Thursday, 7 August 2014

Ottobre Knit Dress

I have decided to do a batch of knit sewing for Boo as she is quite low on t-shirts and leggings. When contemplating knits I know the best place to go for inspiration is my Ottobre Design magazines. There are always so many lovely knit projects.

I have some patterns set aside for tops - the Figgys Celestial Tee fits well and so does Rae's Flash Back Tee. For Leggings I will make a few of the Figgy's Sunki's and  some O+S Playtime as well. Both of those fit well.

When the knit needles are in you might as well get a few projects ticked off in one go!

This dress caught my eye. The Seesaw dress from the 3/2013 issue. The one on the cover which I always assumed was made from a woven is actually a nice basic shape jersey dress. The collar didn't appeal, so I left it off. 

The knit fabric is a nice stretchy cotton-elastane mix that I bought from Remnant House. The ribbing is from the only place I ever buy ribbing, the marvellous Kitschy Coo.

I have made the 128cm seeing as she is only 1cm off. It is certainly going to last the rest of the summer.

I used clear elastic tape to stablize the shoulder seams and tried using it to gather the skirt as well. The gathering didn't go as well as I had hoped. I found it a bit fiddly and to be honest would rather gather by basting stitch. I don't think the seam lies flat enough with the tape there. My method needs practice!

I could easily use the top half of this pattern to make a vest top. The length is perfect and it all comes together so quickly on the serger.

I just ordered some more knit fabric off an Ebay shop as my supply was low. It is always nerve wracking buying fabric on Ebay so here's hoping it will be good quality when it arrives.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Figgy's Banyan Shorts

I find myself eating my words. Back in March when I made some Picnic shorts I thought that they would see us through the summer. That 3 pairs of shorts would be enough. Pffff what was I thinking?! The weather has been glorious. Even when it has rained, it is still warm. Lovely.

I wanted to make a pair of shorts that were new to me. I could have made another pair of Finch shorts seeing as I know Boo has moved up to the next size but this pattern has been neglected in my pattern baskets for too long. 

I fancied the challenge of the zip. I have never made a pair of trousers/shorts with a functioning fly and fly shield before and found that although the instructions left me baffled at certain points I muddled though. I understood what to do but would have appreciated specific placement measurements with regards to where to place the edges of the shield and how far back from the zipper teeth the stitch line should be. As a result, the zipper pull sticks out below the button more than I am happy with. I wish it tucked away nicely.

Things like that only make me more determined to do it again perfectly, so I will come back to the pattern again with those niggles in mind.

I made the size 8/9 which is the largest size. Another pattern on its last stretch for this girl.

I am a sucker for pleats and the finished effect they have on these shorts is glorious. I love how they sit on her. She has room to move (run, jump, cartwheel, twirl) and there is enough ease and flexibility to allow her to do all these things comfortably.

The darts shape the back over her bottom so when she sticks hands in pockets they don't pull tight across the back. The pocket bags are HUGE! I can get my whole hand in there. The way the opening is cut on the slant makes them blend in with the pleats.

The fabric is a stretch drill which is ever so soft. I almost wish I could wear these.
She will wear these regularly for her Scouts meetings over the summer and if they prove themselves then I shall make the longer pants version for when it gets colder.

I also paired them with another Figgy's pattern, the Celestial Tee. I only took a brief snap of this during Kids Clothes month, as yet un-blogged. It is a great pattern too. I love the dipped hem and the relaxed fit. 

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Oliver and S Swing Set Top

This is one pattern that I have had my eye on for ages but couldn't justify buying because elder daughter would only have been in the largest size (5T) for a few months. 

Both the skirt and top are just beautiful with lovely sweeping curves and gathers, and with the wave of hot weather currently hitting the UK, I gave in and bought the digital version for L.

I thought she would be okay in a 3T but upon re-measuring her, she falls into the larger 4T, which is a pity as it shortens the life of the pattern considerably. 

The fabric is a special meter that I have been saving. It is from the Cat Nap collection by Lizzy House. I love it and have been looking for the right project. I also have this print from the same collection, I have seen that made up into a Swing Set Top and it looks pretty spectacular!

There is plenty of room in the size 4T. It fits her with enough ease to let the breeze float through on a warm day. The bodice fits over her head without needing to undo the buttons for the time being but it is nice to know they are there for when she grows.

The best detail for me about this top is the curve of the bodice, isn't it sweet?

I found three buttons shaped like leaves in just the right colours which suit this fun print.

At first I thought the straps would be a little on the short side. But if you happen to think that too while making it up, rest assured, they are just right.

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.