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

Bicycling Capsule Wardrobe – the big finish!

And whew, I made it! I finished all 8 times before midnight, May 31st. I am proud of myself!


Here is my handsome bicycling partner in a merino wool shirt and stretch wool shorts (knickers? long shorts?) for Item 6.  Both patterns are from Thread Theory, the Strathcona Henley I color blocked for the shirt. The Jedediah pants I made into a long shorts in a stretch wool for bicycle commuting. The front slash pockets curve out a little bit, almost like slacks, but they are deep and with careful bar tack placement wallet or keys shouldn’t fall out.

stretch wool jedidiah shorts by bird and bicycle, pattern by thread theory

The back, you can just barely see my pocket topstitching. Maybe next time I will use some crazy reflective piping for some fun details for night cycling.

The 7th item are Jedediah denim shorts. A slight stretch to these, they came out perfect. I should have taken a picture of the insides, as they finish up so beautifully. Instead of following instructions and binding the waistbands from the inside, I simply folded under and tucked raw edges inside. It came out professional!

denim jedidiah shorts by bird and bicycle, pattern by thread theory

These are gorgeous shorts, and next time I may be brave and use a more obvious top stitching thread color. A nice red would go well with my red metal zipper and red bias tape tag on the back pocket.

denim jedidiah shorts by bird and bicycle, pattern by thread theory

Item 8 is the sailorish looking Paxson sweater! This is a wonderfully soft, stripe, fluffy sweat shirting. The black stripes are actually a dark denim pattern with lighter white flecks. Matching the stripes wasn’t so difficult, as the Seamwork Pattern Paxson is well designed. I will be making some slight adjustments for fit when I make a couple more  in a merino wool.

paxson sweater by bird and bicycle pattern from teamwork magazine

Well, I am happy to be done with my Sewing Seasonal Wardrobe from my Facebook sewalong group. Here is a brief recap:


Next up: kid’s summer and fall wardrobe!

Ottobre Charles Jeans

My ever growing 4 year old has a problem. He can’t keep pants up. Belts, elastic, buttons… It doesn’t matter. Like many little people he has the eternal issue of exposed underpants or worse, the embarrassing butt crack. He is always tugging at waistbands and I am always making excuses for his ill fitting attire. Clothing should never inhibit movement or make a person feel inadequate, especially a child. So I turned to my favorite and trustworthy source of amazing child sized patterns.

Ottobre Designs to the rescue!

otter charles jeans by bird and bicycle

I first made this Charles pattern last summer in a red stretch denim, but I made assumptions about his size and sewed up too large pants. By the time he grew into them, the waist was too big. I ended up ripping the back seam and removing 6″ of elastic from the back waist band. It wasn’t enough and they still hang a bit loose. So why did I use this pattern? It is a stretch denim jean with skinny legs, front and back pockets, interesting pattern blocking on the front leg, and the option of an adjustable elastic back waist. The pattern is phenomenal, and this time I would be precise about measuring! Careful construction provides comfort and movement!

I couldn’t source a stretch denim in fun colors. I went for comfort over durability and found a couple yards of stretch bottom weight in a bright green and cobalt blue from JoAnn’s. In the green below I added 1″ to the crotch rise, front and back. It provides ample coverage as you can see!

otter charles jeans by bird and bicycle

The back pockets are simple and I couldn’t resist using fun printed ribbon to make a tag. The pockets have a sharp top angle that I thought was a mistake, but once applied and put on a little boy rump, they are well balanced.

otter charles jeans by bird and bicycle

The waist came out perfect! On top of the 8″ of elastic added to the back waist band (the pattern suggested 10″ but I really need these to fit), I added button elastic inside the casing to help snug it in even tighter. It is perfect! His waist measures at 24″ but the pants measure at 20″ when the elastic is not stretched out. My boy is skinny and tall but really, kids have funny bodies. I am pretty sure his head circumference is as big as his waist.

otter charles jeans by bird and bicycle

He is actually very happy about this make (an unusual occurrence unless there is super hero fabric involved) and I believe he will like wearing them. Instead of making the front leg three pieces, I just added the middle piece on top thereby creating a durable knee patch, top stitching the piece to the front leg. Awesome! More durable!

otter charles jeans by bird and bicycle

The blue pair are gorgeous, precise stitches, perfect seams! However, after making the green pair I changed the pattern again. I added only .5″ to the back waist and curved it down to meet the front side seam. I made fake front pockets too, just for fun.

otter charles jeans by bird and bicycle

It may be hard to tell, but I ended up shortening the legs by 3″. Well, actually what I did was just make a huge, giant folded cuff I can unpick so these pants can “grow” with him!

otter charles jeans by bird and bicycle

This waist picture shows you the elastic waist application. I have made elastic waists for years but I have never done both an elastic waist with the channel of adjustable button elastic on top. It is brilliant, and should he ever grow wide again, I can always just loosen it. I wish you could see how cute these are in person! I took my time, listened to the same audio book again (The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern) and made sure my top stitching was slow and steady. These darn jeans look professional, dang it.

otter charles jeans by bird and bicycle

Well, professional except for the little tags I kept sticking everywhere.

otter charles jeans by bird and bicycle

I bribed traded him one strawberry yogurt for these photos. I think he got the better deal.

otter charles jeans by bird and bicycle

It is KCW, and if I didn’t have halloween costumes lined up and a Myrtle Dress to sew for a sewing social in November, I would make him even more! I love it when a pattern works so well! Thank you Ottobre designers! The Charles stretch jeans are perfect!

PS: If anyone can source stretch denim, a true med-heavy weight denim in fun colors, please tell me!