only the young can say / they’re free to fly away

A project I’d dreamed up a while back: custom athletic “school pride” hoodie. Here ya go, my lovely daughter of mine. You are one thousand percent f*cking awesome so. Here you go!

Wishkah Loggers Hoodie

I had some trouble with this garment, but not the trouble I thought I might run into. The original pattern instructions had some errata and I was a bit frustrated, and the back center panel was missing a few helpful notches. I made some changes to the pattern – specifically, in the hood, the pockets/pocket tabs, and the cuffs – and I omitted the facings. But then there were fabric issues – the stripe fabric. I made a quick purchase online and neglected to get yarn-dyed stripes. So these stripes are printed on. Kinda ass, quality-wise. They look great, because A. the print was printed properly and B. I am a bad-ass at matching stripes. But next time I might do a little more hunting for a great stripe.

And on that note, let me talk about hoodie fabrics a bit.

I used to joke about old rock and roll bands who’d leap around stage and do high kicks while wearing ball-framingly tight DENIM jeans. Ralph and I will still say, “touch of Lycra” when, say, a Journey song comes on our Google Music radio. Then we laugh because SERIOUSLY

Touch Of Lycra

Now those are snug.

Now, I’m no stranger to 100% cotton knits. I’ve made an awful lot of great garments with the 100% cotton Michael Miller knit stripe.

But hoodies, like Mr. Perry’s grape-smugglers above, benefit from the performance only provided by a bit of synthetic fiber. Even six percent (or less) of spandex or some other stretch fiber, can give the hoodie a bit more wearing comfort and a better drape. Now I am such a natural fiber snob (wool, linen, silk, cotton) – but sometimes SCIENCE delivers us seductive advances. So yes: spandex is my friend (or in this hoodie’s case – 4% lycra is my friend).

More pictures of today’s piece:

Wishkah Loggers Hoodie
The back. Looking great. Perfect stripe-lining! BOOM

Wishkah Loggers Hoodie

I like the size of the hood – and I like the overlap at the neckline.

Wishkah Loggers Hoodie

I sewed the seam allowances of the thumb holes together before turning them, which made for a non-topstitched thumbhole. Better looking than topstitch efforts IMO.

Wishkah Loggers Hoodie

Construction: a zig zag, then a three-thread serge finish. Very tidy hoodie interior.

Wishkah Loggers Hoodie

My old-skool freezer-paper-and-Solvy method, for the “screenprinted” lettering.

Wishkah Loggers Hoodie

More Fabri Sticky Solvy, everywhere everywhere, for a good-looking applique “P” on this very thin knit.

Wishkah Loggers Hoodie

Peeking inside the pocket. A nice, roomy, kangaroo-style pocket.

I just ordered fabric for my next custom hoodie: self-drafted, for my son. I have some artistic plans and I only hope the fabric comes arrives such that I can complete the project in time for his birthday.

I’d love to just sew people hoodies pretty much all day long. VERY FUN

 

flannel shirt sew-a-long icon

flannel sew-a-long: cuffs, buttonholes, buttons – and finished!

flannel shirt sew-a-long icon

Hello my awesomesauce stitching fiends! This is our final flannel sewing post! I am really happy to have my shirt finished, and really grateful not to have to look at this particular plaid for a while! Today we are putting together our lined cuffs, sewing up buttonholes, and sewing on buttons. Pretty easy stuff that leaves us with – a COMPLETED SHIRT! Yay! Let’s get started! Here is our overview:

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flannel shirt sew-a-long icon

flannel shirt sew-a-long: flat-felled seams, side seams, and narrow hem

flannel shirt sew-a-long icon

Hello my awesomesauce stitching fiends! This is our penultimate flannel sewing post! Yay! Make sure to check out the results of my particular project. A perfect shirt. Pretty much. Almost perfect. I made one error. Can you spot it? Today we are messing with one of the most difficult seams – the flat-felled shoulder seam. It actually isn’t hard to do, it’s just hard to do and have it look perfect. After we sew this up we have the much-simpler side seam, and then the narrow hem. Let’s get started! Remember – I am available to support via email, blog comment, and Skype! I will Skype support any stitcher through the months of November and December 2013 – and if you’re lucky and just finding the sew-along today, why not give me a ring? Email, Twitter, Facebook – come find me!

