Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Reindeer Bimaa/Recess Raglan hack

'Christmas tops for the boys' has been on my to-do list for weeks.  I had a few ideas, but nothing I desperately wanted to make.  Then last week I suddenly thought of the couple of metres of brown jersey plush from Plush Addict I had sitting in my stash.  I bought it with animal tops in mind, and I did make one cat hoody, but the rest has been languishing, unloved, for a year or more.  Not any longer!

It's a lovely fabric for making kids' clothes.  The fluffy side is not as soft as normal plush/minky fabric, and the pile is a bit longer.  But the back is a lovely soft cotton jersey- so unlike with normal plush fabric, which is just polyester all the way through, there's no need to line this to make it feel nice on the inside.  Hooray!

My bright idea was a brown background with reindeer antlers and a red nose... Then I decided it would need eyes too.  I printed out the shapes (the antlers were a free clipart) and traced them onto bondaweb so that I could iron the pieces on.  They are all lovely, soft plush.  The black bits on the eyes are Kam snaps- I was going to use buttons but, nah, too much trouble.  I sewed around all of the pieces with a plain straight stitch.

The body and sleeves are the Recess Raglan by See Kate Sew.  This pattern is super-quick to sew, but I find the neck holes are a bit on the small side.  That didn't matter for this as I added a shawl collar from Lou Bee Clothing's Bimaa sweater, which has a nice wide neck.  Before cutting out the pattern pieces I gave them the neck line of the Bimaa.  I also shortened the body and added a band around the waist.  Both of these patterns are slim fitting (and the sleeves on the raglan always come up short on Big Cub) so I sized them up- 6T and 3T for my just-5 and just-2-year-olds.  The fit is great- they are more like loose sweaters which works brilliantly with this fabric. 

They sewed up very quickly and easily.  I used my serger throughout the construction.  The only tricky bit was sewing the front collar bit- which has a lot of layers.  A lot of thick, fluffy layers.  It
went something like this:
Yakov (that's my serger's name, of course):  I don't like this.
Me:  never mind, just this bit left.  Another inch or two left, that's all...
Yakov:  but it's so fluffy!  The fluff keeps puffing up and my knife misses it and doesn't cut it and it gets all tangled.
Me:  I know, I'm sorry, almost done...  C'mon, let's keep going...
Yakov:  no, no, I've had enough.  I can't do that last inch.  I give up!  Look, now my needle threads have both snapped!
Me:  oh, that sucks... Just a teensy bit left, let's get you threaded back up again and...
Yakov:  no!  No, now my lower looper thread is snapped, and you know that's the worst one to thread back up.  Give it up!  Leave me alone!  No more plush!
Me:  well, we just have to finish this teensy tiny last half an inch...
Yakov:  No.  Absolutely not.  Snap!  Snap!  There goes a needle thread and both loopers!  No more!  And look, I'm all full of fluffy linty dusty bits.  And you haven't oiled me in ages!  
Me:  That's unfair and untrue.  I oiled you just the weekend before last.  I promise I'll get you two nice new needles...

And at that point I gave up and tacked the last centimetre down with my regular machine, which sewed through all those layers like a knife through butter.  Lovely!  How snuggly does this collar look?   I wish the Bimaa came in ladies' sizes, I would love a top with this collar!

I tried to take a lot of photos but when they were both together they had to be stuffing their faces with sweets, or fighting...

And little cub just moved too fast to get many decent pictures!

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