Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Fooled again by the big 4....

First up thank you to all those who have emailed me to RSVP to the Sydney sewists high tea - I'll be in touch shortly with paypal details (once I remember my password and work out how to accept payments).  Commiserations to all those who don't live in Sydney and can't make it, but don't worry - if you're a blogger we'll probably be talking about you anyway! In the nicest of terms of course.....

We spent last weekend in Canberra with a group of friends doing the rounds of the usual kids attractions such as the National Science Museum, Cockington Green gardens, the National Dinosaur Museum - so much fun.  Australians love to deride Canberra as boring and sterile, and it's probably because of the town planner in me but I really love Canberra, it's so beautifully landscaped, spacious and logically set out (well it is masterplanned by the great Walter Burley Griffin after all). 

But for some reason I always think that it's really really cold in Canberra, except in summer when it's really really hot.  And even though last weekend the weather turned out to be perfect autumn weather with really warm and sunny days and cooler nights, I had a mini panic attack last week thinking that Toby didn't have enough warm clothes.  Especially since he's gone through a growth spurt and has pretty much outgrown the winter hand-me-down clothes from his sister even though she was three months older at the time she wore them.

So I decided to make some simple elastic waist pants for him using fabrics from the stash of course. Since I do all my sewing when the kids are asleep I can't get them to try on things I'm making before I finish them, which quite often results in ill fitting clothes that need fixing.  This time was no different! I used McCalls 5962, which is now OOP (perhaps that should have been a clue) and some black fleece from the stash to make two pairs of track suit pants:












































Ooops, way too big!  The legs are very wide, the crotch is very low and the waistband too loose.  Since doing the overlocker workshop at the last ASG meeting I've learnt that to lower the blades on my overlocker only needs a half turn of a nob, so I attached the elastic with the overlocker before turning it over and topstitching with a twin needle - that's a lot of stitching to undo (which I haven't yet done either....). And I sewed on some patch pockets on the front just to liven them up a little so I just can't run them in down the sides.

For the next pair I took out 3cm width of each leg both front and back from the waistband to the cuff to reduce the width of the leg and seat area, which means I took out a whopping 12cm all around.  You'd think that would be enough wouldn't you? Well you'd be wrong! I made a pair from some stretch corduroy in a lovely caramel colour, cut out from a straight skirt that I'd made for myself years ago that didn't turn out so great and had been sitting in the UFO/refashion box ever since.  Since this only had a little bit of stretch I was being a bit cautious about how much I narrowed the pattern pieces, but I need not have worried at all:



Plenty of room still! Seriously, what size babies are those pattern companies drafting these patterns on? Toby isn't a huge baby, but he's not a skinny one either and even though his body measurements were a little bit bigger than the largest size in this pattern the pants absolutely swim on him.  I think I'll do what I should have done in the first place - draft a pattern from a pair of RTW pants that do fit him.

To jazz up the corduroy version I topstitched faux pockets and zipper fly and sewed on some knee patches from cotton.  I used a pattern piece from another kids pattern for the oval shape which is also way too big, and clearly I placed it too low on the leg because they are more like shin patches rather than knee patches, but it's still a cute touch.


The fabric for the knee patches is actually a piece I purged from my fabric stash during my still ongoing clean out, that was sitting in a pile of folded fabric on the floor waiting to be donated.  Actually it's the third piece to be put back in to the stash from the discards pile after Anna latched on to two other pieces that I was going to ditch. So now I'm having second thoughts of getting rid of any fabric! And there's no real urgency now to clean out my stash since it's looking like we may not sell our house this year after all - it all hinges on the lives of two dogs.  Which would sound funny to non dog lovers, but our plan is to move into an apartment after we sell our house so obviously our dog can't come with us.  He was going to live with my inlaws, but since my MIL has her hands full looking after my FIL we didn't want to burden her with the responsibility of the dog too.  And our dog does not get along my with parents dog either, so we're waiting for one of them to go to the big dog park in the sky before we make any move.  Both dogs are pretty old so it could be any time in the near future (not that I want that to happen of course). Watch this space, as they say!

I've already started on the Stylearc Marni jacket pattern that I posted in the last post, using a cheap ponte that I had in the stash bought on sale from Spotlight a few years back that I'm hoping will be a wearable trial version before I cut into my beautiful blueberry Tessuti ponte.  I must be growing up and getting sensible - I never used to do practice versions because I was always too impatient and lazy!

22 comments:

  1. Until I discovered Topkids I used to think my children were undernourished or something because the clothes made from the McCalls etc were huge .
    Your photos of Toby are wonderful =he looks such a happy little boy .

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  2. Depending on how old that pattern is, they may have drafted it for ye-olde-cloth nappies. The ones my DD (now 18) used to wear. :)

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  3. Sounds like the fun never ends at your house.

    Toby is looking really great in his new trousers.

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  4. I recently made the Marnie jacket and I love it. I was baffled by the instructions for attaching the collar, but I eventually worked it out. I thought the cuffs were exactly twice as long as I wanted so I removed them and remade them.

