Archive of ‘kids clothes’ category

kids clothes week challenge–‘capping’ things off.

the last three days of kcwc moved more slowly, sewing-wise, than the first four did.  I guess I work like that.  the sprint is fun, the marathon…not so much.

but, I did finish off with an hour of sewing today to complete the bucket hats I set out to make.  these are from liesl gibson’s book ‘little things to sew‘.  this was the first thing I made from this very beautiful and inviting book.  I have read that liesl is very precise and exacting and her bucket hat pattern proved the point.  it was clear, concise and made a great little hat but there is no cutting corners…you gotta follow her instructions.  I tried a little cheating only to find I had to backtrack.  I believe that is called being schooled.  once I got the hang of it the hat doesn’t take long to make.

there is some hand stitching involved in this making, which I would normally shy away from but in this case it was necessary and even helpful.

the fabric is a japanese linen-cotton blend, some heather ross guitars and chino, from purl soho…an indulgent purchase that I knew the boys would love.

the lining is a nice linen-cotton blend that used to be a pair of my husband’s shorts until the nice linen-cotton ripped apart from over-wear.  I love it when that happens!

the boys do like their hats, even big C.  in fact, he put on this button-down shirt and said “do you want to take a cute picture of me now?” and then he did this pose.  I guess he has got my number.

kids clothes week challenge days 3 + 4

halloween costumes are high on my things-I-want-to-accomplish-during-kcwc list and I’m proud to say “one down”! he wants to be a dragon, which makes me so happy because it’s a manageable homemade costume and I didn’t even need to do any coaxing.  last year they both wanted to be specific Thomas the Tank Engine trains and I threw up my hands and ordered them online. so sad.

to outfit this dragon I made three pieces: a hood, a sweatshirt, and pants.  the tail is sewn right into the pants.   it’s all made of soft, fluffy fleece so there had better be at least a chill in the air on halloween or it could get hot for this little dragon but on the upside, it will be comfortable.

I made the sweatshirt by adapting the pauley pullover from the sewing for boys book (love that pattern). we spent some time discussing costumes this year and this guy was very certain he wanted a special green pocket on the side of the pants for storing a lizard…I guess this dragon has a side kick.  I’m not sure about the details on that…he almost always has an elaborate imaginative world that comes spilling out sooner or later…but I am certain he looks totally adorable and squeezable in this costume.

that’s another bonus of the mama-made costume…I get to keep it cute and innocent for another year.  though, I am considering adding some teeth to make the costume a bit more fierce….he keeps asking if he looks scary.  oops.

this is the big C’s pauley pullover…the one he doesn’t like.

it is really big on him but I still think it’s awesome.  and, I’m so proud of my v-neck! you can see some wonky stitches but all-in-all this is definitely the smoothest it’s gone for me sewing with knits.

I’m feeling ready for the last 3 days of kcwc…one costume to go and I keep feeling tempted to make pajamas.  might have to scour the kcwc flickr group for some inspiration. people are making amazing things!

kids clothes week challenge: day 1 + 2

it’s a dreary day here…rainy, grey and wet. but, I did muster the energy to walk upright and get some kcwc sewing done. this is the fourth time I’ve done the kcwc and each time I’m reminded how easy it is to get something done with just one hour a day.

a few great things happened with this sweatshirt.  first, the pattern is the pauley pullover from the famed sewing for boys book, and I finally wised up and traced the pattern onto freezer paper. I have no idea what has taken me so long to get on this trend.  freezer paper patterns are the best, you can see through it onto the pattern beneath when doing the tracing. then, simply run an iron over the matte side of the pattern and it sticks to the fabric making it a cinch to cut! amazing.

for the fabric, I used a sweatshirt that fit me awkwardly, which meant I saved myself from adding a hem and got a bonus cute kangaroo pocket with no effort on my part.   third, I used my walking foot and it really is the key to successful sewing with knits, in my semi-limited experience.  just to compare, I tried my teflon-coated foot and found the walking foot much better.  it evens makes topstitching much easier.  in fact, I feel confident saying that with a jersey needle and a walking foot sewing with knit fabric is manageable…even fun! (I don’t know what I did before my walking foot, it can do everything. I only just got it but it already feels like an old friend.)

the v-neck was new to me, I’ve always been a bit intimidated by them but the book makes it really straightforward.

