12 Days of Christmas: A Merry Reindeer

December 1, 2013

A Merry Reindeer, 12 Days of Christmas Outfit by Craftstorming

Hello! It’s the 1st of December and that means Suz and I are kicking off The 12 Days of Christmas today. I am really happy to finally be able to share the outfit I made with you and talk a little bit about our Christmas traditions. I had so many ideas for things to make for this series. In the end I decided to focus on a complete outfit for Casper, knowing that it will get more wear as Rowan can use it when he gets older. Maybe I will still have a chance to sew something for Rowan this month but if not the ideas can wait until next year.

The Reindeer Coat

Reindeer Coat by Craftstorming

One of our Christmas Day traditions is to take a walk a little while after we’ve finished eating dinner. I’ve admired the Little Goodall coats for a long time – the animal coats are just amazing, the perfect combination of fun for children while remaining stylish enough for adults to appreciate them. They also look impeccably finished and have such wonderful details. I have thought about trying to make one a few times but this series finally gave me the push. The designer behind the company, Molly Goodall, was interviewed for an Etsy feature back in 2011 and mentioned that she hoped to make her patterns available. I emailed Molly hoping that my task might be a little easier and she replied very quickly. The good news is that the patterns will be available soon – the wolf / fox and raccoon patterns should be available from Simplicity from about January 2014. The bad news, for me at least, was that they wouldn’t be available until next January and I needed a pattern now. I thought about drafting a pattern from scratch but then I realised I had the oliver + s school days coat and could use that as a starting point.

A Merry Reindeer, Reindeer Coat by Craftstorming

A Merry Reindeer, Reindeer Coat 2 by Craftstorming

Fabric: Main fabric is wool blend felt from the Wool Felt Company – colours were caramel, tan and dark brown. Lining is Deerfield, Arrows in teal in Adrienne Looman. I bought it from Hawthorne Threads but it doesn’t seem to be available anymore. I cut it across the grain as I preferred the arrows in that direction.

A Merry Reindeer, Reindeer Coat Lining by Craftstorming

Pattern: oliver + s school days coat in age 5 – heavily adapted. I bought both sizes of this pattern a long time ago as I absolutely love duffle coats so I’m pleased to have finally used it. The instructions are fantastic and one of these days I’ll make that burnt orange wool duffle coat I’ve been dreaming of but for now it made a good base to alter for a reindeer coat.

Changes I made include:

  • join the back yoke to the jacket back piece before cutting and shortened by two inches
  • join the front yoke and front placket pieces to the jacket front piece before cutting and shortened by two inches
  • separate that new front into two separate pieces to have a contrasting tummy
  • shorten the lining pieces by two inches
  • added side seam pockets
  • adapt the shape of the center hood so it was wider and a constant width
  • alter the side hood piece to allow for the changes to the center hood
  • create a hood facing and new lining pieces that allowed for the darts (for the ears) in the outer hood
  • split the sleeve into three separate pieces for the reindeer hooves
  • used buttons and buttonholes
  • added ears, antlers, eyes, a nose and a tail piece

So in the end the coat is quite different from the pattern.

A Merry Reindeer, Reindeer Coat 2 by Craftstorming

I sewed the ears in with darts like I could see Molly does in her fox and wolf coat. I inserted some stiff interfacing before I sewed them on. For the antlers I sewed around the open end and pulled the thread to close them then sewed them straight on top of the hood. I had to sew around a few times to get them to stand up how I wanted but it worked in the end.

A Merry Reindeer, Reindeer Coat 4 by Craftstorming

I am so happy with the result although it did take me a lot longer than I was expecting. I was frantically finishing it this morning before heading out for photos. The fit is perfect for Casper as well and I hope he enjoys wearing it on our Christmas walk.

Purple Jeans

These were an early draft for the bigger sizes of the ‘Small Fry Skinny Jeans’ pattern. I love the fit of these although I didn’t think they were properly skinny so have since made the fit a little skinnier for the pattern. They are Casper’s favourite jeans, in his favourite colour, and he wears them every chance he gets. They have flat felled seams for the back yoke, inseam and back rise. I used grey topstitching thread and love it with the purple. The fly is made using my half fly tutorial.

Purple Jeans by Craftstorming

Fabric: Purple cotton/linen blend by Echino, purchased from The Eternal Maker. Pockets lined with a red cotton with white stars.

Pattern: My own

Raglan Sweatshirt

'Be Merry and Bright' sweatshirt by Craftstorming

This is inspired by the ‘Out To Play‘ sweatshirt from ‘Boys and Girls’ and is another thing I’ve wanted to make for ages. I used some of the lyrics from the classic ‘White Christmas’ for the slogan. This was the first time I’d used freezer paper or fabric paints and I am not sure why I waited so long. The font I used is a free one called Coolvetica (download it here). I cut the letters out of freezer paper using my digital cutter and added a few coats of paint to each. Some colours needed more than others.