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  5. I though the shin patches were adorable and intentionally on-trend. (Or perhaps I'm seeing a lot of people sewing when children are asleep and most knee patches become shin patches.)

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  6. I as well have troubles with sizes. But my children are the 3rd and 5th percentile for height.

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  7. hum apparently I should get prepared for sizing problems! I just discovered that when sewing pyjamas for my little girl - I wanted special me-made pyjamas for her first day on earth but they turned out wayyy too big. I used Kwik Sew 2433 in newborn size and if I compare them to RTW pyjamas, they could fit a baby aged 3-6 months.. so annoying!

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  8. Yes, this is especially annoying when sewing for a child you don't live with, which means you don't have either the child or their clothing handy to check against. What were they thinking with those trousers?
    The seond pair are cute. And Toby is exceptionally gorgeous. Love the splits pose!

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  9. I sew for granddaughters who live 90 miles away and therefore unavailable for fittings. My solution? OTTOBRE PATTERN MAGAZINE, I cannot say enough good things about it. Most importantly for me is the sizing is spot on. They specify height,waist, hip, chest and pant lengths for every size. Each issue has patterns from newborn to teenager, so they can be used for many years. Downside: you have to trace each pattern from the master sheets, but really not too much trouble when you get used to it. Very fun Euro-trendy designs.

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    1. I agree with you that Ottobre patterns are brilliant! But I will kindly disagree on the fact that patterns do not start with newborn size (unless newborn is 56 cm).

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  10. I have found the only solution to the big four "bigness" is to compare the pattern piece to a ready to wear garment that fits. Since my grandchildren live far away, I sometimes go buy something in the size they are wearing in order to compare the "pattern size" to the "reality size".

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  11. Sheesh, what is it with the Big 4 and ease? I want to know!
    Totally "get" your thinking re dogs. They definitely influence decisions in unexpected ways.

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  12. Since I had the same problem sewing the Big 4 when my kids were young 30 years ago I thought they had improved by now. HOW RIDICULOUS!

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  13. Noooooo!!! Don't dispose of any fabric, you will live to regret it. I do have a funny stash/de-stash story though. In 1986 I acquired some lurid barbie pink waterwave taffeta, hold that thought. And if you are wondering what an earth I was thinking, my only justification was that it was on trend at the time. In 1997 we moved from regional QLD to Melbourne and as a part of that move I had to de-stash considerably as there was no sewing room where we were going and life & babies had taken over all my time anyway. So I gave my Mum a huge pile of all sorts of fabric and kept just a few pieces that I could quite bear to part with (all silk, linen and wool bits). Quite a lot of pile turned into clothes for my babies and the scraps were made into quilts (my mother doesn't believe in buying new fabric to cut up for quilts!). Last Christmas Mum was "cleaning out her sewing room" and asked if I would like any fabrics or patterns. Now as life has calmed down (marginally) and the babies have grown up, I do get the occasional opportunity to sew, so I said yes. Not only did I discover the most fabulous hoard of vintage patterns (yay for my never=throw-anything-out mother!), there, in all it's glory, was the pink taffeta, still lurid, still pristine. What I am going to do with it I have no idea but at 27 years young, how could I possibly part with it?!

    Oh and I get the dog thing as well, they are such a part of your family.

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  14. I've had that problem with every big 4 kid's pattern I've ever used, but McCall's has been hands-down the biggest offender. It doesn't help that both of my kids are small (my son just turned 10 and weighs a whopping 52 pounds), but get my husband to tell you sometime about the princess dress I made for my daughter's 3rd birthday. You could have fit both of them in it. I had to take in every single bloody seam in the thing. Every single one. Now I know to use a bodice size two sizes down and just add length. I've often wondered just how big the drafters think children are, anyway. But, over-large pants or not, Toby's a seriously cute little boy. The red hair is awesome!

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  15. Although bit they are still adorable - especially the caramel one with the panda patches.

    Looking forward to seeing Marni done.

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  16. This super sizing must run through McCalls - I don't have children, so can't comment, but the adult clothes are always large. I would so love to come the the tea party, maybe another time with some notice I could join you.

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  17. Super good pics of Toby. The pants don't look that big in the photos, but you've probably been running after him hoisting them up. I'd love to come to the tea so will look for the details. I've been negligent in the blogging space.

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  18. ohhhh cutie pie!!!!!! love those pics. great pants with the knee patches <3

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  19. I am pleased I am not the only one to let my dawg influence my life. Don't look for relief any time soon, they don't have any vacancies up there. My geriatric lab pup is now 16 and way past her use-by date. I won't commit to anything overnight because I think I would stress out more than she does.

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  20. Toby looks so happy and sorry that his pants are so big! Another whose household is ruled by a dog and there is nothing wrong with that!

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  21. Too cute! The patch pants look great and with luck he will grow into the black pair. A good refashion from your skirt LOL.

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