Sunday, January 22, 2012

Can't-Get-It-Out-Of-My-Head Project

Do you ever see something, and then you can't get the idea out of your head until you make it? That happened to me when I saw this Rainbow Poncho Cape on Etsy.

This is what I ended up with:

(apologies for the lousy cell phone pics - I didn't get any with my camera)

I could NOT stop thinking about how cute it was, or whipping out my phone and showing it to other people... finally I decided I had to make one. I even made some sketches of different ways to style the poncho, since I don't love the classic poncho look. I wish I had my sketches to show you (not 'cause they're awesome - they're kind of sad, really - but because I was going to town with ideas!)

I had the basic poncho. One with slits for your hands to come out. Pocket on the front, pocket on the inside, pockets in both places. (I totally wanted to make it reversible, but knew Goose would probably always want it rainbow side out, so why bother?) I had it in my mind to make it more fitted than the big circle, maybe even using two tiers and having her arms come out between the tiers. I have a big problem with getting ideas in my mind to actually work in the physical realm, so I decided to keep it simple.

Clicking around yielded many, many poncho tutorials. Then I realized that I didn't have a big enough piece of pink fleece (yup, it was requested to be pink) in my stash to make a huge circle (I wanted it to be pretty long on Goose, both for warmth and room to grow!) So I rounded the corners and cut a neck hole - which ended up being too big, oops. The length turned out pretty well, though - it hits Goose around the knee and the width is just right as it's a bit past her wrists, so her hands can come out the sides.

Initially, I started to trim the shoulder part in to make it more fitted but realized that was a lousy idea, so I stitched back in the part I cut out, which is why it has "sleeve" seams. I wish they weren't there, but I don't notice them as much as I did at first.

Next, I cut the rainbow and stitched it on, and it's actually bigger than it looks because every color except red extends a couple of inches under the cloud. I didn't realize how big it was until I had to put the pocket so far down towards the bottom! (we'll get to the pocket in a minute...) After I had the rainbow on, I made a cloud pattern with paper to check the size, then cut it out but didn't stitch it on.

For the pocket, I used one of Goose's sweatshirts and traced the pocket, then noticed the fleece was folded and doubled over at the openings so I added that to the pattern then a seam allowance. After cutting it out, I folded and stitched the doubled part at the side openings.

This is where it seems to get complicated... since the cloud was going to overlap the pocket, I laid both out on the poncho and pinned the cloud to the pocket where it needed to go, and stitched it on where it overlapped the pocket. I then folded the cloud down toward the bottom of the poncho, pinned the pocket on and sewed the top of the pocket to the poncho. I unfolded the cloud and finished stitching it down (there is a bit of an opening where the cloud isn't stitched down since it is wider than the pocket), then I stitched the bottom of the pocket.

(she's watching TV, by the way - not feeling like posing for photos!)

Using the same sweatshirt, I made a pattern for the hood, though in hindsight I realzied that the bottom of the hood (around the neck area) needed to come in farther - the opening is too wide. (especially since I cut the head hole too big. I tried to go back and take it in, but it just didn't look right.) I cut the outer hood from the same pink fleece and the inner hood from some pink polka dotted fleece and stitched them right sides together, leaving the whole bottom open. I turned it right side out and top stitched, and I also stitched down the center seam to help it hold together better.

Instead of making it reversible, I decided to just line it so that it would be warmer. The only color of which I had a large enough piece was white, and as it turns out, I really like how it looks. I laid the white out right side down, and laid the poncho on top, right side up (wrong sides facing). I pinned the heck out of it, and cut the white around, leaving somewhat of an allowance. I then unpinned and put the right sides together, then I *really* pinned. I was thankful for the allowance because it isn't perfectly symmetrical (shocker, I know...) and I trimmed the extra white.

I sewed all the way around, leaving most of the back open for turning. It's been my experience that you can pretty much always tell where it was left open to turn, so making it teeny tiny doesn't really change that it stands out. Leaving the turning hole super big makes it far less frustrating, and actually I think it blends in a little better! Again, I top stitched around the edge so the white and pink would hold together, and carefully pinned and sewed my turning hole shut at the same time.

To attach the hood, I cut basically a slit in the white, since I knew I'd cut the pink too big. (side note, I do most of my sewing when Goose is in quiet time after lunch or in bed at night, so she isn't around all the time for me to try it on her.) I think I folded the white under when I stitched the hood in, but I can't quite tell. :>) I also think I did it in two steps - first I sewed the hood to the outer pink part (centering the hood seam with the center of the poncho and using lots of pins - do you see a pattern here? USE LOTS OF PINS!) then I folded, pinned, and sewed the white lining. I made a loop out of bias tape and added that to hang it up, by the way.

After the hood was on, I folded the white down over the pink in the front and stitched it. If the neck hole wasn't so darn big, I think that would about be my favorite part, it looks really nice! I thought about adding some trim around the bottom edge, but 1) it would take a TON and 2) I really like how it looks as-is, and 3) let's not kid ourselves, I'd never be able to decide what trim to use anyway.

The only thing I think I might add is something to fix the too-large neck hole. (Which, actually, if Goose is wearing her stocking hat already, it gives us plenty of room to get the poncho on still. So not all bad.) I'm thinking of making a "scarf" perhaps three or four inches wide (I'll have to measure Goose to be sure) and basically cutting it in half and attaching it on either side of the hood. I can cross it under her chin and tuck in the tails... Or I could make a whole scarf, attach it at the back and bring it around and tuck it in. Any thoughts, anybody?

This project took me six days from start to finish, though I worked on it a couple hours per day maximum. It works great in the car, since Goose is still in a five-point harness (want to see why? read this.) I flip the back up over the back of her seat and buckle the buckles under the front, then tuck the front in like a blanket. I'm probably a little bit too proud of it, but it sure is cute. :>)

I'll be linking to Skip To My Lou's Made By You Mondays in the morning.


Angela said...

Cute!! (Both the poncho, and the little girl!) She looks like quite the little model in that first picture, even if she is just watching TV. :)

Zimms Zoo said...

super cute!

Kim said...

Goose looks so model-like in that first photo. I thought you had taught her "the pose" lol. And here she was just watching tv!

The poncho you made is adorable! You SHOULD be proud.

Lindsi B said...

Found you on Skip to My Lou. Could you please share this with our readers for Fun Stuff Fridays?

Anonymous said...

...linked into your site this am.
what a sweet loving mother you are!! thank you for a blog that makes me smile!