Stash Busting Theme - Sewing For Others


I jumped whole hog on the Stash Busting theme bus this month and did a slew of non selfish sewing.  Perhaps I was converted to a Stepford wife in the middle of the night. I do have a sudden urge to sew fluffy dresses and bake everything in my cupboard.  Where's my strand of pearls!!! Everyone knows you have to fully accessorize to vacuum!

Moving boxes of sewn goodies all landed at their destinations this week.  You already know about the girls and boys knit garments that were made up, but that's not all that lurked inside. Muhaaaaa.

1. Gingermakes generously gifted me with a fierce leopard knit last month.  It had a semi-sheer pink background with brown leopard spots and a very subtle woven in stripe. The colors screamed my sister's color palette and I immediately know what to make her. Leopard Cowl Necked Renfrews For Everyone!
Like the one one I made for myself, there's some knit lining in the body to reduce any bra show through. This particular fabric is the venezia 4-way stretch lining Emmaonesock sells. I had a whole hunk of the nude color in the stash. High five past Heather for purchasing just what I needed.
My sister already posted a photo of herself wearing it.  My evil plan...sewing plans are complete!  Thanks again for the fabric Sonja. :)

2. My older niece received her own Sewfearless PJ eater after checking that this was still considered cool at her age.  Dang older children and their ability to voice opinions. (Just kidding Court.)
The PJ eater appeared to attack my Brother-in-law once released from the box.  Hope that doesn't make next Thanksgiving awkward.

3. Each box also contained a Bodobo Box Bag.  My stash had some half yard cuts of cotton/linen prints that were a little heavier weight.  I thought an excellent way to use them up was to make some box bags.
I needed to buy zippers and some fusible fleece, but all other materials came from the stash. Past Heather had also bought coordinating Kona solids for the lining.  Past Heather thinks of everything.
Thumbs up for this pattern.  The instructions are good and you can knock one out in a couple of hours. I also like that the pattern gives you 3 different sized bag dimensions. That way I can use up even small sized precious scraps.
The boxes pictured are both the largest size with handles attached.  Perfect for your frog assistant to lounge in.  Just don't zip him up in there, that makes him grumpy.

I Know What Boys Like


Boys like constructions vehicles, dinosaurs and color blocking.  OK, maybe it's just me who likes the last one. Gotta use up all those knit scraps!  Since I went scrap happy last week making dresses for my niece, it only seem fair that her brother get some new duds too.  The patterns selected were the Oliver + S raglan and ShwinDesigns "Any time at all" tee.  Here they are kicking back together.
They seem to be high fiving each other about something awesome. Maybe weaseling an extra cookie out of mom.

I've blogged about the Oliver + S shirt before and it's a pattern that has graced my sewing table many times.  On this shirt the pocket was left off since the dinosaur fabric is a ribbed jersey.  I'd rather stab myself with a seam ripper than try to sew a pocket on some ribbed jersey via the sewing machine. Since my nephew doesn't have a penny fetish, unlike a certain boy in my household, he shouldn't care.
The SwinDesigns shirt also has a minor tweak.  Instead of putting a ribbed cuff on the sleeves I hemmed them.  My ribbing stash appeared to have enough gray ribbing, but on closer inspection it was two different shades.  Damn you bad eyes! Can't you tell the difference between cool gray and warm gray under artificial light? After some quick thinking about solutions to this ribbing problem, I measured the shirt against some other 4 T garments.  My findings where that the "Any time at all tee" has very long sleeves compared to other patterns. It also has extra length in the body and a wider neckline.  The width of the shirt is the same as my other 4 T patterns, so I decided to shorten the sleeves and hem finishing them with the coverstitch machine.
I have no problems with the sizing being bigger since kids will always grow into it.  I may size down though on the next version for Desmond.  He was confused about me making shirts that did not belong to him. "But that's mine Mommy." I threw some construction vehicle print fabric at him and he forgot all about it.

