Thursday, March 10, 2016

Guest Post: Color Blocking Tutorial for Buzz LightYear by Cathgrace

Hello! My name is Catherine, and I blog over at cathgrace (well when I am being a good blogger, I have been taking a break due to an international move from South Korea back to the US in conjunction with a house renovation, hopefully I will get back to regular blogging soon!) BUT, I love Project Run and Play and the awesome girls who run it, and have from the beginning, so when they asked me to do a guest post, I couldn't say no, (even with my life still being a bit of chaos wrapped in disorganization!)
My own kids have become GIANTS over the last couple of years (they are 13 and 15 now. I know, you are welcome to be horrified right along with me) So I was lucky enough to have my sweet sister let me borrow my 2.5 year old nephew for the project. He's the sweetest little pudding, that loves to dress up, but is insanely active and only likes wearing clothes if they are comfortable, his preferences completely drove my project, and I came up with a comfy Buzz Lightyear costume (Charley's favorite) that is real clothes, but still distinctly Buzz. (He's going to Disneyland this spring, so he will be wearing his outfit in the park.)

I was super lucky with timing, because my sister and her boys came to visit me a few weeks ago, which gave me the perfect chance to make Charley's outfit, and photograph him in it, (which, can I not tell you how hard it is to photograph a 2 year-old for blogging purposes? all of my pictures either had to be candid, or he would do this weird splits pose while refusing to look at the camera, that you will definitely see pictures of! :) Respect to all you mama's that are blogging with a 2 year old all the time!


Charley boy's Buzz Lightyear is made out of a soft cotton jersey knit, and was done as a hooded t-shirt and knit shorts.


The tutorial I have for you today, is for the color blocking on the shirt.
I began the shirt, by tracing a pattern off of one of Charley's existing shirts. For the purpose of the color blocking, it's easier to make the pattern with no seam allowances, so I didn't add any, If you have an already existing pattern with seam allowances, go ahead and make a tracing without them. After making the pattern, I then looked at a picture of Buzz Lightyear, and I drew simplified lines from his space suit onto the pattern pieces.

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Next, I cut those pieces apart, so they could each be placed on the correct fabrics for the colors I needed. Do you see how the one long skinny strip that will be purple, is on an angle? I placed it on my fabric at that same angle too, so that the stretch was in the same direction as it should be.

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When I went to cut out my pieces, THEN I added the seam allowance (which is why it is easier to not have one on the edges in the first place, this way you don't need to remember what did or didn't have them.) Anything that was on the fold before cutting the pieces apart, was still on the fold now. I ended up double layering the purple and the green, because I could only find the Buzz Lightyear bright colors in swimsuit fabric, which wasn't going to act like the cotton knit, or be as soft on the inside. So for my project I also cut out white cotton versions of the green and the purple to back the swimsuit fabric with.

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And here's what everything looks like all laid out and opened up. I began with sewing the green to the black, the black to the white, the purple to the white, the white to the purple, and then the green top yoke to the whole bottom section. I added a 3/8" seam allowance, and as long as you sew all the way along on the 3/8" seam allowance line, the pieces should all meet up perfectly. (even the curves!)

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Here's what it looks like all serged together. I have a coverstitch machine too, so I topstitched each of the layers after I sewed each section together, but twin needles in a regular sewing machine could do the same job (or no top stitching if you prefer the look, I just like how flat the top stitching makes it.) I then serged around all the edges, just to make the double layered fabrics act like one layer.

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Next I used some more cotton knit, and added some fusible interfacing to the back, then I cut out the button shapes. for the front of Buzz's suit. I simplified them a lot so they weren't quite as literal and were more graphic. Next I fused them to the front of the shirt, being careful to use a heat setting that wouldn't melt the swimwear fabric.

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Then I used a satin stitch (a short zigzag) on my sewing machine to go around the patches.

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Repeat the same piecing steps for the back (and the sleeves, which are not shown) and now you are ready to construct the shirt, as if it were any other solid fabric shirt!

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Here's the shirt with the shoulder seams sewn, the sleeves attached, and the side seams sewn. I also hemmed the sleeves and shirt.

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I'm pretty sure Charley's #1 pet peeve with shirts is how tight they are on his not so little head, so I made his neck hole a little larger than usual, which he loved, (because getting a brain squeeze every time you get dressed is no fun.) Next I just attached the hood, that I made only out of the swim fabric, so it would be purple inside and out.

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He looks so stinking cute in his Buzz Lightyear outfit, it was awesome, but the best part really is the comfort level. 

He wore it while running around the Great Wolf Lodge (a hotel/indoor waterpark we went to during their visit) While he played magiquest (a game they have in the hotel with magic wands that make things in the hotel move because of IR signals from the wand.) 

His little shorts have pockets and a soft knit waistband, so they feel like pajamas, but you can put your cool stuff in the pockets!

Charley's favorite color is green, so I used the neon green color to pipe the pockets, and to make the whole look a little more cohesive.


I didn't realize until my sister pointed it out to me, how influenced I became by Korean children's clothing while living in Korea. Korean children wear the most adorable themed outfits, but they are always soft and comfortable, and geared around children being able to play and nap in the same clothes. You rarely see a small child that is dressed like a tiny adult in Korea, they are supposed to look soft (but put together.) SONY DSC 

And play he happily did, without having to tug or pull at his clothes at all in a perfectly washable, and functional costume, that he didn't have to feel stiff or awkward in.


I hope that these techniques will come in handy for making comfy knit clothes for your littles (or not so littles) while still being able to be totally custom with your fabric through color blocking!  Thank you for having me liZ and Elizabeth, I appreciate you thinking of me! <3


Thank you for that great tutorial, Catherine! You can follow Cathgrace on Facebook and on Instagram.

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