Friday, March 27, 2015

Pattern Review: M6596 top

I was looking for a way to try some new techniques and use up some of my knit left-overs from other projects and I grabbed out McCall's M6596 to assist.

The pattern is very basic, so I knew it would be perfect for letting me concentrate on my new skill building.  What I wanted to learn how to do was a flatlock seam on my serger.

I sewed up view D for this project.

Pattern Source:  I bought the pattern at JoAnn's on sale but you can buy it on McCall's website too.

pattern review

Sizes available:  It come in sizes 3 to 14 and consists of variations on the same flared knit top and sweat pants.

pattern review

Special materials required:  The pattern is designed for moderate stretch knits for the top and lightweight woven fabrics for the pants and accent fabrics on the top.

pattern review
an upcycled version I did with a sweater that was given to me 

Skill level required:  The pattern is labeled easy and certainly deserves that label.  I found the pattern to be incredibly simple.  But, I think the sleeve insertion method is unnecessarily complicated.  It has you sew the main body, then the sleeve, then insert the sleeve.  I like the technique of sewing the shoulder seams and then the cap of the sleeve to the shoulder.  Then you sew from the wrist down to the hem for your side seams.  It is soooo (or sew) much easier.

pattern reveiw

Good: A cute and comfortable top.

Bad: The way the side flares out is the trend now but I don't find it especially appealing.  My tween does though, so that is good.  And I already said that I found the instructions did not teach you the most efficient way to construct this simple garment.

Overall pattern rating:  3 Bolts 

Now, on to my flatlocking experiment.  Flatlocking is a technique that you do with three threads in your serger where you sew your seams together but then pull the fabric apart so the edges of the fabric actually butt up against each other joined by the visible threads.  The technique is popular for work out clothing so that the seams don't chafe and for thicker fabrics that would have a bulky seam allowance if sewn the normal way.

pattern review and flatlocking a seam
a view of my semi successful flatlocking

If you are interesting in learning more, here are a couple tutorials with some helpful sights.

Tutorial by Made by me & Shared with you

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Pixie Hooded Coat by Big Little

I was lucky to get chosen for the test of  the Pixie Hooded Coat by Big Little.
If you want a versatile coat pattern, this is a great find. Depending on the fabric choice, this would make a great Spring, Autumn or Winter coat.
For this coat I used a home decorating fabric for the outside (from JoAnn's) and I cut up a fuzzy blanket for the lining (found on clearance at Target). But it would be great in lighter weight fabrics as well. You'll also need something for the closure (she lists great options in the pattern).
You can find the pattern over at the Big Little Shop along with the Pea Coat version that just has a collar.  It's listed for $8.50 and comes in sizes 1-14. And there's also a women's pattern in the works as well.
As there are no zippers, button holes on any of that kind of stuff that might be a little scary, I would say this is a great beginner pattern, with an outcome that will have people saying, "You sewed that?!?"  Lisa does a great job with instructions and it went through a series of tests to make sure everything was just so, so you know you are getting a good pattern.
The Good: This is a great versatile pattern. You'll be able to use it for multiple seasons and across many ages.  It is also a super easy pattern, with great written/visual instructions, that comes together super fast. I finished this in a morning and my husband just looked at me and said "You just made that in the couple of hours you were sewing?"
The pattern also has a rounded hood option that comes with it (added on after the first test to make the pattern more boy and tween friendly). So don't let the pixie hood deter you if your tween turns up their nose at that look. (But you should really look at the cute pictures of toddlers and babies in the pixie hood...they are adorable.) I also made another version for my other daughter, in which I think the pixie hood makes the coat. Sophia didn't think it was so bad and actually wears the coat to middle that's saying something.
Because of the simplicity of the pattern, this would also be a great coat pattern to play around with contrasting fabrics, color blocking, bias tape, make it a show piece.
As for the bad and ugly...there are none. I really did enjoy making this pattern and will probably be making one for me in the future. I need a light weight Spring/Fall jacket, so I'm on the hunt for the perfect fabric. Again the pattern is the Pixie Hooded Coat by BigLittle.
This is a 5 bolt pattern!!!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Pattern Review: Aviator Pant

Are you looking for some casual pants for your son or daughter?  Here is the pattern for you.  One does not get much more casual than a pair of sweatpants.  But this is not just a pair of sweatpants for lounging around the house.  There are several details that can make these pants fit for roaming around town.

