Sunday, April 27, 2014

Prep Work

My parents were visiting for a few days the week before last, so I took a bit of a break in the sewing last week. This week I've been playing catch up and trying to get ready for the next round of things. April 28-May 3 is selfish sewing week - like Kids Clothes Week, except for me! Then this season of Project Sewn begins May 5, and I'll be attempting to link up to the sew along. We'll see if that goes any better than Project Run and Play, right? (Week 4 looks for the kids are actually complete, but never got photographed, so when they're clean again I'll get them photographed and actually put up the blog post, which is already written!) I also signed up for Me Made May '14! I pledged to try to wear a handmade garment at least 3 days a week for the month of May, but I'll have to get some sewing done to not wear the same things every week.

Just when I thought I had time to work, though, my lovely husband started drumming up more possible custom work for me to do for other people. It makes my plans to sew for myself and the kids a little harder, but hey, who am I to turn down work that might pay for the fabric for my next project?

I don't want to give everything away, and a lot of my selfish sewing week projects will have to wait for their Project Sewn reveal posts, but I'll be working on summer clothes for myself, things that can be layered for what's left of spring before the summer heat finally descends. I need to make a couple of quick and easy pieces for May, too, to fill out my wardrobe of handmade things. Right now I think I have two skirts, a top, and a cardigan that I've made for myself that actually fit. There probably won't be time, but there may be a new bag or two in the bunch! What can I say? I make ambitious plans. You don't get to hear exactly what what's in those plans (especially since I'm not sure what will get done and I don't need the pressure!) but here's some fabric peeks.
These are one outfit, for Project Sewn.
But I promise these are to be worn separately ;)
The goal with the weekly themes for Project Sewn is to take them and make things that are practical and comfortable for every day. My warm weather wardrobe is rather lacking in volume, and often feels equally lacking in style, but fixing that has required me to actually think about what "my style" might actually be. I'm still thinking about it, but I'm not sure if I really have one. That might make signature style week tough, but you'll have to check in to see what I come up with. For now I've been using up ink, paper, and tape at an alarming rate to print and put together patterns. It's probably not a huge shock to hear that printing adult sized patterns takes up more paper than kid patterns. It's pretty nuts. I actually went out of my way to look at printed patterns that I already have or can get on sale from the big 4 pattern companies. They aren't as good, but they require a ton less prep work. Unfortunately, I still like most of my PDFs better, so printing and taping and tracing it is! Excuse me while I go tape together every piece of paper in the house.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Kids Clothes Week Wrap Up

Kids' Clothes Week of spring 2014 has come to an end. There were a couple of days that I had a hard time finding my hour, but most days I was able to get in more than that. Project Run and Play projects got plenty of love. Ellie's look for the signature style week is complete (but you'll have to wait for that post to see it), and all of the sewing for last week's challenge was done during KCW! With some luck (and perhaps better planning?) next time around I won't be so far behind on my sew along pieces. In spite of that, I did get one thing made that isn't part of any PR&P challenge.

My first pair of overalls! (That I've sewn, that is.)
I felt compelled to show the back, but it's pretty plain
These are Peek-a-boo Pattern Shop Lullaby Line Overalls for my nephew. I bought the fabric awhile back at one of many trips to JoAnn's. It's a soft interlock from their Doodles line of kids' apparel fabrics, and it has been begging to become baby clothes. Finally it got it's wish! I love using Amy's patterns. The directions are clear and easy to follow, her tutorials include plenty of photos, and her pattern pieces are some of the easiest I've had to line up and tape. These came together super fast, partly because I omitted all of the pockets. This fabric really didn't need them to be cute, though I think if I used a solid I would take the time to make all of the pockets. Now to send them back up north with my parents next weekend and wait to see how they fit!
Aren't those monkeys sweet?

