Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Pauley's Pullover for Soren

Soren in SFB Pullover

Here is my entry for September's Sewing for Boys Sewalong at Boy Oh Boy Oh Boy. Thankfully this pattern was super-duper easy since we've been busy and sick, sick, sick. Bil is suffering from the virus I had last week, and poor Will has strep throat again. When he's really sick, he gets cuddly and sweet, but when he's just feeling bad, he gets grumpy and mean, but is just as wild as ever. Unfortunately we've been in the latter phase for the last couple of days. Soren had a terrible week , too, but on Thursday, I finally saw the cause--his fourth tooth on the bottom is now showing. He seems to have gotten some relief since it cut through; at least, he has been able to sleep without nursing the entire night the last couple of nights. Thank GOODNESS for that, says this tired mama.

Anyway, back to the pattern--super easy. 4 pieces. Nothing complicated at all. Well, I guess there is a buttonhole, but since I skipped that, it didn't bother me any!

The pattern recommends French terry, so I decided to use a maternity jogging suit that I've had in the upcycle pile for a while. It's a L, and I never get big enough when I'm pregnant to fill out a baggy, shapeless large; plus, Bil thinks any hoodie or pants made from cotton velour looks like a mobster's wife's outfit (thanks, Sopranos!), so he would have mocked me mercilessly had I tried to wear it myself.

Soren in SFB Pullover

I wanted to utilize the pockets that were already on the hoodie, so I cut off the zipper (a nice metal one, for future use) and sewed the two front pieces together.  So I've got what appears to be a front seam going down the shirt, but I think it's ok. The pockets are cute. They would have been more practical for something for Will, but maybe Soren will start using pockets before he outgrows the pullover (I made the 12-18 mos size).

Soren in SFB Pullover
Staged pocket usage. 

Soren in SFB Pullover
Modeling is vry srz bznz, y'all.

I had a bit of trouble with the V-neck binding (for which I utilized the hoodie's ribbed hem band)--one side didn't quite get captured underneath the other side. Not quite sure how to explain. It was a stupid mistake, and I even ripped out seams and tried again and still didn't get it, so I gave up and said "good enough." Totally my fault and not the pattern's.

My other alteration was skipping the drawstring. With my pockets on the front, I would have been making buttonholes through 2 fluffy layers instead of one and just didn't want to hassle with it. Instead, I added a hem band made from the leftover fabric of the hoodie's original hem band. I didn't have quite enough to use its full width (4 inches, so 2 inches folded), so I had a band of only 1" when finished. It would have looked better bigger, but c'est la vie when you're upcycling (and you're too busy/lazy to take the time to hunt around for coordinating fabric). I think following the directions would have resulted in a really short garment, though, as it's not very long as it is. It's a bit baggy on Soren, but more width than length-wise. As all the patterns in this book, it definitely runs short and wide. It is perfect for layering, though.

Soren in SFB Pullover
Hem band visible here. Also a Yossie photobomb--he wants to know why he never gets to be in pictures anymore.

It's still much too hot here for long-sleeves and layers, but Soren has been wearing this happily all day in the house. The pattern is cute, fast, and produces a very wearable results.   

Soren in SFB Pullover
Look out--teething drool!

Soren in SFB Pullover
He loves to climb up in his camp chair and look in the kitchen window.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

School Days Raincoat Pics & Review

School Days Raincoat

Will is a big fan of raincoats, and since he was still wearing one sized 2T, I decided I either needed to bite the bullet and buy one at retail or hurry up and make him one. After poking around Google and Flickr for a couple of days, I settled on the Oliver+S School Days Jacket pattern.

 digital school days jacket + coat sewing pattern
I purchased the 4+ pattern rather than the 18M-3T, even though I'm sure the 3T would have fit perfectly this year. Not sure I'llbe getting around to making any smaller coats, since I've already got hand-me-downs for Soren in all the toddler sizes. This pattern has great reviews, and some of the coats out there made from are gorgeous.  I especially loved this wool version.

