Friday, January 13, 2012

Sewing Project: Cloaks

There was a sewing machine that I had had my eye on for quite a while, and it went on a good sale sometime before Christmas.  Mr. Smith ordered it for me, and because he's terrible at keeping secrets, I got my big present well ahead of the holiday.  This worked out really well though, because I was able to use it to make several Christmas gifts for friends and family.

I learned to sew in a Home Economics class in high school.  I loved that class, and it really did give me the gift of a useful life skill in sewing.  I remember vividly (which I really can't say for much of anything else in high school) learning how to thread the machine and learning the basic rules of sewing.  The project we made that year was the ugliest sweatshirt imaginable, but it did the job, I knew how to sew. 

(It's my understanding that these classes are largely unavailable in schools now.  Perhaps it's too demeaning to expect a student to learn basic homemaking skills.  It's really a shame.)

I didn't do anything with a sewing machine again until after we were married and Mr. Smith bought me my very first one.  It was the most basic model on the market, and I loved it.  I still only had a very rudimentary knowledge of sewing, but I got by on my ability to improvise.  I never really followed patterns, just made things up as I went along.  I made Halloween costumes, curtains and pillows, and it served me well for about 10 years.  The last few times I had gotten it out however, it was in poor condition.  It sounded like a jackhammer when I ran it, and my thread kept snapping.  I knew it was time for a new machine.

I know this new one is still a very basic sewing machine, compared to what's on the market today, but to me it's the fanciest thing I could hope to own!  It's digital, with lots of automatic functions, 66 embroidery stitch options, and a quilting accessory package.  Quilting is one of my goals.  I made a quilt once, for our godson, and I absolutely loved the process.  Now I have a craft closet to keep my supplies organized, and a sewing table in our bedroom, so my machine is always accessible.  I just need the inspiration and time to try quilting again!

My last thought for now is about my projects themselves.  I have made so many things throughout the years as gifts...and sent them off to their recipients without ever taking a picture!  It's terrible, I know.  It really is my New Year's resolution to take more pictures and be more responsible about actively documenting our lives.

So, I'm starting here.  Back in the fall, Owen wanted me to make him a cloak so he could be a Ranger for Halloween:
 It's camouflage fabric and hangs to his ankles.
I used a plain black hair tie secured with a fabric loop to one side, and a button on the other side to close it at the neck.  All the cloaks have hoods, and a pocket on the inside for books and treasures.

Immediately, Blake wanted one too, and first used his for All Saints Day when he dressed up as St. Nicholas (a young Nicholas, riding through the night in his dark cloak, secretly tossing bags of gold into the homes of the needy):
I used some of my fancy embroidery stitches to embellish them.  Blake's is made from an old set of curtains.

Of course, after that Peyton and Oliver were begging for them, as the older boys took to wearing theirs around the house all the time.  By then I was planning sewing projects for Christmas gifts though, and any more cloaks got put on the back burner.  I eventually decided to make Peyton and Oliver theirs as Christmas gifts, and they were surprised to receive them Christmas morning:
I made theirs out of fleece, partly because I thought it would be warm and cozy, and partly because that way I could avoid a lot of hemming!

Finally, the older boys had been mentioning that Isaac and Sebastian needed cloaks, and I couldn't really argue with that.  I used scraps from the fleece to piece together the last two.  Neither one of the little ones really likes theirs, but it's the cutest darn thing ever when they let us put them on them!
 Isaac, especially, doesn't care for the way his feels on him, but he tries so hard to be like his older brothers.  I'm pretty sure he has only a diaper on under there.  Now you know how Isaac prefers to spend his days.

Really, I'm fairly certain I could have just posted this picture and called it a day.  I can't get enough of this little man.

So that's that!  It's been a lot of fun making something that the boys appreciate so much.  They tell me I need to make one for myself now :o).  That's not sounding like such a bad idea, what with how chilly the house has been lately.  Maybe if I find a pretty fabric...

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