KCW Spring ’14: Striped Top Clamdiggers

KCW Spring 14 Clamdiggers by fromwholecloth

My spring Kids Clothes Week sewing went all the way through Sunday night, and then a little bit of “corrective” sewing spilled over to this morning. The KCW challenge is supposed to last for a full seven days – Monday through Sunday – but I’ll admit I’m not always good at putting in my KCW sewing hours over the weekend. Sometimes it’s because I’ve sewn like crazy during the week and feel satisfied that I’ve accomplished my personal KCW goals, other times I’m just ready for a break because the sewing didn’t go as planned, and then still other times life has different plans and the weekends end up hectic and without much time to sneak in some sewing.

These short pants (which were originally envisioned as shorts and turned into these “clamdigger” length pants) came out exactly as I had hoped they would. I am particularly happy that my stripes lined up; the striped fabric was a bit slippery so I pinned it like mad to keep everything in place. My inspiration was drawn from this photo I saw on Pinterest and pinned to my KCW Planning board. I used Made by Rae’s Parsley Pants pattern as the base for these pants. While Eli would typically wear a size 5T in the Parsley Pants pattern, because I was using stretchy knit fabric for these pants, I used the size 4T pattern to compensate for the fabric choice. Using Rae’s tutorial on how to make shorts from a pants pattern, I altered the pattern for the shorter length. I also needed to modify the pattern to allow for the two different fabrics (the striped top and the solid bottom). I handled this modification the way you typically would to insert colorblocking in a pattern. Lastly, I added elastic to the bottom hems. The knit fabrics were both purchased from Girl Charlee online.

KCW striped top clamdiggers by fromwholecloth

KCW striped clamdiggers by fromwholecloth

As happy as I am with the end result, I have a KCW confession to make — these pants took way, way, way longer to make than they should have! The pants were not technically difficult and I’ve used the Parsley Pants pattern enough times to feel comfortable with it. Instead, this KCW Spring project was befallen by certain filial distractions and my own perfectionism. Thankfully both the pants and I have lived to tell the tale!

KCW clamdiggers by fromwholecloth

KCW clamdiggers by fromwholecloth

I started the pants on Saturday during what was supposed to be naptime. Daisy napped. Eli did not. But I was obstinately intent on sewing. If we were watching an episode of Thomas the Tank Engine, this is when the narrator would announce, “And then there was trouble.” I convinced Eli it would be fun to help his dad with spring cleaning in the yard, but that only lasted long enough for me to modify the pattern and cut my fabric. By the time I was sitting down at the sewing machine, he was sitting in my sewing studio, asking a million questions and touching everything he could reach. My sewing room is typically off limits to the kids, so this was causing me to sweat. But did I stop sewing?? Nope. Well, not until I realized that in my distraction I had sewn the striped top portion upside down onto the bottom half. Grrrrr… So, it was back to the cutting table, because I was determined not to pick out all the stitches.  At that point I decided to lengthen the pants legs to just below the knee. I love this clamdigger length on boys’ pants. I think it works perfectly for spring and summer, and I’m glad I made the change to lengthen these. (How’s that for finding the silver lining!?)

I picked up the project again on Sunday and it was smooth sailing until at the very end I decided I didn’t like the way some of the waistband stitching looked. In my first version some of the stitching appeared on the white portion of the striped fabric and some on the black portion. Although the seam was straight, it ended up looking sloppy because the line was visible in some parts but not in others. And so, as much as I sincerely despise ripping stitches out of knit fabric, I ripped out the entire waistband seam (zigzagged stiches, no less — ugh!). Let’s just say that’s an hour of my life I won’t be getting back! By then it was late, I was annoyed, and thankfully made the decision to go to bed and re-do the waistband casing this morning! Today’s efforts resulted in a much cleaner waistband seam. Even though it was completely annoying to pick out a million little stitches, if I hadn’t fixed it, it would have made me insane to look at the messy seam every time Eli wore these pants. (Who am I kidding? I probably wouldn’t have let him wear the pants if I hadn’t fixed that seam!!)

