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

Capsule Wardrobe: cycling knickers

I adjusted a pants pattern to make some knickers for cycling. The stretchy fabric was a challenge, especially on vertical seams. I struggled with the zipper installation, and the waistband, and regret not using a stronger fusible interfacing. They came out wearable, and comfortable, and ok. A great practice garment I think.


My precision top stitching is lost among the threads, because black matched too well. Ah maybe next time I will be bold and choose a more vibrant color. You can see there is lots of room for movement in these knickers.


The fabric is a wool blend, clearly with more lycra than was best. When you purchase ready to wear knickers, they are a thin strong poly lycra something or other. The fabric is tough, feels tough, and has mechanical if not actual stretch to them. They have paneling in the seat, presumably for comfort of movement. I want to design/find a pattern that works well to make better cycling pants. I want to have paneling in the seat so I can either add two layers of fabric where you sit on your bike seat, or some other type of strengthening of fabric to that area.


The small grey tag is reflective fabric, just a hint of the purpose of these pants. I made the pockets with some quilting cotton, a blue background with multicolored bike and traffic signs. Also you can see the beautiful texture of thee fabric in the below picture, showing you the pocket bags.


With my extra bits I whipped up a matching pair for my kiddo. While he does love the pants and was very excited to have them, he dislikes sitting still for posed pictures.


He does look so much like his father sometimes it’s shocking. The merino wool v-neck I made him earlier this year looks smart with these pull on summer “shorts.” The pattern is a bermuda shorts pattern from Ottobre, of course.


So far, I am very happy with my capsule wardrobe. My hubs looks good and likes his new clothes, and it’s fun to see him wearing clothes I make. I have until the end of May to finish the capsule wardrobe; only 3 pieces left. Let’s see if I can remain focused!


Recently I have a few fun makes already shared on Instagram. May I first present the whale dress. This was my intentional wearable muslin, as I practiced the pattern and the techniques. This is a Korean import I purchased a long time ago, waiting for the perfect use. My darling niece loved it so much!

bird and bicycle sewing dress ottobre designs

Secondly, here is the Orphan Annie dress. I made this in a stretch woven. The fabric came from District Fabrics in Fremont, a steal at $5 a yard. The white accents I picked up from Joanns. I lined it with shell fabric for the bodice and a non stretch light weight cream colored mystery fabric from the stash. It was lovely on the darling birthday girl.

bird and bicycle sewing dress ottobre

I learned a great deal making a fully lined woven fabric dress with invisible zippers. Practice makes perfect they say. I still have trouble with zippers and annoyingly I get the best results with hand basting it hand stitching them in. My only complaint about making garments is all the hand work. My left thumb was broken in a bike accident years ago and doesn’t work the best, and my right hand gets tired quickly. I do most work by machine.

Recently, too, I have been involved with family events. I had a two week break where I couldn’t sew. I used this time to purchase some new goodies. Let me share! I rarely pick up such fun and lovely things.

I picked up these two patterns from Nancy’s Sewing Basket. I love the jacket a great deal, and the”easy” label made me snatch up the dress too. My experience with the child’s dress above clearly is giving me a new found hope/love for woven textiles.

bird and bicycle sewing

This fabric came from an unexpected trip to Pendelton Woolen Mills. They are having a crazy sale through March! Their prices are through the roof, but you can feel the quality when you touch their fabrics.

This silk I adore. I bought one yard from sew expo two years ago now, and they had it on clearance for $9/yard. Silk! The color is a seafoam really, with white and pale yellow too. I am thinking a long sleeved blouse. The pattern seems to go one way but I am hoping it will work the other as well. I haven’t sewn silk, so this will be a lovely challenge later this fall.

bird and bicycle sewing

This fabric was brilliant. Pendleton is known for wool. They had 40% off most of their wools. I picked up a coat weight grey, hoping to use it for the coat pattern above. The vibrant flannel is pretty intense, but my son loved it. I can deny him nothing. He will be getting a lovely wool flannel shirt for next fall, for kindergarten. It is a large print, so hopefully he will grow a bit before then!

bird and bicycle sewing

Well, now that my kid is asleep and I can sew, I must be diligent. I am working on the capsule wardrobe for my bicycling husband. In exchange he is designing me a beautiful logo for some woven labels! So fancy! I hope you are all enjoying this winter turned spring and getting some time to enjoy the weather!