Double Gauze boat shorts and Charlie tunic

Hugo Double Gauze Charlie Tunic

As you’ve probably noticed from my posts this week, I’ve got shorts on the brain. That’s mainly because Hugo and Elliot wear nothing but shorts all the time now that it feels like the tropics here. I’ve also had at least three people ask me in the past week if you could turn Luna Pants into shorts (the answer: YES!) so I’ve also been thinking about how best to share a quick how-to on that too.

Hugo Double Gauze Charlie Tunic

This little pair of shorts has really held up remarkably well for being a) white and b) double gauze. They’re size 3 Parsley Pants that I shortened (<- tutorial there) and we’re on our second summer of them fitting Hugo. Also on my list of future things to post about: double gauze. The name is so intimidating but it’s such a comfy fabric to wear and really not that hard to sew!!

Double Gauze boat shorts

The Charlie tunic (which I modified slightly with a curved hem) is now too small, but these two really made a cute combo while they both still fit.

Hugo Double Gauze Charlie Tunic

Hugo Double Gauze Charlie Tunic

Most of Hugo’s clothing this summer is handmade hand-me-downs from when Elliot and Clementine were four and I made a ridiculous amount of their clothing (esp. for Celebrate the BOY, summer edition, which probably no one even remembers anymore, but also these helicopter pajamas, and these red pants of Clem’s got shortened into shorts too). It’s been a real joy to pull those out and reminisce about little four-year-old Elliot or Clementine wearing them. WAAAH they grow up so FAST!

Hugo Double Gauze Charlie Tunic

Interestingly, I do find the handmade stuff is standing up better than the store bought stuff, not only because I think I make it last better, but also because the handmade stuff seems more timeless. The (small amount of) store-bought stuff we bought for Elliot when he was this age already looks somewhat dated.

Are you sewing shorts this summer? For you or for kiddos?

Super fun facings trick

super fun facings trick

Facings are a great way to finish a neckline or armhole (bias binding is another way — see my 3 bias binding tutorials here!). I like to have beautiful facings without having to fold up and finish the lower edge, which can produce a visible line from the outside of your garment, and I learned this clever trick a few years ago (probably from Karen) and thought I’d share. It uses your interfacing to finish the facing edge, and it’s just as quick and easy as folding and stitching or overlocking your facings like most patterns instruct. It also looks 100% better, as you’ll see in this tutorial.

Step 1. Cut out your facings and interfacings

The front / back neckline facing pattern pieces I used in this example are from my Beatrix pattern. You can see these facings in use in my How to make Beatrix without buttons tutorial. This tutorial would also work with most armhole, hem, or combined armhole-neckline facings as well.

I’m using fusible lightweight interfacing (this is the kind I like), but this tutorial also works with non-fusible interfacing.

Beatrix facings

Step 2. Sew the seams

Most patterns call for you to baste or fuse the interfacing to the facings before sewing anything. Instead, sew the front and back facings together, and then do the same with the interfacings (so, separately). In this example, I sewed the facings together at the shoulders, and then the interfacings together at the shoulders using the 1/2″ seam allowance called for in the pattern.

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Press the facing seams apart, but DO NOT PRESS THE INTERFACING SEAM IF YOU ARE USING FUSIBLE INTERFACING. Let’s avoid that sticky glue nightmare on your iron, shall we?

Step 3. Sew the facings to the interfacings along lower edge

Place the facings and interfacings right sides together and pin:

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Then sew them together along the lower edge with a 1/4″ seam allowance. This should be the edge where you would normally fold up and stitch, or otherwise finish the edge of the facing before attaching it to the garment. It should not be the edge that will attach to the garment.

Beatrix facings - sew together

Step 4. Turn right side out and press

Now go ahead and turn them right side out, using a point turner to push out the bottom edges.

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And then press them together!!! At this point the fusible interfacing will fuse to the facing, and it creates a beautiful finish…see? Here’s the interfacing side:

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And the facing side:

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Step 5. Attach to garment

Now the facings are ready to attach to your garment! You can see how I attached these in this post.

