Monthly Archives: April 2013

Still more not-so-great pics for lack of time, but my hope is to possibly do some real posts for these later with Little Man actually wearing them…

Navy Grn Kid Pants WM

I gave much of my time to making some pants yesterday that I cut out a couple months ago, which were just gathering dust.  Though I had high hopes for these Basic Kid Pants, they turned out way too homemade for me to be comfortable allowing him to wear them in real public.  So they’ll likely be reserved for going to hang out with family or in the backyard.  Do you have a stash of homemade things you do this with, or is it just me?  They are navy twill with lime green contrast stitching throughout.  I need to work on my crummy topstitching skills, and remember that contrasting thread color is not always the way to go.  Fun, yes.  Professional-looking, not so much.

Yesterday, I also cut off those arm bands on the muscle tee I briefly showed you.  I didn’t bother with a seam ripper and literally cut just inside the seam allowance and hemmed the arm holes.  However, I forgot to take a pic.  The fit is still a little off, but I pulled out a similar store-bought shirt from last year, expecting it to be way too small.  I was very happily surprised to see that it not only stilll fit, but that the fit was quite similar in imperfections that I never noticed until trying to replicate the style.  So, I’m feeling a little better about the screwy fit for now, but I’ll probably try to tweak the pattern a little more later when he more desperately needs sleeveless tees.

Flashback Trio WM

What I did today was quite miniscule, but fulfilled the time commitment plus a little.  I cut out three short-sleeved flashback skinny tees from some of those thrifted shirts I showed you before.  While cutting, I also decided that the gray-blue was perfect for an “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring”-inspired shirt (the song I really wanted to use for the Sew-In-Tune Sew Along, but didn’t have appropriate supplies).  When I told LM this, he said he wanted rain drops all over it.  And people.  I said okay to the raindrops, of course, but no to the people.  I have some skill with painting (I was really into drawing and painting growing up and art classes in college, but majored in Religion), so I can handle some basic stuff.  But painting people on a t-shirt isn’t really something I want to take the time to do. 😉  But I did finish the purple one in the middle entirely except for paint–I’m still not sure what I’m going to put on that one, if anything.  I finished the shoulder seams on the other two and the sleeves on the gray-blue one.  I was doing it all factory-style until I ran out of the thread that coordinated with all of them…that I thought I had gobs of…but clearly didn’t.  Oops.

So my high motivation is beginning to dwindle slightly with the pants and muscle tee being such flops, but I’m thinking I’m going to purchase the new Parsley Pants pattern from Made-By-Rae that I’ve been DYING FOR ever since she mentioned that she was working on it with the awesome City Pants.  If the pattern fits LM as amazingly as the Flashback does, you will likely be seeing gobs fo them in a plethora of forms.  🙂  And despite my tiredness making this all seem very “blah”, I am actually FREAKING STOKED about this pattern!!!!

Last couple notes for anyone who actually reads all this nonsense rambling, I bought my URL today.  I’m officially now!  I was putting it off, just waiting until I had this whole blog thing figured out and everything perfected.  But just as I knew I would never start this blog if I waited until I had my brain together, I realized it may be a while before I get the hang of this WordPress host.  I still have so much to learn and figure out, so if things look really weird every now and then, you’ll know it’s just me experimenting.  Now, even though it’s only 9:30pm here, I think I’m going to bed.  Wow, I’m old.

Thanks for looking!  🙂


Mostly poor quality pics for you to see what I’ve been working on. Most was done after Little Man went to bed, so it was pretty dark in the kitchen where I was sewing. 🙂

Tyrone In Progress 1 WM

The beginnings of the Tyrone Shirt.  Cut from a shirt my brother-in-law gave me, using the Flashback Skinny Tee pattern.

Tyrone In Progress 2 WM

What was left.

Tyrone and Green Cut WM

I also cut the first test of the altered pattern to make a green muscle tee, which as you’ll see in a moment, still needs work…

Tyrone Just Antlers WM

My plan was to just draw only the antler outlines for a subtle nod to The Backyardigans character, Tyrone, who is an orange moose with yellow antlers.  Who could’ve guessed that drawing that shape on a Halloween-orange shirt woud make for some creepy looking eyes?!  So…I had to add more:

Tyrone Full Outline WM

I went to bed satisfied with this.  But, when I woke up this morning, it looked too much like I just drew this onto a shirt.  Which, um…yeah, I know, is exactly what I did…  So I had to give myself even more work on what was supposed to be a quick 30-minute shirt.

