Category Archives: Crafting for others

Pattern Review: Kwik Sew 3089

Kwik Sew 3089

Pattern Description: Baby Sleep Sack. I made View A, the sleeveless version.

Pattern Sizing: XS, S, M, L, XL.  I made the size M.  I made it for my three month old niece Chloe.  The medium size is for 3-6 month olds.  My parents are bringing Chloe’s and Haley’s pj’s to Madison tomorrow.  I hope they fit!

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes!  Well, except for the embroidery I added.

Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions were great. I didn’t have any problems with them.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? LikesVery simple pattern with only a few pattern pieces.  It was relatively quick to sew because of it.  From start to finish it was about a 3 hour project. 

Dislikes were:

  1. I did not like the finishing for the armholes.  They instruct you to overcast the edges and then just turn it over and stitch it down.  I think a binding would look a lot nicer, but due to holiday time constraints, I just did as instructed.  It’s fine and most likely a non-sewist would not notice the finish. 
  2. The neck band is a little fiddly to attach.  Make sure you read all the way through to the end of the instructions for that section or you’ll make the same mistake I did of sewing the zipper SA’s prematurely.  It wasn’t a fatal flaw, but it would have looked nicer had I followed the letter of the law.  Live and learn I guess.

Armhole

neckband and snap tab

  

Any difficulties encountered? Aside from the neckline issue mentioned above, the only other thing I had a hard time with was the top stitching around the zipper.  The instructions tell you to stitch 1/4 in away from the zipper, I, of course, stitched too close, so it was hard to get around the pull and the end of the zipper.   My stitching is a little wonky in that area, but I don’t think anyone but a perfectionist would notice. 

Fabric Used: I used a polyester fleece from my local sewing store P&S Fabrics in Downtown NYC.  It was soft and fluffy and perfect for this sleep sack.  It will be soft against a baby’s skin and will keep Chloe really warm on those cold Madison nights.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  I added some hand embroidery to relieve the simplicity of the project, a little snowflake in ivory embroidery floss.  Normally I would only use 2 or 3 threads of the floss, but I really wanted it to stand out, so I used all 6 threads.

 Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I will definitely sew it again. I think it makes a great baby gift and you can personalize it rather easily.   I do recommend it for any sewist. Beginner’s might find the neckband a bit of a challenge, but not out of reach skill-wise if done carefully and slowly. It’s a pretty quick project compared to flannel pj’s. 

Conclusion: I love the sleep sack and am pleased to give it to my new little niece Chloe.  Hopefully I will have a picture of her in it soon.

Not a Pattern Review: Kwik Sew 3510

After making two flannel jammies for my niece and nephew, Thor and Katie, I took the easy route with my son Jack’s and my niece Haley’s pjs.  I made them another set of Kwik Sew 3510 knit jammies, like I did for all the kids last year.  Here’s my pattern review from back then.  Again, I did not have any issues with sizing.  And again, I constructed this almost entirely on the serger. 

I did have two things different this time around though.  I have a new tool that I wanted to use in this iteration, a stretch twin needle for the hem.  The knits I used, a plane camo from the FabricFairy.com and a red and white stripe knit that I can’t remember where I bought it, were pretty stable so I didn’t have to stabilize the hems at all.  I fiddled around with stitch length and thread tension and found that a length of 3.0 and tension of 2 was perfect for the twin needle stitch.  It made a beautiful hem.

 

When I made the sleep sack (review forthcoming) for my niece Chloe, the instructions said to top stitch the neck band SA to the body of the sack.  I loved how finished the inside looked without that SA flopping around so I used that trick for Jack’s and Haley’s knit jammies too.  It looks great!

That’s about it.  These are pretty quick and easy jammies to make.  Not a lot to say.  So let’s just look at Jack shall we (sorry no picture of Haley yet as she hasn’t received the pj’s yet)?   😉  

Pattern Review: New Look 6638

Pattern Description:  Toddler Nightgown and PajamasI made View B, the nightgown.

