Ode to Joy

I love finding random child-eye view pictures on my camera.

Child-Eye View

I finally finished my linen Gemini, (a free pattern) just in time to enjoy it for summer. 100% linen is not that much fun to knit with – it has no give, and slips off the needles constantly, which was especially annoying when I was doing the sleeves on double-pointed needles.  It’s sort of like knitting with a piece of twine.  Since I’m never able to knit for more than a few minutes at a time due to constant interruptions, I was constantly putting it down and losing stitches and having to pick them up. I also wish I’d use a stretchier cast-off at the bottom.  It’s also very hard to get the gauge consistent when you’re knitting with something that has no give at all, although I’ve decided that lends it a “rustic” air.  Ultimately, I think the pain and suffering made me a better knitter, and I love the end result.  I will knit with linen again… some day!

Blocking the Gemini

I had a few trying moments this week. For one thing, leaving the house with two seems like a monumental task. Neither loves being on their back, which means that whoever is in the stroller is always crying, or considering it. Even a trip to the coffee shop three blocks away requires significant planning and several tours around the block until whoever’s in the stroller falls asleep. Once there, I have about 7 minutes to order and scarf it down before she wakes again. On the other hand, strapping one to my chest is super-easy as they both love it. So last night after a day of being house-bound, three children and I went for a long, lingering walk around the neighbourhood, Peter wearing his Parsley Pants.

I’m constantly on the hunt for a very easy, basic pant pattern. The Sandbox Pants Pattern is pretty good. And the Field Trip Cargo Pants are a big hit here, but highly involved. Japanese pattern books have some great easy pants patterns too. How do the Parsley Pants compare? Well, I do like the infinite number of options all of which are explained in some detail in the 55 (!!) page pattern. Also, the shape is quite a universally appealing one. I was surprised at how small they were. I cut out a size 6 for my not-quite-six year old, and they weren’t quite as flared as I expected. I also wrongly assumed that I’d have quite a big margin on the hem, given that P is of pretty average height, but there was zero room to spare. I’ll cut out a size up next time.

I opted for the knee patches in a fun Michael Miller print.  I cut out a slightly smaller size knee pad and left the edges raw as I thought that would be cute after a few washings.  I also did the flat front option, and French seams for extra sturdiness.  (Not sure if she covers French seams in the pattern – that was just me.)

Parsley Pants

And in between the insanity and stolen crafty moments, there are moments of joy. Cora started smiling. Not just a little smile too, but a big giant series of smiles. She’s about six weeks from her due date, so it was right on cue, but when you’ve been waiting four months for a real smile, it’s pretty dramatic. I could almost here that enormous swell of Ode to Joy playing in the background as she thought about it, and slowly, slowly built up to this enormous grin. (At about 5:06 in that link, though the whole scene is worth watching!)

Playground Pants

I usually shy away from the novelty print pants, but I couldn’t resist the idea of a pair of paints in these mousey print from Heather Ross, especially after I spied it in person at my lovely local fabric store, Spool of Thread. It’s from her Nursery Versery collection, which is quite adorable.

I mean, if you were two, wouldn’t you want a pair of pants with mousey fabric? You’d probably want them if you were five too, so rest assured P got a pair in a different colourway, though I didn’t get any pictures of his.

Because the kids’ clothing situation is a bit dire, so I chose a very quick and easy pattern from my Japanese children’s pattern book, Hand-made for Children, which I was able to whip up on a Saturday morning.

My one complaint is that the pants were shorter than I expected even though they should be bang on, given that the patterns are “sized” by height, and given that I cut a size that was a few centimetres taller than each child. I think they’re fine now, but I’d planned to leave a generous hem so I could take them down, and there is almost no hem at all. However, I like the overall shape of the pants, and so I will simply add a cuff once they start ankle creeping, and next time I make them, I’ll size up even more.

Playground Pants

Daddy Long Legs

Whoa, I can’t believe how long it’s been since I added anything to my Flickr sewing album. Work, moving, not feeling great – I have many excuses. But in the meantime, my kids pants are all ankle-length as they have undergone some major growth spurts!

