Saturday, 23 August 2014

Perfect Pattern Parcel: BOYS!

Hey guys! Guess what! This is your boys' lucky week! Today (and for the next few weeks) I'll be showing you some rad things I have made from the Perfect Pattern Parcel's latest offering: BOYS! Real quick before I show you all the epic that is before you, I just need to let you know that the links directing you to the Pattern Parcel website from my blog are a sort of affiliate link, meaning if you purchase a parcel through my blog then I will be getting an entry into winning some fabric. And since I use mostly second hand fabric some nice new stuff would be AMAZING! It's a really nice little incentive that the Dorseys have given us bloggers, I mean not that sewing up patterns isn't fun enough! Thanks Dorseys!

Pattern Parcel #4

Yeh I can't even with this awesome parcel right now! There's 6 really fantastic patterns, both nice basic patterns you can build a wardrobe from, as well as the bonus pattern which is the Knight Hoodie. I don't know how many times you would make a knight hoodie but I have plans on making them for FOUR amazing little boys in my life. It's one of those patterns that is just totally awesome!

Pattern Parcel #4 includes:
Maxwell Top by Shwin Designs
Zippy Jacket by Blank Slate Patterns
Schoolboy Vest by Sew Much Ado
Small Fry Jeans by Titchy Threads
Jet Pack Bag by Betz White

So want to see what I made? I stitched up two Maxwells and a pair of Small Fries!

The first Maxwell was pretty easy, because I was resizing a denim shirt that used to be my dad's. I just did all the buttons up on the shirt, then placed the front pattern piece over the shirt and cut it out. I did the same with the sleeves and that was basically it! Once I had the pieces cut out I just stitched the sleeves back onto the new armholes, zipped up the sides and hemmed the bottom. The front breast pockets are obviously designed to sit much higher on a man's shirt, but on Vincent they're at a fun level that doesn't actually look too ridiculous!

It was pretty easy! However the second Maxwell I made was a bit more trickier! Now the Maxwell Top pattern is one of those patterns you really need to read the instructions are you're sewing. Since I've sewn quite a few button up shirts in my past (mostly mens bowling shirts!) I am used to doing things a certain way, and I did get a bit frustrated in some parts of this pattern, but really when I look at the finished product I really love it. I'm quite pleased that I took the time to follow each step exactly, instead of my usual "I'm going to change everything about this!" that I seem to be busting out a lot lately! Really, there's nothing wrong with being a guerilla improv seamstress, however sometimes it's just nice to sit down and sew a pattern and have the results be as you saw in the photo!

The Maxwell Top pattern is designed by Shwin Designs, and I've become accustomed to the steps not being in the way that I would do them, but if I just shut up and follow the instructions the results are always pretty good! I used a red and orange plaid that I got from the op shop (seriously if it's a plaid it's MINE), it's almost a flanno although not quite, so the inside is quite warm and soft. The thing with plaids is that I LOVE matching up the patterns on side seams and other seams, so I had a good time matching it all up and using every skerrick of the scraps that I had to make it all work out. I really love the front button tab, and while the front facing was done differently than I am used to I really like the end result. Everything just fit together.

Okay I know I was saying that following the instructions is good, but I couldn't help myself! I did change some bits! This includes the back yoke, which I added a separate 'flap' sort of thing. I told Vincent it was an upside down pocket and he's obsessed with it. It's just a small design feature you can use to make your boyswear just that little bit unique and different without being too dramatic!

Another little change I made was that I added a strip of red inside the sleeves as reverse cuffs, so he could roll them a little and there'd be that little pop of contrast colour. The red comes from a pair of women's pants that I would love to rock out when I am like, 89 or something. However instead i hacked into the hems of them and made them into sleeves for the Vincenz.

I really enjoyed every little detail in making this shirt, although at the time I was like "this is not fun" I'm on another learning curve with my sewing, and I haven't sewn a button-up shirt since Vin was like 9 months old. I know I am trying to finesse my skills, skills I know I have but that I am too impatient to take the time to do things properly.

