Monday, October 28, 2013

Life Cycle Of A Butterfly

It starts with a tiny egg, attached to a leaf.

 Next, a tiny caterpillar hatches and begins to eat, starting with the leaf she was attached to.

She eats. And grows. 

And eats.  And grows.  And eats some more.

Did I mention she EATS?

Soon, the caterpillar turns in to a chrysalis.  She appears to be resting, but really there are big changes going on.  
Guess what happens next?

A beautiful baby butterfly emerges!

 There's a little science lesson for you.  Baby Jane makes quite a cute little caterpillar/butterfly, doesn't she?

I've been up to my ears in cheapo poly fleece this past week.  There's nothing better than making a costume for a baby.  I figured I better go ahead and start the tradition- a handmade Halloween costume for my sweet little bub every year.  I'll certainly be able to keep that up, right?!  Riiiiiggggghhht.

The idea for this costume started with Jane's sleep sack.  She sleeps in these wearable blankets, basically a sack with armholes and a zipper up the front.  The idea is that she won't get tangled up in a blanket when she's sleeping.   I really like her sleep sacks because this baby is all over the crib now.  She's rolling all over the place.  I wake up in the morning and find her crammed in to a corner, sound asleep.  Anyway.  When Jane is in her sleep sack, J and I joke about how she looks like a little glow worm.  Thus the idea of the caterpillar was born.  And when else will I be able to dress her in a baby bunting costume like this?  Never.  I want to enjoy my immobile little nugget while I can.  Then I thought, wouldn't it be awesome if she could turn in to a butterfly?  A convertible costume!

I traced one of her sleep sacks for the bunting and narrowed and rounded the bottom end a bit.  That was the easy part.  Then I made the wings for the butterfly.  I fused the top layer of fleece to some stiff decor bond interfacing left over from my bag.  I cut out some organic shapes for the design on the wings (keeping them symmetrical, of course!) and "appliqued" the shapes to the wings.  I put that in parenthesis because I'm not sure if that's what I should call it.  I stitched the shapes down with a zig zag.   It was all really rough and quick.  But I like it.  There was something really satisfying about the way the fleece puffed up after it was stitched.  Every baby costume needs a little ric rac so I put some jumbo around the edge.  I could have done a better job there at the inside corner, but eh.

The hard part was figuring out how to make the wings hidden.  It took a little bit of engineering.  I sewed the wings to the back piece of the bunting and then cut another back piece that would be used to cover the wings.   Not an entire back piece.  Like a kangaroo pocket.  That's the best way I can describe it.  I knew I wanted the pocket to have two zippered openings.  I ended up sewing the zippers to the pocket piece first and then to the back piece leaving some additional seam allowance.  Next, I sewed the top and the bottom of the pocket piece, enclosing the wings.  Then I sewed the whole back/pocket piece to the front bunting piece being careful not to catch the zippers.  And it worked!  I'm truly amazed that it did.  Truly amazed.  The wings fold up and fit inside of the back pocket.  It's bulky, but that just makes the squishy caterpillar even more adorable.

The cap is actually little betty's awesome, awesome bonnet pattern minus the brim with some antennae stuck in the seams.  The leaves were an afterthought but I think they are a crucial part of the costume.  It was all so much fun to make and even more fun to put my sweet little baby in.  Well worth the work for one or two wears and some memorable photos.  Sorry for the photo overload.  I really did narrow it down ;)

Not sure how I'll top this costume next year.  Better start planning now. 

Happy Halloween, friends.  From a very hungry caterpillar who turns in a to a beautiful butterfly- ha! 

Here's to some crazy Halloween sewing.  Anyone else make any costumes this year?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

One More Tee

Just another Scout tee.  I thought this one deserved a post, though a short one.  This past Saturday, J went out to run some errands, baby Jane went down for a nap and I found myself with two whole hours to sew.  It was awesome.  I finished this Scout tee that's been sitting on my ironing board unfinished since I made my first round of Scout tees.  I also started baby Jane's Halloween costume.  It's safe to say that it will be something very cute :)

Anyway, this tee.  This is another knit Scout.  I can't say enough good things about this pattern.  It's the perfect swingy tee, but fitted through the shoulders.  I did one modification to the pattern on my last knit version (my white tee).  I took some width out of the front piece only.  Maybe 3/4 of an inch to an inch.  So the front piece is noticeably narrower than the back.  In this version it's only the lace yoke that has the modified width.  I'm thinking that this is a modification I should make all the time.  I have a broad upper back which throws off shoulder fit in a lot of things.  Taking some width out of the front piece made the shoulders fit better and the neckline sit just right.

This tee is made from two different fabrics.  The striped knit actually began life as a dress I bought shortly after giving birth.  It was stretchy and had an elastic waist.  It was perfect for post baby.  I wore it once, washed it and it shrank to an indecent length.  Darn rayon jersey.  So I threw it in my refashion pile since I liked the striped jersey so much.  The tee is extra swingy because I used the skirt portion of the dress almost as is.  I did cut up the sides and resew the seams because the stripes didn't match on the dress (!).  Now they do.  The dress had a high low hem which I kept.  I promise I'll stop making things high low soon although I like a hem like this on a top because it covers my butt.  I'm always late on the trend bandwagon anyway.   I think the shorter hem in the front keeps this top from being really unflattering with all the width  The yoke on the tee is a stretch lace from the stash.  I drew a line on the paper pattern where I wanted the yoke to be and added seam allowances.  I didn't want to mess with hemming the lace so I used strips of jersey to bind the sleeves and the neckline.

