February 11, 2014

After-School Pattern: Sporty Redux

The Peanut’s wardrobe is mostly casual and her needs are mostly play clothes. So even though I’m drawn to the dress patterns, pants are always in need. I had just finished sewing the After-School Shirt & Pants by Oliver + S (with the Raining Cats & Dogs top), but I jumped right in and gave it another go. I considered the ruffles of View C in the pattern, but instead opted to sew a sportier look more in keeping with The Peanut’s personality. To achieve this I used lots of high-contrast top-stitching on the plum-colored bottomweight. I chose thread in a pale purple (over an even paler purple option) yet it looks almost gray-white in the final product. Top-stitching can be painful for a perfectionist like myself to sew; I can’t help but see every wobble and catch. It takes effort not to go back and re-do it until it’s just right.

Oliver + S After-School Shirt & Pants | Create a sporty look with lots of top-stitching | The Inspired Wren
  Still rocking the up-and-away model look.
[Now here comes the part where I reveal that I’m an amateur sewer with so much to learn.] I wanted the casual look of jeans, so I made inside-out French-seams and top-stitched them down. When I went to type this up I realized that it is incredibly unwieldy to say (or to type) and that it must have a name since it’s so obviously a Thing. Or so I thought. After I finished sewing, I searched for the proper name and learned about Flat-Felled Seams. Well, that would have cut down some of the bulk. I almost want to go back now and re-do these pants with flat-felled seams instead of my clunky (both to say and in fabric) inside-out French-seams top-stitched down. Almost. Instead, I’ve been inspired to add the Craftsy Blog to my feed to see what else I can learn.

Oliver + S After-School Shirt & Pants | Create a sporty look with lots of top-stitching | The Inspired Wren

Oliver + S After-School Shirt & Pants | Create a sporty look with lots of top-stitching | The Inspired Wren
Taking her shoes off finally stilled her enough for a non-blurry pic.
Likewise, I feel the bias-bound seams are also rather clunky even though this time I finished them separately as the pattern suggests (instead of together as I did last time). I ran out of the pale purple bias tape, and didn't want to lose momentum, so just kept going with turquoise—it’s all inside where it’s not visible anyway, except here in these pics for you lovely readers (so now I’m wishing I had stopped to get more purple). Anyway, I’m currently on the hunt for various non-serger seam finishes so I can fight the bulk.

The shirt is constructed from a lovely gray herringbone made even more fabulous by the fact that it’s a super soft flannel. I played with the herringbone, turning it on the bias for the yoke to add a subtle detail. I love my manual sewing machine, but I wish I had a really good button-hole maker. This flannel was begging for contrast button-holes worthy of Sherlock. Sadly my machine and I are not great partners when it comes to button-hole making, so I made the decision to stick with tone-on-tone thread. Some day I will Sherlock a button-hole or two! [I just made “Sherlock” into a verb, go with it—if I can make up my own seam finishes, why not my own verbs?] 

Oliver + S After-School Shirt & Pants | Create a sporty look with lots of top-stitching | The Inspired Wren
  
For the remainder of the top-stitching I used the same pale purple thread that I used on the pants. I can’t remember where I read about using two threads through the needle for a more pronounced top-stitch; if I could remember I would go back and thank them now. I didn’t feel I needed the double thread on the pants, but found it was especially effective on the soft flannel. I bound the seams at the armholes with bias tape made from the flannel—no loose threads to tickle The Peanut. I attached the yoke to the body of the shirt using my now-trademark inside-out French-seams sewn flat method. With that detail, these two pieces clearly speak to each other, yet remain neutral enough to be much needed separates for mixing & matching within The Peanut’s wardrobe.

Oliver + S After-School Shirt & Pants | Create a sporty look with lots of top-stitching | The Inspired Wren
  
Oliver + S After-School Shirt & Pants | Create a sporty look with lots of top-stitching | The Inspired Wren
Size 5 is still a tad too large; plenty of room to grow.
I had a goal of two pairs of pants before another dress or tunic passed through my machine. Done. Now, I think I hear a tunic and leggings calling to me from my yet-to-be-used Ottobre 4/2013!

Oliver + S After-School Shirt & Pants | Create a sporty look with lots of top-stitching | The Inspired Wren
Digging for Hershey Kisses—she remembered from last time.

Pattern

After-School Shirt + Pants by Oliver + S, Size 5

Fabric

Joann Fabric Sew Classic Bottom-Rodeo Cotton, Blackberry; and Flannel Shirting in Gray Herringbone, also from Joann’s.

Love

I adore the look that all the top-stitching gives on both pieces, even if they’re not proper flat-felled seams.

Note

When you sew a pattern a second time you should still read thoroughly and move forward carefully. I was sure I knew what I was doing and sewed the pocket linings on wrong (Step 1!). I'm always more likely to need the seam ripper the second time I do a pattern. Also, write down your model’s measurements: I remembered 19" for the waist, but thought that was the final length of the elastic I needed instead of her actual waist measurement. I had to open the waistband up to re-cut the elastic so her pants won’t fall off.





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You should really see all that goes into each project!
From my model preferring to wear washi tape on her navel instead of the clothes I've sewn for her, to the ingenious way that I’ve re-purposed my favorite sewing tool, a chopstick, into a spool pin for double needle sewing on my machine. Daily updates on Instagram (and Flickr) of works-in-progress will give you that behind the scenes view you’re looking for, and sneak peeks of First Tuesday Tutorials, too.
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4 comments:

  1. I think this looks great! I'm not sure if seam binding, the rayon stuff, would work and be less bulky than bias tape? I have a serger so I'm lazy and just use that. I haven't used my Ottobre yet.. there is a sew along for Ottobre that I just linked to on my blog's social sewing calendar if you're interested! http://swoodsonsays.com/sew-a-long-calendar/

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    1. Oh dear. I'm not an amateur, I'm a rube. They make seam binding? I mean, of course they do, I just never thought to look for it. Thanks for the education.

      And YES! I am interested in the Ottobre sew-a-long. Brilliant to compile a calendar! Thank you.

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  2. she is so cute! I love the outfit. self taught/teaching sewer here so I hear ya on the research! Craftsy has some great classes! Thanks for linking to Snickerdoodle!

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    1. Thanks! It's amazing how much I still have to learn.

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