Monday, 14 October 2019

Henri Joggers - Playing with the boys

I was fully prepared to photograph these plain, grey trackpants on a coat hanger...

But I was told there's only ONE way to model grey trackpants. So, stick a Kenny Loggins B side on the turntable and let's do this! I promise, this was entirely HIS idea!!

This wasn't meant to be some kind of weird homoerotic TopGun tribute... He just needed some tracksuit pants for lounging around the house and so I obliged.

The pattern is the Henri Trackpants from Jalie. Straight size as per measurements and no mods. The first pair were in a lovely dark, blue grey, heavy rib knit from Fabric Deluxe.

The fabric was a bit narrower than a regular knit so there wasn't enough for the pockets. I used a lighter weight cotton knit and then some more of that for the drawstring. In attaching the waistband the 2" wide elastic got stretched out. Probably because I'd tried serging the edge of it to make it look nicer. The waistband is wrapped around the elastic but doesn't enclose it fully. That's great to stop it twisting, but hard to get a really neat finish. I like the wide elastic but I'm not entirely sold on this as a waistband finish.

These ones were being worn so much there was a risk they'd never come off for the wash, so I grabbed some cheap sweater fleece on sale at Spotlight and made a second pair. I obviously wasn't all that bothered by the waistband finish to change anything. These are also straight up.

What's not straight up are the muddled character references in our volleyball shoot :)

Who was in a hurry for his date with "Charlie"? Well that was Maverick checking his watch, sure, but he wasn't wearing grey trackpants...

He was in jeans.

And the only one who wore a T-shirt was Goose and when you play at Top Gun it's a truth that nobody wants to be Goose...  (the kids and I did offer to fake tan him and spray him in oil to be shiny sweat, rofl)

Also vetoed was giving his hair the Iceman peroxide treatment.... So Slider it is - and in fact he's the only one who actually wears grey trackpants. But let's not let reality stand in the way of a man's trackpants modelling dreams!!

The drawcord on these ones is some of the recycled denim cotton cording that I bought from String Harvest without nay particular project in mind. It's perfect for drawstrings but I want to give the rest of it a much more exciting purpose than that.

The kids had a blast at the end of our photoshoot going for the accidental ball-to-head outtake. It took a lot of goes to get it just right, hitting the wrong part of the head wasn't good enough for the kids, and I was laughing too much to actually get the photo in time.

Anyway, grey tracksuit pants. There you go. Much love to Flipper who fully earned these two pair of trackpants!

Wednesday, 9 October 2019


Finally we've finished our house move and have a computer plugged in and internet access. Time to catch up on everything I was sewing when I was meant to be sorting belongings and packing boxes!

There's no better distraction from real, grown up, life chores than a bit of costume sewing.

At the end of the gymnastics term they always have a dress up theme (previous wild animal and circus themes) and this time it was superhero theme.

What better way to show off my superhero mum skills than to disregard all the tedious jobs and whip up a leotard entirely from stash fabrics and patterns?!

I had been gifted some leftover bits of lycra from the lovely Jorth and whaddaya know, it was all the supergirl colours. Along with my small bit of leftover gold I was set.

The pattern is a mash up of the top half of Jalie 3136 and the bottom half of Jalie 3466. I doubled the skirt so it would have both a front and back portion rather than just being a skort.

The navy fabric was only just enough for the sleeve length to be elbow length, but then I had the inspiration to continue the gold and red blocking and I think it turned out better than plain navy long sleeves would have been.

The leotard was cut and sewn in a day and then I tried plugging in the Silhouette Cameo that I still have on loan. Something was going wrong with the software and the recognition of the connection. The resident IT guy (Flipper) remembered it had been an ordeal the first time and couldn't recall what he'd eventually done. By the time we'd both given up I had handcut a stencilled superhero logo and was ready to iron it on.

Luckily, amongst the few A4 sheets of Picture Perfect Iron on Vinyl I had were yellow and red. Super stashing powers right there, right?!

There's no doubt I impressed the kid. She was delighted! There's a bit of leg creep in the shorts and I think elastic leg holes might be more successful than hemmed boy leg shorts. I noticed her tweaking them all the time which kind of ruined the supergirl vibe. I mean Superman never seemed to get a wedgie, did he?

