Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My very first Ottobre creation

I mentioned in my last post that I've finally got brave enough to attempt sewing at knit. As part of this process I discovered that sewing with knit is actually fine, but there are some elements of it that make me want to beat my head against the wall. Like attaching rib binding... that's enough to cause a nice big bruise on my forehead.

I am about 7 weeks away from meeting my new baby, and thought I would get some practice making a little onesie. I chose a pattern from Ottobre 3/2011 (I think it's called Peppermint) to make for my colleague's new baby girl - I made a larger size to fit her in the Summer.

The actual pattern is very simple. The body of the onesie is all one piece, so the only tricky bit was to attach the binding. According to Otto, the binding should be cut to about 70% of the edge length and then stretched on. But when I tested this on a scrap of the fabric it was a hot mess.

After getting some great advice from a few good sewing friends (hello girls, you know who you are!) I felt confident enough to attack the binding. I cut a huge strip of binding and stretched as I sewed - a little less on the straight bits and much more around the legs and arms. I also found using my walking foot was a big help.

When I was finished I was pretty pleased with the results. But when I went to fold the binding over and attach it to the other side, it seemed to stretch again... and I don't know why! I unpicked a few times and tried everything, but still couldn't get the result I was after.

After a few hours I decided enough was enough, and just finished the damn thing, imperfections and all. It looks okay laying flat on the table, but I suspect the neckline is too big, and maybe the legs. I also made the binding too thin, so that the snaps kind of overlap it. And the icing on the cake is that the paint flaked off some of the snaps as I was hammering them in. So I don't think this little onesie will meet it's intended recipient, I am too embarrassed and will make something else instead. If I end up having a girl I will see what it's like on her and she *may* wear it.

I am not completely turned off sewing this type of thing. It's certainly a learning experience and though I have a lot left to learn, I felt I picked up a few new skills. I'm going to attempt a few envelope tees next, as I hope they'll be a bit easier and more forgiving than a onesie like this.

I have also rediscovered Ottobre magazine during this process and am totally inspired. I have been busy tracing out lots of (mainly woven) patterns so I can get a head start on my kids' Summer sewing before this baby comes along.

The finished onesie. See how narrow the binding is? I wish I had made it wider so that the snaps fit better.

The wrap-around style is really cute, but made it hard to gauge how much to stretch the binding, especially around the legs (as it wasn't simply a matter of using the same length binding for the legs).

Hammered in the snaps and the paint flaked off to reveal a rusty snap! GAH!

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Urban Hoodie

I first bought the pattern for the Urban Unisex Hoodie (from Heidi and Finn) about a year ago now I guess. I loved it as soon as I saw it but have put off sewing it as I've never sewn with knit before.

A couple of weeks ago I bit the bullet and started two new knit projects, one of which is the hoodie, and the other I will blog about soon. And what do you know, sewing with knit isn't hard at all... unless we're talking attaching rib binding, which I'm not... in this post.

This is a great little pattern. It's a fairly simple shape and it unisex, which is a bonus in our house. I sewed this version using a couple of cheap remnants - a blue interlock and a black and grey striped rib knit.

I have read a few reviews saying that the sizing runs small in this pattern, especially around and under the arms. With that in mind I halved the seam allowance and it makes for a really nice fit on my little boy.

The only thing I didn't like about this pattern was that fact that the lining and main fabric at the bottom of the hoodie is stitched together before the band is attached. It makes it kind of clunky to sew. Apart from that, I really recommend this pattern and will be making more for my kids.

The finished hoodie. I wish I had stretched the bottom band on as I'd sewn it. I will next time.

This is the best modelling shot I could get, but you can get a pretty good idea of the fit and general look of the top here.

View from behind. I love the blue poking out from the hood. I also love that my wee boy is hugging his teddy and sucking his thumb here. At nearly two my baby thinks he is a big boy now and getting so independent. It's nice to see him slip back to baby mode once in a while!

Monday, July 4, 2011

The tea party playsuit

Nothing inspires me to sew like a friend having a baby. Baby E was born eleven days ago and is just delicious - super chubby cheeks and loads of thick, dark hair. Cluck cluck!

I decided to make him a tea party playsuit, by Oliver + S. My motives were largely selfish - I wanted to try it out as I've never sewn one before, and I already had most of the pattern pieces traced and cut from making the tea party sundress last year. I am nothing if not lazy!

This is a size 6-12 months, so intended for baby E to wear this coming (Australian) Summer. I used some of my stash of Kokka robots for the bodice, and a really lovely, super light, striped linen for the shorts. The bodice is also lined in the linen. The linen had a beautiful drape, but was so hard to work with. I swear it was alive... it just moved - my seams were all a bit uneven because of it. In the end I overlocked each piece before sewing, which gave it some stability and meant I didn't have to finish the seams post-production (again, lazy!). The piping is one of the many green Kona solids, and while I was initially worried it was too bright, I like the pop of colour it gives the playsuit.

Construction was straightforward. I used snaptape for the crotch and am pretty happy with the way it turned out. It seems kind of bulky against the light linen but I'm sure with a cute little nappied baby bum in there it will be fine. In any case the snaptape was so much easier than worrying about whether regular snaps are aligned properly.

The finished product. The left left looks wonky here but it was just the breeze - I promise :)

The bodice is lined in the same linen as the shorts, which gives a very clean finish to the inside.

Bodice detail.

The buttons, hand stitched with green floss. My initial linen covered buttons were a disaster (you could see the aluminium button through the linen on my first attempt, then when I interfaced it it wouldn't snap in on the second attempt). I didn't remember I had these buttons until I was fishing through my button box. I bought them on a trip to Hong Kong last month for the lovely Nicole, who was searching for them. If you ever are in Hong Kong, go and visit Sham Shui Po. It's home to the craft district and is absolute heaven - so many treasures at very cheap prices.