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Girl’s Fleece Jacket (Done Backwards) – Part 2

DSCN2088When I started this jacket, I decided to go ahead add the optional cuffs to the sleeves.

The cuffs looked so cute on the jacket on the pattern envelope, that I wanted this jacket to have the cuffs. But when it came time to sew the cuffs on, they were not turning out very well. They were just too bulky. The cuffs are made from two pieces of fleece. The first piece is sewn to the sleeve, then the next piece is sewn to the first piece and then folded over to make the cuff. I cut out the cuffs, sewed the cuffs to the sleeves and then removed the cuffs. In my opinion, this was a bad design for a fleece cuff due to so many seams in the cuffs and the bulkiness these seams caused. There are four layers of fleece in the top seam of the cuff, and that is just too many layers of fleece.

DSCN2084If I wanted to keep the cuffs, I had to come with a solution, so I gave it some thought and came up with some ideas.

First, the sleeves could be cut longer to make the cuffs. This would eliminating the bulky seams, but I had not cut my sleeves longer so this solution was out for this particular jacket. Another solution would be to use a thin lining fabric as part of the DSCN2086cuff, but I did not have it in me to dig through the stash to find a matching fabric. My third solution was to skip the cuffs, and make more bias tape. I would finish the edges of the sleeves with yellow bias tape to match the pockets. (My first thought was to use the bias tape to finish the edge of the cuffs, but eliminating only one of the layers in the bulky cuff was not enough.) So, I choose this as my plan. This jacket would not have cuffs, and I would finish the sleeves edges with the yellow bias tape.

Thinking back, I could have had cuffs on this jacket by combining the solutions. I could have used a lining fabric and the bias tape to make the cuffs and eliminate the bulk. Hmmm. Maybe I will try that on the next jacket.

DSCN3414By using the bias tape on the sleeves, I did not have to worry about a hem or the fact I had not cut the sleeves longer to accommodate a hem. I applied the bias tape to the edges of the sleeves, trimmed the seams and turned the bias tape to finish the seams. I noticed that the thin bias tape looked weak at the bottom of the heavy sleeves. The way I got rid of this weak look was to not trim the seam inside the bias tape so much, which was different from any other time I have applied bias tape. Previously, when I applied bias tape, I wanted the seam allowance trimmed out before folding the tape over. If the seam allowance was left inside the bias tape this time, the look was much fuller and it looked better.

DSCN3418It was now decision time. Which way did I want the jacket to cross, left over right or right over left? After a lot of thought and debating, I decided to cross the fronts as if it were a boy’s jacket, the left front on top of the right front. This will probably drive the little girl that wears this jacket nuts as she tries to button the jacket backwards, but the half froggy’s that I got from folding the jacket the other way just didn’t look good. Hopefully whoever wears this jacket won’t mind the backwards buttoning buttons if it is a girl.

I was dreading making the buttonholes on this jacket. I was not sure how my sewing machine would handle sewing buttonholes on fleece. Sometimes, even with thin non-stretch fabric, my sewing machine has a mind of its own when it comes to making buttonholes and sews whatever it wants to. To help combat this problem, I made horizontal buttonholes, and held my breath as the buttonholes were sewn, but my sewing machine did great and the buttonholes turned out just fine.

DSCN3413If I had known then, at the beginning of the sewing of this jacket, what I know now, nearing the end of the sewing of the jacket, I would have added piping to the peter pan collar to coordinate with the finished design of jacket. It would have been really cute to have had the bright yellow piping around the collar to match the piping on the pockets and the bias tape on the sleeve. This is definitely something I will keep in mind for the next jacket.

DSCN3416With the sewing on of the last button, the jacket was finally done!

The making of this jacket was a learning experience from the beginning to the end, from the cutting of the fleece, to the sewing of a back facing, to the piping curved pockets to the designing of the fleece cuffs. There were many lessons learned on this fleece jacket.

All in all, I think the jacket is very cute and I hope some little girl will be willing to wear it and will enjoy it!

Until next time, sew forth and fleece on!

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!

Leftovers

DSCN1114“Can you use this?” asked my mother as she tossed me a small ball of brown toned bulky yarn left over from her last project. “Sure I can!” I answered as I tossed the yarn ball into my stash. Since I only crochet amigurumi’s, I can always use small bits and pieces of yarn. I just needed to wait for the right pattern that would use a small amount of brown bulky yarn to come along, and it finally did. When I saw this pattern for a bunny in a hoodie, I knew it was time to dig this ball of bulky yarn out from the stash and put it to good use.

DSCN1116Because I would be working with this bulky yarn for the hoodie of this bunny, I decided to crochet the pieces with my H hook instead of my G hook that I normally use to make amigurumi’s. I picked white as the color for the bunny, but as I reached for my white skien of Red Heart yarn, I remembered the abandoned white pieces of the bad Snoopy pattern that I had given up on. Since I was using left over yarn from Mom for the hoodie, why not see how much yarn was in the left over pieces from the abandoned Snoopy project and use it up too.

DSCN1115I was surprised at how much yarn was in the white abandoned pieces and how much of the bunny I was able to crochet using these pieces. I was able to crochet the legs, ears, hands, the bottom of the body and half the head before I had to get my skien of white yarn to finish up. I should not have been surprised how quickly I ran out of the brown bulky yarn though. After crocheting the arms and the body, I did not have enough bulky yarn left over to make the hood. I did have enough of the bulky yarn to make a collar for what would now end up being a sweater rather than a hoodie. After completing the bunny, I decided that I really like his bulky sweater and I am not unhappy at all that he does not have a hoodie.

DSCN1117I gave the bunny a small pink nose, a little smile and tiny whiskers as well as a small pom pom tail at the bottom back of his sweater. And I jokingly named him Leftovers, since he was made from left over yarn, but now the name is starting to stick so I think I will keep it.

I have only one problem. I have a tiny bit of the bulky yarn left. I would say about 6 yards. Not enough for another project but too much to throw away. I have thrown this last bit of left over yarn away a dozen times and then dug it out of the garbage a dozen times. To keep or not to keep it, that is the question. It is currently sitting on my cutting table as I debate its fate. Any suggestions on what to do with a tiny amount of left over yarn? Please let me know if you have any great ideas for it!

Until then, crochet forth and left over on!

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.