And the unsung hero of this shoot has got to be those shorts! Yeh, I made them too! They are the second pair of XXL mens Dickies that found their way into my possession so I made them into a pair of Small Fry Skinnie Shorts for the main man. They have a half fly instead of a zippered fly, and they are in the size 4 which fits this slender boy so well! He loves them. It's almost shorts weather!

So with the Perfect Pattern Parcel, it's a little different than other bundles (I love all their unique qualities!), in that you get the entire parcel of patterns, but YOU GET TO CHOOSE HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO PAY FOR IT. Which I think is amazing and just so good. If you decide to pay $26 or over you get to unlock the bonus pattern which is the Knight Hoodie. I think it's well and truly worth it, since all the patterns together are retail of $49!

Buy Pattern Parcel #4

Check out all the other amazing bloggers who will be showcasing their best for this bundle (yeh you'll see me a few times there because I want to sew ALL THE THINGS!)

Friday, August 22
casa crafty || Lulu & Celeste || Keep Calm and Carrion

Saturday, August 23
Max California || Amanda Rose

Sunday, August 24
little betty sews

Monday, August 25
Kadiddlehopper || Radiant Home Studio

Tuesday, August 26
La Pantigana || Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts || Friends Stitched Together

Wednesday, August 27
Make It Perfect || Modern Handmade || GYCT Designs

Thursday, August 28
Needle and Ted || Mae & K || Mimi's Mom

Friday, August 29
Pienkel || Once Upon a Sewing Machine || Friends Stitched Together

Saturday, August 30
FABulous Home Sewn || Gray Skies || The Crazy Tailor

Sunday, August 31
Nine Stitches || Max California || Oliver's Fancy || Friends Stitched Together

Monday, September 1
a happy stitch || lady and the gents || Our Family Four || Swoodson Says
Tuesday, September 2
verypurpleperson || Things for Boys || The Crazy Tailor

Wednesday, September 3
Our Family Four || Rebekah Sews || a happy stitch

Thursday, September 4
Sew a Straight Line || la inglesita || Made by Sara || Knot Sew Normal

Friday, September 5
Knot Sew Normal || Gracious Threads || Sofilantjes || Max California

I want to give a HUGE shoutout to my son Vin, because he is an excellent model for me and understands when I need him to pull it together and not muck about too much while I try and grab a few snaps. His maturity level when I need him to 'step up' is amazing and he's such an incredible little human. I'm just really fortunate he's in my life and I work so hard to be the mother that he deserves. He's epic. I love you Vin 

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Bundle Up: In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night

No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil's might,
Beware my power, Green Lantern's Light!

My husband is a MEGA Green Lantern fan, and although originally I didn't intend to do an outfit inspired by good old GL it evolved that way and I couldn't be more stoked! I was contacted a few months ago by the girls over at Pattern Revolution (half of the brains behind the concept is my good friend Suzanne that I met when competing against her in Project Run & Play!) to take part in their latest Bundle Up! tour. It's good news, really good news, because there are actually two very awesome and very different boy pattern bundles going down at the end of this month!

I got to sew up two of the twelve available patterns you can choose to bundle up, and I chose the P51 Flyer Jacket by Terra's Treasures and the Butler Britches by Brownie Goose. When I saw the patterns I felt like I had made a big mistake. I mean seriously that jacket is all sorts of EPIC and although I have sewn four motorcycle-style jackets in my time (two for me, two for Vin) they were ones I designed, so in my head I knew where all the pattern pieces were supposed to go and what it was supposed to look like. I also thought I'd screwed up with the Butler Britches because if you're a long time reader of this blog then you know my son Vincent is obsessed with his style being a certain way. Hair slicked down like 'Blondecai'...

