Kwik Sew Fleece for Elliot

It’s been great having this month of posts just for boys because it’s forced me to dig out all of the projects for Elliot I had set aside so I could sew other things.  One of them was this fleece jacket, which really came in handy this past week as we visited my parents in the Pacific Northwest, where it was a balmy 40-60 degrees all week and trees were budding way ahead of schedule.  So this was the perfect weight for playing outside, visiting the zoo, and pruning the shrubs for Grandpa:

and riding the escalator with Grandma:

The pattern is Kwik Sew 2911, and I really like it.  Enough to make more.  It went together very quickly and had a clever pocket design that was so easy it had me feeling clever.  It took me a few thinks to figure out how to hide the zipper tails, but in the end it worked out fine.  A serger isn’t necessary but I used it to finish the seams anyway.

Modifications: I chose to use regular fleece instead of swimwear fabric (as the pattern called for) for the edging.  I really have a tough time making swim fabric look good and didn’t want to risk it.  The fleece worked great, although you do need to make sure to cut the pieces along the stretch of the fabric as indicated in the pattern.  I also threw in a little folded piece of fleece across the front there as a faux piping. 

I’d also like to say a few things about fleece:  I caved and purchased this novelty fleece from Joann, and, as a person who loves prints (maybe a little more than I should, as I often leave the house in 4 prints that clash) I couldn’t resist this nautical pattern, but immediately after it was worn I started to notice that the quality is not-so-hot.  So I’d like to offer some advice here:  I know it’s very, very tempting to buy fleece at your local craft superstore, but let’s just say you get what you pay for.  ‘Nuf said.

UPDATE:  I just realized (after the first comment) that many of you would like to know where to get good fleece.  Field’s in West Michigan is my closest source for good fleece, but I’m sure there’s got to be others, including online.  Weigh in if you’ve had good experiences.

Today Dana’s got a tutorial for an adorable little Hobo Sack (and pictures of an adorable little Hobo) over at MADE.  Check it out:

GUEST POST: Trinket Keepers Tutorial by Traci

From Rae: I’m so excited to introduce our guest blogger for today, Traci of Amazing Mae!  Last summer I made myself a skirt with her splendid ruffled skirt tutorial and now she’s here to show you another great tutorial for Trinket Keepers for boys!  Traci lives with her husband, daughter, and sons in Louisville, Kentucky where her husband builds affordable energy efficient homes.  Before kids she was a tour operator/travel agent and she still dreams about all the places she’ll go!  Her favorite sewing project is adding appliques to anything and everything because it’s so quick and makes something instantly one-of-a-kind (I love seeing the designs she comes up with, see photos below).  Traci also runs an Etsy shop, may & mae, along with Melissa of The Polka Dot Chair

Here’s Traci:
I am the mother of three boys -three boys who get sorely neglected when it comes to hand made items from their mom. Yet, I always intend to make them something, but take the easy route and make something for my three year old girl. I was so excited when Rae told me about her and Dana’s idea to Celebrate the Boy. It gave me a great reason to concentrate on these three monkeys. I have really enjoyed asking their opinions and sharing ideas with them. Over the years, some of the things I have loved sewing for them and other little boys are: pjs, shorts in the summer, tooth fairy pillows when it’s that fun time, appliqued onesies for new baby boys, blankets, freezer paper stenciled t-shirts, iron on transfer t-shirts with their art, and road trip pillowcases:

Speaking of the easy route, I tend to make things that can be done in under an hour(or so). I have figured out that it’s my style because I have a hard time concentrating on things for much longer than that. My mind jumps, so if the project takes too long, I might just drop it all together. So, I wanted the tutorial I shared to be easy (under an hour), but cool. Cool enough for my eleven year old to appreciate!

After seeing all their little collections around our house, I came up with these trinket keepers. These little pouches hook on to their belt loops or backpacks, making it easy to carry their favorite Pokemon cards, Bakugan, or even their DSi.

They are extremely simple and so much fun because the ideas are endless. If I had endless time there I would have made even more because I kept thinking of more things to put inside these pouches.

