Whale Watching

Whale Sandbox Shorts
Whale Sandbox Shorts

There is still snow on the ground here in Montreal, but I was in the mood for some spring sewing so I whipped up these shorts for my son.

Whale Sandbox Shorts and Bucket Hat
Whale Sandbox Shorts and Bucket Hat

The pattern I used was the Sandbox Pants by Oliver + S, which I’ve made before. The hat is the matching Reversible Bucket Hat that I’ve blogged about previously.

The pattern is very easy to follow. The only changes I made were to switch an elastic waistband for the drawstring waist in the pattern, and turn the pants into shorts. These fit a little large, but by the time it’s really summer, they should be just right.

Whale Sandbox Shorts Pocket
Whale Sandbox Shorts Pocket. Check out that top stitching.

I love those whales! Check out those matched up pockets and that top stitching.

Whale Sandbox Shorts Pocket
Whale Sandbox Shorts Pocket. Check out that whale matching.

All the fabric was from my stash. The whale print is left over from my whale quilt. I’ve already used the pattern a few times. Even the elastic came from my stash. That brings the cost of these shorts to $0! Not bad.

For my older girls I had made spring dresses a while ago. But since I hadn’t blogged about them, I thought I would do that now. These are both the Ice Cream Dress by Oliver + S.

Cat Ice Cream Dress
Cat Ice Cream Dress

This pattern is really a dream to sew. There are almost no seams to finish, it’s very quick to sew, and there is a lot of room for creativity in fabric choices. My kids love these dresses!

The fabrics are Red Ladybugs and Liquorice cats by Ann Kelle.

Ladybug Ice Cream Dress
Ladybug Ice Cream Dress

Three spring outfits ready for the snow to melt. THis post is linked up with Make It, Wear It.

Oliver + S Spring Outfits
Oliver + S Spring Outfits

Summary 1

Pattern Review: Sandbox Pants by Oliver + S.

Fabric: Bright Whales by Ann Kelle from Urban Zoologie (Robert Kaufman).

Size: 5.

Sewing Level: Intermediate.

Modifications: I changed the waist from a drawstring to an elastic waist, and left off the buttons on the back pockets.

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

 

Summary 2

Pattern Review: Ice Cream Dress by Oliver + S.

Fabrics:

Red Ladybugs by Ann Kelle from Urban Zoologie (Robert Kaufman).
Kona Red
Liquorice Cats by Ann Kelle from Urban Zoologie (Robert Kaufman).

Sizes: 3T, 5.

Sewing Level: Beginner.

Modifications: none.

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

Spring Hats

Oliver + S Little Things to Sew: 20 Classic Accessories and Toys for Children
Oliver + S Little Things to Sew: 20 Classic Accessories and Toys for Children

Spring sure feels a long way off. But in (hopeful? desperate?) preparation I’ve made up a bunch of the Oliver + S bucket hats.

The pattern is from the book Oliver + S Little Things to Sew, but you can also find the pattern online for free.

I made three, in sizes Medium and Large. They are a bit big, but in a nice way.

The pattern was very easy to follow and quick to finish.

Bucket Hats in Oliver + S Little Things to Sew
Bucket Hats in Oliver + S Little Things to Sew

The only thing I changed was to use iron-in interfacing, instead of sew-in. I used Pellon 950F Shir-Tailor, and I really like the results: crisp, but not too crunchy.

Three bucket hats
Three bucket hats

I chose fabrics with a lot of contrast, and if you to do the same, choose your top stitching thread early. I did all the top stitching. The instructions say it’s optional but I think you need it to give the hat structure.

Bucket hat
Check out that top stitching!

If I were to make it again, the only thing I might change is the top stitching on the hat brim. It says to stitch concentric circles at 1/4″ intervals, but I think it might look nicer to sew in a continuous spiral.

A pile of bucket hats.
A pile of bucket hats.

The fabrics are all by Ann Kelle from her Urban Zoologie collection, and they match the lunch money cuffs I posted yesterday.

