Category Archives: Sewing for Boys

Sewing for Boys Sew Along – Luka Hoodie

The Luka Hoodie was the August pattern for the Sewing for Boys Sew Along. I finished it a while ago (though not by the end of August), but I  hadn’t gotten around to taking pictures. Today we had an outing in the cold that offered the opportunity. Sewing For Boys - Luka Hoodie

I made this one out of a Michael Miller skateboard print that I had in my stash, a coordinating grey Kona cotton, and a lining of aqua flannel.

Sewing for Boys  - Luka Hoodie

For me, the pattern came together fairly easily. I did a careful read of the pattern before cutting and realized that the picture in the book does not jive with the cutting instructions, and I really did want my pocket to be in the skateboard fabric, so I had to account for that.

About half way through the project,  I bailed on on making the lining with no seams showing. I just wanted to get it done, and after looking at the diagrams, I couldn’t absorb the origami of how to make it work with no seam showing. Oh well. It’s on the inside anyhow.

Sewing For Boys - Luka Hoodie

Overall this is a really cute pattern. There are just a couple of things that bothered me about the finished product. One is the “v” on the chest where the bottom pocket joins the two top front pieces (just below the buttons.) It is hand stitched closed, and maybe it is just my hand stitching, but it shows horribly – where the machine stitching stops and the hand stitching starts.  It bothers me so much I might actually rip it out and find a way to machine stitch it closed. The other thing is that the elastic in the hood looks a bit wonky to me. I think I would like the hood better with a drawstring or no gathering at all. This may be because the only other hoodies I can compare to are either knit or ripstop nylon, none of which have elastic.  Other than those two details I liked this pattern.

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Sewing for Boys Sew Along – The Henry Shirt, Finally.

Okay, so I am a month and a half past the deadline for having this done for the Sewing for Boys Sew Along. But it’s done!

feeding my kid: the henry shirt

I ordered custom fabric for this shirt from Spoonflower. You don’t know Spoonflower? If you are at all addicted to fabric, don’t go there. No really. You will spend massive amounts of time, and possibly money, looking at all the gorgeous possibilities.

feeding my kid: the henry shirt

I had my eye on this VW bus print for a while. And then, the Henry Shirt pattern came up in the sew along. For some reason, the first thing that came to mind in looking at the pattern was retro bowling shirt. What better colors for a retro bowling shirt that blue and red? I had to buy the fabric, of course.  I paired it with a basic black kona cotton, and pearl snaps. My husband calls this shirt “Monkey’s hipster shirt”.

feeding my kid: the henry shirt

I actually finished this shirt at the end of July, but then we all got sick. Today was the first day that  I had an opportunity to photograph it. We went to a new (to us) playground, and Monkey was so excited that most of my shots looked like this:

“Bye Mom!”

I am surprised I got any decent shots at all.

This shirt was an advanced pattern, and I would say that it was correctly classified.  I have been sewing for 26 years (OMG – can I be that old?),  and have fairly advanced sewing skills (pattern alterations, matching plaids, etc.)  Still, there were a couple of points where I relied on the excellent tutorial by Thar She Sews. One was in attaching the side panels to the front panel – the shape of the pieces and the way in which it goes together is very counter-intuitive, and the figures in the book are not helpful on this point. Day four of the tutorial was very helpful. The other tricky spot for me was the collar. For the life of me, I could not tell which end was the bottom. Luckily, Krista’s day six tutorial  helped me out. The fact that she made this shirt in two high contrast fabrics was also helpful, because it allowed me to see how the front and side (and side and back) panels came together. This was something I couldn’t tell from the pictures in the book, which used two lower contrast fabrics. 

feeding my kid: the henry shirt

All in all, I liked the pattern a lot.  It took a lot of time to come together the first time, but I think if I made it again it would be quicker. Next time around I am thinking something more monochromatic.

Now, on to the Luka Hoodie to catch up with the sew along!