Tyrone Drying WM

Behold, Tyrone on his drying board.  I even added the color for his hair.  I’m still not fully satisfied, but it’s better than creepy eyes. Tyrone Shirt Tyrone Shirt

And finished.  I might give you a better close-up later. 🙂

Muscle Tee Flop WM

And as for the green muscle tee, I’m going to be working on that now that LM is asleep.  This pic doesn’t show it well, but the arm bands were not cut small enough, so they stick out like a futuristic uniform.  The neck also looks wonky here, but it’s only because of the way he’s sitting.  I’m thinking I’m just going to cut off the arm bands and hem the arm holes.  Hopefully it goes well, because I am not interested in yet another hang up!  And as for the weird hat thing–no, I didn’t pose him like that.  He’s pretending to be “The Mystery Lifeguard” from an episode of The Backyardigans (who would’ve guessed…), and Austin wears his hat low so the others don’t recognize him.  LM takes that as what you see above. Welcome to my world, people.  Welcome. to. my. world!  But he is wonderful and hilarious.  And refused to remove this shirt despite it’s flaws.

Thanks for looking!  Are any of you participating this week?  I was worried about regretting it at first, but I’m already finding a ginormous burst of motivation!  Now I have to get back to work while I have a few spare moments!  🙂

So, this is happening soon:


And I crazily have decided to sign up this time.  But don’t expect an overflow of reports or daily pics–I only pledged to wear three me-made garments a week for the duration of May.  Remember how I mentioned I don’t have many completed garments to show for my work due to cutting corners and good-enough sewing habits?  Yeah, I’m gonna be kicking myself for that next month.  Hopefully I’ll still be able to squeeze in some selfish sewing soon (like that Casual Lady Top I didn’t get to start yet!), because…

Spring KCW starts tomorrow! Full description here, but mainly–sew kids clothes for at least one hour each day for a week. I’ve seen lots of amazing things on other blogs for what some have accomplished, and I’m a little nervous to announce that I’m actually going to participate this time (look at me being such a joiner!)!  Though I have a rough plan of what I’m going to be making this week, I don’t yet have a blogging-about-it plan. But, rest assured, all the hard work will not go undocumented!

A few days ago, I made a trip to Goodwill (the American chain thrift store) to seek out some shirts and pants/shorts I could cut up and sew into clothes for Little Man. I was very picky this time, but I managed to find a few great things that I never could’ve found in a fabric store; and for a lower cost (both for my wallet and the environment!). Here are my rough plans for the week:  This stack of like-new condition tees willl become…


A few short-sleeved tees. After purging his closet last month of all the shirts and pants that he could no longer wear in public (since three-year-old boys don’t wear crop tops…), I realized just how little he really has to wear once the consistently hot weather hits. Luckily, here in Indiana, I can still get away with the very few he has, since we only get hot shorts weather for two days before it snows, then goes back into the 70s. Yes, really, that has been the past couple weeks around here–no joke! But summer is coming soon, and I need to be ready, so these thrifted tees will also become…


Muscle tees. They’re a summer must for him–he gets sweaty just sitting still in air conditioning, so I have to make sure fabrics are light and breathable and cover as little of him as is modestly possible.  Not to mention, he looks so cute in them!  I’m really happy I finally have an awesome, reliable t-shirt pattern that I know works for him and is incredibly adaptable.  I bet you can’t guess what pattern it is.  Try, I dare you.  Yeah, ok, so you know it’s the Flashback Skinny Tee.  I promise I’m not being paid for the incessant promotion of this pattern–it just really is that great! 😀


Shorts. And an unfinished pair of pants (more on that later…).  What I’m most stoked about is these shorts I got from the thrift store.  How awesome are those white/teal plaid shorts?!  They were actually plus size, so I know my pattern will fit, but even better–they’ve never even been worn!  The extra buttons baggie was still hanging from the inside tag.  Can you say “Score!”?!  I can’t wait to get them super-sized down for LM.  I like the muted tones in the brown plaid as well–there’s actually a bright orange stripe running in there, too, but it’s not very noticable here.  It’ll go great with the orange shirts I have planned.


