KCW – Mini Hudsons and a Flashback

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It’s Kid’s Clothes Week again!  I don’t have anything too exciting to show for day 1, but one of my goals for the week is to sew some basic play clothes that will get worn a lot this summer (and that I won’t worry about getting dirty and covered with drippy ice cream).  So, I started by rummaging through my scrap bin, and managed to piece together just enough of these fabrics to make a Flashback Tee and a pair of capri-length Mini Hudson pants.  The t-shirt is made from a super-soft Stenzo knit, and the pants from french terry.

I used Rae’s puff sleeve tutorial for the t-shirt, which I sewed in a size 5 with 6 length (my girl is stretching out these days – no more toddler chub).  Likewise the Mini Hudsons are a 5 with 6 length.  It’s possible I should have added even more length, since E always seems to have a growth spurt in the summer (must be all the sun and lake water:), but hopefully they’ll last us through September!

 

Fairy bread

In a flurry of spring-cleaning, I’ve recently been making an attempt to streamline my fabric and yarn collection.  Which of course involves shuffling around lots of piles, agonizing over half-finished projects, and getting sidetracked.  In all fairness, I did manage to reduce my yarn collection by about half (seriously, this is my oath that I am henceforth only going to buy yarn for specific projects).  While assessing the yarn situation, I started looking for projects that use small quantities of fingering-weight yarn and came across Kelly Brooker’s Fairy Bread, a sweet little girls’ shrug pattern.  And so, to reward myself for all that cleaning and organizing, I sat down and knit two shrugs in rapid succession.

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The first shrug is knit in a pinky-purple coloured Quince Finch yarn (I believe the shade is called “sorbet”).  I could go on at length about how much I love this yarn – it behaves so beautifully and the stitch definition on the twisted rib is excellent.  This is becoming my go-to fingering-weight yarn.

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The pattern is simple and seamless – it uses raglan shaping for the increases, which gives the nice eyelet detail.  I used a provisional cast-on to minimize the amount of stitches that would have to be picked up for the ribbing, but the project was sufficiently small and fun that picking up stitches (which I usually avoid) was relatively painless.  The whole thing was knit in about 200 metres of yarn.

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The second shrug is knit with light blue, variegated Fleece Artist Suri Blue (a mix of Suri alpaca and Blue Face Leicester wool), which I bought so long ago that it has been discontinued.  I wanted something with a slightly fuzzy look to it.  I don’t think this one turned out as nicely – even after blocking, the stitches are uneven and the ribbing doesn’t behave nearly as nicely as the one knit with Quince yarn.  Still, it is wearable and getting lots of love because it is fluffy like a cloud:)

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I wasn’t sure how E would take to the concept of a shrug, but it turns out that she loves them.  She’ll fling off a cardigan in no time, but the shrugs must be very comfortable because she doesn’t even seem to notice when she is wearing one.  She has been wearing these two so much that I’m planning a third, this time with longer three-quarter length sleeves.

 

Luna Pants

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A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that Rae was hosting a Luna Pantsalong, and decided it would be the perfect opportunity to make myself a pair of these oh-so-comfy looking pants.  I opted for a lightweight linen-cotton chambray which I have sewn with many times before, but never anything for myself.  I measured exactly between the extra-small and small sizes, so decided to cut the extra-small, but make them slightly bigger by adjusting my seam allowances.  Phew, I’m glad that worked out, because I didn’t make a muslin – I figured the pattern was simple enough that I could just eyeball it.  The muslin-making step is what usually prevents me from sewing anything for myself, so I just went for it.

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The finished pants are incredibly comfortable, and I am assured by a number of people, sufficiently un-pyjama-like that they can be safely worn out of the house.  I’m sure these will get a ton of wear this spring and summer, and I’m on the lookout for something light and drapey to make another pair.

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A good way to camouflage oneself in awkward pants-modelling photographs?  Use a lollipop to bribe a cute, cheeky, flamboyant, and decidedly not camera-shy child to join you in the pictures.  I could also justify her inclusion in the photos by pointing out that she’s wearing her Moon Pants, which were the inspiration for my Luna pants (yes, I was jealous of my child’s pants and wanted a pair for myself:)

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Handmade Fashion Revolution Week

 

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I’m just in time to participate in Fashion Revolution Week!  There are many reasons that I sew my daughter’s clothes, and concern for the conditions facing workers in the textile industry rates high on my list.  I admit that I occasionally look at the Joe Fresh kids’ clothes (which are the only ready-made kids clothes we have available locally where I live) and marvel at how inexpensive they are – $4 for a t-shirt?  That price includes materials, labour, shipping, and profit?  That math doesn’t add up to me.

The Fashion Revolution Organization believes “that fashion can be made in a safe, clean and beautiful way. Where creativity, quality, environment and people are valued equally”.  Since starting to sew, I’ve gained some insight into the true cost of making high-quality clothing.  I’m doing my best to commit to a less-is-more policy, and limit my clothing purchases to those that are ethically (and ideally locally) produced, using materials that are produced in an ecologically sustainable manner.

I’m linking up to Petit a Petit and Family, where there have been some great Fashion Revolution Week posts over the last few days.  Thank you for this series, and for the reminder to think about where our clothes come from (and where they go when we’re done with them!)

