KCWC S12: Day 4 – Chambray Summer Shorts

The sun has been playing a bit of hide and seek this week.  We’ve had a few gorgeous days, some fogginess, some rain and back to sunny again.  We’re not quite there yet, but I can’t wait for shorts and sandals weather!

I finished these chambray shorts today and the sun came out so Yuki could actually wear them today with a tank top.  They were supposed to be a knock off of these cuties from J. Crew:

I was trying to recreate them exactly, but it was way harder than I thought!  I think these are the first pair of shorts I’ve ever made and since it’s based off a pattern that I made, the shape is way off.  I used the pattern from Yuki’s track pants and just cut them shorter.  But I didn’t realize how straight the legs were around the thigh and I wish I had made them a tad roomier.  Also in the rise and bum.  I always underestimate the breadth of her big cloth diapered booty!

The welt pockets ended waaay too low.

Overall, I like them though.  The only thing I purposely changed is that instead of making them drawstring shorts, I put elastic all the way around for practical reasons (you know that drawstring isn’t staying tied).  Then I just added the twill tape for looks.  Pretty convincing, no??

I think the longer length is probably good for her and I like the little paperbag-ish waistband.

And I love the chambray!  I have admired chambray clothes for a long time and I don’t know why I haven’t sewn with it sooner, but it really is gorgeous.  It’s totally comfortable and casual, but it looks so nice!

We’re ready for summer!

Don’t forget to check out all the amazing stuff people are cranking out this week for KCWC!

So no Project Run & Play entry this week for the “Earth Day Challenge.”  It would have been so easy to incorporate an upcycled outfit into my week of sewing, but for some reason I was completely at a loss for what I wanted to make.  Since I was uninspired and had plenty of other projects that I was dying to make, I decided to sit one out.  And look, that’s fulfilling one of my goals!  🙂  I already have ideas for the next two challenges, so if all goes well, you’ll see me in that flickr pool again in no time.

And I didn’t work on the Jump Rope dress AGAIN tonight, so now I’m two steps behind.  Luckily, I’ve finished the 3 smaller projects I had planned for the week so I have a few days I can just focus on the dress.  And maybe one more small project . . . 🙂

Anyone else feel like this at some point this week??

(This is how I know the photo shoot is over :P)

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Vintage All-Star

This week’s challenge for Project Run & Play was Sportswear.  Like a total dork, I interpreted that as “athletic wear” even though I read the definition they gave us here.  But you know, I don’t care anymore because I really like how the outfit came out.  And sportswear is such a crazy broad category that technically this outfit still fits the theme.

So when I thought the theme was athletic wear, I had no problem thinking of what I wanted to make.  We’d been looking for a track jacket for Yuki for some time, but it was hard to find one that was cute and affordable.  I knew it would be challenging to make, but I thought I’d give it a try.  I was inspired by vintage tracksuits in color, material (100% polyester baby!) and style, but added my own little touches here and there.  It certainly isn’t an original idea, by any means, but we’re excited because it’s something we’ve been looking for and we knew she’d love wearing it!  So without further ado, here’s my Vintage All-Star Tracksuit!

The jacket came together a lot smoother than I expected (though I won’t call it easy).  I love this color, it was my favorite in college and it screams vintage tracksuit to me!  I used twill tape to make the trademark white stripes down the sleeves and pants and paired it with a touch of colorblocking and a subtle chevron shape with the gray.  I appliqued a star on the chest since that is Yuki’s favorite thing right now and kind of her trademark.

My favorite feature of the pants are the tiny pleats down the front of each leg.  Simple touch but it adds such an authentic feel, no?

I’m also pretty proud that both pieces have pockets!  I’m learning so much!!

Doing some stretching . . .

Gotta warm up!

And we’re off!

This is what she looks like when she really gets going.

She’s unstoppable!

Time for a break.

Phew!  Time to go home after a long work out.

Haha, I think I’m having too much fun with this.  We had such a good time during this photoshoot!  I love that the sun is going down so late – we headed to the track at 7:30 after I got home from work!  And we found a new fun place to take Yuki that is free.  She LOVED running on the track with all the adults.  We just had to make sure she didn’t get in anyone’s way.