Finished facings - Beatrix

Aren’t they beautiful?

This tutorial works great with my Beatrix, Washi, or even Charlie sewing patterns. Have you ever tried this trick?

Fall clothes for Hugo

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I made a few more things for Hugo to wear this fall (and soon winter). You’d think he would have enough hand-me-downs from his brother and sister to deter me from sewing more but…nooope. I just can’t help myself. His clothes are so small and cute. I realized after I took the photos that they coordinate in a way. Accidental color scheme. I’m not sure I’d mix and match them together into outfits though Mr Rae would probably beg to differ, but they all looked nice together so I thought I’d put them all in one post.

top left: a Charlie Tunic, size 18-24 mo in double gauze from Cotton and Steel (yes, that’s fabric left over from my Luna Pants whee!). Facings on the inside, curved hem like the gingham one.

bottom left: a Flashback Tee, size 18-24 mo in a striped knit purchased years ago from Organic Cotton Plus back when it was Near Sea Naturals

top right: a pair of drawstring sweatpants (made up the pattern) in mod fleece by Birch Fabrics from Fabricworm

bottom right: Parsley Pants, size 3, shortened so that the inseams measure 11 inches. This was an experiment to see if I could get the Parsley Pants to fit Hugo, since his hip measurement with diaper on is about 23 inches (previous experiments had found the size 2 was a bit too tight). Turns out the size 3 fits a cloth-diapered 20 month old pretty well. I still think Big Butt Baby Pants fit better, but you can see in the photos below that it’s not bad.

Here are some pictures of my Hugo-boogo wearing them. It’s getting harder to get him to stand still for the camera, but I figured out how to stand him up on our entryway bench so he can’t run away mwuah hah hah. I also may have resorted to mini-marshmallow bribery the likes of which this blog has seen before (many times, as you may well already know).

fall outfits for hugo

fall outfits for hugo

fall outfits for hugo

flashback tee

fall outfits for hugo

fall outfits for hugo

fall outfits for hugo

fall outfits for hugo

I always enjoy seeing my children wearing things I’ve sewn for them. Over the years this blog has given me an additional treasure: a collection of really nice photos of them that I love to look through and enjoy. It really doesn’t matter to me now what they were wearing in the photos, I just love looking at their little faces. It amazes me how much they’ve grown. I’m just so glad that I had a reason not only to take pictures of them on a regular basis, but an excuse to buy a good camera and learn how to use it. Crappy phone pics can capture the memories too, but there’s something special about these.

And I’m so glad that you, dear readers, can enjoy them too. Have a happy weekend!!!

fall outfits for hugo

Gingham Charlie for Hugo

gingham charlie (front view)

With the onset of cooler fall weather, I’m suddenly motivated to unload the bits of summer clothing I made for the kids onto the blog before they’re completely out of season. First up, this little gingham Charlie Tunic for Hugo.

gingham charlie tunic

I made a few minor edits to the pattern, including cutting the neckline facings on the bias so that they contrast a bit with the body of the shirt and adding a curved hem (I just trim away about 1″ at the side seams for this). I also shortened the sleeve by a few inches and skipped the sleeve facings.

gingham charlie tunic

This pattern is a pretty old pattern (“old” being relative of course, in this case relative to the age of the Internet). I have dreams of updating it when I have a little more time. For starters I kinda feel like I should change the name. There are at least three children’s patterns (including one that just came out last year!!) called Charlie. Second, the curved hem is nice, and I don’t think anyone actually uses the little side vent thingies I designed the first one with (you can see those in this Charlie Tunic post with leeetle Elliot). Third, I think the dress and top should just come as one pattern instead of having the dress option be an add-on…right now you have to tape extra things together to make the dress (ooh! ooh! Cute Charlie Dress post!)…anyway.