 View the full tutorial for Trinket Keepers over at Amazing Mae
Thanks Traci!  This is such a simple yet brilliant idea. Elliot is always toting around tiny little toys in his hands and then freaking out when he loses them.  We have a Thomas toy very similar to the one in the photos, so guess who’s getting one of these for his birthday next month??  Be sure to stop by Traci’s blog and thank her for sharing her ideas with us!
Now go see what Dana’s doing today:

Fabric Feature: Circa 50 by Birch Fabrics

As part of our month of all-boy posts, I wanted to feature some great fabrics for boys, so I’ve been on the prowl.  Here is one of my new favorite lines:

I just about clawed my computer screen right off when I first saw these new organic fabrics from the Circa 50 line by Birch Fabrics. That would have been hard to explain to Mr Rae.  But truly, would these not be perfect for any kind of boy sewing (young or old)?


images borrowed from fabricworm with permission (thanks Cynthia!)

Circa 50 is the result of a collaboration between designer Jennifer Moore of Monaluna and Cynthia Mann of Fabricworm. They will be available in March for purchase.  Hooray!

GIVEAWAY REMINDER: Today is the last day to win a Fraker’s Acre’s Bowtie Sewing Pattern or a Billed Hat by Jessica.  Go sign up if you haven’t already!

What’s Dana doing today?  Check it out over at MADE:

GUEST POST: Little Boy Roundup by Shannon

image via
From Rae: I’m so happy to introduce our guest blogger for today, Shannon of luvinthemommyhood! A resident of Victoria, BC, and a former hairdresser (from the age of 15!), Shannon has been a full-time mom and blogger ever since the birth of her daughter in 2007. She has an amazing knack for finding tutorials and cool places online and sharing them with her readers. Her energy and sense of humor come through loud and strong in her posts and I always appreciate her brutal honesty about “life in the mommyhood.” One of my favorite things to read is her interviews of other mommy bloggers called “Moms in the Mommyhood” (my inner voyeur is always so intrigued when I get a small peek into others moms’ lives) She’s here today to share with us a fantastic roundup of online tutorials for little boys! Here’s Shannon:

hi everyone! i’m shannon from the blog luvinthemommyhood, where i dish on my attempts to sew, knit, craft, cook, parent and just plain survive (and love) life in the mommyhood. luvinthemommyhood is your source for a wealth of information ranging from handmade & repurposing projects, diy, mommyhood survival tips, to design, photography, music & books – i try to serve it up with humour and a dose of daily life in the mommyhood with my hubby, a soon to be 3 year old, and a little bean on the way.

when the sweet and lovely rae mentioned to me about her plans for “celebrate the boy” and that she wanted me to do a roundup i was ecstatic, and of course, i said yes! i love nothing more than a giant, inspirational roundup – they are my faves! i have a little girl and i’m currently pregnant with my second child, so the idea of doing a boy’s roundup after already doing a baby girl one on my site was too good to pass up. plus i am a huge, huge, fan of rae’s so just the idea of guest blogging on her site was enough to have me jumping around enough that i could have induced labour.

i scrounged, searched and spent many a night joined at the hip with my computer scouring the internet for the best projects for this roundup. there’s sewing, repurposing, knitting and crafts – a little something for everyone! i hope you discover lots of goodies for those special boys in your life and find yourself happy to be ditching the lace and ruffles for capes, knee patches and racetrack toys galore! so come join me and let’s help “celebrate the boy”!!!!

a big thank you to rae for having me over and for allowing me to be part of all the fun!!!!

Thanks so much Shannon! What a great collection of resources for all of us!

Today Brittany’s got a fantastic tutorial on how to make a collar…’tis the perfect thing to add to this shirt instead of a mandarin collar! Head over to MADE:

GUEST POST: Fold-up Cuff Pants Tutorial from LiEr

I’m so excited to introduce to you our guest blogger for today, the incredible LiEr from ikatbag!  LiEr is a mother of three girls, ages 2, 3, and 5.  In a former life, she was a high school physics teacher, just like me!  AND her husband Dave is a software engineer, just like mine!  It’s no wonder then that we get along so well!  She regrets to inform though that despite their “science-and-geeky backgrounds” neither one has been able to construct a teleporter.  Ditto on that….anyway, back to sewing! Growing up in Singapore, she learned to construct garments using slopers, and has therefore never created anything with a commercial pattern (isn’t that amazing?!).  She made her first garment at age 13, a white twill mini-skirt. Her blog is one of those places where you can get lost for hours looking at all the amazing things she’s creates out of fabric, felt, and cardboard for her kids. I’m always so impressed with how generously she gives free patterns for so many of the projects so that her readers can make them too (and if you do, please be sure to respect her personal-use only policy).  Be sure to carve out some time to spend an hour (or four) on her blog!  LiEr sells her patterns (see the left sidebar of her blog) and has an Etsy shop here.  She’s guest posting for us today with an AMAZING tutorial for fold-up cuffed pants.  

From LiEr:

Hello all! This is LiEr from ikatbag, guest-posting on Rae’s blog today! I am thrilled to be here celebrating the boys in our lives with you. Ironically, though, I have three daughters. In other words, a person couldn’t take a step in our house without coming into painful contact with a princess, unicorn or fairy accessory.

So I combed my archives for old projects I thought you might enjoy making with your boys. My own girls are 2, 3 and 5, so I’m postulating that these will be best enjoyed by boys of similar age. I spend a lot of time behind the sewing machine these days but I have been known to wield a mean glue gun from time to time. So here are two montages from my blog (click on each picture to go to its respective post):

For the sewers

For the cardboard-loving recycling-friendly folks

Obviously my sewing machine churns out a lot of dresses, given the majority gender in our family, but in honor of Boy Month, I made some boy pants just for you! The full tutorial and printable pattern are here on my blog but here are some pictures of these really fun smart-casual fold-up cuff pants, modeled by 3-year old Jenna:

Here’s a secret: they took me less time to make than my average little girl dress. Crazy! Thank you, Rae for having me over!

Rae: Isn’t she amazing? I can’t believe how professional these look!  For the full tutorial and pattern pages, head over to ikatbag!  Thanks so much Lier!!!  

Now head over to MADE and see Anna’s fantastic backpack tutorial.  What a great day for boy-sewing!

Strut your stuff

I am SO EXCITED about the response we’ve been getting to “Celebrate the Boy!”  Thank you to everyone who has commented and posted about it on your blogs.

I am really struck by how this topic seems to resonate with so many of you.  Some of you have been on the Crafting-For-Boys warpath for a long time.  Others have tons of great resources on your blogs that you want to share with everyone.  I’ve also been amazed at all of the awesomeness that has been popping up in our special Celebrate the Boy! Photo Pool set up especially for this month – there is definitely some major talent showing up over there:

Row 1
1. Broek met plooike voor Thijs (Pants for Thijs), 2. The Growing Nest., 3. birthday abe, 4. race car cake,
Row 2
5. De autostoel opnieuw bekleed, 6. for Rav: handspun Thorpe, 7. Back of crown — it’s reversible!, 8. Robot Invites 1,
Row 3
9. sophisticate 1 :: little sir, 10. Ruttunen Corduroy Pants, 11. New Pants, 12. Skeleton Mask,
Row 4
13. soft scarf (3 & 4), 14. Jared’s quilt, 15. Quilts for Ruben Twins 6, 16. Rudy the Octopus

So if you’ve got boy stuff to share, please post it in the Celebrate the Boy! pool so everyone can enjoy and be inspired by your work! 

And HOLD ON, because here is another place you should show off all that boy stuff you’ll be crafting this month and beyond!  It’s the Handmade Crafts for Boys photo pool and it’s Admin is none other than the lovely Joanna of Stardust Shoes, who not only did I have the pleasure of meeting the other day for the very first time in person, but who is also going to be one of my guest bloggers this month!  Here is a small sampling of the great stuff from a just few of the pool’s nearly 900 members:

Row 1
1. baby boy quilt, 2. Fabulous Felt Food!, 3. Ryan’s Easter Bunny, 4. I’ve been busy,
Row 2
5. Super Monkey- w/ mask, 6. Green thtwipey thnake2, 7. Bean Bag Backs, 8. ruby,
Row 3
9. Julian Self Portrait4, 10. appliqued monkey tee with pants, 11. Green Happy Horned Monster on blue tee, 12. Amostra de bichinhos para Simone – sachês de lavanda,
Row 4
13. shoulder bag for boy- car, 14. antique gold and chocolate baby unisex booties with mushroom motifs, 15. Blue Elephant Bib, 16. for a little boy

Isn’t it fun to see what everyone else is doing?  Now go make something!

