boy clothes

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Because it’s that bad. I’m working on a pair of jeans for the boy who desperately needs pants that have no gaping holes in the knees and don’t show off his ankles. I was hoping to make it to shorts weather without buying or making new pants but this is Maine and it’s still decidedly long pants weather.

Anyhow, it is not going well. I used the pants pattern I’ve been using but I wasn’t quite sure if it had seam allowance built in or not because of course I didn’t write that info down when I drew the pattern. Tsk, tsk. So I added just a bit of seam allowance. The pants seem huge. I knew the legs were a bit wide since I’ve used the pattern mostly for pajama pants; I should have taken that into account and skipped the extra seam allowance. I’m trying a new idea for a deconstructed look that leaves some edges open to fraying. Already I can tell that I did not think that through. Grain edges do not fray nicely in twill weave, duh. I cut front pockets and the faux fly without a pattern. The fly looks fine but I wish I’d cut the pockets differently. They will work, but I should have chosen a different style to fit with the rest of the look.

It’s tough to mess with jeans styling, there is such an established American style that you have to really think the whole thing through to get something that is different in a good way. I know that the pants will be wearable, by someone, if not the boy. So I just need to take a deep breath and keep sewing, throw the things in the wash to fray and hope for the best. But I’d really rather be spinning.

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img_3303Ever since I first sewed the crow tee shirt and stencilled the crow on it, the boy has been bugging me to add a tree. With a nest for the crow’s babies. I was kind of hoping he would forget about it because I really liked the starkness of the original design. But persistence won out. I’ve always been afraid of drawing trees, mostly because I’m really bad at drawing trees. Studying lots of pictures and tracing photographs of trees is giving me some confidence. Now just don’t look too closely at the nest!

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It’s far worse than I thought. It took me all of three minutes to fill an index card with all the projects that I want to do in the immediate future! 22 in all. This does not include projects that are on the back burner, ack.

On a good note, 14 of them are things I’ve never done or are largely new ideas. A few of them are tutorials I want to do and at least half of them are for the girl. Oops.

I don’t feel too bad though because I’ve been making a lot of things for the boy lately. He needed them. Today I finished a pair of navy twill pants, start to finish. Yay me! Hopefully they are long enough. He seems to be growing an inch every month lately.

Boy’s pants are a pain. And I didn’t even put a zipper in. Elastic waist with fake fly. Two patch pockets and twin needle topstitching. Why do boy’s pants take more time than girl’s pants? Because the fabric is so plain you have to give it some detail in the design of the pattern or pockets, seams, etc. I did try out a new way to do the patch pockets which I liked and will do a better job with next time. Maybe that will become a tutorial as well. I don’t think I’ve seen this method anywhere.

boy's navy twill pants

boy's navy twill pants

boy's navy twill pants pocket detail

boy's navy twill pants pocket detail

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Cute cow shirts

orange tee shirt with hand drawn cartoon cow appliquethe girl in red shirt with cow appliqueThe boy got this very nice orange long sleeve tee shirt for Christmas. He did not want to wear it because it didn’t have an animal on it. So I asked him what animal he wanted on it and we went google image searching for cows. It turned out that he wanted a cute cartoon style cow. So after looking at several, I ended up drawing this cutesy (not my choice) cow for his approval. He also requested that I make one for the sister. I hunted up one of his old tee shirts to use for her. I used my lightbox to transfer the cow design to fusible web backed white cotton knit. I then colored the images with the boy’s help using my Tsukineko fabric inks. The boy’s cow has orange nose and inner ears and girl’s cow has pink nose and ears.

I attached them to the tee shirts with a straight stitch and then finished the edge with a simple zigzag stitch. Simple, ha ha! For whatever reason, the stabilizer method I had used previously to sew on a knit applique did not work well at all. So that would be why there are no close-ups of the cow! And that would also be why it took more than a week to finish these. But they look cute on, especially with braided pigtails. :)

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I’m not exactly sure when I made this because I didn’t take the picture right away. The boy couldn’t wait to get into it. He’s been needing some long sleeve tee shirts so I’ve just been trying to make them from fabric or our old tee shirts that we haven’t been wearing rather than buy, especially since he is so thin that the store bought ones tend to look too wide to get the sleeves long enough. My husband donated a grey tee shirt to the cause and I recut and serged it up one night, intending to leave it plain. The boy however wanted to know what animal I was going to put on it. Since we had been watching the crows outside the window earlier he hit upon that. I looked for some pictures of crows on the internet and he chose one in flight. I printed out several and then quickly composited them on my lightbox to get the features I wanted from each, the wings from one, the open beak of another, the grasping feet of a third. I then simply cut a paper stencil and dabbed on fabric dye and heat set it with the iron. I lobbied for a small critter on the run at the bottom of the shirt but the boy preferred to have the word “crow” so that’s what I did. The boy was reluctant to help with the actual shirt but did do a second stencil of the crow onto a scrap piece of fabric that will hopefully appear on a later garment for the girl. All done in time to catch the bus to PM kindergarten. I’m afraid they are getting a little too used to this!

