Saturday, April 20, 2013

Chantilly in Blue

Chantilly for me

On the first of the two days I had sans kids on Spring Break, I decided to run by the thrift store. It turned out to be a major score. Apparently some lady who was a pretty serious seamstress in the '40s/'50s had her stash donated. In addition to various tools, there was tons of GOOD fabric, not that nasty, unfortunate poly '70s knit that seems to be the most common fabric to turn up from such old stashes, and it was marked with rock bottom prices, even for the thrift store. As I was checking out, the lady at the cash register told me there was so much fabric she was getting desperate marking it, which maybe explains the crazy low prices? Anyway, I got like 4 yards of emerald silk, a couple yards of rayon lining, 5 yards of some kind of linen, 1.5 yards of some vintage giraffe child's print, and 4 yards of a very sweet, vintage blue rose-print voile or batiste (I'm not sure how to tell the difference). The rose-print just screamed Chantilly at me, and so I decided I'd try to make myself one in time for Easter.

Because I was short on time, I just went for it without muslining. I spent an entire morning (about 4 solid hours) trimming and taping the silly e-pattern together. I was debating on sizes, and I think I cut a 12 and prayed it would work.

I had just enough fabric to eek it out. It was a good thing I was planning to do the waistband and yolk in contrast fabric, because I wouldn't have had enough fabric otherwise (my vintage fabric was pretty narrow, even though I technically had enough yardage--I couldn't double it to cut the big skirt pieces).

I was hoping the gathers in the bodice would allow me to skip doing an FBA (part of the reason I chose this dress to try to whip out quickly), which they did. Of course, the style also ends up making me look really busty, so maybe it's not the best choice for those of us who are top-heavy....

I thought the pattern was really easy to follow, and I didn't really have trouble with any of it, aside from stupid errors. I've never sewn a lining before, so I thought I'd just be doing the same dress twice, once in lining and once in shell fabric. Turns out they should be mirror images, so I ended up having to rip out one side of the stitching in the lining and ended up with the zipper on the "wrong" side.

This was also my first time doing a zipper that didn't end at the top of the garment, so that was....interesting. It looks pretty good from the outside (pretty well invisible), but I don't know that it's actually in there so securely. I also did my first hand-stitched hem. I'm not sure if it made much of a difference in looks (the skirt is so full, I doubt anyone ever notices the hem), but the silk thread I used was SO nice for hand stitching.

I think it turned out really cute. I'm not sure about the style for me. All the gathers  right at the waist definitely make my hips look big, and my mom said it makes me look like a little girl. Ah well, hopefully the cuteness makes up for that!

Chantilly for me

Pattern notes: Without alternation, the length of this is pretty short. I'm only BARELY 5'4" with average leg length, and this is kinda short on me, despite taking a very small hem (I turned 1/4" and then applied hem lace). I think I would have liked it maybe another 1-2" longer so that it hit me right at/just a smidge above the knee. I'm also unsure if the waistband is supposed to hit at the natural waist, because mine is just a bit above. I'm not sure if I should have lengthened the bodice or if it's supposed to be that way?

Chantilly for me

Total cost for this one was under $5. The shell-fabric was $1.39, the sheet for the lining was .99, and the zipper was also thrifted, so probably 25 cents or less. I did buy teal broadcloth for the contrast, but used a coupon, so it was like $1.25.

Chantilly for me
Easter Sunday was super windy!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Happy Easter!

We had a very nice, loooong Easter weekend. The boys and I went down Thursday night, so Granny could keep the boys and I could run get my haircut on Friday. The weather was glorious on Friday, and the boys had great fun playing in the yard, chasing butterflies. However, we had a huge little scare when the boys got left outside on their own for just a minute and Soren wandered off. We spent 20-30 minutes looking for him, with me running all over the property. I kept expecting that he was going to turn up right around the house, and when we couldn't find him anywhere, I was so afraid the worst might have happened and he had wandered to the pond. Finally, just as I was about to head back and call the police, I realized we hadn't looked out by the garden, and that's where I found him, happily playing in the dirt, completely unfazed. Needless to say, I was quite relieved to find him and will definitely not be leaving him untended outside anymore! Unlike Will, Soren doesn't mind being alone, so he'll merrily go off by himself. Eek!

Friday night, Jimmie, Rachel, and the girls came down, and we had a crawfish boil. Papa supposedly fixed them some "unspicy" crawfish and corn, but you sure couldn't tell he'd gone "light" on the spice, and we had to rinse their food several times before they could eat it. I'm not sure either of my boys ate the Cajun food, but the girls did!

Granny & Papa's church had a big Easter celebration on Saturday, and the kids had a great time on the bounce equipment and the egg hunt. The adults had fun too, as several of the adult children of family friends brought their kids down, so we had a kind of impromptu reunion.

The kids were worn out from the festivities; Soren crashed and slept for almost 3 full hours, so he was being quite the little show off when he woke up feeling fine and rested! I had to threaten Will to email the Easter Bunny if he didn't stop talking and be still when I was trying to get him to sleep. It worked, mostly. We also discovered that Taulbee apparently considers my kids her "wards." Soren was trying to pet Krebs, who lunged at him, and Taulbee went after Krebs. She was definitely taking up for Soren!

For Easter, Will got a Darth Mal figurine (Bil thought that maybe that was a bit sacriligeous, but Will loved it!) and Soren got some sidewalk chalk, which he promptly ate. He also ate through the wrapper of a Cadbury egg. Oops!