all that said, the sweatshirt is a little slouchy.  I decided to add ribbing for the arm cuffs and keep a regular hem rather than a drawstring like the pattern asked for.   I like how it all looks but it made things longer (a point that seems quite obvious after the fact).

all in all, it’s pretty darn cute and I can promise I will be making a ton more clothes in knit fabrics for the boys.  it’s a good thing, too, because they both prefer comfy to stuffy and I seem to reach for knits every time I’m thinking about making them clothes.

in my enthusiasm I also made a black fleece pullover with skulls and crossbones ribbing for C.  sounds awesome, right?! (I’m telling you, these things take around 45 minutes with the freezer paper and everything else.)  and, uh, he HATED it.  wouldn’t even try it on.  it was too fleecy and too scary and too black and….and, it was humongous, I need to size down.  my kids know how to keep me humble.  thank goodness.

kcwc : the final days with beachcomber shorts

done and done!!  the kcwc week is over.  I’m excited to say that with modest goals and a little snip of sewing every day I finished everything I was aiming for. both boys have a new t-shirt and shorts made from (almost entirely) used clothing!

these were the final item.  after lots of seam ripping and diligent ironing to get just enough fabric out of an old pair of shorts…the boy has candy-stripe beachcombers! I made the pockets, waistband, and bias tape out of a fat quarter of flannel (my one divergence from used clothing) because this guy loves comfort and I knew he would appreciate a flannel waist.  I didn’t make the t-shirt he is wearing but wish I did.  the tie is fake, I just felt like the front of the pants needed a little something and I love the way ties look.

 the back pockets are down-sized from the actual pockets of the shorts.  one of the best details of the original shorts was the thick white stitching.  by selectively cutting I was able to spare the hem stitch and back pocket stitching, which I’m really excited about.  

and, here they are in action.  he likes them and that is a huge accomplishment. in fact, he’s muddying them as I write this in our backyard with a game of ‘construction’, which is really just a game of pouring water and moving dirt.

I have noticed that in real-life wear and tear they tend to fall down a bit.  And, that leads me an question.  anyone know the rule of thumb for elastic? I measure it at his waist measurement assuming that the 3/4 of an inch to 1 inch that is used up when sewing it together will make it tight enough to stay up but it doesn’t seem like that is quite enough for the degree to which my boys ‘wear’ their clothes.  anyone have other ideas? they would be quite welcome.

kcwc : day 3 + 4 and the making of man to boy shorts

it’s already friday of the kids clothes week challenge and, we have shorts for the smallest family ham! to make these I cut up a pair of papa’s stained pants (bleach. because sometimes you find yourself handling bleach in the basement as soon as you walk in the door from work. enough said) and a old work shirt…which is why they are now known as the *man to boy shorts*.  I was really happy with the way that the pre-worn aspect of the pants made for a nice weathered look on the shorts, a great bonus to using used clothing.

for the pattern, I shortened the ‘basic pocket pants’ pattern in the same book, growing up sew liberated that I used last time for the t-shirts.  again, I’m loving this book.  she made making side pockets so easy to understand and they turned out great.  I wasn’t very good at estimating the length of shorts versus pants, however, and had to shorten these quite a bit after the legs had been sewn but that is easier than trying to lengthen!  I also added a cheeky little side pocket because I think it’s always cute when kids shorts have a million pockets…they are so pointless but valuable at the same time.


look at that irresistible bottom and tummy! I can hardly stand it.  of course, he has his hands down his pants.  when C, our oldest, saw the photo he said “uh-oh. no hands in our pants!” because, you know, that is something you have to spell out around here.

up next are shorts for C.  I spent my hour yesterday pulling apart the seams on an old pair of blue shorts for just that purpose.  even snuck in a little seam ripping while sitting in the car as the littlest man napped.  that is what you call making it work, folks.

kids clothes week challenge : days 1 + 2

kids clothes week at elsie marley is in full swing! on days 1 and 2 I pulled together these tops for the boys IN KNIT FABRIC. I’m pretty proud.  they didn’t turn out perfect but so much better than my other attempts to sew knits.

and the best part is that they both like the tops.  I can’t ever predict when they will like something or not but it’s always so nice when they appreciate it too! in general, they don’t really care what they wear.  but, C loves his shirt because ‘it makes him look like part of the ant hill mob’…a character from an old hanna barbara cartoon we let them watch.  score! the little guy, reluctant model J, likes his shirt because his brother liked it. so, a double win for the crafty mama!

