Thursday, 10 July 2014

Butterick 5639: A Summer Dress For Me

I finally made this pattern! I bought it sometime last year after tracking down the pattern behind this pin. There aren't many reviews to find of this dress but I did read Corinnea's post which was super helpful.

I made the view on the far left which has a v-neck front and lovely deep pockets. I actually had the same reaction as Corinnea when I turned over the pattern sleeve and saw that the back of the dress was straps. I was expecting more coverage but since it is warm weather I decided to just go with it.

The pattern calls for faille, crepe or stable knits but I didn't have anything on hand that wasn't already earmarked for something else. This is made up from a dress polyester that feels pretty nasty so no harm done if isn't perfect.

The end result is not bad. I need to make a few tweaks to get the fit I want but this is a good start. First off, the neckline is a bit risque for me. That will need to come up about an inch next time. 

I would add length on at the top end of the panels under the bodice to give my waist a longer line, but not too much else I won't be able to reach the bottom of those pockets!

The gathered center panel feels a little poofy but for a sundress it is perfect. I either need to reduce the width a touch or do away with the gathers altogether. It wasn't until I had finished that I found this pin where the gathers have been taken out and it looks great.

I am surprised how comfortable I feel in a red dress. Apart from the low neckline, I don't feel like a harlot at all! So even though this is just a practice, there will be more red options in my future.

The back straps are quite lovely after all despite my scepticism. They remind me of the Colette Lily dress.

Look how deep these pockets are! I love them. Anyone with children knows how valuable a dress with pockets is, and these are perfect! 

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Little Things to Sew: Explorer Vest

This is my eighth project from the Little Things to Sew Book (I still haven't got a picture of that tutu to show). It is one project from the book I thought I would never sew up. 

I thought my daughter was too girly to want this but recently she has become very interested in all things nature and bug-like. 

I chose my fabric carefully to match the hat that she already has (which used to be mine). I picked a sand coloured cotton for the outer fabric and a soft flannel with a fun camping print for the inside.

The flannel makes it incredibly snuggly. This might even get some winter wear!

I had some fun with details on this. I was worried it would look too boyish so tried to make it girly with some bug appliques.

A flying ladybird....

And for the back, a beautiful blue butterfly.

I was thrilled to find this butterfly. I had searched the web for appliques and they all looked a bit babyish, but this one is fancy and we love it!

I used silver and blue thread for the running stitch on this one.

The flannel is from Fabric Rehab. The camping print was too appropriate for me to resist buying it. I have just enough flannel left to trim a pair of PJ's which is now a project to be saved for the winter.

I had a heck of a time finding coloured snaps for the vest. I didn't want to use buttons because this will probably be used for dress up play and so it needed to be easy to do up.

Eventually about 2 weeks after finishing the project I found these red ones from Jaycotts

Back in February I treated myself to some fat quarters of Makower fabric which turned out to be great for this project. I lined the front pockets with these cute bees and little chicks.

We had a lot of fun playing about in the garden for some photos. Amazing how we manage to have so many props lying about the house already!

This outfit lasted all day. We even went to the shops in it.

Making the bellows version of the pockets (you can just make them patch pockets, which is easier), gave them so much capacity. We discovered that the bug book fitted perfectly into the back pocket.

So there we have it. An unexpectedly delightful thing to sew, which is going to get a lot of wear.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Green Bee Sally Romper

This might be the most cheerful looking post I have ever written. How can you not look at that fabric and feel happy?

The very lovely Jenna from Just Sew Jenna let me try out one of the patterns on my wishlist. The Sally Romper by Green Bee Patterns. I have never sewn with this pattern company before but have seen many lovely examples of their patterns. I was really pleased with how this came together, it was a nice smooth sew.

There are 2 views to the pattern, there is a dress version as well as this romper. Now I have made this, I am itching to try the dress version. I already have it traced off in the right size so why the heck not?!

Since we are just clear of potty training I thought I would steal another idea from Jenna and use press studs for the placket instead of buttons, which could take too long and be the potential fine-line between wet and dry. These would be so much quicker in an emergency!

I sewed up a size 4 with no alterations. She was in between a 3 and a 4 so I played it safe and sized up. I love how it sits on her, she looks very comfy. I can also spot her easily on the playground in these colours, although getting to her in time before she runs off is another hurdle.

It did occur to me when making this pattern that is it quite versatile. The romper is fantastically cute and so I assume the dress will be just as adorable. Also, before attaching the bodice and shorts together, I noticed it made a very sweet blouse. Maybe by dividing the waistband and turning it into the bottom hem, I could get a sleeveless top out of the pattern as well?

I will confess to making a bit of a schoolboy error while tidying up the threads. I snipped a hole in the bodice. Tell me you have been there..... After giving myself a mental Gibbs style slap to the back of the head, I did a bit of applique work on the offending patch. Three petals on the orange flower on the right hand yoke seam are matched up with fresh fabric and covered by careful stitches. Hopefully nobody will notice.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014


Summer weather seems to have finally arrived (so far, so good anyway) and we are enjoying a bit of sunshine and a few warm breezes for a change. I am managing to get all the washing out for a line dry and the garden is growing too fast for me to catch up with it. And so it seems is my eldest. All the clothes in her wardrobe are suddenly too short, too tight or the wrong fabric for the season.

