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Friday, 11 April 2014

Sew Chic Kids Dress for KCW


I finally made something from the Sew Chic Kids book! I haven't had the motivation to do it before and just kept going back to look at the beautiful photographs but I decided KCW was the push I needed.

This is pattern a, Dress with Frilled Shoulders. The fabric was bought locally and even though I grumbled about the colour, I can't deny the drape and sheen of the cloth is gorgeous. I have no idea what the content is, there was no information on the bolt. But it was on the discount rack, so it hopped into my basket!


I worried about the frills being too 'frilly' and standing to attention, but now I love them. They add something to the very simple design of the dress that makes it a bit special. I debated whether to play around with trims or piping but kept it plain in the end. I can always make another version now that I have it all traced off. Sweet and simple sometimes works.


I had to use very small buttons because the loops are tiny. This may be my interpretation of the diagrams and measurements, but they weren't long enough. I have made a mental note to adjust that next time.


The back placket binding sewed up beautifully. It was the one area I thought I was going to make a mess, but thankfully it all turned out well in the end.


While I did topstitch around the neckline, I hand stitched the yoke facings to create a cleaner line on the right side of the dress. My hand stitching is not the neatest but I quite like doing it and practice makes perfect!


She gives a little shiver every time I slip this dress over her head because the fabric is very slithery and slippy. It makes her giggle because she is only used to cottons.


I took my time over the construction of this dress and on day 5 of KCW I only have 3 projects to show. But I enjoyed the challenge of this dress (most of the challenge comes from interpreting the diagrams and measurements, the dress itself is quite simple) and I may sneak another project from this book in later on today when the little people have gone to sleep.


Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Hosh Pants for KCW


I had no immediate plans for Kids Clothing Week this time around. I signed up, I always do. I like the spirit of the challenge and it always inspires me to try something new. This seasons challenge has a theme: 'Mini Me'. I shy away from the thought of dressing like my kids or thinking I can get away with star print stretch denim trousers. Who am I kidding? 
But I do have a spot of big sister adoration going on in this house so what better than to feed that while they are still at the cute and cuddly stage. 
No fighting over boys or ransacking each others make up/bags/wardrobes/shoes yet. Oh no, that is way way off in the distant future. So far we are not even thinking about what it will be like for my poor husband when we get there!

The pattern I have used is the Hosh Pants by LouBeeClothing.
I used a stretch denim from Minerva Crafts with a tiny star print design. 
The fabric is very stretchy, almost like regular stretch jersey but with a little extra rigidity from the denim.

Little sister here fell into the measurements for the size 3 but after cutting out the other pair I was a couple of inches too short to make the leg piece. I just went for it and cut out the size 2 thinking that the stretch would work in my favour.



As it happens, the fit on the size 2's is lovely. The legs are a little baggier than the ones I made for Boo, and the waist is not tight at all. A happy result.

The leg panel is cut out in one piece so if you have an interesting print it won't be ruined by a side seam on the outer leg. This also makes for a very quick construction as there are fewer pattern pieces. In total there are only 3 pattern pieces to the whole thing. The waistband is made from two different sized rectangles which you cut out twice for each one, and the leg pieces are cut out twice, you know, like you do for trousers ;-)

The hemming is done first, which gave me sheer delight when I had finished attaching the waistband because I realized that I had finished. No going back to turn things up. Yey!

The hem is completed with a little triangle that is sewn on to secure and tidy the end of the leg seam. Hems are sewn first, followed by the leg seams, then the raw edge of the leg seam is tucked back up and held down by the little triangle.



I did my overlocking first, then sewed the triangle. While I was overlocking I tucked the raw edge into the space and ran the overlocker over it. This held it in place better when I sewed the triangle. In the above photo, the bottom triangle was done without doing this and the fabric wanted to shift about and get stuck under my presser foot. I had to unpick all those loose ratty threads because they looked ugly. The top triangle was overlocked and tucked in at the same time. Much neater.


There, held down by my overlock stitching.


My big girl got a pair of size 6's which was the largest size. She has a lot of leg and the length was perfect on her. You can see the difference in fit between the two girls. L is still in nappies and even so, there was plenty of room. It may have been the fabric but I noticed that L (in her nappy filled size 2's) ended up with a baggy bum after a while. Boo's didn't go out of shape at all. But then she doesn't wriggle as much.




My eldest isn't going to be in this pattern for long but I will use it again for my youngest. They make really great play trousers and are easy to get on and off.


All in all a successful first two days KCW sewing. Next up is a dress from the Sew Chic Kids book that I have been meaning to crack open for a while now. The only downside is that my daughter has requested pink. I will grit my teeth and get on with it, then make her the blue one that I intended to make in the first place.

I hope everyone joining in with the challenge is having a productive week. If you are unfamiliar and curious as to what it is all about, have a look at the flickr pool to see the inspirational clothes others are making.




Monday, 24 March 2014

Liebster Award Nomination



So, ever been nominated for something you have never heard of before? Welcome to my club!

