Tag Archives: gifts

A Long Overdue Gift: Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Duck Canvas

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A Long Overdue Gift:  Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Duck Canvas

I have one more handmade Christmas gift to share with you today. This should have been a birthday gift long before it was a Christmas gift but, like so much of the sewing I aspire to, it got waylaid by life. This project is the Jutland Pants from Thread Theory, a menswear pattern for casual or cargo pants.

A Long Overdue Gift:  Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Duck Canvas

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A Long Overdue Gift:  Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Duck Canvas

I have used it many times before. These pants are for my husband.

A Long Overdue Gift:  Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Duck Canvas

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A Long Overdue Gift:  Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Duck Canvas

I used 100% ringspun cotton duck canvas from Big Duck Canvas in olive. The fabric is heavyweight, at 12 oz./square yard, and is a single fill weave (I’m still not fully clear on what that means, since I’m not a weaver, but they explain it on the site). This yardage is factory seconds, but I didn’t find any flaws in the fabric. It’s a nice, wide fabric at 67″.

My husband is definitely worth sewing for. While he is particular about what he likes, he is a very grateful and appreciative recipient, even if I don’t quite hit the mark. And these are definitely a little off, although they are close.

Like any good sewist, I took measurements beforehand. He told me that the pants I had made previously for him still fit, but as someone who has sewn for a long time now, I know that one of the most important commands of garment sewing is: DO NOT SKIP MEASURING. So I had to do it. The tape measure showed that he was a slightly different size than before, so that’s what I traced, with plans to transfer all our former tweaks to this version. I have made this pattern so many times that we have a dizzying number of notes on what to tweak where–it got a little confusing. However, I made myself a master list, and went to town.

Alterations and Tweaks

This time around, we planned to shorten the pants by an inch, as before, even though he is just over six feet tall. We wanted to add pocket reinforcements (see below) like I had seen on some Carhartt overalls I have, but once Christmas started approaching, that mod got tossed out. We would have had to change the pocket shape and redraft the interior of the pocket, which doesn’t look too hard, but would have taken more time.

A Long Overdue Gift:  Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Duck Canvas
Carhartt overalls with reinforced pocket edges that we originally wanted to incorporate into the Jutlands
A Long Overdue Gift:  Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Duck Canvas
A look inside the pocket of the Carhartt overalls we planned to take inspiration from

We wanted to raise the side cargo pockets by 5.5 inches if shortening the pants in the middle (something I should have done but forgot) or 6.5 inches if shortening from the bottom (which I ended up doing). He wanted the belt loops to be longer than on the original pattern to fit his favorite belt better, so we used the belt to measure the exact length + ease that we wanted. He also wanted one double belt loop on the front like a pair of pants he has from Duluth Trading Co.

A Long Overdue Gift:  Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Duck Canvas
Pants from Duluth Trading Co. with a belt loop detail we wanted to add to the Jutlands I was making
A Long Overdue Gift:  Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Duck Canvas
The belt loop I created on the Jutlands, inspired by the Duluth belt loop

Also, we decided to use self fabric for the pockets. One of my biggest mistakes on an earlier pair was using lawn for the pocket bags. Those pockets wore out long before the pants did and had to be continually fixed.

A Long Overdue Gift:  Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Duck Canvas
Inside front view of the Jutland pants with self fabric pockets–hopefully these won’t wear out!
A Long Overdue Gift:  Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Duck Canvas
Inside back view of Jutland pants

I worked steadily on these pants throughout December, and I was nearly finished on Christmas Eve, but with only two hours before church, and in desperate need of a shower, I had to put them on hold. Rushing tends to lead to mistakes, and I didn’t want to have to redo anything, so the finishing touches had to come a few days after Christmas.

As for the pattern itself, it is good overall, but pattern piece 17 (the hem reinforcement) is 1/8″ too wide, and the waistband is about 1 3/8″ too long in the size 39. I’m not sure if this has been fixed on the PDF or in reprints of the pattern. I think I have one of the earlier paper copies.

This size is also longer in the leg than the previous size I made for my husband, so in addition to the inch I usually take off, which I completely forgot to take off at the lengthen/shorten line, I had to take another inch and a half off the bottom.

