Friday, May 27, 2011

Pants for boys, take one (oops!) and take two (success!)

I have been cleaning out my closet lately, and several of my immediate-post-maternity-pants thankfully made their way to the goodwill box.  However, while noticing that my son's ankles are poking out of almost all of his pants again (and shorts weather still seems woefully far away in this neck of the woods), I thought it might be time to recycle something for him.

I hadn't made big-boy pants before, and there are so many great resources online!  For the pants I made, I referred to this site, which is full of great tutorials (the link is to the basic pants tutorial).  For the jeans, I really only used this tutorial as a reference, since I had to work with existing seams/etc.  After seeing how the jeans turned out, I followed the tutorial to the letter for my second pair of pants (and they turned out much better!)

First I attempted some jeans.  My old jeans were at one time pretty slim-fitting on me, so the legs weren't that much bigger than a pair of The Boy's pants.  I thought it would be fun to keep the original hem and seams intact as much as possible to give them a less homemade look.

One nice thing about buying cheap jeans (I knew I wouldn't be wearing them for long--I think I paid $11 on clearance at Target for these) is that the denim is nice and lightweight, which makes for easy sewing.  Also, since the knees had a little wear, I decided to make the front of The Boy's jeans out of the back part of the legs.  (The slightly-worn knees ended up being the butt of the new pants, which is a little funny.  I thought I might put pockets on there.)

So, here's how the jeans turned out.  Inadvertently skinny.  I thought, The Boy is a cool enough dude to pull off this look.  The hubs was officially Not Sure about these pants.  Then I tried them on The Boy.  He was not a happy camper.  I guess he's not the skinny jeans type after all.
Mom, can  I take these off yet?

Snug.  Maybe I'll save them for Little Sister?
This happened because even though the original legs were wider than regular little boys' pants, you need to allow extra width for the crotch, so in order to get that curve where I needed it, I had to make the legs skinnier.  So, if you're making old jeans into new, I would forgo reusing the seams and just cut the whole thing out of wider-legged pants.  It was nice to have the hems done though (esp. for jeans), so if that works out for you, go for it!

My second try was much more successful.  These comfy pants were made out of a pair of lounge pants that were somewhere inbetween sweats and yoga pants.  Nice weight for boys pants.  I did err on the side of caution though, and these are a little too big--although that's not really a problem as he will certainly grow into them.  It doesn't help with our current pants shortage, though.

Here's how they turned out:
Ahhh, much more comfortable!

The back (alas, a bit too long)

Wiggle room


Who, me?  So coy.

Definitely couldn't do this in the jeans.
I like the slightly flared-leg silhouette of this pattern--I linked to the basic pant above, and from there you can also find tutorials for flat front pants and pants with pockets, among other things.  Will definitely be doing it again!

Monday, May 23, 2011

$1 Comfy Shift Dress!

I'm back to my comfort zone--sewing without a pattern.  I am totally in love with this little dress I made for Little Sister!

I would make one for myself if there was any more of this fabric!

I picked up this fabric remnant (3/8 of a yard) for next to nothing, and hoped there would be enough there to make something for Iris.  It's cool, because it's really soft t-shirt material, except that it's double-layered, so it's a little thicker, plus it's got stripes on one side and polka dots on the other.

$1.20 for the fabric--pretty good price for a dress, I'd say!
I followed the general idea of this boat-neck dress tutorial from the Make it and Love it blog, making my own modifications as I went.  The main thing I did differently was to take advantage of the two-sided fabric:  instead of folding under a traditional hem, I rolled the hems at the neck, sleeves, and bottom of the dress OUT so that the inside would show and stitched them down before sewing the pieces together.

Also, I made the pockets a bit smaller and left the buttons off.  What do babies need pockets for, anyway?  Oh yeah, this:

I made this little guy out of extra fabric to fit inside the pocket.  It was
supposed to be a cat.  Hmmmm...

Since the fabric and style seemed like it would be good for fall, I used a dress that fits Little Sister now as a template but went a little bigger all around.  Turned out just right--she can wear it now on chillier days, but there's enough room to take her into the fall.  Oh, and I made the whole thing during the commercials in the season finales of The Office and Parks and Recreation (too noisy to use the machine during the actual show), and maybe a half-hour afterwards.  What I'm trying to say is, it was quick.  And I like TV.

Anyway, I just love it!  I followed Little Sister around admiring her outfit all day.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Projects for other people!

