… And Triumphs

On the brighter side of things, I have a small list of successes:

This ladybug peplum top, with which I’m very pleased.

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I used thrifted fabric (of course), and, when i stumbled upon them in a store, bought the buttons to match. I was hoping that Sprout would like it, and she certainly seems to- when I tried it on her today, she wouldn't take it off. I used a self-drafted pattern, and tried my hand at a pleated bib (effective, I think, even though its a little wonky). It is technically a size 2T, but as I was sewing it, it occurred to me that it'll be too cold for her to wear it this winter, so I added an under-piece to the button snap placket so that I can (hopefully) expand it to a 3T for next summer. Provided she hasn’t already become hopelessly attached to it …

I completed the rest of the clothing for the sweet baby boy who’s on his way:

Yet another yoked tunic (my fifth attempt, I think):

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This one came out beautifully! I think I finally got the length of the slit right, and I’m pleased with the slightly reduced a-line width. My sister (who is my ‘is-this-boy-fabric?’ resource) informs me that the accent fabric is boyish enough for a baby, but probably not for a toddler, but I’m hoping the main fabric (*sigh* striped linen) is masculine enough to make it appropriate.

… And a pair of quick change trousers from Anna Maria Horner’sHandmade Beginnings, and a kimono top from the lovely pattern found at Habitual.

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Shirts on the Fly

While Sprout napped today, I cut out the pieces for two shirts. Well, the pieces for 3/4 of two shirts. I’ve been trying to cut the last pieces since she woke up, but that’s an uphill-in-the-snow battle to which I’ll readily concede defeat.

She needs several long sleeves tops for the fall and winter, and I’ve been eager to try my hand at shirt-making. Easing into it, though, I decided to try adapting my peplum top into a full-length top (erm…tunic?). I stumbled upon Pretty Prudent‘s Ruffled Keyhole Shirt tutorial, and it started the wheels turning. I am a sucker for a bib-front baby shirt (see: ), and I love the busy print they chose, and the puffy sleeves! Annoyingly, I forgot to alter my sleeves, so boring old long sleeves they must be. 😩

For the first version, I used my favourite Walmart fabric (I know, I know, I hang my head in shame), and I had enough to fully line it. For the second, I scraped by with just barely enough of the main fabric (yay! I feel so virtuous using up a whole length of fabric, stash busted nibbled away at!), so I’m going to try my hand at facings, instead. Am I the only one who finds facings to be so much more work that linings?

20 hours later, these are the result:

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I was toying with the idea of trying my hand at a tutorial, but after I whipped them together (3 hours in all, not too shabby), I discovered that my pattern has a major flaw: it doesn’t allow for any ease in the sides. Woe was me! The pictures above are the end result, after another full 3 hours worth of hack work. I am sad that they no longer look as marvelous on the inside as they did originally, but at least I think they’ll be worn. I hope they’ll be worn. They’d better be worn!

Turns out that facings were no big deal! I used the same fabric for the facings that I used for the bib, and they looked very striking, indeed!

Blunders …

I finally managed to snatch a few minutes to sew the other day (the sewing angels were singing as Sprout finally took a decent nap), and, after I had cut two little geraniums out of the lengths of bubblegum pink and lavender velvet that I found at a thrift store, I made good progress on the Olivia and Oliver pea coat in size 3 mos that I’ve had cut for a month or so.

I was, in fact, on such a roll, that I ignored my No-Sewing-When-Sprout-Is-Awake rule, and continued blithely on. She wanted to sit with me while I sewed, and so, after the requisite ‘no touching/owies’ conversation, we sat together comfortably and sewed … until she suddenly got squirmy and bored, and grabbed for the presser foot, a split second before I could yank my knee away from the pedal. To cut a teary, bloody story short, my poor baby had her first bandaid, and it was the very nicest injury an ancient sewing machine can give: two neat punctures well back from the nail. I wonder if they’ll mail my Mother of the Year Award to me so I don’t have to give a speech?