Springtime bunny coat

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A few months ago, a bunch of fun coats made with Big Little’s Wild Things Coat pattern started popping up in blogland.  The pattern includes all sorts of animal variations, including a bunny, which always catches my attention since my girl is bunny-crazy these days.  I mentally filed the idea away for future reference.  Then, a couple of weeks later, we attended an open house at the home of some friends who had just finished renovating.  They did a lovely job of the house, but what really caught my attention were the 200+ bolts of wool suiting piled in their loft!  Turns out they had bought out a tailor’s shop in Montreal, no they didn’t have plans for all of the fabric, and yes they would be willing to sell some.  My mind started spinning with ideas for all this lovely wool, and the idea for the Wild Things bunny coat re-emerged from the depths of my brain.

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For this coat, I went with a brownish herringbone, which on close inspection has flecks of many different colours.  I doubted that E would be as excited about the wool as I was, so I went pink for the lining – a sweet floral print with a vintage feel from Heather Ross’ Tiger Lily collection.

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I added some lace trim to the pockets, also in an attempt to pretty the coat up a bit for E, while still maintaining a refined but vintage-y feel.

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Then there was the issue of a tail, which of course every bunny needs.  The pattern suggests making a pom-pom, but I didn’t love the look for this coat, and feared it might start looking kind of ragged.  So, I decided to use a patch of lace that gives more of a suggestion of a bunny tail.

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The pattern came together very nicely – all the markings matched up, and the instructions were excellent.  The coat construction is simple but has some lovely details like the button bands and the nicely-shaped hood.

Now for some pictures of the new spring coat on a beautiful spring day!  Everything is starting to blossom, and the trees are at that perfect new-leaf spring-green stage, which also happens to be my favourite colour in the world.  E happily picked currant blossoms, while hopping around in her coat.

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A capelet and a cape

Recently, a friend approached me about sewing a cape and veil for her 6-year-old daughter (who is E’s best friend) to wear at her upcoming baptism.  She also requested that I sew it out of her wedding dress, which she swore that she had no attachment to.  After checking and re-checking that she was really OK with it, I agreed.  I then proceeded to chicken out for a couple of weeks, because it turns out that massacring someone’s wedding dress is rather nerve wracking.

Trying out the pattern, Big Little’s Children’s Unisex Cape Bundle, seemed like a good place to start.  I cut the capelet length out of some boiled wool and quilting cotton scraps to save fabric, since I mostly wanted to check the fit around the shoulders and collar.  I’m glad I did try it out first, since I could not get the collar piece to fit properly – even with all the easing and gentle stretching I could do, it just didn’t seem long enough to match up with the notches on the front piece of the cape.  I ended up adding about 1 1/2″ to the centre back of the collar to make it fit properly.  Other than that slight snafu, it came together nicely.

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I haven’t managed to get any pictures of it on a child, but E likes the capelet and has been happily wearing it.  Probably helps that she thinks I made it for her friend, and she managed to snag it for herself:)  E also likes the bunny lining, which is a Creative Thursday print from a few years ago.

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So, pattern tested out and collar piece fixed, I took a deep breath, measured five times, and cut up the wedding dress.  It was a very simple pattern to sew, but I was still worried about screwing up and cutting out two left front pieces or something.  It’s not like I could just run to the store and get more of the fabric!

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The fabric is an embroidered silk, lined with cotton lawn, which was the only fabric I could find that would be the right colour – it’s remarkably difficult to match up whites.  It has a simple loop and mother-of-pearl button for the closure.

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The only change I made to the pattern was to round off the front corners of the cape, which in the pattern are squared off for the cloak length:

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E is insanely jealous that her friend gets to wear a “queen cape”, and wants to know why she has to go to the school where they learn to speak French.  She said she would prefer to go to her friend’s school, where they learn to speak Catholic and wear fancy capes:)

A bunny skirt

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On Friday afternoon, as I cut out a pair of very practical play pants, an idea for a skirt with embroidered pockets came into my mind.  And so I temporarily abandoned the pants in favour of something much less practical, but definitely more fun.  I remembered seeing the skirt pattern several months ago (Purl Soho’s freebie “Gathered Skirt for All Ages“) and thinking that the large pockets would lend themselves well to embellishment.

I hadn’t planned on sewing along with the KCW theme “toys” this season, but when I was searching for bunny embroidery ideas, I realized that the little characters from one of our paper toys would be perfect.  The paper town is from a wonderful craft book “My Town: A Little World for You to Build” by Delphine Doreau.  It has a selection of shops, houses, and little animals to fold and glue together, including some blank ones to colour.  The illustrations are very sweet, and if you like paper-folding, I would highly recommend it!  E definitely needed help, but it was a fun activity to do together, and the town has been played with a lot.

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And so, in the end a toy did end up being my inspiration for the pocket embroidery!  One pocket of the skirt features a little bunny girl with a balloon, and the other has hearts in various pinky shades:

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I kept the embroidery very simple – it is pretty much all backstitch, with the exception of a few french knots for the flowers on the bunny’s dress.  In a completely uncharacteristic move, I used some crocheted cotton lace for trim on the pockets – I am generally not a lacy trim sort of gal, but it seemed to work on this skirt.  The pink side panels on the skirt were E’s idea, since she was not thrilled about the idea of a grey skirt.  I think it was a good compromise:)  The skirt fabric is Cloud9 Cirrus Solids in the colours ash and fuchsia – I bought mine here.  Love the feel of this fabric, and the colour selection is inspiring.

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And so, another KCW comes to an end.  I’m supposed to be getting my serger back tomorrow, so now I can declare next week KCW part 2, and sew all the things I meant to make last week!