A Long Overdue Gift:  Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Duck Canvas
The hem reinforcement at the back is usually taller, but I had already sewn mine in when I realized I needed to shorten the pants some more.

And that meant that my carefully planned cargo pocket placement wasn’t quite where I wanted it.

A Long Overdue Gift:  Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Duck Canvas

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A Long Overdue Gift:  Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Duck Canvas

Luckily I sewed my Velcro in much better than I have in the past!

The knee reinforcements were also slightly off, but not too bad.

A Long Overdue Gift:  Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Duck Canvas
Knee reinforcement

I still can’t believe that after all my planning, I forgot to shorten the pattern! Ugh.

I also meant to try to fit these as I went, but that’s not very easy to do with the order of construction, and I just plain forgot! Once I get into a pattern, I like to just follow the directions, which means I can forget extra things I plan to do if I don’t write myself notes. And in the end? The pants were slightly loose on him. Dang it! It turns out I should have listened to him in the first place and gone with his original size, even though his measurements put him in a slightly larger size. On the up side, he always wears a belt, and he is a very grateful gift recipient because he knows how much time and work go into anything I make for him.

A Long Overdue Gift:  Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Duck Canvas

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A Long Overdue Gift:  Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Duck Canvas

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A Long Overdue Gift:  Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Duck Canvas

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A Long Overdue Gift:  Thread Theory Jutland Pants in Duck Canvas

Despite all these minor missteps, the pants actually fit pretty well, and he has worn them a ton. They are definitely sturdy. I was afraid they might be too stiff, but he really likes them and thinks the fabric is great, with the exception that some white marks have mysteriously appeared with wearing and washing. I think it adds to the weathered look, myself.

Personally, I find sewing for other people a bit nerve-wracking. When I make something for myself, I decide which mistakes I can live with and which I want to fix. When I sew for others, it feels like I need to take things up a notch, fix more of the mistakes, and aim a little closer to perfect. The truth is, I have the skills to make a garment look good even when it’s not perfect, but you know how it is–you want that gift to be extra special–your best work. While I still prefer to mostly sew (and knit) for myself, I am beginning to see the joy in making something that’s “just right” for someone you really care about. So, while these pants didn’t turn out as close to perfect as I would have liked, they are still really great pants, and my husband has already worn them a lot. All in all–worth it. 🙂

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Simplicity 2156 Girls’ Leggings in Double Brushed Polyester

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Simplicity 2156 Girls’ Leggings in Double Brushed Polyester

Need some basic leggings for a kid or tween in your life? I’ve got you! Today’s post is a look back at some Christmas sewing I did for one of my kids, and it involves leggings. Actually, it’s only leggings!

In this case, I made two pairs. They are a great thing to sew for others because of the forgiving fit or for yourself as a palette-cleanser since they are quick and easy if you go for a basic pattern. And Simplicity 2156, View A contains your basic girls’ leggings pattern.

Simplicity 2156 Girls' Leggings in Double Brushed Polyester
Simplicity 2156 Girls' Leggings in Double Brushed Polyester

The fabric I used came from online retailer Cali Fabrics. I went looking for some double brushed polyester knit for a pattern I wanted to try since I knew they carried this substrate, and I had my daughter look through and pick out a few she liked as well. Double brushed polyester is a stretchy, thin, soft fabric, like what you would find in super soft ready-to-wear (RTW) leggings or other garments. It’s quite easy to find these days in lots of solids and prints, and it’s often fairly inexpensive.

I had questions about whether or not the fabric would be opaque enough to actually wear as leggings, but I figured they could always work as footless tights if they ended up on the see-through side of things.

I ordered some fabric in “lavender” as well as a “midnight galaxy” print. The lavender was slightly stretchier, but both have lots of good stretch and recovery to them as each is polyester blended with spandex.

Simplicity 2156 Girls' Leggings in Double Brushed Polyester
Lavender leggings. The color is a bit more purple in real life.
Simplicity 2156 Girls' Leggings in Double Brushed Polyester
Midnight galaxy leggings. You have to watch the print placement a little bit with this one.