Three bucket hats
Three bucket hats

This was a great stash busting project. The yellow and whales were leftover from my Sunshine Bug Quilt and Whale Quilt. With this project and the Lunch Money Cuffs I posted yesterday, I was able to use up all my red and yellow solids, and almost all of the cute animal prints.  There might be enough fabric left for a small zip bag for each kid. We’ll see. Me and Anne Kelle might need to take a little break now.

No one felt like cooperating for a photo session today, so you only get photos of hats. Maybe next time.

A stack of bucket hats.
A stack of bucket hats.

Summary

Pattern Review: Bucket Hats from the book Oliver + S Little Things to Sew.

Fabric:

Bright Whales by Ann Kelle from Urban Zoologie (Robert Kaufman).
Kona Corn Yellow
Red Ladybugs by Ann Kelle from Urban Zoologie (Robert Kaufman).
Kona Red
Liquorice Cats by Ann Kelle from Urban Zoologie (Robert Kaufman).
Free Spirit Designer Solid in Pink

Sewing Level: Beginner.

Modifications: None.

Results: Great. I would recommend this pattern and plan to make more.

Ladybug bucket hat
Ladybug bucket hat

Note: This post contains affiliate links.

Lunch Money Cuffs

Kid No 1 needed to bring money to school for a bake sale fundraiser. But she’s a bit young for a wallet or purse, and doesn’t always have pockets for change. What to do? This is the latest project I made for the kids.

Three cuffs ready for wrists.
Three cuffs ready for wrists.

These are the Lunch Money Cuff, which I made following Christie’s tutorial over on a Lemon Squeezy Home. It’s a nice easy tutorial and I whipped up three cuffs in an evening.

All three cuffs.
All three cuffs.

I’d love to call this stash busting, but it’s more like scrap busting. Each cuff only takes four 8.5” x 3” pieces of fabric. It’s a miracle I had even that much.

This is the Anne Kelle ladybug fabric.
This is the Anne Kelle ladybug fabric. Sorry for the bad photo.

The fabrics are all by Anne Kelle and were leftovers from some other projects. The whales were from my Whale quilt. The yellow was from my Sunshine Bug quilt. The ladybugs and cats were from a couple of Oliver + S Ice Cream Dresses I made a while ago. The velcro is the heavy-duty variety and left over from Halloween costumes. All I had to buy were the zippers.

Two cuffs in whales and ladybugs.
Two cuffs in whales and ladybugs.

With this project and another that I have cut, but not assembled, I managed to use up all of my Kona Red and Corn Yellow, and most of the two red prints. I thought I had used up all the whales as well, but then I organized my quilting fabric and found a bit more. Oops!

I didn’t make any modifications to the pattern. The tutorial says the cuffs are the right size for kids aged five and seven. It’s a bit loose on my two-year-old, but then she also won’t have any money in hers. Still it’s fun to have the same thing the bigger kids have.

Mini cuff. This one probably won't get any money in it for a couple of years.
Mini cuff. This one probably won’t get any money in it for a couple of years.

Summary

Tutorial Review: Lunch Money Cuff by A Lemon Squeezy Home.

Fabric:

  • Bright Whales by Ann Kelle from Urban Zoologie (Robert Kaufman).
  • Kona Corn Yellow
  • Red Ladybugs by Ann Kelle from Urban Zoologie (Robert Kaufman).
  • Kona Red
  • Liquorice Cats by Ann Kelle from Urban Zoologie (Robert Kaufman).

Sewing Level: Beginner.

Modifications: None.

Results: Great. I would recommend this tutorial.

This project is linked up at Make It, Wear It.

Babies in Baby Cord

I have had about 5 meters of chocolate brown baby corduroy in my fabric stash just taunting me. A quick intervention was required.

Enter 4 pairs of the Oliver + S Sandbox Pants.

Sandbox Pants by Oliver and S
Three pair of Sandbox Pants by Oliver + S, sizes 5, 3T and 18m.

I know I said there were four pairs. Kid № 1 looked, touched, and immediately put them on. She then declared them officially comfortable and wore them to school. Success! (But no photos).

Sandbox Pants by Oliver and S
Sandbox Pants by Oliver and S, size 3.
Sandbox Pants by Oliver and S
Back pockets, without buttons, on the Sandbox Pants by Oliver and S.
Sandbox Pants by Oliver and S
Front pocket of the Sandbox Pants by Oliver and S.

