to scar the pleather with pins. Cutting was next and then pulling the pleather to the wrong side to form the hole for the pocket. Then I folded up the welt and sewed it in place, and then I attached the body of the pocket to the pleather and finally I sewed around the body of the pockets.

DSCN0848DSCN0844Soon enough, I had completed the two welt pockets. They are not perfect but they were fun to make and I really like the results especially with the pleather.

I debated about interfacing the pleather of the welt but I thought that the pleather was stiff enough to not need interfacing. As I inserted my hand into the pocket, past the welt, I wished that I had interfaced the welt and made it stiffer to withstand use over time.

I had pictured the welts as being bigger than they finished up being. Knowing now how to make welt pockets, I feel that I can make the welts in different sizes and styles the next time I make something with welt pockets.

Coming up next, the completing of the jacket.

Until then, sew forth and welt on!

Hey! I found a button!

I wanted to look for some buttons for an up and coming project that I had started to plan, so I decided to make a trip to Joann’s. But even though I found some great buttons, I also found so much more.P1040394

Because I have to travel to get to a Joann’s, it is rare that I make it there on the starting day of a sale, but this time I did. On my way to the buttons, I passed the clearance aisle and noticed the 50% off signs. I also had a coupon for even more off of the 50% sale so I decided to look, just look.

Usually I do not find much in Joann’s clearance section, especially when it is on sale. I am usually too late in the sale to find anything I want and the clearance fabric is all picked over by the time I get there. This time since I was there on the first day of the sale, this was not the case.

I picked up two or three bolts of fun kids cottons and flannel that on sale for 50% off and the extra coupon I had made them a great price. As I was making my way to the cutting table, I walked by a separate rack of licensed fleece. I almost did not notice the 50% off sign hanging above the rack since it is seldom on sale for a good deal. But this time it was not only on sale, but it was on clearance too!

P1040387To my surprise I could not believe what was on this rack, several bolts of snoopy fleece prints. Oh my! Thank you! I believe I will take it all please! And so I proceeded to load my cart with all of the Snoopy and Peanuts licensed fleece they had left.

As the nice lady at the cutting table was measuring off the remaining Snoopy fabric on each bolt for me, I noticed several other clearance fabrics behind her on the return rack. So I strolled over to the rack behind the cutting tables to check out that fabric as well. Even though there wasn’t any Snoopy fleece on there, the rack was filled with some great minky fleeces and flannels. The prints and prices on these fabrics were so wonderful, I just had to have some of them too!P1040391

After that I finally made my way over to the button aisle but I could hardly see the buttons over my cart full of fabric. After seeing several buttons that might work for my project, but were not exactly what I had wanted, I decided to not purchase any buttons for now. Yes I know, the very thing that had brought me to the store in the first place and I was not going to be purchasing any. Well I wasn’t going to purchase any until I made it to the register to check out.

As the register lady was ringing up all of my fabric treasures, I noticed a basket of clearance buttons next to the register. And as I dug through the basket, I found some buttons that would be great for my project and many more that I would need for future projects. And since they were on clearance and with my extra coupon, they were a steal of a deal! Yay!

P1040389With my arms now full of bags of all of my wonderful fabric purchases, I waddled my way to the front door.

But wait!

I had forgotten to go to the yarn department to see if there were any fun sale or clearance items there. So I stopped and started to turn around but then I turned back around and headed towards the door again. I was so excited to get home and see all of my wonderful fabric and button purchases again that I decided to save the yarn shopping for my next trip.

Until next time… Sew forth and Sale On!

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.

.

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.

.

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.

.

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.

.

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.

PJ’s, jamas, jammies, jams, puh-jah-muhz

IMG_0001I wanted to make my Simplicity 2771 pattern, the pajamas with piping, one more time so that I didn’t forget all I had learned about sewing piping, but I wanted to change it up a little this time around. I wanted the second version to be made with short sleeves and shorts for the summer. I had just thought about cutting the sleeves and legs of the pants off on the pattern 2771 to accomplish this, that is until I saw my Simplicity 3987 pattern hiding in the closet. I decided I could just add piping to the edges of the shirt from the 3987 pattern thus practicing adding piping and I would be trying out a new pattern as well. I purchased Simplicity 3987 on the same sale as Simplicity 2771 but I had not made something from it yet. So, this was a good plan.

.

This project started with laundering the flannel, because I know how flannel LOVES to shrink, then I traced and cut out view B in a size 3 from the flannel. The flannel I used was just small scrap pieces so it was nice to use them up. It was at this point that I realized that piping was not going to work on this particular shirt top. Half of the piping would be hid under the buttons. Crap, why didn’t I think of that in the first place? Oh well. I was already too far in the process to abandon this project so I just continued on with it. At least I would still be trying out a new pattern that I hand’t made before and wanted to try out.

.