I've been busy making a couple of coordinated sets of shirts and headwear (not to be confused with headgear, see your orthodontist for that) as special orders/gifts, and it's been so fun!  First, I made t-shirts and birthday crowns for a couple of brothers whose birthdays are only a few days apart.  One likes planes, the other likes trains.   Guess they need another sibling who likes automobiles!  And their aunt, who ordered this stuff, had the brilliant idea of putting their first initials on their birthday crowns instead of their ages--BAM!  Year-round crown, not just for birthdays anymore!

Little brother likes planes.

Little brother is turning 3!

You know I couldn't resist having The Boy model!

Big brother likes trains--same fabric as the other applique

Big brother is turning 6.

The Boy, who has never met these boys, wanted to play B and Z all morning.
I only let him wear the crowns for the photo shoot though :)

Also, we have some lovely friends with two little girls who will each be receiving a shirt and headband for their birthdays.  Both shirts look mostly like this:

One is a little bigger, one is a little smaller, both have owls, but the owls have subtle differences:

The same!  But different!
And I made coordinating headbands too.  There is a dilemma however.  Both little ladies can wear the same size headband.  So do I give them matching headbands, or two different ones so they can switch it up if they want?  Here are the two different looks--weigh in and let me know, should I give them both flowers, both feathers, or one of each?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Patchwork Laptop Sleeve!

OK, so I didn't make this.  But I did find this plain black neoprene laptop sleeve in a cardboard box on a corner not far from my house one morning and brought it home, thinking that I could make it pretty if it fit my laptop.  I recovered it, so that I could re-cover it.  (Sorry about that, couldn't help myself.)
boring but functional (and free)

Has definitely seen better days.

Is this just a phenomenon in my slightly-hippy neighborhood, or is leaving your old stuff out on the curb for people to pick through rather than taking it to say, Goodwill, or the dump, the norm?  I swear, I can't walk the 7 blocks to my son's preschool without passing a broken-down bookshelf, a sack of old sweatshirts, the odd lava lamp, etc--and that's just the stuff that's MEANT to be free.  Do people really think that someone else is going to want this stuff?  I mean, other than me wanting your slightly worn-out laptop sleeve, that is.  It really did seem clean though--not stinky at all.  Definitely not any dirtier than everything else in our house.

Anyway, I picked out some fabrics and cut them into random width strips, sewed together and pressed seams flat, then pinned to the sleeve.  I started to sew it on my machine, and while I had considered that it might be challenging to reach all the way to the bottom of the sleeve on the machine, I didn't really think about what I would do when I actually reached that point.  So, I sewed as far as I could reach, then I just had to...leave it open.  I guess I could hide things in there, or use it to carry a cord or  something.  I did manage to maneuver the sleeve sort of upside-down-inside-out and sew down the bottom center seam, so it's not just flopping around, but it's definitely not what I was imagining.  Oh well.

I was thinking I could possibly hand-sew some kind of decorative trip around the edge, but it seems like kind of a pain to hand-sew through neoprene...I don't know if it's worth the hassle.

In any case, here's what I've got so far.  I purposely didn't photograph the sloppy openings--just pretend it looks professional and finished!

Much better than before!

And, my pretty red laptop fits :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Minor Adjustment!

One of my college friends was living in Mexico when Little Sister was born, and she sent me a beautiful embroidered dress for a baby gift.  It was too big, so I put it away and was so excited to pull it out recently.  It fit Little Sister perfectly and looked SO GREAT on her!  She loves it too--as a matter of fact, I put it on her just to see if it fit, and it was a typically Portland chilly rainy day, but she wouldn't let me take it off of her.

Totes adorbs.
BUT, later that night, when I finally had to take it off to put on the PJ's, it was actually a bit of a struggle to get the dress over Little Sister's head.  She's not the easiest child to dress/undress (definitely a struggler), so I didn't want her to associate this lovely piece with fighting to fit the opening over her cranium.

SO, I found a piece of fabric in my stash that matched pretty well and made a little keyhole opening in the back, right between two embroidered bunches of flowers.  Now it's got a sweet detail that will allow Little Sister to wear the dress even after it becomes the size of a shirt on her!  Yay!  Simple, quick, practically free, and probably doubles the lifespan of the dress.

I actually got the idea to do this from one of the patterns I bought from Pink Poodlebows--in the Babydoll Dress pattern, she gives directions on how to do this so that the babydoll dress can be worn longer.  Love it!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Summer Sundresses!

