Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Kids Clothes Week Part 1

I have been in a sewing whirlwind lately. As in, I am sewing nearly every day for several hours a day. As in, when I try to sleep at night I imagine patterns and fabrics and how seams should align and where I can add pockets and pocket design.... I guess it's better than worrying about the upcoming pack-out? Or, possibly a diversion? hmmm....

I had a desk put in the dining room so I can keep my machine out all the time.
It is so handy to have a place to keep my current works-in-progress!

So, when my friend Masha over at Where to Next?  suggested the Kids Clothes Week Challenge as a nice way to get back into the habit of blogging, I knew she had hit upon a great idea.

This is my first challenge to participate in. I have been diligently sewing garments for the past 3+ weeks, and I will keep it up until just before pack-out I think. Or until I punch my finger too many times with the seam ripper.

My plan here is to show you some of the things I've learned, show off a few things I'm making, and hope for mucho-praiso from you. (Can you tell I haven't spent any time learning Spanish yet?)

So, on Monday (first day of the KCW Challenge) I traced and cut the Oliver + S After-School Shirt and Pants pattern for Helen and cut the fabric for the shirts. I had already traced and cut the pattern in Sadie's size. And boy, in this pattern in particular I noticed how much larger the pieces are in a size 10 than in a size 3T.  It took me twice as long to trace and cut the pattern for Sadie than it did for Helen.

Before I started sewing for my kids, I didn't realize the benefit or need of tracing patterns. But, here's the deal: when you spend $15 on a pattern that has 4-6 sizes on it, you definitely want to be able to use all the sizes, and if you cut the actual pattern, you can only sew that one size. So, this is where tracing is a good idea, though a bit of extra work.

I trace my patterns using a spiky tool I found in the sewing bench from the estate sale where I bought my first Singer. I think it is a pattern tracing tool. Genius, right? To do so, I put my cutting mat on the tale, then a piece of moving paper.

Time Out!! 
(this is a Life of Fred reference)
A Mini- Essay on the Joys of Moving Paper:
Life in the Foreign Service means one moves around a lot. Moving means packing. Thankfully, not on your own, but with highly skilled movers with nifty boxes and papers for carefully wrapping up all your precious items. Or something like that.

Anyway, a thrifty thing to do is to keep that moving paper, most of which comes out of the box looking brand-new, to use for:

enormous children's artwork
play-doh play area
encasing for melting crayons with your iron so you don't mess up said iron or the carpet
or, my favorite...

So, I lay down my cutting mat, then the moving paper, (which is nearly the exact size of the cutting mat), then the pattern goes on top. I trace the size I need with the spiky wheel, move the paper to one side and use a sharpie to trace over that line. I then mark the piece with all details, including what size.

These are the After-School Shirts ready to sew.
All markings are transferred, with the addition of the size. 
On Tuesday, I walked to the fabric store nearby with the kids. It was a beautiful spring day here in Moscow and we enjoyed the walk through the city. I especially was thankful to be able to walk, as I've been struggling with a pesky piece of glass still stuck in my heel. Yesterday was the first time in a week I've been able to walk around and not be in pain. I guess it found a better resting spot in there. 

At the fabric store I was able to buy buttons for the shirts above, and for Sailor Pants for Sadie (which I'll show off in an upcoming blog post), as well as some ribbon for a Lazy Days skirt I have planned and thread. Apparently when you finish your seams properly you use a lot of thread. (Travis says I have a knack for stating the obvious).

I resisted the urge to buy fabric, though they have lots of cute prints there. I decided that was better done on my own. It's really hard to think through a catalog of patterns in your brain while looking at fabrics with your kids talking all around you. You know what I mean?

Ooo- that gives me an idea that I would love love love a fabric store with a kids play area. Bliss!

And now, for today's fashion show:

O + S Tea Party Sundress made on March 30th, when there was still thick snow on the ground.
I love the polka-dot trim, which is also used as hem facing and for the matching bloomers.
The buttons are red leather from stash I inherited with my machine.
I made Sadie's dress last summer, before I started using O + S patterns.
It is a peasant dress pattern from Simplicity. 

The girls in their new O + S Popover Sundresses made from some cotton I bought at the Saturday market in Apt, France.
The pattern is free and a good intro to working with O + S for the curious.
 I added french seams and inseam pockets. They love the pockets.
I printed, cut and sewed Sadie's on Saturday and then sewed Helen's on Sunday.
The sewing is only about 2 hours, including those pockets.

I just love the color combo!

Another freebie from O + S. This is the Ruffled Halter in a cotton/poly voile.
I also made one in a yellow branchy pattern that I'll show you later.
The back of the shirt.

Ready for summer!


  1. Sweet! So cute! Tracing patterns is a pain but totally worth it when you can use the same pattern 4-5 times. :-)

  2. No kidding! 4 or 5 or 10 or 12 or until you get really tired of the pattern.

  3. Adorable! You make me want to start sewing dresses for Pascale! So glad your blog is back. :-)

    1. You would have fun sewing for Pascale! And thanks, it's good to be blogging again.

  4. Sarah, everything looks awesome! I especially love the ruffled halter. I haven't made that yet. I should. These pics also make me miss the backyard, which is kind of nuts since we have a large one of our own here.

  5. Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Extremely helpful information specially the last part I care for such info a lot. I was seeking this particular information for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.
    Shoes for Kids


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