And so I present, les Cargos Pants! (Does it sound better when I make it seem French?) I was so thrilled when the Oliver+S fall line included a real “boy” pattern… and then I was inspired by the girly floral cords featured on the blog. Love this pattern. Had to have it.

Oliver + S Cargo Pants

In case you can’t tell from his face, he does actually love these pants. And I made the top too using the raglan t-shirt pattern that goes with it. I made it in a slightly heavier material and added a little band at the bottom to make it more sweatshirt like. P chose the anchor fabric and he loves wearing them. Yikes – looking at this pictures makes me realise that even his socks are too small.

Cargo Pants!

I’ve got another pair on the go in a very dark chambray. The good thing about moving is it forced me to go through my fabric. I got rid of loads of scraps as they were taking over, and frankly I’m not a huge quilter, and I might as well accept that. Only the real gems, like the Heather Ross stuff scraps, got saved. I also rediscovered tons of gems hidden away in my fabric closet. Half got packed to the rental, and half got stored away until we move into our permanent house. I tried to store some of the good stuff, so when I open that box it will be a bit like Christmas.

KCWC Last Day – Sailor Pants

Last day of KCWC, and this is my last kids’ project for a bit – some sailor pants for P.


These are the Oliver+S Sailboat pants. I love this pants pattern and have made it a couple of times now. It was briefly out-of-print, but is now available digitally. There’s also a skirt option, which I haven’t made yet.

I did the pants with piping this time, and I found some nautical-themed buttons. The fabric is a fine-wale corduroy that’s been kicking around in my stash for a while. The waistband is a little folded over in the picture, but it’s not actually uneven when properly adjusted. I just didn’t notice it at the time.

Added: Thought I would add one teensy note about the piping since a friend asked about it on my Flickr page. In brief, I basted the piping to the right side of the pant piece before sewing on the facing to the facing. You line up the raw edge of the piping with the raw edge of the pants. I used a zipper foot to get as close to the cording as possible, and clipped into the piping seam allowance around the corners. It bends more easily than you’d think but lots of pins are very helpful! Then, when I attached the facing, I was able to sew over the basting line, essentially tracing the basting line. If this doesn’t make much sense, there’s a much more in-depth tutorial on piping here. I just used store bought piping but you can also really customise by making your own.

Pants for P

I have a bit of a Sew Weekly addiction. I love the seeing all the cool, beautiful, and sometimes very weird things people sew for themselves. And the pictures they take. But I always get annoyed on the posts where it talks about cost. They ask the contributors how much they spent, and so often people write “Free! It was all from my stash!” or “$2 on buttons, and $1 on a thrift store fabric.” Where is this thrift store silk coming from? Send me there! And I know those buttons, thread, needles, bobbins weren’t free, but they are often not factored into the price.

I’m pretty sure sewing does not save me money. In fact, I could get cute stuff at Superstore for the same cost (or less) than what the fabric costs. And sometimes the patterns alone cost $16 or $20, which is great if you make a bunch of the same item, and I often do. But it’s not a great price when you buy it and never get around to making it, which I also do. And then the cost of the machine, maintaining it, and all the little bits of equipment – needles, bobbins, new blades for the rotary cutter, maintenance for the serger etc. And the whole “stash” thing is such a fallacy – if it’s in your stash, you must have bought it at some point!

There has to be some other reason to sew – because you love the work, because it relaxes you, because you can customize things and make them unique. For me, well it’s just that I have fun with it. I’ve said it before, but sewing is my yoga. I can do it when the kids are napping; I can cut out patterns while watching Dexter with J (though he sometimes complains about the rustling.) And I like the creative outlet it gives me, particularly when working in an industry that is intellectual, but rarely creative.

Still, every now and then sewing does make me feel like a very thrifty and industrious soul. These are really simple little pants I made for P, at 3/4 length. I am imagining him running around on the beach in them. I was inspired by the pictures of the Huck Finn pants in Heather Ross’ Weekend Sewing Book but the pattern only goes to Size 2 so I just drafted up something similar. It wasn’t quite right, but I will fine tune it in the future. And the fabric? I made it from a $2 pillowcase! (I can hear you cheering right now!)