At the moment I've also been thrown a curve in my sewing planning courtesy of the 6 year old. I had his signature style outfit all planned out, patterns and fabric ready, and... He shot it down. Yes, I'm the mom and I could do it anyway, but he did make a valid point that it's a cooler weather outfit, and we are suddenly barreling through spring and headed all too quickly for summer weather. So we tabled it for the fall, but I'm back to the drawing board. Fortunately my muse seems to have come back with ideas galore after the post-holiday vacation she took, and I'm playing with my fabric stash to try to figure something out without more trips to buy fabric! Here's a parting peek at what I've been considering.

You might be able to guess his favorite color from this assortment of possible fabric choices.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Project Run and Play: Design Your Own Fabric Challenge

Well, this time everything was at least sewn, photographed, and blogged in the correct week! Alas, I missed the link up this time, but since I've already written this, up it goes anyway! The challenge this week at Project Run and Play was to design your own fabric, something I haven't done much of, really. I brainstormed, I came up with ideas, and then things like the weather got in the way. In spite of the setbacks, I managed to come up with a couple of cute pieces to show off.
Don't mind the mess. The kids are having fun.
Cyrus is really into sharks this year. As in, REALLY into sharks, sort of suddenly. He's always found them cool, but hasn't really been all about them until now. I wanted to do a stamped fabric for him, so off I went to get some fabric, orange paint, and a cool stamp. Screeching halt. Would you believe that in all three of my local craft stores there was not a single shark stamp to be found? Off to the trusty Google search to find alternate stamping methods, where I found potato stamping. Ooh, an answer to that ever pressing question, "What am I supposed to do with a potato?" And so, the unintentionally sparkly, neon orange hammerheads were born onto black interlock.

Somehow, I didn't paint the whole table orange.
I combined that with some of the same fabric in green, and a couple of awesome orange snaps, to make a Peek-a-boo Pattern Shop Boardwalk Hoodie. Last week's shorts are also featured again, apparently to prove he likes them. He did finally ask for more so he doesn't have to wear the same pair all of the time.

The sun was in his face. Also, there was totally a bee. Somewhere in the yard. It might have come within 10 feet.
Can I go in now, mom?
My little princess loves pink. Passionately. She also prefers dresses and skirts, so I chose the Very Shannon Sally Dress and then decided what to do for my fabric design. Originally I really wanted to try sun painting, since the warm weather has finally showed up, but as soon as my paint came it rained for 2 days. Fabulous. Once the sun came back, it brought the wind with it, which didn't really do it for me either, so eventually I gave up and tried a glue resist batik style painting using this tutorial.
I have to say, I'm really pleased with the results. I did the resist on the bodice and pocket pieces, then simply painted the skirt pieces, adding in some purple which gave it a more tie dyed look. Sometimes I have trouble getting her to try on the things I make. This? She insisted on taking off the pretty dress she was already wearing to put this on. I'm going to say this one's a winner.
We were sad, and then we got bubbles. Yay happy princess!

Aren't those pockets just the best?
My verdict on glue resist - the results? Lovely. The method? Well, it took me longer to get the glue back out of the fabric than it did to make the dress, so I think I'll try an actual batiking method if I do this again. The stamping worked somewhat better, but I think I need more practice. Over all, I'm pleased with the outcomes, and equally as important, so are they!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Kids Clothes Week

In the moments last week when I wasn't sewing for Project Run and Play, I've been trying to plan for Kids Clothes week. Spring KCW starts today, and I have about half an idea of what I plan to sew. Then again, I've never successfully sewed for my kids for an hour each day of any past KCW, so if I get that much done it will still be a success. This time is the first time with a theme! "Mini me". Oddly enough, I feel like I would be more successful at that with Cyrus than Ellie most of the time. Typically I stick with jeans and hoodies. Ellie much prefers skirts and dresses, so we don't dress alike all that often. The theme may not get too much love here this week, especially since most of my sewing time will probably end up being for the Project Run and Play linkups this week and next.

