Monday, October 15, 2012

kcwc: the inspired stuff

The photo for SweetKM's knit hood has been sitting on my Pinterest board for a while, inspiring me every time I glanced at it. It's so simple and so adorable. I guess I thought sewing one would be quicker, but between finishing it and then seeing that the talented lady behind SweetKM taking part in KCWC it seemed like the better decision was to order the pattern and knit it. So I found some red Mission Falls Superwash in my stash, started this red hood on Wednesday and spent two nights working on it.

There is an almost practical reason for making this one too - Milo is going to be the Tomten for Hallowe'en (Sadie is going as Pippi Longstocking and she thinks her brother should also be an Astrid Lindgren character, as obscure a reason as that might be). I may still add a pompom, but it works regardless. I only wish the strap was shorter but since you start the pattern with it I can't figure out how to change it now, and really, Milo doesn't care. He does care that I couldn't get a baby animal button on it though.

I finished my sewing week with an apron - something that Sadie certainly didn't need but that I was inspired to make. While checking out Trula's blog I spied some amazing linen aprons on her girls and started sketching out how I thought they must be constructed. I was a little wrong at the top (it should just keep tapering towards the top, not straighten out) but the resulting apron is still cute. I used Robert Kaufman's cotton chambray in black, fuschia gingham bias tape for the inside channels and black grosgrain ribbon for the ties. Sadie has dubbed it her "crafting" apron, so all is good. 

Inspiration is such a wonderful thing. Thanks to Meg for making this week happen again - quite simply, KCWC rocks.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

kcwc: the practical stuff

Some sewing this week was for purely practical reasons: Sadie needed leggings most of all. I love that they are the easiest thing to sew. So a big piece of navy t-shirt jersey became a pair of much-needed leggings, another (and better fitting) drapey cardigan and then a pair of silly leggings for Milo (made wearable with a lion applique - he's really into animals). And I got one more pair of leggings out of the remaining striped cotton/rayon knit that her no-sew scarf was made from. 

Practical is good.

Friday, October 12, 2012

kcwc: bits and bobs

Not the most masculine garment for my little man, but I couldn't get this amazing knit hood off my mind and I had just enough stretch jersey to make a sewn version...sort of. Turns out that 3 year olds are incredibly understanding of your whims as long as you put an animal button on it. Anywhere. So we're calling this the "Ted the Skunk Hood" and Milo has happily worn it out in public. It's soft, ties nicely and has a hand sewn black grosgrain ribbon along the inside edge to cover the one unsightly seam (anytime I hand sew something it feels oh-so-satisfying). Ted the Skunk is from this little collection of forest animal baby buttons that Milo just had to have. I think he realizes that I'm easily convinced when shopping in fabric stores. Oh, and I'm responsible for those unfortunate bangs of his. Oops.

Next up, a drapey cardigan for Sadie which I first tried during the spring KCWC. Unfortunately I copied the original while Sadie was at school so it ended up a bit small (what, kids grow?). I fixed up the approach though - last time I cut straight slits to insert the sleeves into which resulted in holes because it was too much pressure on the seam at the two points. This time I measured the sleeve cap circumference and drafted an egg shape the same size and then cut that out. It worked perfectly! I've since made one more bigger which I'll post next time.

The fabric is especially dreamy. It's organic cotton knit, two thin layers held together in a subtle grid pattern. Perfect for baby clothes and pajamas, it's so soft. It's probably not very practical for a kid who pulls paint out everyday, but oh well. With such a simple rectangular shape the fabric could easily be repurposed later. The cardigan takes less than an hour to make - there's only 3 pieces to cut, and you could get away with only two seams to sew if you like raw edges. Perfect for the one-hour-a-day challenge.

