Four and a Half Bats

Lots of swooping!
Lots of swooping!

“What do you want to be for Halloween?” I asked.

“I want to be a fruit bat”, announced my three-year-old, “a baby fruit bat”.

“Yes, yes! I want to be a fruit bat too!” kids No 1 and 2 agreed.

Umm, ok then. My kids had been waffling over Halloween costumes, and nothing was really getting them excited about dressing up. Until this. So fruit bats. Hmmm.

Flap, flap, flap!
Flap, flap, flap!

I decided to start with the Red Riding Hood pattern from the book  Oliver + S Little Things to Sew. It is sooooo cute. Ack! I’ve been waiting for a good excuse to sew it. So off I headed to the fabric store, three-year-old in tow.

Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew
Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew. There is the Red Riding Hood on the cover.
I cut the bottom in a scalloped pattern.
I cut the bottom in a scalloped pattern.

I was hoping for a black faux suede, but there was only grey or brown available.

“Feel this, isn’t it soft?” I said. “Would you like to be a grey or brown baby fruit bat?”

In response I got a “no” that was  part determined, part horrified and the look that I will one day get when I have to pick her up from high school. Sooo embarrassing, mum!

“I want to be a black fruit bat.”

So we tried another store, this time with all the kids in tow.

“Would you like to be a shiny bat?” I said, showing off the faux leather. Oh, the horrified looks!

I managed to find a faux suede/velvet with a herringbone pattern that met with approval. I was worried it would look a bit odd, but it was great. It was incredibly easy to sew with, and no black fluff everywhere! A first for fuzzy Halloween costumes!

This pattern is so easy! And fast! Of course I had to make it four times, so fast is a relative concept. But if you are lucky enough to only have to make one, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Four bat costumes using the Oliver + S  Red Riding Hood pattern from Little Things to Sew.
Four bat costumes using the Oliver + S Red Riding Hood pattern from Little Things to Sew.

I skipped the arm openings, lengthened the capes by about two inches, cut the bottoms of the cape in a scalloped bat-wing pattern and hand sewed on ears. I used fine elastic for the button loops, which I thought would be less choke-y with a lot of bat-like swooping. I also added elastic loops at the end of the wings to make it easier to swoop without having to grab onto the wing tips.

I hand sewed on some pointy ears.
I hand sewed on some pointy ears.
I used elastic for the button loop.
I used elastic for the button loop.

The pattern comes in medium and large, so I graded a smaller size for my smallest. I found the pattern fit large, perfect for bats, but maybe I would go down a size for each kid, if it were for real life clothing.

A tiny one-year-old baby bat.
A tiny one-year-old baby bat.
The cape is a bit big, but good for bats.
The cape is a bit big, but good for bats.

The capes got a lot of use, and we even took the kids to the bat exhibit at the zoo so they could say hello to the real fruit bats, dressed as bats. Fun!

Check out the wings on that bat!
Check out the wings on that bat!

Then my husband asked where his bat cape was. Doh! And then I got the flu. So next, year I have a huge head start on his half-made bat costume (ahem). Still, Halloween was a blast, and then we all got the flu.

Do bats eat candy?
Do bats eat candy?

But that just meant that there was one more day of swooping bats today (though only two bats were willing to swoop) so that mummy could blog her sewing.

Wings wrapped around.
Wings wrapped around the bats.

Summary

Pattern Review: Red Riding Hood from the book Oliver + S Little Things to Sew.

Fabric: Faux suede with a herringbone pattern. Some sort of synthetic.

Sizes: S, M and L.

Sewing Level: Beginner.

Modifications: I added bat ears, elastic loops at the wrists, used elastic for the button loop, and cut the bottom of the cape in a scalloped pattern. I lengthened the capes by about two inches. I graded a small size for my smallest, since the pattern only comes in medium and large.

Results: Great. I would recommend this pattern and hope to make it as real clothing.

Three-year-old approved bat costume using the Red Riding Hood pattern from the book Little Things to Sew by Oliver + S
Three-year-old-approved bat costume using the Red Riding Hood pattern from the book Little Things to Sew by Oliver + S

Note: This post contains affiliate links.

Star Pants

This past week Kid No 4 came down with the chicken pox, so sewing time and blogging time were extra limited. Babies with chicken pox are 100 per cent grumpy 100 per cent of the time.

The worst part is that there is a vaccine for chicken pox, a vaccine that all my other kids got at 12 months, but which is now given at 18 months. It’s like a guaranteed recipe for 12-18 month-olds with chicken pox.

Anyway, since I had only intermittent sewing time, I decided to tackle some unfinished objects (UFOs).