Anyways, I totally blew all my goals.  I was a bit ambitious with this outfit – did NOT keep it simple.  And I had to buy ALL new fabric – not a piece of it is from something I already owned.

But how could I resist??

Now off to prepare for KCWC!

Bench Cushion Cover

Thank you guys for all your positive feedback on the Spring Circle Top and the Color Block Wiksten Tank!  I’m feeling really excited by sewing right now and getting to share it with you is just the icing on the cake.  Since there were some people interested, I’m working on the Spring Circle Top tutorial now, so hopefully I’ll have that up for you by the end of this week.

I mentioned this bench cushion cover awhile back that I made for our best friends, but I was finally able to take a few more pictures.

They have this old church pew in their entrance/hallway and wanted to make a bench cushion for it.  They bought the foam and the fabric and asked me to make a cover for it.  I suggested piping because I thought it would look nice and when they agreed, I realized, I’d never sewed with piping before!!  But it was not too hard and it really does add a nice touch, doesn’t it?

(I’m really proud of the piping, in case you couldn’t tell :))

I used a 72″ zipper from Joann’s along the back side of the cover.  I didn’t know that Joann’s sold such long zippers!  They are made specifically for this purpose and are supposed to be stronger to withhold the pressure of weight (when sat on).

They have the most amazing house EVER so I was excited to be able to help them add a unique touch.  I’m going to make a few throw pillow covers with the leftover fabric so they can tie this fabric into their living room decor as well.

And now that the wonderful world of piping has been opened up to me, I can’t wait to use it again!  What’s your favorite use for piping?  Clothes?  Pillow cases?  Something else that’s totally creative?  I’d love to know.

PR&P Goals and the Spring Circle Top

*EDIT: The tutorial for this top is now available HERE!*

Project Run & Play Season 4 officially begins today!  I’m pretty excited because participating in the sew along last season was SO MUCH FUN.  I didn’t really know what to expect last time or what I was getting myself into, but now that I know just how involved I let myself get, I decided to set some goals for myself.  I’m just posting them here so I can keep myself accountable and reflect on these each week or at the end.

1. Keep it simple and wearable.  As much fun as it is to go all out and do something crazy and fabulous, I can’t invest the time it takes to make 5 pieces of clothing in 5 days.  And as much as I loved Yuki’s Blossom by Blossom dress, it really bums me out that she will probably never wear it again.  I want to make clothes that Yuki can wear over and over again and not drive myself crazy trying to do over the top or extremely time consuming ensembles.  I have to remember that I’m not an actual contestant, just sewing along for fun.

2. Use as much from my current fabric and notions stash as possible.  My sewing supply is growing rapidly, much faster than I am sewing, so I’d like to try and use what I have first before buying more stuff.  Looking at the challenges for this season, it looks like this goal is right in line with the Earth Day Challenge, but some of the other weeks will be harder (like Sportswear).

3. Work on things other than PR&P and don’t lose track of my priorities.  Last season the only projects I worked on each week was my outfits for PR&P.  I’ve got tons of other projects that I want to work on, so I’m going to have to find time for a little of both.  I also have to be careful not to forfeit time with my family or let my work, house work or sleep schedule suffer.  At least not too much 😛  Keeping it simple (goal #1) will help with this.

4. Let myself skip a week if I need to.  It probably seems weird that skipping a week is part of a goal when usually your goal should be to participate as much as possible.  But for me, I get SUPER involved, so it’s waaay harder to skip a week.  I don’t know if I’ll need to, but I want to be able to let it go, if one or two weeks end up being way busier than I expected.

I think that’s it!  I know it’s pretty nerdy of me to get so obsessed and write out goals, but what can I say?  I’m a nerd.

So with that all said, I’m super excited to be done with my first entry!!  This week’s challenge is to remix Dana’s Circle Skirt Tutorial.  I recently used this tutorial for the first time to make my Reversible Circle Skirt.  It’s a very classic style and can be used for lots of variations on skirts and dresses.  But I decided to use the circle skirt idea to make an asymmetrical flowy spring top.

I had a vision and then it kind of morphed as I started sewing (as most of my ideas do).  I like the way it came out though and can imagine Yuki wearing this quite a bit this spring and summer.

