Wednesday, October 29, 2014

His & Hers Compagnie M Charles Pants

Have you seen the new Charles Pants by Compagnie M? This was my first foray into pattern testing, and with mixed results. I was in the midst of a (not yet released) deadline driven project when I signed up and I didn't read the instructions quite like I should have. Honestly, I never read the instructions quite like I should (husband has stopped reading at this point as a frustrated affirmation of my negligence! :).  I'm a visual thinker, a faithful believer in the show-me-don't-tell-me philosophy of life. Lesson learned, I will be more careful next time. These are my second and third pairs of Charles pants. With the messy first pair out of my system, I'm pretty happy with these.
My favorite thing about the Charles pants is their gender neutrality. Either kid could wear either pair of these pants without a sideways glance from the most conventional passer-by. They are even wearing the same shoes! I love a full skirted dress as much as the next sewist, but I get a real thrill from making something for child #1 (male) that child #2 (female) can wear a few years later without compromising style. Compangnie M is know for little girl clothing, but this boy friendly design has got me excited to see what Marte comes up with next.

PATTERN: Charles Shorts/Pants/Dungerees by Compagnie M. Can be made as pants, shorts, or overalls. This is a simple skinny leg pant pattern with a functioning double sided button fly, and an elastic back waist.
FABRIC: Both the fabrics and buttons are Fabric Row finds. Both are 100% cotton prints sturdy enough to be a bottom weight. The brown on J has the added bonus of being flannel with a subtle herringbone print. I wish I had bought more, by the time I realized J could use a bigger size the fabric had sold out. L's cream and black fine lined plaid has a streak of mustard in it. When I first saw this fabric it brought the Mara Blouse (pattern also by Compagnie M) I made over the summer to mind.

Sadly my go-to PA Fabric Outlet is going out of business. PA Fabric Outlet is my favorite place to blow a spare 1/2 hour recreational shopping. The main appeal is that I can walk there, the button selection is second to none, the sales people leave you alone, and there is a park around the corner to satisfy by shopping companion(s). I'm gonna miss this store, until then I've been burning money there.
FIT: Both kids are wearing a size 6. I had to let the side seams out of J's because they pulled to much with the shirt tucked in. Next time, I would make him a 7 or even an 8 (though he measured as a 6). L probably could have worn a 5, but after seam ripping J's I didn't want to take any chances with them fitting her for the whole winter.

ALTERATIONS: The only alteration I made was to widen the legs about 1" on each side of each leg piece on L's pants. I like the skinny look (particularly on J) but thought I'd mix things up with the second pair, so they aren't too matchy, matchy.
Here she is in her grown up pants looking for all the world as I imagine she will 10 years from now. Already with a perfect eye roll technique.

Linking to:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Charcoal Lady Skater Hack

Remember selfish sewing week? When I started making this dress I THOUGHT I was getting a head start on selfish sewing (hysterical laughter). Truth is all of my recent sewing, and the focused satisfaction it brings me, feels entirely selfish these days, even when the finished product is meant for the kids. Its seems superfluous to layer on a few things made for me, but I can't resist the siren song of the internet, beaconing me to another group sewing event, even if I've missed said event by a mile.
I have been obsessed with making a knit, gathered waist, long sleeve dress since seeing it in a random Etsy motivational email. It was worn by a random Etsy employee in hunter green. So trite, so new, so my thing. She was sitting down, it was not fashion centric shot, but I was smitten. In fact, when I first saw it I hadn't sewn seriously for myself in years. I like to think my quest to own that dress (without actually shopping for it) is what got me sewing for myself again.  
More than a year later, I have a passable copy of that dress. I'm calling this a Lady Skater hack, because I started with the Kitschy Coo Lady Skater bodice. There were a lot of changes along the way. I chopped a good deal off of the length, and straightened out the curved waist. I lengthened the sleeves to be long without the addition of cuffs, and made the neckline higher and wider (and more what this flat chested lady likes to wear). Learning from my past mistakes  imperfections I made a straight 6, and added pockets (without pockets where do I keep my phone, without my phone how do I check instagram the time). The skirt is my much loved Self Drafted Midi Skirt from a few months ago. Same everything, just tacked onto the bodice rather than a waistband.

