Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Gypsy Wife QAL – April Blocks

It’s another month of the Gypsy Wife quilt-along!  I finished up my April blocks a couple weeks ago.  I’m starting to get really excited for this quilt!  

Here are the April blocks.  

From the Heart

Courthouse Steps – 8” 

Courthouse Steps – 7” (I think I’m going to change the outer border – it’s just not right)

More Courthouse Steps – can I tell you how much I LOVE the orange/pink/gray one?!

And one Square in a Square block.  It’s fine, but I need to use better fabrics in these blocks in the future.  It’s too blendy or something.  I need definition!

It’s giving me great pleasure to highlight each block on clumsy kristel's Excel cheat sheet as I finish it!

There are enough blocks after three months that I decided to put them on my design wall in their respective spots.  It’s not an exact layout, but close enough.  I figure this will help me balance my color combos a little better.  And it makes me happy.  I may have to figure out which blocks I need to finish so I can get a section sewn up.  I may not make it to December without finishing this quilt!  But, I am loving the relaxed pace of this QAL.  It’s low stress, and that is a good thing for me.  Helps me not worry about twaddling along on a quilt (usually the QALs move at lightning speed and I’m all “I’ve made three blocks!”).    

I'm linking up to our monthly QAL party at Jaffa Quilts!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Easter 2014

If you follow me on Instagram, you were inundated with pictures of a suit in progress the week before Easter. 

The dang sleeves got to me.  Well, the lapels got to me, but I managed to wrestle them into an acceptable state.  The sleeves, well, it took three tries and cutting them down a good bit.  I finally got them in, only to try the jacket on Sam and find it was too big all over.  So we decided to finish it up for next year and just make him a shirt instead. 

After a belated birthday party for Will and setting up for Easter at my grandma's, I started cutting up this thrifted shirt about 9:45 Saturday night. 

By 12:45 (with a couple small breaks in between), I had a finished shirt.  I cut the front using the existing placket/buttons/buttonholes.  Only someone who sews lots of kids clothes would ever notice. 

My family didn't even realize I made his shirt, and they know about my sewing obsession, so I took that as a compliment. 

These are the best pictures I could get - perhaps I'm not bribing them properly?

Hopefully that suit fits next Easter.  But for now, I'm happy to pack it away and work on something else!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Kids Clothes Week in Review - Spring 2014

This was my first time participating in Kids Clothes Week, and it was fun.  My week ended up turning into a stressful week, so I didn’t sew a couple nights (but I sewed more than the hour on the nights I did sew).  One word – taxes.  

Although I didn’t finish everything I wanted (which was less than my original list of possibilities), I did make progress.  

Here are my finishes:

Small Fry Skinny Jeans for Will (and already completed ones for Sam)
I had already made a first pair of this pattern for Sam (in size 4) using old jeans from my brother’s donation pile (yes, I totally went through that basket and took all the good stuff to remake for the boys).  They were regular denim weight American Eagle jeans.  They are wearable and work fine for now, but I think a stretch denim (as suggested on the pattern) would definitely help, as Sam says he can’t sit cross-legged as comfortably as usual.  He loves the lining fabric and will flip his waistband out to show you (I apologize for any undies flashing in advance).  I think next time I could maybe make a size 3 waistband since he’s so skinny.

I made Will’s jeans with the 12-18m length and the 18-24m width to fit his cloth diaper bum.  I think the thinner twill fabric (from the juvenile apparel section at JoAnn’s many moons ago) definitely helped make these more manageable.   He seems to have no problem in them.  

Both pairs of jeans survived a day at daycare, complete with grass stains.

You might notice their cuffs turned up in the pictures – it seems my boys both have shorter legs (this shouldn’t surprise me as they’re both built like their daddy with broad shoulders and a long torso).  That just means they’ll be able to wear their jeans longer.  

