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....

New School Uniform

Phew, am I glad I have got all this done! It feels like I started tracing and cutting out all the uniform patterns weeks ago. I had to pull everything out and trace larger sizes. A few evenings spend doing that in front of the telly meant that I got the bulk of it done easily.

My list consisted of:
New Blouse x 2 (O + S Music Class)
Summer Dress x 2 (O+ S Jump rope)
Skirts x 3/4 (Music Class and Badminton)

As lists go I didn't do badly. Last years Jump Rope still fit her so I only made one more and a trip around Sainsbury's yielded a 3 pack of polo shirts so I only made one more blouse.

Not 100% happy with the collar on my blouse but the one on my Jump Rope dress went on much smoother thanks to some divine intervention from Nicoles tute

This is made up with a lightweight seersucker. I haven't made this view before and I swopped the long sleeves for the short ones seeing as it is warm now.

I made four skirts in the end, 2 Music Class and 2 Badminton Skorts. The MC ones are really a touch too short on her (Daddy was not impressed). The Badminton ones had an inch extra length added on so will see her through for a while. One of those was finished up yesterday and so wasn't ready for the line up.

I have used the Music Class pattern for school skirts before and love how smart they look with the little side pleats and hidden pocket (perfect for tissues). The Badminton pattern is new (to me) and I am bowled over by how clever the construction is. The shorts underneath are perfect for keeping them decent while cartwheeling in the summer months and hopefully will provide some extra warmth during the winter.

Plus the scallops are pretty cute and you get to add some sneaky detail with the facing. I dug through my scrap tub and chose some bright pieces. The other skirt is lined with red and white quilting cotton.

Here is the underside of the skirt to show off those clever shorts. They are a really comfy fit, I can see why some of you have made them as shorts on their own.

For now, I am done with all the uniforms. I shouldn't have to sew anything else before she goes back in September. Not clothes related anyway, I foresee a new bag as hers is looking a bit tired now.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Made for Kids Month: Week One

Hot on the heels of Me Made May comes a new monthly challenge, this one for kids. June has become Made for Kids Month courtesy of Liesl (Oliver and S) and Rae (Made By Rae). See the Oliver and S blog post here to read up on the basics.

I have wanted to participate in Me Made May but I really wouldn't last very long. There are only 4 items of handmade clothing that I regularly wear out of my wardrobe and I am pretty sure I would get sick of those in heavy rotation! Maybe if I got my arse into gear and sewed more pretty things for myself I could actually take part. 2015? I shall make it a goal.

But childrens clothes? That I can do for a month. Here is how the first week went....

Day One: 

L wears her Clever Charlotte Finch Shorts. A favourite pattern of mine. This pair went unphotographed and unblogged. I think I made them last summer when she was still a bit too small for them. These are in a burgundy twill fabric.

Boo has on her much loved Jump Rope dress. This was my first ever JRD and I love love love the style. I have made school dresses out of this pattern but really should get around to making another one for home. She has gone up a size and the bodice is getting a wee bit too tight.

Day Two:

L is in her new Clever Charlotte Raven Jeans (which were a dry run for size checking) and a Sweet Pocket Pinafore from Heidi & Finn. 

It was the start of the school week (so most of her handmades will be the same school items from now on). She wears her Oliver and S 2+2 skirt.

Day Three: 

A tshirt with eternal fitting powers is the Crossover Tee from the book Growing Up Sew Liberated. This just never seems to get too small. 

A new school dress, hot off the machine. The Jump Rope dress in view b. This one has eluded me for a long time, I just couldn't get around to making one. I really like the one piece body to the dress and the pockets are really cute. If I had to do a comparison with the view a version, I know she can get this one on and off again easier. The bodice isn't as tight to peel off as the other one. I could send her in on a PE day with no worries. But I do miss that bow and the gathered skirt of view a. What can I say, I love them both!

Day Four:

A Heidi & Finn top today, this one the fairly new Tulip Tunic. The band on the bottom always wriggles up over her bottom but other than that, this is pattern well worth getting. I have plans to try the dress version soon (some Kitschy Coo knit fabric stashed away just for the task).

Also here is the backpack from Little Things To Sew. Just the right size for a nursery day.

Day Five:

Hands down the Oliver and S pattern that sends my heart a flutterin'. The Puppet Show. This has lasted her a very long time and I am so glad she still fits in the size 2T because that gives me plenty of time to still use the pattern. 

Two more new items of school clothing. A Music Class Blouse and a Badminton Skort. See my next blog post for more details on those....

Day Six:

We adore this Kwik Sew Nightie. I have made two versions (see here for the other one) and it is in heavy rotation. She just loves them. Even though this is flannel and we are edging into warmer weather, it still gets pulled out of the drawer.

I am not blatantly sponsoring Tangle Tamer, you know when you just have to give them something to stay still enough for a photo?  This is one skirt that makes me smile. It is from Sew Chic Kids book and we love it. It is the Tiered Skirt. Great for summer with sandals!

Day Seven:

A day off from school uniform!

L wears her Oliver and S Tea Party Dress in Japanese linen. Layered for a stormy day.

There should be no good reason why you can't wear your Fairytale Dress on the weekend. Even if there is no party to attend. We are putting this away soon as the bodice is pulling on her and the skirt is way shorter than I remembered it. Must put a new one on my list.....

So there we have it. A whole week full of handmades. 
The flickr pool and instagram feed are filling up with lots of lovely and inspirational items. Within the group of friends I have in those places, it is lovely to see the clothes that get worn (not just photographed) and the everyday life that goes on with them. If you are taking part, hope your children are wearing your clothes with pride and you are getting a little boost out of seeing them in them!