Like this post? Check out my other Sewing for Boys Sew Along Projects:

January – Raw Edged Raglan Tee

February – Kickin’ Back Pants

March – Easy Linen Shirt (okay, I didn’t make this, but the post is a round up of my favorites)

April – Treasure Pocket Pants

June – More Treasure Pocket Pants – yeah, I got a little behind in the Sew Along.

Sewing For Boys Sew Along – More Treasure Pocket Pants

Yeah, yeah. I know. The Sew Along pattern for June was the Henry Shirt.  I am working on it. But it’s not done yet.

While I was waiting for fabric to arrive in the mail for the Henry Shirt, I started thinking that all the items I have made so far have been for Monkey. This makes sense, because they will get handed down to Bulldog, and both kids get to wear them. But I felt the little man needed something handmade to call his own. Here he is, having stolen his brother’s Let’s Go Fishing Hat for pete’s sake.

So I made him a pair of Treasure Pocket Pants.

The car fabric has been in my stash for about two years. It is a Junko Matsuda print that I think I got on Etsy. I only had about a half yard, which is why the waistband on these is narrow, instead of the double elastic that the pattern calls for. I just ran out of fabric. I like the effect, though – we will see if that is enough elastic to hold them up. I actually had to use the pieces that I had cut for the pant leg cuffs, which is why these don’t have that either.

The green corduroy I picked up on sale at Joann. The original plan was to use it for a pair of Little Heartbreaker pants. When I saw the two fabrics together, they practically begged to be put together.

They are still a bit too big for Bulldog, which is just fine with me – plenty of time to grow into them.

Henry Shirt coming soon…

How to Dress Your Kids for Cheap

Dressing your kids is a major perk of parenthood. I love kids clothes, and I loved them long before I had kids. They are so freakin’ cute!

However, I don’t love to spend money. $30 for a pair of jeans? Who pays that? Not me. And I like to think that my kids still look, in the words of my three-year old, “spiffy.” Below are my tips to not spending an arm and a leg to cover your children’s arms and legs.

Buy used clothing.

1. Here, in order from most popular to least popular, are the sources of second-hand clothing that I use to clothe my kids:

  • consignment sales
  • thrift stores
  •  consignment stores
  •  garage sales

Thrift store haul: 9 items, $15.

I think that the best deals can be found at garage sales,  I just can’t make the time commitment it takes to find good sales and shop every week. Consignment stores can be pricey (well, not as pricey as retail) but I find them useful when I am looking for something specific, like a blue long sleeve shirt for family pictures. Consignment sales are great because everything is already organized for you by gender and size! This is also true of thrift stores – ur,  sort of.

2. Shop two sizes ahead of what you currently need. With smaller sizes (0 month through 2T) it is fairly easy to find whatever you need whenever you need it. Small ones outgrow clothing so quickly, much of it is still in good shape. As you veer into 3T territory, at least with boys, there is less selection because they are wearing out clothing. My solution to make sure that I have what-I-want- when-I-want-it, is to shop two sizes up. My kid is a 3T.  I frequently look at 4T and 5T stuff. This allows me to be more picky about what I buy.  My kid doesn’t need those jeans right now – I have some time to find what I really want. It also allows me to avoid paying retail for something I need immediately.

3. Speaking of shopping two sizes ahead: once you hit 2T, your kid will most likely stay in one size for about a year. So shop that size for all the seasons. Pick up a year’s worth of that size and hedge your bets.

4. Keep an inventory of what you have and what you need in your wallet. If you are shopping in three sizes at once (or more, depending on the number/gender of your kids) you won’t remember if you need 4T shorts, or already have six pair. It also won’t help if you have the inventory list at home, and you decided to stop in at Goodwill.

Take All Hand-Me-Downs

Yes, ALL hand me downs. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, as my dad used to say. Say yes now, and you can sort though it later, donating what you don’t need or want. Once you establish yourself as a willing patron of handouts, they multiply.

If you have to buy new, don’t pay retail

Let’s not pretend that I am an expert here. I very rarely shop for new clothing. I think I could count all the new items of kid clothing I have bought (excluding underwear and socks) on my fingers. But, if I had to buy new, here is what I would do to minimize the trauma.

