Friday, November 21, 2014

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Men's Shirt Repurpose: One-Piece Romper/Jumpsuit

After self-drafting a one-piece romper/jumpsuit for my granddaughter, I decided to use it again and construct it with repurposed men's dress shirts that belonged to my husband. 

 I just love repurposing men's shirts, which is part of my
 Signature Style!

Why?  Because I never follow all those "Sewing Rules" that I normally self-impose on myself. See... 'Once Upon a Time', I was a Home Economics Sewing Teacher... and I usually follow those sewing rules that I shared with my students for so many years.

But, when I repurpose there are NO RULES, 
and you must do a lot of IMPROVISING!

Let's take a closer look at this outfit:
  • I used the front button tab from the men's shirt, but I applied a pin-tucked panel next to the button tab to make it more feminine. The romper buttons all the way to the waist, and I didn't have to make a single buttonhole.
  • This romper has no collar, as my skin sensitive granddaughter doesn't always like the sensation of a collar rubbing against her neck.
  • Five different men's shirt fabrics are combined in this garment. I used a solid white shirt to give the design some visual relief when mixing so many prints. I used the darkest color check fabric for the pants area of the romper, as the fabric (Thanks Ralph Lauren) was a heavier weight, and I think a darker fabric grounds and give visual weight to the bottom portion of the garment too.
  • I used the men's cuffs on the sleeves, but they don't open. First, I trimmed down the cuffs width so they were slimmer, serged one end so it was shorter, sewed on the button again, and overlapped the cuff enough to button it. Lastly, I pinned it to the hem area making some tucks in the sleeve fabric so it would fit and  sewed around in a circle to attach it to the sleeve. This was a quick way to finish the sleeve and incorporated an original element of the men's shirt. (Gosh, I broke a lot of rules on this one...giggle....giggle.)
  • I was thinking about how men roll up their sleeves and create a cuff.  So, I used that image to create the turned up band at the bottom of the pant leg.  That was quicker, and it narrowed the look of the pant.
  • Last time I made this self-drafted pattern, I used a knit. So when I sewed in my sleeves in this woven fabric, I said a little prayer .... yet still had to take it out, and make some changes, then try it in muslin... then make some changes... and then the sleeves finally fit smoothly with ample room in the sleeve head area.
  • The facings are a perfect example of improvising. Just take a look at this picture and you will know what I mean about breaking those rules.
  • I added these crocheted flowers, and butterflies to add a bit of whimsey. They also cover the Ralph Lauren Polo Player Image that was now located in a weird place.
  • An original pocket from one of the shirts decorates the back pants leg.
  • For my sensitive skinned granddaughter, I finished the inside so it is smooth to the skin.
     A Look Inside: Finished facing and seams, and top-stitched so facings don't roll.
    Even though I took a pattern drafting class in college, I would really rather buy finished patterns than draft my own. Sure, I make design changes to purchased patterns all the time, but I didn't enjoy all the time and effort it took to get the fit of those sleeves just right without starting with a pattern sloper. Starting out with a pattern piece that is proportionally correct and then making changes is a lot more fun. 
 But that's good... because all you internet ladies who enjoy drafting patterns need customers like me!


Friday, October 3, 2014

Sewing for Sensitive Skin Kids

Sensitive Skin Kids hate
 Ouchy, Itchy, Scratchy, and Ewey Clothes.
When I sew for my granddaughter, I must consider her sensitive skin. She’s been that way since she was born.   Sensitive skin is actually a very common condition for light-haired, fair skinned kids.
Ready for a day at school in her new comfortable one piece romper/jumpsuit.

So part of my Signature Style 
is to sew clothes that take 
 sensitivity into consideration.