Pattern Sizing:  1/2, 1, 2, 3, 4.I made the size 4.  It’s a little on the big side in regards to width and little short in length for both the skirt and sleeves.   Again, therein lies the perils of making a gift and not having the luxury to fit as you go. 

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes!

Were the instructions easy to follow?  The instructions were great.  I didn’t have any problems with them. Yeah me!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I loved the design of the nightgown.  The skirt is really full with the gathers and ruffles; Katie has a blast twirling in it.  😉   Dislikes were:

1. There was no instruction for finishing the join of the bodice to the skirt nicely; it just said to press the SA up.  It would have looked really messy, not to mention have felt uncomfortable and scratchy.  So I serged the SA and it looks much nicer now. 

2. I’m not fond of how the collar is attached and the use of bias tape to finish the exposed collar SA’s.  Next time I make this I will use self fabric bias tape.  It will be prettier and softer.  It would lie more nicely if there was a stand for the collar, but that would increase the construction time for the pattern. 

Any difficulties encountered?  Full disclosure here: I cut two left sleeves by accident but didn’t notice until I was setting in the second sleeve.  I just went with it as a “design detail”.  Honestly though, you can’t really tell and neither can Katie.   Also, my gathering foot, aka my ex-boyfriend, let me down.  This nightgown is an homage to ruffles and gathers and he really needed to be there for me, but he just up and quit on me instead.  I had to pull out all my tricks to get him to gather.  The experimentation added about an hour and a half to my construction time, no joke!  In all fairness to the ex though, it might have been due to the thick flannel was I sewing, but we still had to break up.  Now I am eyeing a ruffler as my next boyfriend.  😉 

Fabric Used:  Again, another gorgeous flannel which had a great hand, was soft and fluffy, nice and thick, and easy with which to work. I bought it from Fabric.com in November but it has long since sold out.  Sorry!

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  My favorite detail that I added was to use a ruffly lace that I had in my lace stash on the collar.  The lace could not have been any more perfect for this project.  It is so cute and dainty and the ruffles go with all the gathers and ruffles elsewhere on the nightgown.  *pleased as punch* 

I used snaps instead of buttons on the bodice.  I think by this, the second set of flannel jammies I made, I was approaching sewing detail overwhelm, so snaps just seemed faster and easier.  I love how they look.  

And again, I finished the interior construction serging all exposed seams for a nice clean finish.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  I will definitely sew it again. It’s a great nightgown. I do recommend it for any sewist. Beginner’s might find it a long and involved project though, but not out of reach skill-wise. Again, as with the other flannel jammie project,  it took me about 10-12 hours to complete this (thanks to the stupid ex-boyfriend!).  So it’s definitely not a quick project.

Conclusion: Super cute jammies! I am very proud of this project too.  Here is Katie in all her Rapunzel glory.  🙂 

Pattern Review: Simplicity 3584

Here’s my pattern review for Simplicity 3584.

Simplicity 3584

Pattern Description:  Toddler’s Pajamas and RobeI made View C, the flannel pjs.

Pattern Sizing:  1/2, 1, 2, 3, 4 I used the size 3.  The fit was ok.  The pj top could have been longer by an inch or two and the pants were too long.  The hazards of making presents and not being able to fit as you go because they are a surprise. 

