Holly: January 2012 Archives
My first go at this one was done in a zebra minky. (I know, I know, my tastes are a little predictable!) In hindsight, minky isn't the optimal choice for this one. It's soft as can be, which is why I can't resist its siren song, but it doesn't have the ideal drape for this vest. A fur or knit with more weight, drape or cling would be fab -- that's probably why those are the fabric suggestions on the pattern!
I like the zebra version better with a belt, but if you're going the belt route, you might want to move the pocket placement down from the suggested spot or forgo them altogether. (Mine are sitting a little crooked on purpose -- I wanted to play with different levels to see which I preferred. Lower is better for me.)
I decided to make a second version out of a charcoal fleece, and I have to say, this is a seriously cozy garment, and is super cute with a belt. I am going to keep it at my desk at work for those days when the office is cold, because it will layer over almost anything I might wear.
As with many Hot Patterns downloads before it, the Baby It's Cold Outside vest gets high versatility ratings. Make it out of a floaty, light fabric and add a ribbon tie for a perfect poolside wrap. Elongate the hem and the sleeves, make a simple belt, and it's an easy light robe. Because the cut is so uncomplicated, this would be a great project to add embellishment to for a one-of-a-kind look -- I keep thinking of a repeating embroidered motif down the front edge. Print this one out and keep it handy, because you can use it again and again!
When winter's crazy weather gets you down, what do you do? Hibernate? Zone out on the couch? This winter, to overcome the cold-weather doldrums, I am making ridiculous hats that keep me warm AND make me smile. I like to run in my hats, so I make skull-cap style fleece headgear that I then add ears and other details to. This ensures a snug fit that stays put when I'm in motion. Here's the how-to:
First, you need a salad plate to make your pattern. Mine is 8" in diameter. I trace half of the plate, ending at the widest part of the circle.
Then, extend the line from the semi-circle down 2" on either side from the widest point, and connect the two resulting dots. This is the pattern for the sides of your hat. Cut two so the fabric stretches along the straight bottom edge.
You'll also need to cut a strip 5" wide by 15.75" long, so the fabric stretches across the 5" width.
The assembly is quick! Just use the long strip to join the two curved side pieces together with a 1/2" seam allowance. Try it on to check for any needed adjustments and to see how deep you want your hem. I just use a simple fold-up hem, and stretch the fleece very slightly while I sew to give it a little stretch.
You now a basic skull cap.
If you're not into whimsical animal hats, you can call it done. (I have about a dozen of these plain hats rolling around my house, for the record.) But come on! You want animal fun!
I like to just start cutting animal ears freehand,
but if you want some help with shapes, check out our Halloween ears and tails post for a few sample ear patterns. Unlike some of the patterns made for headband use, you want to leave the bottom edge of the ears open for this project.
Once your ears are cut and assembled (just a matter of stitching them together right sides together and then turn them right side out), you may want to shape them a little and baste any folds into place before you stitch them into your hat.
To place your ears, put your hat on (or on your model) and see where you like your ears. I like to mark mine with a small dot or two using a permanent marker.
Once the hat is off your model or self, use the width of your animal ear at its base to mark out a cutting line.
Snip your hat open along the line, then make the same cut on the opposite side.
Insert each ear into its opening and stitch it into place. Make sure to taper the edges of your seam into the curve of the hat, and check your stitching to make sure your ear is securely in place.
Flip your hat right side out, and get ready to model your toasty, cozy animal side!
This is a very, very simple hat, which means it's great for experimenting. Add eyes and a nose if you want a full animal face on your hat. Make a dozen different animals so you have one to match any outfit. This version is for a medium-sized adult head, but this method of making a hat is so simple that you could easily scale it down for a child. Just start with a smaller semi-circle, and measure your resulting side pieces to determine the length of your center strip. You'll also want to adjust the width of the center strip for smaller heads.
Here are a few samples of variations on this hat:
Kermit, just for giggles.
This last example is a hat I made a while back to mimic a
character from a video game. It's a little more involved, but it's all fairly simple applique.
Recreating your favorite animal is as simple as looking at pictures to determine the right ear shape, and then experimenting with your scissors and your creativity. Have at it! It's cold outside!
I have a couple of New Year's resolutions this year that involve running, and I really, really like to make original running gear. One of the ways I try to keep things interesting is by adapting knit patterns intended for day wear into active wear. I used this pattern to make three tops (so far): one for my normal day-to-day wardrobe, and two for running.
For the first top, I opted for a sparkly jersey knit in green. I love how soft and lightweight this fabric is, and the subtle shimmer gives it a visual depth that takes it beyond the tee shirt realm. The shoulder and center back of the crossover neckline option took me a little time to figure out, but once I started really looking at the instructions and the pieces of fabric in my hands, it all fell into place. I think subsequent efforts would go much more quickly. Now to decide which knits to use!
For the second version of the shirt, I went with a color-blocked top using stretch nylon jersey, which is perfect for running attire. This version goes together in a snap, and when I wore it for a 5k, two different people asked me where I bought it and then looked dejected when I told them I made it. (At moments like this, I always take the opportunity to urge people to learn to sew. We need more seamstresses in the world!)
My third effort at this pattern is my favorite, probably because it's the one I took the most liberties with. I opted to skip the collar entirely and just do a foldover edge at the neck. If you're wondering where I found that Disney princess fabric, here's a fun tip: It's a lycra bookcover I cut apart! You can find them in abundance during back-to-school time at all your big box stores, and they feature a wide array of characters and designs. I usually hit every store I can in the week after school starts, and stockpile all the cute designs I find for projects just like this.
To make my mini pockets, I cut an overlay for the triangle sections out of the princess print fabric, then used a stretch stitch to finish the top edges, which have 1/4" elastic folded into them. The pockets are small, but they securely carry an energy bar and my keys, and I can clip my iPod shuffle to the top edge. Functional and cute -- that makes me a very happy girl.
This is definitely not the last of my projects with this pattern, because I adoooooooore it. I want to make a version of it with ITY, and I will probably make at least three more for running -- which will no doubt help me keep those running resolutions!
And there's no telling what other versions I'll think of while I'm whipping those out. How about you?
For my version, I used ITY, and it was a breeze to work with -- I didn't need to edge finish my ruffles! I opted to use the knit for both the body of the tank and the ruffle accents.
I found that the armscye on this pattern runs a hair tight for my taste. It may be perfect for you -- it's great in that you get full coverage, and you won't fall victim to gaposis or risk exposing your undergarments, but I am a wiggler and I like a little more space at for my flailing at points of articulation. In the interest of full disclosure, my upper arms are not exactly svelte. Even so, it's super easy to trim the armscye just a little wider and augment the length of the binding to match, and I want to stress that this is a personal preference issue.
I altered the neck ruffle on my version as well. Because I used my knit for this detail, the weight of the fabric seemed to pull the ruffle fairly flat initially, so I added a bit of pleating.
One of the best things about this pattern is its versatility, which really encourages creativity. You can extend the neck ruffle to go all the way around the neckline. You can play with with contrasting colors for the accent pieces. You can make it in novelty knits as a pretty-as-can-be pajama top, or splurge on a luxurious Liberty of London interlock to make a really special garment. It could be a dramatic black-and-white statement piece, or a neutral everyday favorite. The correct way to make it up is any way you can think of!