Wednesday 29 April 2015

TRON Legacy: Film Petit Gatecrash #2

Cue the Daft Punk soundtrack...

"this is going to be quite a ride"

I'm gatecrashing my favourite blog series of all time; Film Petit. If you haven't heard of Film Petit, it's the hilarious blog series from Skirt As Top and A Little Gray where they, along with a guest blogger, sew clothes or costumes for their kids based on films.

I haven't (yet) been officially invited to play, but that didn't stop me with my Kill Bill Vol I outfit here. And today, you guessed it, I'm busting into the room again with my kids dressed in their new TRON pyjamas!

This was not just a fun idea, 'cause the kids actually needed, like really needed, new pyjamas. I was busy making lots of fun stuff and ignoring the dire need for pyjamas, when the call for the Twisted Trousers pattern tour came through.

Next thing, I'm taping and tracing a pattern and cutting fabric on the living room floor while Flipper's watching a movie. Suddenly it dawned on me that I had the perfect pattern for some pyjamas that I wanted very much to make! I wanted to make TRON jammies!!

(apologies as the photography goes down hill from here. We've had miserable rainy weather and if I get too carried away with post image manipulation I never get to bed!)

The Twisted Trousers were the obvious choice for the pants. Instead of narrow, corded piping I thought I'd add some wide flat piping. I really wanted glow in the dark fabric, but that's not readily available so I went hunting for something else.

At GJ's I found this "waterfall crush stretch velour". It was perfect as I needed the stretch, the velour-iness made it look like it glowed and the "waterfall crush" bit I presume refers to the uneven surface which reflects the light even more.

There was some vigorous debate about who would be the baddy and who would be the goody. I detest the notion of goodies and baddies and both Flipper and I have been heard to tell the kids that "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" many times. Still, I wasn't going to sew matching outfits, too boring. Both kids definitely wanted to be baddies, but A also liked the blue colour best. Sorted. She is a baddy who's even more bad by virtue of being disguised as a goody. Check out this baddy face:

Being my third and fourth pair of Twisted Trousers the pants came together in no time. Or at least they would have if that waterfall crush stretch velour wasn't as awful to work with as it sounds. It was slippery where I didn't want it to be and grippy when it shouldn't be. What I thought would be quick overlocker sewing turned into hours of pinning and basting first.
I omitted the faux fly and waist ties and added cuffs at the bottom. Mostly 'cause I knew they were going to be super long and the cuffs would keep them from falling over their feet!
Laura had kindly given me a copy the Rowan Tee pattern as well as the Twisted Trousers. The Rowan Tee already has the option of a sleeve and shoulder stripe and cuffs, so all I needed to add was the front stripes. - although I ended up doing piping along the sleeves in the same way as the pants rather than using the pattern's stripe option.

The costumes of the main Tron characters were too detailed for what I was doing, so I went with the style of the Daft Punk costumes

I cut the front pattern piece and then added seam allowances to insert the piping. To keep things smooth and comfy - they are pyjamas after all, I've topstitched the seam allowances down with a narrow double needle stitch.

Apart from printing off the cheat sheet I didn't really consult the Rowan Tee instructions at all. I imagine they're every bit as good as the Twisted Trousers were. The sizing I chose was the same as the trousers (sizes 4 and 6). I should have thought to add sleeve length as P is a veritable monkey with those arms of his.

The black knit is incredibly soft and the kids absolutely ADORE these pyjamas. When you can model your new jammies with a mum sanctioned fight scene then what's not to love, right?

It was pretty wild for a while, then they ran off and fetched some Frisbees to use as Tron discs. Of course, that's what we were missing!

So last night I sewed up a couple of Frisbee covers. Have you ever thought you might stay up late to sew neon velour piped Frisbee covers? Nope, me neither, until last night.

I can't see there being much of a need for a pattern tutorial for a Frisbee cover, but if you're ever in need of some tips then drop me a line. When it comes to Frisbee covers I'm your sewing blogger!