Will and I looked over laminates on He had several that he liked ok, and although it wasn't his final choice (he wanted a rainbow apple chevrons print I wasn't crazy about), I decided to go with Michael Miller's Dino PUL. We'll see how the PUL holds up. Will hasn't been terrible rough on his rain jackets in the past since there's not that much opportunity to wear them here, so hopefully it'll be OK. I'm not sure it'd be any less sturdy than other rain slicker material, which is always a little more fragile than regular fabric.... For the lining, I pulled several coordinating quilting cottons at Hobby Lobby, and Will immediately chose the chevrons. He's so on trend!

School Days Raincoat

School Days Raincoat

A little review of the pattern:

PDF Pattern: I've assembled quite a few different brands of PDF patterns, and Oliver + S is now my favorite method. Each page has a light grid printed behind the pattern piece that makes cutting out and matching so much easier than most PDF patterns. The only downside is that there were a lot of pages--71 or so. And no, those weren't mostly instruction pages you could leave on the computer! I did not print the instructions (I leave them on the iPad), just the pattern pieces. I definitely might consider taking it and getting it printed at a printshop next time (they include 2 pages at the end with all the pattern pieces intended for that purpose).

Pattern Instructions: Fabulous. Now I know why everyone raves about the Oliver + S patterns. They were really perfect. Although this was rated a 3/4 scissors, I did not find anything confusing or difficult about it. I did attach the front yolk to my front pieces incorrectly and didn't realize until I'd already trimmed the seams, so I ended having to recut the yolks, but it was entirely my fault for not studying the pictures carefully enough (although I suppose a notch at that join might have prevented the mistake?).

Ease of Sewing: I only did the jacket portion (not the insulated lining), and I did not use the tabs, but I felt this pattern was very do-able even for a beginner. The only "difficult" thing is that there are  a lot of pieces, but putting them together is very straightforward. I probably spent around 3 hours on the machine-sewing portion of this. Since I was sick most of the week, it took me almost the entire week of a few stitches here and there to tack down the lining.

Fit: Right now the fit's quite big and baggy on Will--not shocking since he's still definitely wearing 3Ts. I see no reason why this won't fit him perfectly in 6 months to a year, and it will do for now with the sleeves rolled up.

School Days Raincoat
Definitely a bit baggy right now.

Alterations: None really. Left off the tabs and skipped the buttons/holes in favor of resin Kam snaps I had on hand for diaper-making. The BG-matching butternut color was a perfect match to the yellow-orange in the PUL. I think the snaps will hold up ok, and should be easier for Will to do up himself than buttons would be.

Recommend: For sure! I foresee getting a lot of use out of this pattern for future coats and jackets. Next up will be a winter coat for Will.

School Days Raincoat
I had a terrible time getting action pics. Will was not feeling cooperative, and the (bribe) umbrella was casting a weird haze over my pictures.

School Days Raincoat
Hood up.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Portfolio Dress: Third Time's Not Really a Charm

Portfolio dress
My hard-won Portfolio. It's.......meh.

I had seen tons of adorable Porfolio dresses all over the sewing blogoshere from the last couple years, and I snagged the Lisette pattern at one of the $.99 sales a while back. I didn't seem too practical to make right now since it's not a knit and is high-necked so not at all nursing-friendly. But THEN, I saw in the Lisette forums where someone mentioned that it could easily be altered to make a nursing dress because of the front seams. Hmmm..........I saw what the poster was saying. It could be done. I would do it! I would have a cute new nursing dress--huzzah!

So, after reading every review and forum post on the dress, I came away still unsure what I should cut as far as sizing. I decided to trust the reviews and go down a size (or two--my bust size was actually a 16, not even contained on the regular pattern). So I traced out the 12 and cut it out of some hideous pink and metallic plaid I'd just snagged at the thrift store--much cheaper than muslin! True to all the reviews, the pattern went together really well, and I was in awe of the clever pockets, just like everyone else. I did alter the front to be nursing accessible once I had determined how it went together. But, it just didn't look right. It seemed to be pulling really bad across the bust (so making my nursing slits gape) and I had weird wrinkles going right over my rear. Hmm........I decided the fabric was a bad choice as it was some type of gauze with a lot more stretch to it than what I was planning to use (Aviary 2 quilting cotton).

