Tag Archive | review

All tied up

It’s easy to find things to sew for the girls. Skirt and dress patterns abound, plus hats, capes, coats, tunics, pants, leggings, blouses… you get the gist. Finding things to make for boys tends to be more challenging and the options not as interesting. Unless the boy is going to a disco or has a predilection for Rococo, ruffles and flounces are out. Embellishments and trims also look out of place on boys’ clothing today. Fabrics tend to be more somber, style lines more plain. I was feeling a little bad for Konik as I was planning to make fancy skirts for the girls to wear at Christmastime. Sew a new button-up shirt? Or pair of slacks? Big whoop. That’s not exciting for the maker or the wearer. But, I found a way to inject a little fun!

Konik enjoys dressing up. He especially loves himself some clip-on ties. He is always the dapperest little dude at church and he chooses his clothes himself. (Did I mention that he’s only 5?) So there was my ticket! A new winter-themed tie.

There are several little boy tie tutorials with slight variations among them. I ended up choosing the one by Vanilla Joy. I chose hers because I preferred the ways she suggested for fastening the tie around the neck. One change I will make if when I make another tie is to make it a tad narrower overall and taper it more severely about halfway up to make tying it easier (and so the knot doesn’t come out so big). It takes a miniscule amount of fabric and it’s a very fast project.

Konik was with me when I went to the fabric store, so I let him choose his own fabric. He found a small snowman print in several different colorways and settled on the blue one. Fine choice, my son. I did have to steer him clear of other, larger prints because the scale never would have translated to something as small and narrow as a necktie, and a little boy’s necktie at that.

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Front

For the lining fabric, I had a scrap of dark blue apparel lining that I had used in a cape for myself (oh man, I still haven’t written about that?!). You can just see a bit of it peeking out at the tips. Using actual slippery lining fabric makes it look pretty legit, I think! I was pleased with that.

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Back

For the tie closure, I decided to go with Velcro, mainly because that’s what I had and I figured it was easy enough for Konik to manage himself, which would not have been the case with button elastic. After measuring around his neck, I made a little strip out of the snowman fabric and put Velcro on the ends. Next time, I need to make the strip just a touch narrower to be fully hidden under his shirt collar. It’s not hugely apparent right now, but it could be better.

IMG_6347Here’s where things got interesting: you have to tie the tie around the little strip of fabric, which is not the same as tying it around one’s neck. I already knew that the latter skill eluded me, but it turns out the former does as well. I called in Mr. Gren for reinforcements. He got the tie tied appropriately and, with a little fiddling, we got the tail piece to mostly stay in the back. What I need to do at this point is just lightly tack it together so that it won’t accidentally come untied.

IMG_6318Konik was happy with his new little snowman tie and wore it proudly to church. He probably needs one for every season now…

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A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life.
— Oscar Wilde

Live and Learn

Far be it from me to ever lead you to believe that everything I make turns out awesome every time. It’s not “crafting fearlessly” if I’m too cowardly to discuss mistakes or shouldabins. So let’s go back and look at a few of the things I’ve made over the past year and see how they’ve worked out.

The infamous thumb holster

I made two of these last summer to cover Rana’s thumbs in an attempt to keep her from sucking them. First lesson learned: There is a reason why sinew (real or fake) is used to sew leather. The thread repeatedly wore through and I ended up having to repair these several times. The concept was good and actually worked up until the point where Rana “lost” the covers sometime this winter. I recently found one in the bushes outside. heh. And wouldn’t you know it, now it doesn’t fit her anymore. She’s a cagey one.

Little corduroy pants

These pants were among the slew of clothes that I made for Rana at the beginning of the school year (that seems forever ago!). Something was never right about the crotch so they were uncomfortable for her to wear. Fortunately, there was a solution! I took out the crotch seam, whacked the pants off at the knees and made it into a skirt. It was a cute little skirt. Unfortunately, it cramped Rana’s playground style — too hard to climb stuff — so she never wore the skirt. I guess I should just give it to Granota.

Falilla the Fairy

This fairy doll was Granota’s 4th birthday present back in September! She was not met with the excitement that I had anticipated, but after a couple of days Granota fell in love with her and named her Falilla. Falilla looks so pretty here; it’s almost a shame what she looks like now. Granota insisted that I put her hair in a ponytail so that it would be out of the way of her wings. Now Falilla is losing copious amounts of hair. I’m going to try to run a line of fabric glue along the underside of her roots to slow down the balding. It’s a good thing I gave her so much hair to start with. Interestingly enough, Jessie the cowgirl doll that I made for Rana has not had any hair-loss issues. Maybe Falilla needs a fairy hat.

Looks beautiful, not practical

In November, I made each of the girls a new winter coat. These coats, as you can see, are very full. Wonderful for twirling, not wonderful for buckling into car seats. The other problem is that I did not make the center front pieces wide enough — they just barely overlap enough to button. That means it is highly likely that these coats won’t fit the girls next year. In a way, that’s ok, because I am pretty sick of struggling to get everything flattened and mashed down enough to get them buckled into the car. If we lived in Europe and walked or took public everywhere, these coats would be fantastic, but as it is, I’m going to have to use a different pattern this fall.

Not all they’re cracked up to be

March brought my attempt at recycling all the broken crayon bits in my kids’ coloring box. I melted them down in muffin cups and right off the bat I could tell these weren’t going to be as awesome as I had hoped. As you can see, they were already beginning to break after they had cooled. I’m pretty sure that there is not one left whole anymore, which pretty much defeated the whole purpose of melting the little bits together.

Elasticity

Most recently are the new pajama pants I made. I had this ingenious idea to elasticate the cuffs. Y’know, to keep them from riding up and twisting around my knees at night. Well guess what? I didn’t make the pant legs long enough, so once I bent my knees, the cuff rode up and then got stuck right around my calves. Thanks, elastic. The other night it was driving me so nuts, I seriously considered going downstairs and taking it out right then and there at 2 a.m. But since the cabin is basically one giant room, I knew Mr. Gren wouldn’t appreciate me turning on the light; so I just toughed it out the rest of the night. But the elastic is out now! Hopefully it will feel better tonight. I think it was still a good idea, but next time I’ll know to add some extra length in the pant legs.

So there you have it. A little rundown of some of my not-so-perfect projects. It’s all a learning process, isn’t it?

2011 in review — Beginnings of my blog

I got this fun little report in my email last night. It’s probably more interesting to me than anyone else, but the nationality percentages of people who read my blog was kind of fun. 2012 should bring lots more projects, hopefully some more grown-up clothes ’cause I really need a wardrobe makeover. I’m also looking to design some children’s clothes based on the illustrations in my Dean’s Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes book. Then there’s always the general crafty-type stuff that I just have to try. I’ll be featuring more of the items that I have in my etsy shop; I’m looking forward to adding more ideas and more designs of items I already have. It should be a good year! And, in personal news, Mr. Gren finally has a job!! It only took ten months and it’s not even a great job (part-time cashier, yee ha!), but it’s a paying job and that’s more pay than we’ve had for ten months. Pay off some bills and before you know it, I’ll be buying more craft supplies… 😀

Anyways, check out what happened around here last year.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,800 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.