A's come down with a bit of a cold, so she wasn't really up for another fight scene. At least not to the extent that her brother was. You kinda get the feeling he's liking his pyjamas, right?

Anyway, she was definitely up for striking another serious baddy face. Are you ready?.....


As much as I love the neat looking button up pyjamas or frilly nighties, there's a lot to be said for comfy knit tops and pants that the kids can easily get on and off themselves. There'll be more of these sets in the future, for sure.

Although they'll undoubtedly be plain pyjamas next time, as the idea of a nightly battle scene before bed is starting to wear thin...

Still, it's been fun!

Thanks again to Titchy Threads for the patterns.

Tuesday 28 April 2015

Twisted Tuesday pattern tour


Hi, I'm pretty excited to welcome you to the start of the Twisted Tuesdays blog series showcasing the Twisted Trousers pattern by Laura of Titchy Threads.

Before we get started let's outline the deal. I was given the pattern for free in exchange for sewing it up and some blog advertorial. That's cool with me. Obviously it will influence me somewhat, that's been proven over and over. But I hope you'll trust that I'm as honest as I can be....

Well, I love them! The Twisted Trousers are a great compromise between smart trousers and comfy track pants. They've got all the details of a good pair of jeans or slacks with front and back pockets and a coin pocket, but with the kid friendly comfort of an elastic waistband.

And they're twisty, of course!

The side seams twist around to the front and the inseams twist to the back. It makes for a very odd looking pattern piece and consequently they take a little more fabric when cutting than a straight seamed trouser. They way they twist I can't imagine anyone's going to start plaid matching with this pattern!

But with a solid fabric and the optional piping, the seams look awesome!

I went all out with this pair and piped the pockets as well. The instructions are there for adding piping everywhere you could possibly want to, or for skipping the piping and keeping it simple.

I'm not going to pretend this was a quick sew. It wasn't. But oh boy was it worth taking my time over. Come on, let's have a look at the insides...

The front pockets have a pocket bag, which I thought was snazzy enough, but then look at that little facing as well to prevent any inside pocket peeking out. Just perfect!

The instructions for the pocket bag had me sew a French seam, and boy does it give a nice finish.

They were looking so neat, I started to feel a bit let down by the colour of my interfacing on the faux fly. Why didn't I have pinkish interfacing in my stash to match this denim?! Given that there's no zipper, using fabric as sturdy as denim I don't think the interfacing is necessary. Feel free to skip it so your insides look their very best!

The back pockets didn't want to miss out on being fancy. They're lined!

By a very happy coincidence (or due to having too big a fabric stash perhaps) I happened to have some coral Ottobre ribbing which was a perfect match for the waistband.

The only negative in making these pants was nothing to do with the pattern; but trying to neatly insert the cheap grommets that you can buy at the large chain store fabric shop is a complete shit of a job! The accuracy required to strike those things vertically enough to get them to insert cleanly is simply not achievable by a human. I'd suggest buttonholes, or buying a better grommet set.

For A I made a straight size 4 and the fit is just fine. I could possibly have made the elastic in the waist a little tighter, but hey, I sew after the kids are in bed, so it's guess work a lot of the time.

I could have stopped there, but it was actually P who needed more long pants for winter. You know you're enjoying a pattern when you plunge straight back in for a second go.

His are size 6 with 2" length added. This is definitely a pattern where the length needs to be added where the pattern indicates. Those twisty legs aren't going to let you cut a longer hem! I split the pattern, added the length and re-drew the line and it all came together perfectly.

I thought some jeans style topstitching would show off the twisted seams nicely. All that required was a slightly different order of sewing the legs so that I could have the side seam flat in order to topstitch it.