both shirts are made from old t-shirts and I cut the fabric such that I could avoid hemming the bottom hem, which is always the part that I mess up.  by putting a band on the armholes it also meant I didn’t have to hem that.  less hemming=better sewing when it comes to knits for me.  for my pattern, I altered the pattern for a crossover tee in the book growing up sew liberated. this is my first time following this book and I really like it so far…clear instructions, easy to trace patterns, thoughtful patterns and meg has a nice writing style. plus, she spends some serious time discussing working the knit fabrics, which is what I need right now.  the part I didn’t like about these tees is they are a little big and the neckband is pretty big making it look more like a nehru collar. I changed that when I made the second one but little J is going to have to live with it on his. I’m looking forward to the rest of the week because next up are shorts for these two monkeys.  (real quick: it is impossible to get these two to model for me.  harder than sewing stuff for them! I bribed them once with chocolate to get their measurements…how much bribing will I have to do this week?)


consider my arm twisted

seriously. I can’t stand the pressure.  I was resisting joining in on elsie marley’s kids clothes week challenge…feeling like I had enough going on with my summer sewing project but I’m a weak, weak person and apparently a sucker for a good sewing challenge since I’m already involved in this and this and just want to keep going!

but, honestly, elsie marley has been knocking it out of the park with her great guest posts.  I think this post from meg @ sew liberated was what tipped me over the edge.  what about you? tempted? it’s great fun, it really is…one hour of sewing everyday with a goal to make clothes for your kids.  for me, the trick is to widen the definition of sewing to include things like ‘reading a pattern’ and ‘cutting fabric’ or even ‘shopping for a zipper’.  the point is to just get in one hour every day toward the goal of making your kids some clothes.

I can do that, right? I have participated twice before and even got a shot of my littlest man on the elsie marley page…he is the really adorable one in a little coat (really, truly, he is so freakin’ adorable!)

so, here is my plan this time around:  I’m going to sew an outfit each for both of my little men…one pair of shorts and one shirt. I’m restricted myself fabric-wise to only using old clothes I’ve set aside to reuse.  and lastly,  (this is the big one) I’m going to make the shirts out of knit fabric.  that’s right, I WILL CONQUER MY FEAR OF SEWING WITH KNITS!  it is happening, you heard it here first. I’m done shying away from them or making tentative (and often disastrous) steps toward working with them. I’ve even started a pinterest board that I hope to keep loading it up with good information about how to sew well using knit fabrics.  And this very official looking pdf from the University of Kentucky…hopefully by diving into even academic literature I can make this happen. just kidding about that.  I always over-intellectualize things that I should really just jump into head-first.  it’s a hard habit to break.

so, what do you say?! join in!  be crazy sewing mama with me for a week! need some ideas? check out the new patterns from oliver and s and the spring and summer patterns at made by rae! oliver and s even has some great free patterns. 

edited to add: check out this treasure trove of great (and free) tutorials by dana at made.

wow. there are a lot of links in this post. phew. I think I’m on a bit of overdrive.



kid clothes week challenge wrap-up

i have been so focused on preparing for classes and working on the website that i had kind of lost my sewing mojo. so sad, isn’t it? iI was even considering opting out of the Elsie Marley kids clothes challenge week , which i’ve done a few times before.

but at the last minute i went for it.  i decided to jump in the ring after the new book,  sewing for boys arrived at my door unexpectedly.  my mother confessed ‘she couldn’t resist’…she saw the book and knew i had to have it.  that was sweet, huh?

{here’s a close up of the beautiful welt pocket, of which i’m exceedingly proud.}

often during KCWC i’ve focused on making LOTS of things and this time the book inspired me to take a different approach. i set a goal of only making one thing….this cute little jacket up above.  for the little guy who so rarely gets something new.  the pattern is easy to understand and the book is straightforward but, you know…it’s a jacket so i didn’t want to rush and mess it up.  i took my time, tracing and cutting the pattern one day and cutting fabric the next.  no pressure to GET IT DONE just an easy, peasy enjoy-yourself kind of pace.  in the end, i did finish before the week was up and remembered the joy of making things. who could ask for more? even better, the jacket made elsie marley’s blog, which is a super gushy great feeling.

with my bit of extra time, i made both boys hats…that match. they are so cute (the hats and the boys) how could i stop myself?

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