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Thursday, 21 May 2015

My Favorite Oliver + S Pattern

I am over at the Oliver and S blog today talking about my favorite pattern. 

When Rachel asked me to contribute I jumped with joy at the chance to talk about my chosen pattern, the After School Pants. They have been a staple in my daughter's wardrobe for the last few years and are such a fun item to sew.


Head over to the blog to see what I had to say about this fabulous pattern....!



Tuesday, 19 May 2015

A Vintage School Summer Dress


So there I was in the middle of having a meltdown when the most ideal girls dress pattern landed on my doorstep. The reason for my distress was this. I have always used the Oliver and S Jump Rope dress for my girls school summer dresses but upon measuring her this year, I discovered that she was in the last size and knowing how the pattern fits on her it didn't look as if I could use it again *sob*. I was hoping for more time to use it!

I made up a bodice in the size 8 and tried it on her but it didn't have a lot of wiggle room and she looked uncomfortable. Her waist measurement made it too snug. 

So I was delighted when this vintage pattern arrived. It was perfect for school. 



It was sent to me by the lovely and very generous Nicole. Thank you so much Nicole!! At first I thought she might squeeze into the size but upon rechecking the size chart, my hopes were dashed. Ebay to the rescue! I had been looking for a replacement pattern but nothing was in Boo's range. Why did it never occur to me to check vintage patterns?! After all, the style of summer dresses hasn't changed since I was at school.

After seeing this perfect pattern I tracked a larger size down and bought it immediately.


The pattern has three variations. A pleated skirt with long sleeves and buttoned cuffs. Short sleeves with a gathered skirt and self fabric belt. Or a gored skirt with side zipper closing.

I went for version 2. Self fabric belt, gathered skirt and short sleeves. Oh did I mention the inseam pocket? We are beyond thrilled about that!


The fit is nearly spot on. She will need more room in the waist as the buttons and snaps are a little strained, but it is easier to get in and out of than her old Jump Ropes because of the way the placket is extended into the dress skirt.

 I should have got a picture. The skirt is slashed at the top for about 3", bias bound along the raw edges and folded into the gathers so the opening is concealed. This is all secured by snaps. (look carefully into the gathers on the photo above and you can just see a bit of the contrast binding). It all means that the bodice placket opens up enough for the wearer to ease into.



I like the look of the belt too. It brings it all together. 
I have left it off today because she has PE and I think it will be fiddly for her.

I fully intend to make another version because it is a brilliant pattern. Now at least she can get out of her grey skirts and wear a dress (which she loves doing). 

It is also great to know that when I have L at school that I will be able to make this pattern for her in the smaller size and of course my beloved Jump Rope pattern will become useful once more.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Time for some pretty sewing


I really needed to let off some girly sewing steam after a batch of sewing some much needed basics. So I chose the girls a pretty floral print each and selected an Oliver and S pattern.


I bought this gorgeous Liberty print when we visited London in January, Boo chose it herself so it was the perfect fabric to make her something with. It has been a while since I made the Ice Cream top and it is such a great summer staple.


This is my first project with Liberty lawn and it is as divine to sew as everybody says. I really want to make myself something now! When she tried it on she told me how nice it felt against her skin.


The purples and pinks bring a couple of cardigans out of retirement from the drawer too. It is not warm enough yet for summer tops without the extra layer on top and these will do nicely. The one above is an In Three's Cardigan knitted by me and the one below is knitted by my mum. She wears the long sleeved one a lot anyway but it looks so pretty paired with the Liberty print.



On to some sewing for the recent birthday girl. The Tea Party Sundress in a size 4. Her last version was a 2T. I don't know how we managed to skip an entire dress size.

I adore this pattern, it is everything you want in a little girls dress.


I chose this beautiful fabric for L because they are her colours. It is from the Fly Away collection by Phyllida Coroneo and I used another of the prints from that collection for my Carousel Dress here. I just love the blues and greys!


I have to say, she is very fond of this dress. It went on without a fuss and she is old enough to actually realize that I have made something just for her. And that makes her feel special. I get a coy smile and a cuddle. My heart is happy just to have that moment.


This time I made the dress without any flat piping, I wanted it to be quite simple. The bodice curve isn't lying as flat as it should and I am stumped as to why. I hope a trip through the wash and a good press will help sort that out, if not I will try to redo my topstitching.