The fabric is a dark chocolate brown, and really quite soft. I picked it up on sale at one of the local chain stores. It’s not a very spring-like fabric, but here in Montreal spring is still a long way off. The pockets are lined with Kona quilting cotton in brown. Both fabrics were on sale.

Sandbox Pants by Oliver and S
Pant hem of the Sandbox Pants by Oliver and S.

The Sandbox Pants, like all the Oliver + S patterns I’ve tried, are a dream to make. The instructions are great. I bought the paper version of this pattern, in both size ranges (I need all the sizes), on Etsy from Plum Project Studio. I think I bought it right after the paper version was discontinued. You can still get the digital version online and print it out at home.

Oliver and S Sandbox Pants
Oliver + S Sandbox Pants sewing pattern.

I made these in sizes 18m, 3T, 5 and 6. Making that many pairs in that many sizes requires a lot of tracing paper! On the other hand, you get pretty quick at them with that much practice. It’s like an intense pattern testing setup here.

Sandbox Pants by Oliver and S
Sandbox Pants by Oliver and S, size 18m.
Sandbox Pants by Oliver and S
Sandbox Pants by Oliver and S, size 3.

I made a couple of small changes to the pattern. I left off the buttons on the back pockets. I also made the waistband out of corduroy (the pattern calls for coordinating quilting cotton). I had tried this pattern once before with a super heavy twill, and the cotton was just too flimsy for the pants fabric. Even though the baby corduroy is much lighter weight that the twill, I think the pants work better with a slightly heavier fabric in the waistband. I still used quilting cotton for the pocket linings though. I also switched the drawstring waist for a flat front pant with wider elastic in the back. I think it looks a bit nicer that way with the corduroy.

Sandbox Pants by Oliver and S
Flat waistband on the Sandbox Pants by Oliver and S.

I plan to make this pattern again. I’ve already had a request for these as shorts in a brighter colour from Kid № 1. Again, success!

The other thing about making so many pairs of pants, is that you can really use the fabric very efficiently. I still had enough to make Colette Pattern‘s Ginger skirt. Hopefully I can get that hemmed and show you tomorrow. I’m pretty excited about it. And there’s even enough fabric left to make a skirt for one lucky kid, as soon as I get to it.

You can also find this in the Make It Wear It Thursday linkup.

Summary

Pattern Review: Sandbox Pants by Oliver + S.

Fabric: baby corduroy, with Kona quilting cotton in brown for the pocket lining. Both were on sale.

Sizes: 18m, 3T, 5, and 6.

Sewing Level: Intermediate.

Modifications: I made the waistband in corduroy, not quilting cotton, changed the waist from a drawstring to a flat front, and left off the buttons on the back pockets.

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

Sandbox Pants by Oliver and S
Sandbox Pants by Oliver and S, size 18m.

A Linen Kelly Skirt

The Kelly skirt by Megan Nielsen
The Kelly skirt by Megan Nielsen.

Have you seen the Kelly skirt pattern by Megan Nielsen? It’s quite cute.

The Kelly skirt is a softly pleated, button-up skirt. It’s quite flattering on a variety of figures and according to the pattern designer, “created with the beginner sewer in mind”.

I’ve seen several cute versions online, but my favourites are by Adrienne at Stitching on the Edge, and Andrea at four square walls. Both used piping and linen, and I thought I would do the same.

My fabric is Robert Kaufman’s Essex yarn-dyed cotton-linen blend in black. I’m a huge fan of linen, and this fabric is amazing. It’s a bit heavier than your standard linen and has a really great, slightly nubby texture. I’m already dreaming up new clothing I can make with it.

I bought the pattern online from The Workroom, and the fabric online from Mad About Patchwork. Both are Canadian. You can find a big list of online Canadian fabric stores here.

I used store-bought black piping from one of the local fabric stores. I really like this look, but when I was trying the skirt on, I found that in real-life wearing of this skirt, I would probably go with a longer top, which necessarily covers the piping detail. Oh well. I know it’s there.

Kelly Skirt
Kelly skirt by Megan Nielsen in linen with black piping.

