Monday, December 22, 2014

STYLO Restyled : Quilted Vest for Christmas

 So this is it. The details on the Very. Last. Piece. from Stylo 3. Nothing like dragging that out for a few months! After taking the time to figure out this quilted vest for J, we're looking for any excuse to show it off. Why not Christmas? After the smoke had cleared from our Stylo photo shoot I hung the vest in J's closet beside this button-down shirt he had from last winter. Oh hey, red and green, if only I could come up with a tie, we would have ourselves a Christmas outfit. This is actually his school uniform tie. He normally wears a turtleneck to school to avoid the tie, so it doesn't get much wear. Not sure if all this print is on trend or a hot mess. Either way, this is what we'll be wearing at candle-light service this year.
PATTERN: Self-drafted, fully lined, basic size 7 vest, quilted with a few layers for warmth and substance. This pattern was inspired by the classic outdoor styling of Filson hunting gear with the drab green color, the diamond quilting, contrasting yoke at front and back, and the multiple pockets. One pocket is under the snap flap, the other is accessible from the side. The inside of the vest and the inside of the pockets are lined with flannel.

FABRIC: The exterior of the vest is made with dark green moleskin. The lining is plaid flannel. The accent at the pocket flaps and the yoke is dark green corduroy. The snaps are Heavy Duty Dritz.
I'm putting the finishing touches on a DIY quilted vest tutorial. A simplified version of this design will be available for free in size 7 after the holidays! Until then, I wish you all presents filled with high-end notions, knife sharp scissors that no one will ever use to cut paper, and all the new fabrics you can stand to prewash!
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Mini Hudson Pants

I was standing in my sewing room a few weeks ago pondering my weekend plans when the Mini Hudson Pants release announcement hit my email. Weekend sewing plans made! It isn't often that I wait with anticipation for a pattern to come out. I tend to hang back and see what others do with it, and where it fits into our wardrobes. I have been watching the Ture Bias Website for the Mini Hudsons to come out for a few weeks. First, because I have been meaning to make L some loosey-goosey knit pants for years. At first I was thinking self drafted Haraam pants, but in December I don't have that kind of time. Second, because a mini version of an adult pattern is a fantastic idea. At 8 bucks I didn't have to think twice about buying the pattern the second it came out.
PATTERN: This is my first Ture Bias Pattern, and it is just as professional as I had hoped. The Mini Hudson Pants are accurately drawn, and expertly illustrated. The finishing is all done with cuffs avoiding pesky double needle top stitching which I have given up on long ago. The waistband calls for some zig zag top stitching on the elastic, which went off without a hitch on subsequent pants.

FABRIC: I realize I've been on a chambray kick lately and I am very sorry if that bores anyone cause I can't get enough of it. I now realize this medium heather blue knit is the stretchy equivalent of chambray. I got it at a now closed local fabric shop. I should have bought the whole bolt, I forget that kids grow, and you can reuse the same fabric in different sizes. This is wonderfully comfy and I've been making the kids things with snippets of it for a few years. This was the last big chunk.

FIT/SIZE: L measured as a 5 exactly. For this pair I went with it, but now that I am more familiar with the fit I'll bump up to a 6 so she gets a bit more wear out of them.

ALTERATIONS: There is pretty much no scenario where my sewing machine will make buttonholes in knit, so I skipped that part. The drawstring is another fun place to mix up the colors, so i'm gonna try to find another way for next time (found a way around buttonhole problem, will discuss when the second and third pairs are out from under the Christmas tree).
L is also wearing an Old Navy Cardi, her favorite t-shirt from Silk Oak, she added the flourish of the Macy's holiday light show button, and Chukka boots.
This is about the most practical thing I've made in a while. I pride myself in only making things the kids actually wear, but a woven button back dress (my specialty) is tough for a little kid to get on alone. These pants are a more stylish (fashion forward) version of leggings which we wear everyday. I've already got two more (his & hers) pairs of these started (maybe you saw them on Instagram), and will most definitely make more, because unlike those woven dresses, or jeans...
...these pants can move.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

STYLO Restyled : Worthy Goods Country Ear Flap Hat

My online crafting career started with an Etsy shop in 2010. One of my very first favorite shops was Worthy Goods filled with Dory's effortlessly cozy hats and accessories inspired by her enviable Maine lifestyle. Lucky for the online sewing world her designs are available as PDF patterns. I made the Country Ear Flap Hat for Hansel's Stylo look, and immediately saw it's future potential. So many opportunities for cozy linings (sherpa, fleece, flannel) and durable exteriors (tartan, moleskin, corduroy).

