Baby Captain America (Romper #2)

There was a lot of sewing during my at-home mini vacation... a lot! Mending, seaming, hemming, embroidery, applique... both by machine and by hand.

I've had another attempt at a romper for Junah on my list (here's the first), and that happened on Monday.

Web_20150623_113150

Web_20150623_113448

Web_20150623_113150

This time, I used the same old Simplicity pattern (#5049... which I've since acquired in 2 more sizes) mashed up with a modified & upsized Simply Summer Romper, a free pattern (12-mo size) on Craftsy.

The things I love most about that Simplicity pattern are the facings (possibly my most favorite thing), the shoulder snaps, and the 2-piece back.

Web_20150623_113356
Web_20150623_113356

The free pattern offered a little guidance with shaping for the one-piece front, and I was excited to try the snap crotch.

Web_20150623_113217

Seven snaps total, top & bottom, are possibly a bit of overkill... haha!

Web_20150623_150833

The fabric came from a thrifted t-shirt.

Web_20150623_113333

Centering the design on the front meant that I was a little short of fabric for the straps. That happened with the giraffe romper, too, but my fix then was quite rushed and haphazard.

Web_20150623_113340

This time, I took the few extra minutes needed to do it symmetrically... and nicely. Top stitching even.

Web_20150623_113257

I also did just a bit of top stitching under the each arm to secure the facings. And, this time, I also hemmed the legs.

Forgetting to make corresponding adjustments to the facing pattern pieces, but not discovering that fault until after cutting, meant that I didn't have enough t-shirt fabric. I dug through my scraps and found some fabrics that corresponded well enough. I quite love how that worked out.

20150625_195955

I'm so happy with how it turned out. It's at least a hundred times better than the last. There's still room for little tweaks & improvement, but I feel like I'm on track.

20150625_195955

Baby Captain America doesn't do windows (unless you like fingerprints!), but he's happy to help sweep the deck!

Also, I'm dying over those shoes...


Why wait?

The summer bucket-filling commences today with the start of an Alabama Chanin A-line Dress!

A-line Dress-1

I'm making a custom length between tunic and the shorter dress, using a single layer of Alabama Chanin medium-weight organic cotton jersey in a color called "Blue Slate."

A-line Dress-2

I'll be using black thread to sew it all together.

A-line Dress-3

If there's one step I'm likely to skip in this process, it's basting the neckline and armholes... but not this time.

I've plans to embellish with embroidery and beading, inspired by some photos that I ran across on the WWW last winter.

Drip, drip, drip...


Giraffe Romper for Junebug

Web_11358850_10102199597313348_1928347239_n

Stop! Stay back, yoga mat!

Every once in a while a company called Artsonia sends me a notification that one of my nephews has had new artwork from school uploaded on their site. It's always fun to see the boys' projects and I am able to order their artwork printed on all sorts of items, from mouse pads and coffee mugs to tote bags and t-shirts.

Until now, I've appreciated their creations but never ordered anything. Then, a few weeks ago, I received notice of this:

AddyGiraffe

...and my heart skipped a beat. First of all, ADDISON! Second of all, GIRAFFE!! And third of all, HAVE YOU EVER IN YOUR LIFE???

I immediately ordered as large a t-shirt as I could, with the idea of refashioning it and making something romper for Junah. Unfortunately, I was so excited that I didn't read the full description of the shirts and ended up with a shirt made of 100% polyester instead of 100% cotton.

Simplicity5049-sm

Going in head-first, I pulled out this old pattern that was Mom's... I'm not sure why I have it (and just a couple of others), but I do. I knew I was in for it right away because the pattern has two pieces for both front and back, with shaping for the legs, and I wanted the front to be all one piece. Without thinking too hard, I made some adjustments that I thought would compensate.

2015-06-07_1433712284

I muddled my way through and posted the "finished" photo above to Instagram.

Web_20150607_161040

The original photo shows that I hilariously cropped both the messy top part and the terribly wonky bottom/crotch area in that photo. I wasn't too broken up... because polyester shirt. I was (and continue to be) all about THAT AMAZING GIRAFFE! If the romper didn't work out, I'd reclaim the giraffe and put it in a frame.

Experimental as it was, it would still be nice if Junah could wear it! I did a little after-the-fact research and concluded that some sort of gusset was in order. The seam ripper appeared & fixing commenced:

Web_20150608_183732

Web_20150608_183732

Web_20150608_183732

I had done some weird cutting and couldn't come back from that. I also had no idea how it was even going to fit him so I just did some stitching instead of hemming. The whole thing was sewn on the machine using a stretch stitch and Maxi-Lock thread.

It's not going to win any prizes, but it turned out pretty cute overall. I know what to do to fix it next time (and also found some patterns more in line with what I'm trying to do)...

Web_1481244_10102199597403168_2138084065_n

And seriously, how cute is he?

