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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

August Sew Along Pattern

Can you believe tomorrow is the first day of August?  Where did the summer go?  My oldest will officially be a first grader in just 15 days.  With that in mind, and the impending chill due any week now, I've chose a Autumnish (don't you just love when I make up my own words) pattern for August.

The August "Sewing For Boys" pattern will be The Luka Hoodie.  I know some of you have warmer weather for several months ahead so you can either, use light weight fabrics such as cotton or even nylon and make it more of a windbreaker or size the jacket keeping in mind that it may be a few months before your little guy will wear it.

I can't wait to give this one a go!

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Sew In Tune: Pumped Up Kicks

 Today's Sew In Tune guest is Mandy from Sugar Bee Crafts.  She's posting over on Melly Sews with a tutorial for . . . 
I think she's got something here.  Maybe the kids will stop singing their favorite lyrics over and over again if they're wearing them?
I say it's worth a try!  Go here for the full tutorial.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Sew In Tune: High and Dry

Hey I'm Jessica, and I blog about all kinds of sewing at A Little Gray. A lot of the time, I'm sewing something for my three year old boy Hendrix. 

I also LOVE music, so the concept of this sewing series is really fun for me! High and Dry is a Radiohead song from their second album, the Bends. It's the first Radiohead song I ever remember hearing, and then I was hooked. 

Hendrix is a fan too. See how moody and brooding he is from being forced to listen to Radiohead so much? :)

This summer we have been pooling a lot, so I knew he would need a nice pool robe to "just be cozy in" as he says. I used the basic pattern pieces from the flannel robe in the Sewing For Boys book. I know you guys are big fans of that book around here, just like me. But if you don't have the book, you are lucky that Heidi and I were both thinking robe for this series- Check out her great robe tutorial from last week.

I put a new spin on the pattern by cutting the pattern pieces out of two clearance beach towels I had bought at Target. I only cut out one of each, instead of two like the reversible or lined version. Two layers of towel would be much too bulky, plus I didn't have enough. I put it together and then finished all the inside seams and outside edges with homemade double fold bias tape.

I had been looking for a nice nautical red stripe, but settled on the red Riley Blake chevron instead. Cut on the bias, this made for a very interesting look, but I kind of love it. I'm glad I took the time to make my own too, because it's so soft and easy to sew. In fact, I just applied it quick-n-dirty style by sandwiching the robe seams between the folds of the bias tape and sewing it all together in one step. Normally, I like to apply bias tape in two steps, but there was no need to be precise for this fun summer wardrobe extra.

As Hendrix dries off in the sun here, you can see the inside seams finished in the bias tape. His swimsuit I made using Running With Scissors' amazing Euro Swim Trunks pattern, you can read more about that here

And then he does that inevitable thing children do with the items you lovingly make for them. 
Ah well, back to fountain playing. 
Thanks so much for having me join Sew in Tune Melissa and Stacey!

Thank you so much for joining in, Jessica.  This is a great pattern and I'm so excited to see it used for a swim robe.  Not that we've been able to do much swimming this summer, but I'm thinking my boys each need one themselves.  I'm envisioning terrycoth bathrobes for Christmas! 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Little Heartbreaker Pants

Little Heartbreaker Pants

With the first week of Sew In Tune kicking off, the Sewing For Boys Sew Along kinda took a back burner this week.  You still have a few days left to finish off your Little Heartbreaker pants, so don't panic.  If you can find an hour or so in the next few days, you're golden.

Above are the two pairs of Little Heartbreaker pants, I've made so far.  Both have deviated just a tad from the book's directions, but not so much so that they don't capture the true essence of the pattern.  The pair on the left were C's Easter pants and while he can still wear them, they've moved from the pants category to that of capri.  Man do these boys grown fast.  The pair on the right were made for the Cheeseburger in Paradise  post and the only modification was to make them shorts length.

