Please don’t think I’m some dorky try-hard sew-along weirdie. I’m not.* It’s just that the next two sew-alongs involve a wee bit of planning – particularly February’s. So I’m offering up two sew-alongs, both with three pieces, in order that you have plenty of time to commit and plan.
January’s focus on a babywear layette, and February’s on an ensemble from Bootstrap! Our size choices for babywear are preemie to 6T; Bootstrap’s size range is from a 17″ to 67″ chest / 18″ to 68″ hip. I like my sew-alongs to have as large a size range as possible!
So yesterday I had the immense pleasure of spending an afternoon with three lovely women, in three versions of my latest summer dress.
An ivory with geometric motif in charcoal, for Phoenix:
A gorgeous teal for Astrid (um, what is up with her perfect accessories? Tomato-red toenails and heels; beaded earrings in canary? XOMG):
And a gorgoues double-faced periwinkle for Jen:
I am providing a sew-along for this very dress. Here is a supply post: we start stitching on June 15th. This sew-along is appropriate for beginners, intermediate stitchers, or advanced practitioners. In addition, it is a wonderful pattern to get acquainted with Bootstrap Fashion, one of my beloved pattern companies.
See you soon! <3
So why it’s taken me so long to sew up Ro-Man from 1953’s B-movie Robot Monster, I do not know. Clearly a failing on my part. A failing I remedied this week.
You can basically see that this 6-month sized piece is identical to the monster in the film. Maybe it’s even a bit scarier.
Below you see that Ro-Man the Robot Monster, aka baby V., was pretty much over cute bearded dad. I mean she was into him. She’d hold his hand. She’d let him carry her around all day. But she wasn’t gonna pretend she liked it!
OK, but seriously – it was fun trying to make a “helmet” that was smart for a small baby. No globe-and-bucket (which is perfect for an adult version!) here.
HUGE BRAWNY MONSTER ARMS. Tiny little baby hands! By the way, a good quality faux fur is machine-washable, very warm, and you can clean baby puke out of it pretty easy. I’m just sayin’.
Of course, we need a powerful ape chest. And our pacifier:
Baby V. might look like a hungover owl in this photo below but I like it anyway – because Ralph is so sweet – and hirsute!
“I may be a hideous monster but I have adorable, delicious feet.”
And of course: a secret little monster underlap at the back, where the ensemble fastens:
I recently had the honor and privilege of making a friend’s vision come to life: M., who had saved up two large wool blankets for over twenty years, in hopes of one day having them made into a drover’s coat. M. and I exchanged some FB messages, I emailed him a quote, and he delivered me many pounds of heavy wool blanket. With some trepidation I cut into this vintage fabric to begin construction!
Thursday I grabbed a few pictures of the finished product (modeled by husband who is an inch shorter than client in arm and total height):
M. had several visions for the coat: he wanted the end fringe of the blankets to be used as much as possible at hem, sleeve hem, pocket, pocket flap, and cape. Now is the time for me to point out that the two blankets were different – you can really see this at the stripe near the knee. I am super-proud to say that with careful planning I made an entirely balanced coat – in other words the left side utilizes one blanket for the body, and the other blanket for patch, pocket detail, etc. – and vice versa. I also managed to wrap the wool fringe to curve around the cape such that it looks like it was woven there – and to place another stripe at the shoulder on the cape!
M. wanted antler tips for closures. I got to fiddle/figure out how to use those without the typical toggle closure, which M. didn’t care for. My solution was a bound buttonhole – time intensive, but really a solid, rustic choice. The wool was so very thick I chose to use the selvedge/woven edges for the lips of the (pseudo-) bound buttonhole, thus reducing bulk significantly. Finally – I found tips that were cut in half lengthwise so could be worn very flush to the coat front:
The collar and collar tab, sleeve tabs, and cape are all lined in a cotton the same color as the shell wool.
One of my favorite details: the cape and collar. The cape is fabulous: it looks like it is sewn to the coat, and it fits perfectly snugly with underarm straps for security. But the wearer can easily unfasten the cape if they don’t want to wear it:
I can’t express how wonderful it is to work with someone on their design – if their design is cohesive, and M.’s really was. I sew up other people’s designs rarely – because I like to make my own. However in M.’s case he had such a definite sense of what he wanted and I instantly grasped how handsome a garment it would make. Although the coat was a technical challenge – the wool in the blankets had warped, and had several very well-done repairs in thread – I learned a great deal while working on it.