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flannel shirt sew-a-long: topstitching, front placket, collar, and collar stand

flannel shirt sew-a-long icon

Hello my awesomesauce stitching fiends! We are still working away on our flannel shirt. Make sure to check out the results of my particular project. TOTES ADORABLE.

Today we are tackling topstitching and we are going to see just how accurate you were with cutting and staystitching (she smiles, sweetly, like a stitching she-Demon). We will be applying the patch pockets and creating the front placket, collar, and collar stand. We will be working with interfacing together so get that out!

At about 52 images this is a beefy post. So, let’s get started! Remember – I am available to support via email, blog comment, and Skype! Here is our overview, before we get started:

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flannel shirt sew-a-long icon

flannel shirt sew-a-long: lined pocket, sleeve placket, and yokes

flannel shirt sew-a-long icon

Hello my awesomesauce stitching fiends! Yes, I am still on top of this sew-a-long business. “The show must go on”, as they say.

Today we have a fairly easy series of tasks ahead of us in our flannel shirt sew-a-long. You should be pleased with yourself at the session’s end! Among other things, we will be working buttonholes. So be prepared to bust out your manual and practice – ideally on shirt fabric scraps.

Remember – I am available to support via email, blog comment, and Skype!  Just last night I had an email from a sew-a-long student and I responded within the hour.

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Let’s get started!

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flannel shirt sew-a-long: tracing the pattern

flannel shirt sew-a-long icon

Hello my awesomesauce stitching fiends! Today we are getting started in earnest on sewing up a flannel shirt. You can post any questions about this section of the sew-a-long here in the comments, and remember – I am available to support via email and Skype!

To catch you up: I’ve already posted the supply list, a bit about what to expect in undertaking this project, and a link to the the Flickr Group (please consider posting your progress!). I’m going to assume you are all caught up and ready to go!

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* evil laugh *

more Halloweening

Ripslinger, Size 3

Sent off to L.A. yesterday – a size 3 “Ripslinger” costume as well as a “Bulldog” hoodie (made to go with an adorable crocheted Bulldog cap the client already possessed). This costume, oh Teh Strugglez. First, my online order for fabrics took an inordinately long time. Then, I made a prototype of the hoodie a while back and it didn’t quite work out right  – I’m trying to find a home for it.

But as of yesterday the completed costume finally shipped.

Let’s face it. It’s not nearly as satisfying to get a picture of a flat-laid costume. I don’t have an adorable three year old to grab, at hand (and DAMN MY LIFE FOR THAT), so these quick shots will have to do:

Ripslinger, Size 3

(Shiny shoes courtesy of Nels).

The costume features five pieces: a pair of stovepipe-legged, flat-front sweatpants (made with long hem, so they can “grow” with child), a circular-pocket and stenciled kangaroo hoodie, a lined and be-snapped pilot cap featuring the trademark Planes-esque “eyes”, a nose cone/double-propeller, and set of wings. The clothing is all made from a very soft cotton french terry. The crafted/molded pieces are lightweight and adjustable.

Some close-ups:

Ripslinger, Size 3

The nose-cone as made by Ralph. He is my papercrafting in-house consultant.

Ripslinger, Size 3

Pilot cap with eyes! I drafted my own hat pattern. It is lined, and very cozy. My goal was for the three clothing pieces to be such that the little client can and will want to wear them as much as possible.

Ripslinger, Size 3

The back of the hoodie – little racing Checks. Again – stenciled then topstitched.

Ripslinger, Size 3

The pant leg – a paint-stenciled and topstitched flame motif, and a knit fabric applique for the “13”. I love this paint-stencil method – it gives a good result with a minimum of equipment. Do I want to be someone who can do full-blown home silkscreening? WHY  YES I DO. I am baffled as to how to get started. But, there it is.

The sweats are not my pattern, for a change, but the Parsley Pants pattern by Made By Rae. They have an adorable wide-legged flare and I look forward to making them up with a woven fabric, the pattern’s recommendation.

Here’s “Bulldog” – really just the colors. Another super-fun hoodie to sew up. The pockets are the same size as the above hoodie, but since it is a smaller kiddo, they look larger in comparison.

Bulldog, Size 12/18m

Bulldog, Size 12/18m

SEWING NERD ALERT – I switched thread colors so the thread would always match the fabric used. Yes, these are all inside the garments – the “invisible” side. But, I love details like this.

Bulldog, Size 12/18m

For the armscye, I even switched up the top thread and bobbin thread for the corresponding fabric colors.

