Chi-Town Chinos #SewingDare by mahlicadesigns

A couple months back I took a #SewingDare from Gillian at Crafting A Rainbow. Gillian’s challenge: “I love your mustard skirt, and how it stands out against the neutrals in your wardrobe… so I dare you to make something else bright that can mix and match into your wardrobe!”

My stash is almost all neutrals, so I  grabbed the most colorful fabric in there and started brainstorming. Generally I’m not a florals person, but this cotton twill has moved between my stash and my giveaway pile so many times it’s a little silly. The challenge and the recently released Chi-Town Chinos was a good push to getting cutting.

Chi Towns front

I really like the chino style of the Chi-Towns and have put the skirt version on my Sew Everything list. I definitely want more of these shorts, but that will have to wait for Spring sewing.

Chi Town Chino shorts

The Pattern: Chi-Town Chinos shorts from Alina Design Co. in size 10 based on my measurements. The pattern includes a shorts or skirt version and four options for back pockets.

I liked that you get all the pattern pieces ready right at the start and that the single piece front pocket is nicely finished with facings and french seams. There is a lot of attention to detail that makes everything about the shorts a step above.

Chi Town Chino shorts

The pattern and instructions have fitting built in, which is great for your first time sewing the pattern. The back pattern piece includes an extension that makes it easy to fit the waist and in my case a fuller seat. The instructions walk you through basting and fitting the back piece before you do your final sew.

I found I did not need the extension or need to do a full butt adjustment in my size, but I did have a lot of excess fabric in the back of the legs below my seat. I think this is an indicator that I need to size down and do a full butt adjustment for the smaller size.  I ended up removing 1 in at the inseam and side seam of the back piece only. I like the fit I have now, so I probably won’t experiment with going down a size.

Next time I will also adjust the front crotch curve. I find it scoops out just a little too much for me.

I’m pretty impressed that most of the fitting issues were worked out on the first try by following the pattern instructions.

ChiTowns back

The fabric: One yard of Cone Mills cotton twill and about a FQ of lightweight cotton both from inherited stash.

I’m pleased that the shorts do work with several tops, but honestly the jury is still out on this print. I’ll need to give these some wearing around before I decide if they are “me” or if they will be downgraded to around the house shorts.

Chi Towns feature banner

The Chi-Town Chino shorts took me about 5 hours to complete, including fitting and adjustments. I’m hoping to cut that down to 3.5 hours next time.

Total Cost: $13.75    Fabric $0 (inherited stash)        Pattern $12      Notions: $1.75

Kirsten Kimono Tee and the Lindy Petal Skirt for Indie Pattern Month

I’m diving into the Indie Pattern Month contest over at The Monthly Stitch. This weeks contest is all about separates. Hey, that’s what I do! This time though, I’m aiming to make them play nicely together. Let’s see.

Kirsten Kimono an Lindy Petal by mahlicadesignsI’m putting together the Lindy Petal Skirt from Itch to Stitch in a size small (blogged here) and a new work up of a personal favorite, the Kirsten Kimono Tee from Maria Denmark with a small modification, in a size medium.

The Lindy was made using a wonderful French terry in charcoal gray from Raspberry Creek, one of my Core Wardrobe colors. I made a size small and shortened the length by 1in. Next time, I may slim down the hip area to reduce some of the lumpiness there. The pattern is well put together, with easy instructions for making alterations. The Lindy is easy to make, a great stash buster at less than 1 yd (for me anyway), and looks so smart.

Kirsten kimono ans Lindy Petal by mahlicadesignsFor my second try at the Kirsten Kimono I sized up to a medium. (first version here). I like my summer tees a little looser, so this fit is better. For something a little different this time I wanted to add a 2in bottom band. I reduced the tee length by 4in when cutting as it was looking pretty long, and then added on the 2in band. The Kirsten Kimono pattern does not include seam allowances, argh, so I trace mine with 3/8in seam allowances for serged seams. The sleeve has a 1in hem allowance added and is sewn down with a stretch stitch.

I used a light weight mystery knit for the Kirsten Kimono, a prize from Elizabeth Made This during Sew Mama Sew’s giveaway day. It’s a bolder color than I would normally choose but I’m so glad I got to try it out.

Lindy Petal Skirt & Kirsten kimono by mahlicadesignsI like the two pieces together, but tucking in the tee gives a little bit of lumpiness under the skirt. Untucked is fine, but only just fine.

Lindy Petal & Kirtsten Kimono by mahlicadesignsTake a look as I pair it with my Cobalt Shorts. I like these two together.

Kirsten Kimono & Cobalt shorts You can check out what others are making for the contest over at The Monthly Stitch.

