When someone is having a rough time…

… what better way to go than to make them a Cactus T shirt?

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Kimono T-shirt pattern free from Maria Denmark

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With added length for the beanpole it’s made for

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beautiful fabric from Kitschy Coo, perfect for the succulent growing recipient.

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Much better than flowers, don’t you think?

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It’s winging its way to her as I type.

Cape Mark II

The Princess Anna cape that I made The Girl has to be one of my favourite ever makes. But it’s now nearly 3 years old (eek) and getting a bit small for her, plus it’s far too pink for the more sophisticated tastes of a nearly 10 year old.

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So for Christmas I made her  a new cape, in her current favourite colour, green, in  random cheap wool blend that I picked up locally.  (There was better quality wool available, but it was either too dark or too light for her tastes.)

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Having been ill for large parts of December I ended up cutting it out on the 23d and sewing it on Christmas Eve, only realising too late that I’d never bought any buttons. So it was given buttonless and we went button shopping together after Christmas.  She chose these floral patterned ones that I think might be coconut shell. I finally got around to sewing the buttonholes and attaching the buttons earlier this week (Bad Mummy) using some find some vintage button thread that I’d inherited.

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The trim was a last minute decision to add on. It’s been lying in my ribbon box for a while, having been bought it on a trip to Birmingham.  They’re not actually mirrors, but plasticised foil sewn in.

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I toyed with having the trim along the bottom of the back and up around the arms, but that meant turning corners (tricky in this wide trim) and there wasn’t enough to meet at the front.

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So in the end I settled upon a stripe near the bottom, front and back, which gave me some left over. Adding some to the collar too was The Boy’s idea (he is not a silent model) and for once it wasn’t actually really complicated.  Well not since I’d already decided to add a collar to the pattern again ‘cos I think it looks so much better this way (I used the same tutorial as last time).

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The lining is gold “polo” (a polyester fabric) and I snuck a welt pocket on the inside (using this tutorial), which she calls her secret pocket.  Hopefully it’s futureproof as I made sure it fit a smart phone inside, just in case.   It also has a hanging loop added to the neck facing as I did before.

Lets hope this cape lasts as long as the last one, and if she wants another one after that I might have to buy the sister adult version of the pattern, the Woodland Stroll pattern as this is the largest size (age 12) of the Forest Path pattern with 2″ added to the length to boot!  (Did I mention that she’s nearly 10?)

 

Generation Gap

It’s official, I am now an Old Fogey who doesn’t understand modern fashion. Namely, the trend of wearing leggings as outerwear. The Girl now prefers to wear leggings and t shirts to the dresses with leggings that she lived in for so long. Cue lots of arguments between me and The Girl about the need for her to cover her bum before she goes out.

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She does have a couple of long t shirts that I let her get away with, so I made her another one. This is an Adv Tee, age 11, with 4 1/2″ added length.

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I just extended the sides straight, so I put 4″ slits at the bottom for ease of movement.

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I changed the front neckline from a v neck to a round neck, just cutting it by eye. The neckband came out rather narrow, but I like it. And to show which is the front, I sewed on 3 of these handmade Stuttgart buttons that I got for Christmas from a lovely friend who lives in Germany.

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And look, decency is preserved. (Well kind of, it runs up a bit cos it’s quite a fitting t shirt).

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Speaking of bum coverage, I made a little something for myself out of the remnants.

Bumps, Babygowns and Blogging

I have definitely been sewing less this year. Which is part of the reason I have been blogging less. But also I lost my camera for a while and I’ve been having laptop issues and generally lost my oomph for blogging. I kept meaning to cancel my subscription to wordpress, but never got around to it.

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Then back in November I decided to make a babygown for my friends bump….

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…. and my blog was really useful because I could refresh my memory of how to do the envelope cuffs with the tutorial I’d translated last time around.

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It came out pretty good I think (I used jersey bias binding for the neckline on this one and a smidge of satin ribbon to mark the back).

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My friend gushed over her present.  She has one child already, whose nearly 6, and first time around she’d been given a gown 2nd hand. It’s now long gone, and she’d been searching fruitlessly for one to buy. There’s nothing like being appreciated to inspire the sewjo! So I whipped up a 2nd one out of scraps…

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… it’s great to be able to use the little bits of precious fabric like these origami birds that are too small for most anything else. And best of all was the wording in the selvage that I used to mark the back!

So for now I’m going to try blogging more regularly, if only for me, enabled by the replacement laptop battery that LSH thoughtfully got me for Christmas.

I had to ask didn’t I

The Boy has a birthday coming up. Traditionally I make him some item of clothing. I was thinking of some more trousers, or a jumper (sweater), or maybe both. But I had to go and ask him if there was anything he needed (answer, nope, so well done there on the Simplicity testimony), or wanted. I should’ve known better.

A hat that looks like a helmet for when I’m being a Wilder

(No, I’m not quite sure what a Wilder is, it’s a game they play. Think some kind of Robin Hood / Lord of the Rings /LARP type thing and you won’t be far off as far as I can tell.)

Well, I didn’t think I could pull off a complicated faux metal helmet hat, but we did see a simple leather re-enactment helmet recently (cannot find photo’s of anything similar to show you), and I thought I might add some fake fur trim, Game of Thrones style, and aimed to get something that looked a bit like this.

For a pattern piece, I started with a head circumference, divided by 4, and also measured from front to back of where the “helmet” would sit (over the crown, and divided that by 2, and then used these measurements to freehanded a pattern piece (I added seam allowances afterwards).