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Ottobre boy jeans

The reason I ended up with a couple of Finnish and German back issues of Ottobre magazine was that I'd been on the hunt for a new boy jeans pattern.

My previous favourite, which I still love, was Burda 9406. I made a few of those for P (here and here), and then topped out last year with the final size 10.  And they're now outgrown...

I often read of the difficulty of sewing for opinionated tweenage girls, but how about lovely tweenage boys who will happily wear almost anything but are overlooked by pattern designers? 

So many kid patterns top out at about size 12, or less, and most grown up patterns won't do until at least 16 or so. There's a little gap there for the boys, and Ottobre seems to be one of the only companies that's filling it. 

These are pattern 36: Straight Cut Jeans from Ottobre 1/2016. I'd purchased this magazine and the other I used for A's tops because they both had a boy's jeans pattern, going all the way up to size 170cm. This one for rigid denim, and the other one for stretch denim.

And I just happened to have some great black rigid denim in the stash. It came from Rathdowne Fabrics ages ago as water damaged stock, but after a wash it looks perfect to me.

There are some cool topstitching details like the extra pocket yoke, and the knee darts which are actually shaping darts not just decorative stitching.

The back pocket pieces are chopped apart, seam allowances added and then stitched back together to cool effect.

You've got to love topstitching to make jeans and I always do. At least up until attaching the belt loops and then it all gets a bit sweary. Using a shim helps a lot but it's still a pain.

That, and hammering in jeans buttons. I hate that job so much that I have now tracked down a die set adapter for my older style snap press and a set of jeans buttons dies. Next time it's going to be a breeze!

I've made a straight size 150 as per his measurements and they look like they should fit for a little while, yet there's no elastic and they're not falling down. Moving away from elastic in the waistband of your pants seems to be the young male rite of passage as far as home sewing goes!

Having said that, his favourite pants to wear, that he reaches for every time, are the elastic waisted Oliver + S Field Trip cargoes. And thankfully I've still got a size or two left in that pattern.

Anyone else sewing for a tweenage boy? Any favourite patterns out there?

Monday, 9 September 2019

Secret Valentine Exchange Part VIII - Raffia hat

It's time for the September instalment in my year of the Secret Valentine Exchange.

In case you're not familiar with the original concept - two wonderful women organised a gift exchange between makers all around the globe. A short bio of who you are and what you like was submitted and a giftee would be assigned to you and someone else would receive your name and become your gifter. We made our small handmade things, whatever they may be, and posted them around the world in order for our giftee to receive it on Valentine's Day. A kind of insurance against feeling left out on that most crass, commercial day of celebrations.

With the illness of one of the organisers, the Secret Valentine Exchange is in hiatus this year and so I put out a call for ideas of things to make during my January vacation - when I'm usually crafting my gift to post at the start of February. The list was so long and there were so many fun ideas I decided to run with it all year. So here we are in September with the 8th instalment in my year of the S.V.E.

I'm particularly fond of this month's creation for the way it came to be.... The recipient @rou2an1_made politely put in a request for a straw hat like the one I'd made P way back when he was a gondolier for Italian Day.

I'm not going to pretend I wasn't flattered, but I quickly doused her flames by saying that had been far too much work, and I wanted to stick with using materials I already had.... In short, I told her she'd overstepped the mark :) But the idea stuck.

And then I was enjoying learning to crochet... And then Flipper came home with a ball of paper raffia that someone had given him to pass on to me.... This could just happen...

Except that I didn't have much of that paper raffia, and so as you can see it became a table mat instead.

I was really wanting to make this hat now, and in August I was off to the Gold Coast for a conference with nothing to do in the evenings. Perfect hat crocheting time. I put in an order with String Harvest for some of the Mondofil paper raffia: a large cone of speckled paper raffia in the cream colour and a smaller cone on the speckled brown, and had them delivered to the apartment I was staying in.

The hat came together over the week with a few late crafting nights and a few conference sessions where it came with me and prevented me from nodding off to sleep during the duller moments :)

The pattern is the Walk In The Park raffia sunhat from ABC knitting patterns (link here). I reduced from the suggested 3.5 hook to a 3 hook in order to get the tension about right. When I'd finished it was quite loose on me, and I consider myself someone on whom hats are usually tight...

