the flannel that took forever

all snapped up the plaid flannel shirt by bird and bicycle

The lovely and talented Kelly Hogaboom inspired me to make a lovely flannel for my kiddo. When I saw one of her’s (she has made the pattern many times) it reminded me of when I ran around town wearing a giant, quilted plaid logger’s jacket. I wore it until it had holes and literally was falling to pieces. It was a XXL of my father’s when I was only 13, so I was a bit ridiculous. I’d share photos but I really hope that none actually exist!

the sleeves are long in the plaid flannel shirt by bird and bicycle

It was a bit tricky as I was struggling to make the pattern big enough for some growing room, but my little man’s rib cage is gigantic for his small body. His dad is 6’5 and tall and lean, and I am 5’5 short and stocky. I keep really hoping he will be more tall and less wide! So I may have made it a little too big, but he will grow right? He is tucking his hands up in this photo though, it’s not that big! He likes long sleeves.

I have mad plaid matching skills. Here is the under arm to prove it.

plaid matching

He hasn’t taken it off since I put the snaps on. I may make him another one with a lining, which was my original intent, or even add a quilted layer in the middle for some warmth during our chilly days. This vintage pattern has a lovely and easy to construct collar too. I like it!

bird and bicycle logo


cuff and snap and sleeve placket on bird and bicycle's plaid flannel shirt


smiles in flannel plaid shirt

My Lady Skater Hack: Hoodie Style

Bird and Bicycle in lady skater pattern hack

I am very proud of a recent make for myself and felt like I would quickly write down my process for adding a hood to a knit dress. It all comes from this picture I saw on twitter by KirstyTeaCat one night, and I knew I had to have a hoodie dress. I took a screen capture, added it to my pinterest, and daydreamed about it. It is Butterick 4416, and likely hard to find although I didn’t even look.

Awesome butterick pattern inspiration

Next came a Curvy Collective Facebook Event. I wanted to attend the Very Curvy Sewing Celebration and Melizza and I had made a sewing date (kinda on accident on the same day.) We both decided we would focus and whip up a new dress to celebrate! I had two evenings to make a dress. I had to choose something I had already fit so it came down to the Lady Skater or the Myrtle. I love them both so much! My husband advised me well and I choose the pattern that I knew needed no alterations. The Lady Skater is such an easy fun pattern! I love it! So I cut it out of a stash black sweater knit with tan hearts that I am sure was from FabricMart in 2012 maybe? Or before?

Melizza PincushionTreats and Bird and Bicycle celebrating a Very Curvy Sewing Celebration

Before I decided to add a hood, I decided to play with the neckline. I raised the back neckline a bit, maybe 2″ and the front about 1.5″, redrawing the curve of the front and back bodice pieces. I sewed it all together with my serger, a little top stitching on the shoulders (reinforced with clear elastic) and I followed Gillian’s advice and used the gathering stitch on the bottom skirt to make the hem easier. I finished the cuffs with the hearts backwards on purpose because all the hearts are upside down and I wanted to look at some of them right side up. Call me whacky, but I like it. I also made the sleeves extra long and the cuffs actually cover my knuckles when pulled down all the way.

I was looking at the neckline and thinking about what to do. I googled “lady skater hacks” and found some brilliant alterations. Heather had added pleats, and some other people had added color blocks and all types of things. Then I suddenly remembered the hoodie knit dress and ba-bam! I made one.

I have been making t-shirts with hoods for my son and his pals lately, and I have sewn hoodies before, so the general shape and construction is known to me. It is not that complicated, but if you haven’t done it before maybe find a google video to watch first.

I measured my neckline so I would know how long to make the hood, and drew a rough sketch. I knew that I needed a large piece that would connect to the front of the bodice because it was still a scoop neck shape. You can just barely see the small pencil line that marks my shoulder seam. I came up with this:

Hood Pattern

I drew a giant circle, added the front scoop piece, and wished myself good luck. I cut the fabric and serged the two hood halves together. Then I finished the front edge of the hood with my coverstitch. I marked with a pin the shoulder seam (I had measured it and knew it was 5.5″ inches from the center back) and pinned it. Then I pinned it right sides together all around the neckline. I serged the hood to the neckline, and tried it on. It was darn near perfect! I was worried about stability, so I also coverstitched the hood seam to the body of the dress, keeping that seam flat.

