Monday, 18 August 2014

Oven Mitts from Armholes!

Around this time last year I was making the Oliver + S School Days Coats seen here and as I was cutting out the vests from the quilted fabric it occurred to me that the little bits leftover from the armholes might be useful for something.

They look like mini oven mitts don't they?!

Well, I thought they did and I stashed them away for another day. As the time came to make my Bias Trimmed Aprons for the Little Things To Sew Cover to Cover Challenge, it seemed the perfect time to dig out my little oven mitt bits. While this obviously isn't a project from Little Things to Sew, I think it's definitely in the spirit, so I'm calling it the unofficial 22 project! (and that might just be enough of a challenge to get Sharon or Lynn to sew some!)

Now, I realise not everyone is going to have sewn the quilted vest of the School Days coat, or have kept the armhole leftovers if they did.... So I've made a PDF pattern which has a pattern piece for the Oven Mitt as well as the Upper Piece and written instructions. There's a link here to the PDF so you can download it for yourself.

And now for a photo tutorial of how to make them, ending with some kids-making-lemon-biscuits photos....

What you'll need:

- The quilted oven mitts (see the PDF for notes on making your own)
- Two fat quarters of fabric (main: fabric A. Underside/lining: fabric B)
- 1 yard 3/8" bias binding (make your own from 1.5" bias strips)
- about 2" cotton twill tape or grosgrain ribbon (optional for hanging loop)


Measure the short, straight edge of your quilted oven mitt piece. (if you're using the pattern provided you can skip this step). For this size 6 armhole, it measured 4.5"

From each of fabric A and fabric B cut a rectangle that is 12" long with a height the same as the width measurement you just took in Step 1. ie 12" x 4.5" (that is the dimensions for the rectangle if using the PDF pattern pieces)

Lay the fabric B rectangle right side up on the table. Place one Oven Mitt quilted piece on top with the short ends aligned. Now place the fabric A rectangle on top with the right side facing down.

Do the same at the other short side. Pin the three layers together at each end and stitch with a 1/2" seam.

Turn the rectangles right side out by pulling the oven mitt pieces out from the middle. Press the seams away from the oven mitts.

Edgestitch the seams.

Create a pattern piece for the Oven Mitt Upper Piece out of freezer paper or tracing paper/interfacing. Draw around the top of the quilted oven mitt piece and then a straight line across about 2" above the bottom of the quilted oven mitt piece. If you're using the PDF pattern you can skip this step as the Oven Mitt Upper Piece pattern is provided.

Cut 2 Oven Mitt Upper Pieces from each of Fabric A and Fabric B.
Put one Fabric A piece and one Fabric B piece together with wrong sides facing and baste around the perimeter with a 1/4" basting stitch. Repeat for the other Oven Mitt Upper Pieces.

Apply bias binding to the short, straight sides of the Oven Mitt Upper Pieces. Trim the ends of the bias binding to be flush with the Oven Mitt Upper Piece.

Lay the Oven Mitt Upper Pieces on top of the Oven Mitts with the curved edges matching. Pin in place. Baste around the entire perimeter with a 1/4" basting stitch. This will hold the Oven Mitt Upper Pieces in place and also baste the upper and lower rectangles together.

Finally, apply bias binding to the entire perimeter. If you want to add a hanging loop, then tuck your cotton twill tape or ribbon under the bias binding halfway along one long side of the rectangle before stitching down the bias binding.

And you're done! If you're any good at baking then start heating the oven. If not, then my kids discovered you can do funny clappy dances while wearing oven mitts! (but I forgot to get any pictures of that!)

I also didn't get any photos of our lemon biscuits, trust me, they were delicious!

It was P's idea to have their oven mitts over their shoulders. And he doesn't even watch reality TV cooking shows...
If you use this pattern to make oven mitts I'd love to see them. please send me an email: lightningmcstitch at gmail dot com

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Little Things to Sew: Bias Trimmed Aprons

I've got a deadline looming and it was time to tackle the Bias Trimmed Aprons.

Of course, as with all deadlines, I put it off a bit longer and made some more Mittens first:

These were a quick one night sew so that P, who had left his gloves at school, would have something to keep his fingers warm on the ride to school the next day. I used some of the awesome double sided windproof fleece from this vest, and I still have plenty for when I finally get around to making Flipper a jacket (next winter perhaps, honey...)