KCW clamdiggers by fromwholecloth

Seam neuroses aside, I had a fun Kids Clothes Week. I just may not be able to look at my seam ripper for a week or so.


KCW Spring ’14: Woodland Leggings and Knit Cardigan

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More Kids Clothes Week spring sewing. And more comfy knits that proved perfect for the park today.

Leggings details:

Fabric: Jay Cyn Designs for Birch Organics, knit, purchased from Fabricworm

Pattern: Go To Patterns leggings pattern, size 2T

Cardigan details:

Fabric: knit interlock from Jo-Anns

Pattern: Slouchy Cardigan by heidiandfinn, size 2T, modified with shorter cuff

WoodlandLeggings

The leggings were inspired by a post on the winthrop chronicles about leggings that the author, Sarah, made her daughter. I had been coveting this knit fabric on the Fabricworm site and musing about what to make with it. When I saw the leggings Sarah made, my mind was made up and I just had to have this fabric. Birch Organics has such wonderful woven and knit fabrics, and I especially love the designs by Jay Cyn Designs. I previously used a different design for a birthday girl’s horse skirt. Daisy and I have been playing “I Spy” with these leggings, trying to identify all the woodland animals it features.

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The knit was very easy to sew, probably because it is not very stretchy and is a nice thick cotton that doesn’t slip when sewing. The size 2T in this leggings pattern is still slightly big on Daisy. I think the fabric will actually show a bit better when the fit is more snug.

Mom Cardigan

In a nod to KCW’s theme of “Mini Me”, the cardigan I made Daisy was inspired by the cardigan I wear all the time. All. The. Time. I recall when I purchased it in early 2009. I was in J.Crew looking for some clothes for an upcoming trip to St. Thomas with dear friends. I loved the cardigan (it’s a medium weight french terry) but thought it seemed pricey for what is essentially a sweatshirt. My husband convinced me to buy it, and I can unequivocally say I have gotten my money’s worth! It has served me well.

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There is also another aspect of “Mini Me” to this cardigan. The fabric comes from a knit dress I made myself that was a HUGE miss. I accidentally purchased the knit dress pattern in the wrong size, then accidentally ripped it when opening the package (rendering it unable to be returned), and was too cheap to repurchase the pattern in the correct size. So, I tried scaling the pattern to my size, and it didn’t work — at all.  It was reminiscent of a hospital gown or a muumuu. At least I was able to reuse the fabric, although I wish I had taken a picture before cutting it up! The only problem is that I did not have enough fabric to cut one straight piece for the wide binding that runs along the cardigan. I actually had to piece three separate cuts together for the requisite 54 inch binding, and that resulted in an obvious and annoying seam on the left side of the binding at about chest level. Hence the little fuschia rectangle I attached in an attempt to cover the seam and add a little flair. Kind of a weak fix, but better than having to stare at that misplaced seam!

It was my first time using the cardigan pattern, and I liked it a lot. It was a relatively quick and easy project, with good instructions.

Daisy seemed really comfortable in her new clothes. She did, however, keep trying to button or close the cardigan front. I had to keep explaining that this sweatshirt does not close. Once she started running around the park, she didn’t give it another thought.

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Two more days left in KCW. I’m not sure what’s up next for me. But my son is definitely quite aware that so far I have sewn for only Daisy. I may be guilted into making him some sweatpants after all.


KCW Spring ’14: Reptile Pants

Basic black pants?

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Guess again.

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Holy slithering stretch pants, Batman!

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This is my first contribution to Kids Clothes Week Spring 2014. In keeping with the Kids Clothes Week theme of “Mini Me”, I fashioned these pants for my daughter out of a knit shirt from my closet.

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I think I wore this shirt all of three times. I scored it off the sale rack at Ann Taylor years ago, with the thought that it would be something a little funky to pair with a more conservative suit back in my lawyering days. It never worked just right though. It was calling out to be reborn as pants for Daisy.

