Finch Shorts & Top

Archive for Finch Shorts & Top

07 Jul 2012

Romper Room

9 Comments Finch Shorts & Top, In the Workroom

Have you seen the tutorial of our new Finch “variation” over at Imagine Gnats for Rachael’s Shorts on the Line series?  But enough of the Finch Romper…

This one turned 4 last week.  She’s a storyteller, a folk singer, an all around entertainer.  She’s also my cheerleader, giver of endless kisses and master of one-liners.  I tell her often, “You make me happy everyday.”  And she does.  

What’s with the fascinator, you ask? 

On an utter whim last summer, I signed up for an online craft class with Princess Lasertron. Yes, the Princess Lasertron.  I haven’t had many any opportunities to wear the fascinator, but Miss N found it right before we headed out for the photo shoot (read: it was lying on the table after I pilfered a matching button from it for the Romper cuff).  It was a perfect touch to the Romper, I thought.

She didn’t care much for the birdcage veil, but her sense of theatrics is still evolving, after all.

Happy Sewing!

~ Erin and Miss N

28 Apr 2012

A KCWC Project in Just the Nick of Time

5 Comments Finch Shorts & Top, Patterns

My blogging lately has been following the classic 80/20 rule: I’ve spent about 80% of my available time thinking about posting, but only about 20% of my time actually posting. Truth is, I tend to work my best when I am inspired or excited about a project and I almost let elsie marely’s Kids Clothing Week Challenge go unacknowledged here for lack of a project idea.

But I got the bug when I saw Cindy’s second Flutter Blouse, which you’ll recall was the pattern we created for Stitch Magazine’s Spring 2012 issue. The Blouse would be perfect for Nora’s summer wardrobe and would be one I could get excited about since I haven’t sewn it up since we finalized the design last August.

To get the real user experience, I downloaded the pattern from the Sew Daily website and followed the instructions provided in the Spring issue, which, incidentally, differed a bit in construction from how we drafted the original instructions. So, in a sense, this project had that “new to me” feel.

The paper pattern has to be pieced together from 9 sheets of 8.5×11″ paper printouts, carefully taped together. Though knowing better, I forgot to print out the pattern at full scale, so the first set I printed is  probably more appropriate for an American Girl doll–that could make for an interesting experiment, no?

I’ve used a lavender sateen for this blouse, which is light enough to gather easily, yet create fullness in the sleeves. I thought you’d appreciate seeing the blouse in a solid fabric so you can get a true sense of the blouse’s details. I haven’t found the right embellishment yet for the bottom hem, as shown in the magazine, but will keep my eye out for something special to add later. The front buttons are 1/2″ covered buttons and I used a 5/8″ shell button in the back at the keyhole opening.

Some Basting/Gathering Tips

The sleeves are gathered along the neckline using a long basting stitch. I thought this would be a good time to share some tips that I have learned to make basting and gathering even easier.

First, when I sew a stitch line for gathering, I like to backstitch a few stitches at the beginning of the stitch line and leave the thread long at the other end. Conventional wisdom tells you to leave the threads long at both ends. Maybe this is just something that happens to me, but I find that I often end up pulling out some stitches at the opposite end of the stitch line in the process and have to re-baste, often after the garment is assembled. Backstitching at one end of the basting line prevents this by locking those end stitches in place and giving you something to pull against, if that makes sense?

As you may be able to see above, my second trick for basting a gathering line of stitches is to use a contrasting thread in the bobbin. This makes it easy to identify the thread that I am supposed to pull on and is a great way to use up bobbin thread from past projects. 

Here’s a close up up of the gathering on this blouse–I pulled on the coral thread on the underside of the sleeve pieces until it matched the length of the facing piece. The contrasting color also helps me know which thread needs to be removed after stitching the gathers in place.

I paired the blouse with some wonderfully soft Finch shorts made with a gray chambray. Look closely, do you see what I changed in this pair?

The pleating around the bottom cuff are now gathers.  This is a super simple change:

- Omit the pleats along the bottom hem of each front and back pieces, and, instead baste a stitch line about 3/8″ along the bottom hemline, starting and stopping about 1/2″ from the out/inseam. Sew the front and back pieces together to form the basic shorts.

- When you attach the cuff, match the cuff at the two seams and pin at those matching points.

- Pull on the basting stitches to gather the hemline to match the length of the cuff between the pins. You’ll need to separately pull 4 sets of basting stitches. Adjust the gathers so they are evenly spaced along each leg and pin to the cuff at frequent intervals. Sew the cuff on as normal. Et voila.

Here’s a close up of just the shorts. So cute!

I hope you all got some sewing done for KCWC.

Happy Sewing!


15 Mar 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow?

3 Comments Chickadee Blouse & Skirt, Eider Tunic, Finch Shorts & Top, Raven Hoodie & Pants

We thought it would be fun to show some mix and match looks using our patterns from multiple seasons in spring colors.  It is so much fun approaching a project like this with a view to creating an entire wardrobe.  I think this shows off the versatility of individual pieces so fabulously.

We’ve already shown you this season’s Kestrel Coat, lined in the same fabric shown here for the Chickadee Blouse.

Of course we couldn’t leave well enough alone–the temptation was just too great to not throw in a few changes here and there.  Like the ruffle on the front of the Chickadee Skirt.   Or the short sleeves on the Eider Tunic, above (we kept the pintucks on the sleeves).  We also opted for a purchased belt to close the Tunic, rather than the cinched waist tie provided for in the pattern.

Or the fun, oversized cuffs on the Raven Pants (again, front pintucks intact)?