The deep charcoal gray heather fabric is a cotton jersey from Mood, it seems far to resilient to be 100% cotton, though I bought it so long ago I can't remember. It's perfect for this dress. My last Lady Skater shrunk like a son of a gun (making it fit better, bonus!), so I'm going to try to keep this one out of the dryer.

I am going to wear the crap out of this dress. It's comfy, it's practical, it can be layered with a thousand different things, and I don't think I own a pair of shoes that wouldn't look good with it. I'm going to get out my fattest sharpie, and cross this thing off of my must-sew list.
There, now I can move on.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Field Trip Raglan Dress with Thumbhole Cuffs

This girl has been growing a lot lately. It seems that her dresses become tunics before she gets to wear them twice. She is in desperate need of easy wearing play clothes and separates. I had some grander KCW plans in mind, but when it came down to sewing or fabric shopping, I decided to stay home and make something. As mentioned in the pervious post, I've had cozy long underwear-ish t-shirts on the brain lately. I had base layers in mind when I first started experimenting, but then I saw Ute's amazing tunic with thumbhole sleeves. Of course! Why isolate the coziness on a base layer when you can have it on every layer!?!
This is the Oliver + S Field Trip Raglan T-Shirt pattern. I added about 12" to the length. I also added 2" of width at the bottom of each side seam, then connected that point to the corner of the arm opening side seam to get a simple A line dress. Of course, the thumbhole sleeves were part of the research for the last post (how to make thumbhole sleeves). This is the size 5. L can wear a 4, but I wanted some room to grow, and there's plenty.
This crazy big print is some sort of cotton blend knit from my mother in law's stash. I think it's a print you either love or hate, and I'm not sure which side I'm on. I've been saving it for long enough that I must at least like it. There is certainly no chance it will go unnoticed. The arms and neck band are charcoal heather jersey knit. I wish I could remember where I bought it, I would get a whole lot more. Its got a subtle haylo of soft fuz that makes it extra snuggly. 

Linking to:

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Thumbhole Sleeve T-Shirt Experiment

Who doesn't love a thumbhole t-shirt? I love them, but I'm not a workout wear kind of girl, so I rarely wear them. No more. After a few weeks of intermittent experimentation I have cracked the thumbhole sleeve origami case wide open. Now everyday can be a thumbhole t-shirt day. 

The best part about this little customization is that it can be done with any t-shirt pattern, for children or adults. I'm demonstrating the process with the Oliver + S Field Trip Raglan, but I imagine it would work great with the Flashback Skinny, or the Recess Raglan

Cut 2" off of the length of each sleeve piece. Measure the length of the resulting raw edge, you will need this measurement to make the sleeve cuffs later. Assemble the shirt as indicated in the pattern instructions. Finish the neck and bottom hem. Finish the sleeves as follows:

Cut out two rectangles with a length of 10" and a width that is 90% of the length of the trimmed sleeve edge. My size 7 sleeve edge was 8" long. Here's the math:
90% of 8" is 80%x8"= 7.2"
Its not an exact science so I rounded to 7.25". I cut my cuffs 7 1/4" x 10"

The cuff is sewn in three segments. The first is split by the fold at the finger edge of the cuff. The second is around the thumbhole. The third is from the thumbhole to the raw edge where it joins to the arm of the shirt.

Even if you normally serge knits, I recommend sewing the cuffs suing a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine, because it is easier to control the stopping and starting point of each seam segment. I am sewing with a large zigzag stitch and a contrasting thread to make the stitching easy to see. If your stitches are showing through the final seam like mine, switch to a smaller stitch length and a tighter zigzag stitch.

Fold cuff in half lengthwise with right sides together. Using a ruler mark the center of the raw long edge. Measure and mark 1" to either side of the center marking.
Remove the center marking. Using a zigzag stitch sew between the remaining markings. Be sure to backstitch securely at each end.

SECOND SEGMENT (thumbhole opening)
With the cuff positioned as shown on the left above, bring the flaps on the left side together.  
Position right sides together and aligned from the raw edge to the end of the first seam. Position so that the rest of the cuff is tucked up inside and out of the way. Place a pin at the end of the first segment of stitching, to keep the edges flat, and the rest of the cuff out of the way. Use another pin to mark 1 1/2" from the end of the first seam. Using a zigzag stitch, sew between the marks. Get as close to the end of the first seam as possible without overlapping it. It is easiest to start at the end away from the first seam. Be sure to back stitch securely at each end. 
Repeat with the other set of flaps. Turn the work to the right side (as shown above) to be sure you're on the right track. This is the thumbhole opening. 