The Easter pair were made in a lime green seersucker.  It definitely wasn't warm enough on Easter Sunday for seersucker but that kept us stuck inside for Easter brunch, so it really didn't matter.  I have this thing about dressing "Springy" for Easter and I refuse to give it up no matter how cold and gray the day ends up being.  Plus I knew he'd be getting a ton of use out of them over the summer, so seersucker seemed fitting.  I went with a contrasting thread for the top stitching, which actually matches perfectly with the blue in the pocket and waistband facings.

I've learned through previous patterns in the book, that my child's personal measurements must be considered when sewing pants.  While C's length measurements fit with the size 6, his waist fits perfectly into the size 5 patterns.  Since I had two other pairs of pants to make, I opted to ignore the button hole elastic and went with a back enclosed elastic.  Now that I've seen how quickly he grew out of these length wise, it was a good decision.

I love the little front pleats and faux fly.  One of these days I'm going to give the real deal a try but for now, the faux fly gives these pants just the sophistication these little dress pants need without the extra time and effort.

And I'm totally digging the Amy Butler Daisy Chain scraps that peak out from the pockets

and waist facings.

Little Heartbreaker Pants Review

I do have to say, though, that the correctly applied button hole elastic does take the pants up another notch entirely.  When I look at the Cheeseburger in Paradise shorts, the button hole elastic

and Hong Kong seam finishes on the pockets go a long way to making this handmade wardrobe look more professional.  I love this pattern, ladies, so I hope you won't get too sick of seeing them done over and over again.

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sew In Tune: Weekly Wrap Up

Yikes!  I can't believe week one of Sew In Tune is already coming to an end.  It's been an exciting one though, right?  Just in case you missed one, here's a run down of this week's posts - click on any picture to take you to the post.
The Boys of Summer by Melly Sews
Cheeseburger in Paradise by Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy!
Paint it Black by I Make Stuff
Good Vibrations by CathGrace
Summer of '69 by Elegance and Elephants
We also had two very big announcements this week. 

 1.  The launch of Melissa's new E-book, Blank Slate Basics will take place on August 16th.  This includes her Blank Tank, Vintage V-neck, and Clean Slate Shorts patterns.

 2.  You can be entered to win one of 6 copies of this fabulous book of PDF patterns!!! (Don't forget to go back through this week's posts and comment on any of them you missed)

Last but not least, don't forget to link up your music inspired sewing over at the Sew In Tune Flickr group.  We can't wait to share some of the sewing that's going on at home.

Happy Saturday, everyone!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Sew In Tune: Summer of 69'

Head on over to Melly Sews for today's Sew In Tune guest, to see how to make this classically inspired PJ set sewn by Elegance & Elephants.  This adorable set is complete with a reversible dressing gown and shirred waist shorts.  You won't want to miss out on Heidi's fabulous tutorial!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sew In Tune: Good Vibrations

Hey all! I'm super excited to be here today as I adore the blogs of my most gracious hosts! For those of you who don't know me, I am Catherine and I blog over at cathgrace. I am a stay at home mom of two school aged kids, (my daughter calls me a stay at home girl!) wife to a U.S. Air Force Officer, and I love to craft, decorate, embroider, knit, weave, and sew (sewing is my greatest passion outside of my family) and I like to think of myself as a "maker," since I am always making at least a half dozen things at once!

 I was originally totally stumped when it came to choosing a song for my outfit; I am afraid that I am in the middle of a big move right now (we are moving to South Korea for 3 years with the Air Force) so I sewed my contribution for this post at the beginning of June before my sewing machines were put in a crate to be shipped by boat to our new home on Osan Air Force Base; which was before the theme for this series was chosen. In the end though my sweet sister suggested "Good Vibrations" by the Beach Boys, and it felt perfect for the fun, slightly retro feeling print, and the great summer feel of the song went well with the outfit, so forgive me that my son's outfit isn't that musical, but I think I got the summer vibe down pat!

