Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pattern Review: Easy Fit Pants by Scientific Seamstress

As I said in my first post, I'm a pretty much a pattern-follower when it comes to sewing. So this is a review of one of my favorite patterns.

I LOVE this pattern. I love it so much that I've made four pairs of Easy Fits in 3 months.  I particularly liked the tip about turning under and pressing the hems and waist casing before sewing the seams together.  Forty years of sewing and I never thought of that.  It is so difficult to turn under an itty bitty quarter inch for a teeny tiny sleeve casing after the sleeve seam is sewn. Much, much easier to do the turning and pressing when the sleeve--or hem or waist--is flat. 
Then just sew the seams...everything matches up nicely and turns under, ready to be sewn in place. And the Folding Templates that were included in the pattern for the hem and waist casing made it so measuring!

I purchased the Adult Easy Fits Pants because the pattern included a wide range of sizes, Tween XXS to Adult 3X , was suitable for boys or girls, men or women and could be customized to any individual.  While I have sewn lots of things for Baby Kenzie, I haven't sewn anything for 11-year-old, Erik, since his kindergarten graduation eel costume (yes, eel costume. Their little program had an under-the-sea theme).  I thought this would be a good pattern to sew for him. And I planned to make some for myself, also.

So one day when we're walking through Joann's, he spotted this bright, UF orange and blue camo fleece with Gator logos on it. "Gramma, make me something with this!" he pleaded--University of Florida anything is popular at their house.  I thought of the Easy Fit pattern. We were going to Michigan at Christmas and some nice fleece pants would keep him warm.

I measured his height and hips. His hip measurement put him in the XXS size. The "Side Length" chart gave a choice of pant lengths from shorts to floor length for different heights. There is also an option for regular or low rise. The pdf pattern was easy to put together and I had the pieces cut out in no time. The diagrams and clear step-by-step instructions were easy to follow.  The only change I made was to add a drawstring to the waist.  A few hours later, the orange and blue camo Gator-covered fleece pants were done.

UF Gator Camo Pants
What a hit they were! He loved them! He wore them every day over Christmas vacation. He about wore them out! 

(He wanted me to add a talk bubble saying that! He's such a character!)

Erik's pants were done so quickly, I decided to make some Easy Fits for his mom. I hadn't sewed anything for her in a really long time.  Orange chevron flannel for her. And a mini pair of pj pants for Kenzie in the orange chevron, too. Mommy and me pants!

Orange Chevron Flannel Pants
Kenzie and Mommy modeling their pants.

After Christmas, I found some football fleece on sale at Joann's and made another pair of Easy Fits for Erik. He plays Pop Warner football and loves anything with footballs on it. 
Football Fleece Pants

A few weeks ago, I saw some cat patterned fabric at Hobby Lobby. A fourth pair of Easy Fits! These would be perfect for my feline-loving sister who raises the most beautiful British Shorthair cats.

How cute are these little faces?    

Cat Pants 
When my mom saw the cat pants, she said she wanted some, too! Although not necessarily in cat print fabric!  Because she's about 4'11' now, she has a hard time finding pants that are short enough. So I guess Easy Fits for her are next on the list.

And, one of these days I'll get around to making some for myself!

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Pumpkin Carriage-Part II

So, now we were ready to start the pumpkin-carriage stroller costume. We had gotten a big box and were ready to go. Now what?  (Insert sound of crickets here.....)

I had to start somewhere so I sketched out what I wanted the pumpkin to look like on a piece of paper. Then, I measured the stroller to get the approximate dimensions I wanted it to be. I taped some pieces of newspaper together to make a large template. With pencil and string, I drew a large circle, sketched in a stem and some wheels and cut it out, traced it onto the cardboard. I even remembered to reverse the pattern to draw the second side!

Newspaper Template
Time to cut. I got about eight inches cut and my hand was hurting. Hubby cut the rest, twice. Thank you, honey!
Trying out the size
Now for some pumpkin colors. I had an inexpensive orange plastic tablecloth that I spray-glued to the cardboard, leaving the wheels, stem and what would be the door area uncovered. It dried into some interesting little puckers and bumps and gave the pumpkin some character. I painted the stem green and the wheels black with white swirls. I put glow in the dark paint on the swirls for fun. Orange marker stripes, scrapbook paper for the door and a painted door outline completed the carriage. the pumpkin carriage is looking good now! We are on a roll! Next problem to to attach the thing to the stroller so it didn't drag on the ground or fall off.

We finally settled on zip ties. Picked spots on the frame of the stroller that would support the cardboard, poked some holes, inserted the ties and tightened them up. Perfect! The cardboard wasn't moving at all. 

Teddy, practicing his royal wave
In order to transport the pumpkin carriage, we had to unassemble it. October 12, two days before my trip, we delivered the pumpkin-carriage stroller costume. I got it all put back together, did a little cosmetic work to cover the ugly zip ties, added a brace across the top and one between the front wheels for stabilization and told daughter to use another stroller til Halloween.