Then to my aprons: I cut my own bias binding, and made what I thought would be more than enough, but then I had the idea of making matching bias bound oven mitts (come back tomorrow to see them and a tutorial on how to make them!), so I ran out anyway, and had to make more. I think as soon as my kids are old enough to safely make bias binding that can become one of their chores for which I shall allow them, in return, to continue to live in my house. It's so boring. (but oh so worth it, as the stuff from the packet is horrid to sew)

A's apron is the size Medium (3-6 years). The fabric is one she chose herself when we were in a country town quilting shop. The selvedge says it's a Rosemarie Lavin design for Windham fabrics called "ribbons of hope"

It's almost enough to inspire me to host one of those fundraising morning tea's just so she can wear her perfectly suitable apron (and no, I could think of no other appropriate use for this fabric. I certainly wasn't going to make a dress out of it. Sorry kiddo)

Snaps are just perfect for projects like these. After hours of sewing bias binding to finish everything off with a quick snap press is wonderful.

P's apron is the size Large (6-10 years) in a Kokka Trefle fabric which he'd declared "too baby-ish" when I'd bought it to make him a shirt.

The good news is, there's probably enough left for a baby's shirt, so someone else's kid can get a cute little animal shirt.

I had thought I might be able to rustle up some close up photos of early projects of mine using bias binding but I haven't any to hand....

The first thing I ever made with my new sewing machine was this wombat play mat

I had no idea how to attach bias binding, and never thought for a moment that I could find that information on the internet, or even to try a book. I just had a go. I tried to pin it such that both sides would be aligned and stitch it all on in one go. It is amazingly bad.
Little baby P!

Now I know to sew one side on first, press really well, and then to get the other side perfectly lined up I use Quilter's Edge 1/4" fusible web. I iron my bias binding in place so that I don't have to use pins. Sewing the second side down is fast and accurate! There are some pictures of this in my how-to-avoid-handstitching-the-bucket-hat post.

It may be a bit of a cheat, and it does cost a little, but to not have to go back over any spots where you miss the underside of the binding is priceless.

So, my aprons are done, and while making these I made some matching oven mitts. I'm declaring them to be the unofficial 22nd project if anyone wants to go a bit further than all the way!

Come back tomorrow to see the oven mitts and a tutorial and download the free PDF pattern for making your own!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Pants, pants, pants, pants.....

Catching up a bit here by dropping no less than four pair of pants on the blog in one hit!

First up, three more pairs of navy (read: hard to photograph) school pants for P.
These first ones are the tried and true Oliver + S Field Trip Cargo pants.
I did all the edgestitching and topstitching, but since it's all navy, it's subtle. Nothing like those Team Australia (Oh, don't get me started on Tony again) pants that P's friend is wearing.
For a bit of something extra, I'm loving these iron-on faux rivets from Jimmy's buttons. They really look the business, but no complaints about scratchy metal bits on the inside.
Not only are there no scratchy bits, but the insides of these pants are so lovely to touch...
The fabric is a moleskin, which is undoubtedly meant to have this soft, brushed face on the outside. I talked it through with P and he definitely wanted the softness on the inside, and the more standard issue navy drill side on the outside. These super snuggly pants are his own little school uniform secret!

For the record, these are size 5, with about 3/4" length added at the bottom hem and the cargo pockets left off. No other mods and they fit perfectly.

The second pair of school pants is another pair of Sandbox pants in some more of the thick terry knit. I saved myself some trouble by not trying to flat fell every seam. The side seams are finished together and edge and topstitched and only the crotch seam is flat felled. So they look pretty much identical to the first pair but took half the time.

...and I used the genius suggestion from my blog commenter Rootaberger to use "one of those little plastic things that hold the string. You know, the ones you push down to loosen or tighten".

Well, I don't know if they have a name either (I'd guess at toggles) but I happened to have two on hand. I put one onto the original sandbox pants, and that definitely helps, but with these pants I went one step further: The elastic waistband on these ones goes all the way around and is fixed in length. The ties are stitched onto the elastic near the buttonhole outlets and thus are purely for decoration.

