Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Taco Style: Madras Summer Romper

I just love rompers on toddlers in the summer! It's the perfect thing - cool, easy, cute and no matching required.

This one is Butterick 5625 view A, sewn up in a cotton madras plaid.

It's just about the easiest pattern you could sew for a toddler. One change I made to the pattern was adding a little length, which turned out to be a mistake. It would have been long enough as is.  Also, I didn't use snap tape for the crotch. Instead, I brought it over to Star Snaps in the NY Garment District, which is just a hop and a skip from my office, and had them install snaps for just a few dollars.

Red buttons and stitching

The only tricky part of sewing this romper is trying to under stitch the facing as far as you can around the curves. My under stitching is pretty messy in parts.

I sewed this romper in a "Kaufman Plaid Patchwork" cotton madras-style fabric from The seams of the patchwork made for a bit of extra bulk at the neckline, armscyes and hems. But the fabric is super soft, which is perfect for a tot. Madras is such a casual fabric that I didn't try to do anything more than the most basic matching of the horizontal lines and trust that the mixed plaid would just look cute any which way it came out on the center front and back seams.

There really isn't anything else to say about this quick and cute sew, other than that I would sew it again, just a bit shorter, at least half a dozen times if summer were longer. I can't believe that September arrives tomorrow.

So, here is Taco, wearing his romper at Touch a Truck Day, a benefit to support our local library. It was HOT out; good thing rompers are cool.

He liked the back of the Fire Engine

On a WWII Mechanical Mule vehicle

Steps leading to a Lackawanna railway car

Taking a break from the sun

On the treads of a mini excavator

Post office truck - yes, that blue treasure in his hand is a chip clip. Don't ask. 

Fire engine again

And again

We've had enough!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Taco Style: The Boxtop

This spring, that rebel of men's fashion, Peter of MPB fame, introduced American men to the part-boxers, part-dress shirt sensation, the Boxtop. That fashionable and fun one piece outfit taking the Riviera by storm has been a bit slow to capture the imagination of the adult American male audience. The toddler set, however, has embraced this style since, well, it's basically what they wear anyway.

So, here is Taco sporting his boxtop at a recent family function at a beach-front restaurant on the Irish Riviera.

My poor little guy. This was at the height of the recent heat wave in NY, and there was a very inviting looking jungle gym right in the sand outside the windows. Taco was longing to be outside, but it was just too hot.

It was impossible to get pictures of Taco toddling around in the outfit, unfortunately. Toddlers don't make the best models. With so many people at the even, my tiny guy just wanted to be held. But I hope you get the idea.

Anyway, the pattern is KwikSew 3730. I sewed view B, minus the trim and pockets, which I thought this cute whale embroidered seersucker didn't need.

The pattern is terrific, with clear instructions, simple methods and really great results. Toddler and baby clothing has a very short lifespan given how fast little people grow. So, I kept everything very simple and easy with this make, using my serger for most of the seams. I even outsourced a bit; I had the crotch snaps set at Star Snaps and the button holes made at Jonathan Embroidery.

 As always, the romper was rather wide on my skinny little boy. I probably could have gone down a size, but I was needlessly worried about the length thru the crotch. So I took the side seams in about 1/2" tapering to about 1/4" on the sleeves.

If it was earlier in the summer, I would probably make three more of these cute romers, but since my mind is already turning to Autumn sewing, I could more realistically see myself sewing the shirt version of this.

And just because I find him so adorable, here are a few more Taco shots.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Elizabeth Taylor + Scarlet O'Hara + Grandma's Curtains

I'm usually not one to chase a trend, but I found myself looking longingly at all the off-the-shoulder tops floating around the streets of NY this summer, especially as the temperature soared. I had to have one. STAT!

I can't help but feel like the result is what would happen if Elizabeth Taylor circa her caftan phase and Scarlet O'Hara decided to get crafty together in my grandma's kitchen. I love the results, but doesn't this cotton eyelet remind you just a little bit of grandma-esque kitchen curtains?

There are a number of tutorials for DIY off-the-shoulder dresses around the blogosphere at the moment. I consulted two that are virtually identical - here and here. The only real change I made was, obviously, to shorten from a dress to a top. I didn't have a lot of fabric, so I had to settle for a minimally gathered top (1.5 gather ratio). I'd make it a bit fuller next time.

I find that there's always a caveat with quick and easy DIY makes. The caveat with this style of top is that it doesn't always stay put when you move your arms. I often find that I'm wearing it Flashdance style, which is fine with me.

I spy Taco playing in the yard...

And really how much can I complain about a top that that I didn't even have to hem? All in all, this top was ready to be worn with a heat-wave hairdo and a bit of red lipstick in about ninety minutes flat.


Oh, and thanks to the heatwave, I am excruciatingly behind on photographing finished projects. I've been ridiculously productive this summer and currently have 6 unblogged finished garments (1 trousers, 1 maxi dress, 2 tank tops and 2 rompers). Plus, I owe you a post about my lady tux. I haven't forgotten; I just wither in this heat. Stay tuned because cooler days and more posts are ahead.