Ginger for Fall

I have been slowly rebuilding my wardrobe with some basic everyday clothing. After four pregnancies, all pretty close together, my wardrobe is in rough shape. I’ve also changed shape, and so my old clothes just don’t fit right. Rather than battle the clothes racks with four kids in tow, I’ve decided to make what I can.

This is my latest project, the Ginger skirt by Colette.  It’s a simple, high-waisted a-line shirt, fitted  in the hips with an invisible zipper.

Ginger skirt by Colette, as sewn by The Finished Garment
Me in my Ginger skirt.

I used a super soft baby cord, which is the same fabric I used to make pants for my kids. They think this is hilarious. Ha! Just wait till high school, kids.

I cut the size 18, based on my waist measurements, but I ended up taking in two inches, and I could have taken it a bit more in the hips. Next time, I’ll cut a 14, graded out to a 16 waist.

At first I thought the 18 looked ok. But it wasn’t lying smooth over the front of my hips. So I scoured the internet looking for similar body shapes, in the same skirt, and with the same problem, and they all had their skirts quite low on the waist. So I raised the waist and took in the sides and the skirt fit so much better. It was a whole new garment. I’m honestly not used to such a high-waisted skirt. Most ready-to-wear a-line skirts are designed to sit lower, but I do like the look. Next time, I’ll also take the skirt in a little more in the hips.

Ginger skirt by Colette, as sewn by The Finished Garment
I took this photo before I raised the waist and took in the waistband. You can see how it’s not smooth in the front.
Ginger skirt by Colette, as sewn by The Finished Garment
This photo was taken afterwards, and it fits so much better.

Adjusting the fit was quite easy. So if you are a bit larger than the largest size (or smallest than the smallest size), you shouldn’t have too much trouble grading up (or down) a size or two and still getting good results.

Ginger A-line Skirt Pattern by Collette Patterns
Ginger A-line Skirt Pattern by Colette Patterns.

I made version 3, which has a straight waistband , and is cut on the bias. With baby cord, the results are not quite as dramatic as the chevron stripe pattern shown on the pattern packaging, but it does make for a really nice hanging skirt. Even my husband mentioned that it hung really nicely, and with no prompting (!!!). Using baby cord also means you don’t need to worry about matching the stripes.

Ginger skirt by Colette, as sewn by The Finished Garment
You can just see how the bias cut skirt makes a chevron pattern, but it’s very subtle in baby cord.

The skirt has an invisible zipper, which went in really easily.

Ginger skirt by Colette, as sewn by The Finished Garment
What do you think? Is that zipper invisible enough for you?

I added some very thin tricot interfacing to the skirt before adding the zipper, to stabilize it.   But because the skirt was cut on the bias, it was still a little stretchy, so  I also used bias tape on the seam edges, a suggestion from a couture sewing book, and this worked very well.

Ginger skirt by Colette, as sewn by The Finished Garment
Here you can see the inside of the invisible zipper where I’ve used bias table to help stabilize.

Hemming was a bit of an adventure. I let the skirt hang for a few days before I started. I had read how Sunni of A Fashionable Stitch has Mr Stitch help her with her hemming. So I gave it a shot. I can now confirm, that while Mr Garment has many superpowers, garment hemming is not one of them. He’s pretty good with compliments though (see above). Needless to say, I had to re-hem. Luckily, my hems usually fall pretty straight, so I guess I’ll just continue t0 hem on my own. I think next time, I’ll go a couple inches shorter as well. What do you think?

I didn’t line the skirt and simply zigzagged the seams. It’s a corduroy skirt, after all.

Ginger skirt by Colette, as sewn by The Finished Garment
I used quilting cotton to line the waistband, since it’s pretty and more comfortable and cuts down bulk.

At first I was a bit shocked by the price of the pattern. I paid $18, which, for a simple a-line skirt pattern, is a lot. (You can get the PDF version for $12, which is better). But I wanted to try a Collette pattern (this is my first), and it was a gift as well (though I picked it out myself). I’ve found that the fit is really quite nice, and I will use the pattern again, so overall, still a worthwhile purchase.

Ginger skirt by Colette, as sewn by The Finished Garment
I tried to get another photo session organized, but what are those white marks on my skirt?
Ginger skirt by Colette, as sewn by The Finished Garment
Oh you think that’s funny? (Those white marks are tiny hand prints made of baby powder). Thanks kid!

I really like this pattern. It has a really nice fit, and is quick to sew, but also has a lot of room for creativity, if you are feeling up to a challenge. I’ll almost certainly make it again.

Summary

Pattern Review: Ginger skirt by Colette Patterns.

Fabric: Baby cord. I used quilting cotton for the waistband.

Sizes: 18, but next time I’ll cut a 14, graded out to a 16 waist.Version 3, with the straight waistband, and cut on the bias.

Sewing Level: Beginner (versions 1 & 2). Intermediate (version 3).

Modifications: None.

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

“X”s and “O”s Quilt

This week I’ve been tackling some unfinished objects (UFO’s) and I am really happy that I was able to finish this quilt because it has been sitting neglected for far too long.

Red Xs and Os quilt by The Finished Garment
Red Xs and Os quilt.