The best part? I hand-delivered him the coat last night and he lit right up. “I am completely satisfied!” – a direct quote! And the garment suited him very well. It gives me great pleasure to make someone something they want – or have wanted, for years!
Second coat: one for my husband. This, part of my thirteenth anniversary gift for him, was constructed without him ever being aware I was making it (total score!). Waxed canvas, and lined with a matching grey liner with a semi-coarse, lovely finish. The effect is that of a rain slicker – except more breathable, and with a beautiful patina and long-lasting wear:
Grey-green shot cotton binding at neckline. Waxed canvas – such a beautiful finish – and, now that I’m used to it, a pleasure to sew (this coat was the first I’d made in this fabric; Nels’ was the second, and things went better there):
Top-stitching: about as near perfect as you can get (using single-needle tailoring):
Cuff tab – a triple-stitch for a heavier stitching line. Antique brass snaps I set myself. Kind of fun, actually!
The coat was constructed using Green Pepper’s Frenchglen (adding length to arm and hem as per Ralph’s usual adjustment); the pattern featured a side pocket embedded in the zippered patch pocket:
And a very special zipper pull tab – in a “bean” shape. I found one tab at Quilt Harbor in Aberdeen and knew I had to have it. But I couldn’t find another – not even online! A few weeks ago I ran across the second tab in Lady Lynn’s for $1.75! I was beyond excited. Because I am a huge nerd.
Ralph, who stands this way – his arms don’t rest at his sides. I discovered this about him a few garments ago and I may or may not call his posture, “Ape Arms”.
Something tells me I am just ramping up the coat and jacket sewing for the fall! Having all that heavy wool in my house during the hottest days of the year was… fun. “Fun”, she says, using “air dick quotes”. Next up: a brief snatch of air sewing an easy flannel car coat for my child – before diving into Halloween sewing, which ramped up so fast I was required to close orders before I could even update my Etsy shop or my website! Good lord.
A wee baby ensemble for a local auction – size 15 lb. baby!
A bunting (100% cotton shell, same color fleece lining, stenciled glitter-star front, and snaps with underlap), reversible hat with tied ears, and a baby sleeping bag with snap front. The front:
But … my favorite i sthe hat. I am a huge baby hat fan. I wish I had a baby to model this one. ONLY too adorable!
So yeah – as mentioned, I’ve been asked more and more for donations or contributions – either garment construction, or writing.* In between clients, getting the kids to school, and running last night’s benefit, I managed to put this together. The pieces made up a simple, pleasing project. Putting together the color palette – and the design – is one of the best parts of design.
I also just adore the idea of a baby sleeping bag. Why have I not thought of, or seen one before?
These pieces go off to a local auction. Always happy to help!
* Let’s make a deal: you know it’s totally okay to ask, ever (promise) – because you know I feel okay saying Yes or No. I’ll let you know if things change.
As mentioned last post, across the internetz many (mostly)lady-bloggers are sewing up a batch of boy patterns for a blog tour of the designs. The patterns are all PDF indie designs, have a wonderful size range of 3 months to size 16, and they are all featured on an extended sale until the first. I was honored to be asked to participate. The 25th I submitted my first entry. Today, I bring you:
The Letterman Jacket!
So for today: I am The Letterman Jacket by Fairytale Pattern Design. I’ll be discussing them here and in my Flickr tagset.
The pattern: if you think about it, a Letterman jacket is a simple garment (certainly simpler than the last jacket I made). What makes it iconic and beautiful are the fabrics used, the details (the distinctive ribbing and collar or center back zip hood), and the patches. Almost any raglan jacket could be easily changed to a letterman jacket. That said, it is wonderful to have a simply-drafted pattern and it was easy for me to modify it for a facing and lining. This particular pattern comes in size 4T to size 16 (please please please let a client request a wee 4T) – a generous size range.
I made a size 8 in girth and a size 12 in length for my lean green bean boy! I also hand-knit cuffs, hem band, and neckband:
My welt pockets are perfect! Exactly no one is surprised. That said, some fabrics are far more lovely to work welt pockets in – and melton wool is definitely in that category:
Finished with a wonderful gold slipper satin and antique brass snaps:
All in all, a successful venture with a very simple, trusty pattern.
You can learn more about the Bundle Up pattern package below – or visit all the blogs that are showcasing the different patterns. Y’all know I tend to draft my own stuff, but these patterns are pretty fabulous and most of them have a great size range. Enjoy!