Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Skirts for School

Its nearing the end of the school holidays and I am in the process of sorting out school uniform for our eldest. I have chosen to make the school skirts and selected the Sunday Brunch skirt and 2+2 skirt from Oliver and S. 

The Sunday Brunch is such a quick and easy sew. I really enjoy the simplicity of the pattern which looks so good as a school skirt. It has a kick pleat at the back to allow for ease of movement and pockets to the front for stashing important things, knowing my daughter it will be leaves and pebbles. Maybe some raisins.

I chose to add some hidden detail to my skirts. I lined one completely with a pale blue/cream floral fabric. The pocket facings were also in this fabric to give a subtle contrast. Everything has to be subtle seeing as it is for school but it is nice to sneak the details in where you can!

I also made one that was unlined but added detail along the inside hem with some ready made bias tape in a tiny blue polkadot.

The 2+2 skirt is a beautiful thing to behold. The pleats are full and uniformly placed. I have made this skirt before and have sewn down the pleats which I like the look of as it slims the volume of the skirt down. By leaving them unsewn it adds an all important ability to swirl the skirt. Which my daughter loves!

I have made one adjustment to the original pattern and that was to sew in buttonholes along the placket rather than install a button loop and press studs. I'm not convinced that the skirt needs access from the side at all as the elastic in the back waistband gives enough room to get the skirt on and off without opening the placket up. But, I didn't want the button loop as she finds it fiddly so used 3 buttons to fasten the placket instead. I think it is a nice detail.

In the photo above I had only installed one button (on the waistband) I tried to add the button holes but realized there wasn't enough space using the button size I had. So I needed to use a size down to fit them on. I wasn't sure before I had made the placket which size would fit on. 

You can see here that I have marked the positions ready for stitching when I get the buttons. Off to the shop I go....!

I lined the hem with bias tape on this one as I did on the Sunday Brunch skirt. There is a wider circumference of skirt on the 2+2 and so it took quite a bit of bias tape to get round it!

And what to do once all the sewing is done?

Have an indoor picnic of course! (it was raining)

The reading tent.

Star shaped sandwiches and cucumber stars to match. My daughter is not crazy about sandwiches and I feel the same about cucumbers. But, they really do taste better like this!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Clever Charlotte Finch Top

Once I had made the Finch shorts I knew I was going to have a bee in my bonnet until I had made the top to go with them.

So with a guilty sideways glance at the school skirts and Oliver + S Sunday Brunch Jacket I am supposed be doing next, I started work on the top.

Looking through the instructions, it all seemed so simple to put together. Great! I chose not to make the bow, instead I wanted a button closure. I actually made a button hole for it instead of attaching velcro and doing a button for decoration only. I could see that velcro coming open during wear.

I used a Japanese cotton for the main fabric and a plain navy cotton for the lining. This is the size 6 made up. The length is perfect, normally I have to add length but didn't alter this at all.
Hubby and I had discussions about this top before I made it. He was unsure about the depth of the curves at the back and I said I would rework them a bit. In the end however I decided not to. It is such a pretty shape and I didn't want to ruin it. Instead I can always pop a vest top underneath if he objects!

The two pieces look so good together and I would be happy to send her out to play in this knowing that she is comfy and the shorts protect her modesty when she is climbing at the park!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Clever Charlotte Finch Shorts

Have you heard of the Clever Charlotte Patterns? I remember seeing them last year when I was looking for some good quality sewing patterns for my children. They have been on my 'to sew list' for a while but I have never got around to buying a pattern until now.

Flickr can give you a pretty good idea of what the patterns look like (Sew with Clever Charlotte) and the ones that caught my eye were the Finch and the Raven patterns. I also like the look of the Sandpiper Top but the trousers just mess with my head too much, they look so complicated to put on! 

I am in the process of planning my eldest daughters winter wardrobe and really wanted a pair of shorts that looked tailored and smart enough to wear with tights and boots without being an obvious summer pattern. The Finch shorts were perfect!

They have a lovely deep waistband and leg cuffs and crisp pleats down the legs. I can see them looking gorgeous made up in a wool fabric.

I ordered my pattern from Backstitch and was surprised to see it arrive so soon. I think it was with me within 48 hours. How can you ask for more?!

The pattern was clearly laid out, all in number order, not a scary amount of pieces. The instructions were easy to understand and had good diagrams. Eight pieces to make up the shorts and six for the top (four if you don't choose to make the bow).

I haven't made the top yet but have some fabric set aside for when I do. I made the shorts in the same navy fabric as I chose for the oliver + s after school pants. A brushed navy cotton, medium weight, perfect for trousers.