More tomorrow!  And check out the latest in the KCWC Flickr pool.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

kcwc: fall edition

It's that [exciting, inspiring, satisfying] time of the year again - the week of working on kids clothes for at least an hour a day (aka KCWC). Last fall I started with knitting too because I find it hard to start sewing when I have an unfinished knitting project sitting around. Especially one destined for a kid. So I wove in the ends, steam blocked and put some toggle buttons on this sweater for Sadie. The pattern is the simple, much-loved Cap Sleeve Sweater modified this time to be a cardigan (Sadie's request). The wool was reclaimed from a sweater I made years ago and it's taken me a while to figure out how to use it. One thing I learned is that as much as I love the colours of Noro's Kureyon, my hands just don't like it. I can get excema on my hands and this time I broke out exactly where the wool was wrapping around my fingers. So, no more Noro for me. Cute stripey sweater for Sadie.

Then this is a total cheat: I cut out a scarf for Sadie from some bargain striped knit fabric. Yes - I mean there was no sewing, just cutting a straight rectangle. But you wouldn't believe how happy this makes her. She was able to practice the new knot my friend taught us (who just returned from Paris with fancy French knots to share). Scarves like this are a big deal to Sadie right now and I have an urgent request from her for a knit cowl too. Guess kids are into neckwear this year.

I've also got some more Canadian reading to share. Admittedly, I read Inside by Alix Ohlin for the cover (and yes, I will also buy wine based on label design). Luckily it was mostly worth it. I enjoyed it, but as I sit here writing, I realize I have very little to say about it. The characters were interesting and shared a connection with a central woman who is a therapist in Montreal, but the other details are a little fuzzy. Turns out it's the cover I remember most, though there is a great review at the Amazon link which makes me think I just missed the point. The Mistress of Nothing by Kate Pullinger however, was far more memorable for me. We've been watching Downton Abbey so I was immediately drawn to the story of a British Lady's maid. Although I cannot understand Sally's unwavering allegiance to a "Lady" - or anyone of the upper, upper class - the insight was fascinating and the African setting was equally compelling. I felt emotional for Sally, and was near tears when she had to do the unthinkable (but my 21st century perspective made it hard to imagine there weren't other choices). It was a swift, great read.

For more knitting and reading stories visit today's Yarnalong and for kids clothes inspiration make sure to check out the KCWC Flickr pool.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

dress success

This post of Meg's from KCWC caught my eye last spring, and not only because Kelli makes some amazing kids clothes. The dress she is wearing in the centre photo looks amazing on her and it lead me straight to Megan Neilsen's patterns. Not that I went on a hunt for the pattern but when I saw that the Workroom in Toronto had some new patterns in I pretty much jumped in the car.

I checked out any post I could find about the Darling Ranges Dress pattern so I was loaded with great user information. I love the straight-forward instructions and honest measurements. Of course, those measurements are exactly what became my challenge - even the XS was too large for me in the chest (yes, after two kids my chest has shrunk to a size smaller than I had in high school). I had it in my mind that I needed the bodice to be fitted so that the dress had shape (although Kelli's version doesn't seem as fitted and I love how she can wear a belt with it). Anyway, I made a number of modifications to the bodice, including making the bust dart smaller, raising the neckline 2 inches and adding two vertical darts in the back. This resulted in a good fit for me. But even though I made it smaller, the XS sleeve had no ease at all. In fact, it was too small so I had to cut out the S piece instead. Truthfully, I think I'll make a larger cap next time around so there is some ease because it pulls a bit tight across the cap for me now. Otherwise everything went together great and I'm really happy with the dress. I've already worn it to work twice, so it's definitely a keeper. A comfortable keeper.

The fabric I used is a cotton eyelet, and since you can't possibly get through a garment without some kind of mistake - here's mine: I used the wrong side of the fabric. Seriously. Can I blame low lighting? It doesn't bother me too much though. The eyelets mean I have to wear a slip and for a reason I can't remember I used a fuschia gingham bias tape which you can see at the neckline through the holes. Hmm. And I didn't have 10 buttons that matched so I alternated between black glass buttons (love) and plastic ones (not so much love). But these are small details and overall I really like it. It's on the cute side of things but works well with a cardigan. Perfect.

More Darling Ranges to come.