Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Plaid Refashion

I do not do much refashioning. This Eco-Princess look was my first real try at it from the Earth Day challenge. For Project Run & Play this week the challenge is Mad for Plaid and I just couldn't bring myself to spend any more money on fabric. I've been a very reckless fabric shopper lately. (Someone please ban all online fabric stores from my computer. Girl Charlee I'm talking about you.)

So my plaid fabric source is from my own closet and was a dress/shirt thingy I bought about three years ago and have worn exactly zero times. I bought it because it was on clearance and because it was so super soft, but then like so many other things I've bought, I bring it home and have no idea how to wear it. Too short to wear as a dress. Too long to wear with jeans. Would be cute with leggings but I have not worn leggings since the 6th grade. (I'm hoping for a leggings-change-of-heart though.)

So it was an easy decision to take scissors and a seam ripper to the never worn dress/shirt thingy.

Refashioning has it's benefits and drawbacks. Besides being cheap or free, the main benefit is you can keep cool features from the original item. It is hard to see in the picture but there are two top pockets, two big bottom pockets and snap up sleeve tabs that I was able to just transfer to my new top with no extra work. Of course the drawback is it takes much more planning and there are way more limitations when you are trying to design and cut your pattern. I also spent a lot of time with the seam ripper and had a billion baby threads all over me at all times. Using the seam ripper, I took off the collar from the original, took apart all the pieces, then resized and re-sewed for a smaller version of the collar.

I love that the new top is going to get a lot more use and will definitely look adorable with leggings on my 6-year-old.

Time to return to the sewing table and put to good use all the fabric shipments I've been receiving lately.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Popover Jumpsuit

I'm sewing along with Project Run & Play again as they start a new season! The first challenge was to remix the Oliver + S Popover Sundress Pattern.

I knew I needed to remake the sundress into something that was wearable for fall, but I still wanted it to keep some of the sundress features. I think this knit Popover Jumpsuit does both things.

As my nod to the original pattern, I kept the contrasting yoke and ties, but needed to change up the ties a bit. I'm pretty sure my new kindergartener is the one constantly asking for help opening up items in her lunchbox and I didn't want her to also be the one constantly asking her teacher to re-tie her clothing after she goes to the bathroom. So the shoulder ties are not really ties, just stretchy straps with bows tacked on top. Easy on. Easy off.

The bodice has a lot of gather, unlike the original pattern, and the leggings also were made to be wide and gathered. I encased a piece of elastic between the bodice and legging pieces to bring in the waist and tacked on another bow there too. The waist of this jumpsuit is made the same as in my Hopscotch Romper look.

Instead of wide leg pants on the jumpsuit I opted for more of a legging look finished off with contrasting bands. I really like the way they look on her, although my husband thinks they look like pajamas. But I knew even when this look was only in my head that he wouldn't like or appreciate it anyway. Not much of a jumpsuit guy :).

And since I wouldn't send her to school in just the jumpsuit (need to cover those cute little bare shoulders), I would style it either with a cardigan like below or pair a shirt underneath.

Any time I make this girl something other than a dress I run the risk of her never. wearing. it. again. It is super soft and comfortable and sooner or later she will need to be wearing pants or leggings to school any way so we shall see. Either way she will have something super cute to wear for her school's pajama day :).

***If you haven't voted for your favorite look yet over at Project Run & Play, head over there and vote! The contestants made some really great things.***

(Every time I sew along, I am so pleased I am not begging people to head over there and vote for me! Phew.)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sewing for Kindergarten

Today I am participating in Sewing for Kindergarten, hosted by Mie over at Sewing Like Mad. She has kindly agreed with me that I am an inconsistent blogger and so sweetly encouraged me to post something new on this rusty old blog. Thanks Mie! (Goodbye Easter dress post!)

So why am I sewing for kindergarten? Because my oldest went off to kindergarten this year.

This can be a touchy subject for new kindergarten moms.

I mean, somehow our babies go from this to this at an unreasonable lightning speed:

One day I am a brand new mom, scared and elated by this new little person I am responsible for. And the next day I am walking that not-so-little person through giant school doors into the real world and turning around and leaving her there. How did this happen?

I felt my share of these sentiments, but no, I did not cry on the big day. It was all excitement for us. After my own childhood experiences and also being a teacher, I have an idealized and special place in my heart for elementary schools, especially the early grades. I will be the mom balling when I have to take my baby to junior high (shudder)!

Note to self: Do not think about how quickly junior high will come. Just focus on kindergarten.

For at least the last year I have been excited for Drew to go to kindergarten, and also to sew stuff for her to go to kindergarten in! For a while I was buying tons of fabric and making tons of sketches, all plans for a homemade kindergarten wardrobe.

Right about the time when I started to draw patterns and sew together those plans I got a bad case of "I-Can't-Even-Look-at-My-Sewing-Machine-itis". It was a bad one and it lasted for a couple months. Needless to say, those wardrobe plans turned into making just a few things and letting H&M and Target fill in the gaps.

Here is what I did accomplish!

I love, love this ruffled tee. The peach knit is so soft and the blue stripes came from an old tee of mine, cut on the diagonal.

Another note: This messy hair look is what you get after an actual full day of kindergarten. It's the real deal.

Below you can see how I made this pattern if you wanted to try something similar. Start with your favorite bodice pattern. Cut it from shoulder seam to the center, then add your seam allowances. If you want the V-look using diagonal stripes, you will need to have a seam down the center of the bodice. For the front and back bodice of this shirt (not including sleeves) there were 8 pieces.

And another ruffled tee since I had already figured out the pattern. This one more simple though.

These harem pants are not very harem-y, I realize. They are definitely more slouchy around the crotch area than leggings though so I guess you could call them Comfy Pants or No-Wedgie Pants. Either way they are right down Drew's alley who is particularly sensitive about wedgies. I don't know why I cropped them above the calf. It was a last minute decision. I need to try making more No-Wedgie pants and tweak them a bit here and there.

If you'd like to try to make some yourself, see Mie's tutorial about altering leggings pattern to slouchy pants. I made my pattern almost exactly as she did.

And lastly my piece de resistance. The backpack. I let Drew pick out the fabric and the style of pack she wanted. I altered the pattern quite a bit and spent hours putting this thing together. I even hand embroidered little extras to make it extra unique and special.

And then.

At meet the teacher night, the day before school started, I was told kindergarteners aren't allowed to bring backpacks to school! What? "They take up too much room. And we have these cheap plain totes for each child to use. And they cost $3."

So essentially, after making this awesome backpack I had to pay money for her to wear a plain yellow tote to school. Ah well. Maybe she will still like it for first grade?

Here is to new handmade clothes, new experiences, and a great school year!