Fall Hats

When I saw these beautiful hats by Jo at Bubala I just loved them. So so so cute!

So I made my own. I made four and I let the kids choose what was on them.

Two kids just have buttons on theirs shaped like books and flowers, and two have embroidered bugs.

Four little caps
Four little caps. Sorry for the wrinkles. I had trouble rounding them all up for photos, since the kids are often wearing them.

I liked the ribbon idea on the Bubula blog, so they all have a snippet of ribbon as well. The kids also chose their own ribbon.

I used a charcoal grey wool coating for the hats (the same fabric I used for my Menswear Bunnies) and some polyester-cotton lining. I think next time I would use flannel though, to keep them a bit softer and warmer. These were nice and colourful though.

IMG_1458
You can just see the lining peaking out. I used bright blue and purple, also the kids’ choices.

The pattern is the Little Cap by Leila & Ben, a Canadian independent pattern designer. The company sells adorable sewing and crochet patterns for kids’ clothing.

The pattern comes in two sizes, 12m-2T and 3T-5T. I found the sizing to be quite small. The 12m-2T fit my three-month-old. The 3T-5T fit my two-year-old. I enlarged the pattern to 105% as Jo at Bubala recommended, and that fit my four-year-old and six-year-old. Luckily I had quite a few to make, in all the sizes, so no fabric was wasted.

Four little caps
Tiny baby cap.

I found the pattern to be very good. There are only two pattern pieces. The pattern was extremely easy to follow and I was able to make all four hats in an evening.

Although I made these for both girls and boys, they are perfect for Celebrate the Boy, an online initiative to share cool sewing projects for little boys, which is taking place this week and next.

Celebrate the Boy
Celebrate the Boy 2013

The kids really love them. They just cover their ears in cold weather. And I get a ton of compliments. People stop us in the street to find out where we “bought” them. I think I’ll probably make another set for summer in cotton or linen.

These photos weren’t taken today, because this is what it looked like outside yesterday. Definitely too cold for fall hats.

Big snowfall.
Too cold for fall caps.

Summary

Pattern Review: the Little Cap by Leila & Ben (PDF).

Fabric: charcoal grey, medium-weight wool coating.

Size: 12m-2T, 3T-5T, though the hats fit small.

Sewing Level: beginner.

Modifications: none

Results: Excellent! I would definitely recommend this pattern.

Valentine’s Day Pyjamas!

Valentine’s day pyjamas! They were supposed to be Christmas pyjamas, but life intervened. Oh well. It’s probably better this way, since the pyjamas aren’t competing for attention with Christmas gifts.

Bedtime Story Pajamas
Oliver +S Bedtime Story Pajamas in flannel, size 3.

These are the Oliver + S Bedtime Story Pajamas. I made them four times, once for each kid, hence the delay. I used a digital pattern (a PDF download) and it worked quite well. The pattern itself is great. The only thing that is unusual is that each pattern piece is separately taped together, instead of having them all in a giant sheet. I copied each pattern piece onto tracing paper, so I had quite a few pieces of paper to keep track of. On the other hand, it means you can print out just the pieces you want, which is handy if you just want pyjama pants. I’m not sure which way is better. As always with Oliver + S patterns, the directions are excellent. I don’t have a single complaint.

Bedtime Story Pajamas
Oliver +S Bedtime Story Pajamas in flannel, size 3.

I sewed a different type of ribbon into the neck and pants of each pair so that the kids can tell them apart.

Bedtime Story Pajamas
Oliver +S Bedtime Story Pajamas in flannel, size 18m, with snaps.

This is the second time I’ve made the pants, but the first time I’ve made the jackets. I made sizes 18 months, 3, 4 and 5. I made the larger sizes with ties, but put in snaps for the baby sized once – otherwise, kid No 4 will just chew the ties.

Bedtime Story Pajamas
Oliver +S Bedtime Story Pajamas in flannel, size 5.

I also started with snaps for the older kids. I wanted them to be able to dress themselves. But small snaps are a bit of a small target, even for little hands. I tried larger coat snaps, but then the kids couldn’t get out of them at all because it took too much strength to open the snaps. In the end I took out the snaps and put in the ties. Everyone seems to like this better.

Bedtime Story Pyjamas
Oliver +S Bedtime Story Pajamas in flannel, size 18m.

The first time I made this pattern, I made just the pants in sizes 12 months, 2, 4, and 5, also in flannel, in a monster print. I think I’ve tried most of the sizes now. The only one I had a problem with was the 12 month size (not shown), which fit a bit tight in the waist and hips.

Bedtime Story Pajamas
Oliver +S Bedtime Story Pajama bottoms in flannel, sizes 2, 4, 5.

When I made just the pants, instead of binding the hem, I just lengthened the pant legs and folded them over twice to hem. Then I appliquéd a big monster onto store-bought t-shirts. These were also a big hit with the kids.

Bedtime Story Pyjamas
Oliver +S Bedtime Story Pajama bottoms in flannel, size 5.

Summary

Pattern Review: Bedtime Story Pajamas by Oliver + S.

Fabric: flannel.

Sizes: 12m, 18m, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Sewing Level: intermediate (beginner, if just the pants).

