Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Crafting

When my children were young I used make a special little crafty Christmas gifts for them each year.

For example, one year I sewed 3 little bears from corduroy, gave them special names, and each had 2 little outfits complete with wooden hangers.
Then I painted 3 clementine boxes, made little mattresses and they served as beds for the bears. Under each thin mattress was a short piece of dowel for the clothes hangers.
My handmade gift was primitive but they loved their bears and took them in their orange boxes wherever they went.

So this Christmas I decided to make a crafty item for my daughters children. I had a quiet book in mind making this project and thought it might be a good idea to also have them portable. They can take these boxes on vacation or even to a lengthy doctors appointment.

I bought two snap lid plastic boxes and my husband designed 2 labels for each box to personalize each one.
The boxes can go with them, wherever they go!

Next was coming up with small, portable fun activities for little hands.

Using card stock I downloaded this free pattern for paper glasses to decorate with colourful shapes. In the plastic zipper lock bag is also a glue stick.

Then I got the bright idea to make a puzzle by glueing a photo that my husband took onto colourful sticks and then slicing them apart.
Each picture is glued using a spray mount to the same coloured sticks to help identify the different pictures.
For the little guy, I numbered each stick so he can not only learn names of colours but numbers too.

No crafty art box would be complete without something made from felt.
So I made a Mr. Potato Head felt board for Mr. A and a doll with dresses for Miss C.
To aid the felt sticking to the main body I ironed on Steam-a-Seam to the pieces. It works well and holds the felt body parts to the main part. Over time it won't hold as well but over time I suspect the pieces will go missing!

Keeping with the theme of sticking things onto things, I bought some sticky foam shapes of frogs, bugs and butterflies along with some solid pieces of sticky foam that I cut into shapes of a pond, sky, sun, etc.

Also in the activity box I tossed in the age old Wooly Willy magnet hair game and wooden puzzles.

My husband went back to work designing and made a personalized covers colouring books.

The colouring books in the stores seem to promote adult shapes, you know, like Barbie or a host of Princesses.  Since the kids will have a lifetime worrying about body image, I chose to download some vintage colouring pages.
There's not a bust line nor high heels anywhere. But just look at those darling vintage dresses!
In the little guy's colouring book are simple nature images.

Also in the boxes I added some Melissa and Doug sticker and painting activities that I bought so my daughter and her husband won't think Mamaw and Gramps are complete cheapskates!

Aside from one hand knit item, that's it for my handmade Christmas gifts this year.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Knitting Hats

The weather has turned cold.  Time to make new hats to match new snowsuits!

Miss C's snowsuit is shades of pink, mauve and aqua with aqua snow pants.  So I made her two hats to match.

This one is from a pattern called Be Loving (remixed). It's a free download from here.

I used Loops & Threads Cozy Wool.  The pink bow is from a scrap of pink worsted weight yarn.

It was really quick and easy to make.

Because the "kitty" style hats are a favourite of not only the kiddos but also mom, I made two more.
Mr. A's snowsuit is blue and navy with navy snow pants.

The hats is supposed to look like the photo below…..and the pattern is a free download from here.

Mine are made from Aqua and Navy yarn: Loops & Threads, Impeccable.
I've made this pattern 5 times now. Each time I knit it up, it comes out a different size. I'm using the same weight yarn and the same size needles.
I suppose I simply need to practice more.

Getting a good photo of them is also difficult.

Sadly, I spent the ENTIRE day today trying to knit a navy earflap toque for Mr. A.  so both kids would get 2  new knit hats from me.
Most of the day I was unknitting (my sister calls it "tink-ing"….knit spelled backwards) and after using many, many, many bad words, frogged the project. Frogging is another knitting term meaning scrapping a project.
My bad words, on the other hand, translate the same whether one is sewing or knitting.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Infinity Scarf

I saw this infinity scarf on Ravelry and thought it looked interesting, so I bought the pattern and made it.

It was easy to knit although it was a bit fiddly keeping all the strips in order. I am happy with the outcome but getting a good photo once again eludes me.

First I tried putting it on a limb of a spruce tree.
It just hung limp and lifeless.

It needs to be on an object, I thought, so I put it on Garden Frog.

That didn't look very good so I put it on my dog Lucy.

It didn't show up very well. It needs to be on a chocolate lab or maybe a black lab.

Since a pumpkin was handy, I tried it on that next.

Nope. Still doesn't look very good.

So I brought out my child size (2T) mannequin.


This infinity scarf is interesting whether it's folded double or hangs straight. It's just difficult to see in a photo.
Well, my photos that is.