1. Use coupons. Check for coupon codes online. Sign up for coupons from Gymboree and The Children’s Place. Get annoyed when they stop sending them to you because you failed to come to their store and buy something.

2. Sale shop. Or better yet, clearance shop. I am not immune to the siren call of the Target clearance racks. I don’t usually buy anything, but sometimes they have something great, so I always look. The last time that I was in Target, the very helpful salesperson told me that I need to come on Tuesday – they mark down their kid stuff then, and the boy racks are picked over by Wednesday. I actually pinned a pin on Pinterest that says something about the Target markdown schedule – then I failed to read it. Good thing for helpful sales clerks.

3. Pick well made clothing or clothing with a guarantee. I have found The Children’s Place makes pajamas that wear well and run large. My friend Erin says that Sears guarantees their house brand kids jeans – if they wear a hole in it, they replace the same size for free. And she says they go on clearance in January for 75% off.

Take care of the clothing you have

1. Playclothes, anyone? My kids have “dress” clothes and “play” clothes. Play clothes are for the backyard and the park. If we aren’t wearing them, we change before going out.  Incidentally, playclothes are also for spaghetti eating. This was the norm when I was growing up – is everyone else still doing this? If something becomes stained or torn, it moves from one category to the other. My friend Lee Ann has her boys eat breakfast in their PJs, which is genius – spills and stains on PJs aren’t really an issue.

Playclothes. Notice the stained, patched, too short pants.

2. Speaking of stains, I try like hell to prevent them. The Oxy-Clean Max Force Pre-Treater is my friend. Every time I do laundry, I sit on the floor in front of the washer and inspect every item before it goes into the washer, stain sticking any questionable item. When the washer is done, I sit on the floor in front of the dryer and inspect every item to make sure said stain came out before putting it in the dryer. If the stain isn’t gone, I give it another couple washes before admitting defeat.

 While I am doing this, I also button all buttons and zip all zippers.  Hard edges beat up your clothes.

3. Line dry if you can. I remember reading somewhere that dryer lint is actually part of your clothing that has rubbed off. That was an “a-ha” moment for me. Line dry and avoid both heat and things like zippers beating up the fabric. I wish I could line dry more. With little ones, the logistics are harder because I can’t just wander outside to hang up laundry whenever I please. And if I bring them out with me, they want to stay out for an eternity.

4. Repair, repair, repair. Yes, I know that it is boring and repetitive. I know this because five is the record number pair of pants that I have repaired in one week. IN ONE WEEK. But do it. Do it nicely and they can still be dress clothes. Do it quickly and they can be play clothes.

Sell the clothing you no longer need

1. Find a consignment sale or consignment store.

2. Hold a garage sale.

Twice a year, I sell clothing that my youngest has outgrown at a consignment sale. Yes, it does take work to inventory and tag all your stuff, and then haul it to the sale and load it onto the sales floor. Last time I made $300. That covers a lot of kid clothing. Especially when you are buying used.

You can’t sell anything that is ripped or stained. So use freecycle to give your unsaleable items away  to someone who can use it.  For that matter, try freecycle to score some free clothing!

Sew your own

This may not be your thing, but if you read my blog at all, you may have noticed that I like to sew. A lot. It’s a hobby I would pursue even if I didn’t have kids. 

Clockwise, from top left: Kickin Back Sweats (Sewing for Boys), Dream Big T-shirt (tutorial here), Treasure Pocket Pants (Sewing for Boys), Raw-Edged Raglan Tee (Sewing for Boys).

It used to be that you could sew clothes for cheaper that you could buy them. That was back in the olden days. The clothes that I make always cost more than the used clothing that I buy. But I get unique clothing for a fraction of the cost that I would pay at a boutique type childrens’ clothing store.  Here are some ways to sew for your kids for less.

