Monday, December 22, 2014

Loki Backpack and Scarf

It's not quite the 11th hour for holiday sewing, but we are getting close to it! Things have been so beyond crazy this month that I haven't gotten half of my to do list accomplished, but these were a must do! My vet's daughter loved the Doctor Who/Sherlock bag I made for her this summer that she commissioned more geek inspired sewing for Christmas! This time, it's Tom Hiddleston's Loki as the inspiration for a backpack. Initially I brought her a couple of sketches with ideas, one of which was based on the Stuttgart scarf, but in the end we ended up with an actual scarf, plus a drawstring backpack.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with how these turned out. I found a Loki print for the backpack pocket, and a pre-printed fabric for the scarf on Spoonflower. The backpack is a black batik, lined with green Kona cotton, with gold cording for the drawstring and straps. I added fringe to the scarf fabric, and top stitched the ends closed.

Later, she also asked me to make something small for a friend of her daughter who loves Doctor Who, so I whipped up a key fob from a left over bit of the fabric from the Doctor Who pocket on the Wholock bag.

Now that these lovelies are done, I need to finish up some last minute gifts, and make some stockings for my own family. Talk about leaving things the last minute!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Hunger Games

It's Hunger Games inspired this month over at Crafting Con! I admit, I watched the movie when it came out, but my daughter was still a baby and woke up several times while Patrick and I tried to watch it, so I ended up splitting it into two evenings. This left me without much of an impression of it, and honestly I didn't give it a whole lot of thought after that. This summer, after I finished the latest Outlander book, I bought The Hunger Games on my Nook while I was trying to find something else to read. Unfortunately I had a bit of a book hangover and just couldn't get into it. Fast forward to this month, I went to re-watch the movie for sewing inspiration only to find that now Catching Fire is on Netflix instead. Well, darn it, the story was fuzzy, so I decided to read the first book (after all, I already had it!) before I watched it. I ended up reading the whole series in less than 3 days. I have since recorded The Hunger Games on my DVR, and watched both that and Catching Fire. At least twice.

My inspiration to sew came from Catching Fire.

Cyrus reminds me a bit of Peeta, right down to his love of orange and bread. Maybe a bit less blonde. So for the sew along, I based this off of his outfit at the reaping. Jeans, tee, hoodie - his style in a nutshell. Since they share a favorite color, I made a Peek-a-boo Grand Slam from this amazingly soft orange bamboo knit. The slim fit option in this pattern is such an amazing fit on this kid. The hoodie is Shwin Designs Submarine Hoodie modified to use an old button up shirt and tee. Instead of using the placket pieces on the hoodie, I cut the front to use the existing button placket on the shirt. The hood I cut just slightly wider than the neck, and made a casing in the front for a drawstring. (Nope, not the "right" way, but I was improvising and didn't have eyelets on hand at the time.) I omitted the elastic at the bottom and sleeves, and just did a folded hem, and used the button tabs to keep the rolled sleeve look. The buttons are orange for an extra pop of that favorite color.

Initially for Ellie, I wanted to use Prim's outfit at the Hunger Games reaping for inspiration, but couldn't find skirt fabric I was happy with in time. Instead, I decided to go with a loosely Finnick Odair inspired look. The inspiration from his outfit came from the promo posters for Catching Fire, and also from the general idea of water and fishing from District 4. I made a white LouBee Bimaa Sweater with a shawl collar - my first Bimaa! I can now say I understand why everyone loves this pattern, and I'm really excited that the new sizes mean I can make one for Cyrus. For the skirt, I found this knit at JoAnn's - shades of blues, and the sparkles that look like sunlight on water. I made a simple yoga waisted circle skirt, since I really just wanted to show off this fabric. The waistband is the same white knit as her top, partly so it's easy to hide under a shirt, and mostly because I was afraid the sparkles on the blue would be uncomfortable against her skin. I also made a necklace inspired by Finnick's by braiding some cotton cord, but instead of a shell hers has a fluorite dolphin charm.

Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tiny Dancer

Ellie has started taking a ballet class, and she is crazy about it. This girl just loves to dance. Two classes in, and she finally has shoes and a leotard that fit. After insisting on short sleeves, the weather forecast for today was so cold, she needed long sleeves under her jacket. Unfortunately for me, she refuses to wear non dance wear to her class. Enter the Heidi & Finn Ballet Sweater! What a lifesaver. Long sleeves, won't interfere with the tutu, and it's even got ballet in the name. Jackpot.

I cut this out last night, and sewed it up this morning. It is super quick to make, and comes out so cute! I can tell I was hurrying, my top stitching is a bit wonky in places and I didn't have time for a good steam pressing, but she loves it. The buttons were her idea. That's another thing she loves, adding buttons to things. I left off the wrap around ties on this one, both for time and so that they wouldn't get in the way if she kept it on for class. (She didn't. She also barely posed for photos, she was in such a hurry to get to class!)

I made a 3T, and it came out a little big, but there was no size chart in the pattern and I was too busy freezing last night while tracing and cutting to think to go find it. But better too big than too small. Now she can hopefully get more than one dance season out of it!

Friday, October 31, 2014


We love Halloween here. It might even be our favorite holiday, although the kids are pretty partial to Christmas. My mom made most of my costumes as a child, at least most of the ones I remember. Dorothy, Glenda (the only one I recall being thrifted instead of handmade), baby doll, Star Fleet officer (yeah, growing up nerdy!), princess Jasmine... And a cherry tree. No, I have no idea how I came up with that last one. You'll have to ask my mom if she remembers. Last year I went full on geek mom with Cyrus' costume, and made him a pretty excellent (if I do say so myself) tenth Doctor suit. Unfortunately, he was quite disappointed with the lack of people who seemed to know who he was, in spite of weilding that sonic screwdriver like a pro.

Oh yeah. Sonic the camera, dude.
This year, we went through a handful of ideas - Green Arrow, ninja, Deadpool, to name a few - before he decided to be Harry Potter. He just started reading the books this fall, and is totally loving them. Since Ellie is even less good about making up her mind on a costume (she is 3, after all), there was a parental executive decision to make her a Hogwarts student as well, which she was perfectly okay with. Patrick thought she looks like Luna Lovegood this year, with the wispy blonde hair, and not so much like Hermione, so I present Harry and Luna!

I will gladly admit that a lot of this I bought instead of made. It was much easier to buy school uniform pieces for the basic uniforms, so aside from the white button up that was already in Cy's closet, they got nice new uniforms. Are they perfect replicas? Nope. But it saved me work and those details are largely lost on the kids. My mantra for this project became "It's a costume, not a cosplay". That just left me the robes and scarves. The scarves in the movie are knitted, but I crochet so much faster, so I crocheted theirs. As an extra plus, that's something I can do upstairs during the day while the dog is awake. Maybe I should crochet more this fall and winter! For the robes, I altered a Simplicity costume pattern. I think it took me longer to trace and cut the pieces than it did to sew them. I don't have an embroidery machine, so I bought iron on house patches. Ellie's spectrespecs are sunglasses with the front piece of a printable taped to the front. I bought fabric to make ties, totally did not get to them, and I have concluded that I don't care. After all... It's a costume, not a cosplay! Besides, you'd never see them under the scarves anyway.

I think one of the hardest things about these was making sure wre knew where the wands were at any given time! The kids love them, and they tend to wander a bit. Cyrus spent the past weekend wearing his Harry glasses and carrying his wand around anywhere we went. He even tried to dress more like Harry when he's not in his uniform, but his clothes actually mostly fit him. But the wands have been found, and everything is finally done, just in time for Halloween and their first time going door to door trick or treating.

Happy Halloween!

Finally Trick-or-Treating after all of the pictures!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Iron Man Inspired

This outfit is something I planned back in August, with the clearly over ambitious plan to add it to the Crafting Con Avengers linkup. Oops. So instead, a month and a half late, I got it done for Cy's birthday. I guess that will do. The challenge for Crafting Con is to create day to day wear instead of costumes, based around geeky themes, which works out so very well for me. I want to know when they plan to do Firefly/Serenity month, because I have some fabulous outfits drawn up based on that. I also have a page with designs for the whole family based on Mass Effect. Is that too far off the geek end?

