Thursday, June 10, 2010

the little project that could

alternative title: why do i think i can sew?

i never officially made a list of things i wanted to accomplish in the next few weeks (incredibly boring post you can reference here) but one of the many things floating through my crowded brain has been to make little mason some summer dresses and bloomers. no big deal, i have tons of cute fabric, and the best thing about little girl clothes is that they are projects that don't take up a lot of time.
insert laughter here.
i found a yard of really pretty fabric that had tiny red and yellow flowers on it- lovely. i grabbed an "easy" mccall's capri pant pattern. did the xl size, because i wanted mason to be able to wear them next year too, and cut away.
the pants were really easy to sew together. i mean, i had 4 cut pieces, and it was done. elastic in the waist, and grabbed my daughter to try them on.
and they came up to about her little bum crack. they weren't too tight, there just wasn't any more room in the crotch- they just stopped.
now, i have had this problem with pants more times than i care to admit. so, i did what i usually do (no, not scream and cry and tear my project apart- that's what i used to do) i improvised.
so i took out my elastic, seam ripped out my casing, and cut out about 3 inches of muslin to add to the top of the pants and give them more height.
if i were to call, lack of crotch room problem #1, here would be problem #2: i figured that since the muslin was the same on both sides, meaning in my head there was no wrong side, it didn't matter how i attached it to my fabric. so i sewed it on, pinned down my casing for the elastic.
it was at that moment, needle in the fabric ready to go, when i realized that my slight slip of the brain had made it so the right side of the bloomers was showing the exposed seam of where the muslin attached.
well here i am, already re-doing this bloomer project, and now, the casing is complete and i am what, going to rip out again?
nope. i sewed my casing and then flipped my bloomers over and ran a row of zig zag over the exposed edge (where the muslin and fabric met) tacking it down.
it looks raw and rad. and like i was too lazy to rip it out, especially when i realized- no one is going to see the tops of these bloomers.
ok- bloomers 1 done. sure, my waist measurement of the elastic was way to big, and has had to be readjusted 3 times. but they are cute.
so. in all my brilliance i decided that i must immediately tackle this bloomer project again, and outsmart the pattern.
in my first attempt they were to short in the waist and oddly long in the length, so when i cut out the next set of bloomers, i first added 3 inches to the top, and instead of the xl length, i did the medium length.
what a clever girl am i, right?
so, imagine my surprise when i complete the bloomers and go to start my casing that i realize somehow i have created the exact same problem. there was no crotch to these pants.
i was fairly annoyed. and sat staring at them, bewildered. so i decided, fine- i'll just add fabric to these and try this again (supervised). but then i thought- no. i won't learn if i keep "improvising".
so. argh. i took the bloomers completely apart. it wasn't so painful. i sat upstairs with the kids, watching them play (supervising the chaos) while i carefully plucked out seams.
then, took my fabric pieces back downstairs, and discovered my problem.
somehow when i was "following" the "easy pattern" i had somehow screwed it up and sewed my pants together upside down. the pant legs became my waist line, and the waist line- the legs.
and i am pretty confident (as all the pants i have made are to short in the crotch) i have been doing this on every pair of pants.
i tried countless times to re-read the pattern to follow it correctly. and just couldn't. i grabbed another "easy" pattern with a similar pant. nope. nowhere in the 3 steps could i figure out how on earth i had screwed up.
so, i grabbed the Little Stitches for Little One's (i think that's the title) and used amy butler's wonderful wordiness to my advantage. she had bloomer pants assembled in a different way, and i followed her instructions, and viola! bloomers that looked right!
this is an already long post, but i have to mention that both these bloomers were made to go with little dresses i had already made but that needed to be fixed, one was this christmas dress:
remember, i couldn't figure out how to do the elastic casing in the arms? hello wings.

and this pillowcase dress of mason's.
which has been changed now 3 times. the other two are here and here.

ok, i think that's enough talking about it- here's the final outlook, modeled by my beautiful daughter.
the bloomers are a bit long- and honestly, way to big in the waist, but i have already shortened the elastic.
the traditional ties of the pillowcase dress were impossible to keep tied and on her arms. so i cut them off and made simple straps with elastic thread.
can you tell (in these terrible photos) how much more straight legged these pants are? the dress is still a bit "wing-ed" but looks better.

the oddest thing about the 2 different bloomers is that i do like the style of the red and yellow floral ones. they look almost like pants. i think i may try and trace the pattern (upside down) and sew it together the correct way- so that i can make little pants for boys. the green daisy bloomers look a little girlie, but i do think that a little smaller and they'd make good shorts for henry or campbell.
we'll see, now i am off to try my luck at another project. i want to make each of the kids a little cinch bag, something new and special to fill with car toys and treats for our future road trip. 12 hours, 3 kids. yikes.