24 Oct 2014

On Making A Rain Jacket from A Table Cloth

Five and Ten Raincoat at Our Family Four 6Five and Ten Raincoat at Our Family Four 9
When I sawFive and Ten Designs Volume 2 was all about jackets, I was so excited.
 I have been on a bit of a jacket-making kick lately.  I made four other jackets for my kids in the past three months: a 3/4 sleeve swing coat and a spring bomber jacket for Hannah, and a lightweight zip up and knight hoodie for Jayce.  But there is a major void in my kids' outerwear, and the need for it in London is no joke.  
They need rain gear.
I decided to sew up Look 1, a classic rain jacket by Delia, and I loooove it.
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There are two great things that you need to know about this jacket.  
First, the construction is very straightforward.  The instructions are clear, the photos leading you through the process are detailed, and you end up with a quality looking garment, inside and out.
Second, the fabric for this jacket? It's a table cloth.  
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A few thoughts on making a rain jacket from table cloth material.
It is not the easiest thing in the world, but it is not the hardest.  I don't know if I would say that I recommend it, but I wouldn't discourage someone from doing it if they really wanted to. 
For me, I wasn't in love with my rain gear fabric options, and when I saw this it made my heart go pitter patter.  And it was only three pounds for a meter.  Three pounds!!
Five and Ten Raincoat at Our Family Four 10Five and Ten Raincoat at Our Family Four 17
Wrestling with it/ sewing with it was not always easy.  Around the curves of the armscye I had to remind myself that sewing is a hobby that I do for fun.  When I was trying to topstitch the hood, I pretended like I was on Project Runway in the "Unconventional Challenge" episode to make myself push through.  Except that we all know that the judges hate when people use things that are fabric-like for the unconventional challenge, and table cloth certainly would have fallen into that category.  Oh well.   
I love it so much.
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If you decide to follow in my footsteps with a beautiful yet semi-cooperative fabric such as this, I have a few suggestions.  
First, tape and wonder clips can work wonders (ha!) in place of pins, and a leather needle is your friend.  Second, in sewing this, it helps to take on the mentality of a boxer: go in, throw your punches, then retreat to your corner for a break and to re-hydrate.  Third, just do it.  Sewing wouldn't be fun if it wasn't also some chance-taking every time.
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A few thoughts on Five and Ten Designs Volume Two e-book.
One excellent thing about this set is that you get one pattern block, five different designers, and ten different ways to construct that pattern to get ten different outcomes.  As you read through it you will feel like your mind is a whirring slot machine - so may options to choose from, so many different combinations, you will be planning out multiple garments, I guarantee it.  
However, the pattern block is very basic because it will be modified, so be sure to read the instructions that each designer has listed with their pattern because they tell you how to use that pattern for their design.  Don't just cut out the pattern block as it's printed and try to just wing it, (which I'm sometimes guilty of) because it is a little different each time.  For this design, I cut out the pattern in the outer fabric, then cut out the pattern with the inner fabric and then modified it because it was the lining and should be smaller, and then accidentally cut out the facings with the original pattern piece instead of the lining piece as instructed.  (Insert forehead in hand.)  Luckily it was no big deal, I just re-cut the facings in the right size and I still had plenty of fabric to do so, but now I know for my next jacket.
I guess what I am saying is, pay attention to the pattern when you are cutting out your pattern pieces. :)  Also, I printed out the instructions for just for Look 1 so that I could make little notes to myself as I went along, and I will do that with the other looks I make as well. 
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Another thing I loved about this pattern set?  The pieces all fit together PERFECTLY.  The bodice back and front matched exactly, the hood centered easily, the plackets were perfect, the sleeve pieces matched up with the bodice just right.  This is not always the case with patterns and I just love when it happens. :)  
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The fit is perfect on Hannah.  It is exactly how I want a rain jacket to fit: A little loose but not huge, slightly long sleeves but she still has use of her hands, a good sized hood that she can still see out from underneath of.  I kicked out the bottom hem a few inches to give it a slight A-line shape, and only used two buttons instead of the recommended four-five because once the material was secured at the top it didn't really move a lot, and I never take on button holes unnecessarily. :)
I have two more coats planned from this volume, so stay tuned. The other two won't be rain jackets or made from table cloth, I promise.
At least I know the coat will clean off easily, right?! :)  Unless she gets chili on it, that is.  We all know that chili always stains your table cloth...
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**I was provided with the Five and Ten book with no strings attached, but just had to try it out and share because I loved it so much.**