The pattern itself was straightforward and easy to follow. The only real fit question I had was about the rise. If you are making this for a child who loves a high rise, these are great. My daughter prefers to wear her waistbands a little lower, so next time, I would take two inches out of the rise. I had had my doubts about it, but just wasn’t sure if I wanted to lower it or not. I made the galaxy print leggings first, and then compared them to some leggings she already owned, and quickly saw that the ones I had made had a much higher rise.

Simplicity 2156 Girls' Leggings in Double Brushed Polyester

I folded out two inches just under the waistband, and used my serger to trim the fabric and sew a seam there, shortening the top of the leggings but preserving the waistband I had just created.

Simplicity 2156 Girls' Leggings in Double Brushed Polyester
Simplicity 2156 Girls' Leggings in Double Brushed Polyester

For the purple pair, I cut two inches off the top before sewing in the elastic for the waistband.

Simplicity 2156 Girls' Leggings in Double Brushed Polyester

Also, unlike in the directions, which have you make a casing and insert elastic, I used my sewing machine to zigzag the elastic to the top of the leggings, leaving a bit of fabric above, then I folded them over and zigzagged over the edge of the fabric.

Simplicity 2156 Girls' Leggings in Double Brushed Polyester
Simplicity 2156 Girls' Leggings in Double Brushed Polyester

I found this faster and easier, and now the elastic will never twist. I also used a zigzag for the hems, and used my serger for other parts of construction. And last but not least, I sewed some little tags into the back of the leggings.

Simplicity 2156 Girls' Leggings in Double Brushed Polyester
Simplicity 2156 Girls' Leggings in Double Brushed Polyester

In case you are curious, when sewing on the sewing machine, I used a zigzag with a 6.5 width, and 0.5 length, a heavier presser foot pressure (three on my machine), a walking foot, and used all purpose polyester thread in my needle and woolly nylon in my bobbin. The fabric tunneled a bit and was wavy when unworn, but the thread didn’t break when stretched and the waviness disappears when worn. Now that I have grown slightly more patient than I used to be, I always do little tests on my scraps before sewing knits in order to get a stitch that will do what I want it to and won’t break when stretched.

Happily, these fit, although slightly loosely in the legs, which I am ok with, since that means there is some growing room. They turned out to be opaque and wearable as leggings, which was great. And my daughter liked them and has worn them several times. Yay! This proved to be an easy project with lots of wearability.

Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

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Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

I’m back with a few more Twig + Tale leaf blankets from the Tropical Leaf Collection–this time Monstera Leaf blankets!

Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets
Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

Previously, I made the large: Fan Leaf, Elephant Ear Leaf, and Banana Leaf child size blankets for other people from this collection, but I have had my eye on the large Monstera Leaf blanket for me!

Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

Instead of making just one for myself, I made one for me and one for a friend. Since I now have a beloved monstera plant of my own adorning my sewing space, I thought I needed a similarly cool blanket.

Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

I looked through my stash for likely fabric candidates and came up with some good finds! For me, I chose a heavyweight golden twill, originally from Fabric Mart, that I used in this duffle bag project and, to go with it, an olive green blanket remnant given to me long before I started sewing seriously.

Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

For my friend’s blanket, I chose a lighter weight ivory twill (also from Fabric Mart), originally destined for the aforementioned duffle bag, but not used, and a lightweight olive twill first used for these pants.

Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

Maybe the ivory isn’t so practical if this blanket gets spread on the ground, but it looked so good with the olive twill, that I had to go for it. And it felt great to put those awesome fabrics that had been languishing in my stash to good use. I was also able to use the rest of the package of cotton batting I had gotten for those first three leaves. I just had to piece it a little on my friend’s leaf. To do that, I simply overlapped my scraps and sewed with a zigzag stitch. Then I trimmed the pieces to the sewing lines. I think I did this before cutting the leaf out so I wouldn’t accidentally make it smaller when I sewed my scraps together.

Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

Five large leaf blankets from one full size package of batting is pretty good! In case you’re curious, this is the batting I have been using, bought on sale at Joann Fabric.

Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

I made my blanket first. I like to layer my fabrics just as I want to sew them (two main fabrics right sides together and the batting on top or underneath) and then cut out everything at once. This can be a little tricky if you have barely enough fabric, so it’s best to go slow and double check yourself. It was definitely harder to maneuver the thicker fabrics I chose than it is to sew these blankets in thinner fabrics, but I tried to be patient and I got the job done. There were a few points where I didn’t have my layers quite perfect and I think I sewed a bit too close to the edge and got some fraying when I turned the blanket to the right side, but I can live with that.

Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

I think this blanket shape is slightly harder to sew than the other three I have done, although it’s still definitely something you can do, even if you don’t have much experience–just don’t rush it, and make sure you follow the directions on clipping your seams and whatnot. The instructions that come with this collection are excellent.

Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets
Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

The second blanket (olive and ivory) with thinner fabric was much easier to manipulate, and since I was back in the groove, it went faster.

Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets
Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

This is one of those addictive projects where you tell yourself you’ll do just one step more, and then one more, and one more until you find you are finished. It’s so hard to stop once you start! And there’s no fitting, unlike clothing! 😀 I was not as careful with clipping my internal curves on this blanket, so I got a few puckers when I turned it out to the right side, but oh well.

Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

Lesson learned for next time (hopefully, haha).

On both blankets, I drew my quilting lines freehand with chalk by looking at the pattern. That has worked well for me–it’s nice to know the drawing classes I took in college are being put to good use. 😉 Once the blankets have been quilted, I throw them in the wash to remove the chalk marks, and they are done! No matter what little areas I feel I haven’t done quite right, when these blankets come out of the wash, they always look so great! And these monsteras were no exception. I LOVE how they turned out! The shape is so cool and the quilting looks amazing and really brings the blankets to life. I am SO happy with them.

Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

So, what do you use one of these blankets for if you, like me, want to make one but are not child size yourself? Since I usually sleep with a fan on, I have used mine to cover my shoulders as that is a part of me that gets cold sometimes; plus, the blanket looks awesome on our bed. I suspect my friend may occasionally use hers to sit on outside as she is a huge nature-lover and spends lots of time outdoors. I noticed that this shape, without batting, would make a pretty cool tablecloth, although it doesn’t fully cover our table, so it would be more decorative. These also make nice baby blankets, floor coverings, and towel substitutes (for sitting on rather than drying off, although I guess your fabric choice would dictate that).

Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

Even though there is a part of me that also wants to make the Paw Paw leaf and the Lily Pad blanket so I can say I’ve made them all in at least one size, I did get the North American Leaf Blanket Collection (both child and doll sizes) for Christmas, so it’s more likely that I’ll make one of those into a baby blanket for a friend. That Maple Leaf blanket would be perfect. And someday I’d like to make some of the doll size blankets for home decor or gifts. I’m so glad I tried this pattern. I can’t say enough good things about it–it’s just so much fun. I hope you try it if you are looking for something like this.

Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

Quick and Easy Baby Gift: Rae’s Basic Baby Pant

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Quick and Easy Baby Gift:  Rae’s Basic Baby Pant

Today I have something a little different for you.  Baby pants!

Quick and Easy Baby Gift:  Rae's Basic Baby Pant

One of my best friends is having a baby soon, and I wanted to make something special for her soon-to-arrive little boy.  I had just finished the coziest pajama pants for myself (yet to be blogged), and I had some leftover fabric.  It was perfect for some soft and cozy pants for a tiny baby.

Quick and Easy Baby Gift:  Rae's Basic Baby Pant

A little search on the internet led me to this free pattern:  Rae’s Basic Baby Pant from Made by Rae.  It comes in a roomy newborn size, so I decided that I would make a few from any cute boy flannel I had, and would buy some little newborn onesies to go along with them.

I found two pieces of flannel in my stash:  the Cloud9 organic flannel I mentioned from Pintuck & Purl designed by Eloise Renouf and a faux bois flannel from Joann Fabrics.  Both are from several years ago, so the fabric isn’t around anymore (unless Joann’s has reprinted).  They are favorite prints of mine that I have been saving for just the right projects.