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I ordered this great Michael Miller snowboard flannel before Christmas but it didn’t arrive until after Christmas. Still we have lots of flannel PJ weather to go up here in Maine so I sewed some pajama pants up for the boy. Do you think he likes them?? The girl is wearing a yummy soft cotton velour dress from Dharma Trading that I tie dyed about two years ago! Too short to wear without pants now except to bed. Dark yellow and tangerine I think, turned out to be a great color combo for her.

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Hey! I’m almost caught up, we’re in January now. I got this cute bug fabric last year as a credit for something else. I really didn’t have a plan for it but I finally figured out how to use a bit of it as an applique. I took two old tee shirts, one of mine and one of my husband’s. Using the tee shirt pattern I created for the boy I cut the pieces to make a two-tone shirt, mostly because the light blue shirt was not big enough to make a complete shirt. But I needed the light blue background for the appliques to look right. I fused the bug fabric appliques to the shirt but ended up sealing the edges with clear nail polish and whipstitching by hand because I forgot to sew the appliques before finishing the shirt. I made a ton of mistakes putting this shirt together, mostly because I didn’t bother to make separate pattern pieces for the color blocking. But it fits, it looks fine, and the boy likes it. And it’s survived several trips through the wash so I think it will last the season. At the rate the boy is growing, he won’t be wearing it past the next few months whatever the weather.

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Here’s a plain boy’s tee shirt turned into a one of a kind piece of wearable fun with tie dye and a fabric marker. I can’t remember how I got this idea but the boy has been very much into all kinds of animals lately and maybe we were talking about lizards? Anyway, something about the chameleon’s curly tail and the tie dye spiral made me wonder if I could combine the two. I found a chameleon coloring page online that I then juxtaposed over a tie dye shirt in Photoshop to try out my idea. It looked great so I went ahead and tie dyed several tee shirts with the center of the spiral farther down than normal. If I do it again, I’ll also need to move it a little more to the right but it worked out okay anyway. I also tried several different patterns of applying the dye colors and this is the one that I was most pleased with for this particular use. After the shirt was dyed and dried I then used my lightbox to trace the design with a fabric marker. My lightbox is one of my favorite tools for crafting and graphic design. I also found a groovy font to typeset the word “chameleon” and added that to the design. Surprisingly I found several pictures of real chameleons in that bright blue combo online! But they can’t really change color to match their background, sadly that part is a myth.

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I made my own pattern for this boy’s long sleeve tee shirt based on several tee shirts from my son’s closet. I used heavy olive double knit cotton out of my stash. I layered a stripe of light blue helicopter print cotton knit across the chest. I also made a small pocket for the left sleeve which is embellished with an orange snap. The boy was quite pleased, as was I.
I’ve had my serger about a year I think and I’m really getting to know how to use it. I’ve never had any luck using a regular machine for stretch fabrics. I was initially concerned about how much I would use it but I’ve found it to be essential for working with knits and a great time saver for sewing non-stretch fabrics as well.

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Living in Maine, moose are a common theme. I hadn’t realized it but apparently the boy has always had a moose shirt, or at least as long as he can remember. So when he outgrew the one he had been wearing he requested a new one. As I had recently made the whale shirt, he knew that I could make him a moose shirt. EEK! He highly prefers to wear tee-shirts so I pulled out a barely worn plain ringer tee and went off to the fabric store to find the right variegated brown to match. That was pretty tough. Even tougher was cutting out that fusible web backed moose and applying it to the shirt. I vaguely knew that I ought to be using some sort of stabilizer to applique on a knit fabric but I didn’t have any so I just decided to tough it out. It looks pretty good as long as you don’t get too close! The boy likes it, and that’s what matters.

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This shirt started out as 9″ wide scraps of Kona Bay faux shibori pattern cotton fabric in a lovely shade of ocean blue. I thought it was perfect for a summer dress shirt for the boy but I was limited by the size of the scraps I had. I fiddled around a bit and managed to eke out the body pieces by piecing the back of the shirt and cutting the collar and pocket from contrasting black. Rather┬áthan buttons, I applied black resin snaps to complement. I appliqued a humpback whale to the pocket and drew in the details with my favorite permanent fabric pen, Identipen.

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