Here's a link to the pattern on Ravelry.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Anne (with an 'e') of Green Gables costumes

Chapter 2

"Guess there's some mistake," he said. "Mrs. Spencer came off the train with that girl and gave her into my charge. Said you and your sister were adopting her from an orphan asylum and that you would be along for her presently"……………
She had been watching him ever since he had passed her and she had her eyes on him now. Matthew was not looking at her and would not have seen what she was really like if he had been, but an ordinary observer would have seen this: A child of about eleven, garbed in a very short, very tight, very ugly dress of yellowish-gray wincey. She wore a faded brown sailor hat and beneath the hat, extending down her back, were two braids of very thick, decidedly red hair. Her face was small, white and thin, also much freckled; her mouth was large and so were her eyes, which looked green in some lights and moods and gray in others.

Hallowe'en outdoor outfit and big carpet bag for treats.

Chapter 25

"You'll just pamper Anne's vanity, Matthew, and she's as vain as a peacock now. Well, I hope she'll be satisfied at last, for I know she's been hankering after those silly sleeves ever since they came in, although she never said a word after the first. The puffs have been getting bigger and more ridiculous right along; they're as big as balloons now. Next year anybody who wears them will have to go through a door sideways."

Hallowe'en dress for the class party.

Hallowe'en costumes done!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

School Days Jacket

I confess… I am totally addicted to making the Oliver + S School Days Jacket pattern.

I've  made 5 jackets so far and with  several sizes already traced out there's a small stack of fabric I'd still like to make into the School Days Jacket.
Along the way during my journey with this pattern I've found some short cuts and fun additions.

Here's my story.

For my first 'trial run', I used a $5 remnant and used a thick shiny lining fabric that was like Bemberg on steroids.
Anyway, the jacket  turned out so well, my size 3 wearable muslin got worn quite often.

The next jacket was size 5 using pink melton cloth and lined with Kasha lining which is a flannel backed satin. I used a #16 Universal sewing machine needle because the fabric was thick.

I have some pink dyed fur that I got from a Paula Lishman sale that I was going to stitch around the hood but decided to keep it for another project when she's older.

When it came to hemming the sleeves on the jacket, I tried something a little different from what the pattern suggests to do that you can see here.  However I will go into detail with those steps later in this post.

As a note to myself, I think the placket section needs a sturdy stabilizer/interfacing to help keep the edge from curling after many wearings.

I actually washed this jacket. It's pink wool melton. I used baby soap, cold water and the delicate cycle on my machine but didn't let it spin for too long.
It was hung to dry outdoors and when it was damp, I lay it between towels with a weight on top to block the jacket much in the same manner as blocking a hand knit.
It worked perfectly!

Meanwhile, some beautifully soft black wool cashmere was calling to make size 4.

As bad luck would have it, our camera's aren't working property so most of the following photos are out of focus, AND my sewing machine is also on the fritz but not totally out of commission AND my serger is broken. Nevertheless, I plodded on and made 3 new School Days Jackets.

I used a lining that has a shiny quilted fabric on one side and fleece on the other.  Perfect for cold winters here in the Great White North.

Because it was so thick, I found I had to take less of a bite in the 1/2 inch seam allowance on the outer fabric, while taking exactly the 1/2 inch on the lining.

I also added a zipper to help keep the jacket shut tight on an active 3 year old.

To get the zipper in place, I sliced the left front (my left facing the wearer) placket just an 1/8th" before the neckline notch and added seam allowances on both pieces of the tracing medium.

Next, I sliced the right facing (my right facing the wearer) also just before the notch on the tracing medium and again  added seam allowances.

(edit: the cut strip (single strip) needs a 1/2 seam allowance on both sides which is not shown on the pattern piece.)

I cut out the fabric pieces, inserted one side of a separating zipper in the sliced section thus making each piece whole again.

To make sure what I created was the correct size, I lay the traced un-sliced portions of the placket and facing over top to check.  I figured if it was a little larger, I could always trim to size.

Since I was making size 4 I got lucky using a standard 40cm separating zipper (cheating ever so slightly in the top and bottom s/a's).
Because separating zippers come in standard lengths, going up or down a jacket size may need some extra thinking and fiddling.

There are tutorials on how to shorten a zippers.
Perhaps the zipper on a larger sized jacket could end well above the hem.
Or maybe the pattern pieces (placket and facing) could be sliced again into a T shape so that the zipper begins near the hem and ends just above the middle closure.

Like I said, some fiddling and thinking is required.

However I found that after the zipper was in place the weight of it pulled the placket and facing apart when it was slightly undone creating an air pocket between the two.

In the end, I think the placket needs to be less wide and the zipper stitched to outside of the placket making it look like part of the topstitching.
That requires redesigning the whole front of the jacket which is something I'm not planning on doing.

