Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Sewing


I don't usually sew Christmas gifts. I often will knit Christmas gifts, but that didn't happen this year, for a variety of reasons. Several days ago I was evaluating the gifts I'd purchased for my daughters for Christmas and I realized it was scant offerings this year, especially considering that I didn't knit any hats, scarves, or wrist warmers.

So, at the last minute, I decided to sew something. I rarely sew for my daughters. Probably the biggest reason is to avoid frustration. They are both very choosy about style, fit, pattern, and color. Particularly about fit. It's just easier to buy them clothing or, better yet, let them buy their own.

But I decided to bite the bullet and hope for the best. I spent a lot of time anxiously considering various options. I wanted to use stash and/or remnants for everything. I measured each of them when they visited on separate occasions. (I know they are expecting jammies this year, so I hope they won't be disappointed.)

I was very surprised that the girls (at 20 and almost-18 years old) have virtually identical measurements, though the oldest is 2 inches taller. Yay! That was very considerate of them.

I poured through my small pile of Burda pattern magazines. I scoured my stash for multi-sized patterns that might accommodate them, but still be youthful and current. (Even if my girls shared my aesthetic, which they don't, most of my patterns are in a range that is too large for them.)

I wanted the outfits to believably mimic RTW and be coordinated - no point in sewing fashion orphans. I poured through various RTW websites intended for the young, such as Delias, Urban Outfitters, and Zara, to make sure I wasn't off base in my ideas.

In the end, I decided on a wrap skirt (#128) from the Sept 1994 issue of Burda (size 38) and a Jalie Sweetheart Top (size S). For the two skirts, I had some stretch denim remnants from my recent spate of skinny pants sewing, though I really had to work it to get the skirt out of the tiny piece of blue flocked fabric and ended up piecing the waistband. In my stash, I had some nice viscose/lycra (in black) and rayon/lycra (in eggplant) - each fabric coordinates with one of the skirts.

I made the skirts on Thursday and Friday evenings, after work. I made the two tops on Saturday. What quick, satisfying sewing! (So this is what it's like to just sew right from the envelope!) From my stash I had snaps (I love to use my SnapSetter tool) and closures for the skirts. I had tried sewing the black denim skirt with contrast gold top-stitching, but didn't like the result and spent an hour ripping it out.

Amusing aside: I had one small spool of eggplant thread in my stash. I'm sure this old style Dual Duty spool was from my mother's cache. I neglected to notice as I was winding the bobbin that it used up almost the entire spool. Not wanting to head to the fabric store two days before Christmas for a spool of thread, I sewed most of the top using a "close enough" brown thread in the needle and saved the eggplant thread for where it would show, such as the hems, top-stitching, and attaching the bust elastic. I have more of the eggplant fabric, so I'd better buy more of this color!

We celebrate our Christmas on the 24th, so I am crossing my fingers that these outfits will fit and they will like them! (Though, in full disclosure, I only attached the snaps and skirt closures to the right side of the skirts. This way I can have them put them on, mark the correct positions, and quickly attach the other halves.)

I was happy with both patterns and think that the Jalie top is especially cute. It's a bit fussier to sew, with it's 1/4" seam allowances and small pattern pieces, than a normal tee, especially with these flimsy non-stable knits, but is not too bad.

The only change I made on the Jalie pattern was to the little band on the front. Because of the vertical elastic, the band on top flopped a bit, so I sewed out a small wedge of fabric so it would lie flat. The photos show what it looks like:

For the skirt, I omitted the pocket and contrast top-stitching.

I hope you have a nice Christmas, if you celebrate. For me, I have the week off between Christmas and New Years. My sewcation begins on Dec 25th as the kids spend the day with the other side of the family.

Ready, set, SEW!

57 comments:

  1. Shams, they will love those outfits! Merry Christmas!
    Margaret

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lucky girls! Enjoy your time with them AND your sewcation

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow! I"d say you have two lucky girls -- those outfits are adorable. I hope they like them -- and don't see them on your blog post beforehand. I sure wish I could sew like you. Happy Holidays.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Pamela! Neither daughter has an interest in my blog. :)

      Delete
  4. Love the closures on the skirts! Mind sharing the source?