'Be Merry and Bright' sweatshirt freezer painting by Craftstorming

I have a free printable of the graphic for you – just click on the image below to download the file.

Be Merry and Bright Printable

Fabric: Light grey sweatshirt fleece, from Tissu Fabrics. Light grey ribbing from Dots n Stripes.

Pattern: My own

'Be Merry and Bright' sweatshirt 2 by Craftstorming

I added a little tab of rainbow ribbon on the left side seam but it doesn’t show up in any of the photos. The fit is just how I wanted it to be. I made a muslin of this pattern before sewing this one and adjusted it a bit for this final version.

Christmas Traditions

When I was little my family would usually get together with my Aunt Meryl, Uncle Ted and cousins as well as our grandparents. My mum’s sister is married to my dad’s brother so we have always been close. One of my earliest memories is playing hangman with my nan and she had chosen the word ‘knitting’. I have spent a few Christmas Days in other parts of the world as well. About 11 years ago my husband and I went travelling for 19 months and we spent one Christmas by the beach in Peru and another in Thailand. It felt very strange to me to be somewhere with a warm climate, I definitely associate Christmas with cold weather. Other years we have spent away snowboarding in the U.S.A or Canada. It was my obsession before I had children and, due to my job at the time, it was one of the few weeks I could get time off during the snowboarding season. We rarely get any snow here at all so it was lovely to enjoy a few Christmas Days with the proper traditional snow.

My favourite part of Christmas now is definitely the excitement it generates in my children. We have started a new tradition of having Christmas at our house and normally both our parents and Mark’s aunt Pat join us as well as our brothers and their wives sometimes. Mark normally does the cooking as I don’t eat meat and don’t really like cooking it either. I usually have filo parcel instead of turkey and make that ahead of time. My focus is normally on the dessert instead and if you visit my baking section you can see some of the things I’ve made in the past. The day is normally fairly relaxed and easy going, giving the children lots of opportunity to try out their new toys. I am especially looking forward to this Christmas as both boys are old enough now to understand what is going on.

Here’s a final picture of all the whole outfit together…

A Merry Reindeer Outfit by Craftstorming

Click on the button below to head over and see the amazing outfits Suz has made and come back tomorrow to see what my first guests’ creations.

Sewpony Button

On the first day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
a partridge in a pear tree.


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  • Reply suz December 1, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Absolutely gorgeous Laura!!!!! I love all of it. The coat is just amazing and the t-shirt is so neatly stencilled!! And of course your jeans look super cool and I can see why Casper loves it! I hope lots of little children will now be wearing a t-shirt with your stencil on it!!!

    • Reply Laura December 2, 2013 at 3:23 pm

      Thanks Suz! I had a lot of fun putting this together so thanks for asking me to co-host. It looks like there might even be women wearing the sweatshirts too!

  • Reply Trine December 1, 2013 at 10:31 am

    The cutest reindeer ever!! What a brillant idea, Laura.

    • Reply Laura December 2, 2013 at 3:23 pm

      I’m so pleased you like it Trine 🙂

  • Reply Natalie December 1, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Wow Laura, so cool!!! What a fantastic outfit for Casper! So colourful and festive. He must just love it!!! And you nailed that reindeer coat (it must have taken forever… just the planning!!)

    I also loved hearing about your Christmas traditions. We might be separated by oceans but it seems that many of our traditions are alike.

    Oh, I thought I would mention that I also don’t eat meat (and I refuse to prepare it).

    Love all of this Laura,

    • Reply Laura December 2, 2013 at 3:27 pm

      Thanks for your sweet comments Natalia. He chose to wear the coat the day after the photos so I think he really does love it.

  • Reply Mie @ Sewing Like Mad December 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Woooooooow Laura. This is absolutely AMAZING!!! I can’t believe how pro you sew….I had no idea you made the jeans yourself….and THAT is a compliment ;-)) Holy moly I am impressed!! And the reindeer jacket……I want one, hahaha….and the sweatshirt too!!!! Brilliant!!

    • Reply Laura December 2, 2013 at 3:32 pm

      Thank you so much Mie! I take that as a huge compliment from you. I’d quite like a reindeer jacket and the sweatshirt too, do you think I’d look if my outfit matched Caspers? 😉

  • Reply Heather Feather December 1, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    What a perfect, fun holiday outfit, and that coat is amazing! I LOVE it! I’m so excited for your Christmas series!

    • Reply Laura December 9, 2013 at 10:07 pm

      Thank you Heather! I hope you’re enjoying it, I’ve been so impressed with everything the guests have made.

  • Reply Tracy King December 1, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    I don’t even know how to put this in words but I will try. I am amazed and inspired and in awe. The jacket is so super and then you added jeans and a comfy cozy sweater! Wow! Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Reply Laura December 9, 2013 at 10:07 pm

      Oh thank you so much Tracy! It’s lovely to know that I’ve inspired you.

  • Reply Yeka December 1, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Laura, I’m smitten by your creations for this series. Everything you made look perfect. Love, love love! Merry Christmas to you and family!

