Monday, October 20, 2008

Patchwork Vest and Pants

This is the three inch strip project. Most of it was made with three inch strips.

My friend Kristen asked me months ago if I would make a vest and pants for her son Rhys to wear in a wedding. I said, "Of course!" because I love Kristen and adore Rhys and I especially like making great clothes for little boys. I used to make clothes for children, for my own and others, and also sold them occasionally. I don't sell them anymore but I do make skirts for Sadie and me and I make other things here and there, and have made things for Kristen and her kids before too. So, no big deal.

Except that... when it got down to it, I was very intimidated by the project. I had not made any "special occasion" garments in the past, nor had I sewed something on purpose that I knew was going to be scruitinized to this degree. Kristen sews, and her mom sews, in fact her mom really really sews, and knowing that these expert types would be looking at the seams (albeit in a dear, sweet, kind, approving way) kind of blocked me up. When the box of fabric arrived for me to use, I looked at it fondly and thought, "Somebody should certainly make a vest and pants out of that. I wonder if anyone will?"

On Friday I pulled out my patterns and started thinking, and made a couple of quilt blocks. On Saturday I made those quilt blocks into the outside of a vest. On Sunday I did the lining of the vest, the pants, the pants lining, and put it all together with some decorative stitching on top. Everything has pockets. Everything has a million colors. I hope the poor child survives this experience with his equilibrium. Not everyone could make this outfit work, but Rhys is definitely the child to manage it, if such a child exists.

Front of the vest:

Back of the vest:


Everything on Sadie:

Sadie is at least a whole size too small for it, so that's why it looks like she's swimming in it. I just wanted to see it on an actual child. But I'm sure Kristen will take pictures! ;D

It's in the mail for Thursday. I did not sew up the opening on the elastic casing, in case adjustments need to be made. I made it to a 25 inch waist, but without a fitting I'm nervous about the size. If you need to make it smaller, and you have time, pull out the elastic until you find the seam, fold it smaller, resew it, chop off the excess, stitch up the opening. If you don't have any time, you can just pin it tighter with a safety pin, or tear out the seam and repin it looser with a safety pin, then just leave the opening open and no one will ever know. With the pants -- they're steamed with a double cuff at the hem to be 16 1/2 inch inseam. If you need them longer, refold, resteam, you could even tack it up or even ideally create a little dart with a button. I was nervous to tack it up or put a button there because I couldn't check the length on the actual child. If you have no time, just roll them up and go with it. :) The fabric with two layers is stiff enough to hold the cuff.

Whew! Done!

Edited to add:


  1. it's uber cute.

  2. What a great outfit!! I'm not much of a seamstress, but I love to knit, and I've learned to really enjoy knitting garments. Anyway, you are incredibly fortunate to have such a useful skill.


  3. It's adorable! You are SO talented! Do you ever teach?? :)