Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Unsewn Bibs Giveaway Results!!!

We have six winners, and here they are:

#18 Tim & amp; Kate
#33 Dana Furlo

#44 Heather

#69 Melissa
#88 Amanda
#102 Nicole

Congratulations, ladies! You will now be forced to sew bibs! Hahahahahahaha! It will be addictive- you will see! If, months down the road, you have to check in to Bibaholics Anonymous, I absolve myself of all responsibility.

Please email me (my email addy is in the sidebar) your name and postal address so I can get the bibs in the post to you. I've also sent you ladies an email nagging you to do the same thing.

Again, thank you everyone for participating in the giveaway. Because I want to spread this bib obsession to everyone in the known universe, here is the free pattern to cut out your own bibs.

It should print out on a full US letter size (8.5" x 11") paper to be the right size.

Edited to add: The template above has NO seam allowances, so please add your own. To make the bib, just cut two shapes out of fabric (I like flannel), place them right sides together and sew on the sewing line all around, leaving a hole (about 3"-4") at the bottom of the bib for turning out. Snip/notch all curved seam allowances and cut out the neck hole, if you haven't already, and turn right side out. Then top-stitch close to the edge all around, including the bottom opening. And add velcro.

My sister-in-law gave me the very first bibs some years ago, and I made a tentative pattern from them. Then I modified it so that I could get exactly 4 bibs out of every 3/4 yard of flannel (45") with very little wastage. So go ahead and print out the pattern, assemble both parts, and (highly recommended) add the other half and make a full bib pattern on cardstock so you can mass-produce them. What - you're complaining that you can't cut out your own bibs? Wimps. I cut out 105! And that was not counting the
hundreds I'd cut out and sewed before that. Now go forth and multiply!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fairies and Their Houses

Remember this little felt doll?

I made her last year and put her atop that
felt cake.
I said she actually belonged to another project but I never
got around to working on that project. No, this isn't even
that project (which is 10 times funner and more whimsical
than this, but it's still only on paper). As a reward for tidying
up my sewing table and finishing my slopers for the year,
I let myself make these little felt fairies



and Merryweather.

They spend a lot of time together

and you might catch a glimpse of them in your garden
if you are quiet. They'll be out and about, casting good
spells, harvesting silkworm threads and building their
flower petal stash (they sew their own clothes -
didn't you know?) .

But when they're tired and resting,

you can find them here -

in their little toadstool* houses

They might live alone,

but they like having friends over

because the company is
soooo goodso much so that when they heard the spanking
new duplex down by the daisy bush

still vacant
they got themselves together and moved in
right away.
They were very pleased to give us the grand tour

but still prefer if we didn't overstay our welcome
(they have a lot of sewing to catch up on!)

Pattern out soon!

Thank you all for playing our guessing game!
I am always encouraged when some of you come close
to the right answer because it means I've made
something that looks like what it's supposed to be. Phew!

The right answer, incidentally, is "Fungus House With
Strange Spotted Puffy Cap, Likely Poisonous, Wherein
Dwell Little Felt Fairy Dolls" although I was also willing
to accept the more succinct "Possibly Poisonous and
Fairy-Infested Fungi Habitats". But how were you
to know, right? You clearly have sane brains -
and I clearly don't. So I decided "mushroom"
was as close a shot as any.

Thus I pick Joy, the very first commentor, to send the
pattern to, when it's finally ready, and if she wants it.
While she never actually mentioned the generic "fungus",
was the first to say the word "mushroom" and
even mentioned "toadstool".
Good guess! Congratulations, Joy!
Please email me and we can talk about the pattern.

Sadly, not 5 minutes after the fairies got the keys
to their new pads, my children descended upon their
little happy village in a storm of destruction
and mayhem. Like Godzilla.

* I'm going to name these Toadstool Houses rather than
Mushroom Houses because I eat a lot of mushrooms
and so far I have never eaten one that was red
with white spots or accidentally bit into a fairy.
I don't eat toadstools.

Monday, June 28, 2010

I Shall Give Away Unsewn Bibs

If you've just joined us, I recently re-confessed that I used to obsessively sew bibs. I'm cured now, but not before I cut out 105 bibs (that's 210 pieces of flannel and 210 pieces of velcro). If not for Kate unearthing them a few days ago, they would have remained forever unsewn. I pity them, but not enough to actually sew them up in a hurry. So I offered to give them away to other, kinder people who would sew them up and give them to a real child to use. Since there was some interest, I sorted through the bib pieces, and picked out 24 bibs to give away. What I will do with the rest I don't know, but I sort of still like some of the fabrics, so I might keep them for baby gifts. If I sew them up. If. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

So here is how the giveaway works:

I am giving away 6 lots of 4 bibs each. This means I will pick six (6) commentors at random - 3 for the boy bibs and 3 for the girl bibs and force them to accept my unsewn bibs.