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I cut four out these out of some scrap fleece, but used the wrong side.  This is the inside, with the tops trimmed and the seam allowances sewn open with a faux flatlock stitch.

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Looking promising right?

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Next up a loop of faux fur, 3 inches wide, the circumference of my hat, was sewn on, right sides together (I cut this “cross grain”, as I was using scraps. I should’ve made it a big bigger really as it doesn’t have the stretch in the right direction, still I can squeeze it on and my head is humungeous).

I folded it in half round to the inside and then stitched it down from the rightside. I couldn’t stitch in the ditch as the faux fur wasn’t playing ball (the whole thing was sooo thick it barely fit on my machine and I broke a needle at one point), so my stitching line is about a cm above the fur.

So far, I have tried it on Little Sister. (The glower is to show she’s only trying it on under duress). It’s not perfect, but I think it will do for now. I may end up making another one (this one might be rejected or more likely lost), in which case I will try and improve my design (less height maybe, more width for the fur).

But so far, not a bad half hour make from scraps. (Yeah, I’ll probably do summat else too).

The Placket of Doom

(On the Sorry You’re Feeling Ill T-Shirt with Get Better Faster Stripes)

So, the Boy got a tummy bug and got sent home from school. My children have a combined age of approx 20, so needless to say I have dealt with a few tummy bugs in my time. Never have I seen someone laid so low with one though. It wasn’t the typical symptoms so much that were extreme, more his general demeanor, listlessness, staring into space-ness, asking for help to sit up, not reading and barely talking. On Day 5, when he still wasn’t eating at all or showing any signs of improvement, I consulted our GP, which led to him being sent to the hospital to rule out appendicitis. It wasn’t appendicitis (the official diagnosis in the end was viral gastroenteritis), but he did end up getting admitted for 3 nights and put on a drip to counteract the dehydration.

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It was a busy week. Sitting around doing nothing at the hospital is surprisingly exhausting. Taking my turn being the parent at home with The Girl was surprisingly stressful too. So I decided to make the Boy a t shirt. Ostentatiously that was to cheer him up in the hospital, but really, it was to take my mind of things, which is good, as I didn’t finish it until several days after he got home from the hospital.

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Being unwell brings out the Aspergers side in my son, and as well as being the exact opposite of his normal chatty self at the hospital (one member of staff commented on how shy he was and I had to explain that he’s actually very outgoing usually, which is one of the reasons I knew he felt so ill), it also seemed to ramp up his sensory sensitivity and he kept complaining that his t shirt was too restrictive around his throat. By the time he was admitted to the ward, he’d stripped of his t shirt and covered himself up in a blanket instead and after that he couldn’t have put a tshirt on if he wanted as by then he had a line in his arm. We took some shirts in to the hospital so that he could wear them as unbuttoned as he liked, but mainly he rocked the bare chested “look you can see even more of my ribs than normal” look.

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Hence I chose to make no 37 from Ottobre 03/2016 , a raglan Henly style t shirt with stripes up the side, because I thought he could undo the placket and it would feel less restrictive.  Great plan. The downside of the plan turned out to be that I had to make a placket.

Tracing and cutting went well. I made it in a size I was pretty sure had some growing room (as he wasn’t there to measure), but cut it to the length of the pattern 2 sizes up, for my string bean. At this point I was still delusional that I would finish it in an evening and take it with me to the hospital the next day. Ha.

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Mistake no 1: The t shirt was made on a whim so I used scrap fabric that I had in. The grey knots was the only thing really suitable that I had to hand, and I decided to brighten it up a bit with the red (after all what is the point of a faffing around with an extra pattern piece for a side stripe if you never notice it). This was my first mistake as I think the red is a 4 way stretch and it shifted like billy o when I tried to wrangle it into shape and sew it down. Particularly troublesome on that placket. Which brings me to….

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Mistake no 2: I tried to follow the Ottobre Minimalist Diagrams Are For Wimps Instructions when inserting the placket. This didn’t go well and I ended up with the hot mess you see above. After sleeping on it I decided to recut the front and try again.

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Second time around I used the Thread Theory placket tutorial for their Strathcona henly t shirt. To make this work I cut the placket piece on the fold, rather than as two separate pieces. I didn’t quite follow the instructions to the word, but it went sooo much better this time again. Definitely still room for improvement but liveable with.  The sharp eyed may notice that this placket is the “wrong” way around, that’s because despite tacking the other side, it stretched as I was sewing it and has little tucks in. Grr.

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Mistake no 3:  Prym poppers. Past experience shows that no matter how many times I reread the instructions or do trial runs on scrap fabric (ok, actually I did 0 trial runs this time), at least one of them always screws up on the real garment. I’ve never had the inserty applicator thingy jam onto the popper before though. Turned out it was due to the popper front and back being misalinged. Another sleep on it moment, before then taking apart with pliers and carefully lining up the replacement popper through the holes it’s predecessor left behind before attaching it.

Mistake no 4: I then sewed the original front with the awful placket to the rest of the t shirt and had to unpick the triple stretch lightening stitch raglan seems. Urgh.

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The neckband isn’t technically a mistake, but I did follow the Strathcona instructions and tried the slanty edge look and it’s not entirely successful. In particular I’m not happy with the scruffy insides showing when it’s worn open.  However I am now officially past caring.

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Because tis done now.  And it looks ok, although I wouldn’t want to subject it to close inspection from someone who knows how to sew. I think it has a bit of a cycling top vibe to it.  But most importantly The Boy is now home and on the mend. He hasn’t really passed comment on the new t shirt, but he did chose to wear it.