gingham charlie tunic

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Hugo is now 18 months old and as you can see here, he is getting into EVERYTHING. Exhibit A: the stereo cabinet.
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Curious George (Hugo calls him “Judge”) saves the day.

gingham charlie tunic

gingham charlie tunic

The fabric is navy Kokka Gingham from Purl Soho, and you can find the pattern and variations in my shop: Charlie Tunic Pattern / Charlie Dress Add-On / Charlie Pattern Pack (dress and tunic bundle)

 

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Striped Double Gauze Outfit for Stylo

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I want to walk you through each of the four Cotton + Steel outfits I designed for the latest issue of Stylo in a bit more detail here on the blog, starting with this one:

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The garments in this outfit were made with Bespoke Double Gauze, part of the Fall 2014 Cotton+Steel lineup that will be in shops early next year. I was looking for something new and different to feature my patterns in the Stylo spread, so when I contacted Melody Miller to ask about using Cotton+Steel garment fabrics for the shoot, I was thrilled to hear they were going to have a line of double gauzes. I believe I have mentioned in the past that wearing double gauze is like wearing pajamas. I selected a couple of quilting cotton fabrics for the shoot as well, but the double gauzes are definitely the main attraction here, and I love how they worked with my patterns.

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Charlie Tunic with handstitching

I’d never made a Charlie Tunic out of double gauze before, but now I’m wondering if I’ll ever sew it out of anything else. Making this one made me fall in love all over again with the Charlie pattern. It’s so comfortable and cute, especially when sewn out of a fabric so soft and easy to wear. Since I designed the pattern a few years ago, I’ve noticed that I’ve started streamlining the construction a bit by using just one button loop, skipping the side vents, and flattening the bottom of the front placket which makes for a more minimal, modern look. In addition, this version features the neckline placket on the inside instead of the outside, so the Purl Cotton stitches which hold the edges of the placket in place became the visual interest of this piece.

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Moon Pants

I originally intended just to make a few pairs of Parsley Pants to coordinate with everything, because that pattern is just so gosh-darned versatile. But as soon as I had the double gauze in hand, I wanted to design something more dramatic, less practical, and so the these harem pants were born. I’m so excited about how these turned out, and how much Clementine loves them — they are super comfortable and roomy. I made two versions of these pants for the shoot; the other one has a separate cuff and a pocket shaped like a crescent moon (I’ll show you those soon!!), so that’s where the name “Moon Pants” came from. For those of you who love to hack patterns, I’m not gonna lie, you could definitely hack Parsley or any other basic pant pattern for that matter to create this style by adding width, cuffs or elastic casings. But I’m starting to realize the value of offering a new pattern ready-made, and so I’m planning this for my next children’s pattern release. I’ve realized that many people (including myself, often) just don’t have the time or patience to figure out modifications for everything, so I hope there will be people who will appreciate this new pattern.

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Headband

This headband was a rectangle of double gauze, sewed together along one long side and then turned right-side out. Then I tucked the ends in and pleated them around a strip of fold-over elastic, which I top-stitched in place. Voila, new headband to match! I have to say, it makes me want to cry a little at how BIG Clementine looks with her hair pulled back. Waaaaaaah!! Where is my little baby girl!??!

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OK! That’s it for this outfit — feel free to post any questions you might have to comments and I’ll try to answer them all. You can see the entire spread, complete with the other outfits I designed, in Stylo Issue 3 (my spread starts on page 99)!! Thank you so much to Tashina and Karen for their help sewing up these looks, and to Jess and Celina for their amazing work on this issue!

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Ship Shape Button Placket Tutorial

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I’m so excited to be part of Sarah Jane’s Out to Sea Blog Tour today! I’m going to show you the adorable Charlie Tunic I made for Elliot with two of the Out to Sea prints, along with a tutorial on how to add the button placket.

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The Out to Sea collection is absolutely stunning. Sarah is so talented! We met last Spring at Quilt Market and got to see this collection first hand in all of its glory. I also really love her first line, Children at Play, with sweet illustrations that show the carefree days of childhood. I think it’s great that her fabric collections have both featured a number of designs for BOYS!

