Saturday, September 28, 2013

Mystery Birthday Party Preparations

There is a sewing and crafting blog I love.  It is Ikat bag.  The author of this blog makes wonderful, fun things!  Her girls' birthday parties are always amazing! And she has a guide to surviving creative birthday parties, too.  After a while, the party bug rubs off...

Two weekends ago, I made these:

Last week, I was busy finishing a jumper, so this Saturday, I did this:

And this:

And this!

And all from materials I already had.  :)  I might have to buy some more fleece the next time JoAnn's has a sale!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Finished Products!: Ottobre Design - Autumn 2010 - Vahvero linen Romper

And to think I thought I would be posting this in a few more stages...

This is a pattern I have been wanting to make since I first saw the "sneak peek" images in August of 2010, but it is one I have put off because--well, it's a little initmidating!  Sometimes, I look at the Ottobre designs and I undestand the phrase "the devil is in the details"--but the details are so nice.  And this pattern, though it did have elastic shirring, and it did have fancy pockets, just called to me.  So here it is, finished...

 Front and back.

Two of them, in fact!

So I learned a few things along the way, one of which I already mentioned in an earlier post.

Another thing was that not all elastic thread is created the same.  I have made garments with shirring before, and it came out... okay.  The main problem was that the shirring was not durable.  It broke.  And then, the garment was basically ruined--three knit shirts for my older daughter when she was in Pre-K had shirring on the sleeve, one woven shirt for me and three more (woven) that I made for the same daughter a little earlier than Pre-K also had shirring, this time on the bodice.  And, well, I wasn't very happy with the result.  THIS time, it occurred to me to look up brands of elasticized thread.  And Lo!  I discovered that most people were recommending Güterman.  Had I known that Güterman made elasticisized thread, I would have bought it from the beginning, but I was focusing on the elastic part, and not the thread part, so I bought the cheap stuff that JoAnn's had by the elastic.  This time, I bought the Güterman, and the difference is already noticeable!

So here is an intermediate stage, with the side-seams sewn.

And here are some of the details that make these jumpers so lovely.  The pockets:

The shirring at the ankle (or slightly above) that give them that "bloomer" look:

And here, the shirring again, with the straps attached:

The button fastenings (I had no idea how these things were fastened, and they fasten surprisingly easily!):

I learned another lesson while making these, and that is to make sure the straps are long enough, even if it means making them too long.  I remember, now, a cute purple jumpsuit that my mom made for me--it had puffed sleeves, if memory serves, and a long zipper up the front.  Besides the whole using the bathroom issue, I remember when I began to outgrow it, how uncomfortable it was to have the all-in-one garment--and I remembered it, unfortunately, as I was fitting my younger daughter with her gorgeous purple jumpsuit.  It was very nearly too short in the rise.  I moved up the straps in the back, attaching them much closer to the top of the jumper than the directions specified.  Even so, I was only just able to place the buttons where they were marked on the pattern, which will allow me to move them once for adjustment when she grows.  My other daughter, who I think has a long torso, fits hers very well, with ample room to grown in the straps, which is good.  It may simply be that I should have cut a size larger in the smaller jumper.  But... c'est la vie! She should still be able to wear it a good many times--and boy, is it cute.  No clown pants here!!  Now to find (or make) cute shirts to go under...

Sewing Pleats and Tabs: Ottobre Design - Autumn 2010 - Vahvero linen Romper

So after a hiatus of a couple of weeks, I've moved on to the second "step," if you will, of the Ottobre Design overalls I'm making for my girls.  At this stage, I make pleats on the front of the pants on either side that open up to the side seams.  There are a couple of things here that I have to interpret.  The first is the "depth" of the pleat.  It may seem silly, but I did think about this for a while.  The pleats are supposed to be 1 cm deep, so from outer-fold to inner fold, I measured 1 cm.  I think that's right.

The other puzzle is where to stitch down the pleats.  The directions say to "stitch across the pleats"--okay, got it--but where to stitch is a little fuzzier:  "plac(e) the first row 3.5 cm down from outer edge of seam allowance on top edge of front panel and spac(e) the rest 2 cm apart from each other below the first row."  What I don't quite get is what, exactly, the "outer edge of seam allowance" might be...

Ottobre patterns don't include seam allowances.  You trace the pieces, and add seam allowances.  The recommended seam allowance is 1 cm, but not being a metric kind of gal, I tend to add 1/2" instead.  So is the outer edge of the seam allowance the edge of the 1 cm that I was supposed to add?  Which would mean that I would actually subtract the 1 cm I was supposed to add, add 1/2", and sew the first row at 1.5 cm + 1/2" from the very edge of the front panel?  Anyway, that's what I'm going to assume.  We'll see how it works out...

In the meantime, I have created a little tab with a buttonhole that needs to be sewn to the inside of the garment on the wrong side of the pleats.  Again, there is some confusion over where to place the button tab:  "2 cm down from outer edge of seam allowance on top edge of front panel."  Then, I "stitch tabs in place along rows of stitching sewn across pleats," which I believe means that I would turn the garment over and stitch the tab to the wrong side by sewing on the right side.  Well, here goes...

Okay, so as it turned out, I discovered that the "outer edge" is not the edge of the piece as I cut it out (including the seam allowance).  The "outer edge" is the edge of the pattern piece before adding the seam allowance.  The instructions are translated from Finnish--I wonder if this might be a translation error?  Anyway, I discovered this by happy accident.  As I was sewing the first piece--the brown pair--I accidentally sewed 5 rows of stitching across the pleats instead of 4.  And I realized as I did this that it just seemed natural to keep going to the end of the mark I made for each folded pleat.  And that mark ended just as I made the 5th line of stitching, spaced every 2 cm.  So clearly, the top row was one row too many.  When I measured from the line I had made to indicate my seam allowance to the 2nd row of stitching, it was exactly 3.5 cm.  Mystery solved!  And so I proceeded accordingly, measuring from where my seam allowance began, and starting the first row of stitching 3.5 cm from that.

The only thing of note when I sewed on the button tab was that it had to be positioned so that the 2 cm gap between rows coincided with the buttonhole itself, otherwise I would have sewn the buttonhole closed!  I noticed that right away, though, so I could adjust my rows of stitching accordingly.  In a perfect world, I wouldn't have had to do that, because my buttonhole and my lines of stitching would have been positioned perfectly.  *sigh*  Ah well, this will be one of those garments that comes with the disclaimer that slight imperfections make it unique, right?

Hopefully, I will be able to write about the elastic shirring adventure next time.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sewing with Linen

Sometimes, it's satisfying just to have some nice, crisp, ironed and topstitched pieces complete. These are the beginning of a new project that I'm making for the girls--linen jumpers from Ottobre Design Autumn 2010 issue. I have been wanting to make them since the issue came out, and finally got the nerve.  The color isn't good in the pictures, but the smaller pair--sz. 116--is deep plum, while the larger pair--sz. 128--is brown with silver roses.  My one concern is that the effect of the design will ultimately resemble clown pants. We shall see!

 I know--I really should stop putting images taken with my iPod on the blog...  Better pics next time.