And that's that!  It's my new favorite tee.  It's about time to put the Scout pattern to rest for a little while (six versions so far!) but I actually have one more version in the pipeline.  One more, then I'll stop.  It's just an awesome, awesome tee shirt pattern.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Mama's Got A Brand New Bag

Well, hello there!  Yes, mama's got a new bag among other practical sewing projects.  Just so you know, I am blatantly exploiting baby Jane's cuteness to make a post about a bag more interesting.  

Tasty straps!

My goodness.  I think these photos would warm even the coldest of souls out there.  I love her so much I can't stand it sometimes.  Ok ok, so I made a bag. And holy cow, friends.  Bag making is not for the faint of heart.   I made this bag veeeery slowly over the past month and there was some serious wrangling of heavy fabric at the end.

I needed a bag to carry all my junk to work.  Since the beginning of the school year I have been carting about three or four small bags- my lunch bag, my purse, some sort of grocery bag for supplies, my laptop bag and my breast pump.  That's actually five bags.  And that's not counting baby Jane's diaper bag, which actually stays at daycare with her.  Anyway, I wanted a gigantic flat-bottomed bag where I could combine everything in one spot.  So I did what any good sewist would do in a situation like this- I made one.


I used McCalls 6297.  I made view D with the addition of a couple of interior pockets.  This thing is massive.  It's awesome.  This project was done entirely with stash fabrics and notions except for the interfacing.  I had a piece of leopard print canvas I've been saving for a while now with the intention of making a blazer type jacket.  But I decided it would make a nice bag, too.  There may be enough left for the jacket anyway.  The zig zag fabric is leftover from the bench I covered over two years ago.  I interfaced the exterior fabric with a heavy duty decor bond.  I wish I had interfaced the lining fabric, too.  But then again, I don't know how I would have sewed it all together.  I had to use a size 18 needle when I sewed all the side seams.  It's heavy duty.

The pattern has one flat pocket on the outside of one side piece.  And one interior pocket that's made to hold two bottles of some sort.  The pattern is obviously a reusable grocery bag on steroids.  I added a divided interior pocket for my cell phone and keys and a zippered pocket.  I piped all the pockets just because.  And look at the nifty little mini clutch there!

I was toying with the idea of making a matching wallet when Cake patterns announced the release of the free Red Velvet Mini Clutch pattern.  It was exactly what I needed.  See, I don't carry an actual purse anymore.  At least not like I used to.  I have a small bag that holds my cards, phone and keys that I chuck in the diaper bag.  Then when I go somewhere sans baby, I take it out and just carry the little bag.  Now I have a matching one :)

The mini clutch pattern was super quick and very cute.  I made the "boxy" pleated version.   It's the perfect size for a phone and a few cards.  I actually made a pocket on the inside of the lining to hold my credit card and my license.  I just happened to have a red jeans zipper.  Serendipitous, eh?  Don't look too close at my straggly, goofy tassel.  It was fun to make.  There is a lobster clasp attached to the wrist strap.  I had the foresight to sew a loop in the interior of the big bag so I can clip my mini clutch in place.

And so you can see that I really am alive and kicking, here's a photo of me modeling my bag.  Ha!  I actually took this picture because I made the skirt, too.  It's not even worth writing about truly.  I made a tube of fabric, tried it on and pinned out the excess above my hip.  Then I added a yoga type waistband and called it a day.  It's actually two layers of knit fabric.  The stripey fabric is some sort of mystery knit from Joanns.  It's underlined with a slinky rayon knit.  It feels thicker and more secure than your average knit pencil skirt if you know what I mean.  I like it so much (and I like how easy it is to wash and throw on in the morning) that I made a charcoal ponte knit version as well.  The charcoal version has a little more ease.  This stripey one is pretty snug.  Eh.

I made a white tee, too.  Another knit Scout tee.  This version has all of my modifications along with the high low hem that I liked so much on my green version.  It was made in the same slinky rayon knit I lined my stripey skirt with.  It really is the perfect white tee.  I think I've worn it twice a week since I made it.  I had full intentions of putting it on and taking a modeled photo of it.  But someone woke up from her nap.  

And such is the life of a sewing mama.  Little snippets of sewing interspersed with lots snuggling.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

What's that?  You want more baby pictures!?  Well, I guess I can oblige.  I mean, since you asked so nicely.

I can't believe how big baby Jane is getting.  She's six months old now.  And sweet as pie.  All of her dark hair has fallen out and new sandy colored hair is coming in.  And those blue eyes are starting to turn green.  Looks like she's going to take after her daddy and his hazel eyes.

So glad I can sew and make things specifically tailored for my needs.  You know, like a bag to carry all of my treasured posessions ;)

Happy sewing, friends!