Autumn Alabama Chanin style bolero & bodysuit set for baby…

I have such a backlog of post topics!  There are folders of photos ready for the text and plenty of text waiting for photos.  Heh.  I’m working on it.  For example, I plan a bunch of cycling review/information posts, and we had a great test yesterday by biking from northern Westchester all the way to Manhattan!  Today I’ll write about the project that has been occupying me for the last two months or longer.  Now I’m nearing the end, finally, and part of the delay has been that I worked on completing basic bodysuits also so that Mini had more to wear.  (Not to mention that I didn’t want her to outgrow what I’d cut out before I even sewed it all!)

Orange is not usually I colour I like at all, but I have been drawn to it lately and find it compliments Mini’s colouring.  I decided to get several T-shirts in oranges and yellows to use for her wardrobe.  While I did that and cut them up in the summer fall has now arrived, and the ensemble I’m working on seems perfect for the season.  I made a stencil (quite quickly and roughly) of poppy seed pods, but our maple tree now shows me that a Japanese maple leaf motif would have been wonderful.  One day I’ll take time to create stencils which seamlessly match together and work well for stitching, but in this case I could get away with a poorly thought out one for tiny pieces.  I’d first thought about using stencils I already had, but I couldn’t put off the poppies for such lovely colours.

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Now I have only a little stitching left on the final piece (sleeve) before I can construct the bolero.  The matching plain lighter orange bodysuit is nearly complete with just a little binding left to sew.  I’m hoping to use the set for photos this weekend.

Here are some shots to show the other onesies:

 

In Queue

Just a quick update…

I took some time lately to simply cut out a bunch of patterns to have queued and ready for sewing.  This means I haven’t yet finished the lavender basic onesie, but once in a while I rather have a line-up to keep me focused instead of hit by too many next project ideas at once (especially the kind I cannot work on now.)

There are four wrap dresses: in Buddhist monk orange, dandelion yellow, wine red, and pale tan.  This takes a lot of “yardage,” so I needed to shorten or narrow them depending on the t-shirt.  They are the most versatile in size but cannot yet be worn, so I’ll work on them last.  One is the older a-line dress with sleeves and was cut out months ago.  That is meant to be a very embellished two-layer dress sized for later on, and it is of dark and lighter blue.  There are two basic spaghetti strap onesies: pumpkin orange and grey-heathered wine red in a current size.  I was able to fit an enlarged bolero in pumpkin too.  I’d hoped to use it over the pale tan, but there wasn’t enough.  I may find another suitable layer though.  (I sadly messed up when placing and cutting a pixie hat from the remaining pale tan.  Waaah!)  Lastly are two dress-onesies: deep red and a sky blue.

I have a lot to sew now!  It is funny to me that I have yellow and orange, because I have always disliked them strongly.  Maybe not always, because I do appreciate them on certain other people, but I avoid them myself.  Anyway, it’ll be fun to make these for Mini and see her being cute in them.

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I have also selected photos for queued up blog posts that I’ll get to eventually.  😉  They vary in nature from gardening, sewing, nursery items, cooking, or home improvement.  I’m working on it!

The lavender onesie:

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Alabama Chanin baby bolero: completed

It’s entirely complete!

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I’ll need to grade the pattern a bit larger now.  It fits but rather snuggly.  Gah.  She grew a lot since I began!

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That’s all.  I just wanted to share better photos of it.  The next few days are a tad busy for me without leaving much sewing time, but I hope to complete a few basic onesies soon before another bolero or anything else.  I’m also really thinking about some dresses and outerwear for myself, but that’s not so realistic.

Nearly done! (Progress)

I’ve been so slow with this little Alabama Chanin style baby bolero.  It was supposed to be a quick project, ha!  In reality I only pick it up for a few minutes at a time every few days if I have a chance, so I shouldn’t be surprised that it took probably a month (like everything seems to.)  Also, it has the time consuming reverse appliqué.

Soon (I hope) I’ll be done and have nice modelled photos, but for now here is a peek:

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Baby bolero Alabama Chanin style

I’ve also cut out some simple onesies that truly are fast to stitch.  For these the worst part is pinning on the binding and the decorative stitch for it.  Even very small T-shirts can fit this pattern until Mini grows some more, so I was able to thrift a few very nice colours.  I can carefully fit a bolero jacket too most times!  (She grew overnight from 28,5″ long to 30″ so I am afraid I may be needing new patterns again.)  With the appliqué and thickness of layers I found the bolero could use more width in the sleeves and perhaps to be lengthened too?  The pattern is a few months old and this is the first time sewn, so perhaps she is just bigger too, but I had tried to plan ahead of that.

For this bolero, which was supposed to be oh so quick, I roughly drew a design to reverse appliqué.  I’ve found a Sharpie works best for me most times and will not venture into fabric paints for a while.  This pattern did not make an ideal stencil for such stitching and cutting, but I can work with it.  I’ll improve it.  For now it was haphazard, and I also free hand drew random circles to fill the voids a little.   I tried to let loose and not plan ahead like normal.  This means I see less than ideal placement now.  Sigh.