Anyone in the world can enter.

If you'd like to win unsewn bibs, leave a comment on this post with

  • your email address and
  • whether you'd prefer bibs for a boy or a girl (or no preference).
(I will try to accommodate your preference but reserve the right to pick the fabrics to include in your package)

by midnight Wednesday 30 June 2010.
I will do the draw early on Thursday and announce the winners then.

If you'd left a comment on that earlier post, I apologize but you'll have to enter another comment here on this post, since I will be doing the draw from just the comments on this post.

Here are some of the fabrics for the boy bibs

and some of the fabrics for the girl bibs.

Some of the bibs will have the same fabric on both sides, and some will have different, complementing fabrics. I will not be providing velcro/buttons/safety pins/masking tape/whatever means you might use to fasten bibs around babies' necks.

Each pair of fabric pieces that make up a bib will have seam allowances included, and the sewing line marked out in random color pencil on one of those two pieces. To sew up a bib, you place the two pieces together, right sides facing, and sew along the sewing line, leaving a small opening at the bottom of the bib for turning out. Then you snip the curved seam allowances and turn right side out, and top stitch along the edge. And then attach velcro or buttons or whatever. Easy.

P.S. I was very, very touched by an offer by one of the previous commentors to send me some fabric in return for the bibs. Thank you, but there is no need to. I am happy to send them to you just because I know you will give them a better future than I ever will.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

ikatbag is 2!

That's almost as old as Kate, and almost as zany! Almost.

Two years of craft-blogging! Fun. Thank you all for making it another exciting year. I appreciate all my followers (there are almost 800 of you! Helloooooo!), all my commentors, all my readers who share photos, stories, questions and requests, all my fellow bloggers who send me awards, who link and link and link and who regularly feature me on their sites, all my buyers-of-patterns and etsy store customers and all you other wonderful people out there who say things like, "because of you, I decided not to donate my sewing machine to Goodwill" (sorry, Goodwill) and "yesterday I made shorts for the first time from your tutorial and didn't drink vodka during".

I am going to celebrate by not sewing today and going to the park. We've all been sick with coughs and general crabbiness the whole past week so today is the first day I feel as if I can go out with the kids without fainting. So to the park/pond we go, armed with a bag of stale bread with which to nourish the fish and other aquatic denizens therein!

But I also want to celebrate with
you - so let's play a game:

Something from my latest project. Want to guess? Yes, it's another circle like the
last time you all had to guess. I like round things, wot. The beams of my deck should give you an idea of how small/big it is. Leave a comment on this post with
  • your guess and
  • your email address (or a link to your blogger profile with it)

and I'll pick the first right answer or the one that's closest, whichever is first. If you want to make a second guess when some new idea hit you later in the day, go right ahead and leave a second (or third) comment. I'll moderate and publish your comments as they come in. This photo will be your
only clue, and tomorrow sometime I will close the giveaway and tell you what it is. Anyone in the world with a valid email address can enter. The winner will get the pdf pattern to make this weird thing (if they want it, I mean - they can always shriek and say, "ugg, no thank you, I've changed my mind" of course).

Unrelated and yet not: thanks for the interest in the free bibs. I apologize if that post was misleading in making you all leave comments with email addresses etc as if
that were the giveaway post. It wasn't. Sorry about that. I just took some pictures this morning and sorted out which of the bib pieces are in girl and boy fabrics and counted them up. Either today or tomorrow I will do a proper giveaway post with deadlines and instructions on letting me know whether you want girl or boy bibs and who can enter.

So quite a few gifts for you this week! Again, thank you all for reading along with me this year (and the last)!

Sloper Dresses and Misadventures in Drafting

Some photos at last.


I will share with you one of my daftest choices of fabrics for a muslin mockup.
First, I will share that sewing for children, in spite of being fun and lovely and cheap, is challenging because of how hard it is to measure them. There is a lot of shoulder shrugging, lying down, wriggling, twisting, jumping around, dancing and clapping. I very seldom have sufficiently accurate measurements in the first round. Often it takes me two to three very short rounds of measuring before I have a good enough set of numbers with which to draft a sloper. Sometimes I begin drafting with my first set of measurements, and then discover inconsistencies, and then have to capture the child in question and re-measure some bits.

I like to turn my muslin mockups into wearable garments just so it isn't a total waste of fabric and time spent chasing and measuring. I found this white cotton fabric on sale and somewhat liked the ready-sewn ribbon trim on it. Thought it would make a nice little girl's dress. So I drafted the sloper, then ironed out the fabric and got ready to lay everything out.

