She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts

Before the Jango Fett costume was offered to my son as a Halloween costume, I was planning on making a Han Solo costume. Han has always been my favourite, unfortunately none of the kids are as keen on him. But I did manage to convince S to go for it and had already bought fabric and cut the pieces to make a vest. When Jango Fett came along, it took the pressure off to sew up the vest and it sat until last week when I finally sewed it up.

DSC01776

The vest is based on the Oliver and S Little Things to Sew Explorer Vest pattern. I just modified the pockets and added some detail to the back to make it more Han Solo like. I also eliminated the lining and bound all the edges except the hem with bias tape, while the pattern calls to bind the armholes only.

DSC01789

Of course black is impossible to photograph but S wisely suggested that he show off the pockets by shoving his hands into each of them in turn, which does help to point them out.

DSC01791

I was inspired by this post and tried to make it reasonably accurate, hence the detail above that isn’t really practical but looks cool.

DSC01790

The vest seems pretty popular, not sure if it is more because it is a new costume piece from Star Wars or if it is because it combines S’s two favourite things – black and pockets. He is that little boy who has bits and bobs in his pockets ALL the time. Manu treasures are found at varying stages during the doing of laundry. This vest should help him maximize the treasure collecting and hiding. It brings out his favourite face:

DSC01777

It does inspire Star Wars moves, too.

DSC01779

Everyone else needed to have their photo taken, too, so I’ll leave with that. Guess who wanted to show off her hot dog tongue?

DSC01784

Caramel

I finished this sweater in the fall but just took photos and got it up on Ravelry, so I decided to post about it before I forget my thoughts on it.

DSC01724

This is the Caramel sweater but Isabell Kraemer, available as a free Ravelry download. Caramel is a DK-weight, raglan sleeved, drapey cardigan with no closures. This is a beautiful sweater. I used DK superwash from Sweet Georgia Yarns, bought at Handknit Yarn Studio here in Hamilton. I really enjoyed working with this yarn, which is probably why I ever got this sweater finished. An entire, adult-sized sweater in DK yarn is not something that I can whip up quickly. The fact that this took less than 6 months still astounds me.

Knitting was easy, although I struggled with a couple things that were entirely my fault. First, I did not really register that I was knitting top-down (yes, I know this should have been obvious but I think that my brain just couldn’t acknowledge it). Second, for some reason I read the instruction that I should continue on in the established pattern, but only did it on the right side rows. I realized some 15 or 20 rows later what I should have done and what an impact it would make and so I went back and fixed all the incorrect stitches. It was worth it, as the effect around the faux seamlines is so pretty.

Because of the stripes, finishing ends was a slow process (that is a lot of ends!) but it wasn’t that hard to do well with this yarn and gauge. I worried that the finishing would be visible as the sweater draped open, which I was sure it would. It does drape open instead of laying flat sometimes, but I think the finishing stays hidden. I have received several compliments, from knitters and non-knitters alike, which is always nice.

My only issue with this sweater is one that is common to me and that is the colours. Once I get a project in mind, I really want to go for it and then, when I try to buy local (be it yarn or fabric) I often have to compromise my vision to get the materials. I really wanted a gray and blue sweater. I am pretty happy with the blue, but the other colour is not in my palette and I find it hard to wear as the sweater doesn’t seem to GO with anything. The second colour is odd, a mushroom-ey brown that is sometimes purple, sometimes brown, and SOME times slightly gray. I also do find the sweater likes to slip off my shoulders a bit, but I have really narrow shoulders that everything seems to slide off and I have only blocked this once so might get improvement now that I’ve worn it a bit and know what I want from it when I block it again. I do recommend this pattern as I think the resulting sweater is beautiful and very flattering.

In sewing news, I’m mulling over the muslin I made for the RDC Gerard coat and recovering from sewing four Jedi robes in four days. I have heard that the robes are a big hit with at least two of the party-going boys/Jedi knights who received them and I loved making them as I didn’t really have to think, but I have had enough chocolate brown fabric to last me a while!

Holidays

2014 ended in a blur and here I find myself in 2015, one child birthday already gone and the days disappearing quickly until the next. Our holidays were busy busy busy and that it was all wonderful wonderful times with so many great people and so many great experiences. Just absolute greatness. Despite the lack of snow. Unfortunately, all that greatness didn’t leave room for much sewing time. Before Christmas, I did manage to finish up a knit cowl for my sister-in-law. It was the Gap-tastic cowl, which was a nice easy pattern. It was great for knitting while watching TV, with a broken arm in a cast. I do think a lot slower because of the cast, though. In any case, I did complete it, in a lovely cobalt blue colour (the Queen’s colour) but didn’t get a photo before wrapping it up.

Over the holidays, I sewed up a muslin for a Republique du Chiffon Gerard coat. It is looking pretty good, I did much better than expected on the collar but I think the sleeve might be too tight so I will play around with that before cutting into the wool. Again, no photos. I should take one, though, I’m pretty impressed with my first go at that collar!