Name of the pattern:  This is the Aviator Pant.  It is a knit cargo pant or short with triangle details and optional cuff and welt pockets.

Pattern Source: This pattern is by Winter Wear Designs.

Pattern Review

Sizes available:  There is a wide range of sizes for this pattern.  It runs from 18 months to 14 years.  Yep, 14 years, so this is a pattern for tweens until they are ready for adult patterns.

Special materials required:  These pants are made of sweat shirt material and rib knit is used for the waistband.  I added a 1/4 inch elastic to the waist band just to reinforce the rib knit.  I also used rib knit for the optional ankle cuffs.  I used light weight fleece for the pockets pockets and omitted the contrasting triangles.  If you choose the contrasting triangles, ensure the fabric is of the same weight as the main fabric.

These are a pull-on pant, so no zippers or other fasteners are necessary!

Pattern Review

Skill level required:  There are welt pockets for the back and special details throughout the construction.  However, the instructions are clear so I would say a confident beginner can tackle this pattern.  But if this is your first time sewing welt pockets, I would recommend practicing on scrap fabric.

How you came to choose the pattern:  I bought the pattern as part of a pattern bundle at Pattern Revolution.

Did you deviate from the pattern?  Yes, I skipped the welt pockets as I thought they were overkill and too fancy for a pair of camo pants.

Good:  These pants are so easy.  And they must be comfortable because I had to demand my son place them in the laundry after wearing them three days straight.

Pattern Review

Bad:  Well, I am not a fan of sweatpants, so I am not sure if that qualifies as a bad.  But the kids love them so I guess not.

Overall pattern rating:  Thus, I give this pattern 4 bolts.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Spring 2015 runway trends

New York's Spring 2015 Fashion week just past and every fashion magazine and website is highlighting the their favorites.  I thought we could do the same.  I picked out the looks that appealed to me and gathered them up here.  I think several of these could easily translate to tween fashion.

Don't you?

A few designers were using gingham which is such a classic Spring/Summer fabric and is used for children clothes all the time.  I love how Diane von Furstenburg had such tailored pieces and pops of colored flowers that made this picnic fabric classy

Oscar de la Renta also was using gingham with stunningly beautiful floral prints and cutouts.

As one would expect for Spring and Oscar de la Renta big floral prints were prevalent.  An de la Renta used those large floral prints in neat tailored pieces.

DFV source
Shear fabrics were also prevalent in several collections.  Now, when translating high fashion to tweens, one always has to be careful to make adjustments that are age appropriate.  And sheer fabrics obviously can easily translate as sexy.  But, as you can see, these fashions use layers and I think that could be played with in order to make tween fashion with these flowing or cut out sheers.

Oscar de la Renta source
Oscar de la Renta source

Paul and Joe (source)
Vera Wang

I personally just loved this look.  I think it is ho it exudes cool and still has a fun blue pocket.

Marc by Marc Jacobs (source)
We don't choose to show bellies in my family but that does not mean we can't appreciate a crop top trend.  They are cute for layering or with a high-waisted pant too.

Marc by Marc Jacobs (source)
Diesel Black Gold (source)
Participating in these trends could be as simple as fabric choices.  But, to get some of the looks, the right pattern needs to be found.  So, I thought we could have a little linky party that you all could link patterns or fabrics that you think would work.  I ask that in your title, you state what trend you think that item matches.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Pattern Review: Burda Cargo Pant

Abi had asked for a pair of cargo pants and I loved the look of this Burda pattern so I (Major Moma) figured it was time to sew it up.  I have to warn you, it is not a simple or quick sew but I loved the beautiful result.  I am actually am quite proud of these pants and I think they are one of my best.

Clearly, this pattern is being marketed for girls, but I think it could easily be for boys with the right fabric choice.

Name of the pattern:  Cargo pants 10/2010 #150

We reviewed the top on the left HERE

Pattern Source: It is a  BurdaStyle downloadable pdf pattern.  (We are members of BurdStyle's affiliate program.)

Pattern Review

Sizes available: It comes in European sizes 134-158 and my size 12 daughter wears a 152 for your reference.  To determine your child's size, you use their height in centimeters.

pattern review

Special materials required:  You will need a pant weight fabric, snaps for the pockets and some elastic for the back of the waist.

pattern review

Skill level required: I would say this is an intermediate pattern.  There are pleated cargo pockets, welt pockets, darts at the knees and a zipper fly.  All of these details take time and patience.  At the same time, it is all those details that really make these pants look great.  No tween would be embarrassed to wear these very cool mom-made pants.

pattern review

Good:  The good about these pants are the professional finishes and the great pocket details.

pattern review

Bad:  They take time.  And as I have said so many times before, the instructions are not always that clear and are quite minimal.  In order to help you out a bit on the welt pockets, I took pictures along the way and am sharing them here.