Under the Banner

My father has delved into the art of marquetry (wood veneers inlaid to make a composition) and I’ve been trying to encourage him by managing his blog Earlsmarquetry and being a sounding board for his ideas.

custom pet - CopyCustom pet portraits by Earl’s Marquetry

With a couple shows lined up for the fall, Atlanta’s Makers Faire and the art show at Roselawn, I wanted to make him something for his booth. I landed on making him a banner that could fit along the front of his table. I downloaded some letter templates and after measuring their width, I calculated the spacing I would need to make it all fit on a banner 10in tall and 70in long.

I have four layers here in this reverse applique banner; the dark brown front and backing, a layer of flannel to give it some body, and a layer of woody looking fabric layered under the brown front to be revealed by the reverse applique. I traced and sewed the letters, then cut out the top layer of brown to reveal the woody fabric for the letters.

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Even with my meticulous measuring, I still goofed the spacing up. Unfortunately I traced and stitched the first word before discovering my mistake so the second word is a little scrunched.

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A project like this should take you about 3.5 hours.

Kids Clothing Week 2014…my plan

Allrighty, its my first time participating in a sew along of sorts. July 21 through 27 is Kids Clothing Week where participants are challenged to sew 1 hour a day for 7 days.

kid's clothes week

Here’s my ambitious plan. Ambitious because I have a toddler that has decided to boycott naptime of late and because I several ideas but have not been as OCD about making sure I have the materials to complete these projects (running off to the fabric store is not as easy as it used to be).

Okay now for my plan, lets see how I actually do.

Project One: Boys Basic Blazer from Blank Slate Patterns

I’ve made pants and a tee from Blank Slate Patterns before and they are a dream to use. I actually have all the materials I need for the blazer except for the buttons. I have a pretty good stash of buttons, so I have high hopes for this project.

Project Two: Winter PJs. Bottoms using Clean Slate Pants by Blank Slate Patterns; Top tbd.

100_3343Here’s my version of the Clean Slate Pant.

I have some charcoal grey and robins egg blue fleece in my stash to use up for the pjs. I have just enough charcoal to make the pants without pockets if I use a bit of the blue as a side stripe and I’m hoping enough of the blue to do a simple top. I give this project about 50/50 chances.

Project Three: Activity Station/Seat Saver

Something like this from 8th Day creations.

Not that we have a super fancy or even super clean car but it grates on me when I hear my little guy’s shoes sliding against the back of our leather seats. I’m hoping something like this will be great for little guy and nerve saving for mommy. I have no ideas on what fabric in my stash to use or what kind of pockets I’ll need. This will definitely be a winging it project. I’m NOT a wing it type of person so maybe not so nerve saving for mommy. I’ll give this one 50/50 also. I don’t think it will be difficult to execute, once I figure out fabric and a basic plan.

Project Four: Monster in the Pocket sweatshirt.

I’m thinking a basic long sleeve sweatshirt with a large zip pocket across the tummy. The pocket lining would be black with a couple friendly monster eyes peaking out.

Curtain Challenge

I just finished up some curtains for my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. They purchased an older home, built long before the modern love of closets, so they built a closet into a small alcove in their bedroom and will hang the long curtain panels as the closure.

The challenge for me was that the fabric provided necessitated that I sew two pieces together vertically to make each panel. So, how to make a long vertical seam line look intentional? I thought about how to use the narrower vertical piece as an accent or border in some way, but honestly did not want to invest the amount of time needed to design and execute some sort of fabric painting or printing.  I landed on an idea to use running stitches with embroidery thread, and sketched out a simple geometric pattern that I thought would work with some of the southwest and Ikat design elements and colors in the room.

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I also wanted to use this project as an opportunity to try French seams and mitered corners, techniques I had not used before. These took a little longer but definitely made the finished project much nicer.

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Pieced Coasters

After moving into a new home last summer, the list of little things we need just doesn’t seem to get any shorter, even after making some coasters this week.

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I’m sure you’ve seen coasters like these all over Pinterest and I believe there’s a book out there with instructions, but who needs that.

I used a pieced strip that was extra from a quilt project, reworked it a bit to get 4.25in squares and then cut them into 4.25in circles. I grabbed some 4in felt circles that were in my UFO stack for something else and used those for the batting. I also used up a few additional scraps for the backs.

I’m sure this never happens to you, but when they were all finished I had an oh shoot moment. Look how the yellow-green of the single fold binding is too light.

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Thankfully, I happened to have my fabric paints out for another project I’m working on. With about ten minutes of TV time I had the binding all fixed up.

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I didn’t keep track of my time like I usually do, but this project should take you an afternoon.