And, I love my labels.  I added size/info labels on the inside and a “brand” label on the outside.  They are just printed on white cotton with my home printer and heat set with the iron.  Sam’s outer label is too big for his waistband, and the elastic doesn’t help the look.  Will’s is better, as it’s located on the pocket.  I may be a nobody, but you never know if you might want to donate or yard sale the clothes later on or if someone will see the kids wearing their clothes and ask where they got them.  People like labels.

My newest problem (aside from one goofy model and another uncooperative model) is finding more shirts to coordinate with Will’s jeans. 

Will’s Easter Romper

This is my other finish of the week.  I made Simplicity 3852 View B (the baby romper) in the medium/12 month size.  The pattern is out of print but has been in my stash for several years.  I used a thrifted men’s button-down for the fabric, having plenty of material for the outfit.  Because I’m a ninny, I threw away the extra fabric and forgot to take the buttons off the shirt.  Luckily, I have buttons from several other shirts saved in my button drawer.  

This was a pretty straightforward sew, except for the front plackets.  I don’t know if it was my error or the fabric or what, but I spent half an hour trying to understand the directions and get the bottom of the front where the plackets meet to lay flat and proper.  It’s still not perfect, but it’s acceptable for a bubble-type romper.  

The romper fits overall; however, if Will gets too active, the bottom snaps pop open.  So as usual with the big company patterns, the sizing seems to be for a short, fat baby rather than my long torso, more slender babies.  Also, the use of snap tape probably doesn’t help – it seems to pop open more than other snaps of my experience.  Next time I’ll cut the 12m width and the 18m length and cut additional facings for the crotch areas so I can use diaper snaps rather than snap tape.  For Easter, I’m going to make up a teeny little extender tab to give him that extra bit of room.  

I found the bunny embroidery at a vintage embroidery website.  It is subtle but adds a touch of whimsy and heirloom to the romper.  I was a bit worried when I finished the pocket by itself, but it looks fine on the finished product.  Next time – assemble the pocket before embroidering.  If you look with a magnifying glass, you can see where I sewed the pocket over the embroidery (but my busy fabric helps hide it – thank goodness!).  

So that’s all I finished during Kids Clothes Week.  That romper took me longer than expected, and then I was slightly burnt out and had the taxes and some outdoor weeding and pruning to contend with. Oh well, that's life!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Kids’ Clothes Week

This week is Kids’ Clothes Week.  Something I found online and see posts referencing every now and again but had never participated in.  I was alerted of this season’s KCW while looking at Instagram today at lunch.  What is it?  Each season sewists group together and pledge to spend 1 hour a day for 1 week sewing clothing for children.   

Well the current KCW (April 7-13) starts today, and guess what I happen to have on the sewing table – kids’ clothes!  So this week (and probably next) I’ll be instagramming and blogging about my adventures in sewing clothing for my boys.   

No, I have not charged my camera battery yet, and yes, I am being lazy and not renaming or watermarking photos.  The 5 people that read this blog have seen worse.  This mama is tired, and it's going to be a struggle to sit down and sew here in a few minutes.  But I'm doing it. 

Anyway, here’s my list:

  • Small Fry Skinny Jeans (Will) – in progress.  Started last week, I still need to add the waistband, buttonhole elastic, belt loops, and snap. 

  • Easter Romper (Will) – Simplicity 3852.  Cut out.

  • Easter Suit (Sam) – vintage Butterick 5838.  Mostly cut out (just a bit of lining and interfacing to finish up).  Yes, that is Star Wars lining . . .  

  • Monkey Butt {Baby} Pants (Will) – The red and navy below.  Cut out.

  • T-Shirt Shortalls (Will) – The gray and blue below.  Cut out. 

  • Diapers (Will) – a stack mostly cut out, some with snaps already applied

Don't worry - Sam has already gotten jeans (not yet blogged) and other clothing over the winter, plus some summer clothes I have planned.  

I’m sure these won’t all get made, but they were already planned, so any motivation and progress on my list is good.  Happy sewing!


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