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes and no.  I didn’t use the button placement markings that came with the pattern.  Instead I used an existing flannel pj top my son had to mark the button placement and I like it better.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  The instructions were great.  As I have mentioned recently, I am really getting the hang of reading pattern directions now that I am two years into my sewing odyssey.  Again, I warn all sewists no matter how advanced you are, that careful reading always pays off.  They pack a lot of directions into one or two sentences at a time.  So it’s easy to miss something if you’ve never attempted a collar before.  Even with my own careful reading, I made a mistake in how I finished the collar requiring me to make and add bias tape out of self fabric to the interior finish of the collar.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I like how simple the pattern is essentially for a button down pj with collar.  That being said though, it’s still a bit fussy to make, especially if you’re under the time constraints of making an Xmas gift.  I am not sure that not having a collar stand made this easier or not to sew.  I think the end result is not as nice without the stand, but perfectly fine for pj’s and I doubt a non-sewist would notice the difference at all.  The measurements for the waist elastic are way off.  You will need to use your recipient’s waist measurement to approximate the length.  And even then, my elastic was still a little loose.  Also, the facings were too long at the top.  They overshot the shoulder seam entirely, so I had to catch stitch them to the back of the pj shirt (see picture above and below).  Next time, I will check to make sure they line up to the shoulder seam so that I have something to which to catch stitch them.

Any difficulties encountered?  Any difficulties encountered were completely self-inflicted (see note about collar above).  😉   This is a basic pattern.  The only bell & whistle is the pocket (which I placed by lining up the plaid and not using the pattern markings).

Fabric Used:  A gorgeous flannel which had a great hand, was soft and fluffy, nice and thick, and easy with which to work.  I bought it from Fabric.com in November but it has long since sold out.  Sorry!  If I can, I will buy more of it for next year’s pj’s. 

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  The only design change I made was the button placement which I mentioned earlier on.  Construction changes were how I finished the interior construction.  I made sure to serge all exposed seams for a nice clean finish.  It looks so nice on the inside.  🙂  

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  I will definitely sew it again, making the fit changes mentioned above and being more careful with plaid/stripe matching (my two fronts don’t match up but the side seams do).  It makes such a cute jammie for kids.  I do recommend it for any sewist.  Beginner’s might find it a long and involved project though, but not out of reach skill-wise.  I think, from tracing out the pattern to inserting the elastic on the pants, it took me about 10-12 hours to complete this.  I know I’m slow, but still, that’s a long project for just one Christmas gift.  But don’t say I didn’t warn you when you embark on this pattern. 

Conclusion:  Super cute jammies!  I am very proud of this project.

Handsome Thor

Merry Christmas!

I meant to post this jammie picture yesterday, but, as you can imagine, the day was busy with opening presents, putting said presents together, and cooking. 

Jammipalooza 2010 was a great success.  The kids loved their pj’s and they looked so cute in them.  See for yourselves…

L: Jack in KS3510, M: Katie in NL6638, R: Thor in S3584

I will have reviews up for these pjs later today and tomorrow.  I hope you all had a great holiday.  I’ll be back later with the dets.

Still here, but…

I cannot believe how long it took me to finish those flannel pj’s!  But they are finished and I am quite proud of them.  Reviews and pics after Christmas though.  They’re presents after all.  I can’t wait to show you.  I am so proud of my work.

I loved the flannel quality; it was yardage from Fabric.com (unfortunately all the holiday flannels are all sold out, but there are other flannel prints there still).  It is so thick, warm and fuzzy.  Perfect for keeping cute little kids cozy on a winter’s night.  🙂  

I have two knit jammies to make and a sleep sack.  I have the most adorable airplane camo knit from The Fabric Fairy.com for Jack and for my niece Haley a Christmas-y red and white stripe knit that reminds me of candy canes.  Then I have to make some bibs for a certain new little baby boy in Napa.  Oh and I also want to make my sister a quick scarf to add to her birthday booty.  And then…

Then I can sew for me!  I can’t wait to get back to my grey double-knit dress that has been cut up for two weeks now and staring at me accusingly from my dining room, I mean, sewing table. 

Some thoughts on my sewing: Although I will do a 2010 recap sometime next week and a 2011 goals post in the beginning of January, I was thinking this week about how far I’ve come in my sewing.  I no longer have problems reading pattern directions.  I haven’t called my sewing teacher, Thea, in months.  I don’t pester Karen and Carolyn with questions that much anymore.  I still sew very slowly, but my skill is growing by leaps and bounds.  And my finished products are looking more and more professional with each new project.  Besides singing, sewing, has been my longest obsession ever.  I don’t see it waning any time soon either. 