    • Reply Laura December 9, 2013 at 10:08 pm

      Thanks Yeka. I love the dress you made too. Merry Christmas to you and your family as well.

  • Reply April Boyer December 1, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Laura, this outfit is so great. The reindeer coat is just amazing–my daughter would love it! The stencils are fun and White Christmas is a favorite song, and movie, of mine. The jeans look comfy and I’m so glad he loves them. That makes us spending the time sewing for them worth it!

  • Reply Laura - Behind the Hedgerow December 1, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    Superb job, Laura! The whole outfit is full of Christmas spirit and joy. I totally want that sweatshirt…so much so that I’m trying to figure out if I have time to squeeze in some selfish sewing before Xmas. All that hard work has totally paid off – Casper is one lucky boy. Laura x

  • Reply abby @ thingsforboys December 1, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    The coat is just perfect! Quite amazing! The whole outfit is fun and festive! Love it

  • Reply Olga Becker December 1, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    I love this, Laura! The hoodie is just awesome. WOW! So creative!

  • Reply Renee //nearestthepin December 1, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    So great to have some inspiration for little boy sewing – that shirt is my favourite! I’m going to try and emulate it – however I have to cut out the stencil by hand so we’ll see how accurate I can be….:)

  • Reply erin December 1, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    Laura, this is crazy good!!! I LOVE that jacket. That wool blend looks like such a nice weight. What a cute kid… I bet he loves it. 🙂

  • Reply Rachel December 2, 2013 at 2:45 am

    Quite convenient that your mom’s sister married your dad’s brother, making family get togethers a piece of cake!
    That reindeer coat is so awesome! So interesting that you made the coat out of wool felt. I never imagined clothing being made out of it until just recently when I came across the military coat that I knocked off. I have discovered it is difficult to find wool felt by the yard.
    The whole outfit is so well done ~ bravo!

  • Reply jacq December 2, 2013 at 4:27 am

    love love these purple skinny pants!
    do they have any stretch in them or just a woven?
    can’t wait for this pattern to come out in larger sizes!!
    great work.

    • Reply Laura December 2, 2013 at 3:21 pm

      Thanks Jacq, this fabric is just a woven and I really do love the fit but didn’t think it was properly skinny enough for a skinny jeans pattern. Jeans made with the pattern will need a stretch woven. Now that I’ve finished this outfit I will be working on the last stages of the pattern this week 🙂

  • Reply farrah December 2, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    What a cool outfit. I really need to try freezer paper stenciling. How did you cut the letters so neat?

    • Reply Laura December 2, 2013 at 8:58 pm

      Thank you Farrah, I’m so happy you like it. I am lucky enough to have a digital cutter that I used for cutting the freezer paper. I also ironed in the main part of the letter so I could line up the middle bits on letters like P and A, before peeling that main part away for painting. I’d really recommend a cuttter – I’ve used mine a lot for sewing projects.

  • Reply Corey December 2, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    This is one amazing outfit Laura! I think you are the queen of jackets – every jacket you make for your boys is just awesome, and this reindeer is no exception. It’s going to make for a very memorable Christmas walk this year!

  • Reply kristin December 3, 2013 at 5:55 am

    Omigosh Laura that COAT!!! I love it so much. What a wonderful and festive outfit. 🙂

  • Reply Hayley @ Welcome to the Mouse House December 4, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    This is SO awesome Laura!

  • Reply Ana Sofia December 4, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    Stunning coat!
    This boy outfit is serious amazing! (and inspiring for those of us, like me, who tend to stay away from boy sewing)

  • Reply Irene December 6, 2013 at 5:57 am

    The coat is absolutely adorable! I love the reindeer, the colours and the cute little antlers that stick up just so. It’s amazing that your freezer paper stencil gives a look of a professionally silkscreened shirt! The entire outfit is very stylin’ on your little guy!

  • Reply Marta DoGuincho December 7, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    My daughter Ines would love me to make a jacket like this for her!
    Great work, Laura!
    Thank you so much for putting together this great series!

  • Reply Stacey December 8, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    Oh my gosh, that reindeer jacket is just too cute and so masterfully crafted. And the purple jeans and brightly colored raglan are adorable. I love that they express the holiday spirit without all the green and red that makes something basically un-wearable after the holiday is over.

  • Reply Tasha December 9, 2013 at 2:38 am

    I haven’t commented yet, but that sweatshirt has been haunting me all week! i want one for myself!

  • Reply Celina December 12, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!! I can’t say it enough. Love it all, the photos, the colors, the coat ( out of this world incredible), the jeans and well the sweatshirt. Perfect for a sweet little boy. Can I be you? Or C? Yeah I could rock that outfit 😉

  • Reply Brienne January 2, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Laura, these clothes are gorgeous! You know what, my son has got to have some purple jeans like that. Oh dear, more fabric shopping. And that coat – just unbelievable! You did an amazing job coming up with those alterations.

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