Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bucket Hat

This is the first time I've let Louisa pick her own fabric. Luckily her tastes aren't as expensive as mine (yet) and she chose this denim at Jo-Ann for her bucket hat from oliver + s's Little Things to Sew. (I own this adorable book but Liesl has made this particular pattern from it available as a PDF here.)

Yes, it has little silver butterflies on it reminiscent of puffy paint (in a good way?).

I added a neck strap that I had intended to cut and turn into ties, or to find a little draw-string-style end piece for.

Fact is, I never got that far because the hat doesn't quite fit right.

I made the biggest size (large, meant for 6 - 8 years ...she is 3) based on her head measurement and it is still snug (we are a big-headed breed). Also, I think the brim is a little too narrow. It doesn't quite keep enough sun off little noses.

I lined it with a scrap from an old Laura Ashley dress. The pattern makes the hat reversible, but I thought a strap would be more helpful.

This actually wasn't my first denim baby sun hat. Almost three years ago I made the hat seen on Leo below for Louisa from The Children's Year. My mother and sisters and I used to make projects from this book when I was a girl.

I made this one when I was still sewing on my grandmother's Singer Featherweight, and making the brim fit the hat was a challenge for me. My mom showed me how many pins you need to fit two circular pieces together. The hat doesn't stay on long without a chin strap, but I think it is adorable.

And proof that my babies have abnormally small heads... this hat seen above on a five month old Leo, is sized for a three year old.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

My Lonsdale Muslin Doesn't Fit.

I am not very experienced in sewing for myself. I like to sew for my kids so fit isn't so particular. So one of my goals for this year is to do more sewing for me and tackle some fitting and pattern adjustment challenges that I usually avoid. So here is a big one!

I was pretty excited about making a Lonsdale Dress from Sewaholic, especially after following the sew-along last month. I even bought this fabric, and some pale pink lining, and was hoping to wear my finished dress to an early-fall wedding that is coming up in a few weeks.

I decided to make a muslin since my measurements don't fit the sizes very well. And I decided to make the whole dress, so that I could get some practice before I cut into my Anna Maria voile, which is not a cheap fabric.

It's a good thing I did because the bodice fits terribly! I made the size 8 and here it is with no adjustments...

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sleeping Beauty Toddler Backpack

Little Louisa started preschool last week! Time flies. For her big first day I made her the Toddler Backpack by Made by Rae (although it technically wasn't finished til her third day).

I used Heather Ross Far Far Away II. The main panels are Roses in pink and orange, with Sleeping Beauty appliqued to the front with a tight zigzag stitch. (Sleeping Beauty I've been hoarding, but the roses I bought just for this project from Fresh Modern Fabric on etsy.)

Although the FFA fabric is a heavier weight linen/cotton blend, I still used a medium-heavy weight interfacing for extra stiffness.

The bottom panel and straps are a hot pink canvas. I used fusible fleece for the strap padding and bottom panel. And I lined it with a solid purple lightweight cotton from my stash.

As far as modifications, I added two side pockets, one with an elastic top and gathered bottom, to hold a water bottle. I used the side panel pattern piece to cut the pocket and pocket lining, just shortened it an inch or two and widened it by about 4 inches. The slip pocket on the other side is the same height, but I didn't add any extra width.

Inspired by this suggestion on flickr, I followed the instructions for lining the backpack from the Penguin Backpack pattern in the oliver + s book Little Things to Sew. I also added the interior pocket more or less following that pattern.

The nice thing is there are no seams to cover up with this technique and it looks pretty tidy inside.

However, next time I probably won't bother with the lining at all. It is nice to have the pocket inside there, but I don't think it was worth the extra trouble. It also requires you to handstitch the lining to the zipper panel at the end.

I didn't have have any trouble with my sewing machine (a basic Singer Esteem) using a size 14 needle. I went very slowly while attaching all the layers at the top (sewing through the straps, handle, piping, etc.) and around the corners through the padded bottom panel.

However, I couldn't get it to sew the strap adjusters on at all, so I had to hand stitch those on. The hems on my nylon straps looked messy, so I burnt the ends lightly with a lighter to seal them off.  (Unfortunately I couldn't get pink webbing at Joann so I went with black so they wouldn't look dirty right away.)

The good news is, she loves it almost as much as she's loving preschool!