I’m going to imitate Myrna now as imitation is a form of flattery…

Grateful:  For having such a smart, handsome, playful and affectionate son in my life.  He brings a smile to my face and heart every time I think of him.  And for sewing.  I love having the sewing skills to make clothes for my family.   Everything I make for them is made with love and I think it shows.

On the mend…

Well folks, I’m finally on the mend.  It only took two days off of work and sleeping off some of my sleep deficit for my immune system to kick in finally. 

I kept a steady stream of movies in the dvd player and Nick Jr on the tv for Jack today while I sewed (ah the luxuries of single parenting).  But I am still super behind in my Xmas sewing.  It took me 10 straight hours of  sewing to complete the flannel pj’s for my nephew Thor.  I used Simplicity 3584, the bottom left, View C. 

Simplicity 3584

Overall it’s a decent pattern.  There was only one small drafting error that I encountered.  It was the facing, which extended far too long.  In retrospect, I could have cut it off to match the shoulder seam, but I had tunnel vision at the time and now it’s too late.  Oh well.  I think the pattern is pretty simple; there’s no collar stand after all.  But I think it’s a little too intense or long of a project for Xmas jammies.  The top has so many details that are fussy, like the collar (despite no collar stand) and the pocket.  I’m on the fence as to whether the cut on facing is time saver or not. 

The jammies are definitely cute, but a lot of work.  And with my time constraints now, I am switching gears now and using last year’s knit jammies pattern, Kwik Sew 3510.  The only change I’ll make is to lengthen the torso on the tops. 

Kwik Sew 3510

Apologies, but I can’t show you the flannel pj’s until after Xmas.  My sister might check out my blog and I want it to be a surprise. 

I hope everyone’s Xmas sewing is going well. 

PS: I am so behind on reading blogs right now.  I have over 300 waiting for me on google reader right now, at least 90 of which are saved ones on which I need to comment.  There’s just too little time in the day.

Yes and no

Yes, I finished Jack’s sweater.  But no, I did not finish my dress.  Social engagements got into the way.  And there’s good and bad news.  First the bad news:  Jack has a really bad cold and is absolutely miserable today, so we cancelled the photo session.  The good news is that means I can finish my dress for next weekend’s photo appointment.  Yeah!

Jack’s sweater fits just ok.  Even though I added 1.5 inches to the length, it’s still a little short.  And it’s a little wide in the shoulders.  But I am so over knitting this sweater that it will have to do.  I will show you a picture of him in it later.  The poor little guy is not up to any glamour shots today.

I am planning to fix the bust problem by releasing the fisheye dart and lowering it.  If that works, then I will just finish the hem, vent and hand sew the lining to the zipper tape.  If not, then I will undo the side seams and lower the bust dart, but I think the fisheye dart alteration will do the trick.

Thank you for all your suggestions.  I did try all my different bras with the dress, even my pushy-uppiest bra and nothing did the trick.  Not sure why the fit on this dress is so different from my other dresses.  Oh well…

I hope you all get a chance to sew or knit today.

WTH!!!

People, can you see what’s wrong with the above picture (other than the crappy iPhone quality)?

Two nights ago, I tried on my tweed jumper (aka B5147) and was faced with double trouble.  Let’s just say the girls are not happy.  Now do you see what’s wrong?  There is major boob smooshing going on and not the good kind.

How did this happen?  This is my TNT folks.  Not some random pattern I picked up at a bar.  B5147 and I are going steady.  I thought there might even be a ring in the near future.  I feel betrayed!  Suddenly, B5147 doesn’t return my calls and now this!  Ok, my metaphor is losing steam here.  Seriously though…  My bust dart is about 1 inch too high (looks like I have low hanging fruit, hah!) and the fisheye dart looks too high too. 

