Thursday, 24 January 2013

New jammies for the little one

Little Bug appears to be growing at the same rate her elder sister did and we are finding ourselves with a severe lack of PJ's and leggings for her. I know that the shelf life of leggings rarely makes it past their first owner so it is hardly surprising that we didn't keep many from the first time around.

Now I feel I have got to grips with knit fabrics I feel confident enough to have a go at a couple of patterns I avoided before. This top and leggings combo are from Growing Up So Liberated. I keep forgetting that I own it and I really shouldn't as it is a gem of a book.

The top is the Crossover Tee (Pg 25) and the Sleeping Johns (Pg 118). I made a couple of alterations from the patterns but nothing major. They are both really good patterns and the cut is great.

The top is unisex and can be altered to suit with either long or short sleeves. There is also a guide to making it look more girly by puffing the sleeves and hem out a bit. I chose to go with the straightforward non-puffy short sleeves and I can see how with the right fabrics, this would look great for a boy.

The crossover neckline is secured by edgestitching from the overlapping side seam, across the body, over the shoulder and right round to the point where it crosses at the front again. So the top doesn't flap open and is easy to get on and off.

The sleeves and bottom hem are bias bound. I modified the method slightly here as it called for the bias trims to be finished together with the seam and I didn't like the look of the raw edges on the inside of the sleeve. So I chose to create a loop with the binding and add it on at the end instead. I thought the inner seam under the arm pit could have the potential to be a bit tickly.

The leggings were made as normal but I added a small piece of elastic to the outer side seam (a la Sunki leggings) and I like how it ruches up. Probably completely unnecessary on sleepwear but hey, I felt like playing around a bit!

Both pieces are a size 2T and the top is lovely and roomy. Bug is only 21 months so she still has plenty of growing room.

Daddy lending a steadying hand

This little girl moves at the speed of light and is incredibly difficult to photograph. Nearly all of my shots were blurred so sorry about having to use the flash on the above shots but it was that or nothing. If anyone has any photography tips on how to capture wriggly children I would appreciate the help. She is so fast!

Ready for bed. Wrong bed, but she never lets that bother her!

Friday, 18 January 2013

First sewing of the New Year

Technically this is the first bit of 2013 sewing I did, I just couldn't find any buttons to finish it off so moved on to other things. Now it is all finished and with Boo sent home early from school due to snowy weather, I get a chance to photograph her wearing it in daylight.

This is the third After School Top I have made and it is a favourite pattern of mine. My daughter loves the buttons on the front and will always choose her pink one if she gets the chance.

I really wanted to make an outfit to co-ordinate her wardrobe a bit. There will be a lot of things that both pieces go with. One of my pledges this year is to have a selection of clothes that all work together.

After making my first Hopscotch skirt for a present I wanted to make a few for Boo. She actually fits in the size 5T for a start. Normally I have to make the 6T in O+S so I was thrilled to find that this pattern is going to last a bit longer for her.

The top is a size 6T with 2" added length. It is made from a floral polycotton that I picked up locally. 

I used a twill fabric for the skirt. Because of the bulkiness of the fabric I had some trouble with getting the plackets to sit nicely. It was just a bit too thick. My other one of these skirts was with stretch denim and so next time I will give myself a break and make it out of quilting weight cotton.

Incidentally, because I struggled with the thickness of the fabric I chose not to do the buttonholes on the plackets. I simply sewed the buttons on through both panels. I don't think I would undo them very often anyway so it seemed safer to eliminate that stage.

I love the simplicity of the pattern and the pockets just make it something a bit special. I could see myself wearing this in the summer. Which turns my mind to the Beignet Skirt by Colette Patterns. One for mummy as well perhaps?!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Ottobre Kerstin Apron

Guess who got an Ottobre Design subscription for Christmas? Hehe.... thanks mum! xx

This apron is taken from the Spring 1/2013 issue and is design 14. the Kerstin Apron. It is pictured with the long sleeved Mariken dress and I can see why. Not only do they look pretty damn cute together, a lot of the pattern pieces are the same. With the exception of the neck facing and sleeve piece on the Mariken dress, you use the same pieces to create both.

It fastens at the back with buttons. I added an extra one to my count as I felt it needed it.
It has the detail on the front of two little heart shaped pockets which I lined with a pale blue fabric. They are just big enough for a few pieces of lego or a biscuit.

The armholes and neckline are encased in bias binding, which I cut myself from the main fabric.

The fabric is something I have had in my stash for a few years. As soon as I saw the pattern I knew I needed to dig it out and use it. It is a linen-silk mix and has a lovely light feel and sheen. 

Yes I know I am making my poor child stand outside in the snow for a picture but it was the only way I was going to get a shot of her that you could see. It was late afternoon after school and so I callously made her stand in the garden. Now why don't kids feel the cold? She was quite happy to be out there and I had to coax her back in with the offer of a cup of tea and a ginger biscuit. Of which she is quite partial.

Don't worry though, I put some nice warm leggings on her as soon as we got back inside.


Wednesday, 2 January 2013

2012: Sewing Review

Browsing through all the photos of last years sewing projects I am in mixed emotions of being proud of what I have achieved but a little sad at all the things I missed out.

2012 has been the first year I truly focused on learning how to sew clothes. I have stopped and started making clothes in the past, losing momentum through lack of knowledge and frustration at having no points of reference or guidance. Back in 2009 I took a short sewing course at college in the evenings, but didn't come away feeling like I had learnt anything. The instructor told us to come ready with our chosen fabric and pattern, and instead of talking about how to read a pattern or use a machine, she simply told us to get on with it, and wandered around giving one-to-one instruction where needed. I remember sitting impatiently waiting for help on a certain step while she worked her way round the room. I completed the course with an unfinished skirt and a sense of deflation at having learnt nothing.

So it was a while before I felt the confidence to give it another go. I bought a new machine, a fairly basic model but with good reviews and researched the pattern market. The main reason for wanting to sew was to make clothes for my daughters so I looked for children's patterns.

The first thing I sewed was pillowcase dress from Emma Hardy's Making Children's Clothes. Then I bought the Puppet Show and Sailboat patterns from Oliver + S (one of the things that surprises me from looking at my years sewing is that I have only made two pairs of those cute puppet show shorts. I aim to fix that in 2013!)

I have learnt so many new techniques in the last 12 months and still feel like a newbie! There is so much to try and many many books, blogs and patterns to browse that sewing is always new, and never gets boring!

Among the clothes I managed to sew a few other things this year....

Now the contributions to my own wardrobe have been pitiful. Only two garments! A simplicity skirt and a Tova blouse.

So what are my sewing plans for 2013?

I would love to try a few patterns for myself this year. I bought a few books with Christmas present money to get myself started. One is the Colette Sewing Handbook which has some brilliant advice and as an added bonus, five patterns to try. Colette patterns are stunning and there are some I have been toying with buying for a while. The Chantilly and the Peony being on my list.

Another book I had on my wish list was Simple Modern Sewing. This is a Japanese sewing book translated into English. I read this blog post on the book, which convinced me to buy it. It has 8 basic garment patterns that you can alter to make 25 different pieces. I am really looking forward to trying a few of these.

Of course the Tova pattern is a big hit and I will stock up with a few of those in basic colours and prints. I wear my green one such a lot.

The childrens sewing will never be put on the back burner though. Children grow so fast and Oliver + S patterns are so tempting! If you don't own them all then there is always something to wish for.

I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and I wish you a Happy New Year. I look forward to seeing all your lovely work popping up in the flickr groups and on your blogs. 
Hope you have had a chance over this busy period to review and plan your own sewing projects. Best of luck in 2013!

Katy xx