Boys + Girls UNITE!
Has this happened to you: you have a go-to pattern that you love... then it happens: your kiddo grows up past that 12Y size. All of a sudden, you're favorite pattern has become obsolete. 🙁 It's happened to me before! I thought hard about this after I created the Zou Playset and made a promise to myself about two things: 1.) Make a collection with sizing for all!! (well, almost all 😉) 2.) Don't be gender specific; make a collection designed to look great on both girls AND boys.
Little did I know that I'd end up making a third promise to myself to make a collection that was wearable all year round! But we'll get to that a little later. 😂
My last collection was dedicated to my then soon to be 3 year old who was (ahem, is) obsessed with elephants. This time, I dedicated this collection to my 6 year old. Our whole family is really into bright, kawaii things and of course anime and video games. So, using that as my platform, I set out to draft a birthday collection that could match her bubbly personality!
Originally the whole collection was just going to be short sleeved or sleeveless shirt (that could be turned into a drop waist dress), with the secret pocket/color-blocking, ears, face, shorts and a hooded blanket. As you can also see, I was going to add a snap on cord and controller but I couldn't work it into the final design in a way I was happy with. (Secretly, I did make video game controller ponytail holders though!) And you can also see that I had no idea on how to make a hooded blanket 😆 That took some head scratching till I finally figured it out!
I blocked and drafted the shirt and shorts, and like 33% of the Baka and then stopped because I wanted to blog all of the things I hadn't over the year. Then, all of the Halloween sewing and drafting came and then it was Christmas sewing and drafting... before I knew it four months had gone by and I hadn't done anything new with the Umaru collection! 😰
After the New Year settled down I dove back into it; determined to keep going till it was finished! Being away from it for a while, I was able to step back and take it in as a whole and think about what else it needed. It needed to be more winter friendly. So the Umaru shirt gained another sleeve option and that's when Pudding Pants were born (but we'll get into those in another post 😂).
about the hidden color-blocked pocket
Figuring out the perfect drafting (and notching) logistics to the hidden color-blocked pocket was a bit of a feat, but I knew how it should go together because I'd made a couple during the initial drafting. The pocket stitching lines width is crucial to keeping the pocket hidden. And if you get to know me, you know I'm all about secrets in my sewing. Those little surprises always bring smiles to their face, you know?! Is it possible to make the Umaru without the pocket but still keep the color-blocking? Sure. But it's basically the same amount of work since you have to subtract the pocket allowance built into it. And pockets are awesome!
double neck binding
I tend to pull inspiration from everything around me. I was watching a Taiwanese idol drama (my not so guilty pleasure!) and saw what I thought looked like a neckline that had two neck bindings! It turns out that one was just striped, but it was such a cool thought that I've never seen done before so I had to add that option. It's one of those features that I fell in love with so hard that I, personally, can't make an Umaru shirt without the double binding! It's not bulky, if you're wondering, and it's not much harder to set in than a regular binding. Another cool thought dawned on me during testing: the back binding could almost be a crew neck look if you wanted to skip front binding! I'll have to try that next time!
horns, and ears, and faces oh my!
One thing I like to add to at least one pattern in any of my collections is some sort of puff feature. This time, I wanted the horns to be puffed. At first, it was tricky to get those guys to stay up, but I tweaked the drafting and used my secret weapon: fusible fleece. While it makes turning things right side out tougher, it really helps! And if there's going to be horns there's gotta be ears... and a face.
I am a sucker for a cute face on just about anything. So for this, I came up with freezer stencils in three different sizes and with about 20 different features per size. If you aren't keen on painting, transfer paper for dark fabrics is a really clean looking alternative. You'll have to open and edit the template in a program like Photoshop, Elements or Paint and mess around with fills and whatnot, but that's how I made the ones in these pictures!
drop waist dress!
I know I said that it was completely unisex and it is, but since it was for my birthday girl originally, I really wanted to keep the option to make it a relaxed fit knit dress. Its cute with or without the waistband casing too! It's essentially a full circle skirt flounce made to fit the bottom of the shirt! I made a space owl elephant Umaru dress and Pudding Pants as a birthday outfit for my now 4 year old (you can find it in the tester pic at the bottom)!
Another thing I'm proud of is that the Umaru shirt can be just a regular shirt if you want! If you're looking for a quick, no frills, t-shirt pattern it can definitely be that! It's great for a beginner seamstress and for those who are looking to expand their skill set too!
The fabric I used as a theme to pull the shirts together is from Spoonflower! It's a modern jersey with kitty pop tarts all over! How perfect is that!!?
I had the friendliest and most helpful testers throughout the Umaru Collection testing! I felt so lucky to have them all! I had some people sew one item, some tested couple of them and 2 people even tested the whole thing! Getting a good look at everyone's items, I was able to achieve exactly the look that I was going for!
My testers for the Umaru were not only super helpful and kind, but the shirts they made blew me away! Thank you to all of them!!!
I love setting up cute things for them to interact with for photos but I've got to remember not to give them actual snacks because almost every shot came out like this 😂:
The Umaru Shirt as well as the rest of the collection will be on sale for 15% OFF until Monday 4/22/18 11:59PM!