Modifications:

I replaced the ties with snaps on the baby-sized jacket. When I made just the pants, I lengthened the pant leg and folded twice to hem, instead of binding the leg hem.

Results: Excellent! I would highly recommend this pattern.

Bedtime Story Pajamas
Oliver +S Bedtime Story Pajamas in flannel, size 5.

These are also part of the Stashbusting Sewalong Challenge. I made these for February’s ‘Love’ challenge where the goal is to sew something for someone you love.

Washi Tunic: Take 1

You’ve probably seen the Washi Dress from Made by Rae. So cute! So easy to sew! So beloved by bloggers and sewists. And, apparently, so unsuited to my figure.

I’d seen the dress and tunic on so many blogs, always with great results. Now I noticed that many of the Washi’s I saw were being worn by people who were taller and less curvy than me. Then a couple of photos showed up in the flickr pool that looked a little more like me, so I had hope! Maybe I too could wear the fabled Washi. I bought the pattern.

Washi Tunic
A green Washi tunic.

The Assembly

The printed pattern is great. I love that the pattern sizes are each printed in a separate colour. Genius! Why doesn’t everyone do that? I love that each piece of paper is printed with a grid overlay along the sides of the paper. So easy to assemble! I liked the instructions, especially the part on making a muslin.

So I dutifully got out some (hideously ugly) fabric from my stash, and made a muslin. And then I did a full bust adjustment (FBA) which I had figured I would have to do. I used the instructions for a FBA on Megan Nielsen’s website, which Made by Rae lists on their site and which are very clear. It still wasn’t working. I went down a size, redid my FBA and lowered the darts. And anyway…. five muslins later I had something I thought looked fairly decent, so I cut my fabric.

There is only one thing in the printed pattern I would change: the way the bust darts are cut out before assembly. After just one muslin, it was clear that by basting and pressing the dart to start, you can get a much better fit, because you can adjust that seam. But if the fabric is already cut, and you need to fine-tune the dart, there’s nothing you can do. You are stuck with the dart placement, as is. The curvier you are, the more this matters.

Assembling the tunic was a breeze. The instructions are great. The smocking with elastic thread was so easy! Everything came together so quickly.

Washi Tunic
Sleeve detail on the Washi Tunic.

It just didn’t fit, at least not as well as I’d like. Boo!

The Fit

I’m pretty sure it has more to do with my shape, than the pattern itself, since so many people have had such great luck with this pattern. I am extra curvy (and a breastfeeding mama as well) and I just had a baby six months ago. Can we say problem areas? I figured the pattern would be good for midsection coverage. However, this pattern, like any empire waist look, requires an excellent fit in the bodice. I needed to do the FBA, make sure the darts were in the right place, and make sure that the seamline where the bodice joins the skirt fell at the very thinnest part of my ribcage. This last point is important for avoiding the pregnant look. My muslin did not include the skirt portion of the tunic, only the bodice. It was all a bit frustrating.

Washi Tunic
Side view of the Washi Tunic.

In the end I had to take the tunic apart, and shorten the bodice a bit to get the skirt falling at the right place. It’s wearable, but could be better. The front view is good. The side view is only so-so. There is a bit of gaping at the neck. I think this tutorial on avoiding neck gape with a FBA from the Naked Seamstress would help. I would also add a couple tiny under bust darts, as suggested by the Queen of the Flies in her review of the Washi Dress. And there is still some pulling at the shoulders. Maybe I should go down a size? Hmmmm. Suggestions welcome.

Me, looking at my Washi Tunic.
Me, looking at my Washi Tunic.

Oh, and as a side note… if you disassemble your washi and abandon it in frustration for a couple of weeks (ahem), you may find that the elastic thread has worked its way out, so that you have to resew it. Entirely my fault of course.

The Fabric

I also made a poor choice of fabric. I used quilting cotton. It’s a bit, um, crunchy? Something with a lot more drape would have been a much better choice, especially with sleeves. The pattern recommends “Light to medium weight cottons or cotton blends (e.g. shirting, voile, double gauze, quilting cotton, poplin, or cotton/linen blends)”. Voile, lawn or batiste would have been better choices, at least for my figure. I also would probably have been better off with the dress, instead of the tunic. I suspect the weight of the extra fabric would make for a more flattering line. The garment would hang a bit more straight.

Washi Tunic
Front of the Washi Tunic.

Would I make it again? Yes. The hard part is over. Now that I know how to get a good fit, and what fabric to use, I’d like to try this again. I would also prefer to line the bodice and there are instructions for lining a Washi bodice on the Made by Rae website. (Even though I attached the facing at the side seams, I find the facing pops out sometimes, which is annoying.) It’s such a cute pattern. Let’s call this a wearable muslin and move forward.

Washi Tunic
Not a bad first try, but I think I can do better.

Summary

Pattern Review: the Washi Dress from Made by Rae (PDF).

Fabric: quilting cotton. I made this in Flea Market Fancy Flower and Dot in Green by Denyse Schmidt from FreeSpirit. (I also used this fabric for my Christmas Rabbits).

Size: XL

Sewing Level: intermediate.

Modifications:

I did a 1″ FBA, lowered the darts by 1″ and lengthened the bodice by 1/2″.

Results: Needs work, but I would still make this pattern again.

Washi Tunic
Me in the Washi Tunic.