P1030274I started sewing by following the pattern guide and sewed the pocket on the front of the shirt, but that is as far as I followed the guide. The pattern guide called for the side seams and the sleeve seams to be sewn next and then the sleeve inserted into the shirt. I decided to sew the sleeve to the shirt and then sew the side seam and the sleeve seam as one seam instead. I don’t know which way is the proper way to sew the sleeve to the shirt, but I don’t see that it really made a difference in the wearing of the shirt once it was done. The pattern guide also called for easing stitches in the sleeve cap. I decided to use my 10 fingers and about 50 pins (well, maybe a few less) to ease the sleeve onto the shirt. Although I was able to get the sleeve eased on to the shirt without any puckers or tucks, it might have been easier to use the easing stitches instead. Most shirts I have sewn have a dropped sleeve, so the sleeve cap is not as tall, but not with this shirt. The sleeve looks to sit right at the end of the shoulder. This was actual good practice for me to insert a sleeve fitted at the shoulder and may be why the guide wanted you to sew the side and sleeve seams first and use the easing stitches to set the sleeve in. I will give it a try the way it recommends the next time I make this pattern.

.

P1030283The next learning experience with these pajamas came with the button holes. The pattern guide called for the button holes to be horizontal. I usually sew buttonholes vertically. On a shirt for me, vertical button holes keep me from having that gaping hole at the bust line that happens with horizontal button holes when you stretch in the shirt. I figured for a 3 year old’s pajamas it really would not make a difference and went ahead and followed the pattern guide. I shouldn’t have. I started at the bottom of the shirt and I didn’t think that where I started would make a difference, but it did. The bottom two buttonholes came out great. Then the trouble started. Because of the P1030286pocket, my automatic buttonholer had all kinds of issues. Because the surface was not even, it would not work over the thickness of the top of the pocket, so I turned the shirt around and did a lot of measuring but even with that the buttonholer hit the pocket at the top of the buttonhole and left me with misplaced half sewn buttonholes. If I had been making a girl’s shirt or made the buttonholes vertical or sewed the pocket on after making the buttonholes, none of this would have been an issue, instead I got uneven and poorly stitched buttonholes. I am not happy with the buttonholes on this project, but they are good enough and I doubt that the buttonholes with keep a little boy from wearing these pajama.

.

P1030287The shorts bottoms were super simple. They don’t even have a side seam. One thing I did not like on this pattern was the fact that neither the shorts hem or the sleeve hem had the small extended edge to help with the turning of the hem. Both of them are just cut straight. Due to this, a small hem was all I was willing to do on both the shorts and sleeves. Now, for me that’s not a bad thing. I like smaller hems on the items I sew. The problem that arises is that because I am sewing empirically, I may need to shorten or lengthen the shorts and the sleeves and not having a healthy hem width decreases how much I can alter them. I added a small piece of flannel to the back seam to indicate the back from the front of the shorts since they are so basic in design.

.

..

So, my final say on this pattern, Simplicity 3987, view B, is that although the final pajamas turned out fine and are very cute, this will not be my go to pajamas pattern for kids. My reason for this is the difficulty in putting the sleeves in and the missing hem edges. Because of these problems, I will go back to my Kwik-Sew book if I need to make more pajamas for kids. I will not part with the pattern just yet because of the night gown pattern in it and if I decided  I do want to try the set in sleeves again, I can. I may someday want to make this pattern again. We will see.

.P1030301

Dropping the older style

Since I was not wanting to forget the very important thing that I had learned from the size 1 cut tab front shirt that I had recently made, I decided that I should make some more shirts from this pattern to enforce the learned lesson in my brain so I wouldn’t forget it.

So I grabbed another piece of knit scrap from the stash and I got started. This time though, the scrap had actual yardage to it, at just over a yard, and it spoke to me right away as to what embroidery design I should stitch on it.

Because the design I wanted on this shirt is larger than the Mickey Mouse design of the size 1 shirt and I had enough of the fabric, I decided to make a size 3 this time.

As I traced and cut the pattern out, I looked again at the older style of this pattern and the differences from more modern patterns of today. The shoulder seam was actually fitting the shoulder instead of being dropped, and the length of the tab. And with that I had a great idea! I decided to get out my toddler 

Sew Kwik pattern book, trace and cut the kids size 3 t-shirt from it but use the cut tab front from the pattern Sew Easy 117 instead of the Sew Kwik one. I would still have a cut tab front shirt but with more room between the tab and the armpit for the embroidery designs. And since I had enough of the fabric, I decided to make both shirt styles, one with the older non dropped sleeve and one with the newer dropped sleeve. I cut the tab shorter than called for on both shirts because as far as I can tell, the long tab is definitely out of style

The cut tab was much easier to sew this time around bacause of the lessons I had previously learned, and the larger size of the shirt. The embroidering of the designs worked up well and the end results are great. Although I did have I moment of trepidation about the stripes on the sleeves matching the shirt. But as far as I can tell, they can not match and aren’t suppose to match with a set in sleeve. Only on a raglan sleeve pattern can you match the stripes properly. Is this true? Does anyone know any way to do it? On these shirts at least, the stripes are where they are, and be it right or wrong, that is that.

.

.

So, here are the two shirts, one from the older pattern Sew Easy 117 and one from the Sew Kwik pattern book with the cut tab front added to it. Can you tell which one is which? They are very close in size. The Sew Kwik shirt has a little more room in the width of the shirt but that is about the only difference I could see. I really doubt that the wear of the two will be much different to the wearer. With this I have concluded that I can use either pattern with my added changes. Because my Sew Easy 117 pattern is missing the size 4 part and I do not have a size 5 between the two patterns, I will continue to use the Sew Kwik pattern and add the cut tab if I need to make shirts in those sizes. Other than that I will use which ever pattern that I have handy at the time.