Friday, 24 October 2014

Spooky shirt

It's Hallowe'en soon, and the onslaught of compulsory dressing-up parties for toddlers.  It seems like in the US, any costume goes, however in old blighty we stick to the traditional witches, pumpkins, skeletons and perhaps a zombie or vampire or two.  Sadly it's much cheaper to buy a shiny scratchy polyester outfit from the supermarket than it is to buy the fabric and make your own wonky creation.  That makes me a bit sad, mostly because I can't justify 1m of orange cotton on economy grounds.

Note the sticker from a pumpkin he has applied to his tummy.  Also, this is his "smile" face (eyes are shut).

Nevertheless, Toddler Button gets his own special shirt for the occasion, because it turns out you can just about squeeze my age 2-3 shirt pattern from a piece of 75cm wide 1m cotton for £2.20 off ebay (free postage!).  Here, squeeze means really squeeze: I had to piece the under-collar from two scraps of fabric to make this baby work.

I thought spools of black and white thread never ran out in this house, but it turns out they do run out if you don't keep buying them.  Boo hoo.  Therefore, because I was light on time and thread, we have minimal top-stitching and some of the buttonholes might be stitched with grey/brown thread on the reverse.  Also I was short of one orange button, so we have a different button friend lurking on the collar stand.

The bits all over my floor are pegs.  Thanks, toddler.

I'm sorry that my child is not going as a "thing", but he will look cool (I hope) with his spiders and trick-or-treating skeletons.  I wanted to get shiny sliver and black spiderweb fabric, but it's probably as well it was twice the price because it would have been a bit Liberace.

Model wears his new shirt over a long-sleeve t-shirt.  Did you really think I'd have enough fabric for long sleeves?!  He's also pretty pleased about the buttons, because he can now say "Orange!".

Next year, maybe I should make him this outfit?!  Ha ha!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Free peg bag pattern

I'm feeling in a generous mood.  So generous that I've digitised my peg bag pattern for you, for free.  You're welcome!

Download the pattern here.  (It's a pdf file.)

The pattern pages should be printed on 6 sheets of A4 paper.  (I'm from England, that's how we roll.)  Remember to set "scaling 100%" or "none"  or whatever when you print, as usual when you have print-at-home sewing patterns.  There are red stars everywhere which should align beautifully when you tape it together properly: there are red letters to help you match pages properly.  You should find yourself taping it into a 3 x 2page block which contains three pattern pieces, the largest of which is about 43cm from top to bottom.

Cut around the solid lines.  I have included lightly dotted lines to show the stitching lines: the seam allowance is 1/4" on the outside edges and the opening edges are left raw for you to finish with bias binding.  I recommend 3/4" binding which you can make yourself.

I'm not generous enough to provide instructions, but I'm sure you can work it out.  I will pass on a few options though:

1.  Use just one fabric layer, or a quilted sandwich as I did.  Finish the dart edges and all raw inside edges with bias binding (not just the opening).

2.  Be a bit clever with separate outside and lining pieces, and sew them up such that all the raw edges are hidden in-between the layers after you construct it.  The final construction will be a bit mind-bending, especially around the opening.  I imagine you'll end up turning it inside out through one or both of the opening edges, then binding the opening edges last.  I've not quite thought it through, but it's probably possible to accomplish with minimum hand-sewing somehow.

For more details of how I made my version, clicky here.  I provide handy methods of calculating bias binding here.

You might wonder why I'm bothering to provide a pattern with no instructions.  I can only be bothered to provide patterns for things that aren't obviously easy to draw yourself (with likely first time success).  This pattern has darts in the bottom to create fullness for a multitude of pegs, and the first pattern you might draw for a bag like this doesn't work unless you engage brain.

In case you are interested (probably not), I use a mixture of Inkscape and Scribus to digitise my patterns.  It's both free and powerful!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Toddlermatician shirt

When I saw this fabric a year ago on a WI outing to Bee Crafty I had to have it.  Isn't this just the most awesome badass maths fabric you have EVER seen?

I love the combination of chalk-board effect with areas of mad colour.  The most awesome part about it is that the maths is correct.  It even contains reference to Napier's rules, which I even had to look up to see what they were as I've never had occasion to use them.  (Mr Button the person with the real actual Mathematics degree guessed they were to do with logarithms: they're not.)

I've only spotted one error in the maths so far (a missing factor of 2.l.b):

This will annoy me for ever.
I decided that Toddler Button needed a shirt in this epic fabric.  He likes shirts a lot now, because Daddy wears shirts.  Daddy doesn't have a shirt as loud as this one:

With every snip and stitch, this fabric seemed more awesome to me, but also more loud.  This shirt is quite... mad?  Somehow it didn't make my eyes dance when it was on the bolt, but is definitely individual as a shirt.

Can you see the patch pocket in this image?  Me neither.
The pattern is my self-drafted size 2-3 years pattern, see this previous shirt with the skewered soldiers.  Toddler has just started to wear this size in my shirts (they seem a bit bigger than commercial 2-3 stuff), so there is plenty of growing room left.  I didn't have enough patience or fabric to draft a back yoke for this shirt, so we'll have to wait until I have a longer length of fabric and less inclination to just get going fast (as a break from knitting).

Yellow buttons.
Obviously there was only one choice for the buttons.  If I intend this shirt to become a favourite of Toddler Button, it has to be his obsession colour: yellow.  He's not worn the shirt yet, but I'll be sure to let you know if it has the honour of being selected by his Lordship from his drawer in the morning.  He did want to try it on before I'd had chance to slit open the buttonholes, so I have hope.

How could I let this fabric languish in my drawer for a whole year?!  WHAT WAS I THINKING?