To make the navy pants production line a bit more interesting I busted out a new pattern for my third pair of pants:

These are the Figgy Banyan pants and it was my first ever time sewing a real zip fly. You know I took another photo of the pants as above, but slightly from the right, which hid that sticky out zip pull perfectly but was just a touch out of focus.
A close up from a better angle makes it look alright...

I found the pattern instructions were somewhat lacking when it came to the zipper insertion. I think there is a Figgy's photo tutorial and I know there are plenty of other tutorials on sewing blogs as to how to do this step well. But, when I'm using a pattern for the first time I like to follow just the pattern, as given in the package that I bought. It may seem perverse, but I feel like that should be sufficient.

Just checked: there is a Figgy's tutorial, but it doesn't address the main problem I had, which was quite where exactly to line up the zipper so that it's not completely exposed. The first time I sewed it on it was 100% visible. I unpicked it and chose some arbitrary distance to set it back and it is well covered by the fly flap, except that I chose a zip with a hefty pull, so that part does stick out a bit.

There was also no mention made of shortening the zipper. I'm sure mine was the recommended length but I had to trim a considerable amount off or it would have dangled down inside the pants a long way. Now I would have no concerns doing this again, but if it's your first time and you're a bit more timid and less slapdash, you may want to check out Cindy's awesome tutorial.

Anyway, there it is, and it works! I managed to sew the curve of the fly shield the wrong way so it's curved where it attaches to the pants and right angled at the free edge where it should be curved. Oops. Oh, and I got completely bamboozled with how the waistband attached. The pattern may not be to blame there as it was getting late at night and I was starting to do things the autopilot (Oliver + S) way.

Once I'd finished, and P was wearing them I was itching to make another pair straight away. Partly to correct my mistakes, but also cause they are such a great pair of trousers. I love the slightly jodhpur-esque shape and they look really trendy on. I have some green denim that I think will be awesome for this pattern.
These pants were the last cut out of the 3m of navy drill that I bought when P started school. From that I've made 2 pair of shorts and 3 pair of trousers!
Then, on to she-who-will-never-wear-pants. The only time I can convince A to wear pants is when we're taking the bikes down to the BMX track. She is of the opinion that princesses and ballerinas wear dresses all the time, except when they're working laps of the pump track!

But as you can see her pants are getting too short. Not surprising as they're over a year old now. The one pair of pants that do still fit her really well, are completely unsuited to mucking around in the dirt, and those are her Moschino knock off trousers.

My challenge was to make another pair of those pants, that were suitable for outside play, but princess-y enough to perhaps get worn...

The pants are a lengthened version of the Oliver + S Sketchbook shorts. The size is only 18-24 months but fits my 3.5 year old perfectly. I guess they're roomy shorts, and probably in that size there's some nappy room which is not needed anymore. My Moschino pants had a very straight leg and I tapered these ones slightly and kept the cuff, as a result they've ended up looking a lot like another pair of Banyans!

The princess appeal came via some metallic silver topstitching on the back pockets
Edit: Forgot to mention. The Sketchbook pattern does not have back pockets. These are size 4 pockets from the After School pants pattern.

...and some more iron on faux rivets, but this time, with diamantes (can't believe I just typed diamantes on my blog, ugh the things we do huh)

I doubled the metallic thread and the sewing machine coped fine with the straight stitches, but the decorative stitch did skip a bit. I probably needed to loosen off the needle thread tension as the metallic thread does seem very grab-by.
I'm happy with these pants for so many reasons. It was a small remnant of high quality denim that was just enough for this length and no more. I didn't need to draft a new pattern size. They were dirt cheap to make and I think they look pretty cool.
She's happy with them for those moments when a girl just has to wear pants, no buts about it.
P.S that blue top is the Oliver + S 2+2 Blouse and is one of the first bits of knit (merino jersey) sewing I did!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

All over the 'net and another Everyday skirt

First up, I've reached the pinnacle of happy, or overcommitted blogger, by appearing on two very auspicious blogs AT THE SAME TIME!