The pattern itself was really quick and easy to sew.  I changed a few things from the printed directions, but not many.  I used French seams, since I didn’t want any fraying on the inside that could wrap around little baby toes.

Quick and Easy Baby Gift:  Rae's Basic Baby Pant

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Quick and Easy Baby Gift:  Rae's Basic Baby Pant

Then I basted the side seam allowances down where the elastic casing would be at the waist to make it easier to thread the elastic through.  Finally, I hemmed the bottoms by pressing up 1/4″ to the wrong side, and then pressing up that much again to the wrong side, enclosing the raw edge.

Quick and Easy Baby Gift:  Rae's Basic Baby Pant

If you follow the tutorial on Rae’s blog, she tells you to hem the bottom (it’s just missing from the PDF instructions) and includes lots of pictures for all the steps.  She talks about sizing, noting that these are roomy enough for babies wearing cloth diapers, and goes over ways you can adapt the pattern for slightly older babies.

This was a really quick, easy, and satisfying sew.  I haven’t been inspired to sew baby gifts much in recent years, but I think this might be my go-to sewing project for baby gifts for a little while.  The cuteness is real!  😉

Quick and Easy Baby Gift:  Rae's Basic Baby Pant

Before I go, I have a question for any other bloggers out there.  Where do you store your pictures?  This blog is a free WordPress blog, and I ran out of picture space long ago. I’ve been storing my photos on Flickr because you could have a free account with unlimited space.  However Flickr has been sold, and in order for me to keep using Flickr (and not have half my photos deleted), I need to pay a yearly fee.  With the exception of about four people, the only people who save my Flickr photos or follow or message me on Flickr are definitely not people in the sewing community.  Let’s just say I’ve had to block a lot of sketchy accounts.  If I could keep my photos private and still have them show up on the blog, I would.  Because I don’t make money with this blog, I’d prefer not to pay to keep it going.  Is there some other obvious way to store photos?  What do you do?  Do you pay or not?  I will if I have to, but if I can keep blog production free, that would be great.  Thanks for any help you can give!

DIY Baby Gifts

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DIY Baby Gifts

I’m at a point in life where a lot of friends and family members are having babies.  Maybe you are there, too?  I often like to make gifts for the new baby, and I keep a three-ring binder filled with DIY projects that I’ve found, so I have a resource when I need an idea.  Most of these are from the web, so I thought I’d share some links to interesting and favorite projects with you.  I’ve tried some of these out, and some are ones I’d like to try.  Here they are:

1.  Chibi Kitty and Rabbit by My Little Mochi

This one is fun to make and super cute.  She links you to her free pattern.

DIY Baby Gifts

2Felt Baby Shoes by Martha Stewart

These are also fun to make and a great way to use up felted sweaters.

3.  Do you have some parents-to-be who love Converse All Stars?  Then this one is for them.  I saw a picture in The Improper Bostonian of some Converse All Stars embroidered with a wedding message.  This is easy to adapt for new parents.  Be on the lookout for some little Converse shoes and, once the baby is born, embroider his or her name and date of birth on the side.

Now we’re into some projects I’ve never tried, but that look really cool.

4.  What about an Electrified Fox Lamp?  It’s pretty darn cute and comes with a free pattern.  I kind of have a thing for foxes (Remember Halloween?), but you can do this with any stuffed animal.

5.  Here is a quick and easy, modern-looking baby quilt.  I’ve yet to try this, but it looks fast and simple, which is about my speed for baby projects.

6.  Collapsible Storage Baskets by sew4home.  Everyone nursery needs storage.  These use recycled cardboard to keep them stiff, but also fold down for when you don’t need them.

7.  Finally, for you knitters out there, I love the book Weekend Knitting by Melanie Falick.  It’s been out enough years now that you should be able to find it at the library.  She has several cute projects for kids, but one of my favorites is Curly Toed Elf Slippers.  These may be more for older kids or for when the baby gets older, but they are so darn cute, I had to include them.

DIY Baby Gifts

I’m writing up tutorials for you on some of my most basic, but also most loved baby gifts, so you’ll see those over the next month or two.  Until then, I hope this gives you some new ideas if you find yourself in need of a baby gift.