You know what boys also like?  A bowl full of names waiting to be pulled for a prize draw. He carried out the instruction of "Only pick one" perfectly and the winner was Elisa. Congratulations Elisa!  Email me your address at knit(dot)n(dot)frog23@gmail and I will put the Sew Wendy book and the fabric into the mail for you.

Sweatshirt Fleece and Ribbing Sources


After the Penny Pinafore Hack post I had a few people ask about good sweatshirt and ribbing sources. Those materials can be a little tricky to find, especially good quality ribbing.  A ribbed knit is not the same as ribbing and I get a little cranky when some fabric retailers mislabel things.  So I've complied a short internet list of US suppliers for these fabrics. (Sorry foreign readers)  I have not purchased from all these sources, but all of them will provide swatches.

Sweatshirt Fleece - They have an organic cotton line and a 80% polyester/20% cotton line.  Both come in a variety of colors and natural if you like dying your own fabric. I have bought the organic sweatshirting and it's really great. - This company stocks the most printed sweatshirt material I've ever seen. They also stock solid colors and a natural color for dying in both cotton and bamboo blends. I've bought some solid black and found the quality to be pretty good. The fabric pilled a bit more than the fleece, otherwise the fabric preformed well.

ResponsibleWears - I just ran across this Etsy seller and find her hand dyed sweatshirting to be really attractive.  She uses organic cotton sweatshirting.  Great for those of us who love the look of hand dying but don't have the space to do it ourselves - Downside of this site is that you have to call to order. Upside is that they sell many solid colors of 80% cotton 20% polyester sweatshirt fleece.  There are a few colors of 100% cotton fleece and some french terry thrown into the mix.

Ribbing - Carries 10 colors of 50/50 polyester cotton blend ribbing.  This is the tubular knitted kind with some body to it. Just what you want for a sweat shirt. - Outdoor fabric suppliers are great for beefy ribbing.  Seattle Fabrics carries 15 colors of tubular nylon/lycra ribbing and 3 colors of an even heavier ribbing for leather jackets. - The rain shed also carries A LOT of ribbing.  They have in stock nylon/spandex yardage, 100% cotton yardage, and fully fashioned cuffs. I'm going to be buying some swatch sets from them.

Bonus Bluegingerdoll Hack


Those of you who follow me on instagram will remember the hot pink Peggy skirt I made in January.
To get around the fact that A-line skirts and my figure don't mix, I redrew the side seam shape to that of a pencil skirt.  A few inches of length was chopped off and the "Pegged Peggy" was born.  Full tutorial on this process is over on the Bluegingerdoll blog. I'm working on my girl scout tutorial badge. ;)

Penny Pinafore Hoodie Hack


Don't you love it when you think, "I'd really like to have X garment," and then realize you can easily hack X garment from an existing pattern. I had this happen this month while laying in bed thinking that I'd like a princess line/hooded/zip front sweat shirt.  What? Don't pretend you don't get that specific with your garment plans. These things are way more important than sleep anyway. ;) Maybe not as important as dreaming about Hugh Jackman, but the man is busy and can't show up every night.

Anywho, it struck me that the Kitschy Coo Penny Pinafore had all the bones I needed to hack it into a rip front hoodie.  Bonus, I knew the pattern would fit me well since I'd made it up already. Double bonus round - the stash held navy fleece, bought from, and navy ribbing, bought from Kitschy Coo. All this project needed was the purchase of a 24" zipper and a little elbow grease.

