The Niece’s Jacket & Skirt Combo

When I married The Boy, I inherited a sister-in-law, as well as a niece. The Niece just had a birthday (um, a month ago…) wherein she turned 4 years old, which I discovered on The Book o’ Faces. Suddenly overcome with envy that someone else (The Nieces Mom, obvs) was able to dress a miniperson however she wanted (cause, duh, it’s her kid, Kris), I decided I must make something for The Niece to wear.

Andrea’s post, Babies Who Brunch (bahahahaha omg that name), showed off just how adorable the Sunday Brunch pattern by Oliver+S is, so naturally I decided to blatantly copy be inspired by her. (FYI, the pattern is available only as a pdf, and comes in two sizes; I chose the larger size range, because the kid is only gonna get bigger, right?)

Coat 01 Coat 02

I made a muslin in a 4 (the smallest size of the range I chose to buy), after The Sister-In-Law said The Niece is wearing a 4T. Whatever that means. o_O

Coat 03 Coat 04

I figured Duncan must be around 4-year-old-sized, right?

Coat 05 Coat 06

I ordered some hot pink corduroy from Fabric.com. (Another FYI: 21 wale corduroy is very, very fine-waled, guys. It’s more like a velvet sort of fabric, but it *is* corduroy. Just so you’re aware.) It was fabulously vivid, and then I washed it with some other fabric and it sort of became a dusty rose sort of pink. I can’t tell if I washed some of the dye away or if it collected lint in the washing/drying process that sort of dulled the color (because this shit is a lint magnet, y’all. Like whoa). Anyway, it’s still very pretty, just not as vivid as it was when I first received it.

Coat 07 Coat 08

But anyway, here’s the finished coat! Actually, I made the skirt part of the pattern, too, using some pink chevron cotton from Hobby Lobby.

Coat 09

Oh, and some zebra-print cotton. You think it doesn’t match so much, but then BLAMMO:

Coat 10 Coat 11

All the seams of the jacket are bound in zebra bias tape! I think 4 year olds can get away with more animal print than I can. (Read: I live vicariously through little kids.)

Coat 12

Inside out, just so you can see that everything except the hem and sleeve hems are bound in zebra.

Coat 13 Coat 14

Reviews on patternreview.com all pretty much say that the skirt is too short as drafted, so I added a little flounce/ruffle at the bottom to sort of lengthen it. Also to incorporate more zebra, duh. The skirt has a kickpleat, and I kinda thought adding extra fullness in the flounce would be weird there, so I just made sure not to gather that section when I added the flounce. The waistband is flat and smooth in the front, with elastic in the back. I really liked that detail, though I’m completely guessing at The Niece’s waist-elastic needs for this skirt.

Coat 15 Coat 16

I serged all my seams (ish, that kickpleat section was weird, man). Oh, and did you notice that the pockets were also made out of the zebra fabric?

Coat 17

Naturally I needed some modelled shots for Le Blug, but it seems that either I somehow made this version of the jacket a bit smaller than my muslin, or Duncan Idaho grew a little. This one doesn’t “fit” him as well as the muslin (it suddenly occurs to me that I’m really weird). I’m really worried that this stupid jacket won’t fit a 4 year old. What if that T in 4T means something important, guys??

Coat 18 Coat 19

Oh well! I bought the pattern, so I can just make a new one if this one is too small.

Ender is a far superior model to Duncan. Look at that gorgeous face! He sat so still for me.

Coat 20 Coat 21

Until he decided it was time for The Cat to model, of course.

Coat 22 Coat 23

Oh hai, Scout.

Coat 24 Coat 25

I think the color really suits her, don’t you?

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The Inevitable Body Image Post

I don’t have too much to share, just yet, as I’m working on some unselfish-type sewing, but I read a really interesting post by Maddie on Friday, about self-image. She mentions that what she sees in the mirror doesn’t match up with what she sees in photographs, which obviously leads me to think of this:

 Polaroids

Source

I, too, have a problem reconciling what I see (in mirrors OR photographs) with what I feel. See, I’ve always been a tomboy, and to me, that meant jeans and t-shirts and a sporty, athletic (slim) build. In my mind, this is what I look like:

two-of-a-kind

Source

In reality, this is what I look like:

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Just because you act a certain way, doesn’t mean you automatically look a certain way. Which is incredibly obvious anytime you’re talking about it, but internalizing that has actually been surprisingly difficult.

In theory, I know that I’m “curvy” (in addition to being overweight; the two aren’t synonymous, people). I have boobs that ain’t ever goin’ away, and hips that are definitely “womanly”. This article resonates SO strongly with me, and perfectly says what I could never quite articulate.

