Shark Attack Scrap Surprises!- by Nadine Simard

Sewing for boys is fun!

Hi everyone,

I had so much fun the last time with my echo-friendly cardigan that I decided to come back with a brand new project.  

The summer season is just around the corner, I’m hoping! As I’m writing this post we are expecting 10 to 15 cm of snow, hopefully for the last time this spring!  When we are moving from one season to the other I always have a huge list of ideas and things I want to make.  This year, I have an enormous list for my son which has outgrown the majority of his current clothes.

Feeding Frenzy!

Feeding Frenzy!

For this post, I was inspired by a new collection by Finch, Shark Bait panel.  This jersey fabric is available in 64 cm double panel (64 X 160 cm).  This means that the design is repeated at both edge of the fabric.  The jersey is a nice weight (200 gsm or 5.9 oz) and soft (95% cotton/5% spandex). This specific fabric is no longer available in the store but you can still get a few other panel options.

My middle child is quite skinny and it is becoming a challenge to find something that would fit him from a store.  His chest and waist measurements are smaller than his little brother (2 years younger) but he falls in the age-range for his height.  

The PDF patterns world for boy patterns is limited compared to all the cute girl outfits available.  In the last few months, I saw an increase and a desire from multiple designers to reduce that gap.  I’m seeing more and more fun options available for boys. 

I have discovered a few designers that offer fun options for boys and their patterns are drafted for skinny boys.  Which is a bonus for me and I don’t have to alter the pattern too much.

I will start with the Moto Max by Love Notions Pattern (affiliate program link*). I used this pattern many times; I made a few knit pyjamas, t-shirts and jogging pants. 

I don’t know if you are like me but I have a lot of scrap fabric and I always try to find ways to use them.  Before I cut the first shirt, I made sure I could use the other sharks to make a few other things.  I tried a few ideas before I got it right and reduce the left over fabric.  I believe I was successful with this project!  

Scraps: not to be thrown away just yet!

Scraps: not to be thrown away just yet!

I used the same Moto Max pattern from Love Notions ( affiliate program link*) to make a pair of short with an elastic band. This was somewhat a pattern hack; the pattern doesn’t come with a short line but it is an easy pattern modification.  This is a fun colorful version, the front of the short is green and I used black knit for the back of the short.  The waist is made with black rib knit.

The second pattern I used is the Safari Raglan from Titchy Threads, which is my all-time favorite pattern.  I used this one 9 times so far!    This one is definitely my go to pattern for both boys and girls.  For the back of the shirt I used black knit.


The third pattern I used is the Cloud 9 swim pattern from Titchy Threads.  My son is a big fan of muscles shirt, so this one will get a lot of wear.  I did not have enough of the shark panel fabric left to make the full front of the tank so I modified the pattern a little to do a color block style.  I like the look with the shark panel short. The stripe white and black knit fabric is also available at l’oiseau fabrics.    


I’m always on the lookout for fun boy’s patterns, please leave me a comment below and let me know if you have recommendation for fun sewing projects for boys.


Since my first post on this blog I started my own personal blog, you are all invited to visit me. 

Take care,



Disclaimer : All fabrics and patterns presented in this blog post were purchased by me except the Safari Raglan pattern which I received free when I tested the pattern before its release.

*The Love Notions affiliate program means that if you click on the link above and decide to buy a pattern I will receive a small commission.


Implementing Indigo Interlock!- By Melissa Ouellette

I rarely sew for my husband.  Despite that, he's always been supportive of my hobby (obsession?), never commenting on how much I spend on material and even scouting out fabric shops for me to peruse when we go on family trips.  Yep, he's a keeper!  So when this fabric arrived and it wasn't exactly the colour I was expecting but happened to be the colour of his favourite hockey team, I knew what to do with it.  (side note: you can now get a swatch card for this fabric line, which is great because it's often hard to get a true sense of colour from a photo).   


So I told him I was making him a sweater and consulted him on pattern choice.  Well, kind of -- the Finlayson from Thread Theory is the only mens sweater pattern I own so I asked him if he would be okay with that style.  Thankfully he said yes!    


This fabric really is lovely --  very soft and a perfect weight, not too thick but definitely not flimsy.  It's easy to work with, too, with since it doesn't curl or shift like some knit fabrics.  Being able to get good quality coordinating ribbing is also fantastic.   I used the ribbing for the cuffs and waistband and it matches perfectly.  