Sandbox Pants sewing pattern by Oliver + S as sewn by The Finished Garment
Sandbox Pants

This is the first one – my very first pair of Sandbox Pants by Oliver + S. I made them in a size 6, and they were just too big. So I put them aside, waiting  for Kid No 2 to grow and started on some cords using the same pattern, but in the right size.

I made this first pair in a heavy twill with quilting cotton for the waistband and pocket lining. It’s hard to tell from the photos, but the twill is really beige denim.

Sandbox Pants sewing pattern by Oliver + S as sewn by The Finished Garment
I used the star print (chosen by Kid No 2) to line the pockets.

I underestimated the weight of the twill and I think the waistband will be too flimsy. When I made my second pair out of corduroy I used corduroy for the waistband as well, and made a flat front pant. They are much more sturdy.

Sandbox Pants sewing pattern by Oliver + S as sewn by The Finished Garment
Back pockets

If the pants were in a lighter material, the drawstring waistband would be great. It’s not the pattern, just my poor pairing of fabric. So to compensate somewhat, I added a second row of elastic to the waistband, but without a drawstring, just to be on the safe side.

Sandbox Pants sewing pattern by Oliver + S as sewn by The Finished Garment
I added a second row of elastic to the waistband.

I also added a second row of topstitching to the pockets, since the pants seemed so much like jeans.

Sandbox Pants sewing pattern by Oliver + S as sewn by The Finished Garment
I added a second row of top stitching.

And of course the grumpiness was catching so the now taller Kid No 2 tried them on, declared them “wonderful”, then took them off and refused to pose for photos. Oh well. Some days are like that.

Sandbox Pants sewing pattern by Oliver + S as sewn by The Finished Garment
Yes, there’s another UFO in the works. Guess what it is?

Summary

Pattern Review: Sandbox Pants by Oliver + S.

Fabric:Heavy twill, with quilting cotton (mystery print) for the waistband and pocket lining. Not a great pairing.

Sizes: 6.

Sewing Level: Intermediate.

Modifications: I added an extra length of elastic to the waistband, and a second row of topstitching.

Results: Great. I would recommend this pattern and I have already made them four more times.

Getting Ready for Halloween

I have been sewing up a storm, but you’ll have settle for a sneak peek.

Right now, I’m up to my ears in Halloween sewing. That’s the thing with having four kids who all want the same costume for Halloween.

I’ve got my pattern picked out and traced in 3 sizes. It’s from Oliver + S Little Things to Sew.

Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew
Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew

I have so much fabric. I don’t think I have ever bought this much of the same thing at once. And it’s heavy too.

Fabric for this year's Halloween costume.
Fabric for this year’s Halloween costume.

Here’s a little sneak peek. There is still a lot left to do though. When my husband heard what I was planning he said he wanted a costume too. We’ll see if I have enough fabric for that.

Detail of this year's Halloween costume.
Can you guess what I’m making?

And one more hint.

Detail of this year's Halloween costume.
Detail of this year’s Halloween costume.

What about you? Do you have any Halloween sewing planned?

Note: This post contains affiliate links.

Linen and Butterflies

I can’t believe summer is  almost over. This morning when we all got up in was only 10 degrees celsius. Brrrrr.

So I thought it would be good to clear my summer blogging queue, and make room for the fall sewing.  This is one of my last summer sewing projects – two sets of the Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress (as tops) and the Puppet Show Shorts, in sizes 4 and 7 for my bigger girls.

The Ice Cream Dress I’ve made before, twice. It’s just as cute as a top and even easier to sew. Since I was making matching shorts, I didn’t do any colour blocking this time around.

Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress (as top) sewn by The Finished Garment.
Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress (as top).

I love the way these turned out. The fabric, some quilting cotton,  was chosen by the kids. I picked this up at one of the local chain stores. I figure these will look good with jeans and they can wear them through the fall layered over t-shirts.

Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress (as top) sewn by The Finished Garment.
Close up of the Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress (as top).

To go with the tops I made the Puppet Show Shorts, also by Oliver + S. This was my first time using this pattern, and I made it in one of my favourite fabrics, Cotton Linen Chambray from Robert Kaufman. I originally planned to bind the bottoms of the shorts in the linen, but working with linen on the bias is tough. The binding stretched out so much the shorts were barely gathered at the bottom. So I ripped it all out and started again. Still looks cute though.

Oliver + S Puppet Show Shorts sewn by The Finished Garment.
Oliver + S Puppet Show Shorts.

Now, some of you Oliver + S fans may have noticed that the Puppet Show Shorts do not come in size 7. I graded these up two sizes from the largest available, size 5. I also added two inches to the length, which is a little better for my 6-year-old. It wasn’t very difficult.

Pocket detail of the Oliver + S Puppet Show Shorts sewn by The Finished Garment.
Cutest. Pocket. Ever.