By this time I wasn't referencing the instructions as often as I had first time, and I really appreciated the Cheat Sheet that was included. The main instructions are detailed, photo heavy and best viewed on a tablet or computer. But for repeat sewers, the brave, or those who just hate having to refresh the tablet screen (me!) there is a non illustrated cheat sheet of instructions which can easily be printed and kept on the sewing table.

I was starting to impress myself with these jeans too, so I figured I should go all out on the back pockets. A bit of back pocket embellishment is what makes jeans jeans if you ask me.

P is kind of halfway between the toddler fondness for an elastic waist and the big kid ability to be bothered with buttons and zippers. These pants will hopefully look enough like jeans, but feel enough like trackpants to make him happy to wear them.

I used some quilting cotton to make my own cord for the waist. It's more decorative than functional, as the elastic waistband is a full circle. I learned my lesson about pants that need the cords to be tied to keep them up when I made the Sandbox pants for him.

A thin cotton shirting for the pocket bag makes such a difference when you're sewing a thick denim like this. That's the kind of detail I like a pattern to have. That, and notches everywhere and marks for positioning pockets. The Twisted Trousers pattern had all that going on.

So, it's a resounding two thumbs up from me. Plus, if you know what you're doing, the ability to print only the size you want is pretty cool. I wanted both the size 4 and size 6, so I selected both of those layers. Well that was daft, cause then I get one print out to tile together and then I have to trace it anyway.

Still, I don't like cutting paper print outs of PDF patterns to use as they just don't handle nicely. I was probably always going to trace the pattern, but now I wish I'd just printed the lot so that I wouldn't have to print it off again when the kids have outgrown these sizes. Lesson learned.  - and I will need to print it again as the pattern goes up to size 12 and I'm sure I'll use it many times.

Printing in grey scale (cause I'm cheap and my printer ink is pricey) made it hard to see some of the lines for the size 4 pattern. The main pattern sheet can be printed A0 size so there was no excuse not to just take it down to the print shop. Yay for international standard sizing!

While I was tiling the pattern and tracing it, Flipper was watching a movie on TV. I realised I had in front of me, the perfect pattern for a Film Petit gatecrash. (sorry Kristin and Jessica, I couldn't help myself. I'm gatecrashing your party again!)

So, to see another two pair of Twisted Trousers, and my kids going completely mental, come back tomorrow! It's going to be fun...

....and don't forget to stay tuned to the Craftstorming blog for the rest of the Twisted Tuesdays pattern tour. Today you can take a virtual trip to Spain and check out some more Twisted Trousers at Diario de Naii

Sunday 26 April 2015

KCW: getting carried away is what it's all about

Thursday evening came around and I didn't really have any plans for the rest of Kid's Clothes Week. But what I did have was two cut out, ready to sew garments that Sarvi had posted me a while ago. One was a little white shirt with no known pattern...

That seemed like a fun challenge. No marked notches, no instructions, no known seam allowance....

From the shape of the front pattern pieces it was clear the plackets were to be folded back twice by about an inch. There was a single back yoke, long sleeves with cuffs and little single piece plackets and a pointy collar. Pieces identified. First phase complete.

I guessed at a 1/2" seam allowance and started sewing. Then I decided I couldn't be arsed rethreading the overlocker in white and wouldn't it be an extra fun challenge to make the shirt entirely with French seams throughout. I'd never done that before, but the fabric was nice and light so I figured it should work.

There could have been gathers, pintucks or a box pleat at the back there. A box pleat seemed an easy solution.

I didn't like the super pointy collar after I'd sewn it, so I rounded the ends to get this Peter Pan-ish collar. In doing so I found a neat trick for getting an on-the-fly collar adjustment to be symmetrical. I drew the shape I wanted on the interfaced wrong side of one collar point with a ceramic pencil then folded the collar in half so the pointy ends lined up perfectly and then rubbed firmly enough for the pencil line to be transferred to the other side of the collar. Voila, matching rounded collar ends. (not that the next picture demonstrates this)

At first I thought the collar was meant to be sewn right to the ends of the placket, but no way was that going to fit. I made up my own solution, but I realise that of course it was meant to stop at the placket edge as that's what gives the "double point" when the collar is open. Only mine now has a round and a point.