And I can attest to the durabilty of the interlock --  I ordered an extra metre because I knew I wanted to make something adult-sized so when I was cutting out the sweater I was thinking about what I could do with the "scraps".  They ended up being big enough to make a pair of shorts (Jalie 3351) for me so I sewed those up right away.  I've been wearing and washing them at least once a week since then and the fabric has held up well -- no pilling or stretching.  They look just as good as when I made them back in February!  



Of course I really should have made the sweater first because it took me awhile to get back to it.  I don't think my husband quite believed that I actually would finish but he's happy that I did!   


As I was taking pictures, I realized that both of these are totally Canadian projects -- the fabric is manufactured and produced in Canada and sold by a Canadian retailer, both the patterns are by Canadian designers and they were sewn up by a Canadian.  Pretty good, eh?   

O Canada

Sara and Claire, the lonely sewing machine- by Sara Maisonneuve

Hi everyone, my name is Sara. It’s an honour to be a guest on the L’Oiseau Blog!


My old Kenmore sewing machine, Claire, was very lonely. I hadn’t used her since July. I hadn’t used my serger - Thomas - either but sergers (being ornery and taciturn in nature) don’t mind my absence as much. I did have a good excuse, though. I had a baby (Rose!) in the middle of August and my lofty dreams of sewing while baby slept went out the window the minute we got home from the hospital. For nearly five months, I could feel Claire looking at me forlornly and sighing (as much as sewing machines can sigh) from the sewing room as I stole precious minutes of sleep (or a much needed shower) instead of breaking out my sewing chops.


Then, I started to get my mommy legs under me. I lined up some designated quality time with lonely Claire. At first I was at a loss at what to make. I had wanted to make grow-with-me pants for the blog for Rose, who always seems to be in the throes of yet another growth spurt. That’s what I had told Michelle and Colin from L’Oiseau that I wanted to do. When my man, Jason, announced that he needed to retire his beloved Mec zip hoodie due to worn elbows and because he’d gotten a new wool hoodie for Christmas, my project idea changed.

He’d had this beautiful blue fleece hoodie for over five years. He wore it constantly! It was the only thing I saw at the start of our first date when he wrapped me in a big bear hug. It’s been on every single trip with us across Canada and into various bits of the world too. It was always so easy to pick him out of the crowd because it’s so bright.


But I wasn’t done with it! Not for one minute! Eco-friendly people that we are, living off the grid via solar power and such, I saw that the hoodie still had a life left to live. I nabbed it from Jason, dragged it back to the sewing room, and presented it to Claire. “We’re going to make a hoodie for Rose,” I declared. (The hoodie pattern from Brindille and Twig.)

I had received a shipment of fabric from l’oiseau just the week before and knew exactly which fabric I would pair with the fleece. It’s a meter of the Star Shooter: Jersey Knit and it works perfectly! I wanted to get something gender-neutral so that the hoodie could be worn by future kiddos regardless of gender.  

I made the hoodie one evening while Jason was working. Rose cheered Claire and me on from her exersaucer (providing auditory diversion!) Because we live off the grid and the days are woefully short in winter, we use very low wattage LED bulbs to light the house to save our batteries. That made my “in progress” pictures a little dark. Sorry! It really is wonderful to live the way we do (just not very good for photography at night!)

So here it is, the hoodie that brought Jason and me together that can now be worn by our daughter (with a seriously cool twist thanks to some seriously cool fabric!)

It felt so good to be able to reconnect with Claire and sewing. It also felt good to help sentimental sweater live on with meaning! After so many months of being tired and overwhelmed, I understand how important it is to make time for the things I like to do. It recharges my batteries. I should have done this sooner!! Thank you, Michelle and Colin!

The Perfectly Imperfect T-Shirt- By Grace San Diego

 Hello, l’oiseau blog readers. My name is Grace and I’m delighted to be guest posting today.

I had been itching to sew with a knit fabric for months. I had tried to shake off this thought. Why? Because KNITS ARE SCARY! Over the years I had heard that it’s a tricky fabric to work with, difficult to cut and slippery to sew, etc. I had all these reasons to avoid knits. Yet I had this urge to sew with knit fabrics.

Then I happened upon a knit jersey print that made me smile. There were little ninjas in different positions scattered against a bight blue background. I loved this design because it reminded me of my son and how he came into our family.

