Friday, February 20, 2015

Fi Na Ly - more fleecy fun

   Some time this fall I stocked up on awesome fleece prints when it was crazy cheap at... where else- I need to broaden my horizons in terms of fabric shopping, but JoAnn's is so close by, the sales / coupons are so tempting, I know the layout of the store - for now I'm hooked. 
   And those prints are finally turning into some garments. It's cold enough outside, I'm not too sure what took me so long. I suppose I go in rounds of what I am inspired to do - cooking / baking / preserving; practicing violin (I'm teaching myself and it is slow going but very fun! When this school year ends and we don't have two kids in preschool anymore - because Fern is going into Kindy next year yikes! perhaps I will finally take some lessons); dance / yoga; researching / reading; office time; cleaning ? (am I ever inspired to clean? I don't know if I'd say that, but it has to happen every once in a while); back around to sewing. All the while trying to fit in outdoor time on a regular basis, and of course play time, library time, gymnastics....insert kid activity here. So I guess I do know why things take time. 
    This past week I went on a rampage of hoodies! One for each of the girls, and one for me. They think their father needs one as well, but I explained that his taste doesn't extend to the range of prints and colors that I like to use for the rest of us. He's mostly grey and brown, navy and green, while we are plum and pink with bikes and bright orange with birds and flowers. 
     Here is Fern's: (Althea's is exactly the same except for slightly shorter sleeves and different colors)
        We've got your basic raglan hoodie, drawstring hood and reverse kangaroo pockets.
We've also got thumbholes. Yes! I love thumbholes. The girls are pretty appreciative of them too right now. 

I got some pocket inspiration from Vera luna; I wanted to do something different than your average kangaroo pocket (they love finding their other hand inside the pocket, so the kangaroo was for sure). Especially since this print is so fun, why cover it up?

This was a good way to do it, and you get the added bonus of an extra pop of color at the side. 

It is so simple too; especially with fleece - so forgiving when there is no fray. I held the bodice up to one of the girls, figured where the pocket should go, then cut it out. Then just fold the edge of the pocket over about 1/4 inch and sew it in place. Then I added a big rectangle of the pocket fabric to the inside of the bodice piece as in the picture below. 
     It needed to be stitched across the top, but the sides and bottom were attached when the sweatshirt was sewn together and hemmed. Very simple. 

    I have been finishing my seams with fleece by opening up the fabric in the seam allowance and sewing each side down. I think it looks nice on the outside as well on the inside; it also makes for a flatter and more comfortable seam allowance.

        I made mine very similar to theirs. I traced a loose fitting knit raglan shirt and lengthened the sleeves. I free-styled the hood and made the front edge come out much farther than the one I traced. I also added long "arms" to the front of the hood that wrapped around the front of the shirt for a slight shawl collar feel.
 I also used the reverse pocket idea on mine, but in order to avoid the seam going all the way across the middle of the shirt, and also to save some fabric, I didn't do a full kangaroo pocket. Instead I kept the pockets more like the ones on my inspiration shirt. I have been wearing this hoodie almost every day (ok, I have actually worn it for part of every single day since I finished it - 5 days in a row and counting). The pockets are perfect; nice and deep to just drop stuff into them, they hold my phone without it ever falling out and keep my hands nice and cozy.

         I did actually make a couple things earlier in the season. At the end of November, I made a little dress for my two year old niece's birthday.
     I used the same pattern I had made for Althea's Red Riding Hood dress.  It has side seam pockets, a hood with a drawstring (a ribbon with little froggy buttons tied on!) and is a fleece dress- perfect for winter time. I'm not sure if I love keeping the sleeves attached to the bodice though. It saves a couple steps, but can end up a little hard to take on and off. 
   There were also some elf slippers for the girls, but I think that will wait for another time. I'll sign off with the girls dressed head to toe in this weeks sewing fun! Yay!

Mes Deux Demoiselles

Project Run and Play is really proving to be inspiring and fun for me so far this year, and it is only in its second month! I started this month not sure if I would join in- it is SO COLD here the Mademoiselle Muscle Tee from Living With Punks wasn't speaking to me at first. But having the whole month is enough time to let ideas bounce around in my head and start to meld with other things that have been inspiring me.