To add the hood I cheated it just a little bit placing it just a tickle on the other side of the notch.

The outer fabric was so thick I found it easier to use black cotton broadcloth for the pocket lining plus keep the pocket just as it is on the pattern.

At one point though, I seriously thought about adding an interesting appliqué or a mola  on the pocket face.

Earlier during lining construction, I left a side section open so I could turn the jacket inside out to finish the hem by machine.  Photo details are near the end of this blog post.

The jacket fits perfectly and I've been told it looks store bought.

Here are the kids wearing their winter weight School Days Jackets.
Don't laugh at the white knit hat. It was my first attempt with that pattern (I'm new to knitting) and thought size 6 would be perfect. Apparently not.
It's an easy pattern, so I will make it again … smaller next time.
On the positive side,  the larger size works well if you have pigtails we discovered.

Happy with the outcome of the black cashmere, some soft grey denim was calling to be a spring jacket.

The lining is cute airplane themed quilting cotton.

On the hood, I created a casing and added and buttonhole on the outer fabric near the neck seam allowance in order to thread the cording through.

The buttonhole proved to be a challenge because my sewing machine is not working properly.

I also added a zipper but this time around the "air pocket" wasn't as noticeable.
Oh, and I fixed the sleeve hems after this fitting.

The pocket has an inverted pleat and I used the same denim to line it plus added some stacked buttons to pick up the colours of the lining.

For the front closure, I used non matching colourful buttons which also picks up the colours of the lining.
Initially I made my own buttons using Premo and Sculpey III but read afterwards that the latter wasn't strong enough to use as buttons. Scrap those buttons!

For the most recent School Days Jacket, I decided to make a raincoat in size 6.
The only raincoat fabric that's readily available at my fabric store is called Commander which is a waterproof  poly/cotton.
It's a little slippery and really difficult to put pins into so sometimes I resorted to using small clips to hold pieces together.
I used a #12 Microtex sewing machine needle and a teflon presser foot.

Since the outer fabric was so bright an cheery, I chose an equally cheerful quilting cotton lining that reminded me of fruit striped chewing gum I used to get as a kid.
Of course, the advertising jingle for that gum stayed in my head during most of the construction.

Once again, I put a casing in the hood for a tie cord but didn't bother with a zipper this time around.

On the pocket, I created a pleat and used the same fabric for the pocket lining.  Then referring to the flap pattern piece on the Explorers Vest from the Oliver + S book 'Little Things to Sew'  made a flap.

 I used the chevron cotton for lining and decorated it with more of the colourful buttons I used in the grey denim jacket.

Moving to the sleeve, I took the sleeve tab pattern piece from the O+S Secret Agent Coat ...

 … and used orange Commander on one side, quilting cotton on the inside and of course more colourful buttons.

Here's how I finished the sleeve hem on all the jackets I've made.

Fold the s/a of the outer sleeve hem to the s/a of the lining and pin right sides together.

Then, put your hand between the outer fabric and lining and go up the sleeve grabbing the spot just pinned and pull it through.
The pin has held the two pieces together so you'll know how re-adjust for stitching

Realign the pin and add pins so the right sides are together and stitch the two hem edges with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Turn the sleeves right side out and press. No hand stitching required!

Quite by accident, or serendipity as I like to call it,  since my serger is broken I couldn't finish the facing edges using the serger and the zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine doesn't work either. So I stitched on a little bit of ribbon to finish the edges.

When it came to finish the jacket hem, the ribbon looked much nicer than when I serged the edges in previous jackets. Serendipity!

While constructing the lining as mentioned above, I left open a long section in the side to pull the jacket through.

Then with right side of the lining facing the right side of the outer fabric, pinned the hem edges together.
I stitched the hem starting and stopping about an inch or two from the edge of the lining.

Then when the jacket was turned right side out, I pinned and tacked the lining end section to the area where the ribbon was stitched on.
There's a wee bit of a bubble but that's okay and adds to the ease when the basting stitches from the lining centre back is removed.

Now to wait for spring and a rainy day.

Well,  now I'm looking at my stash and thinking about making another jacket using dark denim and then topstitching the heck out of it, even on the pockets to make them look like jeans pockets. Maybe flat felled seams too. And on the hood lining add piping to the seams.

I'm also looking at a vintage Hudson's Bay blanket and wondering how it would look as a School Days jacket as opposed to a Capote.  But I don't have the heart (or nerve) to cut up one of my blankets. However, I do have a fleece Hudson's Bay throw.  Hmmmm

 This is such a fun jacket to make with a rewarding outcome.

I guess I better get busy and make more because this pattern only goes up to size 8.

Oh, and note to self … orange is just as difficult to photograph as black!