Saturday, November 19, 2016

Wee Boy Swimming Togs

Sprog has weekly swimming lessons. He has been wearing some very cool togs that he got from his cousin, but they were getting too far gone to wear. They had rips in the back  so it was well past the time we should find him some new ones.

I looked about for new togs, but to get some cheap meant ones that were just shorts and no inbuilt undies. To get ones with inbuilt undies was much more than I was willing to pay. Mummy-made to the rescue.

I chose the Saltwater Swim Trunks from Blank Slate Patterns I've sewn patterns by Melissa before and they have always been straightforward to follow. For the fabric I bought taslon, and chose colours like the shorts that Sprog loved and worn till they died. The Saltwater Trunks come in three patterns, plain, colour-block stripes and a swoopy colour block. I drew the options on a page with the colours that I had and Sprog picked the one he liked.

I had everything cut out, ready to go, but I hadn't got around to sewing and it was the night before Sprogs next lesson. In hindsight I should have chosen the simple pattern, it would have been quicker.

I found matching the reverse curves tricky. I probably need more practice to make it really good. I've got pretty good at matching sleeves to armscye's but this is a different sort of curve matching. I had to unpick one side and try again. The integrated underpants were easier than I expected, once I remembered to cut on the fold, and not just a single layer. I topstitched a flat fold, but I always think I am better at topstitching than I am and it was a bit wonky.  In an attempt to recover the prettiness I chose a cover stitch and went over it again. I took the star stitch along the join of the two colours, and then along the top of the pocket as well.

Then it was time to match everything up. This wasn't quite perfect, and I had a mismatch at the top. I trimmed it a little, and I think I needed some of that height, but there wasn't a way I could see to make it work. Next time I make these I'll be much more careful in matching my seams so the final steps fit together better.

The elastic I left till morning, to double check them against my boys tum and bum before encasing the elastic. In a repeat I would take longer to be more careful on making the elastic casing. It was late and I was tired and it ended up bunched and narrow in places. 

The pants fit well enough and Sprog is happy. There is room in the pants to pull them up a little higher when he wears them, but the integrated undies seem to have met their limit. That is where the matching seams better would likely make things fit a little better. 

Sprog wore them to his lesson this morning, and for a good long splashabout afterwards and they were great.

Integrated undies


A Batman costume for Sprog's best friend

Sprog's best friend was turning 5. When I suggested a Batman cape for Friend, Sprog said "No Mummy, a Batman costume". Admittedly I had just finished his Catboy costume at the time.

The basic costume is the same as the ones I made for Sprog and Widget. I cut an approximate shape out for the ears, and sewed around the two longs edges. After turning them inside out I stuffed them with some of the pillow that had been killed by the cat, then topstitched about 1cm in from the edges. The combination of stuffing and topstitching held the ears nice and stiff. These I stitched to the side of the hood, using a large square at the bottom of each ear. 

Both Batman logos I traced from images I found online, The grey for his tummy was edge stitched in black at all levels. The yellow on the back was edge stiched around the bat in black and around the oval in yellow. 

The cape was a repeat of the superkid cape I did for another party. Put the two together and you have a cool present. Give that present and you have a very happy 5-year-old.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Sir Topham Hatt, The Fat Controller - Sewing a costume for Book Day

Preschool had book day a few weeks ago where kids dress up as a book character, theoretically their favorite book character. My boys missed it as they had chicken pox. Sprog was very disappointed and he was not the only one. A repeat day for the 15 kids who missed is happening this Friday. Sprog will be Paddington Bear, with an heirloom coat and a Mummy-made Hat. Widget's favourite books are the Thomas the Tank Engine series, so he's going to be Sir Topham Hatt, the Fat Controller.

I started the costume from scratch, making the Hat, a vest, the trousers, and tail coat. Since it's a one-off, or maybe two time costume I didn't want to spend too much on the fabric and bought everything from the clearance table for only a few dollars. For the patterns I used the Little Gentleman Pants and Vest, and modified the Little Gentleman Suit Jacket, from Peekaboo Patterns.

For the hat I modified the Reversible Bucket Hat from Oliver+S and made it from Black Felt. In hindsight I would probably try going from scratch as it may be less work than the modification. I cut the brim at the Small size, and the crown from the Large size. I used the side pieces of each to draw the top and bottom of the side pieces and added an inch or two between the lines and joined them up. I did the two layers to increase the stiffness, then stitched the two together around the brim.

The clothes started with the vest. The Fat Controller has a yellow vest with black buttons. I found a yellow and black striped satin. I cut both the lining of the jacket and most of the vest from the yellow satin. I ran out, so the inside fronts were made from some calico that I had leftover from something else. I finished with black snaps which blend into the stripes.

The trousers were meant to be grey, but I went with a pale blue pinstripe as it was the most suitable on the clearance table. The pants have an elastic back waistband, and a flat front. They are super quick.

The biggest challenge was the jacket for two reasons. It is a more complicated pattern, but it is also the biggest adaptation I have made to a pattern.

I started by tracing the correct sizes onto baking paper, but making sure to leave a length extending past the bottom of the back piece. I trimmed the top and sides of the back piece, and all of the front piece, then overlapped them by the seam allowance. Once overlapped I consulted my fat controller picture and shaped the front of the jacket and drew in the tails, stood back and checked, then cut them out. The last step was to extend the lining pieces as well, by superimposing the lining piece on the back piece and extending the tail.


Then it was sew, sew, sew. Even with the tails I pretty much just followed the instructions through.

The final product looked pretty cute.

Today was dress up day. The vest and pants stayed on all day. The hat was so tall it fell off pretty quick, and the jacket got too warm so it came off. He was the cutest little fat controller around. This costume will come out again in a few weeks for his Thomas Themed birthday.