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This time I felled the seams, but it becomes very bulky with the layers involved.  You may notice that the pattern pieces look wonky.  I should fix the arms?  Bleh.  So much for copying ready-made clothes for patterns.

The lavender onesie is almost as complete now as this jacket with a few minutes of stitching, hah!  I’m using pink thread for it.  The fabric colour doesn’t show well here at all, but eventually I’ll take decent photos.

That’s all for now!

 

 

Two completed dresses! (More Alabama Chanin for babies.)

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Look at me!  I’ve been posting and I’ve finished two little dresses!  Yesterday and today Monday and yesterday I even altered some patterns and cut out a couple more pieces to have them queued up for sewing.  (However, I probably haven’t cleaned quite as much as usual or put away any laundry all week, oops.)  So, I was working on the pink wrap dress that only had a tiny bit left to stitch, and that is done.  Let me write in more depth about it…

The pink dress was made as a test for my own, conveniently used scrap fabric, and will be nice for Mini to wear once she is done crawling.  It did work out well in jersey, and I don’t need to change anything about my pattern.  Hers could do with less width in the front panels, and I already made a new pattern piece to eliminate an inch.  Otherwise I love this little dress!  I even like the dusty pink now.

Here are some of the me-sized original versions of the dress as it progressed.  It began as a loose tunic initially, then I made a longer dress with more fullness and sometimes a belt (not shown,) and I turned it into a more fitted and flared medieval inspired dress before finally getting to a more form fitting wrap version recently.   The photos aren’t too good with wrinkled fabric and a less shapely mannequin, but they’ll have to do.

It was fun to do a more elaborate (yet simple without embellishment) dress than the a-line t-shirt style I’d been getting bored of.  I think the design is really cute and more unique and worthwhile to put the work into.  Of course it takes longer at every step and requires so much fabric that most t-shirts cannot be used to make it.  Sigh.  It seems that every shirt I grab, thinking “gorgeous colour, yes, this one!” is too small.  It’s disappointing.  I’ll need to seek out some really big shirts and can’t wait to get back to the thrift store.  Thus I also worked out a new pattern and tried it.  I completed the first of that style bodysuit-dress today  yesterday too!

I really love this one!  The grey is lovely and with the A.C. type stitching looks so interesting.  I’m looking forward to getting Mini into it and hopefully making more to fill out her wardrobe.  It’s hard to sew fast enough though.  After making this test one I’ve discovered little things to change about the shirring.  It can easily be eliminated to fit into more thrift Ts too.  This pattern eats up a lot of “yardage” too, so this is important although I prefer a little more width personally.   Upon trying it on her for a photoshoot I now know that the dress portion must be shortened more for crawling.  Drat.  I already cut out the next dress, and I hope she’ll be able to wear it before growing.  The entire point was to have things to wear now, so ugh…

I’ve cut another out in deep red and also squeezed in pieces for a matching bolero.  I used blue-grey scraps to make the bolero two layers.  Now I’m in the middle of cutting a scrolling stencil to use on it.  I’ll do a running stitch and reverse appliqué and outer felled seams?  Although, after cutting the stencil more I’m considering using a different one.  Once that is settled I’ll baste the layers together and get to the fun.  Here is the way I fit the pattern pieces onto the T-shirt:

 

I don’t have any more photos so, in the interest of actually getting to post this, that’s all for now.

Another completed Alabama Chanin style piece (and a sneak peek of what’s in progress now.)

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I finished this a few weeks ago but couldn’t post about it until I’d presented it to the recipient, so first I’ll ramble a bit about the other pieces that I’ve begun since and will be posting about:

Yesterday I traced out and drafted a little bodysuit pattern for Mini in her current size.  It has spaghetti strap shoulders for the upcoming hot weather, the usual onesie shape, and an optional overskirt.  It was based off a sleeveless bodysuit that I really like but without a ruffle flutter sleeve, and then I added the overskirt from another dress waiting in her closet.   I began a 12-18m size too, but then I thought I better test the smaller pattern first.  If it looks good then I might do another pattern adding to the chest area and giving it long raglan sleeves?  With the overskirt it takes a very large T-shirt to fit all the pieces, so I couldn’t use the first pretty colour I hoped to… or the next seven.  Oops.  Finally I found a large enough shirt in a colour that made me happy and cut out all the pieces.

 

 

Before that I’d been sewing a little every day to make a Mini sized test version of my wrap dress.  I wish so badly that I could already dress in all the things I plan to make.  If only I could!  There are long, elaborate, and flattering A.C. dresses and skirts; full linen skirts topped by slim singlets or flowing tunics; cloak-coats; layers of harem pants or skirts with draping hems of wrap tunics and scarves; long wrap dresses…  I want to dress like this and feel comfortable, but alas it would take ages to complete (especially any elaborate and long A.C. clothes!)  Instead I can make a piece or two for Mini each month.  Eventually I hope to make a few of my wrap dresses in knit, but I need to test the pattern first to make sure it doesn’t need to be altered for the difference in fabric type.  Making a little dress is so much faster, less a waste of material, and as a lonely bonus leaves a nice dress for Mini to wear!  Wonderful!

