Monday, October 11, 2010

Pilot Caps, Goggles & Jackets

I have now posted the pattern. Scroll down to the end of this post!

Have a young pilot-in-training in your house? I have two! For homeschool this year my sisters and I wrote a theme called "Soaring Over America." Naturally we needed pilot caps and bomber jackets for the kids to wear.

As you can see, these little aviators are equipped and ready for take off!

These inexpensive flight jackets are made from Walmart hoodies. I wanted them to have a collar instead of a hood, so I modified them a little. I like how the soft, wool-looking lining shows a little more with the collar turned down.

The pilot caps are made from thin vinyl, though they could easily be made from felt as well (I'm thinking kids' party favors for an "Up" themed birthday...)

I lined the caps for extra comfort and so I could use some cute fabric lining. Don't you love the stars?

I made the goggles out of felt with an elastic backing.

I was thinking these also make great superhero masks by themselves, but in the end I stitched the goggles to the caps so they wouldn't get lost. It also helps my two-year-old put them on easier.


Intrigued? Let me give you a hint. I made the goggles in two layers of felt to help them keep their shape better. I cut out one layer with the felt folded in half so they would be symmetrical, then sewed it onto a rectangle of felt for the second later. Not until I was finished with the sewing (well, minus the openings I left for the elastic) did I cut out the second layer. I've done this with some other projects, too. It's helps out a lot.

By the way, if you're interested in a pattern for the the caps I can post it for you. It took me some tweaking to get it the way I wanted it. I don't mind sharing. Especially with Halloween coming! *UPDATE! Pattern posted below*

I made simple initial patches for one sleeve and sewed wings patches onto the other sleeve. The idea is that the kids will earn more patches throughout the year. I even have a genuine air force wings pin for them to earn. I'm excited for that one.

Don't these look fun all ready and waiting for the boys to find them in the morning? The different colored felt and lining helps the boys easily tell which cap belongs to which kid. No fighting over them!

You can bet these will be doubling as Halloween costumes! I even made an extra cap for myself. Hmmmm... Amelia Earhart or Anne Marrow Lindbergh?

The pictures below are set up so you can easily print each on 8 1/2 x 11" paper. Cut out each picture, overlap them, then tape them together for the pattern. My kids have small heads (as do I), so you'll want to add some seam allowance. I suggest first sewing up a test cap in scrap fabric and adjusting it until you have the right fit. Use felt for a simple, quick cap, or use vinyl and a cotton lining for a fancier one. Feel free to comment or email me with questions. Maybe in the future I'll make it into a full tutorial.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sweater Vest Makeover and Tutorial

Did Brittany take up knitting? No, it's a refashion!

The boys had fun jumping and posing for the pictures. Here's what my oldest son Alexander has to say about it: "Cool, cool vests! Lincoln is watching me jump, and I'm jumping, and I like it. Lincoln is jumping cool, too."

I've had some sweater vests of mine collecting dust in my closet for quite some time. Earlier this year during Celebrate the Boy I saw that Dana made a boy's vest from a man's sweater:

Cute, isn't it? It got me thinking. So a few days ago I made my two matching sweater vests that I never wear into something my boys can wear:

That's me at Lake Tahoe a long time ago.

Since I was just changing the size of the vests instead of converting a sweater into a vest I couldn't follow the MADE tutorial exactly. Dana kept the hem of her sweater intact, whereas for me it seemed better to keep the V-neck collar, especially since I was planning on reusing all the rib-knit edges. So I started by lining up the collar of the project with one I have in the right size. (Notice the wrinkled vest? It's been folded up much too long!)

Next I started hacking away at that thing until it was the right size:

I was careful to save the rib knit sections to refinish my new little vest:

While I did keep the front V-neck intact, I had to reposition the back neck collar. I started with this, cutting off the extra rib knit. (Also, I noticed there was a stain on the outside of the back collar so I cheated and flipped it around. You can't even tell it's backwards!) One thing that helped to keep the fabric from stretching out of shape while I sewed was to stay-stitch the vest piece first. I did this around the collar, armholes, hem...and I probably should have done it on the side seams, too.

I finished off the raw edges with a zig-zag stitch (you could serge, or use whichever finishing stitch you prefer). To help the seam lie flat I topstitched the seam allowance away from the collar:

Next came the shoulder seams. Again, I topstitched the seam allowance, this time towards the back of the vest:

After the shoulder seams were complete I sewed up the side seams. I finished the edges, but didn't topstitch them down. My hem and armhole rib knit loops were too big for this little vest, so I measured and cut each of them, then sewed them back into loops:

Next I sewed the rib knit armhole loops into the armholes, again finishing the raw edges and topstitching the seam allowances towards the garment. Then I did the same for the hem:

Ta-da! Ready for my little man.

The navy blue vest also needed resizing. I love making my boys match.
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