With just a little tweak to the neck line......
and a little tweak to the hem.....
then inserting a zipper while praying to the sewing goddess for this to work......
and Voila! Zip front hoodie with princess line seams.
To spice up the plain navy fleece I did some faux flat lock in a contrasting color. The princess line seams were serged with wrong sides together.  I pressed them and then used my edge stitch foot on the sewing machine to stitch the overlocked seam down.  Since sweat shirt fleece is a stable knit, there was no trouble feeding it through the sewing machine.  I did get a little waviness to the seam after top-stitching it.  Thankfully some vigorous steaming on a ham took care of that.
This finish was done to the princess line seams, front and back, as well as the center seam of the hood.  All other seams where serged normally with matching navy thread.
Here's the hoodie in action, urrgh work those 3lb weights. More reps, MOAR reps!  God, Froggie is a hard personal trainer.
So are you convinced that you need one of these hoodies yet?  If so you're in luck cause I've done a tutorial with all the tweaks.  You will be changing the neckline depth, adding seam allowance for a zipper and drafting a hood.  I promise that drafting a hood isn't too hard, I'm pretty sure that Froggie can do it.
Pattern Hacking Instructions
Size up at least 1 size from the one recommended for your measurements.  This will give you a little extra ease for layering. For reference I'm using size 5, the green size. To determine how long I wanted the sweat shirt I used the oh so scientific method of holding the pattern in front of my body.  My version is 24" from the highest part of the shoulder to the hem band seam.  The hem band is 2 1/4" inches for a combined length of 26 1/4".  This made the CF 24" which meant I didn't have to shorten a standard 24" long plastic zipper.

1.  Trace the center front, center back, side front and side back pieces to the length you desire. I stopped about 5 1/2" before the tunic line.  You probably want to remove some of the hip flare on the side seam since you are not making a dress.  Just flatten the curved line to a straight one for now. The sleeve and cuff can be traced without changes.  Make sure to leave plenty of paper in the neckline area so that neckline changes can be drafted on.
2. We will need to fill in the neckline on both the front and the back to make it a crew neck style. All measurements here are a suggestion.  You can also use an existing crew neck pattern as a guide line if you have one that you like.

3. Starting with the Center front. I've extended the CF line upwards 4 1/4" and extended the shoulder seam in towards the neck 1".
4. Use a french curve to draw in a new neckline.
Finished neckline will look something like this.
5. On to filling the Center Back neck. I've extended the CB line upwards 1 1/2" and extended the shoulder seam in towards the neck 1".
6. Use a french curve to draw in a new neckline.
Finished neckline will look something like this. I tweaked the shape of mine which is why you see two lines.
7. Next change is to add seam allowance to the CF for the zipper.  I added a full 5/8".

8. Your CF and CB pieces are now done and can be cut out.  Draw in the seam allowance on the neck and shoulders for when you draft the hood.
9. Optional Hem band. Draft a rectangle  4 1/2" wide by the combined hem sweep of all the body pieces minus 1".  If you are using self fabric this should be fine.  If using ribbing you'll need to shorten both the hem band and the cuffs.  The general rule of thumb is that ribbing should be 1/3" shorter than the edge it is being attached to.  If your ribbing has lycra added it, it will have more stretch recovery and the bands will need less length removed.  My ribbing was very firm with good recovery, so I only removed 1" of width on the cuffs and about 2" from the hem band.