It is really hard to find interesting sewing patterns for little boys that aren't too fussy or too weird (FYI Worthy Goods has other hat patterns!). As everybody already knows, I have a son and a daughter, the Country Ear Flap Hat is exactly the sort of pattern I will make again and again for both kids, and their little friends. I'm starting my Holiday gift making with a bang with two new hats for a couple of J's friends. They are reasonably fast to make, and require little fabric relative to most clothing. Our friends will have toasty warm ears this winter.
PATTERN: Country Ear Flap Hat by Worthy Goods is available in a child's size and two adult sizes. If you've been reading this blog for any length of time you know I love a basic, well fitting pattern that allows for a ton of customization. The Country Ear Flap Hat is exactly that. Simple changes in fabric make each hat totally different. After taping together 7,000 sheets of paper for PDF garment sewing, it's a breath of fresh air that this pattern doesn't require a single piece of tape and consists of only 3 pieces.

FABRIC: The dark green exterior is moleskin, the light green is heavy weight wool blend. Both are lined with bright orange flannel, and the earflaps are lined with faux sherpa. I whole heartedly recommend all the fabrics except the sherpa. I was too cheap to buy the organic cotton, and too impatient to wait for the nicer polyester on back order. In a pinch I bought this at Joann, and the quality is pretty terrible. Next time I would spring for the organic cotton version, the expense is totally worth it to match the quality of the other fabrics and the design. I used a covered button kit for the moleskin. The wool was much to thick for a kit covered button, so I found an acceptable vintage button in my stash.

FIT/SIZE: For Stylo I made J the child size. Its a bit snug, and the boys I have in mind for these hats both have lots of thick hair, so I made the adult small size just incase. This size fits me, but since I also have thick hair, I will be making the adult large for myself. The child size fits L (5) well.

ALTERATIONS/SEWING TIPS: No Alterations. Next time I would cut back the brim facing in a smooth line. I don't remember what the pattern calls for but I instinctively notched it, and the notches show through the moleskin fabric. The wool is a bit thicker and hides this flaw. When I sewed up the brim, I gave all the seams a good pressing before sewing the last one. Its tough to get your iron up into the top of the crown after the whole thing is assembled.
You can find Dory's fantastic ready made accessories and patterns in her Worthy Goods shop. Please check out her website, and I highly recommend her instagram feed for lots of examples of her recent work. I guess I should say I got this pattern for free. I wanted something unique so I went outside of the normal Stylo pattern providers (and outside of my normal introverted comfort zone) and asked Dory if she would give me a copy on my own. Therefore, I feel like my praise is genuine.


The only Stylo piece I have left to highlight is the self drafted vest. I am hoping to share the pattern I made, but as all you sewist can imagine, that is taking longer than I thought. It is very nearly ready...Stay tuned!




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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

SweetKM on Oliver + S Today!

My thumbhole sleeve tutorial is on the Oliver + S blog today. It's always so exciting to see my sweet cherub's faces in such exciting places, please stop by and check it out.

If you're wondering what I've been up to stop by Instagram, where a few not-yet-blogged projects may make an appearance!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

STYLO Restyled : 5 & 10 Design Vo. 1 Dress

For Stylo I wanted a dress that felt a bit like outerwear, and could act as the equivalent piece to the quilted vest in the little boy look. I also wanted inset sleeves, and a ton of very short volume. I settled on the 5 & 10 Designs Vol. 1 Dress. The original look came with all the parts and pieces for Gretel's trail, but will be worn much more simply as L's Christmas dress.
PATTERN: I requested this pattern for the sizing, and didn't really concern myself with the instructions. The versatility is the beauty of a simple pattern like this. I altered the pattern to accommodate buttons along the entire length of the back.  I didn't line the bodice as directed, just used a flannel facing at the cuffs and neck opening. I also used the bonus sleeve pattern piece and added flannel lined pockets stolen from the Oliver + S Playtime Dress

FABRIC: This is positively dreamy cotton/linen blend from Michael Levin. If I had had my wits about me yesterday I would have ordered more on sale. This would be perfect for an Alder Dress, its got a nice drape but reasonably substantial weight.