Tutorial by Rae: Western-style Flap Pockets

Yesterday I showed you my favorite way to recycle a men’s button-down shirt into a boy’s shirt.  Today we’ll add pockets!  I really like the retro/western look that flapped pockets add, but real flaps always seem like too much work for a boy’s shirt.  This tutorial will show you how to make easy faux-flap pockets for a boy’s shirt.

You can put them up high:

Or down low (this shirt was blogged here last fall):

Let’s get started!

T U T O R I A L : 
Boy’s Western-style Flap Pocket
 Hey! Don’t take text or images from this tutorial without permission!  Thanks.

Step 1: Print out the pocket pattern.  There are two sizes provided, the 1-2T (which I used for the fish shirt shown above) and the 3-4T (which I used for the plaid shirt), but you could easily enlarge this for any size shirt.  Click on the image below to download the pattern PDF.

Step 2: For each pocket you want, cut two pocket pieces from your desired fabric.  I wanted two pockets, so I cut four pieces total.

Step 3: Take two of the pocket pieces and place their right sides together.  With a 3/8″ seam allowance (included in the pattern, it’s indicated by the dashed line), sew all the way around the pocket, leaving about 2″ open on one of the long sides of the pocket.

Step 4: Press pocket, clip corners, and turn pocket right-side-out.  Tuck the raw edges into turning hole and press again.

Step 5:  Fold pocket over to create a flap (use your judgement here; some people like the pocket a little taller, some like it shorter), and press down.  Now PIN the flap down to the pocket so it won’t slide around while you’re topstitching it in place.  Then topstitch around the edge of the flap. I usually do a double row of topstitching, at about 1/8″ and 1/4″ from the edge.

Step 6:  Place pocket(s) on shirt in desired location, pin in place, and topstitch around sides and bottom of pocket to secure, backstitching at the beginning and end of your stitching.  I usually do a double row of stitches here as well.  Stand back and admire!  Then go put your pictures in the Celebrate the Boy! Flickr Photo Pool.

I happen to think these pockets also look great in contrasting colors or with a little pearl snap or button sewn on for extra embellishment.  And of course, you needn’t limit yourself to just boy’s shirts for this sort of pocket…I’m sure I will be amazed and astounded by all the great ways you readers think of to utilize these!

Be sure to check out Dana’s GIVEAWAY today over at MADE! And if you haven’t yet seen her fantastic tutorial for the 90 minute shirt yet, you’d better head on over!

Tutorial by Rae: Make a Men’s Shirt into a Boy’s Shirt

I’m going to to kick off the month with a tutorial for taking an old men’s button-down shirt and turning it into a boy’s short-sleeved shirt.  This technique is simple and quick, and best of all, removes all of my least favorite things about making boy’s shirts: making the button placket, sewing all those buttons and buttonholes (well, almost) and hemming!  This drastically cuts down on the time it takes to complete a shirt which, for me, makes all the difference when it comes to getting it done.

Today I’ll show how to make a basic shirt (above), and tomorrow I’ll show you how to add the western flap pockets (below). 


To make this shirt, you will need a retired men’s button-down shirt and some lightweight fusible interfacing as well as the usual sewing equipment.  Let’s get started!

 T U T O R I A L : 
Men’s Shirt -> Boy’s Short-Sleeved Shirt
 Hey! Don’t take text or images from this tutorial without permission!  Thanks.
Step 1: Make/find your pattern pieces
Nearly every pattern for the basic boy’s short-sleeved shirt consists of four main pieces: the sleeve, the back, the front, and the collar.  For this shirt, we’ll just be using the front, back, and sleeve.  You can get these pieces by either tracing a boy’s shirt you already have or using a commercial pattern (a few examples: KwikSew 2973, Simplicity 4760, Butterick 3475).  I used the Kai Shirt pattern from Heather Ross’ Weekend Sewing; here you can see pieces for the sleeve (top), the front (lower left), and the back (lower right), traced onto tracing paper from their condensed versions in the book.