    Hope you have a great celebration...they should love those outfits!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Andib, these were all purchased, some time ago, at Britex. The black closures were left over from a jacket I made. The round hooks were purchased for the same project, but not used. I think. I know they were purchased for some project and unused.

      Delete
  5. What great gifts. Both outfits are lovely and I too love the skirt closures. Very youthful looking. I am sure your daughters will love them. Maybe we might get to see some pictures of them wearing them??

    ReplyDelete
  6. Really cute! How fun to have young people to sew for. Enjoy your sew cation. Looking forward to seeing the results.

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a lovely personal gift, both outfits looks fabulous. Season's greetings and happy sewcation Shams!

    ReplyDelete
  8. So cute, how can they not love these outfits? I had to smile, you are one of the few people I know that has issues of Burda from the 90's. I do too. There are some great classic styles, like the skirt pattern you used, in those old issues

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wishing you a very happy and wonderful Christmas. Hope you have a very productive sewcation!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh, my gosh! I forgot to say...
    Those outfits are wonderful! Hope that your daughters love them - they should.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Those look great! The girls had just better like them.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Love the looks! Happy, sexy and sweet...Lucky girls :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. I know about sewing for daughters but I think you've nailed these pieces. I'm sure your daughters will adore these. Merry Christmas to you too!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Shams, I love to read your blog. You post the nicest stuff. Love your style, and I'm hoping your girls will love the skirts and tops. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
    Ilse

    ReplyDelete
  15. Very cute. I hope they love them! I sew for my daughter once in a while and it is really nice to not have to make so many changes to a pattern. If only we were so lucky!!
    Merry Christmas.

    ReplyDelete
  16. If they don't like them, and I can't see how they won't, just send them my way. What's not to love?!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Ah, a mother's love manifested, and by a mother whose caring and skill created beautiful, feminine outfits for her lovely daughters. Would all daughters were so blessed.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Beautiful gifts for your daughters! BTW - I do that little wedgy-thingy in all v neck knit tops. Copied from RTW. Happy holidays to you! luckylibbet aka Heather

    ReplyDelete
  19. Shams, I think you chose really well in both fabrics and patterns. The outfits are definitely current, love them both. I totally get what you mean about the frustration of sewing for your daughters. I only sew for mine anymore if she asks. Merry Christmas, and Merry Sewcation!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. You are one talented mama! The girls will love the outfits - I love the outfits and especially the skirt closures. Wherever did you find such nifty ones?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, ReAnn. The closures are from Britex, but not recently.

      Delete
    2. Waetcher's had the bottom-style hooks on-line, and they may still be available.

      Delete
  21. I can understand the minefield you are courageously walking, since my 22-year old daughter is very strong in her opinions. You've made really useful pieces so your girls can create their own looks. I hope they fall in love with your beautiful and savvy gifts.

    ReplyDelete
  22. P.S. you can sew for me any day and I'll be sweetly grateful!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Wow! Please adopt me!
    Seriusly. Your daughters are going to love it!I know how you feel about unselfish sewing, it can easily become a frustrating activity.
    We are celebrating Christmas on the 24th too(That´s called "Noche Buena"), at dinner, and then again tomorrow at luch, hey! this is Spain!
    Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Way to go mom! These are gorgeous outfits! And judging by the style and the size of the dress maker's dummy, I can hazard a guess that your daughters are gorgeous too!
    Have a Happy Christmas and New Year!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love those tops! My mom used to sew for me and we both enjoyed it a lot. Hope your girls know how very lucky they are! Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Lucky girls.. Merry Christmas darling, enjoy your sewcation

    ReplyDelete
  27. I agree with Shelley, your daughters are very lucky girls! Both outfits are gorgeous! Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Your girls will look gorgeous in their new outfits. How could they not like them? Very of the moment!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Those are both very upscale and fabulous outfits. Of course, your daughters will love them. Nice sewing. Merry Christmas. Enjoy your sewing vaca.