I followed the instructions easily but had one eye on this tutorial by Nicole for back up if I needed it. I deferred to the tutorial when attaching the leg cuffs. The pattern states to attach all the leg cuff pieces from the outside of the shorts folding in and Nicole works backwards attaching from inside the shorts (wrong side) folding out and top stitching on the right side. I did the first leg cuff as per instructions, but my stitching in the ditch leaves a lot to be desired and I ended up taking them off the machine and unpicking all that I had done only to top stitch them. So seeing as I was topstitching anyway I decided to do the second leg a la Nicole.

I prefer the top stitched look anyway. It adds character and definition. Whichever method I choose on my next pair, topstitching will feature for sure!

I am a little in awe of shorts that can stand up by themselves! These are fresh off the sewing machine and my model was in bed so I am glad they wanted to stand to attention.

Look at those pleats! How gorgeous are they! I love love love this pattern and can't wait to get some more fabric. I want a few colour variations in her wardrobe and it is not hard to be inspired to make more of these.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Simplicity Skirt 2226

A bit of sewing for myself at last! I have had this pattern for months and not done anything with it. After looking through my flickr favorites I remembered about this one and it spurred me on to give it a go.

I followed the sew along by Anna at noodlehead and barely even glanced at the directions given on the pattern. I much prefer taking the word of somebody who has made the pattern up!

I would make this up again in a size smaller as it feels a bit too poofey. The waistband is fine but I could get away with the next size down. Actually the measurements given on the patten bear no relation to the size you need to make. I measured the largest size for waist but made the next size down and it is still too big. So I would suggest doing a mock up of the waistband to test it first.

I do love skirts with pockets in and this one is definitely a repeat make. Watch this space!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Heidi & Finn Girly Blouse

This is my muslin for the Heidi & Finn Girly Blouse. I have done a trial because I wasn't sure on the sizing. My daughter is 15 months and quite long so I made up the size 2T to see how the length would work out. I wanted it long enough to cover her nappy bottom and thought it would look very cute worn with a pair of leggings.

I'm not really comfortable with dressing babies in black so it looks a bit strange on her to me. However a plain fabric is not distracting so I can assess the fit a bit clearer.

I'm glad I made the size 2T. It is roomy around the body and nice and long. A perfect length and just what I had in mind. I didn't make any alterations on this apart from shortening the slit at the back. On first looking at the pattern my reaction was that I didn't like how big that gap was at the back but things like that are easily altered and so I shortened it from its original 4.5" to 2.5" and I like the look better.

I am a bit worried about the bow coming undone as she crawls about and might tack a few stitches onto the next one I make up seeing as I dont need to undo the bow to get it on and off. The neckline is nice and wide as it is.

I had to pop the flash on here as she wanted to be released from the photo shoot and I had to be quick. She is very fast when she gets going!

I wasn't too sure about this pattern at first but I am in love with it after making it up. There are a few versions in the Heidi & Finn flickr group and that helped make up my mind to buy it. I'm very glad I did and will be making up another in a light girly print soon. It only took an afternoon to make up so it is a speedy project.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress

This has been on my list for a while now. I bought the pattern last month inspired by all the wonderful versions in the flickr group. It will probably be the last summer dress I make this year. As I write this I cast a suspicious eye up towards the darkened raincloud sky and think that our warm weather might be over almost as soon as it has arrived.

So this dress won't get much wear this summer unless I layer, which I ended up doing today.

I couldn't decide which version to make at first. I adore the one I ended up doing (view a) but also really like the idea of colour blocking with view b. I'll save that for my next one. This version on flickr is gorgeous and I must make one for Boo's wardrobe for the winter. I actually think I have a corduroy fetish because in my head I see a version of everything made in it and always have a few things on my list to be made up.

I chose a plain red cotton and a white cotton with strawberry print. Now, I have a confession to make. My intention was to put the strawberries on the centre panel pieces and have the red as the top and bottom border pieces. I wasn't concentrating when I cut them out and only realised once I had cut out the bottom hems. I just went along with cutting out the pieces as my tired brain wanted and so the dress ended up the reverse of what I wanted. But I quite like it, so all is not lost.

I did have a bit of trouble with attaching the back yokes but thank goodness for the oliver + s forums and fellow sewers where I got some advice. Thank you!!

I had to hand sew them closed to ensure the seam was nice and tight. My stitching is still a bit scrappy and not how I would usually leave a seam but I feel like after another attempt will make a better job of it.

The following day was dry(ish) and so I took the girls to the farm where I could take some snaps of the dress. 

This beautiful horse has so much patience with all the children that wanted to pat it. 


And this good looker is one of two little piggies called Pepper & Georgie. Peppa Pig is a big hit in our house so these names went down well with Boo!


I didn't go any closer than this to take a photo of the HUGE pig behind the wall but it is a Saddleback. Very big and smelly!


Beetle the cow (a bit licky)

This sign amuses me every time I see it....


The farm bakery is absolutely fantastic. I swopped some pocket change for a gingerbread man and a caramel shortbread (our favourites).

Oh and did I mention there is a fabric shop?!