In practice, it’s still hard to come to grips with this. Which, for the record, is sort of dumb. Never in my life was I built like Mary Kate Olsen, guys. Even when I was, like, five, when I was a somewhat skinny little kid just by virtue of it being hard for anyone to be obese at five, I still had what my mom (affectionately?) refers to as “big ole legs”.

IMG_0002  IMG

For some reason, when I look in mirrors, my mind is able to gloss over everything, so that all I see is Reggie from Rocket Power (doing the math here will totally out me for watching cartoons at twelve-going-on-thirteen, y’all. OMG SO UNCOOL, haha!). In pictures, though, it becomes pretty damn obvious that I’m more Joan than Betty (paraphrased from above-referenced article).

PS-Pink--05

Prior to sewing, though, I never had a reason to take a full-body picture; I didn’t even own a full-length mirror. I damn sure wasn’t interested in looking at what I was wearing. (Truth: I’m still not as interested as I probably seem. I sew for the making, and while I enjoy the wearing, it’s not really the end-goal.) Even now, I’m just not interested in looking in a mirror or staring at myself (although I did buy a full-length mirror from Walmart, finally).

Culottes2

Does anyone else have problems with this? Sometimes it seems that the norm is to think you’re fatter than you are. Am I truly weird to feel the reverse? And is it conceited to admit what an amazingly cute kid I was?

IMG_0001  IMG_0003

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The First Four Almas

So, um, I kinda posted my fifth Alma (from Sewaholic, fyi) before ever posting my first four…so here they are!

Alma Number One:

Alma1 01 Alma1 02

Please, don’t be distracted by how fabulous that butt looks. I know. It’s my cross to bear.

Alma1 03

I went with View A all the way, because it looked so unique. I really wanted to break into wearing woven tops (all my rtw tops are knit, except maybe one button-down), but button-down tops tend to gape (see, that’s why there was only one of ‘em). The Alma gave a really nice option for a woven blouse, and View A is still casual enough to look like something I would wear (is that a weird way to think? ‘would Kristi wear this?’ ‘gee, I don’t know, Kristi, you tell me’. Oh good, I’m sharing crazy-people conversations I have with myself online, now).

Alma1 04

ANYWAY, the notched collar, cap sleeves, and bow are all adorable. This was actually my muslin, made out of a sheet (I mentioned this fact here). Here’s the thing about muslins: I sew them with contrasting thread, in big basting stitches. I didn’t expect to love this sucker right off the bat. I even love the contrasting thread; it looks sporty or something. But you know what I couldn’t be bothered with fixing, once I realized I was going to keep wearing it? ANYTHING.

Alma1 05

The seams are all unfinished, the darts pull apart because the stitches are too wide and loose, the hem is all kinds of frayed, and I just don’t even care. I love this thing, and will wear it to death.

Alma Number Two:

Alma2 01 Alma2 04

The only difference between this one and the previous is that I made the sleeves a little bigger (I just graded out a size at the armscye to accomodate the next size up sleeves); I actually interfaced the neck facing and belt; and also I paid money for this fabric.

Alma2 02 Alma2 06

Interfacing the bow definitely gave it more structure and helps it stand up way better than Alma Number One’s. Plus this fabric is just more densely-woven, so it has more body.

Alma2 05 Alma2 03

Interfacing the facing really helps the neckline hold it’s notched shape, too. So definitely don’t skip that part, guys.

Alma2 07 Alma2 08

I had just bought some rayon seam binding from Sunni’s shop for the first time (eventually I will have ALLTHECOLORS, guys), and wanted to try it out, so I finished the facing’s raw edge in it. And then didn’t finish any other seams, not even by pinking them.

Alma2 09

I know, I suck. This blouse isn’t dead, yet, though, because I don’t wear it nearly as often as Number One. I kinda hate it, actually. It’s a wee bit too pink, and polka dotty, and short. Bearing that in mind…

Alma Number Three:

Alma3 02 Alma3 03

I made this one longer! Oh, but yeah, it’s STILL the same view. Sorry, guys, I like to perfect things before I move on, I guess? (Definitely a lie.)

Alma3 01 Alma3 04 

This. Is. My. Favorite! Let me tell you about this fabric. It’s SO drapey, just unbelievable. And it’s a color I NEVER wear, and never would’ve thought about wearing if I’d seen it in a store or something. But I got it from Goodwill (I know, I know, I live there, hush), BUTTTT (haha butt), it was NOT a sheet or a table cloth (le GASP!).