    ReplyDelete
  30. These are both adorable little outfits, both pieces! and I am sure your daughters will be wild for them! Merry Christmas shams; I hope you had a lovely day (have?) and that the sewing break is rewarding... may your bobbin never run out!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Lovely outfits for your daughters Shams. I wish you a very merry Christmas Eve and Day, and enjoy your time off work to sew!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Your girls are going to love their presents! Oh to be young enough to wear skirts that short : )

    ReplyDelete
  33. Super cute -- your daughters will love their new outfits! Have a wonderful holiday with your family and have a fun sewcation this week!

    ReplyDelete
  34. I agree, super cute. and you shopped from your stash - double bonus. Merry Christmas and enjoy your sewcation.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Great outfits. I bet they'll love them. Enjoy your day together and have an absolutely fabulous sewcation. That's a REALLY great gift. All the best in 2013.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Answering your question about my top, it's a rayon/poly knit with considerable stretch. Thanks for the compliment!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Love the outfits! Your daughters had *better* appreciate them! Amazing that older Burda pattern is still very current. Though you of course gave them your own twist with the cool closures.

    Wishing you and yours a Happy Holidays!!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Awesome job, as always! Amazingly enough, this year my nearly 18 year old and 21 year old son are finally starting to appreciate that mom sews - and both asked for help designing (and mom-ufacturing) things for themselves & their girlfriends. Said girlfriends, by the way, would have squealed with delight by being gifted with the clothing you made for your daughters.

    I'm sure at some point this will expand into new categories (like, wives & grandchildren), but for now I'm content. Hopefully I can get some of the photos of finished items up on my blog before I head out to my OWN parents' home for the holiday week. :)

    ReplyDelete
  39. Shams, your daughters' outfits are just too cute and tiny. Your precious daughters will look adorable in them, and hopefully, they'll approve. Hope your holiday is a wonderful one.

    Karendee

    ReplyDelete
  40. Great job, oh brave one. I know what you mean about daughters and fit!
    Have a great holiday.

    ReplyDelete
  41. My daughters are close in age to yours. I rarely sew for them because I can't stand garments that I have slaved over being worn once or twice. Love what you made for them.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Lucky girls! Hope the outfits were hits. Look great to me.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Thank you for sharing these cute outfits. I really like both of them. The fastenings for the solid skirt are way cool!

    I hope you've had a fabulous day with family. Be sure to get a good night's rest so you can hit the sewing room running tomorrow!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Lucky girls, cute outfits! Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  45. These are awesome. Really, what's not to like? Would it be stretching it to ask for a picture of them wearing? Thank you . Rhonda M.

    ReplyDelete
  46. You did a bang-up job on those two outfits. The tops and skirts are both so cute and understated, that I hope they would fit nicely into your girls' wardrobes. My sewing stay-cation starts tomorrrow, whoopee!
    Merry Christmas and thank you for your friendship throughout the year.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Adorable outfits and so RTW in the very best sense! I have a 23 year old and wouldn't sew for her without consultation. Please report back on the their reactions!

    Kathleen

    ReplyDelete
  48. Really cute! I'm sure they were a big hit :)

    ReplyDelete
  49. Beautiful! I've made a couple of mini-skirts recently and I love the snaps you've used on the two skirts-where did you find them?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, theperfectnose! Do you mean the snaps or the closures? The snaps are from Snap Source, maker of the SnapSetter (snapsource.com). I've purchased some online and some in stores, such as Stone Mountain & Daughter, so I have an array of colors/styles, all in size 24. The closures are from Britex, but not purchased recently.

      Delete
  50. I guess you don't need another compliment but this is a fabulous coat. I love the fabric and what you did with it. Such attention to detail.
    My girls are 22 and 24 and don't see the point of sewing because they can buy off the rack and things fit perfectly. When I was their age I sewed a lot of my own clothes because I didn't have any money to buy off the rack.. Maybe some day they will decide they want to learn how. Love the outfits you made for your daughters so cute.

    ReplyDelete