Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hand knit hooded cardigan for Inky

I was sent some really luxurious, beautiful hand spun yarn to make something for Inky. It is a blend of merino wool, baby alpaca and silk. Wow! I wish I could describe how soft it is. It's amazing.
This yarn sat on my sewing table for many weeks. I kept looking at it and petting it once in a while. It needed to be used up as much as possible without waste. I was sent a full 50g and a partial 50g. I wasn't sure what to do with it so I did what I usually do and I waited for it to "speak" to me.
I had been knitting a hat last week and I got it past the fair isle bit and the seamless joining of two layers when I discovered it was going to be a bit tight. It had to be frogged :( I needed a different project to clear my head over the loss of that work and that is when Inky's yarn spoke to me. Loud and clear. I normally knit doll garments from sock yarn so none of my usual patterns would work for this. I had to make it up as I went. I knit  a guage swatch, did a few calculations and came up with this. I used nearly every inch of the yarn.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

and now for something completely different...

Most of the parents at school wear a full snowsuit or snow pants on the playground. Standing around while the kids play can get really cold here in the prairies. I dislike snow pants but I appreciate warm legs so I came up with these today. So far just a prototype, but still very functional. The inner layer is polar fleece from a bag of unwanted fabrics a friend gave me. The outside is a recycled T-shirt and sandwiched in the middle is PUL, which is wind/water proof. I put some embroidery on the side to jazz them up a little and I'm quite pleased. I took them out for a test run today and they are really warm. No wind gets through them and the polar fleece is a good insulating layer. They close up the back with resin snaps which are very easy to close. I've got plans for a fancy pair with proper spat boot covers at the bottom and they will go right up to the tops of my thighs. The snaps on those will be at the sides instead of u p the back. The truth is I put the embroidery on this first pair too far towards the middle and rather than have embroidery on my knees I just did the snaps up the back. These ones go to mid thigh which will be fine until -20, but the next pair should keep me comfortable even in -40 plus lots of wind which we do see here.

More doll sewing is coming, plus a bit of knitting for holiday gifts. I needed to get these done this morning so the boys could go sledding after school tomorrow. Thanks for looking!

Friday, November 19, 2010

A late Halloween tidbit and some jammies for little hands.

Things were very busy here for a while, I apologize for not updating. I assure you I've been sewing though!
First up is this little witch hat that I made with my embroidery machine. Yes, I made the lace pieces and assembled a witch hat out of thread!
Luckily I took a picture of it still in pieces so you can see how it works. The embroidery design is from Urban Threads, they are my favorite! It's a huge embroidery, it took about 6 hours if I remember correctly. I made it in time for Halloween but I didn't get a chance to blog about it. It is three pieces that are hand stitched together. Making lace on the embroidery machine is a really cool thing. The design is stitched onto a water soluble stabilizer. Once the design is done I soak the piece in water and all that is left is thread. How awesome is that? There are some great holiday designs for making ornaments and tree toppers etc.
Here is a finished picture. I put on some ribbon trim and a feather.
And the other side. I had visions of making Ivy a Halloween dress and leggings to go with but the dress will have to wait for next year. I did get her leggings made, but those will be a surprise for next year with the whole outfit.

My oldest son had his 7th birthday shortly before Halloween. I made him a new outfit to celebrate in. This is an Oliver+S pattern, of course. It's the Nature walk pullover and pants, size 7. I made several of these pants for both boys. The shirts are really cool, the front panel on the bottom is a big kangaroo pocket. Very handy for Lego.

A while back a local mom asked me to make her little ones some pajamas and robes for their dolls this holiday season. I finished her order this week and here it is. She gave me a bag of things to potentially recycle and between her bag and my fabric closet I came up with some relatively coordinated sets. The dolls her girls have are called Earth Friends. They are really cute soft dolls made from recycled materials. I modified my patterns to fit these dolls. Their proportions are different from 18" dolls but I think these will fit their 14" Earth Friends nicely. I made the collars quite wide and the sleeves wide too, to accommodate their hands and necks. I put aplix (like velcro) on the backs of the shirts for easy dressing. The robes are very simple, they each have a pocket and the ties are sewn at the center back of the robe. The pants have elastic waists and everything is machine washable for years of durable clean play. The shirts are upcycled t-shirts and the robes used to be adult pajama pants. The pants are made with fabrics from my stash.

Thanks for looking, have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A toasty hat for Julie

We had a really warm Thanksgiving weekend here in Manitoba. Unusually warm, people were wearing shorts and sandals. Last year we had snow on Thanksgiving weekend. I'm working on a neat doll Halloween costume right now but I wanted to share this little hat today. It was originally for a custom order but the deal fell through. Julie has since claimed this hat as her own, I love it on her! That button up plaid shirt is available if anyone is interested, just send me a note and we'll work out a deal.

It's 100% merino sock wool. 3 colors, this is not self striping. The pattern is my own.

I put a tiny edge all around it after the ear flaps were put on. This helps to unify the look and give it a professional finish. Thanks for looking!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

1 shirt, lots of pictures.

This is a custom shirt, part of an outfit I am working on this week. I drafted the pattern with the little details my client asked for.
 It has a lined back yoke and working buttons.

