Thursday, December 22, 2011

A few of her favorite things

Sometimes, I get overly ambitious with my sewing plans, don't we all? But especially during the holidays.
I originally had planned to make a bunch of different things for Liz for Christmas. As the big day approached, I was forced to pare down my list somewhat. Mainly, I really wanted to get her 2 pairs of new PJ's done because it was getting so cold! And those took me a little while.
But, I had 2 must do presents. The Dinosaur Train fabric I had purchased for her at Fabric Depot with my birthday money, I really wanted to use that to make her something. I thought a shirt at first, but realized that would chop up the huge mural-like print. I found Simplicity 2825 in my stash, and thought the backpack would be perfect. Liz could really use something like that (trips, campouts, and maybe even for kindergarden next year), and it would also display the fabric well.

I really like how this turned out! It is very sturdy, and with the adjustable straps, really feels more like RTW. I also made great use of the print both front and back and even on the straps.

On a side note, I just want to say I also love Dinosaur Train. Jim Henson studios still puts out quality children's entertainment! I love that the show is so much fun, (I mean, dinosaurs and trains in the same kid's show? Genius!), but also teaches about evolution and the scientific method. And "Dr. Scott" is funny but smart, and reminds me of Ross from Friends.

Ok, back to the gifts! :)

I also really wanted to make her some hand puppets. All of her favorite stuffies are puppets. I know she likes cats, and also Pink and the Brain, so I thought the cat/mouse combo from Butterick 4209 would be a good way to go. I actually gave her these early (so they don't get overshadowed by her really big gifts), and she loves them!

I also managed to add a ruffle to some pants she has outgrown in height, but still fit in the waist, and I made her a pillowcase for her lovey pillow out of the Dino Train fabric remnant!
I've made a slew of other gifts for other family and friends, but won't post about them here until after the gift giving is done.

I hope Liz has a Merry Christmas, and happy holidays to everyone!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Am I seeing double (sweaters)?

That gorgeous snowflake sweater knit I got during my birthday fabric shopping trip has been well used!

I made my husband a sweater out of it first, as that was the reason I had purchased it. Turns out to be a great fit, but I somehow missed that this fabric says hand wash and lay flat to hubby hates special care fabrics. I hope he doesn't mind too much, I mean I'll be washing it, not him! lol. And it's just for winter after all. :) I had a lot left over after making his sweater, though.

I made a little sweater for Liz from Jalie 2805, but that hardly used any fabric at all! I still had a good amount left though not quite enough to make a long sleeved sweater for myself, and I thought a short sleeved sweater would look tacky on me in this fabric. Then it occured to me; my dad occasionally wears sweater vests! I didn't have a pattern for one, but I thought if I just took the sleeves off of Kwik Sew 3299 (the same pattern I had used for my hubbies sweater) and altered the armsyth a bit, it would work, and it did!

I am really proud of my re-design of that pattern, and the great fit on my dad! So now my loved ones have nice matching holiday sweaters. Liz just loves matching Dad and Grandpa, too. :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Warm winter PJ's

Happy Christmas and happy Holidays everyone!
"Wait, is that another present?" you may ask. Well, yes it is! Liz really is the best gift. :D
Doesn't that fabric just blend right into the wrapping paper though? It's such a crazy, fun print.

As always, she was happy to be in the spotlight, and played it up for the camera. Honestly though, I never have to take many pictures, she's full of smiles!

So how did I come to actually make a garment out of such insanely bright fabrics?
A couple of months back, Jo-anns was having a really good sale on flannel prints. I got $10 and took Liz shopping to pick out 2 prints to make her some new PJ's. She has grown so much the last few months, she's grown right out of almost all of her jammies.

So what prints does she pick but the cutest cat print, and the loudest, brightest print in the store!!! :D With super neon green and pink buttons to match, lol.
Of course, she does love to read and be read to, and she likes worms and other bugs, so I shouldn't be surprised that she chose this print.

I have to say sewing these PJ's on my new machine was an absolute joy. The topstiching is straighter than anything I've done before, and the buttonholes look expert! One step buttonhole sewing is so awesome!! I also got to sew on the buttons using the machine, that was very easy and fun, too.

(Side note: Of course, I had a flummox getting a batch of bobbins for my new machine, because it only came with 3. I had to order them online, and I ordered the wrong ones. Doh! Now I have 50 bobbins that do not fit any of the 3 machines I own, lol. I do have the correct ones now, as well.)

So, I chose a simple pattern for this busy print, Simplicity 3987, very standard button front PJ's. I didn't like the facings, but the fit was very good, not as huge as most PJ's, and overall they are what I wanted. Next time I do this style, I would like a collar I think, though.

Of course, I had made up the cat print jammies earlier, because she wanted the same style as a pattern I had used before: Butterick (See&Sew) 4005. This really is my favorite PJ pattern that I have made, not that I've done THAT many yet. But I love how the tucks keep it shaped up top, but give lots of room everywhere else. It's also a very cute pattern with neat details. I hope to use this pattern for her for years.

So now she has a couple of pairs of warm PJ's her size for the winter, and it is getting very cold already, so it's just in time.

I haven't posted anything in a while because I have been working hard on presents. I don't want to post pics of presents as yet ungiven, and spoil the surprise for anyone. I plan on posting pics of some of them at last around the New Years.

Next up, a pair of fleece hand puppets for Liz for Christmas. She adores puppets and likes to have puppet shows with the others she already owns almost every day. I hope to make a cat and mouse and maybe a dog. Adding to her puppet collection will make her happy. :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Holiday Tunic

As soon as I saw this gorgeous knit at Fabric Depot, I knew what I wanted to make with it, and I already had the perfect pattern for it, Simplicity 2852. I thought it would make a beautiful holiday tunic, to be worn over my green, white or black turtlneck's. Of course, I now also plan on making a red turtleneck....we'll see how that works out soon.

I adore the way this fabric gradates between 3 tones with different prints on each area. Is this what is called "ombre"?
I was very diligent in laying out and cutting to get the color pattern to line up across the entire garment, from yoke to sleeve to body to sleeve. It looks great when moving!
The bell sleeves are very lovely, a little bit retro 70's, but something I love about this pattern. So far, the only complaint is that the shoulders sit pretty wide. With a shirt under it, it isn't a problem, it doesn't slide or come off the shoulder. Worn alone, this would not work as well. All the same, if I ever made it again, I would try and bring each shoulder in about 1/2".

I also got a chance to use the stretch stitch setting on my new Brother. Wow, that makes sewing knits a joy! I even used it on the hem, and I love it. I have gained a lot more confidence for working on future, more ravely style knits.

My husband told me that with the black turtleneck and wide sleeves, I looked like a hippie pagan priestess. I told him thank you. :D Honestly, I love the look, and really can't wait for some holiday events so I can wear it. As a matter of fact, I may just wear it out to the is December now! :)