I've been informed that he needs "repulsor gloves". Add another project to the list!
When I was designing last August, Cyrus chose Iron Man for his preferred Avenger. While I'm familiar with him, I took to the internet to look up photos for inspiration. Having that visual is often helpful for me, even when I'm referencing something I already know. I found a few photos of Tony Stark in tee shirts with the arc reactor glowing though, and went with that for the top. I made a black Peek-a-boo Patterns Grand Slam raglan tee (I used the slim fit option), then used a freezer paper stencil to paint the arc reactor design on the front. It dried to a darker blue than I wanted, but Cy went totally nuts with excitement when I showed him. I guess Mama did okay!

The pants are my interpretation of Iron Man's armor into cargo pants. I used another Peek-a-boo pattern, this time the Castaway Cargos. This is a fantastic pattern, and my son loves the knit waistband. I left off the back welt pockets this time, since he doesn't use them, but now I wish I hadn't. The contrast of a gold welt would have been great. Oh well, too late now! The main pants pattern is made from a red twill, but I used a gold-ish colored contrast for all of the pockets to mimic the accents on Iron Man's armor. Cyrus loves them, and when Ellie saw them she essentially said "Where's mine?", so I may need to make some for her, too.
Ready to fight!
While I was at it, I made a matching tiny sized version for my nephew ET. It would be so much better if we lived close enough to get photos of the boys together, but this will have to do for now.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

SSW - Julia Cardigan and Side Pocket Skirt

Selfish Sewing Week has come and gone, so it must be time to share what I made! First up is actually the last made, because my Hudson Pants ended up in the wash before I could get photos. At the end of the week, I whipped up a new Mouse House Creations Julia Cardigan. I've made a few of the long sleeved version, both for myself and as holiday gifts for my best friends last year. This time I went with the cap sleeve version to change it up.

Puppy kisses!
Because moms actually get time to lounge casually at the playground, right?
While I've seen some cozy looking versions of this in heavier knits, I chose a very lightweight rayon for mine. The pattern has an option to hem the outside, but I would consider hemming this stuff to fall somewhere around the pleasureableness of stepping on Legos. Instead, I chose to make the waist and collar in the doubled over option, which is two layers. Like using a banded hem, it makes a nice clean finish without hemming and worrying about stretching the edge out of shape. In a super light fabric, it also adds just a bit of extra weight to keep it hanging nicely.
The smile that says "Hurry up, the sun is in my eyes!"
It took an excessive number of tries to get reasonable a picture of my own leg.
The skirt I made without a pattern. I found a fat quarter of the flower print at a local quilt shop, and it sat around for awhile waiting for me to figure out what to make with it. At some point, I decided it would make good accent pockets on a skirt for me. The print is pretty large, so I went with pockets big enough to show it off. I made a pleat in the center of each pocket to keep them from hanging away at the sides. Trust me, that looks really odd. You could make a casing and use a bit of elastic at the top of the pocket for the same effect with a slightly different look. The main skirt is a very basic elastic waist skirt, but with four panels instead of two. The pockets are the same width as the side panels, and are sewn directly into the seams instead of being topstitched on afterward.
Nice try, but you are totally in the picture, honey.
I love how roomy these pockets are. My phone, keys, and camera all fit with room to spare for the inevitable other things I will aquire on walks or at the playground. Flowers, rocks, acorns, shells... This skirt will hold it all!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Shorts galore

In the spirit of catching up, here is some more of what I was sewing over the summer! A good bit of my sewing time was for my best friend and her son ET (my honorary nephew). BA found some adorable beach and nautical themed prints that she wanted made into summer shorts for the baby, and I was happy to oblige. Upon going through my substantial collection of pdf patterns, I found that I really didn't have just a basic, elastic waist shorts pattern. The only one I have doesn't ever print properly for me, which drives me nuts and makes it hard to use. Instead of buying one, I used the Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop Pier 49 Pants. I shortened them using the length of a pair in his size, and omitted all of the admittedly cute details like pockets, both faux and real.
Chew that pull rope!
Stop to admire the scenery.
Just look at that cute face.
They came out a bit long, but otherwise fit pretty well. No growing room to speak of, but the summer heat doesn't last long in Maine, so they got him through the season. We have some other cute prints stashed away for next summer's shorts!