Miss Mouse in her pumpkin carriage
Of course, they all had a great time Trick-or-Treating and got lots and lots of candy. After all, who could resist such a cute little baby mouse, riding in a pumpkin carriage no less?   Hopefully, this year, they will choose Halloween costumes before mid-September and give Gramma more time for these crazy projects.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Pumpkin Carriage-Part I

Since these projects are not in chronological order anyway and I mentioned it in the first post, I'll go ahead and tell you about the pumpkin-carriage stroller costume.

Now, I've made lots of Halloween costumes over the years for my daughter, Snow White, a mermaid, a unicorn and various others. But this one, this one, has to be the oddest request ever.  About mid-September, daughter calls and tells me about her Halloween plans.  She wants everyone to be a character from Cinderella. Everyone being her ten-year-old son (forced into the role of Prince Charming), his half-sister, Ava, as Cinderella, Mackenzie as the little mouse that runs around saying "Cinderelly", and daughter and her friend portraying the stepsisters. Can I do costumes for everyone, except Cinderella who already has hers? Keep in mind folks that this is 6 weeks from Halloween, I'm already working on projects she's given me for Erik's birthday party in a few weeks and I'm going out of town in mid-October for a month. All I can think of is surely she doesn't mean Halloween this year! She must be kidding! And, oh yeah, can I turn the stroller into a pumpkin carriage since Kenzie is not yet walking too well yet and will have to ride. My first reaction to all this was, of course, hysterical laughter. When I finally regained my senses, I gave my answer. NO WAY! No way I was sewing 4 outfits and turning the stroller into a pumpkin carriage!

We compromised on no stepsister costumes, 2 semi-handmade costumes for the prince and the mouse and a pumpkin carriage costume for the stroller. The prince was pretty easy. We got a pair of blue jeans at Walmart and I basted some gold trim down the legs. She bought the jacket, and sash and I shortened the sleeves and the sash because they were adult-sized.

Erik's Prince Costume
Miss Mouse was made from a brown shirt and pants, again, from Walmart. I sewed a pink flannel oval to the front of the shirt for the mouse tummy. We found this cute hat at a consignment sale. It already had little ears on it, so I just made some larger ears of brown felt and pink flannel and basted them to the the existing ears.

Miss Mouse
Now for the pumpkin carriage. I'll have to admit, my usually creative mind, completely drew a blank on that one. How on earth could I do that?  After brainstorming with my hubby, we decided on cardboard....two very large pieces of cardboard. Large enough to cover the sides of the stroller, leaving the front open so Kenzie could see where she was going. After procuring a very large box, so large in fact it would not fit into the car and I had to wait at the store with it while my hubby went home to get the truck, we commenced work on this unusual project.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Post 1....The First Ever

Hi there!  My name is Elizabeth. I am a retired teacher, Gramma to four ranging from 19 to 1. I love to sew, knit, crochet, smock and craft. This is a blog about my sewing and crafting exploits because it gives me a place to keep a record of projects and my 91-year-old parents can see it online.  I'm not sure anyone else would be interested.

My grandmother taught my to sew when I was about 10. Her sew machine was always going with six granddaughters to sew for.  A thought that just occurred to me....we all turned out to be creative in different knits lovely things, one makes beautiful pottery items, one is very musical and plays in a city band, one weaves gorgeous things on her loom, one is a creative problem solver and one sews little things and makes crazy projects (that's me).

Anyway, after working my way through various crafts over the years, including the above-mentioned and cross-stitch, tatting, beading, painting and a feeble attempt at scrapbooking, I have settled comfortably into sewing things for the the newest addition to our family, Baby Mackenzie. I make things for her for three reasons: 1) I love doing it; 2) she doesn't complain about the style or color; 3) she has to wear it if I put it on her.

Sew.....(a pun...not a typo....haha) here it goes......

Generally I follow a pattern to sew things, but I do have a few breakout creative moments and come up with something original, like the pumpkin-carriage stroller costume for Halloween....but that's a blog for another day.

Today's blog is about one of my favorite projects, Mackenzie's Kilted Skirt.  One has to call it a kilted skirt, because traditionally, females do not wear kilts. I read some tutorials on kilt-making and decided to give it a go. Being somewhat hesitant in my kilt-making abilities, I decided to skip the $25-a-yard wool and used a plaid flannel fabric instead. And, no Dad, it's not a Fraser tartan, either.  It came out pretty cute, if I do say so. If I ever make another though, I will definitely heed a tip I read...DO THE HEM FIRST!  I was so into pleating the back, I neglected to do that, much to my later regret.

Skirt Front
I used hook-and-loop closures on the waist band, but it wasn't quite tight enough to keep the skirt from slipping down her baby tummy so I added some snap-on straps.

Skirt Back
Here she is in her completed outfit. The white t-shirt is from Walmart. I fused an applique of a scottie dog to the front of it. I got everything finished just in time for her to wear it to the local Scottish Highland Games event.

Herself getting ready to go

We all had a great time at the Games. It was a lovely sunny day...wonderful company....good food...great music. Must be the Scots in me that makes my toe tap whenever I hear a pipe band. Kenzie must have that gene, too, because she started dancing her little baby dance when the bands played nearby.

So, Mom and Dad, that's my first blog. Sorry about the pictures. I'm not much of  a photographer. I definitely need to improve my skills in that area.