An interesting (to me) sewing something about that last pinstripe pair–I’m pretty sure the original owner actially cut off pants and sewed them into shorts!  The inside has a clearly hand-stitched hem that doesn’t match the rest of these shorts’ guts.  They did a careful job of it too with making sure to only barely prick the white fabric for maximum invisibility.  They must not have felt like taking more time to fix the stitching when it popped.  It’s always lovely to find something that is not corporate made.  I love seeing (and knowing from a seamstress’ perspective) how much time and effort was put into such a simple garment.  It makes me wonder if they were hard for the original owner to give up; and how they would feel knowing someone actually paid money for something that contained their own hard sewing work.  Anyhow, I love this fabric, and I think it’ll look beachy-cute on LM as shorts (but then again, we all know how that thought turned out last time…).

I got a few other things as well, but I’ll save those for later when I actually intend to use them.  Except this last gem:


I found this one on the $1.99 t-shirt wall (original price of $20 on sale).  If you don’t watch The Office, sorry this shirt will make no sense to you, but my husband is obsessed.  We even have a bobble-head collection that I gave him for his thirtieth birthday at his The Office-themed surprise birthday party where everyone was dressed up as a designated character from the show.  I bought this one because of my husband.  I think the print is still too wide to fit on anything for LM right now, but maybe in a couple years it will work.  Unless I find a better use before then.  Needless to say, my husband was quite pleased!

So, are you participating in Me-Made May ’13 or KCW?  Do you buy all new fabrics for sewing, or are you a thrift store scavenger?  I’m actually quite new to the thrift store scene, but I’ve been loving the savings and unique fabrics.  Which is ironic, since just a couple years ago, I found the idea of buying used clothes to be quite gross…how the tables have turned! 😀

And, wow!  I used a lot of exclamation points in this post!  I guess I’m more excited for this week than I thought! And for good measure–!!!!

Thanks for looking!  🙂

To those who see this shirt, it probably seems like just an ordinary shirt.  But for me, it is a MILESTONE!  Allow me to explain… The "Don't Be Lazy!" Shirt

No, I’m not really that pink, but I was the only one available to take my picture. I figured you might be nosy like me and be annoyed that you had no clue what I look like. 😉

I received a hand-me-down shirt from my sister, and it was like the Goldilocks of shirts–just right!  I’ve never done a rub-off/tracing of an existing garment to make a pattern. Though nervous, I knew I was going to want to master this skill eventually, so no better time than the present!  I had the perfect 4-year-old fabric in my stash that was nearly identical in drape and weight to the original shirt.  I’m pretty sure my fabric is rayon, but it’s extremely silky soft and slub-knit-ish and breathable.  (That’s the original on the left in all it’s pilly glory, and my navy/cream stripe me-made copy on the right.) The "Don't Be Lazy!" Shirt

I am typically a very lazy, cut-all-corners, good-enough, make-due, kind of sewist.  I also have very few wearable garments to show for all my sewing time.  Hmmm…methinks there may be a connection there. I have been torturing myself over the past year to take my time and enjoy the process of making something for myself. And with 3-year-old Little Man underfoot now, I’ve had to really get used to not staying up until 2am to finish something in one sitting.  It hasn’t been easy, but I’m getting there.  I’m also actually learning things!  Who would’ve thunk it?! The "Don't Be Lazy!" Shirt

With truly every step of the process of creating this shirt, I had to remind myself, “Ashley, don’t be lazy!”  Though careful, I had a hard time getting the original shirt to lay really flat without stretching it.  The overall fit is mildly smaller, but I think it’s more flattering now.  I omitted the pocket–the original never lays flat and is awkward. I also made the collar skinnier, which I prefer from another fave shirt.

Collar Band detail

I planned to replicate the sleeve details too, but after carefully stitching on the tabs, the sleeves weren’t going to fold/lay the same way. So as I pondered whether to just make this a cap-sleeved shirt, I once again decided to not be lazy.  I sat and carefully took out the seams of the tabs–so carefully in fact that you can’t even tell they were ever there!  (Just don’t ask to see those shredded tabs…)

DLB Orig Slv detail

Despite my current skill set, I have never really done a normal hem on knit fabric.  I was extremely nervous to even attempt it, but I knew it was another technique I was going to want to master someday, and remember I was trying not to be lazy.  So, I did it.  And, holy moly, it actually turned out pretty darn good for a first attempt!