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Don’t worry though, still plenty of prints for girls as you can see below (see more here). Sarah has designed a lovely collection of Wall Art prints to go with the Out to Sea fabrics as well.

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One of the best things about this collection for me (besides the amazing designs that Sarah draws) is the fact that this line is printed on the cotton couture substrate from Michael Miller. Translation: totally soft, lovely, lightweight cottons perfect for not only quilting, but many types of garments as well. I just had to try it out on a Charlie Tunic for Elliot!

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I thought it would be so clever to have him pose with his Playmobil ship, which goes PERFECTLY with this fabric. For some reason he did not find this as clever as I did.

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He was more about putting the ship in front of his face.

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Then I asked him what his favorite part of the ship was. Guess.

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That’s right, the cannon. He then proceeded to shoot the little spring-loaded cannonball at my head, which made contact with my forehead about the exact same time I took this shot.

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He thought that was pretty clever.

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For this tutorial, I thought I’d show you how to add a cute little button placket that extends across the gap that gets created when you add the neck facings on the outside of the Charlie Tunic. This is a nice way to finish the neckline that doesn’t require button loops!

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Note: I used my Charlie Tunic Sewing Pattern for this one, but really you could add reverse facings to ANY pullover pattern with a simple neckline like Charlie – just trace around the neckline and shoulders and add 2-3″ around the outside and down the center to make a the facing pieces.

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Step 1: Cut out all your pieces.

You’ll need a front and back, two sleeves, a front facing, a back facing, and a placket piece. Cut your placket piece 3″ wide and plenty long so you can trim it down later. The length really depends on the size of your tunic, but 10″ long is PLENTY. I chose to interface my facings but it’s completely optional.

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Step 2: Sew the shoulder seams

I used a 1/2″ seam here. It’s really important to finish these seams with a serger, a french seam, or a flat-felled seam; if it frays, it will show at the neckline!

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Step 3: Mark placket location and measure how big your placket needs to be

Make two marks along the center line of the front facing: one where the neckline seam allowance hits (dotted line) and another where the bottom of the slit will be (the black dot on the pattern piece). Measure between these marks.

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Step 4: Cut your placket piece to size

Add 1/2″ to the measurement you found in Step 3 and cut the placket strip that new length.

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Step 5: Sew the placket piece together

Fold the placket piece in half lengthwise with its wrong side facing out. Sew the ends together with 1/4″ seams. Turn it right-side out and press.

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Step 6: Baste the placket to the front facing

Now place the placket piece between the two marks you made, just over the center line, and machine baste in place along the center line Don’t skip this step. I’m talking to you, Basting Skippers!!

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Step 7: Get the facings ready

Use the same seam allowance you used for the shoulder seams in Step 2 (1/2″) to sew the front facing and back facing together. Press the seams apart. Then press 1/4″ under around the entire outside edge of the facing. Clip the front curves to make this easier.

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Step 8: Pin the facings to the neckline

Be very careful to keep the facing perfectly centered on both the front and back; then pin all the way around the facings.

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Then go ahead and draw where you are going to stitch — around the neck, down the middle of the placket, and up the other side — with a fabric pen and ruler. I draw my lines just over 1/8″ away from the center line (use the basting stitches as a guide).

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Step 9: Sew the facings around the neckline and down/up the center.

Now you’re going to sew all the way around the neckline with a 1/2″ seam, then pivot on your needle and sew down the center line, pivot again and sew a few stitches across, and then pivot again and go back up the center line, etc, until you have sewn around the entire facing/neckline. You want to be SURE that you are sewing through the placket on one side, but not on the other, so stick to those marks you made. Be careful when you turn the corner closest to the placket — you want to make sure that you don’t accidentally sew it down!

Then trim the neckline to 1/4″ and cut right down the middle of the center front stitch lines. Clip to the corners at the bottom of the placket as close as you can without going through the stitching.

