Flannel Pull-over Shirt

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HUZZAH! This was one of those projects that had been in my mind for months before I was able to complete it. It all began with the shirt I made for Peter's Han Solo Costume last year. Within a month or so of making tat shirt and posting it on my blog, I received four different requests for shirts all based on the that one. David, in particular, wanted one made of flannel.

There's not much out there in the way of men's shirt patterns, let me tell you. You can get a big boxy pattern or a narrow fitted pattern. There are few stops in between - nowhere near as many options as for, say, a woman's dress pattern. Anyway, given that all of the men who approached me about shirts are all slim and that slim-fitting shirts are the sartorial norm here in Vancouver, I purchased Vogue 8759 (linked above). I made one of the shirts with very few alterations for a friend of mine just to test the fit and practice my skills.

At some point, I was in a fabric store and looked at the plaid flannels. I knew I wanted something of good quality (nothing like those printed flannels that are so stiff and thin) and somehow the plaid had to look like something my husband would wear. Well, this yarn-dyed plaid about lept off the shelf at me! That David of mine, he likes to keep things subtle. And he can wear earth tones wothout looking ill, so this was a good choice.

I started with a muslin, checking to see how much ease I needed to add in the back and how long the neck opening needed to be to have it pull over easily. I had already blended the panels into one back piece, and then I needed to add more for elbow room. Then it was on to cutting out (and matching) the plaid. I did a bit of sewing and a bit of pinning and head him try it on again.

It wasn't easy to decide what to do with all that extra fabric. There was just too much for one box pleat. and I even felt that there was too much for two shoulder blade pleats. I took a couple of days to notice the shirts the men around me were wearing (one Sunday in particular I approached every man at church who was wearing a woven shirt and asked if I could look at the construction on the back). In the end, I decided to go with two pleats over each shoulder blade. This way I could try to line up the plaid at the center back of the collar and the back with the center of the bias-cut yoke.

Once that was decided, it was just a matter of plugging away and finishing the job. Again, I used plackets from David Page Coffin's Shirtmaking. I think if I were to do this again, I would make all of the plackets (sleeves and neck) narrower and make the ends of the plackets shorter.

Hey, speaking of plackets, Can you see what I did wrong with the sleeve plackets? I decided that no one but I would notice the error. It was a good learning experience! Ha!

All in all, it looks pretty good on him. He has worn it once every week since the weather turned cold. That's a winner in any book! He could also wear this shirt untucked. It has vents on the side seams (the construction of which I just made up as I went along).

Looking pretty pleased with his new shirt, eh? Pardon the indoor photos. It was a dark and dreary day, but he was wearing the shirt, so the photos had to be taken!

More Stretch French Terry!

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When I bought the second pile of Stretch French Terry for my daughters' leggings, I bought more black because I wanted to use some to make a simple t-shirt dress for myself.

Two summers ago, I bought a simple t-shirt dress at Zellers just before going on a trip to visit family in Georgia. The dress is a very pinky magenta and I receive compliments every single time I wear it. It's made of a cottony-looking polyester knit with very little stretch, but it is a little hot to wear.

People who know that I sew always think that I made that dress and finally, at the beginning of last summer, I took the hint and traced a pattern from it. With the kids home all day every day, I don't get much sewing and even less fabric shopping done, so the pattern sat patiently in its envelope. Until I found that Stretch French Terry!

Here I am showing you the patch pockets!

I whipped up the dress in next to no time. The sleeves are cut on, so there's really just a front, a back, and two patch pockets. And, because I am short, it only took about a meter, so I still have another meter of this lovely black fabric sitting in my stash! Can I just tell you? This is the most comfortable thing to wear. I feel good in it and I am not restricted by it. I'm thinking I'll be making some more of these!

Leggings Galore!

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You know those cool fall days, where you want to cozy up in a sweater, scarf, jeans, and boots, eat soup, and drink tea? Well, that's pretty much what the weather is like here in Vancouver for maybe 8 months out of the year. It's rarely COLD, but it is often cool and damp. Because of this, most everyone I know wears a lot of layers - including my girls.

In order to make their dresses and skirts more wearable, they need leggings. Now leggings take a lot of abuse on the playground, but they hold up much better than tights. (I have just about given up on tights for little girls.) Last year I made them some leggings for the spring/summer out of lightweight jersey (maybe a bamboo-lycra mix). To do this, I copied a pair of store-bought leggings that fit both girls, but had a hole in the knee. This worked, but as the summer went on, I realized that the lighter fabric just wasn't holding up as well as I would like and  it was obvious that both girls were getting taller.

Around this time I found a link to directions to draft your own leggings on Pinterest and I considered that, but then I realized that for growing children, it might be easier to start from an already established pattern. Enter Kwik Sew 3476. Say what you will about Kwik Sew's less-than-inspiring pattern illustrations, but my experience has only been good. They make nicely drafted, highly wearable patterns.

I purchased one meter each of black and teal Stretch French Terry from Fabricana and gave it a go. This fabric is such a dream to work with! It has a lot of stretch and great recovery. It's cozy to wear and behaves well in the machine. And, since my girls are still quite small, I can get two pair of leggings on each meter of fabric! Score!

After figuring out how to alter the pattern for each of my girls, I went back and bought a meter of red, a meter of purple, and three more meters of black. Here is a sampling of the end result:

The red pair was pulled out of the dirty clothes for this photo, so you can see a little bagging and wrinkling, but they still look pretty sharp for being worn all day!

Each girl ended up with two pair of black leggings, and one pair each in red, teal, and purple. That makes a total of ten pairs of leggings sewin in September. The fabric cost alone comes to about $5 each, but then you ought to add a bit for thread and elastic, and then some for my time, but since I did them production-style, I was able to finish them all in just a couple of days' worth of free time. All in all, a good value!