So, I cut out another one from  Granny's fabric stash when I took the boys down to the fair. I cut and sewed it up in just a couple hours since I'd already done it once. I cut a 12 again, but used a small seam allowance, especially over the hip area, but I still ended up with lots of horizontal wrinkles and some pulling at the bust. At that point, my theory was that the dress was "catching" on my big butt and that's why it was wrinkling, so if I just made it big enough, it wouldn't "catch" and would lay properly.

portfolioprobs 013``

So, after getting my beautiful Aviary 2 fabric in the mail, I cut a 14 (and I actually cut it out of the original pattern--what confidence!). Sewed it together, and it looked like a sack AND while I didn't have wrinkles over my rump, I now I had a big lump of empty fabric ballooning out over it--equally unattractive, I assure you. At that point, I turned to the Internetz, where the ladies on Pattern Review helpfully diagnosed it as a problem of swayback. Who knew?  Actually it shouldn't really have been a surprise, since my swayback was believed to be part of why I was unable to deliver Will naturally. After reading about the fitting problems a swayback creates, I now know why every shirt I have wrinkles across there--I just thought that's the way things fit! The more you know....

portfolioprobs 014

Anyway, the alteration to fix this is pretty simple if you do this before you cut your peices out, but obviously I wasn't there, so they suggested pinching the excess out and making a horizontal dart with it. With pinning help from my mother, I got this done (ok, actually she pinched AND sewed it for me because I was not doing so hot with the tapering thing). So now I have a weird line across my back, but I think it's not super-noticeable, especially as I plan to wear a belt which will cover it up.

Porfolio--after having a horizontal dart placed across the back to adjust for swayback
See that line?

Portfolio dress--belted
Covered up

My other discovery from this project is that this is not a style that suits my figure, no matter how cute it looks on other people. It totally looks like a mumu/housedress from the front if it's not belted. Belted, I think it looks pretty cute, especially in my muslin version! I am actually impressed at how cute that one came out, given that the print is upside down and the contrast denim was from a cut-off jeans leg my mom had hoarded.

Portfolio dress--photobomb

Portfolio dress--side belted

Portfolio dress, 3rd and final attempt
Not too bad!

Portfolio, attempt 2. Belted to mask horizontal wrinkles from swayback
This is the muslin. Love my crazy faces in these remote-control pics.

Portfolio--belt covers the swayback wrinkles nicely.
Belt camouflage!

  Portfolio, attempt 2 (wearable muslin)
Poor Soren did not want to have a mommy photoshoot.

This pattern was really well put together. It's quite easy, and there are so many markings to line up that it would be hard to really screw this one up. I did not have trouble getting any of the 3 collars (in 3 very different fabrics) to fit (a complaint I read more than once), so I think people who had problems there either didn't stay-stitch their neck pieces as directed or cut something funny. I love, love the pockets on this thing. Now I just have to wait till Soren slows down on the nursing so I can wear it to work without worrying about pumping. Until that day comes, it's a church or brief-excursion only dress.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Two Weeks of Ugh......

The last two weeks have been rough. We moved Soren to Will's daycare, so any progress he made at his first place was sort of lost. After almost 2 full weeks, they can still get him to drink hardly anything while he's there. At least he's eating for the most part. I think part of his problem is that he just hasn't felt very well. The boys were both down with some kind of virus last weekend. On Monday they were in that transitional zone, when they weren't quite sick enough to need to stay home (definitely not enough to need me to stay home), but probably not quite well enough for school either. So they got sent. Poor guys.

This week I have been sick most of the week, but not quite enough to HAVE to stay home, so of course, I feel compelled to work. I've spent a couple of evenings in bed. The house is even more of a wreck than it usually is by the end of the work week, and the boys have had hot dogs for supper 3 times. Today I got up at 6 a.m. to go stand in line at the football stadium to apply for a Bethany transfer for Will. Their system is absolutely crazy, and I doubt he'll get in since we weren't dedicated enough (ie, at all) to camp out for 2 weeks. Or even "just" since Monday (as the school superintendent suggested). I was number 67 in line.