Today I am going to be sharing the process for screen printing and sewing the rash guard for my son's swim costume. (I'll be putting a tutorial for some of the details on my board shorts over on my blog, I decided not to do a full tutorial here since Melissa already did such a lovely one a bit ago!) Sorry this is a little picture heavy, I wanted to get all the steps in!

I decided to start with a commercial pattern for this project, so anyone can start with the same pattern rather then the sometimes daunting task of drafting your own! I used Simplicity 9499 for this project (even though it was clearly designed to be pajamas) because it had the raglan sleeve I was looking for to use with the rash guard, and there was a basic shorts pattern that was a good starting point for board shorts.

When choosing the size I needed for my son for the rash guard, I basically ignored the sizing on the back of the pattern envelope,

And instead focused on the FINISHED size measurements (which can also be found on the back of the envelope at the bottom, but I like how clear they are on the pattern pieces.) The reason I am not making the pattern's suggested size of Large for my son (who has a 27 inch chest) is because if you read the finished size on the pattern, his rash guard would end up HUGE on him at 10" bigger around then he is. Patterns add ease for movement depending on their fabric and use suggestions, but since I am using a nylon-spandex 4 way stretch knit rather then a cotton jersey, I wanted the rash guard to be more fitted. (So I made the small with modifications.)

Whenever I sew using a purchased pattern I start by laying the pattern out flat,

and then laying tracing paper on top. (I use large rolls that I get at an art supply store).  I like to trace my patterns because then I can reuse the pattern in different sizes later, and I can make my modifications directly to my traced pieces. (Raise your hand if you have ever cut off a bit of extra length or width you meant to add when cutting out your pieces because it wasn't on the paper pattern!)

Although I was making a Small width-wise for my son, I needed to extend the length to Large since he is taller. After tracing all of my pieces onto tracing paper in pencil, I go over my lines with marker, and name and date all the pieces so I can put them in an envelope and know what they are later.

For this project I shortened the sleeve shorter then the original pattern piece, and then I widened and shortened the neckband since the knit I am using is much stretchier then the double knit that the pattern expects you to use.

After making my pattern but before cutting anything out I screen printed an image onto my fabric. I went to school to learn how to do surface design and screen printing, but wanted to use a method that cost very little and used tools that anyone could easily get. (screens are usually quite expensive)

I started by pinning my fabric to my print surface (I use 1" industrial felt that is on a sheet of plywood and covered in a canvas drop cloth that is pulled tight and stapled around the back, but a similar surface can be made by lots of layers of cotton batting rather than the wool felt) The reason you want a print surface is so that you can pin through it, and it has just enough give that your pattern really gets squished into your fabric rather then missing low spots. I use an old sheet to protect the print surface, and then I use quilter's T-pins to stretch the fabric so it lays nice and flat, this is a much better surface for printing on than just laying your fabric on a table. (I would usually have my board on a table so that I am not on the floor, but my table was packed at the time) After pinning my fabric down, I ironed freezer paper that I had used an X-acto knife to cut my design out with onto the fabric (another bonus of a print surface is you can iron directly onto it)

At this point you could just paint the pattern on, but I actually don't like the painted prints as much in most applications because it never looks as smooth as screen printing, if you look closely at anything printed with a screen you will see the texture that the screen adds, plus you will have an evenness of paint density that will make your piece look more professional. you could either buy a blank screen from an art store for $30+ or you can do what I did for this project and make your own cheap one! I made mine by stapling a sheer polyester fabric to a frame, I have used anything from $1 store picture frames, to art stretchers for this, and it really is only dependent on the size you want your image to be. My screen material was just a cheap white polyester fabric I found in the formal dress section of Joann's. (The only requirement is an even-weave, rather than a knit or a netting.)

As you can see, my screen is stained and not exactly fancy, but it works just fine! I made my color by mixing a blue pigment with a white pigment, (which can be found at an art supply store) but for smaller projects, regular old shirt paint will work just fine. 