I have gazed longingly at so many sweet funky sundresses for baby girls, and every time I just can't bring myself to spend the big bucks on the ones I really love.  I know, I just KNOW that I can make some just as great for her.  But, I have issues with following patterns.  (I also have issues when I don't follow patterns--go figure!) So I've been nervous.  BUT, a few months ago I found some patterns from a seller on Etsy that were adorable, affordable, and also looked fairly easy to follow.  Last week a local fabric store was having a great sale, so I bit the bullet--and I found great fabrics for a reasonable price.

So pretty!
The first pattern I attempted is the Bella stripwork dress in size 12-18 months.  It was very simple to sew and took hardly any fabric--less than a half-yard of the main color and just little pieces of the accent.  Here's the result:

Less than $3 worth of fabric!  And quick to sew, too.
I love the two-tone ruffle straps.  Little Sister is wearing this dress today, despite less than ideal weather conditions.  Hopefully she'll be able to wear it soon without the full body suit underneath!

Aww, SNAP!  My mom makes my clothes!
More baby sundresses to come soon (and hopefully the weather to wear them will soon follow!)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Preemie hat and booties!

One of my dear friends just delivered her tiny baby girl at about 26 weeks.  I knew right away I wanted to knit a hat and booties set for her.  I figure it must be difficult to find something for someone so tiny to wear, and I wanted her to be stylin' just like her mama from the get-go.

I found a few great patterns over at Ravelry, an awesome knitting community, and got to work.  I chose "Michelle's Booties", which were so quick to make (seriously, SO. TINY.)

I love me some variegated yarn.  Also, couldn't resist the felt embellishments!
I knitted the booties while watching the last hour of Cars with The Boy.  And I made the hat during the gift of quiet time that I got last weekend (Mother's day).

Besides wanting little India to have something beautiful to wear in the first days of her life, I wanted to give a knitted gift because there is something really special to me about knitting a gift.  When I knit something, I'm forced to sit in one spot and pay attention to what I'm doing.  Because of that, I am constantly thinking about the recipient as I knit.  I like to think that all of my warm fuzzy thoughts and good wishes get transferred to the recipient when they wear the item I knitted.   I don't know why I get this feeling more with knitting than with other types of crafting--maybe because when repetitively knitting the individual stitches, my thoughts become almost like a mantra for me.  With each stitch, a little love--it's more deliberate, maybe, than a project that has a bunch of different kinds of steps?  Anyway, I don't know, but it does make me feel really good about giving a knitted gift, especially to a little tiny baby.

And, I had to try and give an idea of the scale of these things.  In case you missed it, I cannot get over how little these things are!  They look like doll clothes.

First, the booties next to Little Sister's 13-month-old foot:

Hmmm... this doesn't really seem to do it justice.  Please note that
Little Sister is particularly dainty of foot--she still wears 6 month size shoes.

Now in The Boy's three-year-old hands:

OK, that's a little more like it, I guess...
And I couldn't help myself, although this one may be misleading, since I have giant man-hands:

And finally, the hat, using a three-year-old head for scale:

Is he balancing a cupcake?

So, I can't wait to pass these gifties (and all the love and warm wishes that come with them) on to baby India!  Love to you, girl!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Pirate Eyepatch!

I had been trying to figure out things that I could make that were similar to my flower headbands but geared more towards boys, and my dad suggested pirate eyepatches, with a see-through portion so that they were safer for kids than completely blocking one eye.  I floated the idea on my Sewbaby Crafts facebook page, and one of my former students took me up on it.  So, not exactly the demographic I had in mind, but possibly even more awesome:

 The soft elastic makes it nice and comfy.  I also put darts in the patch part of it so it doesn't totally squish your eyelashes.  The purple skull in the middle is see-through, although I think I would bag that part of the idea.  I like it in theory, but in practice, even though the fabric is see-through, it's not as easy as, you know, just seeing.  So your other eye compensates, and you might as well just have a full-on eyepatch.  And I feel like if I replaced it with an even less opaque material (mesh, or something) then it wouldn't look like an eyepatch anymore.  Thoughts?

Oh, and here's what it looks like close-up, when it's not on a head:

Which reminds me of one of my favorite jokes:

Q:  What did the hat say to the hat rack?
A:  You stay here, I'll go on a head.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Quick Car Mat Update

The Boy had another car mat brain child--although I wasn't quite able to bring his vision to life in felt.

Behold, the car wash:

He REALLY REALLY wanted it to be some sort of 3-dimensional tunnel type of thing.  I still wanted the mat to roll up easily.  So, here's the compromise.  He doesn't seem to be too heartbroken about it.

You can see the rest of the car mat here.