Having packed my machine away, motherly guilt firmly in place, I graciously acquiesced to her shrill demand request to go outside, and we sat together on the stairs and enjoyed the sunshine after the rainy week we’ve had. I had decided that I would work on the pleating for the little geraniums (pleating? gathering? Can you gather velvet?), so I was guarding the teacup that holds my pins from Sprout (who, every single time, makes the sign for ‘owie’ before trying to grab a fistful), and when she seized the bodice that I’d slaved over (pink velvet, remember?) and took off around the side of the house wearing her new ‘bracelet’, I mentally shrugged: “meh, it’s not the pins, it’s not the shears, what’s the worst that can happen?”

Two minutes later, she rounds the corner, making the little whimpering sound that see makes when she’s sad about something, and presents me with this:

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At that point, I admitted defeat, relinquished any grand hopes for progress in the sewing realm, and went to play with my daughter.

*I am pleased (and more than a little surprised) to report that, thanks to the miracle of OxiClean, the bodice seems to have come through the ordeal none(or at least very little) the worse for wear.

Day Seven: Check; I Win!

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For the last (!) day of my challenge, I finished up the third of the set of Purl Bee Toddler T-Shirts , this one in white eyelet that I had leftover from an ambitious maternity shirt project.

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The eyelet is pretty transparent, so I underlined the whole thing using my über-soft old white sheet, preserving the original hems (because, please!). It came together beautifully, in spite of my wonkier-that-usual cutting, and I rather like the clean simplicity of it, I think it will be lovely come next summer.

This week’s challenge has allowed me to pare my sewing list from a weighty tome down to a manageable essay, so I’d say it was a huge success! Probably the biggest success, though, is the feeling of personal triumph that has brightened my whole week, and today most of all, a rosy glow that is entirely self-derived and -sustained!

Day Six: Check

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This is a romper that I made to accompany yesterday’s tunic. I made it using Pickup Some Creativity’s Summertime Romper Pattern. It is a remarkably thorough and easy to follow tutorial, and it comes together beautifully. This is the boys’ version in size 18-24 mos, I’m tempted to give the adorable girls’ version a try, too, before Sprout outgrows the pattern.

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I lined it fully with muslin, instead of using facings, out of sheer laziness, and aforementioned lack of zigzag capability. I bought the fabric at a thrift store some time ago, and thought it would be suitably boyish. To be quite frank, the reason that I felt it would pass the boyish-enough test is that I found myself rolling my eyes with exclamations of disdain every time I looked at it. My personal litmus test, I guess, but why are there not more awesome boy fabrics?! Or, better yet, why aren’t boys encouraged to wear bolder prints?

When I cut into the fabric, I paid very close attention to the positioning of each piece, so that the plaid would line up well, and it was looking quite smashing … until I forgot that there was no obvious ‘right side’, and reversed exactly half of the pieces when I joined them, so that they all look completely off. *sigh* Oh well, we live and learn, no? I did another continuous bound placket for the back, and, even with the finicky plaid, this one came out much better than my first.

Day Five: Check!

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Yay! Today I made another yoked tunic, this time for a gift for a friend whose little boy is due in a couple of months. Ordinarily, I tend to shy away from giving clothing for baby gifts, preferring a more well-rounded gift, but this will be their third baby, and their first boy, so I figured clothes would actually be the most practical gift in this instance.

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I bought several yards of this glorious ship-in-a-bottle fabric at a second-hand store for a pittance a while back, and I simply adore it! I paired it with a navy kona cotton (seemed appropriate, given the nautical vibe), and I’m quite delighted with the results!

Next time around I’m going to pay close attention to the length of the slash down the middle, I keep making it too long, because I forget to account for the seam allowance. It is, however, becoming more intuitive the more I tweak this pattern, and the heavy kona cotton made it a breeze-crisp corners without any effort whatsoever!

