Thursday, May 28, 2015

Pirates we will be!

So, political and social commentary aside, pirate costumes are fun. The kids' spring music show had a pirate premise, and I asked them what they wanted to wear -- they both drew long coats... Coats befitting an admiral, or a captain, if you will, based on o+S School Days coat pattern. P's is a size 8 in royal blue poplin (flying monkey leftovers) with extra length and satin cuffs/placket added. K's should have been a size 5 or 6, but I was reaching and made a 7 out of gold and burgundy brocade with broadcloth accents... with a bit of flare in the front seam. I ended up taking big darts front and back to make it more tailored (and look less like a starlet's boudoir robe...) 

I determined that I would make them two items each. Seinfeld-esque puffy white pirate shirts will be left to cooler times (maybe Halloween?), can you imagine all that extra fabric on their chests? K's pants are Puppet Show shorts lengthened to below the knee, with elastic in the hems instead of bias binding. Her belt is a surprise star player from the Jedi/princess days, an oval with long ties made from stretchy pleather.

The hat is the top of the Bucket Hat, with a larger oval for the brim. I layered interfacing so that there would be a double thickness at the points of the tricorn, and toilet tissue rolls support the upturns. If I make another I'll make a fabric/interfacing sandwich; it just didn't seem worth the trouble for one day.

(Apparently when they got to school, face paint and an eye-patch happened to P, and K could no longer stomach the uncoordinatedness of her orange headscarf.)

Fabric from Vogue Fabrics/, fleece from, buttons and paisley trim from Daytona Trimming.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

plaid here!

... that was the actual caption on her drawing of her Easter dress.

She picked out this spring like plaid from my stash and drew what she wanted. Short and full lost out to longer and less so.

The o+S Fairytale dress has been my default for fitted bodices for her -- the armscye brought in a bit and the neckline made into a sabrina/ shallow boatneck for this one. Deep pink herringbone twill tape instead if a self-bow.

 though I sewed all night and finished it in time, Easter dawned with gloomy skies and enough chill in the air to need layers inside and out, so no good dress pictures that day. 

We waited for a bit of sun, bit still kind of cold to go sleeveless outside -- so these are by a sunny window (shy about smiling because she's missing a tooth on the bottom :D) 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

hotdog buns 2.0!

I seem to pick long holiday weekends to do my potato bun testing... this will be a short post, because it's just a tweak of the original. But I do have pictures!

Sourdough sweet potato hotdog buns that are vegan (dairy and egg-free), soft and have a bit of a protein boost. I incorporated some tweaks from last time: besan flour, which is ground-up beans, has 7 grams of protein per ounce, and a nice pale gold color; sweet potatoes, which aside from giving the dough color, provide a bit more moisture and sweetness; freshly-fed active sourdough starter and reduced amount of yeast; and white whole wheat flour and high-gluten flour.
The tweaked proportions:
Make Sponge: Mix together in a mixer bowl:

150 g. cooking water, 10 g. dry yeast, 100 g. besan flour, 100 g. white whole wheat flour.
Let sit at least an hour. Add:

300 g. high-gluten flour
100 g. white whole wheat flour
Mix just until incorporated, then let rest 20 minutes. Add:

365 g. active starter (6 hours after feeding)
365 g. mashed boiled sweet potato (two medium-sized potatoes)
60 g. kosher margarine
15 g. salt
50 g. dark brown sugar
Switch to the dough hook and mix 10 minutes on low speed. At first it will look too wet, but as the moisture distributes and the gluten develops, the dough will come together round the hook and clean itself off the bowl. If it doesn't after about 5 minutes, add a handful more of either white or whole wheat flour.
Once it's smooth and silky and passes the windowpane test, round it out and cooking spray the top or brush with margarine. Cover and let rise 2 hours, turn out and give two 3-folds, then let rise another 2 hours (or what I did: ferment 1 hour, 2 3-folds, then overnight in the fridge.)

We made mostly hot dog buns, 75 g. each, but also two burger buns (4 ounces/ 113 g. each) and two soft pretzels.

Let them rise, covered with a towel... 

it only took about 30 minutes -- they should just touch....

and into the oven. 

Bake at 360 until nicely golden.

Look how yummy and golden!!!

Nice and soft, but substantial enough to hold up against juicy burgers and condiments. The buns, minus two which we just had to sample, get to live in the freezer for hot lunches... yum!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Flying monkey jackets!!

For this year's full-length ballet, the dance company did The Wizard of Oz, and they asked if I could make jackets for the flying monkeys. Of course the answer was yes! At first I was searching for costumes or bellhop uniforms, but those were either too heavy, too expensive or needed to be altered to be practical to dance in.
So from scratch it is! They needed 21 costumes for various-sized girls. This is what I used to go off of: 

And this is what I made: 

plus hats, of course. 