For several days now that little dress has been entirely done… except that I still need to fell one long seam.  It is ridiculously close, but I’ve chosen to begin other things when I had a little time for sewing.  Today or tomorrow I’ll complete it.  I’m very pleased with the way it turned out, but it is probably too large for her to wear yet?  Oh, and I used the leftovers of a T-shirt from the project I’m supposed to be writing about now.  I only purchased pink for that reason, but I actually like it now and may look out for more.

 

 

 

On to what I meant to post about: One of the first things that I thought to make when I was getting the hang of A.C. techniques was a little gift for a friend who owns our favourite local pub.  She encourages the arts and has a lot of cool artwork displayed and decorating the place, and I’ve never had anything that I could contribute until I thought of making a tapestry piece.  Perhaps I could have been more imaginative, but I simply copied the bar logo and carefully made stencils from it.  (I just cut bits out of the paper with an Xacto knife and trace with Sharpies.)

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I went to the thrift store to find the right colours in men’s t-shirts, and it was lucky there were any left at all in greens unfortunately, because it was at Saint Patrick’s.  Oops.  I did find two in about the right shade though.  I only needed a tiny piece of pink for the nose, so I had plenty for that little dress.  There is a bunch of mustard yellow to use too, so I had better begin to like it better heh!

A bigger stencil would have been far better for all the detail and stitching, but I couldn’t enlarge it any more on one piece of paper.   T size of the t-shirts also limited the dimensions of the square besides.  I started by determining that base size on the white and black under layers, basting at the eventual cutting point, and basting around the area to stitch.  Then I used a silver Sharpie to trace out the words before stitching them.  The logo has a little green around the letters, so I used green thread, but you can barely tell it isn’t black.  I decided to embrace the knottiness throughout the piece (except in a few details later.)  At first I was going to have a white background like the actual logo, but I didn’t like how that would look with fabric or to think it may eventually turn dingy.

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Then I cut the green layers and appliquéd them.  The yellow layer was next, but I decided to unpick the green a little to allow placement behind rather than over as I’d first planned to.  I switched to black thread to mimic the logo.

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Then it was time to cut away and reveal the white!  I traced out the teeth with chalk, but it didn’t wash away even after a few rounds.  Shoot!  I had to leave off the knots in the teeth and select other portions of the backstitched details to keep it from looking like a mess.

 

 

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Getting there!  Time to make circles…

 

 

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… and to finish with a blanket stitch and DONE!  It took forever and a day (late March until June!)

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Clip Clop the Wonder Horse is done!

Well, almost done.  I’d like to clear coat it after it dries and cures for a while.  Mode Podge seems like an excellent thing for the job, but I only have matte and semi-matte but figure this horse should stay shiny?

Today I wanted to work on it, but I still hadn’t settled on a plan.  I thought I’d start by using the paints that I have on hand and see how things went.  Obviously I made a decision or two, and it is done.  Gold isn’t really a tone I’m fond of, but my husband is even less keen on it.  It is classic though, and suddenly Clip Clop has been gilded!

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The handles needed a coat or two of something dark, and the eyes needed some life.  The other aim today was to add depth to the tail and mane.  By now I thought that the horse already looked splendid and wasn’t entirely sold on messing with it, but wouldn’t the hair look more alive with some shadows defining the moulded strands?  I had to just add a little of the dark iron paint in there…

 

Then I toyed with the dark and light silver metallics on the the saddle.  Impulsively squeezed out a bit of bright golden paint, dipped a brush into it, and painted the blanket stars.  Well, didn’t it need a bit more gold then?  I hesitated and pondered for a while not wanting to ruin what I liked.  Finally I went ahead and committed to a gilded saddle and bridle.  I didn’t start it timidly with a dull polish or anything.  No, it was to be a fully golden saddle for my little girl!

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It is actually a very true and less dull gold in real life.  I guess I need to change some settings on my camera to capture it, and my phone had trouble with the shine which led me to use the camera.  It seems I missed photographing the golden horseshoes, but Clip Clop has those now too!

I can tell you that she loves it.  Already she seems to know that this is her horsey and where to find it.  Although I’ve moved it a few times to different rooms for various reasons she has set off each morning on a rapid crawl directly to her horse.  Then she uses it to stand, slaps and bounces a bit, and smiles back at me.  I’ve lifted her into the saddle, and she surprised me by balancing without trouble and makes it bounce by whipping her torso ahead.  Obviously I’m there with hands waiting to catch her, and I don’t(didn’t) plan for this toy to be used for a while.  Anyway, I suspect she likes shiny things?  And Springs!

I can’t believe the difference Before and after:

During (and really good enough looking) vs done:

Details:

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