Monday, August 25, 2014

#BundleUp - for BOYS!

I'll admit, I totally shrieked when I got the email inviting me to join the Bundle Up blog tour - I checked the email a few times to make sure it was actually my name on there and not a mistake, and then excitedly signed up. The Bundle Up sale is an awesome opportunity to purchase BRAND NEW releases at steep discounts, for 2 weeks only. Check out all of the details and the awesome patterns included here.

I got to review the Zee's Tee pattern from Tie Dye Diva and the Zander's Hoodie (and vest) pattern from Everything Your Mama Made (EYMM) for my little guy, A, who is 2. (Disclosure: these patterns were provided to me at no cost for my review. My opinions, fabrics, and time spent with the seam ripper are my own, however.)

One of the things I love about sewing for my boy is that it gives me a great opportunity to branch out from the styles and colors that I readily find in RTW (ready to wear) boys' clothing. Now that he's not a baby anymore, I definitely think a little more about mixing and matching things for him - and I am really loving playing around with color and style and trying to break away from the standard boys' fare of navy or red, athletic or preppy, play clothes or dress clothes.

Since A is just 2, I still have a lot of say in what he wears, but he's increasingly developed opinions on the subject - according to him, if a shirt has cars on it (win) and shorts have cars on them (win), they match perfectly! I want to make clothes that he'll enjoy wearing, so I do a lot with cars - car fabric, a small car applique, a patch "tag" made from car fabric - you get the idea. ;) Luckily, he likes lots of colors (unlike his dad, who according to family legend had a childhood phase during which he would only wear items that were green) and although he definitely loves comfy knits he doesn't complain about wearing jeans or other woven bottoms. He can be particular for sure (see above re: cars, cars, and cars) but isn't picky. And he LOVES when I make things just for him. (I melt.)

I started with the tee because well, it was easier. I've made a lot of tees and figured I'd work my way up to the hoodie from there.

The pattern is well written and easy to assemble, and full of options for various types of colorblocking. I used a cotton lycra euro-style knit from Sweet N Charmed fabrics for the top, and upcycled a men's Old Navy tee for the bottom of mine. I love the bold prints and fun colors on knits like these (teal and orange?! and sharks? Awesome!) but at $20+ per yard, I definitely like to make my yardage stretch as far as it can. A pattern like the Zee's Tee is perfect for something like that (and is a great use for scraps, too, since some of the various color block options use pretty small pieces). And sure, I could cut an existing t-shirt pattern into pieces and do the colorblocking myself, but sometimes it is totally worth a few dollars to buy a pattern that does it for me - saves me time that I can use for sewing, and I know they've tested it and gotten the proportions just right.

Those lips! And cheeks! I love that sometimes he still looks a bit like a baby. <3
If you've ever read a fashion magazine or watched a home decorating show, you've likely heard advice about mixing high-end and lower-end (read: less expensive) items to develop a unique style that doesn't break the bank. This is what I try to do when making clothes for my kids - they are kids, after all, who will more than likely wear the item a handful of times before they either outgrow it or have one too many encounters with chocolate/tomatoes/watermelon/mud/all of the above.

Because my little guy wears a lot of t-shirts, I like to make sure they fit him well and have something about them that is a little interesting. This tee fits great (it's a true-to-size 2T, and other than adding a little extra length next time since he has a long torso, I don't need to make any adjustments. I used the colorblock option with the front and back yokes and sleeves in the print, and the lower front and back in the stripe. The only modification I made to the pattern was to add decorative topstitching along the colorblock seam in the front and back. I used orange thread to add a little more color, and played around with decorative stitches on my sewing machine until I found one that looked like little sharks' teeth. (I have a Brother cs6000-i and it was stitch #26, in case you're curious. Chomp away.)

I love having a ready-to-go colorblocked pattern in my files, and with a nice range of sizes included (12-18m - 11/12) I know I'll be getting a lot of use out of this one in years to come.

After finishing the tee, I moved onto Zander's hoodie. I had a feeling this one would be a little bit more of a challenge with a satisfying result, and it didn't disappoint. 

Zander's hoodie (or vest, if you leave off the sleeves) is a partially lined hoodie with optional pockets and an awesome asymmetrical zipper. I used sweatshirt fleece for mine and it had very little stretch, but still sewed together nicely. (Side note: I bought yardage for this from Joanns and their sweatshirting is a poly/cotton blend with a lot of poly. Upcycled RTW sweatshirt fleece is typically a higher percentage of cotton and has a bit more stretch to it. Organic cotton sweatshirt fleece is awesome but more expensive. Not all sweatshirting is created equal.) I lined the body and the hood with the same cotton lycra that I used for A's tee above. As I mentioned earlier, I love the look of bold fabrics like these, but tend to pair them with something a little more neutral. In this case, I used the black sweatshirt fleece, black rib knit for the cuffs and waistband, and a bright teal zipper that I picked up in the Garment District in NYC a few months ago (pure luck that it was a nice match for this knit print). 

I sewed the size 2/3 for A and it was a great fit. The sleeves are a little long, but my kids have short-ish arms so that's a common issue for us. Otherwise, the fit was spot on with plenty of ease for another layer underneath. I know A will get a lot of use out of this hoodie as a light jacket in the fall. The lined bodice and generous hood made for a super cozy jacket. He actually cried when I told him we needed to take it off to take photos of the tee underneath - and it was 80 degrees when we were taking pics and running around with the soccer ball, too. 

This is definitely an intermediate level pattern, but Kymy's instructions are fantastic. I found myself reading and re-reading them, but it honestly all came together for me as I was actually sewing the pieces together. The hood pieces are connected and joined to the body in a different configuration than I've sewn before, and the pattern pieces themselves were even uniquely shaped. That lack of familiarity was actually what made the pattern challenging for me, since the steps felt a little less comfortable/intuitive than usual. I've made many hoodies before, but not with this type of construction, so it felt a little like I was constructing a hooded jacket for the first time. I really enjoyed it, aside from the time I spent around 1AM with the seam ripper (mainly trying to get the pockets lined up when installing the zipper). 

See? Pockets are (mostly) even. Good thing this boy rarely stays still.
The way the lining is attached is perfection, and the inside looks awesome, especially around the waistband. I loved the way it all came together, and was so excited that my little guy loved it too. I suspect he'll spend a lot of time zipping and unzipping the front. :) I really like that this is a basic enough wardrobe piece to be wearable for everyday, but with unique and fun details that make it stand out from all of the other hoodies in his closet.

I loved sewing these patterns for the tour, and am so grateful to have been included. Please make sure to check out the other stops on the tour (seriously, so.much.talent.) and remember that the BundleUp sale is only available through August 29.

Thanks again for stopping by - I'd love it if you follow along with Handcrafted by RED on Facebook and Bloglovin, too!


  1. What an adorable outfit! Clever way to feature your pricey knit without breaking the fabric-stash budget!

  2. I love this set!!! It's so cute and your son is adorable!!! I love his haircut!