Monday, August 26, 2013

Candy Stripe Button-Down: PASS

I swear, my son hasn't seen any James Bond movies yet. Does the act of shooting things innately inspire this pose? (Even when shooting a nonthreatening tool like this infrared thermometer checked out from the library?)

At last! Here is the completed pink-and-purple striped button-down shirt for my son (Burda magazine 9/2008 number 143). I think he's got at least a month before he outgrows it.

You might remember my failed first attempt and successful prototype from earlier posts. Too bad I let two months go between sewing sessions on this project. I made several embarrassing goofs (e.g. sewing the cuff ends together) and completely forgot how to attach the sleeve binding. Thankfully, I keep a well-stocked sewing reference library. After reading several sets of instructions, including the set I used last time, the ones in The Sewing Book by Ann Ladbury made sense.

There's still plenty of room for improvement. I need practice inserting sleeves, placing buttons, and using bias trim. But none of these shortfalls will stop my son from wearing the shirt. Unfortunately for me, I am sick to death of the picky details of shirt making and will probably forget all I've learned before I try it again. Maybe I'll take some notes and slip them in with the pattern.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Prototype Whiteboard Pouch: PASS

You know the start of the school year is almost here when your kid's teacher emails you about the sewing projects you volunteered to complete over the summer. One of these was designing and preparing kits so the students can sew felt pouches for their whiteboards. Having successfully made pillow cases, I knew I could handle this basic geometry and set out to make a prototype.

The whiteboard measures 9x12 inches. I cut a 10x26 strip of felt, folded it in half, whipstitched the sides, and added velcro closures. Almost too simple to post.

The interesting, challenging, and fun part was figuring out the best way to structure the project for 2nd and 3rd graders. After completing one half of the pouch, I enlisted the help of my son and led him through the steps. We came up with these key elements for the kit and instructions:
  1. Machine sew the Velcro beforehand.
  2. Use a sharp needle, not a blunt one.
  3. Kids should decorate the pouches before they sew them up.
  4. Kids might need to work in pairs to measure/mark a stitching line so the ruler doesn't move. A Frixion pen works for light colors. Chalk is better for dark colors.
  5. Tie a knot at the needle end of the embroidery floss (I usually just fold it over).
  6. An adult's help might be needed for threading needles, separating floss strands, and securing stitches.
These seem obvious. But since it's been 15 years since my days as an arts & crafts counselor, I'm out of practice anticipating the needs of kid crafters. Maybe I can get more experience on project day.

Embroidery by me and my son. Can you tell who did which? Me neither. My hand sewing skills are no more developed than a seven-year-old's.