Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ahoy! Bubble pocket shorts

I sewed another pair of bubble pocket shorts. This pair is meant for my tomboy, so it shouldn't be too girly. She loves red and blue, so I upcycled an old pair of lightweight jeans, and used some red and blue striped fabric for the waistband facing. Together with the red piping and the drawstrings, this gives the shorts a nautical feel. I really like how they turned out. Let's hope that M does too. 

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Friday, May 24, 2013


  My niece turned five this week. She's a sparkly, energetic little girl who loves Pippi Longstockings. Like Pippi, she wears mismatching socks and sleeps upside down. And like Pippi, she has an unconventional style, layering her clothes and creating the most wonderful combinations. So I guess she will like the Pippi-worthy outfit I made for her: a colorful pinafore, bubble shorts and crazy leggings. 
The top is the Roly Poly pinafore from Imagine Gnats. I really liked the pattern. It's very easy to sew and the result is great. One side is made of colorful striped fabric with lines of stitches. The other side is made with rusty orange baby rib corduroy. Instead of the side pockets described by the pattern, I sewed two bold pockets on this side, just like Pippi has. Four differently colored buttons complete the look. Because the tunic is so colorful, it can be combined well with lots of different shirts, shorts and leggings.  

The shorts are the Bubble Pocket Shorts from Elegance and Elephants. I loved these shorts from the first time I saw them, and was glad to finally have the chance to sew a pair. The pattern is great. Like the pinafore, it's easy and rewarding to sew. 

For the waistband facing, I used some leftover fabric from the pinafore. Love this detail.

Then, the crazy leggings. Although the weather is actually still quite suitable for stockings, summer is supposed to arrive soon, and I figured that leggings would be more convenient then. The leggings are made from two t shirts and some pink scraps. They're completely crazy, but very Pippi-worthy. 

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

tutorial for a knight tunic

As promised, here's a tutorial for a knight's tunic. The tutorial is based on this Dutch tutorial from Eloleo. This tunic was made from an old pair of men's jeans. Of course, you can use any fabric you like, but if you're upcycling pants, you'll need a pair with wide legs, in order to have enough fabric. 

Your supplies

Needed for a tunic fitting a 5 to 6 year old:
-Tunic: a pair of adult size pants or jeans, or two pieces of sturdy fabric of 36 x 60 cm (14 x 24 inch)
-Piece of velcro of 5 cm
-Waistband: a strip of cotton of 72 x 9 cm (28 x 3.5 inch)
-150 cm (60 inch) gold, silver or satin ribbon
-Belt: a strip of colored cotton and a strip of the same fabric as used for the tunic, measuring 8 x 130 cm.
-Belt straps: 8 pieces of ribbon of 9 cm long
-Applique: small piece of cotton, fabric paint in various colors, freezer paper
-approx. 100 cm of bias band
Your supplies

Open the side seams of the pants with your seam ripper. Keep the double seam intact.
From each leg, cut a rectangle of 60 x 36 cm (24 x 14 inch), with the double seam as midpoint. Try to leave an 8 cm wide strip intact, which you can use for the belt.

Use your seam ripper to open up the seam of the front panel to create a 12 cm long placket. Reinforce the bottom of the placket with a narrow zig zag stitch. Finish the two sides of the placket with bias band.

Sew the tops of the front and back panel together, right sides facing. Finish the raw ends with a serger or zigzag stitch and topstitch the seam. 
Now, cut the neck opening. Make sure that it is wide enough to fit over your kid's head. My opening was 18 cm wide (total circumference 45 cm). Finish the neck opening with bias band.
Neck opening
Finish one of the sides of the front an back panel with the serger. If you don't have a serger, you can use a zigzag stitch or use bias band to finish the side. 
Next, with the front and back panel facing each other, sew the finished sides together from 30 cm from the top to 40 cm from the top of the tunic. Then, sew the strip of cotton to the front and back panels. The top of the strip should be 30 cm from the top of the tunic.

Sew the waistband

Sew a belt strap to both sides of the tunic, and three belt straps to the front and back, spacing them evenly.

Add the belt straps
Finish the waisband by covering the top and bottom seams with the fancy ribbon.

Finish the waistband with some shiny ribbon
Next, finish the other side of the tunic with the serger (or zigzag or bias). Sew one piece of velcro on the outside back piece, and the other on the backside of the front piece of the tunic.

Sew the velcro to the front and back pieces
Now finish the bottom of the tunic. I kept it raw, because I liked the look of unraveled jeans, but you can also finish it with the serger, zigzag or bias.

The bottom edge

Sew long ends of the strip of cotton and the strip of jeans fabric together, right sides facing. Turn, sew the short ends together and topstitch the belt. Use contrasting thread to create an extra effect (as shown in the belt of the grey tunic).

Topstitch the belt in contrasting color for a nice effect


Last but not least, create a fancy shield for your little knight. This may be the best part of the whole endeavor, because you can really get creative here.
I happened to have an old table cloth with gold thread woven in it, which lended itself perfectly for the job, but any fabric could work. You could also use one of the back pockets of the jeans, since they already have the right shape.
Use your kid's initials, his/her favorite animal, or find a design online (I googled 'castle shield' and 'dragon shield' to find my templates). I then painted the shield, using a freezer paper stencil and fabric paint.

Next, I ironed fusible interfacing to the bottom of the shield, cut it out and appliqued the shield to the tunic, using a narrow zigzag stitch along the edges.

The finished shield
Done. Your knight is ready to fight a dragon, or save a damsel in distress...