Sew Cool for the Tween Scene

Sew Cool for the Tween Scene

Overall pattern rating:  I give it 4 bolts just because of the sparse instructions.  If the instructions were better, I would give it 5.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Pattern Review: Field Research Pants

Scientific Seamstress
If finding a tween pattern is hard, finding a great tween boy pattern is very hard.  But here is a great one.  It is for a hiking pant that converts from pants to shorts

Name of the pattern:  Scientific Seamstress' Field Research Cargo Pants.

pattern review

Pattern Source:  You can buy this pattern on the Scientific Seamstress Etsy shop which has a lot of casual wear patterns suitable for boys and girls.

Pattern Review

Sizes available:  The pattern is sized for children from 3 to 14.  It is a relaxed fit and thus would be great for plus sized children.

Special materials required:  You will need elastic for the waist, and separating zippers for the legs.

The separating zippers are the key to what makes this pattern special.  It is with these zippers that you can make the shorts and then a pant extension that comes on and off easily.  The construction of this element requires attention to detail but it is well explained and there are a lot of pictures to guide you.

pattern Review

Skill level required:  This is not a pattern for beginners.  I would say if you have sewn a few pants in your day, then you are ready to tackle this pattern.  The construction of the pants is not hard, but those detachable legs have several steps.

Pattern Review

How you came to choose the pattern:  I bought these as part of the boy bundle on Pattern Revolution's bundle up sale this summer.  If you are looking to try out new designers, you may want to check Pattern Revolution's periodic bundle sales.

Pattern Review

Good:  I really liked this pattern.  There are a lot of pockets with great details like pleats and flaps.  And the unique feature of the detachable legs (have I mentioned these before???)  make it a real winner.  What is so appealing to me is that my son can wear these pants right now in the dead of winter and in the summer when it is hot. 

Pattern Review

Bad:  I was disappointed that it did not come with a true zipper fly option.  The pattern only has a faux fly.  Next time I make them, I will adjust the pattern and put in a zipper.  If I was making these for a toddler, a faux fly is just fine, but a grown kid wants 'real' pants.

Overall pattern rating:  I would give  this versatile pattern 5 bolts.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Having fun with accessories

When your kids are little, they love to have holiday outfits.  At least you may love to make them and they are happy to accommodate.  However, sometimes tweens get a little less enthusiastic.  But, they still are kids and like to have fun.

We did a post with ideas for Valentine's Day that a tween may not just let you make them, but enjoy wearing.  And those ideas could be modified for just about any holiday or season.

DIY suspenders, bow tie, and belt

So what if you did not want to actually make a real article of clothing?  What if you have some great theme fabric and want to whip up something super easy and super quick that is not meant to be integrated into an everyday tween wardrobe?

Well I say make an accessory!

I wanted to make a bow tie, because I just think they are so cute.  After wondering around on Pinterest, I settled on a tutorial by One Dog Woof.  There are several bloggers that give patterns for authentic bow ties and several quick versions.  I liked this one because it is all rectangles and suited my need for a quick and not fancy project.

DIY bow tie

Of course, with Easter coming up, you can use this quick tutorial to make a more formal look for your young man or hipster daughter.

During my search, I saw DIY suspenders.  Oh, how fun would that be?  And when my daughter saw them, she flipped!  I was actually surprised how much she liked them and she is excited to wear them.

DIY suspenders and bow tie

Coconut Love Tutorial

Lastly, I had a belt making kit in my notions drawer that I wanted to use.  This is actually the accessory I thought my daughter would gravitate too but instead my son chose it.  Have you ever made a fabric covered button?  Well this is the same deal but with a belt buckle.  And then you make the belt in the same manner as you would for the suspenders.

I made all of these with fabric I got out of the remnant bin so I paid very little for the fabric.  Now the notions for the suspenders; that is another story.  But as much as Abi liked them, I am sure we will get some use out of them.  And it would be easy to cut the straps of and use the hardware on a new project.  I probably would have done better to cannibalize suspenders at a thrift store ... and might next time.