Tag Archive | children’s coats

One jacket, comin’ up!

The boy needed a jacket. Or a sweater. Or something. The mornings are getting colder and the poor little guy needed some warmth for chilly fall days without hauling out the serious winter coat. He did have a jacket, but it’s faded, a size too small and covered in wood chips after Konik helped Mr. Gren bring in firewood a couple weeks ago. Yeah, I could wash it, and yeah, I could spend half an hour picking off splinters, but that still doesn’t make it the right size.

There is a cute little sweater in my knitting board book, but my knitting board is currently occupied with the very tedious and mundane project of making myself a shawl to wear over my baby bump. I really need to finish that, but there are so many more interesting projects to work on. My second thought was to crochet him a little sweater-type jacket. First was a vest and no matter what I did, it was going to turn out huge. Tore that out and found a crocheted hoodie in one of my magazines. I got about halfway through the back panel and realized that the gauge was not coming out right. Ah, using the wrong size hook. Ripped it out, started over with the right hook, and it still didn’t look right. Konik got a little fed up with me calling him over “just to measure.” Saturday morning, I sat there looking at the partially finished back to this sweater and weighed my options: 1) Tear it out and start over — again — rewriting the pattern as I went in order to come up with something that would fit him. 2) Find another pattern. 3) Forget that business.

I chose #3.

As Kenny Rogers so memorably put it, “You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to run.” It was time to fold and walk away (he was talking about handicrafts, right?). At the rate I was going, the finished jacket was still a few days away, and that was banking on everything working out swimmingly, which — let’s face it — is a special kind of serendipity that doesn’t occur that often in crochet. For me, at least. The kid needed a jacket. So I chose option 3 and left my chair in the living room for the chair in my sewing room. Sewing provides a little more instant gratification than yarn arts.

I had a pattern that I bought at Value Village a few years ago when it would have been useful for the girls, but I never used it and they outgrew it. Good thing toddler sweats are unisex.

Dated 1985

Never heard of this company before. Dated 1985

Last year, I was bequeathed a bin full of various cuts of fleece. Perfect. I don’t have any separating zippers and nothing from which I could cannibalize one, so I needed to make a pull-over style jacket. That actually works out better for Konik anyways, since he has trouble with zippers, but can easily put on a pull-over by himself. And, since it rains 9 months out of the year here, a hood was in order. Oh sure, he could wear a hat, but then the rain would run down the back of his neck and I’m sure most of us have experienced how pleasant that is. Pockets are also a necessity because the boy doesn’t go anywhere without at least one matchbox car. And, yeah, they’d probably be nice for cold hands, too.

As you can see from the pattern, none of the views fulfilled all my criteria. I took the pockets from View 3 and added them to View 4, but left off the collar. No hoods to be found on this pattern, so I traced the hood from one of Rana’s jackets to use as a template.

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Mix and match

In addition to the free fleece, I also had a small amount of rib knit that I had purchased many moons ago to trim the baby sleep sacks I had made for Etsy (those will return someday. I’m still paranoid about getting potential sales items dirty in the cabin). A couple buttons left over from another project and that rounded out my supplies. Six hours later, Konik had his jacket. I love it when I can use items that I already have on hand and produce something useful and attractive. I’ll just say it: I’m pretty proud of myself.

He says it's warm and snuggly.

He says it’s warm and snuggly.

It’s roomy enough to fit easily over his clothes, but not so big that it’s going to swallow him.

IMG_2879For some reason, the way the back looks just really makes me happy.

Button placket

Button placket with a little topstitching

I made sure that the buttonholes weren’t too tight so that Konik could button and unbutton this himself. I’m all about independence, especially on school mornings when I have to get four of us presentable by 8:00. Anything that helps this process is welcome!

Hood action

Hood action

Originally, the hood was just going to be black, but when I tried it on the boy (just the hood, which his sisters thought was adorable and he thought was weird and exasperating), I could tell that it wasn’t going to quite cover his head (strange, since I traced it off one of Rana’s jackets. Makes me wonder how that hood fits her… I’ll have to pay closer attention the next time she wears it). The patterned fleece was just a long narrow strip, but fortunately, there was still enough of it left after cutting the yoke and pockets to make a nice little trim piece for the hood. One thing I didn’t take a picture of is the the little loop I sewed inside at the base of the hood so that Konik can easily hang it up on his peg. You might scoff at that, but, of all my children, he is the one who actually does hang up his coats (and puts his shoes away, and puts his clean laundry in his drawers, and clears his plate after dinner without me asking. Really, this child is amazing).

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This was my first time to use rib knit for its intended purpose as cuffs. All in all, it was a painless experience. I learned to pay attention to the direction of the stretch when preparing a cuff to sew onto the garment. Fortunately, I had enough fabric to replace my goof up. I’m really happy with how it looks.

Hands warm in the pockets

Hands warm in the pockets

Now that Konik is warm and toasty, I need to get back to that dreaded shawl. Hm, wonder what else I’ve got around here I could do instead…?

Complete the ensemble

Are you sick of the coats yet? Try not to be! We visited a holiday bazaar this weekend and people kept stopping us to comment on the kids’ coats. Ok, ok, Mr. Gren: You were right! People love the coats. Now we’ll have to see if anyone will buy them.

So, the last time I posted about the coats, I mentioned making fancy hats for the girls. Those whipped up pretty quickly and they turned out just so cute! Like, can’t-stand-it cute. The hats are fleece, as well as the small flowers. The hats are three pieces: the top, the crown, and the band. Easy! The flowers were fun to do. Take a narrow strip of fabric; put in a gathering stitch along one side; pull up the gathers and then roll and hand-tack into a rosebud shape.

As an added photgraphic bonus, Rana is wearing the ABC jumper I made her for school and Granota is wearing my Hanna Andersson knock-off dress. I didn’t get very good pictures of those back when I first made them.

This was the last of our good weather here (late October-November has been gorgeous!), so we took the kids down to play at the river for a little while. The girls tried their hands at fishing.

Now, there were a few people who were concerned that the girls get all the love and Konik is left freezing to death. Not to worry, though! I made him a coat last year which was big then and is still a little oversized this year. We might even be able to use it again next year, who knows!

A few tips for sewing with plaid:

  • Identify the dominant stripe in the pattern. You’re going to base the arrangement of your pattern pieces around it. You want the dominant stripe to highlight the main lines of the garment — center front and center back.
  • Also be aware of the horizontal stripes when you cut the fabric. You want them to line up all the way around the garment. You can see how the horizontal stripes meet across the two front pieces of the coat; the same is true of the side seams where they meet the back piece. And, if there is also a dominant horizontal stripe in your plaid, you want that to hit appropriate parts of the body as well.
  • This might mean that you don’t exactly follow the pattern piece layout given in the sewing pattern instructions, but that’s ok. Some of the pieces that you would normally cut out two at a time (the front pieces and the sleeves, for example) are better done one at a time when dealing with plaid. It’s the only way you can really ensure that the plaid will match up like it should.

Notice how the dominant stripe runs right down the center of his back, including the collar. This is the kind of thing that most people don’t think about when they see a plaid garment done right. But, boy, do you ever notice if that plaid is the slightest bit off. It’s worth it to take some extra time and make sure it’s right!