The bias binding of the collar seam was because I was too lazy to hand stitch the underside of the collar to make it nice and invisible. At this point I was still envisaging this as a plain white shirt, so this little bit of colour was a nice addition.

The sleeve plackets had me bamboozled. I've done simple one piece plackets that are just rectangles (such as the Music Class or Sketchbook patterns) and I've done neck plackets with two pieces, but I'd never seen a single piece, asymmetrical placket like this one. It looked a bit like a skyscraper church. Tall on one side and tall with a steeple on the other...

I made something up and came out with this. It looks fine and obviously would have complimented the very pointy collar, had I left that alone, very well. The inside is not as perfectly neat as I'd have liked but given I hadn't a clue what I was doing, I'm happy enough.

Saturday morning rolled around and kid's Clothes Week wasn't over but my plain white shirt was finished....

While I'd been sewing it I'd been thinking of a white shirt in a Japanese embroidery magazine that had a series of really cute little animals on it. Why not? After all, every Kid's Clothes Week needs a completely nuts and over-ambitious project, right?

The original picture had four little animals holding balloons, some flying birds, more animals reclining on clouds and a mouse on the back. I whittled the cast down to just two main animals and the mouse. After consulting A the rabbit and elephant were chosen and the hand stitching began....

The Japanese pattern kindly suggested stitches and thread colours for every part. .I could only locate about a third of the stitches in the glossary and just used some topstitching thread that I could find at Spotlight.

The main characters are back stitch with French knots for eyes. the balloon string is a twisted chain stitch and the balloons are mostly chain stitch in different formations.

You can see the fabric best here. It's a very nice, finely woven cotton with these tiny embroidered squares. There's just the tiniest hint of a hole at the centre of each one, so I guess it's technically an eyelet? It held up very well to the embroidery and I didn't put any interfacing behind it while I sewed.
Once or twice I got a bit tangled and had to cut and reknot my thread. I became a bit concerned about the feel and security of knots on the back, so I ironed some lightweight interfacing on after I'd finished all the stitching. I'll see how that holds up to washing. It may need some tiny white stitches to hold it in place.
I forget how much fun it is to sew by hand. Last night, Flipper was watching a movie and I could curl up on the couch and stitch away and pretend I was watching the movie (don't ask what it was about, I haven't a clue).
When the Tour de France starts I'll have to begin a huge project so I can abandon all sewing machine sewing and just stitch and watch the Tour for three weeks. Any suggestions?
Although these little critters are far from "wild" with their dresses and bows, it's somewhat on topic with the Kid's Clothes Week Wild Things theme.
So there we are. One mystery shirt, probably size 4, presumably an eyelet cotton, with some likely mistranslated Japanese embroidery. Thanks for the unfinished project Sarvi!

Now, I need to pack up my sewing things before I get the itch to do anything more tonight. Kid's Clothes Week is officially finished at our house! How was your week?

Thursday 23 April 2015

KCW: A Deer Turtleneck!

I took a bit of time out from Kid's Clothes Week sewing last night to write up a blog post for Oliver + S but then got a last minute extension, so I quickly set to work and made a turtleneck top for A!

The details....
Pattern: Oliver + S School Bus T-shirt
Fabric: Superfine merino knit from The Fabric Store. Lovely to wear and so great to sew with!
Size: size 3 with about 1 inch extra hem length and about 3/4" extra sleeve length.
Modifications: I cut a super-wide neckband to turn it into a turtleneck. The neckband is also cut about 1/2" longer than the pattern piece
The deer is an iron on transfer. It was leftover from the beaded deer sweater when I'd printed it and then realised I wanted it to face the other way for the original sweater.

