Han Solo Pants Simplicity 9499

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Here are the Han Solo pants, completed. I have used this pattern many times - for Peter's Anakin Skywalker pants last year as well as a few pairs of pajama pants. This time I made them out of stretch fine-wale corduroy.

The picture of Han Solo I was working from has him dressed in quite skinny pants, so I took a good bit out of the outseam. Given the stretch of the fabric this was no problem. They aren't "skinny jeans" but they do get at the general look of Han.

Once I had the fit correct, I sewed the outseams with a flat-felled seam. (I have no picture of this - it turned out blurry.) Then I sewed the crotch seams separately with a faux-felled seam. I found during fitting that I needed to reduce the seam allowance to 3/8" in the crotch curve, which is not enough of a seam allowance to flat-fell. I sewed the seam and then zigzagged the seam allowances together, then pressed them to one side and topstitched them down.

I used 2" wide waistband elastic in the casing - I added extra to the top of the pattern before cutting the fabric to accommodate this. Han Solo wears a belt so I had to figure out a way to make belt loops. I cut strips of fabric from my scraps that were 1 1/2" wide. I pressed them in half - wrong sides together, then turned the raw edges in to the center and pressed again. I then edgestitched along both long edges. I pinned them into place below the waistband and zigzagged them down. Then I marked the point where the belt loop should meet the top of the waistband and wrapped the loop material to the inside of the pants and zigzagged again - without catching the elastic. I trimmed the loop material and hand-stitched the cut edge to the inside of the waistband. (Phew! That's a lot to explain - I hope I did't lose you.) And, once Peter tried the pants on it became obvious that the belt loops are HUGE and need to be stitched down a bit more.

I have enough belt loop material to make a loop at the center back after Halloween. I won't do it now, because we still have to rig up a holster that attaches to the center front and the center back of the belt - and a belt loop there would get in the way. Either that or I will just remove all of the loops.

Here is the shot of Peter wearing the pants. The fit isn't great. I realized while driving yesterday hat I should have taken them in at the inseam to snug up the crotch. Oh well. Peter loves them. He wore them two days in a row to school and wanted to sleep in them, but I drew the line at sleeping in cords. That's just silly.

And here is a gratuitous shot of Clara while we were making chocolate chip cookies. She is impersonating the beater. She says it looks like a "tough guy" spinning around in the bowl.

Han Solo Shirt Finished! BurdaStyle 05-2010-145

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I finished the shirt late Sunday afternoon. Peter loves it. It all went together pretty easily, but the cuffs were a bit finicky. It's definitely NOT perfect. None of the edges are identical to their mates, but it's not so far off to be noticeable. This fabric has a fair bit of stretch to it, which made edge stitching the collar and cuffs a bit tricky, but I am hopeful that after a trip through the wash everything will be just fine. speaking of the cuffs...

They turned out pretty well! I sewed almost the entire shirt on my vintage Singer and of course used the buttonhole attachment to make those lovely buttonholes.

They only time I used my Janome was to zigzag the seam allowances in the sleeves and side seams. Then I topstitched them in place as a faux flat-felled seam. I actually couldn't topstitch the entire side and sleeve seam because the sleeve is simply too narrow to manage it. On an adult shirt I think it would be possible.

I used my narrow hem foot to hem the shirt, but had to stop near the side seams because the layers of fabric were entirely too thick to go through the spiral on the foot, so I had to go back and finish those sections by hand.

Here are some shots of Peter wearing the shirt. Obviously the sleeves are too long, but he will continue to grow, so temporarily, I am going to remove and move the buttons on the cuffs to make them more snug. That should keep the sleeves off his hands. He wore the shirt to church Sunday evening and received PILES of compliments. He then wore it all the next day playing Star Wars with the other kids (and got it dirty! Let's hope the fabric comes clean easily!).

In Progress: Han Solo Shirt Burda Style 05-2010-145

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I sit here at the computer feeling rather smug and pleased with myself. Over the last few afternoons I tissue fitted and cut out the pattern pieces for Peter's Han Solo shirt. Then, on Friday morning I had a stroke of brilliance. I checked the Vancouver Public Library catalog for David Page Coffin's Shirtmaking. To my luck, both copies were available at the central branch. I had just enough time - and a willing six-year-old - to jump in the van, drive downtown to the library, park on the street (45 cents in the meter), dash in the library, find and check out the book, dash back to the van, and drive back past my own neighbourhood and over to Clara's preschool just in time to pick her up.