I sewed the entire piece this evening, which pleases me, it was quite an undertaking, and it is gratifying to have it done.

Day Four: Check!

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Today I finished up one of the Toddler T-Shirts by Molly at Purl Bee that I had cut. Quick, easy, and to the point.

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I like that it’s a T-shirt pattern made for woven fabric, my ancient antique sewing machine cannot zigzag, or handle any of the other tricks for working with knits, so, while I love my machine to pieces, until someone drops a serger into my lap (ouch, maybe into my table would be better), knits are out.

I also enjoyed the use of the envelope neckline, they’re fun and easy, and so striking. I think I’m going to have to tweak the pattern a little to get the fit just right, I should have added a little width to accommodate the French seams, and I should have made the envelope neckline a little tighter. It is a size 3T, and the body fits her well now, but her shoulders slip right through the neckline. (An aside because this is something that not enough people know, considering how it revolutionizes childcare: one of the reasons that they put envelope necklines on onesies for babies is so that the onesie can be pulled down from the shoulders in case of the dreaded poop-splosion.)

Day Three: Check (whew!)

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I had almost reconciled myself to failing to complete my challenge today, but I found I just couldn’t face that. So…

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I threw together one if my mom’s old standbys, and it came together lightning fast, without any measuring, and barely any cutting. I used French seams (I guess I always use French seams, unless I’m lining a piece, so I could probably skip the mention), and a favourite fabric that I chose because I knew My Beloved would love it. One small problem-I gave it a 20″ waist, figuring it for a 3T, but I didn’t consider the length-this may be long enough when Sprout is 15 … *sigh*
Ah, well, so far she falls on the tall & slender end of the spectrum, so maybe it’ll work someday. It may be worth putting in growth pleats later, we’ll have to see. For now, though, I’m delighted to have met my challenge for the day!

Day Two: Check-ish

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For the second day of my challenge, I put together the second trial run of the yoked tunic I’ve been working on. *note to self: pattern testing and speed sewing are not a good mix.

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This time I tested a 3T with short sleeves and a slight a-line. I like this version of the armscyes much better, and the placket came together without much fuss, unlike last time … I particularly wanted to test the french seams, which were sloppy because i was rushing, but proved doable (graceful, even). I didn’t hem it, hence the ‘check-ish’, but My Beloved prefers it that way, and who am I to argue with a man who is making my life easier? Also, I’m out of orange thread …

Tomorrow I hope to be able to knuckle down a little during naptime. If there is a naptime tomorrow … I’ve cobbled together my small victories in the evenings, so far, but would feel much less pressured, I’m sure if I spaced my work-time throughout the day.

*To be perfectly above board here: this pattern is an exercise in pattern drafting for me, it was inspired by the Charlie Tunic by the remarkable Rae of Made By Rae. I have purchased a copy of her pattern (so as not to blatantly rip-off an independent pattern designer), but not used it, just to see if I can do it myself. I will not ever sell the resulting patterns (again, see above), and highly recommend this, and any other Made By Rae patterns (because they are exquisitely well drafted and explained).

Day One: Check!

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For my first day, I completed a dress in size 2y for this fall/winter. I’ve had this scrap of home dec. fabric that I found at a thrift store in my stash for months, and had desperately wanted to use it for a dress for Sprout (a little non-traditional use of fabric never hurt anyone, right?), and realized the other day that if I didn’t use it soon, I wouldn’t have enough of it. So here it is, yay!

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I think I used the Cottage Home Party Dress in size 2y, I haven’t used the pattern before, and wanted to give it a test run. I fully lined it using a thrifted, and very, very soft, sheet, and pleated the skirt, after trying with no success to gather the very thick fabric. I also decided to try a continuous bound placket for the back-not perfect, but a pretty good shot, I’d say, and well worth the hassle!

All in all, not a bad hour’s worth of work! And extra points because I toyed all day with the idea of abandoning ship.