Two of my first projects of this year were, maybe not complete failures, but certainly a chance for me to eat my words  (I had told my SIL over Christmas that my sewing is going great and things are generally turning out as I intend them to). I rarely sew for my husband, so I figured for his birthday in January I could whip up a quick pair of grey sweats to replace his favorite, completely worn out, pair of Champions. The combination of that zero stretch sweatshirt fleece (which caught me off guard, I didn't realize there wasn't any stretch at all in something so comfortable) and the fact that I was sewing for him and not a five year old girl really got me off my game. I did finish them and he wears them daily, but they required a full crotch adjustment, several mouthfuls of words I don't want my kids to learn and about five times as much time as I thought I would spend on them.

I am also in the midst of sewing myself a pair of jeans, which I thought I could wing using a pattern I have for stretch pants. Alas, I added much more than necessary to the pattern when I cut it out, used flat felled seams for the crotch when I started sewing and already put in a fancy false zipper with the double needle and have come to realize that the fit is terrible and I am going to have to seam rip those nicely finished areas to make up for it. Ugh.

So I hope these things can just come in twos and that I don't have a third sewing disaster in my near future. In the meantime, I had the excess black stretch denim from my jeans lying next to a spontaneous purchase I had made of a couple yards of this lovely peony print knit that was on a sale rack by the cutting counter (I am such a sucker for this; I just about always impulse buy a yard or so of something whenever I go into JoAnn's). They looked so nice together, I figured they would be making an appearance sooner or later. Then I went back to JoAnn's to take advantage of a sale to get set up for another project I have been dreaming of, and the remnants were 50% their 50% price, so ....
a yard and a half of this lovely stretchy white lace made it into my basket. I also had a red knit shirt in my repurpose pile, which capped off my pile of inspiration (I LOVE being inspired by fabrics):

With all of this coordinating fabric I started planning a mini collection instead of just one item.

So far I have complete three of these items, so without further ado:

Mes Deux Demoiselles

Althea (on the right) is wearing a dress with the muscle tank as the bodice in black stretch denim and an a-line skirt made from the peony knit. 

The bodice has one of the peonies cut out and appliqued to it (with a straight stitch since the knit doesn't fray) on top of an appliqued lace heart (attached with a zigzag of white thread). 

The neck and arm trim is sewn on in the style of quilt binding, meaning that I folded a strip of fabric in half, and first sewed it to the inside of the garment instead of the outside. Then I folded the trim out and over the seam line and sewed it again from the outside of the garment, there by enclosing the seam. (The denim would have frayed otherwise). I used the salvage for the bottom hem of the dress - I like how there is a thin edge of white along this edge (only the opposite salvage bore the designers info).
As you can see, she can move really well in it!

  Fern is wearing two items: a Mademoiselle muscle tank with the front and back pattern pieces cut and pasted a bit. She also has a simple half circle skirt with a two inch waist band.
  She was very jealous when I finished her sister's dress, and was coveting the appliques. Althea declared herself "The rose princess" when she first tried on the dress, and although Fern's skirt was already done, she was so sad that she didn't have a shirt to match. This led to a big discussion of being happy with what you have and choosing happiness over sadness. It also led me to add a flower heart to Fern's shirt. I hadn't been planning to do this; I didn't want them to be total twinsies (although the same print on the skirt and skirt of the dress means they basically already are). But it is a cute addition I think, and this shirt will be great over some stretch pants.
 Worn with the skirt, I think it looks best tucked in. 
 The lace on the shoulders and the back bodice are all one piece: I folded down the arms on the front bodice and cut out the red knit like that. Then, I trace the folded section onto a separate piece of paper, cut it out and taped this onto the back bodice piece. (I know it would have been easier to cut the pattern piece itself, but now I have it still in one piece for next time)

      I added the neck and arm trim the same way I did it on the dress (sewing it to the inside of the shirt, folding over and stitching again to the outside, enclosing the seam) because I thought you would see the red raw edge through the lace. But I actually think I should have just done it as the tutorial recommends. Both of these fabrics are so fine, they laid down nicely along the seam and wouldn't have posed a fraying problem. They weren't very noticeable through the lace either. Seeing as I had already sewed them on backwards though, I proceeded as planned. This resulted in such a thick pile of fabric stacked on top of itself in the hems that there is some bunching now. 

      Well, now I know for next time! This is a great pattern that my girls are still growing into - it fit a little larger than expected on them, but I would always rather have it that way then too small!
      They love their "rose princess outfits" and now will get to enjoy them for years to come!

Thanks for stopping by!