I took a trip out to Torb & Reiner (who had assisted me so well with that ambitious straw boater project back in 2014) and purchased some Petersham ribbon and Hat Stiffener.

I sewed the Petersham ribbon such that it would be tight on me, then panicked and thought it was too small, so I ripped it out and made it a bit looser. It's still a tight fit for me but not too tiny. I hoped it would be right for my giftee. I knew nothing about her head size due to her tendency to never show her face on the interwebs and instead hide behind bunches of celery and other produce (#posingwithproduce)

Thankfully it turns out I got it just right!

I used my Hat Stiffener mixed 50:50 with Hat Thinner (very Alice in Wonderland) and painted the crown once and the brim twice to get a good amount of stiffness to the raffia. - and the table mat got a single coat too.

I delivered the hat today and we met for a lunch and had a lovely chat. She has already written a much better tribute to my hat than I could, so check out her Instagram post here.

I might need to make myself one of these hats since I never can find hats that fit me well, and in searching for this hat pattern I found a different super cute one I'd like to size down and make for A.

I'm sadly on a bit of a craft break as we pack up and move house to do some renovations. I have a bit of a blog back log though so while I'm not making I can hopefully catch up here. Or maybe I can leave one hook and a bit of string out of a box... ;)

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Ottobre tops

Suddenly these kids grow and nothing seems to fit them. That was the case with any long sleeve tops that A had, so time for some more

I had a couple of Ottobre magazines that were languishing, hardly used. I figured some simple tops would be a good way to get over those horror Ottobre pants.

This pattern is number 21: Owl Princess from Ottobre 1/2014. it's a simple swingy, flared long sleeved T. I have a German language back copy, but they emailed the English instructions for me to print at home.

The pattern tops out at size 134cm which is a fraction under her current measurements, but was worth a try. I made no modifications to the width, but added 1&1/2" torso length around the waist as I know she has a super long body. No sleeve changes either - they're nice and long!

The umbrella print cotton knit was a long stashed fabric from the $4/m table at Spotlight. Not great quality and only after I'd cut it did I notice the print fault that is on the front, but it's subtle (unfortunately it looks exactly like a faint toothpaste dribble, but oh well).

The Ottobre neckband binding instructions were nice, and it is a binding, rather than a neckband. That saves adding seam allowance to at least one part of the pattern. The neckband is just stretched to fit so  there's a bit of potential for user error if you're not practiced at binding necklines. I don't mind that though, as every fabric will behave differently and so a set length can be equally frustrating.

I put one of Kylie and the Machine's cute labels at the back as there's no centre back neckband seam as my kids are used to.

She surprised me with how much she liked it. I'd had little expectation as I was just using up stash fabric and an old pattern. Happy times.

Feeling buoyed I jumped straight in with another version of the same. This one was all about the iron on jewelled transfer that I'd scored at Jimmy's Buttons a while back.

It needed a plain fabric. and I was surprised to find that my stash of plain cotton lycras had dwindled quite a bit. This red was the perfect choice to let the silver, black and yellow diamantes stand out.

A few of the jewels had slipped from their position and it took a bit of tweezering to get the motif set properly. Once ironed on, they're pretty solid. I've just handed down the last top with jewels on the front after it had been washed many times without any coming unstuck.

She was very happy with this one too. These two were both my choice of pattern and fabric, but the top she had requested when flipping through the  magazine with me was pattern 32: Fly Away, a bat wing top.

This is a very simple pattern with only two pieces and a neckbinding. The shoulder seams end up bias cut and so to stop them stretching out a ribbon is applied down the seam. 

The green merle knit which may have some wool content was in the stash but no ribbon that matched. I couldn't find any that looked good  in shops either so I ended up using a bias binding. 

This pattern goes all the way up to 170cm size so it may get made a few more times in the future. Here, it's a straight size 140.

The high/low hem with elastic is kind of fun. On the model it's shown more gathered making it almost look like the top is tucked in. The modelled shot also shows the sleeve worn pushed up on one side, but the other side has it more of a "bracelet" length, so I'm guessing it's meant to be worn shorter. You can see the difference in length between this one and the first top, and this one is a size larger.