Alma3 05

I know! It was actually a sarong, and when I was hunting through the sheets and stuff, this sexy slinky little bit of fabric just completely seduced me. There wasn’t much of it (a sarong is basically a rectangle you tie around your lower half as a swimsuit cover up), so it couldn’t be anything but a top for me. And let me just say, that I wear the SHIT outta this baby.

Alma3 17 Alma3 13

Remember my corduroy skirt? Lookee what I was wearing with it! (Sorry about the smug face and the opposite-of-a-myspace-angle, I’m just feeding my superiority complex, I guess.)

Alma3 06 Alma3 07

Unfortunately, I once again didn’t bother with properly finishing seams. I did pink all my seams, here, but you sure couldn’t tell that after the first wash it went through! Fabric has to be sturdy and firmly-woven in order for pinking to work. This one…was not.
Alma3 08 Alma3 09

Everything is fraying so badly that I think this top might be legally dead. The above pic on the left is the belt. It actually frayed enough to come out of the seam. Womp womp =(

Alma3 10

Aaaand that is a side seam on the actual blouse. I’ve been cheating by just tucking it into my corduroy skirt and pretending like it isn’t falling apart, but it’s kinda like Miss Emily pretending Homer is still alive in A Rose For Emily. Any day now, people are going to start sprinkling lime around my poor dead top while I cuddle with it, everyone too polite to tell me to just throw it away.

Alma Number Four:

Alma4 01 Alma4 04

Hey, look, a different view! This is view B, and unless I redraft some mofo’in sleeves, it’ll be the last view B! They’re on the tight side, which I am definitely not a fan of.

Alma4 03 Alma4 02

That collar is fucking adorable though, right? This is my first time owning anything with a peter pan collar.

Alma4 05

But the facing makes this whole thing just weird. The top is constructed so that you end up having a blouse-collar-facing sandwich that you’re supposed to flip over and everything is miraculous and perfect. Ugh, not even. For whatever reason, the facing feels like it’s too big to completely sit inside the shirt, and it keeps puffing up in front of my neck to be like “oh hai, I’m shirt-guts”. I feel like that’s gross, for some reason. I made number 5 (my Emma Pillsbury bow-collar version) not have a facing because of this. I serged it and folded it under, and it worked out a lot better than this bad boy.

Alma4 06 Alma4 07

Speaking of shirt guts, here’s the non-gross way to show off shirt guts! (wtf? don’t ask me.)

Alma4 08

Once it was all put together, and all I had left to do was stitch the facing on and hem this sucker, I chanced upon a miracle.

CYMERA_20131122_125851

GOODWILL HAD A SERGER. For $40. Clouds parted, angels sang, and my heart leapt out of my chest and plastered itself to this serger with a squishy squelch.

Sorry. I’m terrible at eloquence.

But anyways, you can see that I immediately (after testing it out on a piece of scrap fabric, obviously) used it to serge the edge of my icky facing, and the hem of the top. But the side seams are all still unfinshed, ha! I’m such a mess.

So there, we’re up to speed on my almas, and now I have a nice little space to reflect on what made my almas wearable.

  • First, LENGTH. I hate the length of numbers one and two, so I fixed that for three and four. (And five, incidentally.)
  • Secondly, DRAPE. I LOVE numbers one and three for the fabric used. They feel good, and are just generally my most wearable Almas (until I give my number three the viking funeral it deserves, I mean).
  • Thirdly, FINISHING SOME MO-FO’ING SEAMS. Whether serging, binding, french, whatever, the thing that will save my future almas will be finishing those damn seams. Especially given that I prefer the drapey, not-so-tightly-woven fabrics which are prone to fraying.

As annoying as it might be, I’m most definitely going to be making some more of these things. Warmer weather is on its way, and I’m excited!!

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Cambie-ish Black Corduroy Skirt

Once upon a time, there was one of those teacher-dresses*. You know the kind. All long and buttoned up, plaid and Winnie the Pooh and corduroy, probably paired with Keds. It lived in a Goodwill, and since this isn’t the 90′s, and that part of the 90′s doesn’t appear to be coming back, it was doomed to live there forever.

*Let me just point out, that I love the teacher/librarian look. Nothing at all against that look! But we all had a teacher that wore these things, and they were almost never cool, okay? Just tellin’ it like it is, y’all.

Skirt 18

Then along came THIS girl, looking for some cheap, black corduroy fabric. (See, it’s not just sheets and tablecloths I use, guys!)