I fully lined the skirt (I’m not sure what the lining fabric is), mostly so I could wear it in the winter with tights. It makes for a warmer skirt, with smoother lines and fewer wrinkles in the fabric. The pattern does not come with instructions for the lining.

Kelly Skirt
My Kelly skirt is fully lined. I have no idea what the lining fabric is.

The pattern and instructions are great. It’s an easy pattern (only 5 pattern pieces) which really is great for beginners. I’m not a beginner, so the whole project went quite quickly. I especially like having the instructions in a booklet. The pattern is printed on thick paper, so you need to trace the pattern onto tracing paper. Both the booklet and pattern are quite durable, which is always nice with a pattern you intend to use multiple times, which I do.

Kelly Skirt
Piping detail on the Kelly skirt. The piping lines up nicely in real life.
Kelly Skirt
A better shot of the piping on the Kelly skirt.

I only have two complaints. The first is really very minor, nit picky even, but when constructing the skirt, it’s a good idea to baste the pockets to the side seams before joining the front and the back. It keeps the pocket from rippling. It’s a very small detail, but one that would probably help beginners.

The other problem I had was with the sizes. In the US, the average waist circumference for adult women is currently 37.5 inches. In the UK, it’s 33 inchesIn Canada, it’s 34 inches. This skirt fits waists between 26 and 34 inches (66-86 cm). In commercial pattern sizes, that translates roughly to sizes 12 to 20. That is a pretty good range, but it would be nice if the pattern were available in an even larger range of sizes.

I recently had my fourth baby, and although I would normally be a size large in the Megan Nielsen size range, my waist is (temporarily I hope!) larger than the largest size included in the pattern. I graded the pattern up a size, which was quite easy, but not something that every beginner will be able to do.

Despite my small complaints, I thought that overall this was a very good pattern and it makes a very wearable, flattering skirt.

Kelly Skirt
This is how I would normally wear this skirt, which means that you can’t see the piping. Kelly Skirt by Megan Nielsen.

Just before I made this skirt I got a belated birthday present in the mail. Can you identify these presser feet?

New presser feet.
Can you identify these presser feet?

One is an invisible zipper foot, the other is a sew-on button foot. I was so excited when I opened these up. I know, I’m such a sewing geek.

I’ve been sewing for years, but on a very basic machine. It was one of the first purchases I made when I moved out on my own. It’s a basic Singer, with no special presser feet. Having this machine has meant that all the finishing details of my clothes were done by hand. I had never sewn on a button by machine. I had also never made a blind hem, any way except by hand. I once made a formal gown for my sister. It had a floor length, full circle skirt in satin, with layers of tulle underneath. I hand-stitched the entire blind hem. It took ages.

Kelly Skirt
Kelly Skirt in linen with black piping.

A couple of years ago my husband bought me a much better machine. One of the most eye-opening things for me is trying out all the special presser feet. It has made sewing much easier and much more precise, though I still like the look of hand-finished details.

This is the first time I’ve machine sewn buttons to a garment. I like it a lot, especially for casual clothes. With a coat, I would still sew on the buttons by hand. I’ve been looking at Colette Pattern’s Beignet skirt for a while now, but the number of buttons was so discouraging. I think I see a Beignet skirt in my future now.

Kelly Skirt
The Kelly skirt by Megan Nielsen.

This is also the first time I’ve made a blind-hem by machine. I’m not sure if I’m a fan. From the outside it looks perfect, of course. Though I’m not used to seeing all the stitches on the inside. When you hand-stitch a blind hem, it is invisible on the inside as well. On the other hand, the lining covers the hem, so I’ll never really see it.

Kelly Skirt
The machine-stitched blind hem of my Kelly skirt.

Summary

Pattern Review: Kelly Skirt by Megan Nielsen.

Fabric: Robert Kaufman’s Essex yarn-dyed cotton-linen blend in black.

Size: XL, graded up a size.

Sewing Level: Beginner.

Modifications: I added piping, a full lining and graded the pattern up a size.

Results: Good. I would recommend this pattern and would make it again.

Kelly Skirt
Kelly skirt by Megan Nielsen in linen with black piping. I promise I am much more impressed with this skirt than my facial expression might lead you to believe.