...and pants so skinny tight they could probably cut off the circulation to his legs. As you can see the Butler Britches are wide-legged! I was like, "oh no I've made a terrible mistake" as I stitched them up, but you know what? He's wearing them right now out to a show with his dad (Wombat Stew); the pants have been in existence for a bit over 24 hours and he's worn them twice now. YAY!

So can I show you the details of both of these great patterns? I can? Sweet! Let's start with the pants!

We had to take the photos on two different days because it has been FREEZING this week. Like ice cold baby! The sunshine is so lovely but as usual, very deceptive and the wind is bone-chilling! Of course Vincent wore his pants for the rest of the afternoon of our first shoot and there is a drip of chocolate or something on them just in time for his second shot :,) (I don't actually know what it is because we don't have chocolate in the house?)

The Butler Britches are a wide-legged pant with rad cuffs that button up. I kept mine all black, because the little dude needs more plain-coloured pants in his wardrobe, and instead of the loop that goes from the top of the cuff up to the button I just stitched the button directly onto the cuff (lookout guys, we've got a sewing rebel over here!). I sewed these up in the size 4, although you can see that the legs should be a little shorter. Even though he's not absurdly tall for his age, he does have long legs. In future I would sew up the size 4 with a size 3 length leg. Totally not the pattern's fault though you guys because she DID say to try them on the kid so that they're not too long and make the cuffs look wonky! My bad!

They have a rad little butt pocket, there's two options you can choose from and you can put two on the back or just one like I did. I really, really, love this pocket! It's so unique! Expect to see that on many more future pants of Vincent's (and maybe on t-shirts too!).

The best part about these pants for Vin? Yeh, the cuffs double as the ALL IMPORTANT LEGO POCKET!

Such a model...

Okay okay, the jacket? I know you want me to talk about this too because COME ON! It's Green Lantern, it's a motorcycle vest and I slaved away on that thing for DAYS. DAYS you guys. AND SOME NIGHTS TOO. I'm totally proud of how it all came together and when I showed the little dude his eyes were as big as SAUCERS.

Now as I mentioned before, I'm no stranger to sewing motorcycle inspired jackets. I made myself two way back in my life before kiddos, and I made vin two, one of which he rocked out during Project Run & Play! So theoreticaly I know how they go together, I know what's involved, and I know it's a time consuming, labour intensive but TOTALLY rewarding sew!

 I think I glossed over it before, but I was diagnosed with ADD when I was pregnant with Edison, and just -knowing- that I have something going on with my attention span makes me feel so much less of a weirdo. Still, I like to pretend it's because I'm a creative mad scientist! However, sewing is something I can focus on, if I can see that I'm getting results fairly quickly (this is probably why crocheting and knitting is hard for me!). I spent two days and a late night sewing this baby up, and I can say it is my favourite thing I have sewn to date!!

The original jacket is made of leather and lined with sherpa fleece, but as usual when I see line drawings I see them as colouring in pages and I ALWAYS colour outside of the lines :,) (was that a totally weird analogy? Let's just go back to calling me a sewing rebel!) So I decided I wanted to make a motorcycle jacket instead of the aviator-style jacket pictured on the pattern. I also knew I wouldn't be making it out of leather!

I'm not sure what sparked it, probably because I've been in Sew Geeky mode since this month the theme is Marvel Vs DC and all I can think about is superheros (oh wow really? Like I'm pretending I don't always think about super heroes :,) ) So there's a Green Lantern maybe not all of you are familiar with (in fact there's hundreds), but the one I'm talking about is one of the GL's assigned to Sector 2814: Earth! This is the third Green Lantern, or Fourth depending on what arc you're reading, and his name is Guy Gardner. Now I'm not really the biggest fan of Guy. I think he's a bit of a jerk but he's got to be pretty amazing to get to be a Green Lantern so I am reserving judgement!

As you can see I didn't copy his motorcycle vest exactly, but took elements of it for inspiration! I moved the Green Lantern symbol to the back sort of like a back patch. I freezer paper stencilled the green lantern symbol onto some white fabric then stitched it on. I kept a lot of the white accents off the jacket, but the small facing piece I made it white and I wasn't sure it would look alright but I took that leap of faith I should be familiar with by now and added it in instead of making it plain black. I love it.