1. Buy patterns on sale. At fabric store chains, all the big pattern companies (Simplicity, McCall’s, Butterick) go on sale for a buck. Wait and stock up.  If you have boys, it won’t take you long to acquire every boy pattern out there, because there are only, like, six. Which, incidentally,  is why I bought the book “Sewing for Boys”.

2. Reuse patterns. Trace them off instead of cutting. Then you can use the same pattern in larger sizes later. I have to admit though, if I got a pattern on sale for a buck, I probably would take the lazy route and just buy another of the same pattern for an additional dollar.

3. Buy fabric on sale. I never buy anything at my local fabric store chain without a 40 or 50% off coupon. Fabric.com also has some great sales.

4. Upcycle used fabric. The brown long sleeve t-shirt above? Made from a recycled t-shirt.

What are the ways that you dress your kids for not a lot of money?

Toddler Bed Book Pockets Tutorial

I came up with this idea after seeing my son’s bed, day after day, look like this after his nap.

With a pile of books in the corner. I have actually found him asleep on top of books at times. I figured he needed a better system for keeping his books close at hand, yet away from his sleeping space. So I created these book pockets that hang on the side of his bed.  There are four pockets on the outside (see photo above) and one long  pocket on the inside, below.

Think your kid could benefit from some book organization? Here’s how to make this.

Materials

  • Double quilted fabric
  • Very wide (blanket binding size) double fold bias tape. I used black to match my double quilted fabric. You could choose to use a contrasting color as well.
  • Fabric for pockets (I used scraps from my stash in two different patterns)

Measurements are tricky for this, because not all toddler beds are the same size. I will give you the measurements that I used, but you will probably have to measure for yourself and create your pockets based on the size of your bed. 

From your quilted fabric, cut a rectangle that is the length and width you desire. This is the base to which you will attach your pockets. For mine, I cut a rectangle that was 31.5 inches long and 17 inches wide. Of that 31.5 inches, 21 inches was for the front piece, and 10.5 inches was for where it folds over the back for the inside pocket.

Make your pockets.  After testing a number of my kid’s books, I decided to make my pockets 6 inches deep. That seemed a sufficient depth to hold most of his books. Instead of making a front and a back to each pocket and sewing them together, I cut a piece that was 12 inches (2 x 6 inches) wide and 17 inches long (the width of my quilted fabric) Then, I folded my pocket in half to have a piece that was 6 x17. 

I applied a 12 x 17 piece of  interfacing  to the WRONG  side of each pocket piece so they hold their shape better.

Then fold in half RIGHT sides together, and stitch the long edge shut. That should give you a tube like this.

Turn it to the right side and press.

Next make your other two pockets. For these pockets you don’t need to make a tube. Cut two pieces of your pocket fabric, 12 inches x 17 inches. Apply interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric. Fold in half, WRONG sides together  to make a 6 x 17 rectangle. You don’t need to stitch it shut, because these end pockets will be covered with the blanket binding later, and you will stitch the bias tape, catching the pocket as you go. Nifty, eh?

Next, place your two end pockets on your quilted fabric and pin.

You want the edge with the fold edge facing toward the MIDDLE  of the quilted fabric, like this:

Next pin your middle pocket to the quilted fabric. I eyeballed it, using the position of the bottom fabric as a guide to determine placement. Then I measured to make sure that the pocket was level (I don’t think I had done that yet in the picture below – it looks wonky.)

Grab some books and check that your pockets are positioned well.

Stitch across the BOTTOM of the middle pocket (in my case, the stars fabric) close to the edge. You don’t need to stitch the sides, because the blanket binding will cover those too.

Next cut a piece of blanket binding the length of your quilted fabric.

Open it up, and pin it to the edge, covering all the layers of fabric, both the quilted and the pockets.

Like this:

Pin this really, really well. Blanket binding likes to twist. You will thank me later when you don’t have to rip it out because the twists and puckers are bothering you.

Edge stitch to attach the binding. Next, attach the binding to the other long side using the same method.

Next,  attach the binding to the short sides. Cut a piece of binding that is slightly longer than the edge. Open up the tape, and press under about a 1/4 inch to finish the edge. 