I picked up most of these fat quarters ages ago, before I even learned to quilt. I remember them standing out at the quilt shop because almost everything else in this particular shop was traditional quilting fabrics – small scale florals, batiks and such. There were hardly any solids. And then I spotted these fat quarters that seemed so out of place, but way cooler than anything else I’d seen so far.

Red Xs and Os quilt by The Finished Garment
The binding works really well.

I finally started piecing this last winter, but then other projects jumped the line. Maybe it’s the return of the fall weather, but it just feels like it’s time to snuggle up under a quilt. So I got to work.

Red Xs and Os quilt by The Finished Garment
Detail on the X.

This quilt uses a lozenge block, and you can see a nice tutorial online here, which I should have followed but did not. My quilt blocks ended up being a little messier than planned, and I had to trim them down, which works poorly with this particular block. And then I was quite discouraged with the actual straight line quilting, which looked anything but straight when I was stitching it. But a good wash and a little crinkle goes a long way, so I consider it salvaged.

Red Xs and Os quilt by The Finished Garment
Some of the blocks were a bit messy – but not this one.

The blocks are then arranged in an “X”s and “O”s  or Hugs and Kisses arrangement (well, one X/kiss) to be exact.

Red Xs and Os quilt by The Finished Garment
Some of the quilting.

I used this really lovely, pale grey Crosshatch Sketch for the backing, which I adore. I had looked for something suitable for a long time, and then was in my local fabric store, looking for something completely unrelated, and there it was.

The binding is Kona Coal. I made it a bit more narrow than planned, but it’s probably better that way, since it’s such a dark colour.

Red Xs and Os quilt by The Finished Garment
The binding is Kona Coal.

All that black and grey make for a monochromatic back, which I love.

Red Xs and Os quilt by The Finished Garment
There is just one X in this quilt.

The front is really bright. My husband said it looked a bit stark. “Yes, well, it’s not for you”.

Red Xs and Os quilt by The Finished Garment
Love the colours (or lack thereof).

Actually it is a gift for a family member, who I think likes stark colours, at least these ones. I hope.

Red Xs and Os quilt by The Finished Garment
And it passes the mandatory quality inspection.

Anyway, since it was for a family member, I skipped the “Hey, be gentle with the quilt!”, and there was a small quilt dance party. But hopefully the family member won’t mind.

Red Xs and Os quilt by The Finished Garment
At the red quilt dance party.

X’s and Os Quilt

Quilt block: Lozenge block in an “X”s and “O”s  or Hugs and Kisses arrangement.

Size: 53 by 53 inches.

Fabrics:

Mostly unknown, but includes Michael Miller – Ring Dot Black, Kona White, Kona Red. The rest I picked up as fat quarters.

Binding: Kona Coal

Backing: Crosshatch Sketch in Mist (or is this Grey?) by Timeless Treasures

Red Xs and Os quilt by The Finished Garment
Hanging up.

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.

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

Shorts for the Win!

shorts on the line - a summer sew along
shorts on the line – a summer sew along

So where have I been, you may be asking? Each I year I co-organize an open source tech conference. It was on June 29-30. It is huge and crazy and getting through the pile of laundry afterwards is an amazing feat. But I am officially back in my usual, crazy, mum-of-four swing of things.

My first job has been to tame the email, and what was awaiting me there? A prize!

Yes, I am one of the official winners of the shorts on the line giveaway. My prize is the Kid Shorts by MADE. It looks really cute and I can’t wait to try it out. And since it fits kids 12 months to size 10, that means I’ll have to make four. Shorts, shorts, shorts! Thanks to Rachel of Imagine Gnats and Carla of Small + Friendly for organizing both the Shorts on the Line contest (which I also entered) and the giveaway. And thanks to Dana of MADE for donating the prize.

Kid Shorts by MADE
Kid Shorts by MADE (used with permission)

And what else did I get to now that life is getting back to normal… the fabric store!

It’s about 40 degrees with the humidex during the day here in Montreal – unbearably hot and humid. I kept seeing all the local mums in these fabulously comfortable jersey maxi dresses. I’ve been having babies for so long now that my (non-maternity) wardrobe is just pitiful, so I figured it was time for some summer sewing for me.

McCall's M 6760 Misses' Dress and Jumpsuit and some spongey bamboo jersey.
McCall’s M 6760 Misses’ Dress and Jumpsuit and some spongey bamboo jersey.

This is some really soft, really spongey bamboo jersey and McCall’s M 6760. The photo makes the fabric look darker than it is. It’s actually a medium grey and medium-weight. Now that I’ve blogged it I will be forced to sew it. No procrastinating allowed!

I know, I know, all the dresses on the pattern envelope are made of georgette or some other airy fabric, but definitely not knit fabric. But there it was on the back of the envelope, “jersey”.

And the bonus is that with jersey, I won’t need to line it or use an invisible zipper. I’m just a bit concerned that the jersey might be a bit heavy and weigh too much on the waistband, but we will soon find out. The waistband is meant to be interfaced, but then it won’t be as comfortable. Hmmm. dilemma, dilemma. I love the fabric, but I could also do a glorified t-shirt maxi dress instead. Maybe a bit dull, in grey though. What would you do? Suggestions welcome.