Saturday, 14 November 2015

Looking smart: Ethan shirts, Classic Chinos and ten-minute ties

The Cubs needed some smart clothes to wear to a friend's baby's Christening, and here's what we ended up with!

I managed to complete 6 garments in the space of a week, which I'm pretty pleased with.  On Saturday I bought fabric, printed and traced patterns.  On Sunday I did cutting out.  Oh good grief, the cutting out.  It took for ever.  There are a lot of pieces involved in making a shirt- A LOT.  Some of them are crazy, complicated shapes (sleeve plackets, I'm talking about you!).  Fabric, interfacing.... then do it all again for a second shirt.  That meant I could do bits and pieces of sewing as the week went on.

The shirt pattern is the Ethan Shirt by Sis Boom patterns.  Despite having a lot of pieces, it sewed up surprisingly easily.  The only tricky bit was the sleeve plackets. I just couldn't get my head around the instructions, and ended up watching a few videos on YouTube to try to work out what was supposed to be going on.  In the end I had to cut the slits in a Y-shape instead of just a straight slit, which wasn't clear from the instructions, and everything was simple from then on.  They look so professional!

The pattern recommends using a washable glue stick (I used a Pritt Stick) to hold a lot of the folds in place, and it's a brilliant tip.   It definitely made it easier to make the shirt look really neat and tidy.

Little Cub's shirt is made from a fabric I found in Fabric World, Kingston.  The pattern said I'd need 1.5 yards, so I got a metre and a half and had over half of it left.  I used red buttons and red stitching throughout, which looks very effective since there is a lot of edgestitching and topstitching.

I was going to order some Star Wars fabric for Big Cub's shirt but I was sorting through my stash and found 1.5m of this fox fabric.  It was half price in the John Lewis sale over a year ago, and I thought it would be perfect for a smart shirt.  I'm not sure what fabric it is, actually- it's got more drape than a quilting cotton, though, so it has a lovely feel.  Big Cub got pale blue stitching and dark blue buttons.

I hemmed the bottoms of the shirts with bias tape, because it's easy and looks great.

The trousers are the Classic Chinos by Peekaboo Pattern Shop.  I had boys' trouser patterns already but wanted something smarter and this pattern looked perfect.  I wasn't disappointed- quick and easy to sew, and a perfect fit.  I sewed up sizes 3 and 6 for the cubs, who are just about to turn 3 and 6 respectively.  Usually when I make them trousers they are baggy around the waist, and way too long, but these fitted perfectly.  Hooray!  They are very cute, with a faux fly and teeny tiny belt loops which make them look like proper grown-up trousers.

The welt pockets were supposed to be cut from the main fabric, but I used leftover fabric from the shirts so it would peek through the welts and look super cute.  I've made 'proper' welt pockets before, but these are some sort of magical, cheating welts which take no time at all, and look great.  You could make double welts with this magical folding-over method, too- I will definitely try that some time.

Little Cub's trousers are made of a suiting fabric I had in my stash.  I know it came from myfabrics.co.uk but I can't remember exactly what it is.  I do know a) it frays like crazy and b) it feels so soft.  It has a very short, velvetty pile.  He calls them 'My softsoft trousers'.

Big Cub's trousers are made of navy blue cotton corduroy from Fabricland.  When you have two little boys, you can never have too much blue corduroy.  It's a fine wale cord- not baby cord but not much thicker.

The pocket welts are upside down.  I had already worked out that I would need to put the fabric upside down in order to make the pattern the right way up, but I forgot.  And once you've cut a welt, there's really no going back.  It's not too noticeable- otherwise I would've had to start over.

The ties were a last-minute addition.  I wanted to do them, but wasn't sure if I would have time.  I started them on Saturday evening at around 8pm and was finished within half an hour.  They are from a free pattern by Vanilla Joy, and they really finish off the outfits beautifully.  I made Big Cub's neck band from a piece of grosgrain ribbon, and Little Cub's from a piece of elastic- both with velcro sewn on to the ends.  The tutorial shows how to tie them but boy, did we struggle!  I couldn't work out how to get the short bit round to the back of the knot.  Long-suffering husband was drafted in to help, and he tied while I held the bands taut, which seemed to help make a nice knot shape.


So there you have it!  And here's Little Cub doing his 'can't you just be normal?' faces...