Pillowcase Pants

I made two pairs – the other pair I made from some fabric in my stash so FREE! (Just kidding – I’m sure it cost me $12 a metre at some point, though I didn’t use all of it, which could mean either wastage, or savings, depending on how you look at it.)

Two pairs of clamdiggers

No pattern, so that part was free I guess, except I got the idea from a book that cost me $15 or so. If I had taken it out from the library it would have been free though!

Oh and elastic and thread. Not sure how much those cost, but probably a couple of bucks? Plus amortized cost of sewing machine and serger repairs. Still, it was cheaper than my ‘inspiration’ pair from Jack and Janie. And don’t you dare tell me they’re not as cute!

Source: janieandjack.com via Hilary on Pinterest

Besides, goofy kid wearing something his mother made him? Priceless.


“Yoga” Pants

I am doing a ton of sewing for the kids right now. Didn’t do much in February thanks to a very busy period at work… I’ve got another busy week coming up as a trial resumes, so got to get it in now.

Every boy needs a pair of yoga pants. These are made from the Oliver + S Nature Walk pattern.

They are so cozy inside as the fabric is super-fluffy. I narrowed the pattern (a size 5) since P is so slender, but I don’t think I needed to do that. However, I kind of like the slim look.

P modelling his pants

P is going skiing today with his Dad, so these will come in handy.

Unfortunately, my serger started acting up again… I accidentally had to rethread it and now the tension seems wonky again, so clearly I am threading it wrong… but I’ve puzzled over it/the manual for ages and am still not sure what’s wrong, so it may need to go back to the store again. Boo.

When I look at this photo, he looks like such a little boy. Not a toddler anymore… a kid.

Big Bu** Baby Pants

When I was a kid, I was not allowed to say “butt.”  My parents, my dad especially, considered it vulgar.  Which is kind of funny because I heard many, many other words that most would consider a lot more vulgar than “butt”.  Probably it was more Angophile snobbery than anything else, but we Canadians must hold on to some traditions.  Still, my Dad was successful at cultivating some squeamishness around the word, so in our house “bum” is still the more polite way to say it!  So some may call this pattern the “big butt baby pants” but in our house it’s “big bum.”  The patterns are especially for cloth-diapered babies, who often have very large, fluffy bums due to the extra bulk of the diaper.

I used an Ikea velveeteen blanket I found on sale for $2.  There was enough fabric to make two pairs of pants, probably about 2 yards although I have quite a bit left over.  I didn’t realise it when I bought the blanket, but there was some embroidered detail on it.  Naturally I had to put that on M’s bum (must to J’s dismay).

P and M both got a pair of pants even though P is no longer “big-bummed” and hasn’t been for quite a while, except at night.  I just have a tendency to make things in twos.  P’s wearing them here.

I bought this pattern from Made By Rae – one of my favourite craft bloggers.  I didn’t really read the instructions, so I can’t comment on them – the pants were pretty straightforward if you’ve ever made pants before.  It was nice just to have them sized and ready-to-go, since I’ve had poor luck making patterns for pants in the past.

New Pants!

I’ve been doing a lot of sewing for M lately. You might think that’s just because she’s a girl, and sewing cute girl stuff is more fun, but really it’s not. Sewing pants is just as fun as sewing a dress. P just has so many clothes right now that I really can’t justify making him anything. I’m sure I will soon, but I need him to have a growth spurt first. Or maybe a change of seasons. If I had some sweatshirt fabric I’d make him a sweatshirt, but, well, I don’t.

Anyway, here are some pants I made for M. They are lined, and it was my first attempt at lining anything. I didn’t have a proper pattern for the pant legs, so I based it on another pair of pants she has, but sizing is still not my forte. They are a bit, um, snug. Her enormous cloth diaper bum doesn’t help either. Still, we will wrestle her in and out of them a few times, I’m sure!

I’m also working on a quilted baby sleep sack for her, which is coming along nicely. But I think my next project should be for P. Maybe this car house. It would definitely get a lot of use in this house!