I whipped up some super simple jeggings to go with the top.  I know, jeggings!?  I hate them and love them, but in the end, I couldn’t resist.

She had a blast on our private little Easter egg hunt.

We put a strawberry in one of her eggs!  Haha!

So looking back at my goals, I kept it very simple and wearable.  CHECK!  I only used materials I had on hand.  CHECK!  Since I was able to start this early, I didn’t feel pressured to cram in any late night sewing sessions or sacrifice anything else.  CHECK!

It really helps if I can stay ahead of the weekly challenges which is something I didn’t do at all last time.  I’m not sure if I can keep it up though.  Next week’s challenge is sportswear, and while I have something in mind already, I think it might break the “keep it simple” goal.

I’m going to drop some of these photos into the flickr pool now, so head over there and see the other fun circle skirt remixes!

Oh, and I might try to do a tutorial for this top later this week!  Let me know if you’re interested (otherwise I’ll probably just forget about it :))!

Color Blocked Wiksten Tank

So I did it!  Selfish sewing!  I finally sewed something for myself and what do ya know?  I like it!

There are a lot of reasons I don’t sew for myself, or adults in general.  One reason is because fit is soooo important and it feels like details REALLY matter on adult clothing.  Kids can wear elastic waistbands 24/7.  They can have slightly crooked hems or wonky seams and no one will care or notice.  Heck, it makes them look even cuter!  They look adorable in anything you put them in and most of the time they are just going to run around and roll in the dirt, so perfection isn’t necessary.

Adult clothing is different.  There are curves you can’t ignore.  You can’t just put elastic waistbands on everything (or can you? :P).  You want to wear your clothes in public, to work, where people may look at you funny if something is totally ill-fitting.  Or with unfinished seams, or crooked.  Unfortunately, it will not make you look cuter.

Adult clothing also requires a lot more fabric.  That means more money, and just more fabric to deal with, and combined with the reason above, it means more time!  I love how little material you need and how quickly you can whip up something for your wee one.

But the MAIN reason I don’t sew for me is because I don’t like my body!  Because I have body issues, it’s hard to imagine liking any clothing on myself and I don’t want to invest time and money into sewing for me if I’m not even going to like how it looks.  I feel much more compelled to sew for my sister because I know it’ll look cuter on her, like the Winter Party Skirt or the Wiksten Tank in Ikat.

But I decided that shouldn’t stop me and after giving up my Ikat print fabric to use for my sister’s top, I thought about what else I’m into now and I thought I’d try color blocking!  This is a pretty big trend right now and I thought with some bright colors it’d be a fun, youthful spring top.  So without further ado, here’s my color blocked Wiksten Tank!

I used 3 different colors of cotton fabric and sewed them together before cutting out the pattern pieces making sure they were lined up perfectly so the color blocks would match up at the side seams.

When it started coming together I wasn’t sure if I had made the right decision to color block, or if I had picked the right colors.  It looks so BRIGHT.  Maybe too youthful and bold?  I felt like something from the 80s or early 90s, or maybe something super hipster from American Apparel?  I really didn’t know if I could pull it off.  But after finishing it and trying it on (and toning it down with a cardigan), I realized that I liked it!

Let me just stop and say that I chose only the most flattering pictures to share with you.  Trust me, most of them were not so pretty.

And getting a good picture of yourself is hard!  I apologize for the awkward poses and poor lighting/quality.

So the pattern is the Wiksten Tank and I HIGHLY recommend it.  It’s a very simple and straight forward top (no buttons, zippers or special materials needed).  It comes together quickly and the fit is pretty flattering for most people I imagine.  The loose bottom covers little tummies quite nicely!  Because it calls for french seams there are no unfinished exposed edges and this makes the top look neat and professional.  It’s definitely a good top to start with if you’re just delving into adult clothing sewing.

It’s funny though, I kept thinking that the tops were waaay too big.  I made a size small for my sister and I thought for sure that it was going to hang off her petite frame.  But it fit her perfectly!  When I made mine, it looked like a circus tent!  And I was a bit disappointed to find that it fit me perfectly too.  Hah!  I think that it just comes from only sewing tiny little toddler clothes, I didn’t realize how much fabric you need to cover an adult body.