Should Have Not Used This Fabric reason #1
The trims were diagonal. And irregularly spaced. And one-directional. Meaning if the trims were to meet at the seams, I would have to break rules and do a bizarre layout. Which I did. Some pieces were along the grain and some were at weird angles to it. I didn't have to do this, of course, but

Should Have Not Used This Fabric reason #2 I am anal-retentive when I sew so of course the seams must meet. Because of the irregular spacing of the trims, some did indeed not meet at the seams, but I ate nutella and became sort of easy-going and smiley and let those go.

Should Have Not Used This Fabric reason #3
The fabric (some cotton-bordering-on-voile thing) was translucent and loose-weave. Had to have lining. A full lining, including the sleeves. Looked on the bright side by telling myself that this would take care of the facings. Yippee. If you've done any drafting, or even adapted patterns for fit, you will already know how idiotic I was being about using this fabric. I got mum on the phone and told her about it and she kept saying "Oh dear. Oh dear. OH DEAR. Oh no. Oh dear. Oh no." There weren't a lot of alterations but the extra lining made it tricky to check for fit. At one point, I thought I had drafted the back neckline too small, and so unpicked the faced invisible zipper and neckline and let it out. Then I tried it on Emily again and realized it was now exactly as much too loose as I had just cleverly let out. Hit self on forehead, re-unpicked the invisible zipper and neckline and took it back in. As a result of all my manhandling, the lovely soft loose-weave fabric had become somewhat wonky at the neckline. Why did I think I could leave off staystitching just this one time?
So a regular comedy of errors. Very funny now that I look back.

Here is Emily wearing her sloper dress. She is standing on one foot (why?) - especially evident in second photo - and making the neckline pop out at the shoulder seam.

Also, I kept just the bodice portion true to the sloper fit and flared out the dress in four panels from the waist. I The last non-knit dress I made for Emily was met with "my waist is too tight! My chest is too tight! Everything is too tight!" from her, so I gave her more ease in the waist and a lower neckline to eliminate grumbling this time around.

I was mostly interested in the shoulder seams, armscyes and sleeves, really.

Some back views - I am not bothered about there being a little more ease in the back sleeve (see armpit folds) than I'd like because this is an unstretchy fabric and should not pull over her back chest when she moves her arms around.

An interesting thing I discovered about hangers (see very first photo) - they don't always fit the shoulders of the dress that hangs from them. Maybe they are made for kids with squarer shoulders.

Here's Jenna's sloper dress:

Because children are infinitely wiser than adults (especially their mothers), I let Jenna pick out the fabric for her dress. She did well - all-over print, cotton, unstretchy, opaque. I faced the neckline and zipper - ran out of invisible ones so used a regular white one. Didn't even bother to do a lapped zipper either.

As with Emily's, I was really mostly interested in the fit at the shoulders, neck, armscyes and sleeves

as well as her little post-toddler tum. Emily has lost her little belly but Jenna and Kate still have theirs, which had to be taken into account in the drafting of their slopers.

I lowered her center front waistline but clearly didn't do enough for the hem!

The only embellishments I added for this dress were faced sleeve hems, a faced bottom hem and a sash. And inseam pockets. Felt that patch pockets would've been to unsubtle for this particular style.

Bonus photos of sweet, funny Jenna!

Kate's sloper dress is here, in case you were wondering. Hers is knit, which isn't the best material for a sloper dress -because of its stretch, it's hard to tell if it's comfortable because of a good draft or because it's just so stretchy. But well, it's Kate, and she is more acrobatic than most people, so knit it was.

And because some of you asked about drafting sleeves, I took a photo of the three sleeve blocks I drafted for Jenna's sloper. The more I sew for children, the more I learn that they really dislike being measured and being fitted. So I try and maximize each fitting by drafting and cutting two slightly different sleeves and sewing them on the same bodice. So when Jenna did her first fitting, I picked out what fit well with each sleeve, and combined them into a third (and hopefully final) one.

For instance, it is often a trade-off between the ease in the height and the width of the sleeve cap (you need both to wrap around your bicep) and the ease in the bicep width. A sleeve cap that is too high might give you a lot of extra fabric (think 'hideous puff but forgot to actually gather') on the top. A sleeve cap that is too wide will give you a lot of folds in your armpit. A bicep width that is too wide will give you a very wide hem. All that extra fabric translates to more comfort, but it isn't pretty for a basic set-in sleeve. And since this is a sleeve block, it is ideally as small and streamlined as possible while still being comfortable for movement.
Am I making sense? It's 1:40 am now.

So in the picture below, I started out with the same sleeve cap height.

The bottommost sleeve block is Draft #1: narrower bicep, wide sleeve cap.

The middle sleeve block is Draft #2: wider bicep, narrower (i.e. slightly more pointy) sleeve cap.

The topmost sleeve block is Draft #3 - the good draft - and combines the good-fitting bits of both first drafts and a few other adjustments based on Jenna's fitting.

That's all for tonight! Maybe more illustrative drafting posts like these in the future.