Sunday, September 30, 2012

Project Run and Play--Week 4--Boys Week

 If you look through my blog, you'll notice I don't do much sewing for my boys.  I can think of only 2 times--here and here--that they've made it on to my crafting blog.  Pretty sad, huh?  Here's the deal though, sewing for pre-teen and teenage boys just isn't very practical or time efficient.  Add in opinions and there is really no point.  I'll do the costumes and such, just not regular every day clothes.
But Project Run and Play is about challenging one's self, right?  So I decided to actually make something that my son may actually wear.  I knew what it was when I opened the Land's End Kids catalogue and saw that rugby shirts were back in style.  It took me back to junior high, when rugby shirts were all the rage.  I had always wanted one, but never got one.  This was my chance to have a rugby shirt in a way.
(I forgot to add that when my husband saw it, he asked if I could make him one too.  Turns out he always wanted a rugby shirt as well.)
And here it is, A Little Rugby Shirt. 
The shirt is made from another shirt (extra large--score!) I found at Goodwill.  Bold striped fabric is not to be found very easily or cheaply, so I found this men's knit crew neck shirt and used it as the fabric.  I did keep the hem line's from the bottom of the shirt and sleeves, but everything else was cut up and re-cut to make this shirt.
 Handsome, isn't he? 
I just used one of his long sleeve shirts as a pattern and then added the white twill collar to make it a rugby shirt.

Since all rugby shirts seem to have a patch, I went with what I had.  Back in high school I was an exchange student to Germany with Rotary International.  One of the things they encourage all exchange students to do is trade pins and patches.  This is one that I got from a girl from Australia (appropriate right, since rugby is big down there?).  It had just been sitting in a box, so I dug it out and sewed it on.
The back number is just stenciled on using the freezer paper method onto some duck cloth and then sewn on.  Ethan picked his favorite number.
 Yes, those are his real blue eyes.  I didn't mess with this picture at all.  They still make me melt after 11 years.
The reason I chose the rugby shirt was because I wanted to try this collar.  I've done collars with a placket before, but never with that additional little thing under the collar that most store bought collared shirts have.  I have no idea what it is called though or if it even has a name?  Any clues?  The collar is made from some extra bottom weight material that I used in week 2 for the white skirt.  And another thing I learned, how to manually sew button holes.  It seems like every time I have button holes to put on a placket, my button hole foot is not very happy with me and they end up looking horrible.  This time it didn't even fit under the foot (guess with all of the fabric making up the placket it was too thick), so I drew out the button hole and improvised with a zigzag stitch.  It was actually pretty easy.
Total for this shirt--99 cents for the shirt at Goodwill.  Everything else I had in my stash.
 Now for some action shots, because to him that is what a rugby shirt is for.  Forget about  what is in fashion.

  And there you have it, I actually sewed something for one of my boys.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Quick Library Bag

 We go to the library once a week and we check out a lot of books.  Our old library bag was falling apart and was not nearly big enough.  Keeping 3 precocious readers in books is a hard feat.  Add to that the picture books we take home for the 4 year old and our bag gets crammed every week.  On a side note, one thing I've found about picking out chapter books for my 14, 12 and 9 year olds is to pick a variety (they really can't come to the library with me every week) and then not expect them to read all of the books I bring home, but at least they have a choice.  If there is a book that is really good, but they don't want to open it (because mom recommended it of course), I check it out a bunch of times, and eventually they'll pick it up.

As for the bag, just a simple tote bag, lined, with a pocket for the library cards and lists of books to check out.  The letters I put on using the freezer paper method.  Pretty simple.  Not much to it and now we have a new library bag.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Project Run and Play Week 3--The White Sheet Challenge

It's time for Project Run and Play, week 3: The White Sheet Challenge 
This week's challenge was an exciting one to think about and plan (the actual sewing of the outfit is another story which you can read about further down in this post).  A huge white sheet=a big blank canvas.  How fun would that be right?  That's the idea I went with in deciding to stamp/paint the sheet and in keeping it simple black and white.  I wanted the look to be like I doodled in a way.  Then it was coming up with the actual design.  Here's the original look that we came up with.  Both the jacket and the skirt came from the sheet.  I was hoping to have enough for a shirt as well, but since both the skirt and jacket are lined with material from the sheet, there wasn't enough.
First part of the outfit--a quilted jacket.  Something not too heavy, because it doesn't really get that cold here in the South, but something she could wear with both jeans and nicer outfits.  It has 2 layers of thin cotton batting in there, which were leftovers from quilts that I helped tie and bind several months ago.  Total cost for this project was $6 (sheet from Goodwill and buttons and zipper bought when JoAnne's had their Labor Day sale).
Here's an old jacket pattern I was wanting to try out (my mom has tons of old patterns laying around, which I love to go through every time I visit).  Don't you wish they were still that price?  I marked out the grid and stamped the flower in the middle before I had quilted it. Instead of a hood, I just added a simple stand up collar.
The skirt is just a simple A-line skirt, doubled since it is a white sheet after all, with an invisible side zipper. I hand painted the flower on to the skirt after I cut out the pieces but before I sewed it all together.
Here's a close up of the flower.
And here is the process of how I got the stripes for the bias strips I used as binding.  I used Jacquard textile dye and just painted it on with a paint brush, not really caring if my lines were perfect (obviously).  Then I cut it into the 2 inch strips that I needed. For the stamping, I just painted a thin layer of the dye out and the stamped away.  After the dye dries you do have to heat set it with an iron.

