Wednesday, September 4, 2013
A Great Knock-Off and some Great Thoughts from Cathgrace
Today we have Catherine, the amazingly talented lady behind cathgrace. She is also a veteran at sewing for the tween crowd (both genders even!) and even held her own during the last season of Project Run and Play. I love that she did so well, while sewing for tweens and not cute little toddlers. Her skills really showed with the garments she was able to come up with...you should go check them out. Today she has some great thoughts on how to make clothes your tween will want to wear and where to get some inspiration.
I am so excited to be here today, as tween sewing is one of my greatest passions! (Thanks Sally and Major Moma for having me!) I have a total soapbox that I like to get on to complain about clothing companies not making things that are age appropriate for older kids by either having them be babyish, advertisements for TV shows or sassy sayings, or frankly like something from Pretty Woman! I make a lot of my daughter's clothes and and have started making more and more of my son's clothes too, (just to get away from the sayings on boy's clothes; why do they all have to say stuff about hating homework, or school, or their sisters, while only wanting to play video-games or sports?) Anyway, I have a lot of thoughts on the subject. :)
My daughter has been on an Anthropologie kick for a while now; she really loves it when I do knock offs for her, since she feels fancy wearing something in the style of Anthropologie. I like using them as inspiration because I think with just a few modifications, a lot of their garments can be made to be age appropriate, while seeming like "legitimate" designer wear to my daughter, ergo she is proud to wear it! I think it's really easy to default to making dresses when making handmade clothes, since they are easier to make unique without looking off, but I think getting everyday wear "right" is what works best in my daughter's wardrobe. For this project we (Emmie and I) settled on this sweatshirt from Anthropologie,
Most of my sewing is done without a pattern, so I decided to make a project for this post (rather than just linking to past projects,) that was able to be replicated easily with a known pattern, but was enough of an alteration to make a look that can't be identified as pattern X (since there are so few tween patterns out there, I think being able to think outside of the box helps.) We decided on a 2-fer with this project, and I did a knock-off, along with only sewing from my stash, so here is my version of Anthropologie's Ellery Sweatshirt.
Anthropologie's sweatshirt features raglan sleeves, heathered grey knit and white mesh, with raw edges and a white knit peeking through behind the raw edges. I altered the proportions slightly in my version since I was making it for a child; I made the sleeves longer so that it would be warmer for Fall, and I made the body a little longer and fuller, so that Emmie has room to grow a little.
The mesh was from my swimsuit fabric stash, and was originally intended to be used as underpants for the inside of swimming trunks, and the grey and white knit were just yardage I had (I am either ashamed or proud to say I had 3 different greys to chose from, and 3-4 different whites, my stash might be a sign of a hoarding problem.....)
The zipper is a really neat clear, plastic, separating zip, that I got about a year ago from a booth in the fabric market in Seoul, for about .50, (apparently about 1/3 of the worlds zips are made in Korea, so those suckers are cheap here!) and the white webbing for the belt was left over from something from years ago, (which is why I never throw anything out! :) )
So, In making this sweatshirt I began with Simplicity 1605 (which also happened to be featured as a good boy's pattern here on Sew Cool a bit ago)
Sorry about all of the following pictures, they were cell phone in progress pictures! Anyway, I wanted a raglan sleeve, so this pattern was perfect, and the fact that it is a boy's cut, added the looseness and ease that I wanted for the fit of this jacket. Here is how I altered the pattern.
I began by tracing the pattern in the largest child's size onto paper, I butted the side seams against each other eliminating the seam allowance (I also added 2" in length)
Next I defined the lines for the mesh portion, I used a french curve to get a shape I was happy with, and then added a seam allowance for the front and back pieces. and then I split the front piece instead of placing it on a fold.
I then traced the mesh piece onto it's own piece of paper, and straightened the bottom sides after adding seam allowances, (this will make the jacket more A-line.)
Here's what all my pieces now look like lined up.
And then here they are all sewn together with a casing strip added, the casing is just 2 layers of knit, gray over white with raw edges left to roll.
Next I sewed down the underarm seam of the sleeve, and then sewed the raglan seam. The rest of the finishing was just adding facings in with the zip, and a neck band (two layers so there was a white layer too) and cuffs on the sleeves.
As you can see, Miss Emmie loves her new sweatshirt, she kept saying how she felt more special than just wearing jeans and a t shirt would normally make her feel!
For me, the most important part of getting tweens to want to wear what you make, is the quality of the work. These kids are now old enough to KNOW what REAL clothes look and feel like, if the finishing or fit is off, they won't wear it, because they know they look like they are in homemade clothes (as opposed to handmade clothes)
I serged all of the inside seams, and made sure everything was finished as it should be, right down to a handmade tag (I always try to write sizes in my clothes, it makes it easier to pass stuff on)
Emmie really loves being dressed up, but also does a lot of casual stuff too;she volunteers at our local animal shelter as a dog walker, so this jacket will fit right in with her fall needs.
AND she gets to wear a bit of mommy's love, which she also feels with handmade clothes!cathgrace, since I have a lot more tween stuff over there!
Like a beaded owl dress,
Vintage style boy's wear,
and much, much more!