KCW: Forest Path Cape

I wear my Liesl & Co Woodland Stroll cape a lot. Quite a while ago I bought some lovely open weave wool in a large scale plaid from The Fabric Store along with some lining with the intention of making the little version, the Oliver + S Forest Path cape for A.

Well, it's Autumn time and chilly and Kid's Clothes Week rolled around, and hey, the Forest Path pattern is almost on theme with Wild Things, right?! Obviously, it had to happen this week!

The cape is a nice simple sewing task for something that ends up looking quite "high end". It was finished last night and worn today and A received  quite a number of unprompted admiring comments from strangers on the street. You've got to love a pattern that's easy to sew but makes you look clever!

I would have loved for the plaid to have matched up along the shoulder seams, which are the only seams there are, so it felt like it should have been possible. But if I wanted the pattern centred then the back pattern piece was a fraction too small for matching with the front. I'm sure if I'd been making a larger size the scale of the plaid would have magically fit the pattern and it may have worked out.

I'd bought the pattern way back when I bought the fabric and I only had the small size range pattern. This is a size 4 which is the biggest in that size range.

We took a trip into the city to hit up Buttonmania for the perfect buttons. When we got there the sign on the door said they were closed and I was at a bit of a loss, until I read further and discovered it was "warehouse Monday" when Kate opens up the back of the shop and you buy great handfuls of buttons by weight. So, down the hallway we went and found these buttons and dozens of others and had a great shopping spree (for about half of what I would have paid for 5 buttons at Spotlight).

I've realised I didn't get a good picture of the lining, but it's the lovely acetate from The Fabric Shop that doesn't go all stringy like cheap lining does and it's exactly the same colour as those buttons. My buttonholes were looking a bit anaemic so after cutting them open I went over them again with a zig zag stitch.

The main wool fabric is quite an open weave. It looked like it may not be too warm, and it was threatening to unravel where I cut it. The solution to handling it, and adding some warmth, was underlining with bamboo quilt wadding. I had enough left overs to add a single layer of soft, fluffy warm bamboo between the wool and the lining.

So there you go, it's panda food too! Totally on topic with the Wild Things theme!
Hope you're all having a good Kid's Clothes Week so far.

Sunday 19 April 2015

Happily redundant pattern modification!

Have you seen the new Oliver + S patterns?

I'm happy to say that there's a fabulous polo shirt pattern (Parachute Polo and Sweatpants) that makes my previous pattern modification completely redundant.

But I didn't know it was coming, and sewed this polo up about a month ago. This is a long sleeved version of the Sketchbook/Jumprope mash-up that I did as an Oliver + S blog tutorial back here.
This polo doesn't really need the Sketchbook as it's base. If you have placket instructions for a partial placket (any shirt will do) and a nice fitting T-shirt pattern then you're set. All you'd need to do is draft your own collar. But perhaps that's where the magic lies....
Have you ever looked at a neckline, and a collar piece and thought  "I have no idea how they're going to fit together", but then they do. I certainly have. Worth paying for a well designed pattern in my opinion. So, I'll add the Parachute Polo to my collection, as the placket is interestingly different, and the side splits look cool (and I need to keep the collection complete :) )
Round about this point, you're probably recognising the fabric, right? Yep, this is the leftovers from my bumblebee Skippy dress along with a bit of that eternal lasting chambray tablecloth.
Of course that meant P needed to find the bee antennae....
So now there are two bees in the hive! With A and I both having the same dress pattern (Little Joey and Skippy) and a couple of fabrics in common, P and I both sharing some of this fabric, and the three of us all having culottes (did you see the sneak preview of his on Instagram?) we'll have to be more careful than ever not to go outdoors with our outfits matching!
From tomorrow morning, it's Kid's Clothes Week and the theme is Wild Thing, so I'm feeling on topic with my little bumblebee. I've got a few more things to make so I'm sure I'll manage one hour a day, but I'm not sure if I can sneak any more Wild Thing inspiration in.
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kid's clothes week