Step 2: Cut out the front
Lay the men’s shirt on a flat surface, button it up, and smooth out the wrinkles.  Find the “center front” on your front pattern piece.  This is usually clearly marked on the pattern piece or has X’s where the buttons will go.  Position the pattern piece so that this line is directly over the buttons on the men’s shirt.  Next move the pattern piece down 1 inch (see line on pattern piece).  Why? Since your shirt is already hemmed you don’t need the hem allowance, which is almost always about an inch, give or take (Note: you may also want to pay attention to where the buttons fall on the pattern pieces; perhaps moving the pattern up or down just a little bit more to optimize button location).  Trace with a marking pen.  Turn the pattern over and repeat for the other front side.  Cut these out, being careful not to cut into the back of the shirt.

Step 3: Cut the back
Fold the big shirt down the center back.  Place the back pattern piece along the fold, shifting it down 1 inch as with the front.  Trace and cut out.  

Step 4: Cut out sleeve
Smooth out the sleeve.  Fold sleeve pattern piece in half and place fold of sleeve directly over fold in sleeve.  Again, you don’t need the hem allowance, so move the pattern down so that the sleeve’s edge ends at the pattern’s hem line (Note: the sleeve hem line is usually marked or easy to find by the presence of an angle; I’m pointing to it with the pencil in the picture below).

Step 5: Sew shoulder seams
Take note of the pattern’s seam allowance.  Button the two front pieces together.  With the right sides facing, sew back to front at shoulders using the specified seam allowance.  

Step 6: Mark and measure collar seam line
Trace a line at the neckline seam allowance using a marking pen.  Unbutton the shirt and make sure it goes all the way to the edges of the button plackets.  Using a tape measure or piece of string, measure this line (it equals the collar length).

Step 7: Cut collar and collar interfacing
Cut out a rectangle on the bias for the collar (note the pattern is diagonal below).   The width of the rectangle should be 2″ plus 2 times the seam allowance.  The length of the rectangle one inch LONGER than the collar length you just measured

Example:  If you measured the collar length to be 14.5″ in Step 6 and the seam allowance was 1/2″:
WIDTH = 2″ + 2(1/2″) = 3″
LENGTH = 1″ + 14.5″ = 15.5″ 
So you would cut a rectangle 15.5″ x 3″.  

Cut a piece of lightweight fusible interfacing 2″ wide by the collar length (so 14.5″ x 2″ in our example).  Center the interfacing over the collar fabric and iron to fuse. Note: the collar interfacing is optional, but it prevents the collar from flopping over while worn.  

Step 8: Prepare collar
Fold collar in half lengthwise with interfacing out.  Mark a curved line beginning 1/2″ from each edge and curving towards center of collar.  

Sew along line, back-stitching at each end.  Clip along seam and turn right-side-out.  

Press, tucking sew allowance under along one side of collar.  

Step 9: Attach collar to shirt

Pin collar to right side of neckline, with the folded side of collar facing away from shirt.  Sew along seam allowance.  

Clip seam.

Turn and press collar towards inside of shirt, tucking raw edges into collar.  

Pin collar in place.  Stitch collar down close to edge.  

Step 10:  Attach sleeves
With right sides facing, attach sleeves to body of shirt.  Press seam towards body of shirt and topstitch (even though it adds time, topstitching really makes it look nice!) 

Step 11:  Sew side seams
With right sides facing, sew side seams and sleeve underarm seams.  Press, turn right-side-out, and admire!

Most men’s shirts have a pretty big gap at the bottom where there is no button.  To adapt this to a boy’s shirt, you may have to add another button and buttonhole at the bottom of the shirt (as I did here).  If you really loathe buttonholes, you could always sew in a small snap, but in my opinion this is more aesthetically pleasing.

That’s all for today!  Tomorrow we’ll add western flap pockets.  And don’t forget to head over to MADE to see what Dana’s up to today!