10 out of 10 for Sewing Happiness Quotient, 10 out of 10 for Mangled Buttonhole Quotient.
When planning your sewing, there are many factors to consider—fabric, fit, finishing, cleaning methods, how a garment will fit into your wardrobe and lifestyle...
But what about the sheer unbridled HAPPINESS factor? What about the fun details, exciting colors and passion-inspiring prints that just make you THRILLED and DELIGHTED and BURSTING WITH JOY every time you wear them?
Let's call this the Sewing Happiness Quotient. It may not be a very scientific or elegant way to evaluate your sewing projects (and could result in embellishment overload), but well, shouldn't sewing be FUN?
And these overalls--while still way too large, and somewhat imperfect in their finishing--are just PACKED with fun details that (a) made them a pleasure for me to sew and (b) make them exciting for my daughter to wear. She may look stoic in the top photo, but that's because I asked her to pose--her general reaction to these overalls is better represented here:
Anyway, for these overalls, here were the main Sewing Happiness Factors:
Mikhaela Happiness Factor: The Fabric
The overalls lining.
Have you ever loved a fabric beyond all reason, so much so that even thinking about said fabric made you ridiculously happy? Well, that's how I feel about a certain Maggy London abstract print lawn I got from Emma One Sock a few years ago.
I first used it in a reversible shirred skirt I made while hugely pregnant--but which is happily so stretchy that I wear it frequently today. And I was so excited to use the leftovers here for the overalls lining, piping, and appliqué. I think I still have enough to make a scarf...
Toddler Happiness Factor: The Cat Appliqué
I never used to understand why almost so much toddler clothing is covered in cutesy appliqués--I thought it was because adults felt an unnecessary urge to embellish their children in frou-frou nonsense. Not so! Those appliqués are for the kids! Z loves to point at the pictures on her clothes and identify them: "Butterfly!" "Cupcake!" "Hammer!" And on nights when she doesn't want to get ready for bed, my best parenting trick is a pair of appliqued pajamas:
Me: It's time to put on your pajamas!
Z: (laughs in defiance, runs around apartment squealing in diaper)
Me: They've got kitty cats on the toes!
Z: (comes to screeching halt, runs over) Kitty! Kitty!
So yeah, she loves them.
Here's an appliqué closeup (please ignore those mangled buttonholes):
The pattern: Ottobre Design Magazine 4/2010 #4. Lined "Pupu" Overalls in baby and toddler sizes:
Pattern Sizing: I cut the largest size, 92 cm (similar in size to American 3T) as I wanted these to be quite a bit too large for her to grow into. They are super big, but not so huge as to be unwearable. And she grows FAST. So I'm happy.
Were the instructions easy to follow? Better than Burda magazine, but not as detailed and helpful as pattern envelope type instructions--they don't have illustrations or anything, it's just a lot of small print. The trickiest bit was attaching the lining to the shell and turning inside out through a small gap in the lining seam--be careful to read closely here.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love that these are a really special garment in a simple silhouette with lots of details that can be played with and changed. Because of the details and lining they took ages to make-- but it was worth it.
- Shell: Soft magenta baby cord from the stash, originally purchased at Jo-Ann's for $9/yard. I barely had enough with the one yard, so I had to piece the back bib and cut small seam allowances (1/4").
- Lining/Piping/Appliqué: Awesome Maggy London printed lawn from stash, originally $10.50/yard from Emma One Sock (plus some corduroy scraps from my trousers for cat facial features).
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
- I didn't bother with the velcro front closing, as Z has no problem pulling pants on and off the ordinary way--I just cut two sets of the regular leg pieces. But I would have if making these for a baby.
- Replaced the heart-shaped back pockets with flat-piped self-drafted pockets that mimic the geometric shapes of the lining print. (My husband hated the hearts on the butt of the original).
- Replaced the bunny appliqué with a cat appliqué of my own design.
- First time making my own bias tape. I used Sarai's awesome method from the Colette Sewing Handbook.
- First time (flat) piping anything. Can't wait to do this on something for me now!
- First time applying an appliqué on a garment. I used Lite Steam-a-Seam 2 to fuse it to the bib front, which made it super easy--and meant I could just stitch down with a straight stitch and not worry about frayed edges.
- First time hand-embroidering on a garment (the whiskers). I used a split stitch and it was really fun and easy. I shouldn't have tried to hoop the corduroy, though--it left marks.
- First time fully-lining something like this (I've done free-hanging full dress linings, but this was trickier).
- First time doing decorative topstitching (on some seams and for the faux knee patches). I didn't have the right color in topstitching thread, so I used the triple reinforced stitch with mixed results (it worked well on straight lines, not so much on on the curved knee patch lines).
Room for improvement:
- Buttonhole sadness. I have the worst luck with my Viking's sensor buttonhole foot. I always interface the button area and make practice buttonholes, but something funny happened here and I had to restitch the buttonhole over itself twice... it's a mess.
- Tab weirdness. In fact, the tabs and straps just don't look right in general to me (they don't seem to quite line up) but whatever. They're toddler overalls!
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Maybe and yes. It's getting warmer, so I'll probably switch to sewing dresses for her now.
Wear to: Park. Sandbox. Playdate. Art-making. Wherever!
Conclusion: She loves them! I love them! Meow!
So--what sewing is making you happy lately?