Skirt 19 Skirt 20

(Yep, that’s a camo shirt. Yeehaw, bitches.)

I used the A-line skirt portion of the Cambie (TOTALLY COPYING ROCHELLE HERE, NO SHAME). Only, the thing is, there wasn’t actually enough fabric at the bottom for that cute A-line shape. So…it kinda tapers in again toward the hem (can we just say I “pegged” the hem, like it was on purpose, instead of “I saw the problem, shrugged my shoulders, and said ‘meh’ and did it anyway”? kthx.)

Skirt 5 Skirt 7

Apologies for the differences in lighting. My pictures at work are super-lit, and the ones at home are dark and sucky, but my camera died while I was at work, so, eh, ya do what ya gotta do.

I used some bright blue cotton broadcloth for the pockets, as well as the waistband facing.

Skirt 8 Skirt 1

I also made teeny-tiny belt loops. For some of my other skirts, I have a problem with belts not sitting quite right, so I decided I was definitely going to do belt loops for this skirt! So I folded the fabric, sewed it up, and cut belt loops the proper length. Not taking into account the fold-under and stitch allowance for the ends. -_- Eff. I do have a couple of skinny belts that will fit in these, but I hardly use em, honestly. This skirt fits a lot better than the ones I mentioned above, which really *need* belts.

Skirt 2 Skirt 9

But aren’t they cah-yoooot? Little baby belt loops! I smile each time I remember they’re there. I used some big ole purple buttons I had in my stash (everything comes from my stash, since I had a massive haul from a community yard sale, once). I also made some godawful buttonholes to go with the buttons, in blue thread to go with my pockets/facing.

Skirt 4 Skirt 3

I think I should’ve done my buttonholes vertically rather than horizontally, as there’s too much give for the buttons to slide around in them. Cause, you know, crappy vertical buttonholes would really work/look better than crappy horizontal buttonholes. Ha!

Skirt 13 Skirt 17

For the pockets, I didn’t want the whole thing to be blue, so I cut the pattern piece for the Cambie pockets into two pieces (the part that shows and the rest of the pocket bag), and cut the part-that-shows (there are probably better words for this…) out of corduroy and cut the bag part out of the blue. I stitched those together, and then treated it like a single piece in order to follow the pattern again. I got a kick out of making the part-that-shows run orthogonal to the rest of the skirt. #megadork

Skirt 15 Skirt 14

It’s unlined, so I bound the seams with blue bias tape, and used red bias tape for the hem. I topstitched the hem with red thread, because black, blue, and purple weren’t really enough for me, I guess.

Skirt 12 Skirt 16

One of my favorite things about sewing is being able to add color wherever I feel like it, and not having to subscribe to whatever color combos happen to be trendy at the time (neon pink and yellow, lookin’ at you).

Oh, noes, you thought I forgot to include a picture of a dog, didn’t you?

CAM00554

Not related to anything at all, just a pic from my honeymoon back in September (2013). There’s twenty billion pictures of dogs, and, like, 3 of humans. #priorities

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Project Sewn Sew-Along–Week Two: Make it Pink

True facts: I got it into my head one day last year that I needed to make something out of lace. There was no plan, no pattern; just a vague, fuzzy hankerin’. I was in a walmart when this hankerin’ hit, so I moseyed on over to their (tiny) (cheap) (all around just generally shitty) fabric section, and discovered…well, almost nothing. There was no black or white lace, no pink or blue or pretty lace. There was a lace which, if bleached, maybe, could become cream or ivory. It was dingy-looking as hell, and nothing that I’d want to wear, ever.

So I bought some, naturally.

PS-Pink--Cream Lace1

I’m an instant-gratification sorta gal, y’all. I never could quite force myself into using that lace, either. It was just so…nicotine-y. Is that a thing? That’s totally a thing.

PS-Pink--Cream Lace2

The pictures I took of it don’t quite convey the yellow-brown undertones that made this lace so awful to me, but oh well. Doesn’t matter a bit, anymore, cause…:

PS-Pink--Dyed Lace

When Project Sewn announced their challenges, the pink challenge got my brain a-percolatin’  (sorry, I was rocking out to some Alan Jackson today on the drive home from work, and it’s obviously influencing my thoughts right now).

Just about everything ever written about fabric-dyeing on Teh Internats says you can’t dye synthetic fabric with your average, ordinary Rit Dye. Welp, I strongly suspected my (cheap) fabric from (shitty) walmart wasn’t silk or cotton or anything nice like that*, so I figured screw it, I’ll just buy TWO bottles of dye! That’ll take care of it!