Anyways, I’m kinda inspired to sew more for me!  Between the Sewing for Me series that Kojo Designs and Sewing in No Man’s Land hosted and Made by Rae’s Spring Top Sewalong, I feel like not only is it doable, but it’s important to take the time to create for yourself.  I’d love to make a top to enter in the Spring Top Sewalong, so I’ve got some work to do!  You guys have any great patterns for women’s tops that you’d recommend??  Do you like to sew for you?

Maxwell Top Pattern

One of my goals is to sew more clothes from patterns.  So when the opportunity came up to be a pattern tester for some of Shwin & Shwin‘s new patterns, I jumped on it.  These gals come up with some of the cutest patterns for kids!  And there are so many amazing free tutorials on their site too.  One of the patterns in their current collection is the Maxwell Top for boys and I LOVED it as soon as I first saw it.

I debated whether I should make the top a little more feminine by picking more “girly” fabrics, but decided to go with something simple and (in my opinion) gender neutral.  I knew Yuki could pull it off.  The fabric reminds me of a Japanese shirt, though I don’t actually know if the fabric is Japanese.  I love the finished shirt and all the cute details.

It was my first time sewing a collared shirt so I had a little trouble attaching the collar.  For that reason, I’d say this is a good intermediate or intermediate beginner pattern.  Otherwise, the shirt came together nicely with pretty clear and simple directions.

I think she looks adorable!  I know I will definitely be making more for her as she gets bigger.  The pattern is for sizes 12m-5T!  And it’s always great to find an awesome boy pattern.  I can’t imagine there’s anyone who wouldn’t need this pattern!

Buy the pattern here!

Snappy Toddler Top for Saya

Have you ever tried the Snappy Toddler Top pattern from Prudent Baby?  I highly recommend it.  It’s free!  And so cute.  I made one for Yuki awhile back and it’s been one of our favorite tops for a long time.  Unfortunately, this is the only picture I could find of her in it!

Haha!

Anyways, I made this other one for Hideko’s cousin’s baby, Saya, who is about to turn one next month.  It’s a really simple pattern that produces a very cute top – what more could you ask for!?

I like it as a tunic or a top, but if you add a little extra length to it, it can easily be made into a dress!

(back)

I’m also going to try make this top for Yuki’s cousins, who are 7 and 9, so we’ll see if the pattern can be converted to larger sizes.

Anyways, if you’re looking for a quick top to make for your little one or a nice present for someone else, this may be the perfect pattern for you.  Try it out!

Blossom By Blossom Dress – Special Occasion for PR&P

For winter’s rains and ruins are over,
And all the season of snows and sins;
The days dividing lover and lover,
The light that loses, the night that wins;
And time remembered is grief forgotten,
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins.

-Algernon Charles Swinburne

Well winter certainly isn’t over yet, but I thought the poem was fitting.  The dress has winter imagery, but spring colors underneath and flowers blossoming all over, so I immediately thought of winter turning to spring.  Hence the poem and the name 🙂

So here’s my entry for this week’s Project Run and Play Sew-along.  The theme is Special Occasion/Party Wear.  I had fun making this dress.  I can’t say that it’s a super original idea, but it was definitely a new challenge for me.

I started with the idea of finding a sheer patterned fabric to lay over a solid fabric.  I used this curtain, and though it was much more opaque than I had originally imagined, I liked the tree branch image.  Because I had a “sheer” fabric, I thought an illusion neckline would be something fun to try.  It turned out to be barely noticeable (because of the nearly opaque white fabric and the light colored green underneath), but that’s probably much more age appropriate for a toddler.

I wasn’t planning on making the main body of the dress two different colors, but the idea sprouted from my indecisiveness at the fabric store.  I would usually never pick a nearly neon green, but it went so well with the purple and I figured it would be hidden under the white anyways.  But once I started playing with it, I really liked the colors and made each one peek out a little bit.  They really shout “spring” and “fun” to me!  It was a nice contrast to the stark white and bare branches of the curtain material.  The fabric is a cheap nylon.

I hand rolled and stitched the neckline and armholes, which was new to me.  I don’t really know if I did it right, and it doesn’t look super clean, but I wanted the hem to be as small as possible.  They are still not nearly as small as pictures I’ve seen online, but I guess I’ll keep working on it.