I used a way too small a piece of stiff but flexible plastic to evenly spread my pigment around my screen, I would usually use something bigger, but most of my stuff is packed away. For smaller projects, store loyalty cards, or hotel room keys are my favorite thing to use (you can use your credit card in a pinch........ I'm just not going to guarantee it will work again afterwards!) 

This is what it looks like after you lift the screen off, my paper is lifting a little because I couldn't use a super high heat to iron it on, because I didn't want to melt my fabric) but the lifting doesn't really matter as the screen will hold it down nicely for you. (Don't forget to rinse out your screen before your paint dries and ruins it for future use!) 

After peeling the paper up, I let the pigment dry and then iron it to set the pigment (just follow the instructions on your particular paint) 

OKAY, now we can cut out our pattern pieces! I folded the fabric with the screen printing on it in half, and pinned my pattern on so that the picture was slightly coming off of the top (I like printing before cutting out my pieces, because it does give you the option to edit where you want the image to be) 

I used my serger to attach the sleeves front and back, although you can use a stretch stitch on a regular sewing machine.

Here is what it looked like all sewn together. Next, I used my coverstitch machine to hem the sleeves and top stitch over the sleeve seams, but a twin needle on a regular sewing machine will do the same job.

Next, I added the collar by sewing it into a tube, that I then folded in half so that the finished edge was at the top--I pretty much sewed it in place the same way that the pattern instructions will tell you too, so I'm not going to go into too much detail, except to say that once it was sewn in place I top stitched it down just like the sleeves were sewn. 

The next step is to serge/sew up the side seams including the underarm/sleeve seam, making sure you match the sleeve hem nicely,

I like to tie a knot in my serging, and then in order to make the sleeve edge look finished, I tuck the thread tail inside,

and then fold the seam over it and top stitch the seam down to one side,

this will give your sleeve a much more professional look because you wont see the serged bit trying to pop out ever,

Finally, all you need to do is hem the bottom in the same manner that you hemmed the sleeves, and then you have a finished rash guard!!!

 My son is 11 (will be 12 this Oct) so he is going through a............ stage when it comes to pictures, so forgive me for some of these pictures! He apparently thinks it's funny to sabotage my photo shoots by being silly, so I have decided it's funny to put some of the more embarrassing pictures of him in this blog post - I'm sure he'll thank me in a couple of years!

As you can see, I got the image inspiration for the screen print from the fabric I used on the board shorts!

This is apparently the face I get when I ask him to run through the he making fun of me much? 

I apparently couldn't even bring myself to leave his head in this one......... Seriously Isaac? Just a smile please?

Although he *is* a pain in the backside to photograph right now, I love making things for Isaac, because he really LOVES whatever I sew for him, and since we have been staying with my mom in AZ for a couple of weeks before heading out to Korea, he has been wearing this swimming costume several times a day in her pool, and I have officially been give a tween boy's thumbs up for this project, which I am going to consider a win!

Thanks again for having me! I would love it if anyone came on over and visited me at my blog, I am afraid things may be a little bit quiet there for a short moment as we make the transition over to living in Korea (we are traveling to California for a quick Disney trip, and then straight onto Korea while this post is being put up!) but I am excited for our next adventure to begin and would love to have lots of bloggy friends to take with us as we go!! (I have heard KILLER things about Korean fabric stores, and I am hoping to share the love with some fun giveaways in the future!)

Thank you so much for sharing with us today, Catherine!  I love the rash guard and I think the stencil fits your song choice perfectly.  I can't wait to hear all about your Korean fabric finds! 

If you haven't been over to check out Catherine's blog, CathGrace, I urge you to do so.  Besides being one of this year's super talented Project Runway contestants, Catherine writes a fabulous blog.  One of my favorite projects was her boy's Letterman Jacket.

And don't forget to . . .
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