Saturday, June 24, 2017

Making Clothes Unique with Fun Details

Boys clothes can be really boring, but its easy to add fun details to make something unique and interesting.    I've noticed that most sewing patterns are overall the same thing with variations on details, so instead of buying pattern after pattern to get different looks, I choose a well fitting pattern that already comes with a few variations, and then add all kinds of details to get different looks.    For this pair of shorts, I added several details to make a boring basic pair of red shorts into something special that you will never see in stores.    You don't have to add all of these different details on one piece of clothing, sometimes I just pick one or two and that is enough to make it more interesting!

For these shorts, I used the Linden Shorts by Sew a Little Seam.    This is a shorts and skirt pattern that I tested a while back.  I like it for its multiple finishing options, 2 lengths, multiple waistband options, and recently a new set of "extras" came out like cargo pockets, a real fly, and a board shorts option!
I made size 8, which is a bit big on Levi, so these should last him a while if he doesn't destroy them.   Fabric is corduroy, some cotton woven scraps, and I did a simple knit waistband.  



The details:

Fun stitching:   For the pockets, instead of a simple straight stitch, I chose this uneven wave stitch.   My machine has lots of different stitches so why not play around with them!

This is something I almost always add -  on back pockets of shorts/pants, button down shirt front pockets, side seams of shorts and shirts (on t-shirts put it near the bottom of the shirt), etc.     I cut a small scrap of one or two ribbons, fold in half, and tuck into the seam or like in this example, under the edge of the pocket.   This gives a little pop of color and another fun detail.     Sometimes I use twill tape instead of ribbon and sew a tiny little button onto the tab, I love buttons too!
Another fun one is to cut a small strip of ribbon, turn the ends under and stitch the short ends down, I most often do this one at the bottom of the back yolk on button down shirts, or at the bottom of a pocket.  

I like to topstitch everything!  Not only does it make clothing more durable, but it can add a bit of fun color as well.    If you match your fabric, it hides the stitching, so I prefer to use contrasting colors.   I also sew up some of the project and then switch to another color.    You can see here that I used yellow first and then switched to green to finish.  

Speaking of buttons...    On this pair I added buttons to the back pockets, if your machine is cooperative with button holes (which my new machine thankfully is), then adding buttons is a quick easy add on.     I often let the kid choose a button or two to add.    On this pair I added one to the front as well.   Sometimes I put them on the bottom corner of a pocket as a little detail.   A group of buttons placed somewhere can be fun as well.  

Also shown here are patches.   For these, I sometimes do raw edges, sometimes applique them on (a tight zigzag stitch around the edge, and sometimes use a quilters applique technique like I did here.   For this method, take 2 squares (or circles, triangle, rectangles, etc) and sew them right sides together, all the way around with no gap.    Then, clip the corners, and cut a generous snip through the middle of ONE layer and turn everything inside out.   The snip will be hidden underneath when you sew the patch down, use any stitch you want to sew on the patch!

Stitching as detail: 
On pockets in particular, but sometimes randomly across a leg of shorts or some other random place, I do a line of stitching.   Here I used the same "wave" stitch to do a line across the back pocket before turning the edges under and attaching it.     I also added TLSS (The Little Sewing Shop) on the pocket (branding!)

Fun pockets: 
The Linden shorts have a bunch of pocket options, but not zips.   I saw these on a pair of mini boeden shorts and used that as inspiration.   Experiment with different pocket shapes and mix it up!   You can do can do different pockets on each side, like a patch pocket on the right and a regular pocket on the left.  Or a square back pocket and a pointed one, or one with a flap and another without....  
Try unusual shapes too, Max California has a tutorial for a fun dripping pocket for example.   I save inspiration for fun pockets on my pinterest like this and this.    There are tons of ideas out there!

This is another example of Fun Stitching, I used an "x" shaped stitch to topstitch the pocket shape.  

Hope that gives you some inspiration to add fun details!  

Here are the finished shorts:

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Swimwear sewing!


Levi needed new swimwear (again) and I found a good deal on fabric so bought a bunch.  I was also offered the opportunity to test a couple sewing patterns from Made By Jack's Mum, one of my favorite pattern designers.   I used the Sunshine Romper for the one-piece suits and the Reef Beach Rashie  for the tops.    For the jammers, I used a pattern from Ottobre, from the Summer 2016 issue.  And lastly, for the speedos, I used a free pattern from Boo! Designs.

This is the Sunshine Romper with some modifications as requested by Levi.   First I chopped off the sleeves and hemmed the arm opening, making it sleeveless.   I used the regular neck band piece to make the neck band and brought the zip right up to the top of it.   I used a fold over method on the zip guard to protect his chin from the toggle.   I like this method best because it gives full coverage and a nice looking finish, and its not difficult or fiddly to do.

This is the basic version of the Reef Beach Rashie and Ottobre jammers.   I appliqued "swim" and added a freezer paper stencil for the shadow, because I can't leave anything plain! 

Super basic ottobre jammers, I got rid of the side stripe here and made them extra tight "so they don't fall off when I dive mom".    

This is the Sunshine romper with a little bit of modification for the zipper.  I added a chin guard at the top of the zip guard by lengthening it a little bit and folding it over the top of the zipper.  This keeps the "stopper" from rubbing his chin.   I also used the pattern piece for the non-zip style giving it square edges at the opening of the zip.     He picked this fabric, and its awfully crazy but I will easily be able to spot him on the beach!     I love that its full coverage for minimal sunscreen use, but the pattern also comes in 3/4 and short lengths for sleeves and legs.

These are the Boo! Design speedos, perfect for swim team (and using scraps) 

This is the Reef Beach Rashie and Ottobre jammers.   Here I mostly stuck with the pattern for the construction of the neckline, but did add the fold over zip guard.    The patterns curved neck piece makes it a bit tricky to get things even.   This is my favorite fabric, but not great for the ocean because blue is hard to see in the water!  

I still have more fabric to use, but this should keep him swimming for a while!