The cuffs close with hand sewn snaps. The thread tails are always concealed when I put in snaps.

I can't get this picture to be horizontal. I have no idea why. The back has a pleat in it for ease and realism.

 I curved the hem line to make it a little bit feminine and avoid that boxy look.

View from the back. I love that little pleat.

The sleeves can be rolled up and held in place with little tabs. This is also a working button.

Same on the left sleeve.

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fall is definitely here. Coat for my son, part 1.

I took a little break from doll sewing this week. The weather has turned cool, which means fairly cold early in morning when my second grader heads out on his bike to school. He's grown quite a lot since spring and he needed a warmer jacket to wear.  I've had a pair of really cozy brown brushed cord pants in my "to recycle" pile for a while. I bought them for husband at the end of 2009 and he promptly lost 40 lbs so they had very little wear. I loved the feel of the fabric so I put them in my pile to wait for the perfect project. I'd been wanting to make my son a rain coat like little brother's but it seemed silly to do that this late in the season. I'll make that for him later in size 8. Last weekend one of the moms from the playground left 2 bags of fabric for me on my doorstep. What a treat to come home to! She cleaned out her sewing cabinet and I was the lucky recipient. There is some great stuff in those bags and 3 pieces were destined to become part of this coat. This is part 1 of the coat.  The brown is what used to be the pair of pants, mens' size 40. The light brown cord is a scrap from my friend Karen at the playground. There was just barely enough of that. The plaid was purchased for the raincoat but used for this warmer coat instead.

I think Aunt Millie from Kit's stories would be pretty pleased with this jacket. The buttons are from a little container of extras my mom gave me a few years ago. The sleeves are pieced together, a lot.  I satin stitched over the edge of the applique. I really like how the grain comes together at a right angle. The sleeves are symmetrical, I made up for the length with the contrast fabric.

The back yoke is heavily pieced together. There are 7 scraps sewn together to make this piece. I even used the little change pocket and the piece behind that from the original pants. I used a satin stitch on two areas here as well.

Part 2 is a quilted wool vest that buttons into this jacket. I need to buy some 1/4" elastic so that will have to wait. Next I will finish the snaps for Colette's order and start a custom skate boarding outfit.  After that I won't be taking customs for a while.  My kids need pants and I need to put the finishing touches on the small stack of things for my etsy that will be up and running soon :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

For Colette, part 2

Colette sent me a couple of shirts to recycle into outfits. I'm only going to show this one because I think the other is a surprise for someone. I'm babysitting today and he's sleeping so I'll just post a couple of pictures.  This is a polo dress made from a stretchy knit with a crisp woven collar. I borrowed Dolldud's collar and placket pattern pieces from the free pattern at Liberty Jane, but I had to lengthen the collar pieces quite a bit to fit my dress bodice pattern. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

For Colette, part 1 of 2 plus some embroidery.

Colette asked me to make her a few things, and I've finished the first part. These are all upcycled T-shirts. Some from shirts that she mailed to me and some from my stash.  I love upcycling clothing, the comfort of knowing the fabrics aren't going to bleed onto the dolls limbs is very reassuring.  One of the shirts was a super stretchy rib knit, very difficult to work with. I did my best but the hem is a tiny bit flared on the mushroom brown shirts. I steamed the daylights out of it with my iron and it's as good as I can make it.  Colette has certain plans for some of these shirts, I chose threads to complement those.

All of the shirts at a glance.

The light blue, it's not this light in person..

The plain mushroom brown shirt.

Deep dark blue.

Coral pink V-neck.

Mushroom brown with yellow contrast stitching.

I bought a few embroidery designs from I'm very happy with these, they stitch out nicely and are quite unique. 
First is a little monster for my son's school shirt, sorry about the flash.

A shirt for my husband to wear to his Dungeons and Dragons game tonight.  He plays regularly with friends.

Thanks for looking!  Watch for part 2 of Colette's order later this week.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I should be making supper, but here's a few pictures...

...for your dining pleasure. 

I've been very busy sewing lately. Mostly on something for my son but I managed to squeeze in two embroidered shirts for Katie. She liked the original triceratops T  I made and asked if I could make her one in a dark blue. She also wanted a T-rex shirt for her daughter. Here they are! Sorry it took me an extra day Katie, the grass finally dried out and I had to mow between demands of kids.

This is the rain coat I've been working on for a few days. It's likely the most labor intensive garment I've ever made. There are 39 pieces of fabric in this. Yes, 39. plus hours of hand stitching. I still need to stitch the lining into one sleeve cuff and the bottom hem but my little guy was happy to pose for pictures. I was preparing myself for total rejection from him as I was making this. He's tough to please but thank goodness he loves it. He declared he would sleep in it and hang it in his closet the first time her tried it on.  It should keep him dry too, the blue outer is PUL which is a laminated knit fabric.  Tough to work with? Oh yes...very much so, but I love the results.  I'd love one for myself. I hope Oliver + S will make patterns for women's wear. That would be awesome.

Thanks for looking!  More doll stuff is coming, I just need to finish a Molly outfit I've been working on and I'll have lots of customs in the next week to show you.