I whizzed through a pom-pom scarf, inspired by this one. My fabric wasn’t wide enough to go with the recommended length and I thought it would be okay but it is a tight fit over the head for the second loop. I really love how it looks though, so we’ll see if it gets worn!

Pom pom scarf

I do need to point out the little bit of a hotdog tongue. Miss N is not really into having her photo taken lately unless it is on her terms exactly. If I ask her for a photo, she feels that I should be photographing her hotdog tongue and so it comes out for a performance. I almost timed it right to miss this one, but it just slipped in.

Finally, after arriving home and realizing I left the duffel bag with all of H’s pants in it at the farm (all three pairs), I proceeded to make him a new pair. I used the Oliver and S sandbox pants, which I’ve made before but never for H. I made up the size 8 as that is what his three pairs of pants that fit are (okay, I’m exaggerating here. He has more than three pairs of pants that fit, but all but three are uniforms. So not too much of an exaggeration). I also used a knit, to get more of a sweatpant feel. The knit is heavy and not super stretchy, maybe more like a ponte? I used it in the past to make a cardigan, maybe some day I’ll post about that. Anyway, in the interest of speeding through things, I just overlocked the pockets edges and then topstitched in place, and omitted the drawstring. While making them up I began to suspect that they would fit me, and they actually almost do. Consequently, they are about 2.8km too long for H. I lopped off some length, maybe 10cm, then gave them a big hem. Hopefully he won’t grow out of them so fast. He wore them all day for snowboarding/skiing and then asked if he could just put them in his drawer to wear again as they weren’t dirty (likely true, as he had longjohns underneath and wore snowpants overtop when eating) so I think it means he likes them. I might try to whip up another pair for each of the boys. And maybe me😉

Knit Sandbox Pants for H

Terrible photo but better than nothing! (I hope?)

My mind is of course occupied with the what next? I want to work on my Gerard coat, but since the arctic temperatures dropped it I think I have some time before I’ll be wearing it so it might be getting bumped. I promised S a knight costume for his birthday, so that should take priority.N also pointed out that her skirts don’t twirl well compared to the twirly dress her Aunt made her, so I think there is a circle skirt on the horizon, too. And I’m catching myself dreaming of the everyday Anna (from Frozen) costume/outfit I have planned for N’s birthday. Just hope that she will love it as much as I already do!

Grainline Portside Duffle Bag – Belated Birthday Sewing

I had intended to make my husband a bag for his birthday. He requested a bag a few months ago, something he could use to cart his golf gear to and from the golf course. I knew he didn’t need anything too large for that, but I really liked the look of the Grainline Portside duffle bag and after a quick search didn’t find anything that interested me as much. The ideal golf bag for my husband would be more of a small duffle. I considered modifying the size before sewing it up, but figured it would be better to make it up once as directed and then decide how to make the next one smaller. And since my husband has started playing tennis, I figured he needed a bigger bag anyway to carry the racquet. That was all the justification needed.

DSC01314

I’m very happy with the finished bag. VERY happy. Proud, in fact. I found it a bit of a struggle to make, but I don’t think it had anything to do with the pattern. One issue was choice of materials, but the bigger issue I think was sewing with a broken arm. If I could recommend anything for sewing this bag, I would recommend NOT doing it with a broken arm. I broke my arm the week before my husband’s birthday and took the first week entirely off sewing. But once things settled a bit, I really wanted to get the bag sewn to give to him, so I pushed through.

DSC01315

I used some black denim for the bottom sections and an old painter’s drop cloth for the top. I thought they would be a good match weight-wise but the denim was still a good bit lighter after interfacing. I considered switching the drop cloth for the denim, but thought that would look a little upside down and get FILTHY in ten minutes flat. The drop cloth was stiff as, challenging to push around with only one good arm. But I think it is a great choice for the bag. The finished bag has great structure. I did add a layer of the drop cloth as an interlining on the bottom of the bag, and then quilted the bottom before assembling. No photos, the stitching disappeared into the black. I used gold denim topstitching thread for most of the topstitching to provide a little contrast. Up close it is nice, and I like that it doesn’t stand out from a distance as I don’t think my husband would go for that much flash.

DSC01316

For hardware I ordered swivel clips and D-rings from Buckle Guy as locally available hardware options tend to look cheap. I did use a zipper from Fabricland, I found one meant for bags so it opens both ways. Hopefully it stands up to use. The webbing is Japanese cotton webbing bought locally from Needlework. It is lovely stuff. The smaller stuff is slightly smaller than the pattern called for but it was so nice I went for it. I lined the bag with some chambray, I think Robert Kauffman? Apparently I didn’t take any photos of the interior.

