Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Done: Bicycle appliqué cashmere cardigan with matching hat refashion

Cashmere Baby Cardigan with Bike Appliqué and Matching Hat

Four years ago I picked up two lovely, soft — and totally shapeless — cashmere cardigans at a thrift store for a few dollars each, with the vague dream of refashioning/upcycling them into warm and snuggly baby leggings for my then-tiny daughter.

Those snuggly leggings never came to be... but I thought a cashmere cardigan and matching hat would make a perfect baby gift for a bicycle-loving knitterly (i.e. unafraid of handwashing) friend of mine who had her baby girl last week, and so here we are:

Cashmere Baby Cardigan with Bike Appliqué and Matching Hat

The basics


Fabric: A cut-up thrifted Lord and Taylor two-ply cashmere pullover sweater, plus some scraps of blue bamboo knit and some turquoise wool felt for the appliqué. Much better than buying actual cashmere yardage, since I could repurpose the ribbing as well.

Notions: Embroidery floss, fusible webbing (part of my dwindling Lite Steam-a-Seam 2 packet), colorful snaps from Sew Baby, petersham ribbon from Pacific Trimming.

Size: Medium (3-6 months) for the sweater, and I just eyeballed the hat size to match.

Here's what the adult sweater looked like before I cut into it:

First #sewcation project: appliquéd cashmere baby jackets from repurposed adult-size sweaters. #sewingforbabies #sewing

Inspiration: I knew the gift had to be bicycle-themed, because my friend and her husband are the kind of people who manage to squeeze five bikes into their 1-bedroom Brooklyn apartment. (All of which they ride, frequently). I cut my appliqué design out freehand based on this cute little T-shirt from Mini Boden:

Modifications: No modifications, but I'm embarrassed at how much unpicking was involved in both of these items—somehow I managed to attach the collar wrong twice, and the ribbed hem too.

Construction notes: The cardigan is simple, if you actually pay close attention to the instructions, which I apparently did not. SO. MUCH. UNPICKING. OF. SERGER. THREADS. I did 90 percent of this project on the serger, reasoning that would keep the fine-knit cashmere from unraveling better than the machine.

The embroidery bit was super fun—I fused the little wool felt shapes to the cardigan with fusible webbing, then just played around with some back stitches and running stitches.

Cashmere Baby Cardigan with Bike Appliqué and Matching Hat

I initially put a bike wheel on the hat, but it looked odd and I replaced it with a heart:

Cashmere Baby Cardigan with Bike Appliqué and Matching Hat

Finally, I wrapped the wee soft things in some of my daughter's extra artwork (with her permission), and tied them with a bit of leftover yarn—so much more fun than commercial wrapping paper and ribbon, am I right?

Cashmere Baby Cardigan with Bike Appliqué and Matching Hat

Hmmm... I kinda want to make a matching set for my baby-to-be now with the remaining cardigan, a nice red cabled knit — they could wear them when they play together.

P.S. I am happy to report that my daughter's scheme for a handmade mermaid fairy superhero doll with a big curly purple Afro is well underway—we designed the pattern together and she's mostly sewn and stuffed—all she needs now are a few finishing details. More to come soon!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ghostbusters family Halloween costumes/cosplay—with all four Ghostbusters represented!

Who ya gonna call? All 4 of us in our #Ghostbusters #Halloween costumes. We had a little #foodallergy friendly party at Z's school and handed out little toys and safe treats.

Oh goodness, it's been quiet over here. I'm 31 weeks pregnant now, and have been in bed for two weeks with a horrid painful sinus infection I can't take any serious medications for (I'm doing Tylenol, hot/cold compresses, saline nasal rinses and the like, but obviously steroids are not an option and I don't want to mess with antibiotics while pregnant either).

BUT I wanted to pop in to belatedly share the fun we had a few weeks ago in our Ghostbusters Halloween costumes:

My 2 favorite #Ghostbusters: @whatmashekadid and Ms. Z.

I actually broke several sewing machine needles on these costumes, even though they aren't of course totally sewn from scratch. But I had to tighten up the size large flight suit for myself as I was swimming in it. I took the arms in by about two inches of width each, and the legs by about four inches each (they were HUGE)... and I accidentally sewed over a zipper in the process.

The elbow pads were also from scratch—a lot of Ghostbusters cosplayers buy volleyball or judo knee pads and spraypaint them gray, but I figured it'd be easier to just take some gray doubleknit I had lying around and make my own little pattern. A few more broken needles ensued:

Last-minute slapdash #Halloween costume #sewing: kid-sized improvised #Ghostbusters elbow pads.

But so worth it, right?

On her way to school in her complete #Ghostbusters Stantz #Halloween costume. I broke 2 needles #sewing those elbow pads last night but so worth it for the joy on her face. Containment unit is a vintage 1980s toy my aunt still had in her basement.

The containment unit she's holding is a vintage toy loaned from my cousin, by the way.

Anyway, these costumes were relatively simple and low on the actual sewing. We just bought:

We did MEAN to make some ghost traps (video tutorial here) and proton packs and PKE meters, but didn't manage to finish them in time... and apparently it didn't matter, as we got tons of compliments at Z's preschool Halloween party and while walking out and about in the neighborhood—a lot of people started signing the song when they saw us! (We didn't actually go up to any houses, since Z is so allergic to nuts, peanuts, eggs, dairy, and everything else found in most Halloween candy, but we had fun ogling all the cool displays.)

In case you're wondering how the heck my four-year-old daughter even decided she wanted to be a Ghostbuster for Halloween, it started when my husband when to a Ghostbusters 30th anniversary art exhibit at Gallery 1988 and came home with this Ghostbusters New York Service Map art print by Anthony Petrie:

She was really intrigued by it, so we let her watch a few episodes of The Real Ghostbusters on YouTube and she became a bit obsessed and decided to be a Ghostbuster for Halloween. (She also loved the movie, but don't think I will let her watch it again—it has some rather risqué scenes and a good bit of swearing).

My sewing machine is in the repair shop now, but when she comes back I have some doll sewing plans (Z wants a curly-haired brown-skinned mermaid fairy superhero doll for Christmas, and no such thing actually exists in any store), and I have an almost-complete baby sweater to show as well!

OK, back to bed for me!

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