The quick and dirty method of getting hood measurements.
- For hood height place a ruler on your shoulder and place the other hand flat on the top of your head. Grab the ruler with your fingers to measure the hood height.
- For hood depth stand against a wall and place the ruler up on the side of your head so that the end touches the wall. Place your other hand on the ruler around where your forehead is to measure hood depth.
To draft a knit hood. (Knit hoods have no darts, woven hoods do.)
1. Take the CF and CB pieces and place them in this configuration with seam allowances overlapping.
Close up of seam allowances - you want the seam lines touching. You can secure them with a bit of scotch tape while you are tracing.
2. Lay a large square of trace paper over the CF/CB.  Trace the CF shoulder seam line and extend it out to the CB shoulder seam line. This will be your shoulder seam notch.  Then trace the neck seam line on both the front and back pieces.
3. Trace the CB line and extend the CF line up on the other side. Now you can remove the pattern pieces from underneath.
4. Measure out the hood height on the CB line and mark. Mine was about 13" up from the base of the neck.
5. Square across on the hood height mark to the CF vertical line so that you now have a rectangular box.  This rectangle is the rough dimensions of your hood. On the CF line add seam allowance for finishing the hood edge.  I added 1 1/2" here but it can be any seam allowance you wish.
6. Measure the hood rectangle width to see that it is close to the hood depth measurement taken on your head. It's good if the width is more than that measurement, you just don't want it to be less. If the hood rectangle looks too shallow you can add a little more to the back edge. I decided to add 2" cause I wanted just a little bit more depth.  I marked a guide line 2" out from the CB line towards the top.
7. Use a combination of the straight ruler and french curve to draw the back of the hood.  If you don't want more depth to the hood use the CB as the back of your hood and only curve the edge at the top of your hood rectangle.  If you added more depth, curve out a line from the neck base to the guide line then curve the top edge like I've done here.
8. You can always go back and futz with the hood curve if you don't like the shape of it.  I flattened out the back a little more.  When you are happy with the shape add seam allowance to the neck and outer hood edge.  Now your hood is finished and will fit into your neckline.
Cut out all your new pieces and mock up a muslin to check that you like the shape of the hood in the back and the length. You might also want to take in the side seams a bit of they flare too much. To assemble the hoodie follow this order of steps...

Sewing Steps
1. Sew princess seams on front and back pieces.
2. Sew shoulder seams together.
3. Set in sleeves flat.
4. Sew up sleeve and side seams.
5. Sew together cuffs and attach to sleeve.
6. Sew on hem band/hem bottom.
7. Install zipper.  I recommend fusing some interfacing into the SA before sewing in the zipper to cut down on the waviness.
8. Sew back hood seam.
9. Hem hood edge.
10. Attach hood to neckline.
11. Top stitch along edge of zipper to keep it from flipping out and you're finished.

If you like the look of your muslin, then break out the real sweat shirt fleece and go to town. When you're done you can dance around cause you're warm and not currently working out. Wheeeee!
Happy Hacking peeps but be careful, it's addicting. :)

Fun with Knits


Good news everyone, I'm making progress on my bagged projects and feeling a little less frazzled.  Luckily I had the stash busting theme of "Sewing for others" in my head and cut out mostly knit patterns for kids.  Few things are as quick and satisfying to me as serging together small brightly colored garments.

Since I'm a Kitschy Coo pattern junkie the Mini Penny Pinafore and the Girl's Skater Dress baggies got broken out first. Here they are frolicking together on the table. So happy together is playing somewhere in the distance.
The Mini Penny is all Lillestoff yardage left over from other projects.  There was just enough of the Matryoshka jersey to squeeze out the center panels. Now I have 2 largish squares that I'm holding on to for no reason.  It just seems wrong to throw precious Lillestoff away, The Precious!!
Also have got to remember for the future to buy more than 1 yard of solid red jersey.  Since it works for both boys and girls I need MOAR for my 3 kid models.

The Girl's skater used up almost all of the fanged clouds jersey bought long ago from The fabric fairy.  That jersey doesn't have a lot of snap to it so I did the neckband and cuffs in ribbing.  This particular ribbing behaved more like interlock so I didn't have to cut down the length of the pattern pieces at all. Excellent /\.
Now that a couple of things are sewn up for my niece, it's time to move on to her brother.  I was very taken with the new ShwinDesign's Anytime at all Tee pattern released last week. It probably has something to do with the boy model who is just adorbs. The design it's self has several styling options that will work for either boys or girls. I'm starting with the color blocked option to use up some narrow scraps lurking in the stash.
Master Desmond will get one of these later if he's nice and stops trying to steal my bobbins. "It's a wheel Mommy! A wheel!" Back you little beastie, go find your own wheels.