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She is fascinated by the snake print. “Am I a snake, Mommy?”

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I used the basic toddler sweatpants pattern by brindilleandtwig as my starting point. The pattern is super easy and lends itself well to modifications. It is a two piece pattern (one piece for the pant front and one for the pant back), which I thought would best accommodate using different fabrics for the front and back of these pants.

I cut the legs slimmer than the pattern calls for to achieve the style I had in mind. I also cut the front piece narrower than the back, so that the black fabric curves a bit more to the front.  The solid black fabric on the back of the legs is ponte roma from Jo-Ann’s. It doesn’t have a great deal of stretch, but the snake print fabric is a rayon/spandex blend that is super stretchy.

These pants are definitely different from anything in her closet. I’m happy with how they turned out — although I don’t have a clue what shoes to pair with them! I was initially concerned the snake print might be too precocious for a two-year old, but paired with her toddler belly these pants are way more amusing than sassy.

Reptile Pants

kid's clothes week


Kids Clothes Week Spring 2014: Planning Process

Let the spring sewing begin! Kids Clothes Week Spring 2014 has arrived.

kid's clothes week

I have not sat down at the sewing machine yet today, or even cut into a bit of fabric. I have at least selected fabrics and a couple patterns for my to-do list. I’m getting the feeling it might be more of a wishful thinking kind of to-do list. We’ll see how much I accomplish. Most of my sewing is for my children anyway, so it is like a year-long Kids Clothes Week around here.

Since I don’t have any completed sewing projects to reveal today, I thought I might at least reveal my hopes for this KCW and a bit of my planning process. If you’re itching to see some homemade greatness, you can check out the kids clothes week blog to see what others have revealed on day one: kcw april 2014.

This is the first KCW to have a theme — “Mini Me”.  The thought is that participants will sew something for their child(ren) that is based on an outfit of their own, or repurpose some of their adult clothing into something for their child, etc. No hard rules, very open to interpretation.

Honestly, the theme had me stumped for a bit. First, I wasn’t particularly keen on having a mini me following me around. I’m not that big into the matchy-matchy thing between my two children, and have never even considered doing it with my child. Second, I really like my children to dress like kids, not like little adults. But then I took a big ol’ chill pill and decided I was being waaaay too literal about the theme.

Since motherhood, I feel like I’ve pretty much shoved fashion out of my wardrobe and replaced it with comfort. So much easier to maneuver around the park, or scoot around in the playroom, or dance and sing in our mom & me music class when I’m dressed comfortably and not worried about my clothes. At the same time, it’s also kind of depressing how uncool my clothing choices have become … but that’s a topic for another day. Back to KCW – I’ve decided my take on the “Mini Me” theme is to create some items for my children that are as comfortable as my favorite, go-to comfy clothes.

My goals for sewing for Daisy this KCW: comfy leggings or knit pants, and a comfy cardigan. I have an old knit shirt that I may try to incorporate into the pants. For the cardigan, I plan on using the Slouchy Cardigan pattern by heidiandfinn; it has similar lines to a cardigan that I wear all the time.

My goals for sewing for Eli this KCW: [blank]. Yikes. I feel like I haven’t sewn him anything in quite a while. He has been asking for some sweatpants, so perhaps I can work that into this week.

In terms of process, I have no genius insight to share. Typically I use KCW to focus on what is missing from or would nicely compliment what my kids already have in their closets. The “Mini Me” theme muddles that a bit for me this time around. I do enjoy sketching out ideas for sewing projects. I am no artist when it comes to drawing, but it helps me to visualize my intended end result, walk through the various steps in constructing the garment, determine what patterns might be most helpful, and consider different features to play around with or embellishments to add to an item.

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If all goes as planned, later this week I’ll be able to turn the sketch above into an actual pair of pants. Voila – sewing magic!