I love how it came out! I will be pattern hacking a Comino Cap Dress skirt to the Lady Skater bodice with my drafted hood next, although who knows what whacky decisions I may do next!

Lady Skater with Hood by Bird and Bicycle

If you are nervous about drawing your own hood shape, maybe you can trace a hood pattern you already have (I love the hood from the Jalie hoodie!) and measure the neckline, and then add you own additional front piece to give it extra drape if you need more length. Ask me any questions if you have them!


Bird and Bicycle in lady skater pattern hack

Destination: Kindergarten

I am unsure why I still blog. I don’t enjoy the process like I used to, and I feel the absence of that former joy. So when I finally get around to blogging, there is mixed emotions that result in a more tumultuous experience.

However, with Fall comes school and my son entering public school and kindergarten. Growing like a weed, as they say, has made new pants a necessity. I decided to sew him a small capsule like wardrobe “Destination: Kindergarten” mostly (entirely?) using Ottobre patterns as I prefer too. I started with the need of jeans, and will move onto more fun items this week I hope.

I started with an extensive list of desired patterns and made a second list on the back of my maybe items. One is a fully lined jacket, which I haven’t done before. This is a huge maybe, as I really want to bust through my stash to keep it manageable. All of these fabrics are from stash, which is nice.

My first make was a pattern I have done before, and had to trace the 116cm size. The Charles L. stretch denim jeans. I just love these. This time, I didn’t muck with the pattern at all and it came out just perfect. Sometimes I will adjust the rise or things to attempt to get a better fit, but really these jeans will hopefully last 9 months, from now until next summer. With an adjustable elastic waist, stretch denim, and a mock zipper fly, they are plenty comfortable.

I have forgotten which t-shirt pattern I used, as they have many many different ones. However, this one is a basic t-shirt and I whipped up two. A yellow and black hello kitty print and a really awesome Marine Sea Life knit I bought from Europe (where are the really great children fabrics are from.)

He loves his new clothes of course! The jeans fit great. The red are particularly awesome, with amazing top stitching despite being impossible to tell with matching red thread. The teal pair I went a little crazy on, and added rivets and fun white top stitching. They look great from a distance, but my triple stitch wasn’t lining up correctly. My machine may need a professional to check her out. I have been doing all my own machine maintenance and full cleanings for a couple years. While I love that I can do that, this is the only stitch I can’t get to line up and look right. It could be user error though!

I took a small break and made my husband a new McCalls pattern men’s active wear shirt. The fabric is so soft and so amazing. It is a medium-to-heavy thick wicking knit from the always awesome Seattle Fabrics. It has an almost brushed inside, like a french terry with little loops? It makes it great on the skin, but a mo-fo for top stitching. Seriously. I stitched and picked out a sleeve seam at least 3 times before I gave up and made bindings.

bird and bicycle men's activewear shirt, pattern from mccalls

He seems to like it, and it will do well in the fall when we are biking in cooler temperatures. Next time, I will fiddle with the arms and shoulder connection, and see what I can do about those folds. They seem a bit necessary though, when he stretches up and around they disappear. So I will have to double check.

Last item to report, is the most perfect pair of jeans to date. I have been posting them on instragram because I am so dang proud of these.

Seriously. There may be faults, I may see a few mistakes or where my individual lines don’t meet up perfectly, but these are so polished I would wear them myself. The elastic back waistband isn’t adjustable, though I did add in interior buttonholes so I could add in elastic if I end up needing too. I steamed the heck out of the back elastic after stitching them in and it shrunk up beautifully. The top stitching on the waistband I had to do two times, and you can’t see it because I used dark thread and stitched in the ditch, but I also top stitched the back of the waistband too. The dark stretch denim is gorgeous, I think I got it from Pacific Fabrics or District Fabrics, but I can’t recall anymore. I wish I had more of it!

The gold top stitching thread is my favorite part. Or maybe the lines along the mock zipper. Or maybe the front slash knee patches. Or maybe the back pockets. I love it all!

And most importantly, so does he!

bird and bicycle stretch denim jeans pattern by Ottobre Designs