Kids Clothes Week – Bobby’s Bathers Shorts

I will admit I didn’t really plan to participate in KCW this summer.  I have a bunch of other projects going on, some I am super behind on and the boy has been lukewarm on hand-mades.  Then I saw Miss Mucho’s post and I wanted to play along.  She always convinces me to do things thinking mine will turn out as great as hers.  That never happens.

For this project I used a light chambray for the main fabric and touches of some Star Wars quilting cotton I picked up at Beverly’s awhile ago.  The pattern is Bobby’s Bathers – a boys swim trucks pattern – in Sewing For Boys. I have made so many things from that book, it nearly justifies all the sewing books I have bought and never made a thing.

star wars shorts


The biggest issue I have seen so far is the fabric wrinkles very easily.  I ironed last night to take photos in the morning.  Just sitting on the dresser overnight put in that crease under Darth Vader’s pocket.



Did you see the pockets? The are fussy cuts of Darth Vader and a Storm Trooper.  Each has a velcro closure sewn in to keep important valuables (read: lego Star Wars mini-figs) inside.



Since theses were originally a swimsuit pattern, the waist has a tabbed tie closure.  I liked the pop of color. I had a difficult time figuring out where the tabs were supposed to go and ended up ripping them out and adding them back on after the shorts were sewn together, just before making the elastic casing.


There isn’t a good picture in the book of what they are supposed to look like, so I just did what made sense to me.  All the ripping and repositioning (and that my machine only wanted to make one button hole for whatever reason) resulted in a little funky sewing here but that is the joy of sewing for kids.  They really don’t care.

Pros: Fast, cute, might actually be worn, Star Wars

Cons: Wrinkled fabric, funky tabs


Well, those turned out weird

As I have mentioned before (and before and before and before) my projects don’t always work.  A lot of the time they are just weird.  It’s because I don’t follow the instructions. It’s because I take short cuts. It’s because I didn’t really understand.  In short, user error.  Every time.  I have made these pants before. Before they have worked.  This time they were weird. I’m sure it was me.  It’s always me.  Clearly they are just not long enough for the width.  BUT, here is a tip for sewing for boys: if you put a super hero on it, it doesn’t matter that the sewing is wonky. They are his favorite pants. I’ve re-sewn some seams twice now due to active use.


The grey corduroy is the same from the first installation of these pants.  I went up a size this time (4/5) so I needed to draw out a new paper pattern. I’m thinking that is where I made they mistake.  The contrast fabric is from a Marvel comics print at JoAnn’s that was 70% off.  All in all, I think I spent about 5 bucks.  Tim Gunn would not be impressed but my little guy was.  Good use of 5 bucks.

Half-way there

Years ago I made some pillow covers for some great big Ikea floor pillows. They were probably one of the first thing I ever sewed on my sewing machine.

Considering how badly sewn they were, it’s rather surprising they lasted so long.  But one kid later, the pillows are done for.

This time, the plan is to make the cases out of a basic cotton canvas and decorate with my favorite freezer paper stenciling technique.  The boy helped decide on the designs.  He clearly has a bit of Tiny Art Director in him. Many, many designs were rejected.  I did a really cute whale that was barely even considered.  So far we have finished two.  This time I have made them removable since washable is definitely a requirement for anything in this house.

The fronts:

One dinosaur

and one orca

and even nice little backs





Sewing for Boys – Project Three

Yay, three projects from the same book.  This has to be a record! It certainly means I get free reign to buy as many sewing books as I want (right, hunny?!).  I had a bit of trouble with this one.  I think if I go back and check my sizing, I’m going to find that I copied the pattern out a bit snug.  When sewing from patterns in book, I transfer the whole thing onto tissue paper from a big roll.  This way my patterns aren’t creased and folded, and I save any permanent damage to the master copies.  However, it does allow for some “human error”.  In this, I am more human than others. I can screw up almost anything.

Random side note: Shake it Out from the new Florence + the Machine album is good.  Is it just me or is there a kind of Peter Gabriel thing going on there?

Anyway, I had to rip out my side seams and make them much looser if I wanted the boy to be able to wear a t-shirt under it.  I also needed to add an extra inch and half band to the bottom for length.  I used the contrast fabric for my extra length.  I really love it like this.  That alphabet contrast is really subtle just at the neck but would be overwhelming as an all over pattern.  This little touch is perfect.

This fabric is French General from Moda.  The solid fabric has a small detail right at the edging that I loved so I made sure the arms ended right on the edge.  This means I didn’t really hem the sleeves.  They are a bit long but I was not giving up that edging.

I really love this shirt.  I learned a lot making it.  My shoulder stitches are even and clean.  There are no wonky seams.  It looks well done.  Which is totally amazing! Very, very happy with this guy.

Sewing for Boys – Second Project

Looking through the Sewing for Boys flickr group can remind you pretty quick there are a lot of very good seamstresses out there.  I, without question, am not one of them.  Not yet, at least.  I’m working on it.  That said, I love these pants.  I know they are not the best made and are a bit big (that’s ok, he grows) but they are easily the first clothing item I’ve ever made right.  Meaning, I finished all my edges, pressed all my seams, and followed the instructions.  Amazing how much better things turn out when you do that.  And when I screwed up the side panels the first time, I even ripped back and re-did it.

treasure pocket pants

These are the Treasure Pocket Pants from Sewing for Boys.  The gray fabric is a light corduroy and the side panels are a Kokka Japan print from a while back.

The big pockets are perfect for carrying dinosaurs.  Or pumpkin sitting

Lessons Learned:

  • Buy a lot more thread if you are going to finish your seams – you go through a lot
  • Finishing your seams really is a good idea
  • Don’t be lazy

Sewing for Boys – first project

Last week I bought Sewing for Boys as an impulse Amazon purchase.  Since then I have seen it make the rounds of all the sewing blogs (I didn’t even realize it was new).  It’s easy to see why.  The projects are really cute but also still rugged enough to withstand the under 5 set.  I can already tell a number of the projects are a bit above my skill level but I hope to work up to them someday.  For now, I started with the hat.

This is the “Let’s Go Fishing Hat” made out of scraps from a couple of quilts I have done.  The edges are raw and distressed which both hides lack of sewing skill (“Hi!”) and makes it a bit more rough-and-tumble.  I made my seam allowances really narrow because I didn’t believe the sizing was right.  The sizing is right, I was wrong.  Because of that I had to bring in the top of the hat a bit to fit the circle for the top piece.  Next time I will follow directions.

If I had a blackboard I would make myself write “I will follow direction – I am not smarter than the pattern” 10o times as penance.

The really cool thing: it’s reversable

So far he has worn it for 5 min all together… but that’s the way it goes with hats