It wasn't until I was almost done that i realised I had no idea how to sew the armholes. There's several ways you can sew armholes in lined garments, but I hadn't thought it through and most of them involved leaving the shoulders or the hem opn: both of which were firmly sewn shut with design elements added already to them! So I made some bias binding from the scraps of the green broadcloth I used for his jacket and bound the armholes. They worked out so much better than I hoped!

Modifications to the original pattern
- left the sleeves off
- took 1cm off the armhole both at the shoulder and the armpit (this is standard procedure for turning sleeved things sleeveless!)
- added a backpatch!
- left off the waist tabs
- sewed everything in reverse because my fabric didn't have a wrong side (not recommended. this was not intentional ahah)

Want to see the inside? It's actually my favourite part so hold onto your hats because Vincent is about to show you (very dramatically). Ya ready?


I freezer paper stencilled the start of the Green Lantern oath onto the inside waistband piece, which took a long time but once again: worth it!. Once the jacket was all together I also topstitched the green lantern on the backpatch, knowing that it would be a really cool outline on the inside of the jacket! I was totally right. There's also a small green lantern fabric patch way up there on the shoulder. Yeh that's when I sewed the lining wrong, tried to rip out my stitches and ended up ripping the fabric. Good job Ari, Good job.

Details of the Bundle Up Sale:
The sale runs from August 22-29, and you can buy a minimum of 6 patterns at a really reduced price (I think each pattern is marked downlike 50%), but you can totally buy more patterns in the bundle and the more you buy the cheaper it gets! Woo! Head over here to check out all the patterns. You get to choose which ones you want, there is 12 to choose from!

If you're into boy sewing as much as I am, or maybe you just need some inspiration, check out the following blogs who are also on this tour:

Want to see my other Green Lantern outfits? Check out the Green Lantern tag. For more nerdy creations there is also the Batman, Star Wars and Sew Geeky tags!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Summer of No Pants: Now in 90s flavour!

Hey guys! I'm really excited to be part of another 'pants off' series this season! I mean, I love my leggings but wearing skirts and dresses is something I'm starting get the hang of!

Today I'm going to show you guys this hilarious thing I found out the op-shop a few years ago. I was all heart-eyes over the acid-wash denim, and I made a few pairs of kids shorts out of the voluminous skirts. I have trawled through my photos to try and find a photo of it but there's so many photos and I couldn't see it :(

It was floor length.

Acid-washed denim, but modest. I can't even! It was so hideous, my goodness!

So after repurposing mass amounts of this dress thing, I was left with this top part and then last year I was suddenly struck with desperately needing to wear it.

I went to see 5ive you guys. With my sister. It was the best time I've had seeing a band in a really long time, and since it was a throw back to our teenage years we thought we would dress as a throwback to how others were dressing at that time. Okay so notice I didn't say -we- were dressing like this? Hello no, in the 90s I was super duper not a fashionable person at all.

my dad was giving us a curfew :B
So I made us 5ive shirts, and then left my sister's one at home so being the awesome big sis I am I let her wear mine! Anyway in the years that I've had this hilariously ugly overall skirt thingy I somehow lost the original straps for it! So I had to make some news one from some of the scraps of the skirt, and then I cut the whole skirt even which made it pretty short! Seems to be a theme here? Ari and her inappropriate length dresses! 

I don't wear it that often, because it's super short and doesn't really work well with my school drop-off and pick up routine, however I love it SO much! It's probably my favourite skirt/dress combination! Do you have anything in your cupboard you love but wouldn't part with? Have you seen anything really grotesque on your thrifting adventures and then suddenly fallen in love with it the longer it's been in your possession?

Go check out the other Summer of No Pants adventures here!

Yeh dangerous territory here I know!

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