His mommy didn't want to be left out, so I made her a couple of pairs of shorts length leggings. Along the idea of playground shorts for little girls, BA found she could use something to wear under dresses. You can see the hems of one pair peeking out under her dress in the photos above on the deck. Leggings may be back for fall, but knee length ones for summer weren't so easy to find. Greenstyle Creations Lucy Leggings came to the rescue! There are several lengths and two rises to choose from, which takes most of the guesswork out of where to cut. I used the yoga waist option, but there are directions for an elastic casing if that's your preference. These came together wicked fast, and I had fabric left over, so I made some for myself, too! I used Kaufman Laguna knits from It is a little lightweight for leggings, but is very soft and comfortable to wear. I'm pretty sure I need to find a thicker knit and make a few full length pairs for the cooler weather that is starting to creep in. Come on autumn, I'm ready to layer!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Setbacks abound!

In an effort to get myself more organized, which is something I'm not always good at, I printed one of the monthly calendars that I use for meal planning and turned it into a sewing calendar. I'm pretty sure it would have helped, and with its help I completed about half of my ambitious Selfish Sewing Week list (which will be blogged as soon as I have my husband take photos), but then life happened. The car needed work, so I lost nearly two days of sewing time to that. Then I had an encounter with that scourge of elementary school families... Head lice. Eww. So instead of sewing, I've spent the last three days on a serious offensive against critters. Fortunately Cyrus doesn't seem to have passed them to anyone else, and was finally nit free and able to go back to school yesterday morning, so I think that maybe I can step down from paranoid to just being watchful for the next couple of weeks. Thank you Fairy Tales products! It has been such a consuming thing that I haven't even considered breaking out my sewing stuff, even after everyone is in bed. Hopefully, the rest of the week will be better and I can get back to my extensive to do list. I should probably update my calendar though, because I will not be able to quite catch up.

Unfortunately another month has passed when. I haven't gotten my sew along on for Crafting Con. The Hosh Pants of the previous post were intended to be half of a Hulk inspired outfit for August, and I had a few ideas for September's princess theme that didn't quite make it to the machine. Therefore, I'm setting a goal to do better this month for Crafting Con villains! I already have sketches, and had written them into October to get done. If my kids are lucky, they will also get Halloween costumes! Heh. With any luck, I already have the materials too, because I think for this month I'll mostly need to be stash busting and upcycling, since my sewing budget essentially went to lice treatment. Stupid lice.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Project catch up

Despite the quiet, I have been doing some sewing behind the scenes here! Taking photos and getting organized to post has been difficult recently, and in the past week getting anything done at all has been nearly impossible. Why? Well, in large part because of this cute little face.

How can you resist those eyes?
Yup, we adopted a puppy. She's a (approximately) 3 month old (supposedly) Beagle mix, and between new pup and both kids being sick, I've been largely unable to get into my sewing space. We've been very lucky though. Obviously there's the usual puppy things, like needing to go outside (extremely) often, requiring quite a bit of attention, and trying to chew on pretty much anything except the toys I bought for her to chew on, but she's a very good dog. Nalah rarely barks, only jumps when you get her worked up, and doesn't beg much at the table. She is very sweet. It's a lot of work all the same, and with the husband working long hours, most days the majority of the care taking and training falls pretty squarely on me. Exhausting!

The cutest exhausting duo I know.
Before that, I did get a few things finished. I participated in a swap through the Scientific Seamstress Facebook group, and made a pink nautical Portrait Peasant Dress, and a mustard and navy All the Rage Raglan. Quick and easy, but I'm pleased with how they came out. I hope the kids I made them for like them! My kids haven't always loved what they get from swaps (even when I do), but they like their items this time. Ellie received a pink and yellow stripwork dress with girl superheroes. The hero fabric is fabulous. I wish I knew where to find some! Cy got a gray and blue raglan with a police box embroidered on it. I guess she did some digging and found we are Whovians! He loves it, but the neckline is too wide and falls off his shoulders, so I need to do a quick alteration before he can wear it comfortably.