What do I do in this situation???  Is it a simple matter of sacrificing the side seam allowances and then the dress will fall to the right level with some room for the girls?  Or do I have to actually release and lower the darts?  FYI, the dress fits everywhere else.  Just the bust is the problem.  Please let me know your suggestions.

I guess all the bad food choices and little exercise are catching up to my meager metabolism, not to mention the too little sleep I’ve been getting of late.  *sigh*  Gravity and aging are not my friends.

In disgust, I turned to knitting Jack’s sweater last night and was hit with another disaster.  My gauge swatch had lied to me and my knitting was 3.5 inches too narrow.  (Is there no loyalty with yarns and fabrics any longer?  They’re just like men!)  I had to frog the entire back and start over.   However, now I am confident I am on the right track with Jack’s sweater, although I am not entirely confident I will get either project done by Sunday when our photo shoot is scheduled.  😦  

Hope your yarn and fabrics are treating you nicer than I have been treated this week.

Feeling exposed

Saturday night I was happily sewing along on my latest rendition of B5147 in plummy tweed.  I had just finished all my darts (all six of them on the shell) around 10:30pm.  I thought for a moment about starting the darts on the lining when I realized that I didn’t have matching thread for the lining.  Quelle horreur!  Not only that, but I didn’t have a matching zipper! 

That’s the problem with having a notion stash my friends.  You just assume you have all the supplies for every project under the sun.  Well, guess what?  Sometimes you don’t.  So that was my deciding factor to pack it up for the night. 

On Sunday, Jack and I headed over to Purl in Soho to peruse the yarn selection for his annual sweater vest.  I know I said that I probably wasn’t going to make his sweater this year, but I booked the appointment for our yearly pictures and I just can’t stand the thought of not having Jack in one of my sweaters.  Call it narcissism if you must!  After last year’s debacle, I made sure to get a color fast yarn that’s easily washable.  I chose Cascade Superwash 128 in a yummy forest green and an equally yummy ivory.  I still haven’t decided how to use the ivory yet, but will kind of “feel” it as I go I think.  

Jumping into the future:  Since I am an instant gratification person, I had to cast on Sunday night to see how the yarn looked.  I’m using Ann Budd’s book for the sweater vest pattern with a few modifications.  Me likey…

in progress: back of sweater

 

Back to the past:  Unfortunately, Purl didn’t have a large selection of thread and zippers for my new dress, so Jack and I had to walk over to P&S Fabrics to get those items.  P&S is my go to neighborhood fabric/notions store.  While their fabrics aren’t necessarily the best, you can find some bargains there occasionally and they have a decent selection of notions, buttons and yarn.  I started to panic, however, when they didn’t have an invisible zipper to match my plummy tweed.  What’s a girl to do without an invisible zipper in this modern age???  (Read: I have no idea how to insert any other kind of zipper.)  Near the zipper section, P&S has a few grubby bins filled with one-off zippers, some of them regular zippers that you could use as an exposed zipper.  Since I was already envisioning this dress as more of a jumper than an elegant sheath dress, an exposed zipper might be just the ticket!  There were two that I liked in two different lengths, 18 in and 20 in.  The pattern calls for a 20 in zipper, but an emergency call to Carolyn confirmed that an 18 in zipper would do just as well; I’m not an amazon being only 5 foot 4 inches tall.  And as it so happens, the 18 inch zipper (the one at the top of the picture with the deeper purple tape) is the one I like best with my fabric. 

Of course I have no idea how to insert an exposed zipper.  And of course, I went searching on the internet for a tutorial on how to insert one.  The tutorial I like best so far of all that I found was on the Husqvarna site (click on the exposed zipper tutorial).  That’s the one I will use tonight.

I sewed the darts in the lining last night and started to attach the lining to the dress at the neck.  I had a huge moment of inspiration at that point and am adding more detail to this simple sheath dress pattern to make it my own.  But that’s a post for another day…

I know.  I’m such a tease.  😉  

Happy sewing everyone!