I was just in the process of reading another blog post about their nomination and thinking, that sounds interesting when wham! I got two nominations myself. First up thank you very much to the lovely ladies from Needle and Ted and Another Sewing Blog for thinking enough about my blog to nominate me.

Like everyone else, it seems I had to rely on Google to give me the lowdown. I found a pretty good guide here if you are curious as to the rules.

I spent some time musing over the rules and the questions asked and thought it would be a bit of fun so here goes...

Olu from Needle and Ted asked me these questions and I spent way too much time thinking them over!....

1. What's the best comment you've had from one of your blog posts? Wow, I don't honestly think I could single one out. I love getting feedback off people so every comment is cherished. People who sew know the patterns and what it takes to make the items and I find that even small words of encouragement make my day.

2. What annoys you? Dirty dishes in the sink, the slugs that continuously eat my attempts to grow anything in the veg patch, living just that bit too far away from school to walk, media coverage about Justin Bieber's latest antics (who cares?), and the tv remote control in our house that doesn't like me and won't do anything I ask it to do.

3.What do you collect? I suppose I have to say patterns! Sewing and knitting patterns. I could spend far too much money on buying them and am unlikely to get around to making everything I own. Also cookbooks line the shelves at an alarming rate. I had a major purge last year and send a lot to the charity shop but if I see a nice looking cake cookbook, I am a gonner.

4. What do you spend too much time doing? Clearing the table and setting up my machines so I can make something, only to have to pack it all away again so we can eat dinner. One day, I have promised myself I will set up a permanent space along the back wall (with shelving and drawers) so I don't have to waste sewing time packing and unpacking my things.

5. What do you do when no one is looking? I may have a little singsong to myself. Not being blessed with the voice of an angel, it is best I spare others from having to listen.

6. What is your favourite website? I do love looking at flickr and probably check it a few times a day. I really should be doing housework but that's not as fun!

7.Is your blog 100% honest or do you sometimes make things up to sound more interesting? Honest all the way! I use my blog as a reference tool for myself as well as a way to show off my projects. That way I can remember the successes or problems I had with a project and it will help me next time.

8. What 3 words best describe you? (I had to ask my husband here) frantic, committed, inventive.

And I had these questions from Another Sewing Blog (writing this post made me realise I don't even know her name, so apologies for not including it! Her flickr id is Wagyu Burger, take a look at some of her awesome work).

1. What is your favourite make (sewn, knitted, any kind of craft)? 

I adore the Jump Rope dress I made for my daughter last year.




I had wanted to try this pattern for a while and felt that the placket would give me a real challenge. I love the colour on her and the pockets were our surprise favourite thing about the dress. I have made a couple more as summer school uniform but have yet to try view b.

2. What was the last movie/tv show/musical/album you enjoyed? We don't get to watch many films as I am often asleep a few minutes into them (nasty habit), but hubby and I do enjoy our TV series shows. At the moment we are watching The Following and Elementary. Both brilliant examples of a Brit actor in an American show working well. I am also loving the new BBC adaptation of The Muskeeters and can't believe it only has one more episode left *sad face*.

3. What made you smile today? I watched my daughters class assembly today and what is not to love about seeing 5 & 6 year olds perform? I took my 2 and a half year old with me and she was behaving herself beautifully until there was a silent pause in proceedings and she decided to break into applause with a huge accompanying cheer! This made the whole hall turn and look and everybody burst into fits of giggles. I was laughing too much to be embarrassed and she was delighted with herself!

And 5 random facts about me....

1. I was a vegetarian for the majority of my teens and early twenties and it is a diet I still prefer now. 

2. In a previous life I was a coffee shop manager and can make a cracking cappuccino. 

3. I can't stomach rollercoasters.

4. I don't know what to do with an aubergine.

5. A frog once jumped onto my foot and I screamed so loudly that my husband thought I was being murdered. I have had a fear of frogs ever since.

This is where I have to nominate 5 other blogs and I am unfortunately in a quandary. I made a little list but everybody I thought of seems to have been nominated already (because you are all brilliant). 

I will be naughty and break with tradition. Thank you so much to the kind ladies who nominated me and fingers crossed I answered your questions adequately.

Hope it was interesting and gives you a little insight into my world. 

Katy xx







Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Classic Picnic Blouse


It is not very often that I say I will make something up and then get on with it the next day. Normally I have other things on the go or I don't have the right fabric. Happily though with this blouse I had no such excuses.

This lime green polkadot fabric has been in my stash for a while now. I only ever wanted to make a Picnic Blouse with it so am super excited that I actually got around to making it up.



My girl is hitting the size 6 perfectly at the moment so everything I make fits really nicely. I added length to this top, but that doesn't count because I have to add length to everything I make for her. This has an extra 2" added on to the main panels. 



This makes the top hit just across her bottom which gives it a bit more longevity.



I really like the elastic yokes on this blouse. I love all the O+S tops that I have tried, but this one has no fastenings to slow her down (or to frustrate my husband) so this will be a winner. Straight on over her head, and off to play. 