The skirt has a gorgeous flared shape. Very sweet and girly.


A special dress for a special girl.


Thursday, 7 May 2015

Colette Patterns: Negroni Shirt


I am delighted to have finished up my first Negroni Shirt. Now, the pattern has been with me for a while, lying on my shelf, silently accusing me of neglect. I made up a muslin before Christmas last year and everything was pretty good, it needed a few tweaks to the sizing and some length taken off the arms, otherwise my test sew eased my worry about this being in some way difficult.

I own the PDF version but would suggest, if possible, go and get the paper pattern. The printing and taping together took a long time. Lets put it this way, I always trace off my patterns as standard but sometimes with adult ones I cut them to my size knowing (unlike childs patterns) that the size I need will stay fairly constant. This one I traced. No way was I going through having to put another print-off together again! The printed Colette patterns are beautiful anyway so if you are considering it, go for paper. #teampaper


I had to blend sizes on my final shirt. I used the xxl for the shoulders (because my man has shoulders like Superman) and graded back down to the xl from the bottom of the armscye and beyond. This made the shirt less billowy as the muslin had proved to be.

I used a French Navy linen from Minerva Crafts which I bought about 5m of last year. We like navy a lot in this house and linen will never go to waste. I have used this fabric to make myself some short culottes and a Firefly Jacket for Boo.

Navy isn't the best for photographing though. I used wooden buttons which were a specific request from hubby. It was a good choice, they suit the casual nature of the linen. 


I kept the shirt length the same as the pattern dictated but took 4.5" off the sleeves. They are still a bit too long. He doesn't like short sleeved shirts but will always roll his sleeves up to mid-forearm. Lucky for me really as I stuffed up the buttonhole on one of the cuffs and did it on the wrong end. If he were to wear it down, the placket would look twisted but seeing as he never will it is concealed. The cuffs are a bit tight to button up so I would add an extra 1/2" to the sleeve ends and cuffs on the next one. 


He is chuffed to bits with it and I feel like a good wife. I should put him on the sewing list a bit more often. I do have a growing collection of Thread Theory patterns to try out.


(I already have been told under no circumstances will he be modelling the Comox Trunks on the blog..... spoilsport!)


Saturday, 25 April 2015

A Feline Figgy's Sunki


It has been 2 years since I made my first Sunki dress. That one got worn until the length was indecent and the green fabric wasn't so vibrant anymore. Still worthy enough to be passed down, but who wants to have an old one when you can have something especially created for you?

This girls best friend in the whole world is our tortoiseshell cat Milly. She chases her round all day and the cat deals with this admirably. Often found sleeping on the bottom of the bunkbed, she gets so much attention and has such a soft belly and yankable tail. Poor cat. I thought it best to make L something feline of her own. 


I made the size 4/5 knowing it would be a smidge too big but hoping that this lasts for a while. The thing I love about the Figgy's Sunki pattern, is that it looks so smart, almost too grown up for a little one, but at the same time so adorable to dress up in.


I made the short sleeves this time, as the one thing my eldest said was that she wished she didn't have the sleeves. I made that one in March and so a full 2 years and 1 month later, I am embracing the sunshine with bare arms. Those shoulder pleats look just as cute on this version.



My invisible zip went in smoothly until the facings went on and then it started to curl inwards at the top. I know why and there would have been no preventing it with this particular zip. It was a recycled one and didn't have much of a 'tail' above the pull. So it was tricky to set in. It looks fine when it is on, her shoulders set it straight, but on the hanger it curls infuriatingly.


I remembered how to do the pocket this time! The tutorial on the Figgy's site is a blessing for a quick photo reference, if you are struggling.


The details on the shoulders make this dress very special. There is an envelope style opening to the neckline and pleats on the sleeve. Gorgeous!


Wednesday, 22 April 2015

My Kids Clothes Week Sewing so far


I'm still here! It feels like I have had an unintentional blogging break. 
Easter holidays will do that to you! 

I haven't been sat idle, the very opposite in fact. I have been sewing some vitally needed items of clothing such as school uniform, that has gone straight into daily use, and some regular sweatshirt and joggers for my little girl who is growing like a weed. After making up some tried and tested patterns, I felt like I needed a new challenge. Since it is currently shorts weather here I looked to my unused PDF's and this pattern caught my eye. 