 And here is the finished look, which she loves.  That's the most important part, right?
-----Keep reading if you want to hear me complain---- 

 So now for the complaining part.  I was really excited for this week's challenge.  Probably the most out of all of the themes they gave us.  Really, who doesn't like a big blank canvas to work with?  Maybe that was the problem, I had a vision and it didn't quite come out how I pictured it and what did come up was wrought with a ton of frustration. 
 Big blank canvas my foot...sheets are a pain to sew with.  Or maybe it was just my sheet, anyone else out there have a problem with it?  I did score a queen size cotton sheet at Goodwill, because I wasn't going to spend a ton on a new sheet I was just going to cut up...couldn't justify it since we still have 15 year old sheets on our bed which work just fine.  Well it was hard to find the true grain, which was important since I was cutting things on the bias (the skirt most importantly).  Then it stretched and tugged in places I didn't want it to.  Seams didn't turn out the way I want.  The invisible zipper would not lay flat.  It was a giant frustration to sew this outfit.  I had to make myself finish it, because I was ready to throw in the towel.  
 Then there was the jacket...this was my own fault.  I wanted to use that pattern.  I wanted to stamp and quilt it.  Those 2 ideas did not mesh well together.  The way the jacket was put together did not lend to making a true grid or to adding a lining of batting.  Actually, it was kind of a neat way to put it together and fun to sew something that was different.  There are 7 pieces to the jacket-2 front, 2 side front, back and 2 side back.  You sew the 2 front pieces to the back piece at the shoulders.  Then you sew the 2 side fronts to the 2 side backs at the shoulder and the side seams.  THEN you sew the sides to the middle (front and back pieces) by starting at the bottom of the front and sewing up around the shoulders and to the bottom of the back.  With me???? Make sense???????  Basically what it means is that seam that goes up and around the whole coat is kind of rounded.  Rounded is not good with straight lines and a grid.  That's where the frustration came in. Plus I couldn't just cut out the batting from the pattern pieces and quilt away.  I had to sew the batting into the shape as well to fit it in between the outer part and the inside lining.  Then there were seams in weird places which made it hard to stamp neatly.
 Well I was tempted to start pointing out all of the things that drive me batty in these pictures, because it didn't turn out how I wanted or expected or shows the imperfections and my frustrations with it.  But I won't and I'll just let you enjoy the cute pictures of a cute 9 year old, who looks much too old to be my little girl.

 The red caboose did make for a fun photo shoot.  Actually, all 3 places we stopped (all within 2 or 3 miles of us) are places that are fun to take pictures.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Project Run and Play--Fashion Icon Week

This week is Fashion Icon Week over at Project Run and Play.  I interpreted 'fashion icon' as someone who creates fashion and is iconic.  We went with Ralph Lauren.  I've always loved the nautical look that he comes up with and you add the red, white and blue of Team USA's fashions he's created and I think you have something iconic.
Here are the original drawings that we came up with.  It was Sophia's idea to do Ralph Lauren, because there is a quote in her fashion drawing book.  He said "I don't design fashions, I design dreams."  That kind of sums up this round of PR&P for me because I'm working with her to make her ideas/dreams come to life.  I think I did pretty good sticking to the original inspirations.
Sophia's look is the original.
 I took a women's knit blue and white striped shirt and turned it into a cardigan.  I ruffled the entire outside edge just by using a zigzag stitch.  I like how it adds a little feminine to the look.  I also made the cardigan more boxy around the neck to mimic the boat neck shirts that you see in many nautical looking outfits.
 The skirt is a self drafted pattern.  I basically took her waist and hip measurement to come up with the top band.  There is an invisible zipper on the side and the waistband is double.  The pleats are 2 inch pleats and took 2 widths of the fabric (a bottom weight bought at JoAnne's) to go all the way around.  Gold sailor buttons finish the look.
 The shirt is from scrap fabric my mom tossed in a bag of stuff she was giving me.  It's just a simple pull over the head shirt with flutter (that's what my girl's call them--they are only half sleeves) sleeves that are ruffled with the zigzag stitch.
Clara was sad when she saw our drawings for this round of PR&P because there was only one thing for her (Holiday week when I'll do their Christmas outfits).  You see she really doesn't need any clothes.  She has more than she actually wears.  Well I felt bad because she has fun with the 'photo shoots' and since I was putting so much effort into this one, I decided I might as well get my monies worth, so to say, and make her something to wear.  Her outfit was completely from stuff I had so I didn't spend a single thing on it.
 The dress is really just the left over pieces.  I think these scraps were originally a skirt.  The hem was in place and there was the little lined opening, both of which I used again.  Sophia's shirt has the original hem and Clara's dress has the opening as a button closure in the back.
 The jacket is some blue and white striped seersucker that my mom also threw in the bag as well (she gives me a surprise grab bag of stuff she's cleaning out pretty much every time I go home).  Just a simple lined jacket with darts in the front and back.  Another self drafted pattern based on a shirt of hers.
 Can anyone guess what the nautical flags spell?  I'm impressed first if you are even reading this far into this epic post and second if you know.  The flags were fun to put together too.  I just googled 'nautical flags' to come up with what each letter looks like.  
 Like I said, we had fun with this session of pictures.  I've been wanting to use this white wall for pictures for awhile now and I liked how the pictures turned out. 

 I hope these girls always remain friends.  They are so much fun together.

 Once the jackets came off, they got a little sassy.  I made the head band/scarf things as well.  They are polka dots on one side and stripes on the other, just strips sewn together inside out, turned right side out and top stitched.

 Ahoy there!

 Being divas.
 The only thing that would have been better for this photo shoot would have been a marina or dock of some sort. Since we don't live anywhere near one, here's the only water that we could come up with.  A fountain in a ritzy neighborhood near our house.


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