I put away a total of 21 things in the hand-me-down bag. This left a massive gap in her wardrobe and we are suddenly bereft of dresses, short sleeved tshirts, blouses, leggings and shorts. Even the shorts I made her a couple of months ago in preparation for summer are too small. Just when I thought I might fit in a bit of selfish sewing.

I re-measured her and she has gone up into the Oliver + S size 7 bracket. This means a lot of tracing out new patterns. The bit I find tedious about sewing. But I have done it all now and so finally moved on to cutting things out. First up, the Oliver + S Seashore Dress.

This is the same blue linen mix fabric I used for my Everyday skirt. I had just enough to get a dress out of it thanks to the way all the bodice panels are long and thin.

The fit on this dress suits her because it is long in the body and fitted due to the princess seams. She does find it difficult to locate the pockets though! I may put piping on my next version so she can see them more clearly.

The only other thing I need to remember is to add about an inch to the straps. They wrap around her shoulders fine at the moment but they will be the first thing to feel small as she grows. An extra bit of length in that area should be the key to making this dress last.

The fabric frayed a fair bit so I decided to bind the bottom hem with bias binding to stop any nasty unravelling. My intention was to fold it up out of the way, but my husband and daughter both voted for the trim to stay down. So I left it as it is.

I have also sewn up a pair of shorts for my youngest. These are from an Ottobre Design magazine. They are from issue 3/2011 and are #15 Ape Island Shorts.

I have wanted to make these forever! My eldest was too big for them by the time the magazine came to me and it hasn't been the weather to put the little one in shorts until now. I made the 98cm size (she measures about 94cm at the moment) and they are a lovely fit.

The pockets are lined in what remains of my old Trespass jacket. I really liked the pattern, so when it came time to throw the jacket away, I saved the lining. I think it goes pretty well with this green fabric so I am glad I did.

The leg cuffs have a very cute 'v' detail which make them a bit quirky. I used metal buttons as specified in the instructions, luckily I had four matching ones in my sewing box that were the right size.

This pattern is a keeper, I will definitely make another pair while they are fresh in my mind. 

Friday, 13 June 2014

Tiny Tea Leaves Cardi

Pattern: Tiny Tea Leaves Cardi by Melissa La Barre
Yarn: Cascade 220 (colourway Cyan Blue 891)
Size made: 4
Amount used: 3 skeins (603.5m 300g) I only needed the 3rd skein for the button placket 

I have been working on this cardigan for a while now and am proud that it is finally finished. It has been a real learning curve for me in terms of the techniques used to construct it. I have played it safe in the past and knit with patterns that were all in one piece - no picking up stitches. This one stretched me. For a first time, I didn't do too badly. A few mistakes but I will do better next time.

This colour is one of my favourites. I would call it teal but I am sure there are a million other shades to describe it. 

The yoke is given this lovely gathered detail in between the rows of garter stitch and it is one of the features that drew me to the pattern. I like how the detail goes all around the shoulders and across the back.

The sleeves are 3/4, which can be lengthened if desired. I had to pick up the stitches for the sleeves once the main body work was done and it was here that I struggled. I have never had to pick stitches up before. If my mum had been here I would have asked her to show me, but I had to go the youtube route in the end. There were a couple of videos that I watched before I got the general idea. The first sleeve was started and ripped out about 4 or 5 times and it made my join a bit scrappy. I struggle with DPN's (double point needles) in such a small space. 

The bottom of the cardigan is finished off with the same band of garter stitches as the bottom of the sleeves.

It has come up a bit snug for my girl. I went off the chest measurement and made a size 4.  A combination of starting it a while ago, her having a growth spurt, and my tension being a little too tight, has made it on the small side. Wearable, but it will be ready and waiting for L when the time comes.

If I were to make another one for now, I would make the size 5 and add about 2" length onto the bottom.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Sweet Pocket Pinafore

Arriving back home after work last weekend, my husband told me excitedly that he had ordered some fabric to make L a top. Now he doesn't normally do this, so I was a bit flabbergasted. (wouldn't you be?)

It arrived quite quickly so I didn't have to wait for long and to be honest I wasn't sure what to make of it, or from it, more to the point. 

I asked the good ladies of flickr, who can always be relied upon and from their fab suggestions I decided upon a simple pinafore. One that didn't have too many details, pleats or gathers to disrupt the campervans.

This pattern is the Heidi & Finn Sweet Pocket Pinafore. I bought it ages ago when they only did a smaller size range and have used it before here. Boo has said she would like one so I am giving some serious thought to buying the larger pattern size too.

You get two tops in one with this pattern as it is reversible. Love it! 

While it is not currently warm enough to wear it alone, it really goes well with layers. the bodice is not too restrictive so a tshirt goes underneath comfortably. I made her the 3T and it is perfectly sized.

The back crosses over (I should have moved her hair out of the way so you could see) and the opening gives lots of flexibility, so perfect for play. It got a good response from the nursery nurses this morning. They all thought the fabric was pretty cool. They also looked impressed when I said "if she gets it mucky, flip it over, you can wear it inside out". She does come home looking as it she has dropped most of her dinner down her top!

And a close up of that crossover back because I love it so much....