I chose poplin for the fabric; unfortunately I couldn't get it in the grey-blue that would match, but royal blue looks pretty good I think. I found this in the NYC Garment District, at A&H. 
The raglan-sleeve jacket pattern was tricky... I had a hard time finding a pattern for tween/teen sizes that would work. Eventually I combined the Field Trip and Nature Walk patterns from Oliver + S to make a raglan-sleeved cropped jacket. The size 12 worked well enough for the 27 inch chest, but for the other sizes I graded the pattern pieces. I left the collar off because they were smearing makeup as they turned. For wings, craft foam worked well -- I drew 3 pairs onto each 12x18" sheet and cut them out.
For the red and white design, at first I thought I could just stencil it onto the poplin before constructing the jackets. I made some stencils from plastic, cut with an x-acto knife, and tried it.
Straight-on fabric paint (actually screenprinting ink from dickblick) didn't work because the blue showed through. I realized that i needed a white background to paint the red onto, then still applique that onto the blue main fabric. I found 60" poly-cotton broadcloth in white from Fabric Wholesale Direct (a great online store, I wish I'd found them before hauling 15 yards of heavy poplin on the train!) Back to the art store I went as well, to get a silkscreen and a consultation... the trial also showed me that I needed to mix two reds to get the color I wanted.

After measuring my stencils, I figured out that if cut into 14" widths, the 60" broadcloth could lay over my kitchen counter and fit 7 of the back design at a time.
After screenprinting the design on, I had nowhere else to let them dry so I hung the pieces on the wall; I didn't want red splotched walls so I taped them straddling corners.

I then ironed them to heat-set. I did the same for the sleeves and the hats.

For the front pieces, I decided to make a stencil that could do two at a time and just flip it for half of them... after I'd made quite a few ;D! I figured out an alternative way to heat-set is with a low oven for 10 minutes -- just watch the time or they melt :(
After the fabric strips were heat-set, I cut out the pieces with a generous white border. 
Pinning, pinning, lots of pinning. 

Using the edge of the presser foot as a guide, I stitched the appliques on with a wide satin stitch and black thread.

Then the jackets could be put together, with the wings sandwiched into the back seams.

Then just hems and they're done! Hats are the 9-12 month Bucket Hat (from Little Things to Sew, and from the o+S website, under free patterns) without the brim. 4" rolls of interfacing and grippy clips from toptrimming... (they don't have them on the website, but do in the store)! 

and here they are in action. 

whoohoo! one of my biggest sewing undertakings yet. And that was just the jackets. There was also 40 red poppy dresses that took 4-5 appliques each,

skirts for the Scarecrow, Tin (wo)man, and Lion, 

 14 Emerald City tutus with 6 appliques each,

and trims for Glinda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch. 

A good time was had by all... they even gave me a thank-you card and a show circle shoutout. Happy girl, looks like they have me roped in for the next 10 years!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

wool-blend plaid ftw....

Christmas clothes, with a country bent if you will.
I do love yarn-dyed plaid -- P chose this one from my stash for a shirt for the Christmas show, Christmas in the Country. He had two lines so of course I wanted to make sure he looked presentable...
Sketchbook  (Oliver + s), suspenders, and wool blend pants from the year before.
I'd fully planned to use another pattern for K's dress, but it was nearing dawn and my eyes fell on the Little Lisette pattern i'd gotten at a discount.  So rayon velvet in a great red, and just enough left of the wool blend plaid for a gathered skirt.... 
A little fancy stitching for the neckline instead of a pierrot collar and along the snap back, along with the belt from those long-ago costumes and her new jangly boots, and we have two "country" outfits that match.

Friday, November 7, 2014

now for the boy...

Abomasnow is not really the Abominable Snowman, but a Pokemon who is close enough to that. He looks like a large amount of snow on some green fir.

At least P didn't want a generic costume! and it was easy to make this nice and warm... I already had a fluffy/fuzzy knit, super-comfy and soft, that I had planned to make a cape with. But it was perfect for what was basically a tunic and pants. (I only realized we didn't take pix of the front when we were already in the car!)

I used the Nature Walk pullover and knit pants pattern from Oliver + S, just like last year's ninja pants, cutting the top using seam allowances for a woven so it would be suitably over-sized. 
Patches in green cotton for the tail, feet and arms, supplemented by foam triangles for hands and back fins. Also, white fluffy squares on the chest that I had him cut as he saw fit.

back view... tail can't really be to scale!

The principal said no masks, so that kiboshed my plans for a finned/upward fringed attachment to his glasses. All in all, a good time was had and P was satisfied with the accuracy (and comfort) of his costume.

(I still want to reinforce/stabilize that neckline for pajama wear tho.) Win for Team Mommy-made!