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Step 10: Turn the facings to the outside and stitch down

This is the fun part. Press the entire neckline and then flip the facings all the way around to the outside. Press the seams again so the facings lay flat, and pin them in place.

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Nice right? Now edgestitch around the outside of the facings to stitch them down. A double row of stitches looks nice here.

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Step 11: Complete the rest of the top

Start by attaching the sleeves:

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and then sewing the side seams, hemming the bottom, and finishing the cuffs. I used a contrast cuff as shown in the Charlie Tunic instructions.

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Then it’s time to play with button placement! There are so many options…you can keep the button flap on the outside and put the buttonholes on it as shown above, or even put buttons on both sides with the button placket underneath:

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I decided to put the buttons on the placket underneath and sew some buttonholes in the facing right along the center. You could also sew on snaps or even velcro, but I personally like the buttons more.

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So sew those buttons and buttonholes, and your top is finished!

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Thanks for having me as part of the tour, Sarah! Click over to the Sarah Jane blog to see more of her designs and snap up a coupon code for $2 off the Charlie Tunic Sewing Pattern that’s good until Friday.

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You can see all of the posts in the Out to Sea blog tour by clicking on the image above

Still fits: Short-sleeved Charlie

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{please do not pin these images of Elliot. Thanks!}

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I could do a whole series of posts called “Still Fits!” showing how my kids grow into certain items of clothing. Sometimes a top or pair of pants I’ve sewn for them sees nearly a year of wear, which is a big win. Of course, on the other hand, there are garments that only make it onto their bodies for a fraction of a second before they’re either rejected forever or grown out of. So I suppose it goes both ways.

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This little short-sleeved Charlie tunic (originally blogged here and here) came out of the summer-clothes bin again this spring and Elliot snapped it up and has been wearing it quite a bit.

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Paired with his super-cape (just a semi-circle of fabric with some bias tape and an appliqued letter thingy) it’s a pretty great outfit, wouldn’t you say?

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The dwarfs make another appearance

Edited: This post was originally entitled “Snow White makes another appearance,” in reference to the fabric used, but as Snow White doesn’t actually appear anywhere in this post, I changed the name.

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This morning I decided it was time to take on another challenge. I made this Charlie Tunic with the leftover fabric from my Snow White top ages ago and she’s been refusing to wear it for weeks. There was chocolate involved. And as you can see I emerged victorious.

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We are both wearing our tops today!!!

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She occasionally, briefly, wears things I’ve sewn

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Do you ever accidentally put two fabrics together and it totally works? One day I set these two fabrics down in the same stack and it was meant to be. The grounds for both fabrics happen to match perfectly and so do the purples. I love how these look together. I’m not sure what I did right to get her to put the dress ON — there’s currently a backlog of about six other garments I’ve recently finished for her that she absolutely won’t wear (even when full-scale mini-marshmallow bribery is being attempted) — but she did and that’s what’s important. It was kind of her to indulge me on this one. Even if I had to chase her around with the camera (hence the sheer glee that follows in these photos).

Charlie Dress

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Charlie Dress

Charlie Dress

Pattern: Charlie Tunic, made into a dress with the add-on (both are available from my pattern page). It’s big on her, this is a 3T and the pattern runs a bit large and the girl runs a bit small.

Fabrics: Good Folks by Anna Maria Horner and Far Far Away II by Heather Ross, buttons found in this Etsy shop.

Charlie Dress

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Speaking of getting her to wear things that I’ve made, if you’re one of my pals on Twitter or Instagram (yes, yes, le sigh, I caved to Instagram…) you’ll have already seen that she now wears without complaint the pink bonnet previously loathed and hated. Oh, how I WISH I knew what on earth had changed!!?! She just decided one day that she’d wear it, and that was that. Ah the joys of having a 2 year old.

I know many of you are sensitive to my “Pinterest issues” (thank you!), so I thought I’d mention that all of these pictures of Clementine are all fine to pin if you’d like. Thanks everyone!