I try to keep my kid clothes functional and comfortable. When I don't have a prompt, so to speak, Cyrus likes to design his own clothes for me to make. I had never envisioned a 6 year old boy so invested in his wardrobe, but not only does he have pretty specific ideas about what he wants, he's also super proud of his mom made clothes. He was announcing that I made his outfit at the playground yesterday while we were taking photos. It was really cute. He did the same thing last week while wearing something else I'd made, then proceeded to run through mud puddles and get thoroughly wet and dirty. Yesterday, Ellie slipped on the river bank and landed squarely on her white linened bottom. In the mud.
Oops. Good thing those are washable!
So the things I make need to hold up to that sort of use, because what's the point of sewing for my kids if it isn't something they can wear to play and get dirty? They're just so adept at that.

Yesterday I started working on this week's Project Run and Play challenge - design your own fabric. Ouch. I've done some basic tub dying before, but I came up with some really grand plans on what to do for this using new techniques. And then last week's sewing took longer than I anticipated, because that usually happens, plus my best laid plans just didn't quite work out, but hopefully the result will be blessed with fairy dust, and not destined for the dustbin.

Today was a bit of a mixed bag. I didn't actually sew anything, I just did a lot of cutting, so I'm not sure if that counts toward my hour today. Either way, I plan to make up for it before the week is over! But here's a look at what was on my sewing (billiard) table today.

Behind, but working on this week's PR&P sew along!
Peek at next weeks PR&P fabric.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Project Run and Play: Spring Break Challenge

My intention was to get all of these finished Thursday so I could post them to the link up over at Project Run and Play, but I didn't get buttons on until yesterday. Could I have posted anyway? Sure, I could have just sneakily not photographed the places needing buttons, but I sort of fell asleep super early because I spent too many nights working after midnight on this project this week. Oops. Wouldn't you know that little kids and school bus schedules have no respect for tired moms? Sleeping in: not an option. In fact, it's always those mornings that someone gets up early. Was it worth it?

Hell yeah. And then I found out I actually have until Sunday to link up. Score!

For anyone unfamiliar with Project Run and Play, it's based on a Project Runway, but it's kids clothes. Bloggers are chosen to compete, and each week we get to vote for our favorite. Because this is the internet, the general public gets to sew along, and there's a weekly linkup for a chance to also win a prize. This week's theme was Spring Break, and the chalked was to design an outfit for your child based upon your favorite or dream vacation spot. We don't really do spring break, and I couldn't decide on a dream location, so I cheated a little and skipped ahead to summer. We always go to Maine in the summer, to visit family and go on vacation at one of the gorgeous lakes in the Sebago area. These were inspired by summer at the lake and in coastal Portland.

I had a tough time deciding on fabric for this. I left it until the last minute, so I was stuck with what I could find locally, but wound up with this really pretty blue with sand dollars and starfish. It got made into Violette Field Threads' Fiona Top. She likes ruffles, but isn't as into bows, so I omitted the side ties. I thought about contrasting buttons for the back, but again was limited to local finds and my JoAnn's has been lacking in button stock recently. Instead it got these pretty, but nondescript, blue buttons. The pants are Greenstyle Creations Brassie Pants, in a white linen I found in my fabric stash. The waist and leg bands are upcycled from an old cami of mine.

For Cyrus I made the Blank Slate Patterns Blank Tank. Originally I wanted to stencil on a lobster in black fabric paint, and chose the red jersey so that it would show through  the outline and make the lobster red, but for a variety of reasons this didn't happen. He's happy with the plain tank though! On the bottom he's wearing Rabbit Rabbit Creations' Weekender Pants. His favorite color is orange, and the pattern on this fabric is vaguely reminiscent of waves, so orange waves it was. The waistband, pockets, and cuffs are the same fabric as Ellie's top, and there are orange decorative buttons on the cuff tabs.

We have a great park just down the street, and finally got a combination of a nice day, plus Ellie deciding she actually likes the clothes enough to wear them. Toddlers can be so fickle. Fortunately, Cyrus is generally pretty game to try on whatever I ask to at least take photos, but he also says he loves this outfit. I guess I'll be making a few more of these patterns for his summer wardrobe!