SIZE/FIT: I cut a 6, to allow for maximum boxiness at the waist, and volume in the skirt. I think this pattern runs a little small, because it is still fairly tight in the sleeves. 
I wanted the Stylo look to be scandalously short. But the scandalous length wasn't really practical for real world wear. With a 3 inch hem I got the look I wanted but still had the fabric left to lengthen the dress later. When I dropped the hem, I also added a button to the bottom. Those few tweaks, some red tights, and candle light service worthy maryjanes, and L is ready for Christmas Eve. 


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More STYLO Restyled

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

STYLO Restyled : Black & Blue

This is my favorite Stylo restyle so far. I've made both of these patterns before so I'll spare you the pattern review (Clover Review, Mara Review). Suffice it to say I wouldn't have made a second Mara and a third Clover if I didn't like the patterns.

I've had a chambray Mara in mind since I made the first one back in August. The weight of this beautiful chambray is perfect for an autumn top, and the subtle texture perfectly compliments the shade in the corduroy print. I got this lovely specimen at Home Made when I was "down the shore" (as the locals say) this summer. This is one of the best local sewing shops I've ever been to. Its tiny, but there isn't a single fabric there that I wouldn't love to have. I think this is the Robert Kaufman Union Chambray in Indigo, but I'm not certain, and I'm desperate for more. Winter is coming and my chambray stockpile is running low.

Our last Mara was a 5 and it seems a smidgen on the snug side, so this time I made a 6. I omitted the piping because it seemed unnecessary without a contrasting fabric. Now that I've done it I think it might have sharpened the construction even without the contrasting fabric. The 3/4 length sleeves are from the Louisa Dress (also by Compagnie M). The sleeves are meant to be interchangeable, but if you don't have the Louisa pattern, I think it would be pretty easy to just shorten the long sleeve piece included with the Mara.
The shorts are a corduroy fabric only a middle aged woman could love (given that today is my thirty-very-much-something birthday maybe I should cut out the name calling). Yet something propelled me to pay the BF Bridge toll a second time to go back to Joann and get it (not great sign about my age!). It's not something I would normally buy, but in this limited quantity it really works.  
Shirt Pattern: Mara Blouse by Compagnie M
Shirt Fit: Size 6
Shorts Pattern: Willow & Co. - Clover Shorts by Mouse House Creations
Shorts Fabric: Printed Corduroy fron Joann Fabric.
Shorts Fit: Size 6
I had really hoped to get one good photo of this whole outfit.  But asking a 4 year old to do you a favor at 7am can only result in eye rolling, yawning, and nonsense. I'm trying to dazzle you with quantity of image rather than quality (I do that some times), and I'll leave you with this:


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Monday, November 10, 2014

STYLO : Gretel's Knits

My STYLO looks were inspired by these two knit pieces. The Pixie Bonnet and Heartwarmer are themes I keep coming back to. I love that they look a little vintage and homespun. Not including knits would have been like not inviting my favorite kid to the party. Here are the details:
Heartwarmer Pattern : Bless Your Heartwarmer by SweetKM 
Heartwarmer Yarn : Palette Yarn in Brindle Heather by Knit Picks 

I'm a sucker for a little girl in a heartwarmer. I tend to make brightly colored ones for L, she loves to wear them, but they rarely go with the rest of her outfit leaving us looking a little bit homeless when we're tooling around town. I love this Brindle Heather from Knit Picks. It all wool, reads as a neutral but is still firmly in the yellow family. Knit Picks Palette yarn is a fingerling weight, but this was made as a worsted weight by knitting with two strands at once. Its a technique I've been using a lot to mix my own custom colors, or create my own bulky weight yarn. My Stylo heartwarmer is a slight variation on the Bless Your Heartwarmer Pattern. To get the articulated spine down the middle I slipped the middle stitch on the right side and purled it on the wrong side. I also substituted twisted strings for the fabric ones for a more traditional look. 
Bonnet Pattern : Big Kid Bonnet (Similar pattern HERE, or buy your own ready made HERE)
Bonnet Yarn : Brava Worsted in Paprika by Knit Picks

Normally, I only knit with natural fibers (with the exception of these guys). I made an exception for this bonnet for the color. The rusty red color took the look out of the christmas card photo and into the autumn woods. Its the pop of color the makes the more neutral tones of the rest of the outfit work. This is my favorite bonnet to make at the moment. The front half is folded over on itself making a double layer of cozy knit around the ears.


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First and last photos are by my husband (who has a name but would rather I not use it).