Monday, May 16, 2011

Kids Clothes Week -Banjo Suit!

All done!  I didn't have a chance to write about this yesterday.  I have been participating in Elsie Marley's Kids Clothes Week Challenge, which means that I committed one hour (at least) each day to sewing clothes for MY kid.
It was so fun! 
I finished just one little outfit for Arjun, but I am VERY proud of it!  Lately, I have not been sewing anything other than knits, so these tiny pants were a challenge for me and I really learned a lot.  I am so, so terrifically excited about topstitching that I am already planning more of these little shorts.  They are so cute on my boy!

To summarize:
Arjun and I read a lot of books.  A current favorite of both of ours is this one:
In which a little boy named Banjo chases his dinner all over town after it gets up and runs away.  Banjo wears a shirt with a star on it in this book (and in this one - which we also love.)
I'll be making an orange sleeved star shirt next.  With some non-matching blue corduroy shorts.  Arjun likes to dress like the characters in his books.
Here's how Banjo looks in The Runaway Dinner:
 And here's how Arjun looks dressed in his Banjo suit:

Thanks for the challenge and the motivation!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Kids Clothes Week Day 6

 I finished stitching Arjun's "Banjo" shirt tonight.

 Check out my very professional looking hems!

I'll put the whole story together tomorrow.  The shirt is washing and shrinking at the moment.  I can't wait to show it to my sweet little Lovebird tomorrow.  I think he's really going to love it!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Kids Clothes Week Days 4 and 5

On to the Banjo Shirt!
 I used freezer paper and pewter colored fabric paint to stencil a star on white jersey.
 I haven't decided yet whether I will make the neckband white to mimic the one in the illustration...

or is it blue?  or should it be orange?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Kids Clothes Week Day 3

The little pants are finished.  I've tossed them in the laundry.  I think they will crinkle nicely....
Man!  Did I learn a lot about my serger!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Kids Clothes Week Challenge Day 2

Well, I cut the tiny pieces for Arjun's Banjo pants out of deep pink and bright orange corduroy.  Modifying and changing the pattern as I snipped.

As I was cutting, I was thinking about the order of operations.  I will be using my new serger and learning how to use it as I go.  I'll be able to do decorative overlock stitches and reinforced seams.  I've never done those before.  Nervous and excited!
I am particularly excited about the shape of the pocket flaps, but when I realized that I wanted to line them and that the box containing my fun woven fabrics was in the room that Arjun is sleeping in I decided it was time for bed.  An hour (+?) well spent!

Actually, now that I study the color blocks, I think I need to go back up and cut orange pieces for the top back areas.  It should accentuate and add grace to the curve of the flaps.  Just a few more minutes?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Kids Clothes Week Challenge

Yep.  I am participating in Elsie Marley's Kids Clothes Week Challenge.  Which means that I am committing to sewing for Arjun one hour each day for seven days.  Why not?  It's not like I don't have a million other things to do!  Actually, I love being way-too-busy and there are some things that I have been wanting to make for Arjun anyway.
Arjun and I read 4-6 books a night before he goes to sleep and he usually likes to read a favorite book several nights in a row before we can put it back on the shelf and swap it for another.  Sometimes he even likes to read the same book several times in a row before we can move on to the next.
One of his current favorites is The Runaway Dinner by Allan Ahlberg.
In which a little boy named Banjo chases after his dinner after it gets up from his plate and runs away.
Arjun likes his clothes.
 He wants me to make him a white star shirt with blue sleeves.  He already has a yellow star shirt with blue sleeves that I made him before we ever even discovered this book.  Now he wants a white one.  Like Banjo's.  And he wants pink shorts.  With pockets.
I already have the fabric picked out for the shorts - which will actually be pink and orange because I don't want to copy the picture exactly....I will most likely modify the shirt a bit too since that's what I do.
I used a basic pants pattern from Ottobre Magazine - which I LOVE.  And which starts out looking like this:  

Which scares most people - including me.  You have to trace out the pattern amidst all of the other patterns that are tangled up and layered on top of the one you want - which is actually not quite as difficult as it seems.  
 I like for my patterns to have body to them so I laid the tracing paper version on top of thicker paper and cut both layers at once.
 I made a prototype to check lengths and widths.  Good thing too, since it will need significant adjusting and I won't want to miscut my deep pink corduroy.

Arjun posed for me!  When I asked him to stand up, sit down and turn around...he did!  He understands now that he can see the pictures of himself after I take them and it interests him.  Lucky for me!  I took these pictures with my phone.  I'll do better when there is more to see....

Sunday, May 8, 2011

There is beauty in sorrow.

I read this morning that the Hyacinth flower is a symbol of sorrow.  Last fall, Arjun and I planted Grape Hyacinth bulbs in remembrance of someone that I miss daily.  Someone whose values, integrity, creativity, curiosity, generosity, sense of humor and sense of responsibility I admired - greatly.  I am hoping that those values will be passed on to Arjun.  Perhaps it skips a generation....

To me the hyacinths represent also the loss of another person whose integrity and ability to make responsible decisions seem to have slipped away with the passing of his father.  I mourn two losses at once.  I feel them deeply, I feel them every single day.  This sorrow is one of many sources of motivation I draw on in my constant effort to provide Arjun with the tools he will need to become a confident, creative, compassionate being.  Arjun himself is a true inspiration to me.  I celebrate his existence in everything I do.

The first surprise he had planned for me this Family Day morning was a picnic tea party.   By candlelight, of course.
Actually, we didn't have anything planned for today, so we took turns choosing activities.
After our tea party we went for a run with the stroller to see the newly hatched chickens at my school.  Arjun really likes chickens.  Next Arjun chose to play with the slide and the climber where we began to collect bits for our contact paper picture.  We searched in the park and strolled through the woods.

When our picture was finished we took turns photographing it in different ways.

Arjun fell asleep during the run home and napped in the stroller while I did yoga in the garden.
We went to see Rio in 3D and are now waiting for our lasagne to bake.
Who is luckier than me?
I love my boy!  Thanks for a great day My Love!

Happy Mother's Day to all!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Learning to batik

I am learning to batik.  There is so much to learn!  My most recent inspiration comes from here, but I have been interested in batik for as long as I can remember. My first attempt was when I was 5 years old and I still remember how the hot wax smelled!
Arjun and I are crazy about dragons these days and we pretty much do not want to wear any shirts that do not have dragons on them.  Kate made these shirts for us and we love, love, LOVE them!

At first, I washed them the moment we took them off of our bodies so that we could wear them again as soon as possible.  Since then, I have made us a few more dragon shirts.  Arjun needed a pink one right away.... 

I have been reading this book:

and this one, but I find that most of my learning is coming from experience.  Trying, failing, succeeding and remembering....
I've been doing a screenprint/batik combo for my new dragons.

I made a screen using drawing fluid (first time) and screen filler.  I wanted the dragon to look as much like my watercolor sketches as possible.
 I screenprinted the dragon, then filled in scales, whirly breath, spirally dragon hair, longer claws with wax.  Dyed several layers with procion dye (NOT RIT!) 

My very first try.

Arjun calls this one "The green dragon with the shiny eye."

I am happy with the results so far.