Lastly, for the Raven Hoodie–if you can still call it that since we dropped the hood just for fun–we used a contrasting thread color for a decorative touch, added a front pocket flap, sewed the waist ties into the side seams so that the ties could be tied off center (and allowing the front opening to overlap slightly) and left the outer edges exposed and frayed for, well, an edgier look (pun intended).


Happy Spring Sewing!


17 Nov 2011

Once Upon a Thread, What Big Eyes You Have

4 Comments Finch Shorts & Top, In the Workroom, Inspiration, Raven Hoodie & Pants

It is possible that my choice of Little Red Riding Raven Hoodie for Once Upon a Thread is a bit obvious, but with all of the recent renditions of Little Red Riding Hood popping up, I just could not help but give this little girl an update too, Clever Charlotte-style of course. (Click here if you missed Carla’s OUT look earlier this week)

So, here’s my modern inspiration:

[left] [middle] [right]

And here’s my finished look:

What sealed LRRH as my choice was a certain vintage curtain that I purchased 10+ years ago at the antiques fair in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The fabric is double faced with a red and white damask pattern. I’ve been looking for the perfect use for it since I found it, and I knew immediately that it would look great as our Raven Hoodie with faux fur trim. To complete the wintery look, I chose a heavy creamy velveteen to make a pair the Finch Shorts.

I made a few basic changes to the Raven and Finch patterns–nothing too tricky, honest.

First, I added the aforementioned fur trim to the hood of the Hoodie. To do this, I first sewed one long edge of the trim in between the main and lining layers. Once the Hoodie was turned to the right side, I turned the other long edge of the trim to the inside of the hood, tucked in the short ends and hand sewed everything to the lining layer to secure it in place.  This was the first time I have sewn with faux fur and, but for a short coughing fit caused by the small amounts of fur that floated into the air after cutting the material, it was remarkably easy to work with.

In lieu of the pattern’s waist ties, I used a satiny ribbon at the top of the front center opening to tie the neck closed–again, the ties were sewn sandwiched between the Hoodie’s two layers before flipping it to the right side.

For the Hoodie’s lining, I used the backside of the curtain fabric which had been woven in the reverse.  I had to get creative with my cutting as the curtain was badly faded in certain areas, presumably from hanging in the sun for who knows how many decades.

For the Shorts, I skipped the side and front tabs and added a creamy grosgrain ribbon along the side seams for a tuxedo’d, tone on tone look (inspiration here).  (In case you were wondering, I sewed the sides of the shorts first, so that I could sew on the ribbon before sewing the crotch seams.)  I also used buttonhole elastic in the back waistband and lined the waistband in an off-white Duchess silk.

So here are some more shots:

Is that the big bad wolf lurking about? Nope, just Lola, our Soft Coated Wheaton Terrier:

See the versatility of this outfit? It is just right for work…

and play…

I am pleased as punch how this look came together, as was Nora.  I think this look has “visit with Santa” written all over it–which unbelievably, is in just a few weeks!

Happy Sewing!
~ Erin

PS In case you’d like to know, Nora’s shirt is from Target and her super-comfy and stylish boots are by Kenneth Cole Reaction available from Nordstrom’s.

20 Jul 2011

Finch Shorts Remastered

2 Comments Finch Shorts & Top, Inspiration

Finch Shorts with Faux Bow Tie Belt & Lined Cuffs

Remember those ready-to-wear shorts I showed you a few weeks ago that resemble our Finch Shorts? Well, I just couldn’t resist modifying the Finch Shorts pattern for my daughter to reflect some of those fun details.

First, I took inspiration from the navy fabric and contrasting lining in a tiny print that are used in this pair from Olive’s Friend Pop

I used the same fabric to line the waistband and the faux bow tie belt as well. Here’s my version:

As for that belt, I used this Gymboree short as my starting point: 

I wanted a simple bow tie that would have a hint of color and would not come untied, as it was purely a decorative detail. First I made a pointy but rounded end to the finished ends of both ties. I then tied two ends to form a bow. With the knot centered on the front waistband, I sewed the unfinished ends of the ties into the two side seams that join the front and back waistband pieces and trimmed the excess. After sewing the waistband to the shorts, I hand-tacked the knot to the waistband to keep it centered and in place.
Here’s a closer look:

Overall, I am really happy with how these turned out. They look great on Miss N. too, but she wasn’t cooperating for pictures, so those will have to wait!

Happy Sewing!

08 Jul 2011

Mix Up Your Finch Shorts

1 Comment Finch Shorts & Top

Banded shorts are everywhere this season and we’ve seen them with a lot of fun details and in lots of fun fabrics and colors.  We thought we’d share a few of our favorites so you could get some ideas on how you could modify our Finch Shorts

This bold green pair from Gymboree has several great design elements.  See that piping around the cute belt and buttons on the bands?

And don’t be afraid of a little print or pattern.  Here’s an adorable plaid version from Janie and Jack.

A recent discovery for me in ready to wear kids clothing has quickly become a favorite of mine.  Olive’s Friend Pop out of Australia has these fantastic shorts this season with a little fun surprise on the inside of the bands + two simple pockets perfect for collecting lots of small items to test your washing machine’s tolerance for foreign objects.

For those of you who may be getting into the ‘back to school’ mode, may I suggest our Finch Shorts in a rich velventeen, corduroy or even a tweed??  Paired with some tights or leggings, these shorts will take your little girl through the fall, just the same as any skirt would.

One of my fall favorites are these from the UK’s Caramel:

Happy Sewing!