You can see in the above image that there is a set of outer flaps and a set of inner flaps. In the next step you will sew the outer flaps together, and sew the inner flaps together. 
Turn the outer flaps so that you can sew with right sides together. Sew from the bottom edge to the point where the second seam begins. Get as close as you can without overlapping. Be sure to backstitch securely at each end. Repeat with the inner set of flaps.
This is your finished cuff. Repeat with other cuff piece.
Right sides together attach the cuff piece to the sleeve. Align underarm seam of the sleeve with the seam of the cuff. This connection can be made with the serger.
Now this guy sure looks cozy!

I'm adding this humble t-shirt to the KCW pool. Are you sewing for Kid's Clothes Week? This is my first project. I have a thousand planned.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Free Toddler Witch Hat Sewing Pattern

I have a vast archive of homemade halloween costumes that I have never blogger about. If L looks conspicuously young in this photo, its because its two years old. And the hat was made almost two years before that. Yes, L was a witch for her first halloween. I wanted to make her a hat that would stay on her little toddler head, and that she would be pretty likely to keep on. The result has a very tall point, a very short brim, and very cute on a tiny little witch. 
This free pattern includes a PDF download of pattern pieces, and the pictorial instructions shown below. There are only 3 pieces to this hat, and only 4 seams to sew. I made the hat out of synthetic felt from Joann. Sewing with felt is sort of like sewing with construction paper, it's easy to work with and there are no seams to finish. All of this makes this little witch hat the perfect starter sewing project. 
For me the fun part is adding the decoration. Sure it could be a plain ol' witch hat, but I love this oversized purple felt bow. I sewed on a giant green plastic spider that was a birthday party favor, but you could use one of the mountains of spider rings your kid brought home last year, or pick some other little creepy crawly up at the party supply store. 

Download Pattern Here:

12 Months - 2T approximately 18 1/2" head circumference.

1/2 Yard Black Craft Felt  54" Wide
Matching Thread

Optional Embelishments:
Yarn for pompoms
Plastic Creepy Crawlies

1. Print pattern pieces, use the 1" square box on each sheet to be sure it is the correct size.
2. Match up the grid and the letters in the corner of each page, then tape the pattern pieces together.
3. cut out each pattern piece on the cut line. Pin pattern pieces to fabric, aligning with fold where indicated, but out fabric.
5. Here are the pieces first folded in half, then unfolded. You will have cut 1 Hat Crown, and 2 Brim pieces. One will be the Top Brim, one will be the Bottom Brim.
6. Right sides together (hint - wool felt has no wrong side!), fold the crown piece in half at the fold line. Sew a line of stitching 1/2" from the open edge. Back stitch at the beginning and the end as close to the cut edge as possible. 
7.Trim the corner of the tip. Press open the resulting seam. Carefully turn the crown piece right side out. Use a knitting needle, or pencil tip, to push the tip of the cone of the crown to the sharpest point possible without pushing a hole in the end of the cone. 
8. Using a long basting stitch, sew 1/2 line around the bottom brim piece. Trim from edge up to (but not through) the line of basting at 1" intervals. Flatten the tabs to be perpendicular to the cone of the crown.
9. Place the top brim over the point of the crown. Align the inside edge of the top brim piece with the basted line on the crown. Pin the top brim to the tabs along the bottom edge of the crown making sure they are flat up against the top brim piece. Sew the crown to the top brim by sewing a seam 1/8" from the inside edge of the top brim.  
10. Place the Crown/Top Brim assembly on top of the Bottom Brim piece. Make sure that all of the edges of the two Brim pieces align, and that the tabs of the Crown are sandwiched between the two Brim pieces. Pin along the inside and outside edges.
11. Sew the Bottom Brim piece to the Top Brim/Crown assembly 1/4" from the inner edge of the Top Crown piece. Sew the two Brims together 1/4" from the outer Brim edge.
12. Lightly press your hat (make sure to use the lowest setting on your iron if you are using synthetic felt). Embellish as desired. 