Via the magic of the internet you can read me rambling on about the Little Things to Sew Cover to Cover Challenge here on the Oliver + S blog

And, over at the Kid's Clothes Week blog I'm interviewing none other than Lucinda, aka L.Poel. I have been stalking Lucinda's Flickr pool for a couple of years now and I can't think of anything that I didn't wish I'd sewn myself. She has fantastic style, and skill, and an eye for a bargain, and beautiful kids.... You get the picture, now go read the interview!

kid's clothes week

But in case you think I've stopped sewing, I haven't. I'm wearing a Coco dress as I type (more on that later as I'm still a bit lukewarm on the whole Coco experience) and there are a few other things that I've made recently and not got around to documenting here. I really need to do that soon so I don't forget what changes I  made....

Anyway, one change I did make was to downsize and revisit the Liesl & Co Everyday skirt. Here was my first, too big one, which will still gets lots of wear when the weather warms up again.

This one has been getting a lot of wear. The fabric was described as polyester suiting (ugh, right) and I had bought it intending to make a patchwork-esque Trench coat for A. Curiously, if there's one pattern I have bought more fabric for than any other, but hardly ever actually made, it's the Secret Agent trench coat. Never fear, I can think of at least two bundles of fabric still in the stash earmarked for a kid's coat, they're not missing out.

This fabric is moderately heavy, with a solid red back and a slightly suede feel to the front. The pattern must be printed as it feels like thin paint lines and it's exactly the same colour as the SBCC top I'm wearing.

The size Medium ended up being perfect. I think I kept the size L length as I like on-the-knee length skirts. My pins aren't bad from the knee down, but there's no reason for me to be showing off what happens above that point!

The back is a much nicer fit in the smaller size. Plenty of room but not so bustle-ish as the bigger size. I've mostly been wearing this with tights and long, brown boots and the synthetic un-naturelness of the skirt fabric makes it really easy to wear with tights. It's bicycle-commute-to-school approved too!

I'm sure I don't need to say it, but I  love those pockets. Tissues, shopping lists, hair ties... Every skirt should have pockets!

And, in case that was more than enough about me, here's a cute picture of the kids who weren't allowed to photobomb my shoot, so staged a love-in of their own at the end!

Friday, 1 August 2014

Little Things To Sew: Cover to Cover Challenge - The bell lap.

Here  we are at the start of August which means we're into the last month of the Little Things To Sew Cover to Cover Challenge.

Bartacks and Singletrack : want to go all the way with me?The PDF scoreboard has been updated and while I was going to run some odds for us sewers, I went all non-competitive, ex hippy school kid and ranked the projects instead.

But, like a true nerd, I consulted Dr Math and worked out how to change the project numbers into true racing odds. I know, I could have just picked random numbers, but aren't you pleased I troubled myself to get it right?!

Truthfully, it's also for a blog post at Oliver + S next week, talking about our long term project and how awesome all you Cover to Cover Challenge sewers are.

July slipped by and I didn't make anything from the book. Bad me. Thankfully you guys did. We welcomed a couple of newcomers to the Flickr pool and the group is a goldmine of inspiration.

I have to get organised and make my Bias Trimmed Apron(s) and some Bear Puppet Bath Mitts. I'm thinking they'll be play puppets rather than bath mitts. I don't know why I'm dragging my feet on the aprons. Every time we make cookies or do anything in the kitchen or garden I think "I really must make those aprons". Maybe I'm stalling 'cause I think each kid will need one for the kitchen, and another for the garden. That's 4 aprons and probably 40 miles of bias binding to sew. Or maybe cause I saw these retro laminated cottons at The Fabric Store and I'm waiting for them to go on sale.....

I also want to do a good job on that bias binding because I'd like to get some photos of one of my very first bias bound projects so we can all see how far I've come, and I'll reveal how addicted I am to 1/4" quilters edge fusible web!

Do you have photos that you haven't put in the Flickr pool yet? Projects that you've made and not yet photographed? Or are you planning on squeezing in a few more projects before the month is up?

Did you see the Little Things To Sew book is currently on sale at Oliver + S? That means you can get the autographed copy from them cheaper than you can find it on some soul-less online book seller. For those who did spill their coffee on their copy, or lost a pattern sheet, here's your chance to get back in the running!

Every new pattern you sew counts as another entry in the prize draw, thanks to The Fabric Stash!