 I am already eyeing up my other fabrics to see what could work for a second one. I have promised myself to get a pattern busted out of my pile but these children's patterns are just calling to me to be made up!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Pattern Busting the Picnic Shorts


Go back in time about 2 years and picture me tentatively typing 'children's sewing patterns' into Google. This is when I entered the world of sewing for little ones. Thankfully, I came across Oliver + S patterns. and it was this pattern in particular that caught my eye. The Classic Picnic.

For reasons I cannot explain, it has been one of the last Oliver and S patterns that I have purchased. Having made it up, I now feel stupid for not sewing it before. The shorts are beautiful things to behold. The way they come together is sublime and everything inside is finished neatly. Hardly any scratchy seams to annoy delicate skin. 
(For those who are interested, the first pattern I tried was the Puppet Show. The one that started the O+S love affair!)


I have a habit of trying things in denim first, just because it is so practical. Well seeing as these are for summer, they need to be long lasting. The khaki pair are from a medium weight cotton bought locally and it was a major PITA to sew with. They are not my finest work. For some reason, the fabric which looked lovely on the roll, washed to a creased-distressed finish and they look old already. Perfect colour for matching outfits though. Just really disappointed with how they look.


The fabric I used for the facing was left over from a cushion I was commissioned to make at Christmas. It is not a fabric I would usually have in my stash as unlike Justine I don't have a knack at making bright florals work.

The buttonhole elastic is going to be worth its weight in gold as you can see. She notches in two holes either side so these should hopefully last the summer.


I planned to make both these pairs to go with the vest top I made a week ago. They look really nice together plus the shorts will go with so many other things as well.


I love the gold topstitching you get on jeans and so went to town on these. 
They look very sturdy as a result I think.


Both pairs got the thumbs up and it was nice to see her in something new. I can't wait for her to outgrow some of her old clothes so I can put some new ones in her wardrobe. Comically, I have the same batch of tee shirts that I have had forever, but can't stand to see the girls in the same things all the time. Good job I like to sew!


I must get cracking on the top from this pattern as judging by the flickr pool, it is indeed a classic!

Monday, 3 March 2014

A Summery Vest Top (McCalls 6065)



It feels like spring is just around the corner, at least today anyway. See that in the photos, I hear it is called sunlight. We haven't seen it for a while! 

With hopeful visions of sunny days, I have been buying a few patterns for the girls. This one is a McCalls pattern for top, dress, shorts and capri pants. Sounds like all you need in one package! The pattern is M6065 and I have made view B with the gathered pockets.


I like the girly vibe to this pattern, the raised waistline and the gathered skirt make it a really pretty top. I made it as per instructions and it all went together smoothly. Well about 99% smooth anyway. The shoulder seams were a bit of a pain. 

The bodice is lined and the shoulder seam of the lining requires slipstitching together once the top has been turned right side out. The edges of my lining didn't meet by about 3/8" so stitching them together would have been tricky. At this point I tried it on her to assess how much I could alter the straps by to make it all fit, only to be concerned by how low the scoop neckline was. Without the t-shirt underneath it is just a bit too low for comfort. I would redraft the neckline next time and bring it up by about an inch. 

So after a bit of fiddling about, I got the straps sorted. 


This is a lovely small scale floral print that I have used before and it is a really good blender with the items in her wardrobe. It will girly up a white top and jeans.


The pockets are huge! The gathers make them a bit different and if this is made up from a solid fabric, they will add a nice detail.


There are 4 different options with this pattern, 3 tops and 1 dress plus the shorts/capri pants. I think I will get my money's worth out of this pattern. It runs from 3-6yrs, which means I will be able to make some for both girls. 


Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Another Nightgown


The first version is a firm favourite so another had to be made. If you missed the other one it is here. I stuck with woven fabric again but this time went for a soft flannel with a pretty small scale rose print. The nights and early mornings are still quite chilly here at the moment so all things brushed and snuggly are staying out for now!


I wasn't impressed with the quality of the trim I used last time and went looking for another supplier. I found this crochet cotton trim on ebay and am over the moon with the feel and the quality of it. It sewed on so smoothly. I will be ordering some more that's for sure!



I really wanted to do the lace trim around the bottom this time, but was heartbroken to discover I was short by about 12" and so had to hem it again. I only turned up a single hem of 1/4" and decided to do a fancy machine embroidery stitch to liven things up a bit.


It just about catches the hem in regular enough intervals to hold it up and doing it this way didn't take off too much length. Which is what I was trying to avoid.


So now I have two blog posts in a row about the same pattern. Have I been doing anything else in between you ask?!

Well yes of course I have! I recently made a birthday present for a friends little girl who turned 4 last week. I chose the big and little versions of the Oliver + S Tea Party Dress. The dolls version is from the Little Things to Sew book.

 I only bought a fat quarter of the heart print fabric and it was just enough to do the dolls dress and the bodice of the big girls size 4 dress. I lined the larger dress with some white dobby print cotton. There wasn't enough to do the contrast hem on  either dresses but since I lined the big dress anyway, there was no need for the hem piece. 

I think you have to make matching versions of this pattern at least once in your life. It was a lot of fun and the birthday girl looked happy!