22 Oct 2014

Two Wides Make a Right

Olivia Top and Hosh Pants at Our Family Four 1
My friends, I am very sorry that it has finally turned off cold in the mid-west.  But for some odd reason, it is still relatively warm here in London.  Don't kill me for saying so, because it will probably still be chilly here when you are wearing your spring clothes. (I'm thinking of last year when it snowed while we were doing our Easter Egg hunt.)  I know that the days of thick sweaters and and wolly hats are ahead of us, but while we are enjoying the last few gusts of warmish autumn air, I had to get Hannah into this all-wide ensemble.
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I'm not sure why she decided to plop right down, but we went with it.  What other options are there for sassy 3 year olds who are being photographed?
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Anyway, the top is the Olivia Top by Cali Faye, who you might remember I am a huge fan of.  I think I have a dozen of her patterns, literally.
Olivia Top at Our Family Four 1
The only modification that I made to the top were the straps, where I added a little sweet cotton lace detail across the shoulder between the straps.
Olivia Top at Our Family Four 2
The pattern guides you to choose your child's size based on their chest measurement, which I did.  But it turns out that though Hannah has a tiny bodice, she is tall for that size and I was worried that this top would be too short on her in a few months.  I have big plans to keep it on her through the fall underneath cardigans, so I added the lace at the top to drop it down a little bit and give her a little more length.  The next one that I make I will simply add a good 3-4 inches to the hem and call it a day.  I love that the elastic around the bodice lets this top grow with your child, so I'm trying to take advantage of that any way that I can.  There is nothing that bums me out like packing up outgrown hand mades, so I'll avoid that as long as I can. :)
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Next up are the Hosh Pants, by Lou Bee Clothing, a designer whom I have made three different versions of each of the patterns of hers that I own.  The Hosh Pants is an excellent staple pattern as is, BUT has recently gained a cool-cat makeover and is about to be re-released very soon.  It has new options, including one for wide legs and a yoga band style waist, which is what I sewed up.
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First off, it's comfy.  Soooo comfy.  The main part of Hannah's pants are sewn up with the same charcoal gray knit that I used to make my Syrah Skirt, so I can attest to the wearability and comfort factor.  That yoga band is perfect for supporting but not digging into that round post-toddler belly that we love so much around here.  Plus, you're pants are obviously comfy if you keep plopping down on the ground in them, sweatpants style, right? 
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(I will miss the "smile while saying cheese" face when it goes.)
Second, I just cannot resist the "wide-leg pants on a small child" cuteness factor.  While I was sewing these up I realized that they had a little bit of a mini-executive look to them, so instead of downplaying that that I decided to just go with it, and added wide cuffs to the bottom and pressed a big pleat down the middle.  It still looks girly with her flowy top and sandals, and so long as I don't pair it with a little briefcase I think it is perfect.  
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Hannah agrees. Particularly when she's not being blinded by the sun. 
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Linking this bad boy up over at Kids Clothes Week.  Two more still to come this week.  Hopefully.  Fingers crossed that the latter part of the week is productive.

21 Oct 2014

Floral Color-Blocked Syrah Skirt for Perfect Pattern Parcel #6

Syrah Skirt at Our Family Four 7Well folks, it's about that time again.  Perfect Pattern Parcel time.
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You already know that I love this company.  A collection of fantastic patterns at a discount, YOU CHOOSE the price, all proceeds go to charity.  Money saver, wardrobe filler, do good-er.  Check, check and check.  I have sewed previous parcels for myselffor Jayce, and for Hannah, and now it's back to me again. :)  You can only get this collection for a limited time, so get it now, here.

16 Oct 2014

The Robin Hood Marathon

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A few weeks ago we all went to Nottingham for a long weekend so that Chris and Chelsea could run the Robin Hood Marathon there on Sunday morning.  We kicked around a bit on Friday after we got in, visited Wayne Manor on Saturday (more on that later) and on Sunday the runners headed out for a long morning.

14 Oct 2014

Around Here: Chelsea, Masters Degree, and Moving

 If it seems like things have been particularly quiet around here again, they haven't.  That is, unless by "around here" you mean "on the computer," in which case they have.  I have had more problems with my hands, and working on the computer just doesn't really work for me at the moment.  If you were thinking yourself, "Why in the world are you typing this blog if you're having so many problems with your hands?"  The answer, thanks to my amazing and full of helpful info brother, is that I am currently using a Siri like device on my computer.
And it is awesome.  Awesome.
Trigger finger 2 2Trigger finger 3
 Anyway, the first and biggest change around our household in the last week is that our fifth family member moved back to the US.
 You might be wondering to yourself, "Sooooo, does that mean that Chelsea is finish with her masters degree?" And the answer to that is yes!  In fact, she killed it.

30 Sep 2014

They Get Sick

IMG 5419It has come to my attention since being a parent that kids often have a particular way that sickness manifests itself in each child.  Some kids are highly susceptible to tummy bugs, others  ear/sinus/chest infections, some it's croup, and many other horrible things to keep your kids on medicine and you up at night.

25 Sep 2014

Hooded Lace Sunki Dress for Perfect Pattern Parcel #5

I am so happy to be a part of Perfect Pattern Parcel's tour today and sharing my version of this bundle's Bonus Pattern.  I'm almost as happy as my little leaf-cruncher below.  
Hooden Sunki Dress at Our Family Four 2Hooden Sunki Dress at Our Family Four 5
This Sunki Dress is one of six patterns that are a part of Perfect Pattern Parcel's recent bundle.
Have you heard of Perfect Pattern Parcel?  I wrote about them when they had a women's bundle and I did some sewing for myself here, here, and here, and again earlier this month when I made some things for Jayce here and here, and now some autumn sewing for Hannah!

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