I finished it off with a bunch of flowers and petals cut from the curtain fabric and handstitched to the dress.  I just can’t resist putting fabric flowers on anything! 🙂

I like the way the fabrics look, but with hindsight, I wish I had chosen something different.  These fabrics are synthetic and stiff and unforgiving.  I sew at night when Yuki is sleeping and I’m horrible at using measurements (a major weakness), so last night I realized that the bodice fit ALL WRONG.  It was super baggy in the front and perfect in the back.  The neckline was too big and almost falling off her shoulder.  So I added some pleats to the front and had to take in the bodice a bit.  Now it’s a bit of a squeeze to get her arms through :P.  I really don’t know how to get that perfect balance of fitted, but still fits.  If the fabric had even a little give, it probably would not be so bad.  Oh well – live and learn!

The shoes are kind of a fun story.  I realized last night that Yuki didn’t have any shoes to wear with the dress.  I felt ridiculous buying shoes JUST for this outfit, especially since this girl has an outrageous amount of shoes for some reason.  But I went to Payless and these gladiator sandals, originally $12.99, were marked at $4.  They have a buy one get one 1/2 off promotion, so I thought I’d buy something else and these shoes would be $2.  But when I went to check out, it turns out the sandals were on clearance for $2 so with the half off deal, they were only $1!!  So then I didn’t feel so bad. 🙂  I didn’t particularly like the silver flowers they had on them, so I made a few more flowers with the curtain material and hot glue gunned them on.  I think they look great and match perfectly with this dress now!

I also made a petticoat with tulle to give the dress more body, but I think I actually prefer the dress without.  I guess it’s a good thing to keep around though.  It can be paired with any skirt or dress and since it’s kinda huge, she can probably use it for a long time.  This morning she just wore it around the house like a tutu and turned around in (very slow) circles.  Where does she learn this from!?? 😛

(Please ignore how crooked that top row of tulle is.  I was in a super rush :))

For our photo shoot today we went to the Palace of Fine Arts.  Just another gorgeous spot in our city.  And the weather was amazing!!  It actually felt like spring!

Well, I guess that’s it for this outfit AND the Project Run & Play Sew-along.  I think next week the three actual PR&P contestants that are left will do their signature look.  It’d be fun to keep playing along, but I feel like it’s time to move on to other projects that are calling my name.  I’ll have a few tutorials coming up and a reflection on this sew-along challenge coming up, but for now I’ll just say that it has been so much fun participating.  I have learned so much, been so challenged and am so inspired!

I leave you with two outtakes from the photoshoot:

I told Yuki to lean in and smell the flower.  I think she’s either kissing it or nibbling on it.  Yum.

And this picture is SO our daughter.  You can put the girl in a dress, but that doesn’t make her act “like a lady!”  She was climbing and picking up rocks and scraping her knees the whole time.  That’s my tomboy!  She makes me proud 🙂

Linked up this project here:
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Winter Romper – Junebug Remix for PR&P

It’s the first day of voting for Project Run & Play! If you didn’t catch it, you can see my breakdown of the competition here or go to the PR&P blog to check it all out yourself!

This week’s theme was a remix of the Junebug dress by Jess at Craftiness is not Optional. Here’s a picture of the original pattern:

You should go see the 8 competitors entries. They are so great, I really can’t decide which one I like best. It’s amazing how different each designer’s visions are!

And yet, one of them looks really similar to what I came up with!!  This season they’ve added a sew along portion for “viewers at home” to participate too.  Here’s my design, the Winter Romper.

It took me a really long time to figure out how I wanted to remix the original pattern.  I decided to go with shorts because I love this other denim romper that Yuki has.  The gray wool was my sister’s idea, which I’m so glad I went with.  It’s actually a wool gray and blue herringbone, though the blue is subtle.  The wool makes it perfect for the winter in California!  Warm and good for layering.  I lined the romper bodice with some fabric I had left over from another project I’m working on.  I didn’t really think it was going to be such a big part of the romper, but at the last minute I decided to use the same fabric to cover some buttons.