Sleeve seam
  • I have found that soft natural fabrics, such as cotton knits tend to be the least irritating. 
  • I don't put cute little tags in the clothes I make for her. 
  • When I choose a design to sew, I pay attention to how it is constructed and try to create a smooth inner surface next to her skin.
  • If something feels a little scratchy or rough to me, I know it will feel a hundred times worse to her. 
  • I also try to reduce the bulk in seams, and usually serge the inside seams with a soft cotton thread.  
    I used a soft cotton elastic that I zigzagged into the waistline seam.
  • In this outfit, I attached ribbons to to the front yoke. So I knew that I would have to line the front yoke with a soft cotton knit too.  
  • I put a zipper into this romper. I don't often use zippers and I never use one with metal teeth. As she wears this outfit, I will find out if the zipper in the romper is a problem or not. I probably should have added a cotton knit placket behind the zipper like one of these below

If I need her to try a garment on during construction, it must be basted together. Once I used pins and they scratched her, and she has not forgiven me yet! Every time she tries on an outfit I hear, "Does it have pins?"
I even basted in the zipper to see if she found it too Ouchy, Itchy, Scratchy, or Ewey 
before sewing it in permanently.

I self-drafted this pattern, as she seems to like one-piece rompers.

I added a collar only in the front as she sometimes says the collar itches the back of her neck.

So as you can see, my Signature Style is about . . . ouchyless, itchyless, scratchyless, eweyless and making her life a little easier.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Dick and Jane Denim Outfit

Tutorial coming soon about how I sewed this detachable collar.

P.S.  This outfit was made for the 3rd Challenge: Denim,  for Season 10 of Project Run and Play. Happily, this outfit is already a winner, as she chose to wear it to school already.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Repurposed Princess

We hope you enjoyed our story.  

This repurposed outfit was created as an entry to the Project Run and Play's Season 10  Challenge for Week  Two. The cost for the whole outfit was $10 for the ribbon and buckle.  Everything else was either repurposed or in my stash already!

Monday, September 15, 2014

"I Love My Daddy" Care Bear Jacket

You'll find my Care Bear Jacket entry in the Sew Along Group.  
It is so much fun sharing my ideas and reading about other garments created for each challenge.

The first challenge is 80's Cartoon Inspired.  

I love the soft colors, cuddly fabrics, and positive vibe of the Care Bears.  They were always willing to help each other and solved problems together.

As a child, my 6' 5" son-in-law collected all the Care Bears that are shown in the picture above.
 So I thought he would enjoy seeing
 his daughter become his very own...
 "I Love My Daddy" Care Bear.

These are the fabrics used to make the jacket. Notice that I used WOOL felt. While constructing this jacket, you need to use the highest steam heat setting on your iron. Since you don't want to compress the felt, or have it melt, be sure to use wool felt.
Wool felt can be dry cleaned too. Lastly, the combination of wool felt, fleece, and minky lining will provide the warmth needed for cold Minnesota winters.

This is the pattern that I started with.
Simplicity 1477

Here are some of the changes that I made to the pattern:
  • I drafted a different coat front that was double breasted.
  • Made a separate front facing 
The pattern pieces I drafted to change the pattern.
  • Lined Belly pockets
  • Hood has hand embroidery and added felt Care Bear features
  • 4 buttons
  • Top-stitching at the hem line and on the edges of the jacket
  • Bear ears 
  • Lengthened the sleeves to make turn up cuffs  
  • Though the pattern instructions don't mention it, you must reduce the amount of thickness in every seam allowance anytime you can. I basted each fleece fabric piece to the felt at 4/8 inch and trimmed the excess fleece away to reduce the thickness. I graded the felt seam allowances also.
    Grading the seam allowances

The Care Bear were my inspiration, but I didn't want it to look like a costume. So I used the characteristics of the Care Bear cartoon characters that I liked..pastel colors, cuddly fabrics, and positive vibes while designing this jacket. 

The scariest part of sewing this jacket was making the buttonholes. I actually practiced making 10 buttonholes before I was ready to sew them on the jacket. After all the work that went into making this jacket, I DID NOT want to screw up the buttonholes!!
Thank goodness they turned out fine, but I have to share the fact that my heart was pounding while I was sewing them. Two of them were a bit close together, so I used my husband's box cutter with the razor blade in it to cut the fabric.

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