Overall, I think this is a nice pattern and would make it again (without a broken arm) and recommend it. I do think I’ll try to make a smaller version. I also think I would add interior pockets to stash phone, wallet, etc. given the intended use of the bag, and maybe an interior clip for keys. I am going to try to make the dopp kit and pouch before Christmas, hoping that they will be easier to feed through the machine with one arm. I really like the aesthetics of this bag, and would like to use it myself, but since I really have no day to day use for a duffle, I think I might try to make a crossbody bag inspired by this one.

Halloween happened

I guess I’m a little late to documenting the Halloween costume thing, but we are all about better late than never. Several Halloween costumes were made, and worn, and enjoyed. We watched Star Wars Episodes 4, 5, and 6 together as a family this summer and the kids all really enjoyed them (I don’t think Miss E enjoyed them, exactly, but since everyone else did she was really into them). Many requests came for Stormtrooper and Darth Vader costumes and light sabres, for everyday play. It was Miss N who requested Princess Leia as a Halloween costume, and the rest developed from there.

DSC01285

I had planned to get some good daytime pictures after the fact but didn’t ever get around to it. The costumes are much loved and much worn, so it shouldn’t be too hard to get some good photos at some point!

Mr. H was Luke Skywalker. I worried about the cold temperatures and layering, so I made him a Jedi travel cape, so he was several times mistaken for Obi Wan Kenobi but I don’t think that bothered anyone.

DSC01308

The cape and tunic are both based off the Melly Sews robe pattern. I modified the front to crossover more, widened the sleeves, and cropped the length to make the tunic. For the cape I kept the length but widened the fronts, back, and sleeves, them omitted the band piece and added a hood. The cape doesn’t have any closures and kept sliding off his shoulders so I need to fix that up a bit. The boot things are based on this tutorial from Melly Sews. My fabric wasn’t very stretchy but it still worked fairly well, but it was wet out and they were soaked. The pants are Figgy’s sunki leggings with length added and no elastic in the legs. The light sabre was a surprise gift and impressed everyone a great deal, possibly nobody more than my husband. Light sabres that actually light up and make light sabre noises really are awesome.

I was planning to make Mr. S a Han Solo costume but one of his teachers mentioned a Jango Fett costume that he son had and would lend and Mr. S was totally converted. We decided that this is Boba Fett as he fits in with the other characters better. This costume was surprisingly quality, I really liked it. It also made Mr. S strut and pose like nobody’s business. As I predicted, he did NOT enjoy the helmet once he needed to wear it for more than a few minutes so it was only worn for a few minutes at each house.

DSC01291

Cool as a bounty hunter.

Miss N was really attached to the Princess Leia idea. I stuck with the New Hope costume since it is so recognizable and Miss N specifically requested the buns. I used this tutorial to guide me through the dress making process, and this for the collar. For the hat I used the Cozy Winter Hood pattern from Oliver & S Little Things to Sew, with buns made from hand-rolled tubes of the hood fabric. She has been wearing the hat regularly to school, and it is equally adorable when paired with a bright orchid coat and legwarmers.

DSC01295

A close-up of the buns and that face! Plus a sneak peek of Miss E.

DSC01296

All the kids wanted me to make a Yoda costume for Miss E. She started telling everyone she was going to be Princess Yoda, so what was a mum to do? The costume had to be made.

DSC01272

Again, I used the Melly Sews robe pattern as the basis for the robe, adding a hood, width to the sleeve, and ties to keep it on. She hat is another Oliver & S Cozy Winter Hood with self-drafted Yoda ears. I added some quilting to mimic the head wrinkles. The mitts are modified Oliver & S Winter Mittens from Little Things to Sew. I didn’t bother to sew anything for under the robe, just dressed her in all the brown and grey clothes we had that fit her.

DSC01270 - Version 2

The light sabre is actually a Yoda light sabre, and our little Princess Yoda was particularly enthralled with it.

If I had documented this earlier there might have been more to say, but instead I’ll give your our pumpkins! Happy belated Halloween!

DSC01311

In the works

plaid sewing WIP

I have had this fabric for years. I think it was from my Nana’s stash, but possibly from Mum’s? I was inspired to make a dress, and was planning my first attempt at the Darling Ranges dress. Then I realized that the fabric really didn’t seem well suited to the pattern, so the fabric sat a while. I’ve also been turned on to the idea of matching separates this summer, particularly inspired (and awed) by this and this (where I would wear either of these, I don’t know. But they are gorgeous). So when Sophie posted this lovely creation and I realized I had BOTH patterns already in my possession, it seemed like a no-brainer to abort the dress idea and go with separates. And so today I found myself crawling around on the floor with several helpers, trying to match plaids for the first time, with the added challenge of gently keeping small hands from moving the fabric before I can trace the pattern. Everything appears to be ok at this point. I am hopeful that when I sew it up there will be no ugly surprises of the mismatched plaid variety.