Oh, the buttons!  I couldn’t decide what buttons to use, so I bought 4 different kinds at the store.  I knew that the buttons would be such an important part of the outfit, so it was a big decision!  I finally decided to go with the fabric covered buttons and I’m not positive that I made the right decision, but overall, I think it gives the romper a unique and well put together look.

I made the entire bodice a little longer to meet the high waisted shorts.  I added pleats in the front and the back, pockets and a button cuff.  It gives it kind of a newsboy look.  I was going to add a thin belt or bow at the waistline, but when it came time to take pictures, I forgot to put it on.  I think it looks fine without one though.  Overall, I’m pleased with the way it turned out!  I love when things turn out the way you imagined, even though you had no idea what you were doing!  🙂

My poor daughter is really sick right now, so we didn’t get to take many photos.  I’m just impressed she let me put her in the clothes (and she didn’t throw up on it!).  Usually I can’t get her to stay still, but this time she would only stand there with her stuffed dog and hand up to her mouth.  Poor baby 😦

I finally got her to smile!  Kind of . . .

If you want to see the other entries for the Sew Along, you can see them all at the PR&P Flickr pool.  They have 2 judges who are going to pick one winner over the weekend and it’ll be announced on Monday!  I’m not too hopeful, but I’m excited to see whose design is chosen!  The winner gets $25 at fabric.com.

Next week the theme is BOYS.  It seems like it’s always been a challenge to come up with great clothes and other arts & crafts projects for boys, so they often get neglected.  Well all next week is dedicated to boys clothes, so hopefully we’ll see some great ideas.  What do you think I should make?  Any great ideas for a boys outfit??

Sew & Tell: Herringbone Short Coat

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!  I hope you are all able to spend some time with loved ones and remember all the things you are thankful for.  As for me, I have so many things that I am grateful for.  I feel extremely blessed to be surrounded by so many amazing, loving, and inspiring people and feel so lucky that I have everything I need and more.  I’m thankful for my beautiful, healthy and brilliant daughter and my too-amazing-for-words life partner who gets me, accepts me and loves me though anything and everything.  And I’m so grateful that I get to do things that I love like sew, take pictures and blog and that people are encouraging me to pursue one of my dreams.  Thank you!!

I have been able to be super productive recently because I’ve had some rare time to myself (another thing that I’m thankful for!).  After working on a lot of things for other people, I wanted to take some time to make something for Yuki.  I’ve had this image in my mind of a simple coat and I finally had the chance to try it out!!  I’ve never made a jacket or coat before because it always seemed so intimidating.  I’m glad I finally gave it a shot and I learned A LOT from this experience.  Although I’m pleased with the way it came out, I’d definitely do a few things differently next time.  Anyways, here it is – the Herringbone Short Coat!

It’s lined with some super soft flannel.

This is my first Peter Pan collar and it did NOT turn out as I expected (more on that later) and a random button that I found in my button jar that I LOVE.

I used a wool blend herringbone fabric that I picked up out of the remnant bin at Joann’s.  It was only 1/3 yard!!  So I didn’t have much to work with.  I love the slightly dressy look, but it isn’t very practical since I can’t just throw it in the wash.  It’s also a very loose weave so it unravels like crazy!

The original design for this jacket had a hood, but I decided to nix that for this coat.  Yuki has so many hooded jackets and she doesn’t even like wearing the hood (plus, I probably wouldn’t have had enough fabric for that anyways).  I’m glad I went for the Peter Pan collar, but it sure was harder to do than I thought.  The collar turned out way smaller than I’d hoped and I didn’t know how to attach it, so that resulted in some creative (sloppy) sewing.  If anyone can help me with attaching a collar to a lined jacket/top, PLEASE share!

The other problem with the jacket is that it’s SNUG on her!  Which means that she’ll grow out of it by next week!  And you better believe she’s going to wear it every day until then!  I definitely want to make this coat again, but with some adjustments.  What kind of fabric should I try next?

Here’s some pictures of the coat in action.  She’s wearing it with a jumper that I also made so she’d have a complete outfit for Thanksgiving.  I’m going to share all about the jumper in another post.

Oh, how we love the fall!  I hope you all enjoy the long weekend filled with delicious food and good company!  Happy Thanksgiving!