This is my first attempt at multi piece pattern sharing.  Please send any helpful feedback to:
 sweetkm1 (at) yahoo (dot) com 
Share your finished projects on instagram:

Monday, October 6, 2014

Autumn Shape Shifter Scarf

Oh hey, here I am. I've had one of those couple of weeks where you put your headphones on and look down at your sewing table, when you look up 3 weeks later you've got dishes in the sink, every toy in the house on the floor, and a family full of grumpy faces. They are grumpy (though I hope not too much), but I am feeling pretty accomplished. In fact, this may be my post productive month ever. I have sewn 8 things for the kids, one thing for me, knit 4-5 thing in addition to my normal shop routine. Only problem is, I can't talk about 90% of that stuff  until later, and the other 10% just can't seem to get out of the pile in the sewing room and in front of the camera.
So back to the matter at hand. This is a new color way for the Shape Shifter Scarf Pattern. I've been playing with colors for the last little while. This is a little peak at the big pile of autumn hues I have on the needles now. I'm hoping to get a few more scarves/cowls made for the shop before anyone sits down to Thanksgiving turkey, and maybe even make one for myself!

This Shape Shifter Scarf is available for purchase HERE.
You can purchase the Shape Shifter Knitting Pattern HERE.

Friday, September 5, 2014

5 More : Kid's Skinny Pants Sewing Patterns

This isn't exactly a 5 More because I haven't actually made any skinny pants yet. BUT skinny pants are perched right at the top of my must-sew list for fall. I've scoped out five of the most likely pattern candidates (and a few extras HERE), now I just have to make a decision. Feel free to chime in!
image from Figgy's
1. Banyan Trousers by Figgy's
I really love the cut of these pants, and that they can be made as shorts, no tinkering necessary. The pleats are retro, but the super skinny taper to the ankle feels very modern. I like the real (vs. faux) fly, and the extra room in the hips makes them look a whole lot more comfy than other skinnies. Most skinnies call for stretch woven material, which is not that easy to come by. These can be made with a straight up woven fabric. A definite plus. I am in love with Laura's green ones at Behind the Hedgerow!
image from Willow & Co.
2. Kudzu Cargos for Willow & Co. by Charming Doodle
As a general rule, I will pay more for less styling. The Kudzu is a little busy for my taste, with all its seaming and pockets. Yet with all that stuff on them, they still totally work. In defense of the "stuff", and to show that I can see an alternate point of view, all those extra pieces make for a lot of options for different looks. They can be left off just as easily as they can be put on. The Kudzu pants are everywhere on the interwebs, Huisje Boompje Boefjes made some really cute ones. I just caught a glimpse of Made By Sara's perfectly simplified pink ones this morning. Love! They seem like a solid choice for us, stripped down a bit, of course.
image from Go-To Patterns
3. Skinny Jeans by Peekaboo Pattern Shop on Go To Patterns
Very basic, very cute. Very my sort of thing. With 5 pockets, a real zip fly, and elastic back what more could a sewing mom want? The Sewn Henge (best blog name ever!) version is also very convincing.
image from Mamasha
4. Cisse Trousers by Zonen 09
It probably isn't fair to put the Cisse Trousers in the running for fall skinnies. The pattern hasn't been released yet, and I'm not certain it will be released in English. Yet, I'm such a sucker for the Zonen 09 clever details that I'm gonna do it anyway. Somehow all the Zonen 09 piping and pockets totally work for me on these pants. I can't wait to see (and sew, even if it's only in Dutch) this pattern.
image from Titchy Threads
5. Small Fry Skinny Jeans by Titchy Threads
The classic blue jean styling of the Small Fry is really luring me in. The top stitching, the true fly, and the pocket design would all lead one to believe this pattern is a pretty good buy.  The version Melissa at A Happy Stitch made, are pretty much exactly what I'm planning for J. And the Mingo & Grace florals are along the lines of what I'm thinking for L.

Do you have a favorite skinny pant pattern? Do tell. Are you harboring a preference for one of the patterns listed here, or have I missed the mark entirely with my selections? Please share. Which one of these lovelies should be the first fall skinny pant to come out of the SweetKM sewing room for fall?

What's up with 5 More? 
I suspect that if I'm up into the wee hours of the night searching for a certain style of sewing pattern, others are probably shopping for it, too. With the 5 More series I try to sift through the mountains of patterns in search of 5 safe bets, for good results.