*I AM A DORK*

Max’d out

Max From Where The Wild Things Are (Upgrayedd)

Max From Where The Wild Things Are (Upgrayedd)

This is the first year I offered custom costumes online on Etsy. I haven’t done any marketing unless you count the occasional tweet, or Ralph’s Facebook plugs now and then. Now I’m glad, because I have found myself with a good number of costumes to sew this year and I’m late on two. Given this, I am presently only taking ONE more costume item before Halloween.

I’ll be back for Christmas gift awesomeness. If you’ve thought of anything simply wonderful I should sew, let me know.

Today I took pictures in the Max I made for a 9 year old up on Bainbridge Island. I am very pleased with this Max, and I have two more to make – one for a four-year-old, and one for a grown-up! I am also happy to answer any questions you put me on making your own – so you can post them in the Flickr comments or here on this post.

Happy costuming, tweeps. May your sewing machine bobbin run smoothly, and your glue gun not burn your hands.

Max From Where The Wild Things Are (Upgrayedd)

celebrating life and possibility

Billy & Jamila's Wedding, 06/22/2013

Once I saw a couple awesomesauce photographers at the Sauvie Island wedding locale, I gave myself permission to stop taking pictures and trust that, later, wonderful pictures would come to me. This accounts for the kind of inexcusable lapse in that I don’t have a single picture of the couple (or of my own husband, sister, or mother!) to offer you, this evening. Still, I stand by my choice to be in the experience, instead of recording it.  If you don’t know the kind of intense energy that goes into a wedding, at least when you are family or involved in a major way, then – pssshhhfft. I’ll post more photos when they come around.

So, Portland then.

In the house we stayed at, Ralph told me he intended to treat me “like a Queen” all weekend – and he did. Strawberry pancakes, at my request:

Billy & Jamila's Wedding, 06/22/2013

Almost better than devouring them (while reading a junky noir novel!) was watching my daughter eat them. Delicious!

Billy & Jamila's Wedding, 06/22/2013

Billy & Jamila's Wedding, 06/22/2013

Billy & Jamila's Wedding, 06/22/2013

Getting ready for fancy shin-diggery. The kids’ togs are all silk and cotton – a silk/cotton blend for the suits, a very fine cotton for each shirt, and silk taffeta for the bowties.

Yes, I made bowties. Yes, it was awesome. And kind of tricky. Bowties, if you want to make real ones, you have to make the exact correct length for the neck. I am now all fired up and ready to make Ralph a few vests and bowties because he looked gooooood. My brother said my entire family was “sharp as a diamond tack.”

Reader, I wore not one but two outfits, changing before the reception. No pictures yet of my get-up, although I offer you my custom-ordered boutonniere, a little nicety I purchased along with a wrist corsage for the mother of the groom.

Billy & Jamila's Wedding, 06/22/2013

Wedding gifts: Ralph and I made Jamila a steampunk travelling hat, complete with goggles, lace netting, and homemade wired ribbon and multi-loop bow:
Billy & Jamila's Wedding, 06/22/2013

Phee models, after her wedding-morning bath:

Billy & Jamila's Wedding, 06/22/2013

My brother, I made an overdyed wool vest. Prick-stitched lining, bound buttonholes, brass buttons, and a secret charm sewn into the pocket. Shhhh!

Billy & Jamila's Wedding, 06/22/2013

The back belt:

Billy & Jamila's Wedding, 06/22/2013

We also bought them a two-night trip to Sol Duc hot springs!

Billy And Jamila's Wedding, 06/22/2013

The wedding was super-lovely and worth every bit of effort it took our family to get there, and get there in style.

Billy & Jamila's Wedding, 06/22/2013

Hm, how much do I love this picture? My brother, the groom, looking handsome and happy. Tony checking something in his hand – the ring? His phone? And Chris, marching like a goddamn champion, gripping a bottle of wine. Fuck YEAH.

And yeah I got teary-eyed at the wedding. Of course I did, what the hell is wrong with you?

***

So we had a lovely time, all in all. I got to see my friend B. and her wonderful family, and thanks to some donations from two online friends, we got to hit the Mummies this afternoon, and visit with my sister. This morning I wrote a piece for Underbellie, in large part sparked by gratitude for the blessing of friends and family who, perhaps unwittingly, continue to challenge me in my day-to-day life.

Oh, and this was the first time I went two nights without my dog, since we got him almost a year ago. I MISSED HIM and I think HE MISSED ME, but now we are reunited.