She particularly loves this one, but has discovered that it's hard to wear a bat wing top if you need to put a jumper or coat over the top. Now that spring has arrived with some delicious warmth I think it will be in high rotation.

Another treat for me is that she has decided to wear all of P's outgrown jeans. These are Oliver + S Art Museum pants which were new back here, and the navy pants earlier in the post were these Burda pants that he outgrew quite quickly (they're like new!)

Monday, 26 August 2019

Secret Valentine Exchange Part VII - make it a macaron!

Quite how I didn't already know @mrskylliearcher is a mystery. But I've just spent a lovely morning having coffee with her and handed over the August instalment in my year of the Secret Valentine Exchange. (what a coincidence is the first image in that link!)

Amongst many talents, she makes the most incredible looking macarons, and she suggested I make a macaron shaped pincushion when I put out my original callout for project ideas. I tried :)

The kids thought my macaron pincushion looked more like a hamburger. I was aiming for a sort of strawberry shell with chocolate ganache. But I'm not sure what my decorative bits would be. Coffee? Probably not a good flavour mix. I have said before that I can't bake, right?

I used a Straight Stitch Society pattern which is for a sewing pouch and pin cushion in the shape of an apple or orange (Apples to Oranges Sewing Kit Sewing Pattern). In order to have the less circular shell I simply sewed the panels together with a shallower curve.

The macaron opens out to reveal the ganache is in fact a needle pad (surprise!) and the bottom half is a cute little pouch. Just to really mix my flavours it's lined in a deep raspberry red. It took a bit of rummaging through the scraps bucket to find bits of fabric suitable, but I wonder if it wouldn't have been better to have not aimed for realism and to have used floral quilting cotton leftovers. It certainly would have been less hamburger-y.

I picked up some nice sewing notions at Fibresmith and stuffed as much as I could into the bottom pouch.

Since we live in the same city and are both bicycle fans, we picked a café halfway between us and cycled to our rendezvous. It turned out to be a glorious spring morning and a brief coffee catch up turned into and hour and a half of chatting.

An absolute delight!

Now, if you want to see some really impressive macarons, go check out Kyllie's Instagram feed!

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Double Trouble - Jalie 2213

While I'm on vacation (oops, study leave) at the beach, A has gone off to school camp. I hope her new anorak is keeping her warm.

Remember I declared the Jalie 2213 Anorak to be an absolute favourite last year? Well I scooped up some softshell on sale at Spotlight and made two more.

While I don't have my Jalie Anorak with me, she does and I'm happy to think it's keeping her warm. Ready for some weird mummy-daughter twinning photos? :)

 We're working it. Watch us pop the collars!....

Demonstrate some high low hems....

You get a glimpse of the mesh back there (hers is pink, mine's grey) but we can show you those back vent openings better than that!....

And the big front zippered pocket under those side flaps....

Elastic toggle drawcords... (don't ask me why I put them on different sides)

And we're done!

It's quite a big, boxy cut on the top and is very much a unisex pattern. While it's not particularly flattering it's exactly what I needed for throwing on over multiple woollen jumpers to be fieldside for winter sports on a Saturday morning.

The softshell is a bit of a beast to pin and sew where there's lots of layers and then this pattern with the neck zipper and two pocket welt zippers, and the back vents... Well there's a lot going on and I needed to take a break between making mine and then hers.

I made both of ours by our measurements with no modifications and the sleeve length is wonderful - perfect for biking and all those bent arm activities where a short sleeve leaves you cold.  I might have preferred mine in a dark solid colour as this floral doesn't feel very me, but since every other coat I've made is a dark solid colour maybe this one can be a bit different.

The pattern is out of print and doesn't seem to be available digitally either. Be quick and hit up Underwired for possibly the last paper version in existence.

Pattern: Jalie 2213
Size: Me: "T", Her: "L"
Fabric: Softshell from Spotlight, Mesh sport knit from Sew Active Fabrics
Notions: zippers from Le Nguyen, elastic cord and toggles from Jimmy's Buttons