Pin to the short edges and stitch.

When you are done, it should look something like this.

Next you need to make ties for your pockets.

Cut four ties out of your blanket binding. They need to be about 4-5 inches long for easy tying. Open up the binding and turn under the edge and press, as you did with the short edge above. Stitch the folded, pressed edge shut.

Attach your ties. The best way to do this is to line it up on the toddler bed where you want it, pin it, and then pin and stitch your ties.

And there you have it, book organization for your toddler bed.

Sewing for Boys Sew Along – Let’s Go Fishing Hat…

…and of course the Hold ‘Em Up Belt. As you can tell in this photo, we needed a belt!

Monkey has been asking for a belt “like Daddy’s” for a while now, so the timing of this pattern in the Sew Along was perfect. I used a scrap of this “retro cowboy” fabric I had from a quilt I made.

Here is the Let’s Go Fishing Hat. On my melancholy and wistful child.

 

I made it in the 4/5 size, even though he is a 3 generally. He has a melon head like me.

The dark fabric is leftover from the Treasure Pocket Pants I made last month. This is the light fabric:

from the Boys Will Be Boys line at fabric.com – you can find it here.

My husband is a sports fan, and I am not. Maybe that’s why I tire easily of the plethora of boy’s clothing that is sports themed.  I get so annoyed with the abundance of superheroes, sports, and cars.Maybe that’s why I sew for my boys! This fabric is about as “sporty” as I get. I felt like it was a good compromise. Hey, it has balls, right?

Both patterns this month were easy peasy. They were so easy that I really rushed through the hat and as a result the stitching just isn’t the quality that I am comfortable with. Next time I will slow down and pay more attention. But, since I did have so much free “sewing” time this month, I was able to put together the “Dream Big” shirt via the this tutorial and template from Finley and Oliver.

I really love how it turned out.

Monkey loves it too. He asks to wear this shirt all the time.

Like this post? Check out my other Sewing for Boys Sew Along Projects:

January – Raw Edged Raglan Tee

February – Kickin’ Back Pants

March – Easy Linen Shirt (okay, I didn’t make this, but the post is a round up of my favorites)

April – Treasure Pocket Pants

Sewing for Boys Sew Along – Treasure Pocket Pants

The April pattern for the Sewing for Boys Sew Along was the Treasure Pocket Pants. This made me happy, because I bought fabric for these a while back, and was anxious to get started on them. I think they turned out adorable.

I love the details on these pants. The side pockets, the faux fly, the cuffs, the double elastic in the waistband, the seam finishes.  This pattern is actually one of the reasons I bought the book.

A view of the waistband and faux fly is below. I didn’t get any pictures with the cuffs rolled up, darn it.

So let’s talk about the pattern.  If you plan to sew these, there is a pattern piece that is incorrectly sized  in the book. Go to this website (under the downloads tab) to print off the new pattern piece.

These pants have the most unusual construction techniques. There is the strange looking pattern piece for the front that had me wondering, “what the…?”  but eventually lead to the genius, and so very cute, faux fly.

And then there are the pesky side panel pieces, one of which is the incorrectly sized piece. I don’t think my problem was so much the pattern pieces, as something strange in the way that I read the instructions about attaching the side panel pocket to the side panel top. This is what I ended up with.

Grrrr. My completed side panels were about 1 to 1 1/2 inches too short. I ended up lining all the panels up at the waist, and using a rotary cutter to even up the bottoms, which isn’t a problem for me because my kid is short. But it did lead to problems down the road with the circumference of the hem facing piece being way too short.

But overall, I adore these pants and already have the fabrics picked out for a pair for my younger son. I think I might mess with the pattern pieces for the side panels, though, and create a piece that runs the entire length of the pants, and a pocket piece which attaches on top of it, which seems more intuitive to me.

Like this post? Check out my other Sewing for Boys Sew Along Projects:

January – Raw Edged Raglan Tee

February – Kickin’ Back Pants

March – Easy Linen Shirt (okay, I didn’t make this, but the post is a round up of my favorites)