Friday, July 27, 2012

Shorts on the Line voting!

The Shorts on the Line viewer's choice voting is going on right now--all submitted entries are up for vote, so go check out all 101 fabulous entries! I loved seeing all those little kid shorts (once again making me wish I had girl children to sew for...).  I've been grateful to this sewalong for the push I needed to start sewing pants/shorts/capris.  I'm on my way to a completely homemade wardrobe!

These are my entries:
Entry #24
Entry #83

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pedal pushers

What do the kids call short pants these days? :)  I've always wanted a pair of white capris, but with two kids who routinely use the clothing on my lower half as their personal napkin, it's not super practical.  However, with a 40% discount at the fabric store and a tested pattern, it isn't such a big deal if they get ruined (okay, it would be a big deal, but at least I could make them again!)  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A take on a top

After (mostly) liberating myself from commercial sewing patterns, I've started looking at clothing completely differently.  On more than one occasion (and particularly when the item carries a hefty price tag!), I've tried on a top or a dress, or saw something online and thought, "I could make this!"  I've started a Pinterest board to collect these ideas, and this top from Boden was one of my first entries:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Faux pockets for the back side

So I've worn my new pants a couple of times and I have to say, I was feeling pretty self-conscious of the broad, unbroken expanse of fabric covering my rear end.  I had only the smallest swatch of fabric left, so I did the only thing I could do and made the decision to sew in some faux single-welt pockets.

Using this tutorial (but without the pocket bag part), I started off with just one, thinking that the only thing scarier than cutting a big hole in the back of perfectly wonderful handmade pants is cutting two that have to exactly match.  The first turned out fine (some behind-the-scenes issues, but nothing visible), so after wearing the one-pocketed pants to pick up my son, I took them off and sewed the second.  I have to say, I am super happy with the result!

Here's the before shot:
And with pockets!  I added some faux buttons to go with the faux pockets:

Here's some closer shots of the welts.  I used my fabric scrap to it's full potential!

My husband takes all the photos, and I turned the camera on him.  He cracks me up (no pun intended!):
I didn't make those shorts :)

Monday, July 09, 2012

Mom-on-the-go shorts

I don't wear shorts very often, preferring skirts (or skirts with built-in shorts) when it's too hot to wear pants.  However, after discovering the Shorts on the Line summer sewalong, I figured I'd try my hand at sewing some.  I purchased the Amazing Fit! pants pattern with the ultimate goal of making shorts, so these pants were actually the "wearable muslin" toward that objective :)  

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Pants of which I can be proud

I was in grad school the last time I made a pair of pants.  They were lime green and probably ill-fitting.  I distinctly remember walking into lab, and right away, a fellow student asked if I made them.  As a seamstress, it's not really a good thing when someone immediately recognizes a piece of clothing as homemade!  Frustrated with printed patterns in general, from that point on I set aside pants as one of those things I would just purchase.

However, following sewing blogs as I do, I was reading about others having success with pants, and with one pattern in particular.  The name, Amazing Fit!, really sells the pattern as something that might actually work.  I took all my measurements and compared the finished garment measurements to how I like to wear my pants (fitted) and went down two full sizes from the suggested size.  I also selected "slim" (this pattern has "regular" and "curvy" options), so I was truly going for fitted, particularly since I was working with a stretch denim-ish fabric.

Nearly the entire pant is finished before you can try them on for fit.  These are well-constructed pants, and so when I put them on and found them to be ridiculously huge, I was super mad!  All that work and completely unwearable!  The instructions' suggestions for altering the fit were laughable with the problems I was having:
Saggy crotch
Saggy butt
Inches of extra width!
These pictures don't give justice to how huge they were and I thought it would be obscene to grab the 4-5 inches of fabric below my crotch for photos, but trust me.  Unwearable.  I ripped out the inseam, side and crotch seams and thought about what to do.

Knowing the crotch was too long and low, I reduced the length of the crotch seam in the back.  I couldn't do as much in the front, since the zipper fly was a certain length.  The photo below shows before (in the back) and after (on top).  I also took in the sides and inseam by about 1/2 an inch or more.  I reduced the waistband width by about half, which also brought the crotch up a bit.
Once I sewed them back up I was incredibly pleased!  The crotch is still a tad low, but seriously, I will wear these!
They fit just right, not too tight and the stretch material is fabulous!  I hemmed them for kitten heels, not the flats I usually wear, since they are more for work.
The back is in desperate need of pockets, but since I have almost no fabric left, I think welt pockets are my only option.
Recognize the fabric for the waistband (it was supposed to be self-fabric), pocket bags and hem?
I had purchased the brown stretch denim fabric from Joann's to make a skirt, so I only had 1.5 yards of 60" fabric to make a pair of pants.   I am only 5'1", so I could sacrifice a lot on the length, but I still had to be a little creative with fabric useage!  Don't worry, I don't plan on cuffing the pants :)

After altering the pattern, it truly fit wonderfully.  The cut is good for my figure and I like the wide legs (which could be altered to create a different look), so I applied my changes to the paper pattern and the very next day, whipped up a pair of shorts (stay tuned for the reveal of those!).

Monday, July 02, 2012

Little boy bucket hats

After living in California for nearly 7 years, I still haven't quite gotten used to cloudless days nearly all year round. As a matter of fact, you can find an ice scraper in my car (man, was I prepared the one day we had frost!), but not one of those super handy windshield shade thingys that everyone around here seems to have.  I only just started carrying sunglasses everywhere.  As a non-native, I'm not great about getting sunscreen on my kids (kids need Vitamin D, right? :) and we didn't train my eldest to tolerate hats from an early age.  This time around, though, I'm trying to get a hat on the little one as often as I can so he'll actually keep it on (you know, without straps, velcro, ties or glue).  

Enter the bucket hat (courtesy of Little Things to Sew by Oliver + S).  Oh so adorable and ridiculously easy and quick to sew up.  Plus, it takes a shockingly small amount of fabric, so any cute scraps have the potential to make an sweet little sun shade.   I first made one for my (almost) 2 year old.  The size small fit perfectly.
After reading a blog post about a variation on the hat construction, I obviously had to make another.  My (almost) 7 year old was the lucky recipient.  Large worked well for him (and almost fit me!)  
For the brim, I interfaced both the inside and outside pieces, and I'm happy I did.  And I love the parallel lines of stitching all around--it totally makes the hats!

Fabric: Alexander Henry 2D Zoo (front) and Michael Miller Backyard Baby (back)
Fabric: Michael Miller Dotty Dot (front) and orange kona cotton (back)
With these cuties my the little guys can be protected from the sun, and I can begin my assimilation to California culture.  Now, I just need a windshield shade...