Ninja Baby

 Several years ago I experienced some health issues. I was referred to a doctor who happened to be a fertility specialist. My husband and I didn’t have children. Our attitude had always been “whatever happens, happens.” So when I learned that this doctor was a fertility specialist I thought to myself “well, I’m 39. I should find out if I could even have children.” Not too long after, my husband and I sat in front of this doctor who told us that the chances of me getting pregnant was next to none. He had also said that he would not recommend IVF because I basically had no eggs. “Well then,” I thought to myself, “I guess we either continue on as DINKS (dual income, no kids) or we adopt.” And life went on, as a couple of DINKS.

Fast-forward several months. One day a co-worker urged me to take a pregnancy test. I insisted that I wasn’t pregnant because a doctor told me that I had “no eggs.” But she strongly encouraged me to take one based on observations she had made of me over some time. So I did a pregnancy test that night. My husband and I were shocked to find that the test was positive. Word spread quickly around the office. Upon hearing the news, one co-worker nicknamed the baby “Ninja Baby” because he came out of nowhere. That nickname stuck. Long story short, a mere five weeks after finding out I was pregnant, I gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Yes, he was full-term. No, I didn’t realize I was pregnant. Yes, I suppose I could have been on that show.


 When the fabric arrived I was excited and freaked out at the same time. I wanted to sew a t-shirt for my son as I felt that this would make a good first knit project. I found a pattern from Brindille & Twig and started to cut the pattern pieces, even though I was convinced that somehow I was going to mess up. Once I realized that there were only 5 pieces to sew together, I started to relax about the whole process.

I knew I was one step closer to success because I owned a serger, and it certainly made the task easy. The directions for the pattern were simple to follow. Sew the shoulders. Check. Sew the sleeves in. Check. Hem the sleeves. Check. Sew the side seams. Check…er….oops! I wasn’t careful feeding the fabric through the serger. About 3.5” of the seam’s edge was folded over when it went through. I stared at my mistake for about ten minutes, trying to decide if it was worth taking out the stitches. When I turned the shirt right side out, I couldn’t even tell that there was a mistake. The right side seam of the shirt, where the mistake was made, looked even with the left side. I decided to leave it and continue working on the rest of the shirt. I hemmed the bottom without any issues. Then came the shirt’s neck. I matched up the center front and center back of the shirt to the neckband. Then pinned it along the shirt’s neck opening, ensuring that the fabric was stretched evenly and just so. I was in the home stretch of this project! I fed the fabric through my serger, and trimmed the tail of the serger threads. When I lifted the shirt to look my work, I realized that the neck was detached! Argh…I had forgotten put the serger’s foot down, so it didn’t sew all the layers together.


 Quickly, I cut out another neckband and pinned it to the shirt. This time when I put it through the serger I made sure that the foot was lowered. I decided to add the extra step of top-stitching along the neckband. And oops again! The stitching wasn’t even with the neckband’s edge. But it’s barely noticeable. I told myself “the kid won’t even notice it.” I decided to make peace with the crooked top-stitching just as I did with the earlier mistake of the side seam. As far as I was concerned, this was a perfectly imperfect t-shirt.


 Well, I did it! I sewed a t-shirt together with knit fabric, and survived. And through the process I learned a lot, the most important lesson was discovering that knits are actually a forgiving fabric and quite easy to sew. Knits aren’t scary anymore. In fact, I can’t wait to sew the next knit project. Perhaps this time for my newborn daughter.

Perfectly Imperfect shirt!

Hop to it!: by Erin Schowalter

What do you do when you have a metre of rabbit fabric and a 28-month-old daughter who's obsessed with rabbits? You decide to make as many rabbit-covered clothes as possible and hope that laundry can be carefully staggered in such a way that head-to-toe rabbit uniforms aren't possible.

First up was a tunic. I self-drafted it, but got the idea for the pocket shape from seeing pictures of the Liesl + Co. Cappuccino Dress, Figgy’s Sunki Dress, and pattern 10 from Ottobre 3/2014.

I made it after my daughter went to bed and the next morning heard excited squeals of “Mommy, mommy, MOMMY! RABBIT SHIRT!!!!!” when she found it. Definitely a win.