Before church, we attempted some nice family pics, but Will was not feeling cooperative. Too bad!

We had a nice lunch with the family, and then headed back home. A very fine Easter.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Huck Finn Cap: A Review

So dapper!

I decided the boys' Easter outfits would be a bit dull with just bottoms and some kind of shirts, so I thought I'd "whip up" a couple of the Huck Finn Caps (pattern by Sew Liberated). I bought the pattern back at her Cyber Monday sale and thought it was about time I got to using it. I looked for reviews of the pattern but didn't turn up much except a couple of very adorable examples of the completed caps. Both the (very brief) posts on them just said they were pretty quick to complete, so I thought it would be a good project.

I cut out all my pieces and sewed them up on a Sunday afternoon during the Walking Dead marathon we had while Will was in Georgia. Cutting was quick since the pieces were small and there weren't too many. Sewing these suckers was tedious though, since I had to do everything 4 times (I was making two, and they are lined). I always forget how boring assembly line sewing is until I do it again!

So dapper!

The instructions were clear and the pattern fit together very well. The only bit I didn't really get (and basically ignored) were the instructions about the arrows overlapping as you are attaching the sides to the top of the hat. I just fiddled with it till I figured out how it was supposed to go together. (Confession--I didn't transfer the markings from the pattern at all--I thought they were grainline markings! Oops.)

One problem I did have was with my bill edges fraying very badly by the time I got to the point of actually inserting it, so on the second cap, I made sure to go surge my bill edges immediately before it could start raveling. This probably wouldn't have been as much of an issue in another fabric, but the seersucker I was using ravels like crazy. I also did not use two layers of bill insert material, and I think it's just fine without the extra layer.

I also wasn't quite sure why the sweatband isn't tacked down on the inside at all. I'm not sure if I did something wrong or what, but mine flips out/open quite badly where the bill is inserted, so I plan to tack it down by hand to the lining to keep it flat, at least at the front. I think the back will be fine without.

Although as I said, these caps seemed very fiddly while I was sewing them up, overall, they were a fairly quick project (I'd guess maybe 3-4 hours for the first and a bit less for the second?), and they look just adorable. I'm very pleased with my final product, and I give this pattern an enthusiastic two-thumbs up!

I can do it myself!

Easter Outfits for All (Almost)


I managed to make both of the boys and myself new outfits for Easter this year! The boys' were stashbusters (at least partly). The seersucker I used for theirs was from a yardage I got at the thrift store back in December, so it counts toward the stashbusting challenge. I did have to purchase the navy blue knit in order to make shirts. Oops.

For Will, I made the TNT Little Heartbreaker Pants from Sewing for Boys. I used the same 2/3 size but added length because he is FINALLY starting to get too long-legged for their 3T size (now that he's almost 4!).

Will's Easter Outfit

I didn't want to worry about all that stripes matching nonsense, so I cut the waistband, pocket backs, and cuffs on the bias. A subtle effect, but nice.

Will's Easter Outfit 2013

For Soren, I didn't have a TNT pants pattern, and I thought I'd do something a little more babyish for him (since I can, for a few more months, call him a baby!). I decided to face down the terror of the Ottobre pattern sheets, and selected the "Back to the '70s" Overalls from the Spring 2012 issue. I know I should have measured him to find out what size to cut, but, let's just say measuring a squalling, uncooperative child is not my idea of a good time, so I used the size conversion chart here, and according to it, a 2T is an 86 cm. Well, 2Ts are still big on Soren with plenty of growing room, so I was very surprised when I put this on him, and it BARELY fit. I mean, barely. If he grows any which way, up or out, it's not going on.

Soren's Easter Outfit

This was only my second attempt at an Otto, and I probably should have picked something that didn't involve a zipper, since the directions are minimal, but I finally got through it. I actually woke up in the middle of the night and figured out what I was supposed to be doing on the zipper placket (I had stitched it down incorrectly the first time and knew something was wrong, but not what).

Soren's Easter Outfit 2013

As everyone always says about Ottobre, it was nicely drafted and went together very well, and I am really pleased with the final product. I also did all bias-cut details for this one.

 Soren's Easter Outfit

Soren's Easter Outfit

Unfortunately, as we were getting Soren dressed, one of his giant hobbit feet got stuck crosswise in the pants, and instead of backing his foot out to turn it vertical, Bil just yanked on the pants, and the side seam ripped open down near the bottom. Wail! Ah well, I will cut them off into shortalls, which will be more practical for the spring/summer anyway.

I made both boys navy T-shirts with reverse applique animals on them. Will picked a monkey for his, and I picked a hedgehog for Soren. I LOVE the hedgehog. They both turned out really cute, though. I used the SFB Raglan T pattern (of course!). I used the same size (2/3) for both boys. I wasn't sure how it would be on Soren, but it turned out OK. A bit long, but it gives him some growing room.

As I was making them, my serger broke a needle and then I couldn't get it working right, so I had to finish them up on my mom's machine, and consequently, they only got serged without the final topstitching or hemming. Hopefully I'll get around to it..... We'll see! I also didn't get pictures of the shirts by themselves, and after a day of hard play, they are filthy. Maybe after the wash. I must show off the hedgehog at some point.

I'll save my Chantilly dress for another post.