Web_1481244_10102199597403168_2138084065_n
Web_1481244_10102199597403168_2138084065_n

Ali said that he had a big cloth diaper & cover on and there was still plenty of room; it bunched up a little around his diaper from sitting/standing, but it wasn't pulling anywhere.

It was a great learning exercise. The next one will be a bit more refined, and there will likely be a few more after that!!


New threads

On Memorial Day, another men's 4X t-shirt was on the block (aka, my new worktable). I used a favorite Eileen Fisher tunic to make a pattern template, drew some chalk lines, and started cutting!

EF-AC-Tunic-start

The length was perfect, so I kept the already finished t-shirt hem.

EF-AC-Tunic-hem-detail

I sewed the new side and shoulder seams by machine, using a regular presser foot (since my walking foot blew apart) and Maxi-Lock thread. The thread cone doesn't fit on the machine's spool holder, but it worked just fine to set it on the table right below; I think I knocked it over only once. I felled the machine-sewn seams by hand, a la Alabama Chanin.

EF-AC-Tunic-felled-seam

It's a "pretty simple" tunic -- square neck, two main pieces, front and back exactly the same.

I finished the cap-sleeve armhole edges with binding attached using a plain parallel stitch.

EF-AC-Tunic-sleeve-detail

Then, there was that "simple" square neck to finish. I probably spent twice as much time working on that neckline as I did on everything else! I decided to finish it with a mitered edge and used the instructions given by Nancy Snell, "Miter Corners for a Smooth Finish," included in A Primer on Sewing Knits on the Threads magazine site.

EF-AC-Tunic-square-neck

I sewed the corners and attached the binding to the body by machine

EF-AC-Tunic-square-neck-mitered-corner-detail

Mitered corner neckline detail.

Then I smoothed and basted -- very loosely, because I was flying by the seat of my pants and the possibility of a re-do was looming large -- on the right side, about 1/4" or maybe 3/8" from the edge, hoping for it to nicely curl. And it did.

EF-AC-Tunic-square-neck-rolled-detail

Very loose basting!

My eldest (rather fashionable and stylish) daughter has coveted my new tunic, so I know it's a good one! It's been washed and worn a few times already (we did not depart for NC until the dryer buzzed)! I love it and will definitely make another one or two.

EF-AC-Tunic-1

It's black, so terrible to photograph -- I doctored every single one of the photos above in order to actually be able to see something!Blackmountainself
Blackmountainself
Trust that I'm wearing it here, last Friday, at an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway at sunset.

I am still working on my Endless Summer Tunic! I brought it along to NC, and even worked on it... it won't be long. I love that thing!


Baby pants

It felt so good to spend some much-needed KonMari time in my workroom on Saturday. That nice new worktable is wasted if I can't even move around the room!

Over a year ago, when we cleared all of our stuff from the upstairs apartment, I came across some old t-shirts that Kate & Al painted when they were little. I put them aside. Never intending to keep them (the paint is thick, cracked, brittle), I did want to photograph them, though, before I tossed them out.

17158260540_10e1f871af_o
17158260540_10e1f871af_o

The date is right there on the sleeve of Kate's shirt -- Sept. 2, 1990! Almost 25 years ago (don't judge)! Kate was 5.5 and Ali was 3.5 and I was pregnant with Maddy, though I don't think I actually knew that at the time. We did this as a group in the back yard at Karen's house and Sharon was there, too; now and then, I run across a few photos of the weekend. Fun.

There were also these:

17343930352_77d7b7dc63_o

17158019478_dc83834f8a_o
17158019478_dc83834f8a_o

A year or two later, the last two were done at the cabin with paint and glitter (not glitter paint), and the sparkles were everywhere -- in the grass, the cabin, the outhouse, at the shoreline, on the bridge!

I photographed all of them, salvaged or tossed, then cut and traced and cut some more, celebrating the day's accomplishments by making a pair of Big Butt Baby Pants for Junebug.

17160841830_a62cd265f6_o

It's my second pair of BBBP, and the first in jersey, so I also used my walking foot for the first time (and I am in LOVE with it!).

17346669962_016a321b88_o

Everything's humming on the old Husqvarna, except that the stitch selector knob won't budge. This little workhorse will do knits even better when I can change the stitch!

As is... I made a little right-side/wrong-side error in cutting, so one leg is inside-out, but oh well; and fold-over elastic would have worked and looked better, but I don't have any. The stretch made it easier to ease in the "big butt" expansion panel without puckering, but didn't do the waistband any favors.

17162991089_2b1cfbd6d3_o
17162991089_2b1cfbd6d3_o

They were a bit of an experiment and I'm calling it a successful one! I learned a lot and Junah's got a (quirky) new pairs of pants.

Ali sent me some action shots:

11195549_10102166702165488_1434551122_n
11195549_10102166702165488_1434551122_n

They fit perfectly, and I think he likes them!!