Made With Love

bb1You know me by now, I’m a terribly selfish sewer/knitter. I have to be really close to someone to even think about sewing/knitting them something. And the worst part is, I don’t even feel bad about it! Sewing is my hobby, not my job, and I want it to stay fun… Not that sewing for other people can’t be fun; it’s just not my personal preference, and sewing for myself also puts way less pressure on my shoulders!

bb3But I do appreciate the occasional selfless sewing project, especially when it’s something I wouldn’t sew for myself. Sewing for my boyfriend (blog post about the jacket I made him in March still to come, ahem!) gave me the occasion to have a stab at menswear, which I enjoyed a lot, and sewing this little outfit for my goddaughter, my first time sewing baby clothes, was very rewarding, too!

She turned one in October and I could not not sew her anything! I browsed my Burdas to find something I could see her wearing, and this baby collection caught my eye right away: such cute patterns! I liked the idea of sewing a whole little outfit, so I chose the quilted jacket, the blouse with ruffle collar and the stretch trousers to go with them.

bb4Fabric wise, I went digging through my stash. I own a few cotton pieces I impulse bought at Veritas that are too small to use for adult garments (except maybe a fitted blouse), but so cute I could never bear to part with them. This cherry one was a favourite and I knew it would look so cute on my goddaughter, so that was an easy choice. After that I looked for matching pieces in my stash: a red cotton jersey for the outer layer of the jacket and a blue one (the same I used for this Ondée) for the leggings. I just bought the batting, bias binding (polka dotted because I know my goddaughter is not afraid of print matching!) and buttons (glittery ones for the jacket and plastic snaps for the blouse).

I only had two 75 cm x 100 cm pieces of the cherry cotton and I wasn’t sure it would be enough for the blouse and the jacket lining, but it was, literally to the half centimetre! I sighed in relief when all the pieces were cut! Same with the red cotton jersey, but this time literally to the millimetre, phew!

bb5Burda advises you to cut the pattern pieces before quilting the outer layer, adding 3 cm seam allowances, then re-cutting these seam allowances to 1,5 cm after quilting. I quilted the whole piece of fabric (“basting” batting and outer fabric with spray adhesive and using masking tape to get even lines), then cut the pieces.

Other than quilting the outer fabric, which was looooooong (but not difficult at all), the jacket was a breeze to make! The instructions were perfectly clear, and I don’t know why, but I found it quite fun handling such tiny pieces!

bb6The blouse was also lots of fun to make. I only deviated from the instructions for the hem of the collar ruffle: they have you turn it once, zigzag stitch then cut the excess fabric. I preferred turning the hem twice and using a straight stitch to make a baby hem, which I think gives a much cleaner result.

The trousers were less fun to make (just boring in comparison with the cute jacket and blouse), but they took about an hour from start to finish, so no complaining on my part. I used my serger to assemble the pieces and a zigzag stitch for the waistband casing and the hems.

bb2I finished the whole outfit way past my goddaughter’s birthday (but way before the next one so I’ll count that as a win 😉 ) and could only give it to her mother (who seemed to love it, yeah!) very recently, so I don’t know yet whether it fits her* (I made a size 80), but in any case I’m really happy with the look of the outfit. And I truly liked sewing for her, so this is definitely not the last time I do!

*EDIT: It does! 🙂

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Pink Elephant

ElephantFaceI still haven’t finished my coat, so it’s official then, my first finished project of 2014 is a pink elephant! And it’s not even for me! Will you look at that face: how am I supposed to let it go?

Last Wednesday I was working on my coat and kind of loosing steam when I realised I had completely forgotten to either buy or make a gift for one of my best friends’ baby girl’s first birthday the next day. I thought no problem, I’ll use that cute elephant pattern I recently bought and I’ll be done in no time! Hahaha, how wrong was I?

ElephantProfilAfter spending the whole evening and Thursday morning working non-stop on the elephant, all I had were an empty body sans tail and an empty head sans eyes and ears. Turns out the pattern is cute for a reason: it uses a thousand pieces with darts and you have to clip/notch about a million curves! Nothing difficult really, but time consuming, oh yes!

Let me cut to the chase, I finished the elephant yesterday. Yep, it took me four days to make a stuffed elephant, I’m definitely not the world’s fastest sewer, if one still needed proof!

Style2052The pattern is Style Craft Pattern 2052, from 1979. There are two versions: adult and baby. I chose the adult, but I didn’t think to check the measurements of the finished elephant, so I was kind of surprised to see the size of the beast: 30 cm at shoulder height, 40 cm length without the trunk, oops! Ah well, I’m not the one who’s going to have to find a place for it in my apartment!

What I didn’t like in the pattern (except for the fact that they would have you baste most seams before stitching them – I didn’t and I had no problem whatsoever) was the fact that you have to hand stitch the tail, ears and tusks (as you can see, I chose to omit the tusks: the elephant looks way cuter for a baby without them) afterwards instead of sewing them into seams. The eyes are also supposed to be hand sewn afterwards, but I machine sewed them before attaching the head to the body. There are no seams where you add the ears, so there’s no other solution for them (and it’s possible to get a nice and secure result with invisible stitches, contrary to what the envelope picture would have you believe…), but if I ever sew that pattern again, I’ll be sure to sew the tail into the back seam: it will look better and be more secure.

Also, the sample is sewn in felt, so the tail and ears (and tusks) are sewn wrong sides together, with visible seams. Since I used corduroy (remnants from this skirt) and I didn’t want it to fray, I sewed the ears and tail with right sides together. This caused no problem for the ears, but for the tail I had to adjust its end so that I could turn it right side out.

Elephant3:4Stuffing the elephant was an adventure of its own. I bought a giant (and I mean GIANT, like 1 cubic metre!) bag of polyfil for a song at least seven years ago and although I had used some for a few projects, it must have been self-regenerating or something because all of my projects barely made a dent in it. But this time, the giant polyfil bag has found its master! The elephant literally ate most of it, leaving me with about a fifth of it, if not less. The pattern has you stuff it firmly, so you wouldn’t believe how much polyfil there is inside. And it was not an easy task getting it all in: it took me about an hour, sweating and short of breath, and my arms are still a bit sore.

PinkElephantIt’s not easy drawing with a sore arm, but I didn’t want to abandon my resolution, so here’s the third page of my sketchbook! I normally draw before finishing a project, but the impromptu nature of this project made it impossible, so afterwards it had to be.

I’m really happy with the end result of the project, I’m not kidding when I say it’s going to be difficult to give it away! I really took my time (four days, you bet I did!) to get the best result I could and there are not many things I would change if I had to do it again. And I want to sew that pattern again, though I’ll take filling my wardrobe over adding to the clutter of my home any day, so it will have to wait for another special occasion.