Since I've been having fun sewing with knits, I've decided spread the fun.  Back when I had an office job there was a Barnes and Noble in walking distance and I bought way too many books. One of them was the Built by Wendy "Sew U Home Stretch" book.  It's a nice book for learning how to sew knits and do some basic pattern hacking.  I don't use it much, so it seems right to pass it on to someone else.
It has a crinkled page here and there, but the patterns are uncut and no pages have been removed by idle toddler hands.  I'm also gonna throw in 2 yards of 60" wide rayon/cotton/lycra jersey.  It's heathered yellow/green with a navy stripe.  Light weight with very little rolling, originally from Marcy Tilton who always stocks nice knits.
If you'd like to be entered in the give away then just leave a comment saying so.  I'll pick a winner next Monday, may the odds ever be in your favor.

I'm getting around the web


Just a quickie post today to say that crazy old me is being featured over on Seamstress Erin's blog. I was flattered to participate in her "Sewing and Style" series. So if you like to reading my odd answers to questions then click on over.

In other news I have two PJ eater's fighting for supremacy in my sewing area. Do you think they can call a truce for Valentine's Day? Maybe I should just throw two bags of candy in a corner and let them have at it.
You need a little extra something. #pjeaterreturns

Too many plans, not enough garments


As the blog post says I have lots and lots of plans for the month. OK, I ALWAYS  have lots and lot of plans for the month, mostly cause my sewing brain likes to plot continuously. "What are we going to do tonight Brain?  Same thing we do every night, Try to Sew Up All The Fabric!" (cue theme music)

My usual method to keep things under control is to have only 3-4 projects cut out at once. Maybe less if one of them is a larger project like a coat. The long term power outage blew all that to shreds, making me cut out oodles of stuff.  Now I'm awash in plastic baggies and I can't seem to stop my rotary blade.  "Feed me fabric, Feed me all night long! Nom Nom Nom!"  Can I use my rotary blade's addiction as an excuse to buy more fabric?  No? Crap.

Anyway here is what is on my sewing sideboard right now.
1. Pair of Maria Denmark Lounge Pants - found I had extra fabric left over so I made....
2. Yet another pair of Winter PJ's - Some times I wish I was my son with a whole wardrobe of Lillestoff PJ's
3. Kitschy Coo Mini Penny Dress - I'm starting to feel that my youngest niece will grow out of the size of my fabric scraps if I don't act soon.
4. Pattern hack of the Kitschy Coo Penny Pinafore to turn it into a zip front hoodie - I wanted a fitted hoodie and though, "Hey that Penny Pinafore might work great." So far it's looking good.

5. Bluegingerdoll Stella turned into a shift dress for Blue February - have to refit a smaller size so it's a bit more work than it would be.  I've got a cute idea that I hope works out.

6. Kitschy Coo Skater dress - Same scrap concerns as the mini penny.  Also girls dresses are super fun to sew. I will milk it until she says NOOOO!

7. Pajama Eater for my older niece - "Where are my feet?!"
8. Oliver + S Raglan shirt - half cut, I have to work out adding some rib cuffs cause my contrast fabric is just a touch too short.

9. Renfrew for my sister - Everyone should have one right?

10. Fiddlesticks Patrick Raglan - 1/4 cut cause I don't know which fabric to put with it. OK I know what I should put with it but I want to keep it for myself.
11. Jamie Jeans muslin #2 - I don't really want to fit pants....but I need pants. The cycle of pants fitting hate continues. Damn't Nathan Fillian, why won't you tell me the number you are currently thinking of!

12. The quilt. - Hey are you gonna sew any more blocks Heather? Or just keep buying fat quarters.....I think we all know the answer to that.
There are also a bunch of printed out PDF patterns taking up my brain space.  You lot behave! You're only there in case of more weather created emergencies. I can still hear them chittering like squirrels.

Sighhhhh, could someone please send Mr. Miyagi over to help me focus?  I hear he runs a pretty good car detailing services too.  "Wax on, wax off.
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