Next up, I made her comfy pants. These were based on the Oliver + S Playtime Leggings pattern. I wanted them to be fairly baggy, though, as her underwear can be seen through the fabric when it's stretched too far. She normally wears a size 2 or 3, so I cut a size 4 and added 2 cm to each side. I added a band of ribbing to the legs to make them really long, as she's currently in the midst of what we call the Great Lengthening; she seems to be growing out of pants as fast as I can make them. I also scooped the front waist slightly lower and added a band of ribbing and elastic to allow for an increased rise overall. These are my favourite knit pants I’ve made, and my daughter also loves them. This pattern will definitely be repeated with some of the (many!) other L’Oiseau knits now in my stash.

Finally, I slightly adapted the Cozy Winter Hat pattern from Oliver + S Little Things to Sew by turning the bear ears into bunny ears. 

Loving a meta note, I lined this hat with the rabbit fabric.

After all of that, I didn’t quite succeed in using up the metre of fabric, so I'll see where it takes me next! 

Burn Baby Burn - The Smoky Side of Fibre Identification

Hi all.

How's the stash?  Is it full of wonderful pieces of fabric that all came from places where the bolts were labelled?  And when you got home, did you write down all the information from the bolt on a card, and attach it to the fabric before you put it away?

Or is it like mine?  Are there some fabrics that felt really good in the store, and when you looked at the label on the bolt end they were labelled "100% unknown fibres" ( I love that) and you bought it anyway?  Do you have others that you inherited from friends and relatives and you're just not sure what they are?  Do you buy fabric from thrift stores?  Wonder what to do with them when you get home? 

Have no fear!  You are here!  Help is on the way!

 A burn test will help you identify the primary fibre in a given fabric, but it won't help you determine percentages of fibre.  It will help you figure out how to treat a fabric that you are unsure of.  It takes most of your senses - touch, smell, sight.  Plus you get to burn stuff in a safe way.  It appeals to the junior scientist/pyromaniac in me.  But that might just be me. 

First you need to gather a few supplies:

  1. A flameproof vessel - This can be a plate, a cookie sheet or an old frying pan.  It just has to be something that won't be damaged by heat. 
  2. Some tinfoil - I like to do the actual burn test over some foil since molten polyester can be hard to remove from dishes.  Just sayin'.
  3. A vent or an open window - Some of the fibres you will be testing can smell nasty.  Best to send those stinky fumes somewhere else. 
  4. A source of flame - This can be a lighter or some matches.  Personally I like a barbeque lighter because it keeps your hands away from the hot stuff. 
  5. A small bucket of water or other water source - In case things need extinguishing.  
  6. A small sample of the fabric you are curious about - Usually a 1" square will do.

Here's my set-up:

Fancy, no?  A sink is off to the right.  That's a bread and butter plate covered in foil, and a barbeque lighter.  The only thing missing is a vent hood, which we sacrificed for the sake of light and picture taking.  Turned out to be a mistake.  More on that later. 

So now what? 

Well, you burn it.  And you pay attention.  Here's the science behind it:

Every fibre is made up of something different and those differences are unique.  Wool is an animal product.  When you burn it, it smells like burning hair.  It is also self-extinguishing.  That means that while it will smoulder, it won't support a flame for long.  Cotton, on the other hand, will burn like you wouldn't believe.  That's why children's sleepwear has to be specially treated.  Once you have burned your sample, you will have ash and detritus left behind.  Once it has cooled, you can inspect it to see what it can tell you.  Polyester leaves a hard bead behind, while silk behaves completely differently.  I have included a chart that will help you decipher what you have. 

The fabric that I'm burning for this example was purchased at a thrift store.  It looks and feels like wool.  But I'm a little suspicious.  So it's time to put some flame to it. 

It was hesitant to start burning.

But once it got going, it was burn city. 



It smelled like burning hair - very strongly.  This is the part where I wished we had chosen less light and more ventilation because it really stunk up the joint.  Burning hair smell is usually a sign of wool.

The ash that was left over was hard, and very crispy.

When I tried to  squish it, it broke apart into shards. 

So what does all this mean?  Well, according to the chart below, I think I have a wool/acrylic blend on my hands.  That means that it can probably weather a trip through the washer on cold and tumble dry low without much damage.  It might shrink a bit from the wool content, but the behaviour of the flame (full on burning until it was a molten pile of plastic) leads me to believe that there's a lot of acrylic. 

Now I know!

Below I have provided a chart with the burning behaviour of the most common fibres:

Kinda cool, huh? 

This is one of the things that I love about sewing - there's so much to learn. 

Next week:  OEKO-TEX certification - what does that mean, anyway?