So after that test swatch, wherein everything came out wonderfully vivid, I went for it and dyed the whole mess of lace in my washing machine. I also snagged a cerulean sheet from Goodwill (I can’t quit this fabric source, guys), as I was always a very firm believer that magenta, cerulean, and scarlet are the best crayons in the big box and they’re all happily married forever (I guess they’re polyamorous? I didn’t really think it through that much…). I was actually searching for orange fabric, but when I held my test swatch up to this beautiful blue, I was sold.

PS-Pink--Cutting

I actually made the dress in the blue before I ever cut the lace out, because I knew I needed to make some changes to the pattern. My last NL6000 is tight enough to be past the va-va-voom stage and firmly planted in the sports-bra-uni-boob stage. So I did an FBA, that just went all the way down to the hem, adding a couple of inches (I needed more hip room, too. WHAT, I JUST GOT MARRIED AND I EAT STRESS, LEAVE ME ALONE =p). I did a similar slash-and-spread to the back pattern piece (we also ate a lot of cake after the wedding, too…I’m stuck in honeymoon mode), and then basted everything together in the blue fabric. MUCH BETTER. I pinned out some super-lengthening for the darts in the front, and re-stitched the side seams eleventy billion times, until I was finally happy. Then I trimmed the dress down (I had just been re-sewing, not cutting anything til I was sure), unpicked the seams, and layed it out on the lace.

I pinned the fabric to the lace very thoroughly, cut it out, and then basted them together through the side seams and up the center of all my darts.

PS-Pink--Basted PS-Pink--Pinned

Basting/underlining sounds scary, but it’s really that simple. You pin the fabrics together, and run a needle and thread through em both, enough to more or less hold them together. After that, it’s just one fabric. Super easy, but something that had me really intimidated up til now.

PS-Pink--10 PS-Pink--09

And et voila! A dress! As you can see, I did not underline the sleeves; they’re just lace and seam binding (on the inside), because I really love that effect. I actually lined my pattern pieces up along the scalloped border (see the second picture of this post), so I preserved that AND didn’t have to bother hemming/cuffing. These are my favoritest sleeves, which is a thing I never thought I’d say, prior to starting sewing.

PS-Pink--11

I tried to serge my seams, originally, but my serger was being a PITA, so I ended up binding all my seams in rayon seam binding, from Sunni’s shop. GAWD I want all those colors! This is “flamingo”, fyi, and it’s superperfect for this dress.

PS-Pink--12 PS-Pink--13

I skipped the facings, because all the changes I did to the dress would’ve meant drafting new facings pink rayon seam binding is magnificent and wonderful, and just generally easier better than boring ol’ facings that don’t want to stay put. I also super-cheated and machine stitched the seam binding-facing down, because you can’t see jack with this lace! My stitches are impossible to find (as I discovered with my seam ripper…=/). The invisible zipper is “coral”, and it’s from my stash.

PS-Pink--08 PS-Pink--07 

I also made sure to keep the scallops for the hem, so I only hemmed the blue fabric, making it slightly shorter than the lace. (Another good reason for making the dress up in the blue, first. I could figure out exactly where the hem would hit in lace, because I already had it trimmed and serged in the blue.)

PS-Pink--05 PS-Pink--02

The center back seam is just a wee bit awkward at the hem, since I decided last-minute that I didn’t need to do the vent, after all. I put the dress on and proceeded to lunge around my living room, do some high-steps, and just generally frolick with the dogs, and I had no problems with it, so I just stitched the vent area closed. Oh well! Can we just say how perfect this dress is for my shape? Just ignore the brown tights I was wearing with this. I was sewing in bra and tights right before taking these pics, finishing up my “facing”, and never got around to taking the tights off. This is definitely more of a Spring-y style dress, though, so I’ll have to find some more appropriate tights to wear with it. Like orange. Or blue.

PS-Pink--01 

I can’t take a picture without dogs. Ever. 

*To be fair, I totally tried to do a burn test. I stood over the sink and played with fire for a while, but I couldn’t narrow it down to anything other than “synthetic”. The charts I found said nylon would smell like celery when it burned, and polyester would smell like…chemical? Whatever, it made black smoke, but I inhaled a LOT of this fabric-soul, and it never smelled like anything to me. But I probably have cancer, now. Thanks, Obama.**

**This is a joke, and in no way reflects my political inclinations. Just google “Thanks, Obama”, you’ll see it everywhere. So I’m preemptively telling you to chillax, yo. =p

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