Wow! I am loving this book. It is totally worth all of the accolades it receives. I just wish I had read through it to find the seam allowances he recommends before cutting out all of my pieces. I did use the book to draft plackets for the sleeves and the neckline. I was so scared that I would do something bone-headed, but so far I haven't. Everything has been pretty easy, though very precise. The only thing I would change about the book are the instructions for attaching the back yoke to the shirt fronts. He describes the "burrito" method, but there are no illustrations. Seriously.

Anyway, here are some of my highlights so far:

Front, Inside, and Reverse side of the neck placket (my first ever!!)
(Those lumpy areas are not really puckery - they are just wet. I was removing some washable marker.)

Attaching the yoke with the "burrito" method.

Yoke turned right side out (before pressing).

Close up of the finished collar.

Sleeve plackets. Nearly identical.

And, how I managed to keep my sleeves straight. The fabric Peter chose has a lovely texture woven in it, but both sides are nearly identical. I went through all of the pieces and marked each right side with a yellow pin. Then, once I figure out which sleeve was which and which placket went with which sleeve (thanks, David Coffin!), I pinned the pieces together and pinned a label on them as well. Phew!

I had a lot of fun today working on this and contemplating all of the different precise steps. The shirt just needs the sleeves attached (these will be faux flat felled seams since I don't have enough seam allowance to do it properly), the side seams sewn, the cuffs attached, and the hem finished. Definitely doable.

We interrupt costume sewing...

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to bring you a finished item from the summer.

I made this quilt using all but four pieces from two charm packs. The fabrics are Central Park by Kate Spain for Moda. The border fabrics are a couple of things I picked up to go along and the back is a plain yellow I've had in the stash for a few years. I used an inexpensive polyester batting in the middle. The layers are hand stitched together at intermittent intersections with some embroidery floss. The binding is bias and sewn by machine, but finished with a prick stitch (the same stitch that I use on zippers) on the back side.

It's a cheerful little throw, but I think I would really like something a little bigger and with more drape.


On the costume front, I have had to re-assess what I have to accomplish and the time I have to get it done. I have altered my coat pattern pieces, but I am putting cutting and sewing the coat on the back burner. If I get it done in time, great, but if not, so be it.

David has been delegated the tasks of taking Lucy shopping for an appropriate dress to wear under her cape and finding Peter a belt that we can add a holster to for his costume. Nobody really cares if I make the costumes except me. I love doing it, but it does get to be a bit much sometimes.

Parrot Costume Progress - Burda Style 01-2011-145

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The lumpiness around her hips is caused by the sweater dress she was wearing underneath.

The jumpsuit is done! Now she just needs bird parts (wings, beak, tailfeathers, etc.). I used one of the costume patterns from the January 2011 Burda Style. You could probably use any jumpsuit pattern, but this one includes instruction for a lining. I don't know if the Big 4 patterns include that or not. I ended up removing a bit of length and a fair bit of the width from the sleeves and legs. I thought a parrot ought to be more streamlined than a teddy bear or rabbit would be.

Clara is going to be a red macaw, and last year we learned the hard way about costumes that were too cold, so this is made of polar fleece with a lining of knit pique (think golf shirts). It's cozy! I decided against putting elastic in the sleeve and leg hems, figuring that if they were narrower, elastic wouldn't be needed. I think I was right, but I can see now that I should go back and topstitch the sleeve hems so the lining doesn't peek out. You can probably just see the lining peeking out right above her hand in the photo below.

The zipper went in pretty well. The zipper called for is a couple of inches longer than the opening. I may rip out a few more stitches on that center seam to give Clara a bit more access with the zipper.

I chose cotton pique knit for the lining - which may prove to be a mistake - but it was inexpensive and not sticky or static-prone. I did change the way the lining is attached at the hood. The instructions call for sewing the body lining around the neck edge to the seam allowances of the the neck edge of the outer fabric, then attaching the hood lining to the neck edge by pressing the seam allowances under and hand-stitching. Instead, I attached the hood lining to the body lining and hand stitched through all of the layers along the neck seam. Then I used a bit of the lining cut on the bias and finished off the remaining raw edges of the hood.

Now it's time to do a little wing planning. I'm using felt for the "feathers". I'd like them to be easily removed so that the suit can be easily washed. Fun times!