Sleeve Hem detail

I also managed to get those stripes matched up!  The sides were on purpose, the sleeves…well, happy accident.  I still hadn’t looked up how to match those, and it was the one time during the entire making of this shirt that I decided to wing it.  Not perfect, but I’m very happy it worked out and now know where to match point sleeves when cutting.

Slv Stripe Match

The insides are raw, but none are visible from the outside–I haven’t braved my serger yet.  That bottom hem was already a bit shorter than I prefer, so I didn’t have much to work with.  Yes, I do see that it’s a little wavy and crooked and looks like I temporarily lost the gift of sight while sewing it, but did I mention it was my first time hemming a knit?

Unfinished insides

Overall, I am very happy with my milestone of a shirt.  The first time for many things, but most of all, a first time for not being lazy!  I’m so glad I took the time, because I’m pretty sure I have my first sloper!

I’m also linking this up for Rae’s Spring Top Sewalong.  Hopefully I’ll get my Casual Lady top finished tonight so I can share it with you this week.

Have you had to learn to be a more patient sewist since having kids (or even in general)? Or ever traced off an existing garment?

Also linking up here this week:

I made this a few weeks ago, but wanted to share more about it here. Jack Frost Hoodie and Pants

I typically try to stick to 100% cotton fibers (or at least natural) on Little Man.  I must admit this outfit is anything but natural fibers.  When I went to Joann to find some cotton interlock knit, I happened to spot this perfect-for-a-hoodie mostly-polyester knit fabric.  I believe it’s called ponte knit??  (Please note previous statement about fabrics I buy–I clearly am new to this realm of fabric!)  We’ve had a couple store-bought hooded shirts made of very similar fabric that have worked great on him in the past, so I immediately asked LM which color of this was his favorite. This purchase re-opened the door for the hoodie I thought I didn’t want to bother with.  It quickly became the first project I wanted to tackle for his spring wardobe!

UPDATE: I went back for some more of this fabric in purple–which you’ll be seeing soon!–and it’s actually 95% cotton and 5% spandex! I was very happy about this discovery and don’t know how I missed it before. And it’s pique knit. Mommy brain strikes again… Jack Frost Hoodie

After seeing Rae’s hoodie tutorial, I realized adding a hood to a t-shirt pattern would be quite simple.  I hadn’t used her flashback skinny tee pattern yet (though you’ve seen plenty of it here by now!), and was stoked to finally put it to use.  I traced and measured around a hooded zip-up that fits him well to get the dimensions and shapes for the hood, cuffs, a waistband, and pouch pocket.  I wanted it to be similar to the style that we’ve loved on him in the past, and like all young kids, LM loves pockets!

Pouch Detail Jack Frost Hoodie

I used some green cotton interlock from Joann for the sleeves and waistband.

Side Seam Detail Jack Frost Hoodie

This is the only photo that shows the truest coloring of the shirt. Even though all the pics were taken at the same time.

I’ve never done stripes matching before, but I knew I wanted to at least try to get it matched up a little.  I did my best to remember the matching tips I’d read ages ago knowing that someday I would utilize what I had been wasting my time reading. I used a million pins, which was exhausting for me, since I try to avoid them for time saving sake.  I figured I’d either spend my time pinning first or ripping out the seam 76 times to redo it–I chose pinning and am so glad I did!

Hood Detail Jack Frost Hoodie

I did a french seam on the hood to hide the raw edges.  It was extremely tedious work but luckily paid off.  The side seams matched nearly perfectly with a few stripes being slightly off, but it wasn’t bad enough to be worth my time to fix.  It was no more flawed than any ready-to-wear shirt I would’ve paid for.  I thought the way I cut the sleeves might make them match the body, but I really had no idea if it was possible.  I now know that I just used the wrong point to match for cutting.  I also intentionally made the pouch pocket not match, so it wouldn’t blend in.  I can proudly say there was much happy dancing in my kitchen during the making of this shirt! 😀

Shoulder Detail Jack Frost Hoodie

When it was done, LM realized there was a hood, and was very excited to say, “Like Jack Frost?!”  After seeing Rise of the Guardians just days before, he loved the idea that he was like Jack Frost in that movie–he’s portrayed as a teenager-y kid who wears…you guessed it–a hoodie!  So now he calls it his Jack Frost Hoodie and is always happy to put it on.