I also finally tried the Hosh Pants by Lou Bee Clothing for Ellie. I can't believe I didn't make these before! The pattern is clearly written, simple, and they came together fast. I think I'm in love with the waistband construction, and may mash it onto other pants patterns. My kids are on the slim side, and waistbands are often too large, so the adjustable waist is great. I may still need to taper down a size in the hip for Ellie. We've had some potty regression recently (and she was so close to being totally proficient!), but even with a diaper there's plenty of room in the rear. The length is spot on though, and she loves that they fit under her little belly.

All of her pants are dancey pants.

I'm not sure why my 3 year old already has a preference for low rise pants, but apparently so. She should get plenty of wear out of these this fall. They're perfect for neighborhood walks!

Wrong "heel", Nalah!
This week, my goal is to get enough time in each day to participate in selfish sewing week! I have several fairly easy projects planned out, since my fall wardrobe is pretty lacking. By the end of the challenge week, I'm hoping to have new pajamas/loungewear, a layering cardigan, and maybe pants or a skirt. Once the kiddos, furry and not, are in bed tonight, I'll be starting a pair of True Bias Hudson Pants. My pajama pants wardrobe is, well, old. Add to it that anything not cropped is several inches too long, and it becomes fairly obvious that I need to make myself some new pajama pants. This didn't used to be a huge issue, but now that I end up taking the dog out before getting dressed, the hems end up wet and dirty after one night. This needs to be remedied so that I don't have to wash pjs every 2 days now that the mornings are getting chillier!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wholock Hobo

Last week I finished my first official commissioned bag, and I'm really happy with it. This project made me think I should get business cards and carry them, because you never know where you might sell something! Like when you're at the vet. My cats' vet noticed my Doctor Who Rosie back in June when I brought them in for a checkup, and asked me if I made it. Her daughter is a Whovian and a Sherlock fan (do they have a name?), and had a birthday coming up, so she was thinking she would like something like that. I showed her the India Hobo, and she loved my idea.

I made a large India, which is fully reversible. On one side we have Doctor Who -

and on the other side, it's all about Sherlock.

I ordered the special prints from Spoonflower. The gray and blue for the Who side came from JoAnns, and was a lucky find. It was perfect, with the gray shades, and the blue diamonds that resemble stars. I hadn't received the special order stuff yet, so I pretty much crossed my fingers and hoped the colors worked. As you can see, I lucked out and it's just perfect. Making the choice for the Sherlock side was much harder. I was told the intended recipient liked bright colors, but I tend to think of dark, muted tones when I think of Sherlock, so I had to dig a little deeper and do some research since (please don't throw things at me!) I'm not really into it and have only watched the first couple of episodes. What I came away with was the damask wallpaper, a yellow smiley face, and a purple shirt. Getting the Spoonflower print of the wallpaper was cost prohibitive, plus it was still pretty drab, so I settled on using purple. It took a month to find the I right one, and I found it at Calico Basket while I was visiting family for summer vacation. It is a gorgeous purple, blue and tan damask batik. My photographs really don't do it justice.

I somehow forgot to take a picture of the side of the bag that is only this, so this is my little bit of leftover.
My tag on the inside of the Who pocket! Please ignore my chipping nail polish.
Choosing accent piping and zippers was exponentially easier. I took the lazy way out and used pre-made piping from JoAnns. The zippers were part of a multicolor pack I bought on Etsy from Zipper Shop. Putting the bag together is actually fairly quick once you get to the sewing, but my least favorite part of making bags is ironing on interfacing. It definitely adds body, but standing there pressing a dozen pieces of interfacing to their fabric counterparts is quite boring, and I don't yet have a full sized board that I could set up in front of the tv. ;)

In the end, it came out pretty much just as I hoped. My client was extremely happy with it, and I hope her daughter loves it too!

*Post contains affiliate links to Swoon Patterns