I love the pockets on these shorts. Adorable.

Ice Cream Dress and Puppet Show Shorts sewing pattern from Oliver + S, sewn by The Finished Garment.
I tried an indoor photo shoot on the day I finished, but it was doomed. This is the only good shot I got.

These are the size 7, and she really did need those two extra inches. Next time I’ll make the binding a bit shorter so that it’s a bit more gathered at the bottom.

Ice Cream Dress and Puppet Show Shorts sewing pattern from Oliver + S, sewn by The Finished Garment.
We tried another photo shoot outside. This is the size 7.

I finished the outfits on a rainy day. After the first doomed indoor photo shoot we waited for a sunny day and had much better luck. But would the two kids pose together? “Nooooooo!” So you’ll just have to trust me when I say I made two whole outfits.

Ice Cream Dress and Puppet Show Shorts sewing pattern from Oliver + S, sewn by The Finished Garment.
This is the size 4.The button was left from my stash. There were only two but they are a perfect match. Meant to be.

This post is linked up to Make It Wear It Thursday.

Summary

Pattern Review: Ice Cream Dress (as top) and Puppet Show Shorts from Oliver + S.

Fabric:

Sunset from the Fly Away collection by Amy Schindler for Robert Kaufman.
Indigo Washed Cotton Linen Chambray from Robert Kaufman.

Sizes: 4 and 7. The dress comes in sizes 6 months – 12. The shorts come in sizes 0-5

Sewing Level: Beginner.

Modifications: None. (Shorts were graded up a size to size 7).

Results: Great. I would recommend both patterns and would make them again.

Ice Cream Dress and Puppet Show Shorts sewing pattern from Oliver + S, sewn by The Finished Garment.
Another shot of the size 4.

Indigo Linen Jump Rope Dress

It’s been so hot in Montreal lately, the perfect weather for linen dresses.

This is the Jump Rope Dress (view B) by Oliver + S. The shirtwaist dress features cuffed sleeves, gathered patch pockets, collar and front placket. I made view B which has long sleeves and an a-line shape.

The Jump Rope Dress by Oliver + S
The Jump Rope Dress by Oliver + S (view B)

My daughter is between sizes 3 and 4 at the moment, so I made a size 4, which was a little long and slightly large, but leaves room to grow. The linen fabric doesn’t have a lot of give, so making it larger, rather than smaller seemed like a good idea.

Ack! So cute!
Ack! So cute! (The Jump Rope Dress by Oliver + S)

As with all Oliver + S patterns, the instructions are great, but this is not a pattern for beginners. Oliver + S patterns are rated by difficulty on a scale of four scissors, and this one gets three. It’s not really a difficult pattern, but it does have a lot of finicky details.

More cuteness!
More cuteness! (The Jump Rope Dress by Oliver + S)

It’s made like a proper men’s shirt, minus the collar stand. The instructions for the front placket, for example, take one full page of the pattern instructions. On the other hand, the results were great. I’ll be making another. Seems kid No 1 wants one too.

Curved collar and front placket
Curved collar and front placket of the Jump Rope Dress by Oliver + S

The only change I made was to the hem. The pattern calls for a narrow hem, but the dress was just too long for my little girl, so I made a wider one that I can always lengthen later. I also used contrasting fabric for the pocket binding and inside front placket. I’ve seen other versions where the entire collar and placket were in a contrasting fabric and that looks really nice as well.

Contrast fabric on the inner front placket.
Contrast fabric on the inner front placket.
Folded cuffs on the sleeves.
Folded cuffs on the sleeves.

I have been hoarding this fabric forever, so it was time to get it sewn up. The fabric is a cotton linen chambray in Indigo Washed by Robert Kaufman. It has a really lovely sheen, and the colour is beautiful. It handles like a linen, which means it’s a little stiff at first, but also stretches a little while sewing. The key is lots of pressing. It has to be my favourite fabric ever.

The fabric has a beautiful sheen.
The fabric has a beautiful sheen.

I love how this turned out. It’s cute and easy to wear, comfortable for the summer, nice enough for school and quite durable. I really love the pockets.

Patch pockets with contrast bias binding.
Patch pockets with contrast bias binding.

This dress is part of the Kids Clothes Week  Summer Challenge and the Stashbusting Sew-Along.

Summary

Pattern Review: Jump Rope Dress (view B) by Oliver + S.

Fabric: Cotton linen chambray in Indigo Washed by Robert Kaufman.

Size: 4.

Sewing Level: Intermediate to advanced.

Modifications: I made a wider hem and used contrasting fabric for the pocket binding and inside front placket.

Results: Great. I would recommend this pattern and will definitely make it again.

Barefoot for summer
Barefoot for summer in the Jump Rope Dress by Oliver + S