Another project I was excited for from that shopping trip was this pair of Kid Pants I was finally testing using woven fabric.  At Hancock Fabric, I spotted some amazing turquoise linen-look rayon fabric on a clearance rack.  The price was still higher than I wanted to pay despite being on sale (as in $10 for one yard), and it was rayon, which I try to avoid after reading how they make it, so I left it there.  I know you’re wondering, “But Ashley, if you left it there, however did you manage to make the vibrant pants I see before my eyes??”  It just so happens that on the other side of the store in the remnants bin was one and half yards of it for…wait for it….$2.50!  These pants don’t even use a yard of fabric, so I still have some left over!  Can you say “bargain”?! Turquoise Pants

They were only practice, but they are perfect on him.  After my 2 previous version in knit fabric, I just made the pattern 3/8″ larger on both sides of the leg seams and added 3/4″ to the top.  I also used the patch pockets pattern Dana offers for these pants.  These are more for just at home or visiting my sister for a play date, but I would be okay with taking him out in them if he wanted.  They’re super soft and comfy.

Front Pocket Detail Turquoise Pants

I linked the hoodie up at Alida Makes for her Calling All Kids series and for the Sew-vivor Emerald Challenge.  It’s not emerald, but the actual contestants said since they struggled to find any emerald (didn’t fabric stores get the Pantone memo?!), they were told any green would do.  I wasn’t randomly selected to win or featured in any way, but just participating was enough for me.

Thanks for looking!!  More coming soon!  🙂

This post is now somewhat ancient in blogosphere time, but since I already shared the dorky pants, I figured I’d let you know about  the rest of it.  Behold what was my entry into the Sew In Tune sewalong: Gobble It Up Outfit

I wanted to make Little Man an “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring”-inspired outfit (weirdly, he loooooves nursery rhymes, and it’s his fave), but I put it off for so long that I didn’t have time to go out and buy more supplies.  I was so on the fence about participating, since I’ve never participated in any of the amazing sewalongs online–I don’t think I’ve mentioned how paranoid I already am to be putting myself out here like this.  It stupidly really stresses me out…even though none of you even know me, and I could just delete it all away with the click of a button!  Back to the outfit… squid shirt

Clearly this isn’t inspired by LM’s fave nursery rhyme.  On a whim the day before it had to be submitted, I realized we’ve been listening to Jim Arnosky sing “Gobble It Up” on repeat for the past three weeks!  Really no joke–I was waking up in the middle of the night with that song stuck in my head!  It’s actually a book themed around the food chain that comes with a CD that we got from the library.  I took one section of the book about a great whale diving to the bottom of the sea, and “pick a fight with biggest kid, and gobble you up a giant squid!”  It’s weird but catchy. Squid Shirt Detail

The shirt was a thrift store find.  I used MADE’s free Basic Tee pattern.  It fits skinny LM a little big around his torso, but at least it fits!  The original owner snagged on something to create a small hole, but it worked out for us, because the shirt was in excellent condition.  I made a freezer paper stencil to make the squid (NOT EASY with ten friggin’ tentacles to cut around!!!), and quick and dirty painted and traced it with a fabric marker.  It’s not my best work, but I was in a mad dash to get pics taken and uploaded before the deadline.

Gobble it up lining detail 1

The pants I didn’t even take extra pics of because I’m rather embarrassed for anyone to see them in the first place, so you’ll have to take my word on them…I modified the Nowhere Man Pants pattern (I don’t want to link to them because my version is really that bad…) to have a skinnier leg and a knit waistband.  I cut up a pair of thrift store plus-size women’s shorts to create these.  They really fit okay, but the denim is just a little weird, and the waistline sits too low in the back.  I could probably alter the pattern and it would work great, but this version was a completely and totally embarrassing dud.  The lining fabric I wasted on them was some awesome whale flannel from Joann.

I hope you don’t judge me too harshly by this outfit…I can really do better. :/

Thanks for looking!  Hopefully you’ll still come back after seeing this. 😉