On a brighter note, I can't believe how Soren is turning into quite the toddler almost over night, it seems. It's like once he got the walking thing down, he instantly got older and more understanding of what's going on. For instance, I was spying on him through the outside window of his classroom when going to pick him up, and the teacher saw me, and told him to look back at the window, and he clearly knew what she was saying since he turned and looked and started toward me. I had forgotten what it's like when they can understand so more than they can express. He's really cute, but also very needy when he gets picked up--definitely having a hard time with being away from me all day.

Will is his usual self, except that he seems to be going through a clumsy phase. He's hurt himself several times recently, including a HUGE carpet burn he gave his face by rubbing it on the carpet, a really nasty bite to his tongue (like, I saw it and wondered if it needed stitches kind of nasty), and most recently, an almost-black eye from falling into his dad's elbow in bed.

Hoping for an easier weekend and next week!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Tiny Treasure Pocket Pants

Oooh,  a park, mom!

With the most of the Sewing for Boys sewalong patterns I've made having been only available in larger sizes, I haven't done too much sewing for Soren. But back during the LTTP challenge, I saw someone make up a pair of shorts in the LTTP size 18 mo for their baby, and they were just adorable. I wanted to do it at the time and never have managed to get around to it, though I have had a thrifted linen dress earmarked for the project for hmmm......about 4 months now. So, I finally got around to it this weekend!

LTTPs a little too long for 10 months!
Yes, the only white shirt he has is a wife beater. Don't judge.

Although this pattern is really nicely explained (and not that hard anyway), I somehow managed to mess up nearly every other step, it seemed like. It was just one of those sewing projects that did not go smoothly. I did force myself to seam rip all my mistakes out, though, and it really did look nice up till I put the hem facings on. For some reason, mine were a good 1-2" shorter than my pants were, I was able to get things stretched out enough to attach it smoothly initially, but when I had to turn the facing up and edgestitch the inside, I ended up with a HUGE gather. Grrr.......Still not sure what I'll do. Maybe rip them both off and cut the facing to size like it calls for with the waistband? I didn't do the hems on Will's pair, so I don't know if this is a problem with all sizes, just the 18 mo, or if I traced incorrectly. I could also just cut them off and make them long shorts and then they might fit next summer too.....

Orange top stitching
Orange top-stitching all over!

Anyway, aside from that screw up, they really turned out adorably. It's hard to tell, but the linen is a dark brownish-green, and I really like how it turned out with the Michael Miller fabric that I had leftover from Will's Henry Shirt. So the fabric cost for this was about $1.99, I think, and I still have enough of the dress left to make a pair of shorts for Will or plain pants for Soren.

Plenty of room to sit 

The fit is obviously quite long (they had to be rolled twice). I think they are longer than RTW 18 mos. I guess if I was thinking, I would have measured and cut them so I would only have to roll them once right now, and then they could be unrolled later. The rise is only just long enough with his cloth-diapered booty. But he has a really long rise, so I'm not too surprised. They are nice and roomy, and he was able to walk and crawl around the playground with no restriction from them.

LTTPs roomy enough to pick up sticks with ease
Why what is this rare delicacy from the playground floor?

Too bad he uses his mouth instead of his pockets!
Too bad he only wants to store his treasures in his mouth instead of the pockets!

So excited to climb the steps himself.
He was very pleased with himself for climbing the steps himself.

Soren reminds me of my cousin Joe here.
I think he looks like Little Joe in this picture, for some reason.

Fun at the park
What a cutie!

Enjoying a stolen popsicle
Will was there too, with his ill-gotten gains. He made friends with a little girl who offered him a popsicle. After a few minutes, he appeared with two more. I'm not sure how he got the second two....

Too big for the baby swings


SorensLTTPs 115
It's hard to walk on an incline!