It is the Long Beach Board Shorts pattern by Terra's Treasures. I can't remember where I first saw it but I thought the style and the contrast panel would suit my girls and also make great holiday shorts. If we ever get to the beach.


A little about the pattern; it comes in sizes 3-6m all the way up to size 14. My girl was hitting the measurements at the size 10 (for reference she is nearly 7 years old). It comes with two leg length options. This is the shorter of the two and is probably the version that most girls would want to wear. The longer shorts would look great on the boys.

The fabric recommendations are cotton blends, linen, denim, and poplin. I can't help but think they would be great in a water resistant fabric too. Ripstop, nylon something like that.


I love it when you find just the right co-ordinating fabrics in your stash. I had a skinny fat quarter of the chevrons which are a quilting cotton, and a meter of the purple poplin. I still have a lot of the solid left over. 

The back panel is edged with piping which always makes everything look better and in this case sportier. For the front, you can go with or without the drawstring option. It does recommend using grommets but seeing as the only ones I had were from making a bag, they were too big. I made buttonholes to the front instead.


They are the perfect length on her and the fit is good. She has a curvy derriere and is still sporting a little baby belly so I sometimes have to add a little room to the rise of pants/shorts. These look ok without having to do that and she declared them to be really comfortable so I am happy.


The different panels on these make for easy customisation. The ability to mix and match different fabrics are endless so you can make lots of different versions. 


In terms of KCW I spent about 2 hours on these this morning, I already had everything cut out and ready to go. On my sewing table at the moment are lots of pre-cut patterns for me to get sewing with. In the spirit of the KCW theme which is Wild Things, I have a kitty cat-esque Sunki tunic to make up which I might start on tomorrow. 

kid's clothes week



Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Sew Lisette Top B6183

Lisette sewing patterns have always had a massively stylish appeal. The old ones under the Simplicity label were all really popular - I confess to having bought most of them. The instructions are good and the added tips make you feel like your garment looks more professional. 

There are four newly released Lisette patterns with Butterick that are awesome! When a pattern sale came up I scooped them all up. I love all the different pieces, they cover all bases and I can see myself making each one.


I decided to start with the princess seamed top from pattern B6183. It is the type of thing that I could wear everyday, dressed up or casual.

(Now, let me just add, I cannot use the self timer on a camera and be in the right place ie: completely in shot. So apologies, this is the best I could do.)

I did the sensible thing and made up a test fit of this top first. 

I have realised a very important thing with regards to my sewing output for myself. I have lots of patterns to try, but am afraid of wasting fabric that I have lovingly hoarded, incase it doesn't work out. So they don't get made. I know, I know... this is why you make muslins. For a long time I have been putting off doing the routine of test fit, alter, then make up item. Don't ask me why, but after doing this one properly, I found that I really enjoyed the process of making a rough draft. It put my mind at ease about cutting into the good fabric. 
I want to do more sewing for myself so I need to get over the fear of it not fitting first time. 


There wasn't much to alter on this pattern anyway. I found that the sleeves on the muslin were too restrictive so I used a 1/2" seam allowance on the underarm seam instead of 5/8" and that gave me more ease of movement. I lengthened the bottom hem by 2" as the original was hitting my waistline before it was hemmed and it would have been way too short. This worked out to be a perfect length for me and I am really happy with it.

The details are what make this pattern so much fun. The exposed zip gives a bit of interest to the back, I especially like the look of the metal in contrast to the soft chambray. The instructions on how to install the zip were superb and I especially liked the added information on how to shorten the metal zip and finish it all off.


The yoke is self lined and the finish looks clean and professional. The neck facings cut on the bias sit beautifully and the scoop neck is just the right shape.

I really enjoyed the process of making this one, the hand sewing to finish the hems was time well spent as it looks lovely from the outside. I hope to try this again and would like to see how it looks in a ponte. That would be very comfy! 

The other part of this pattern is the trousers/pants and my daughter thinks I should try the cropped versions for summer. I need more convincing but if we have a hot summer they might be just the things to stock up with. I don't work in an office so if I make them up they will be more casual than smart. They would look great in linen.

There is a sewalong going on over on the Lisette blog and over the next few weeks there will be 3 patterns to choose from. The Moto Jacket is up first and I can't wait to give that a try.