Saturday, 22 September 2012

Kids Clothes Week 2012

It is that time again and instead of watching from the sidelines, I am actually joining in this time!

I have put the button on my main blog page so you can link through and find out what it is all about. 

There are a great many things I need to sew for the girls. Some old patterns like the Family Reunion dress are coming out again for a winter revamp. I am thinking about making one in soft babywale cord and one in a light denim to keep my dress loving girl happy in the colder weather.

I have one or two patterns that I have bought and not tried yet like these Skinny Jeans from Peekaboo Pattern Shop. I want to make some colourful ones to brighten things up a bit. Since she has started school I don't see her in anything other than blue and grey. I also want to make a pink hula hoop skirt for Boo to wear in her ballet class, or a circle skirt for extra twirlability. Figgy's released this free download that I have saved.

I am sure this is only a fraction of my final list. Once I have thought about it a bit more I will share my intentions!

Ottobre Dress: Hollywood Cerise

I recently found a lovely brushed check cotton in my local fabric shop and wanted to make Boo a warm dress. It is the type of material you would use for a lumberjack shirt, really soft but super thick. It is a dark navy plaid.
In my recently ordered Ottobre Design 3/2012 there was a dress/tunic pattern that was quite similar to the Oliver + S Ice Cream dress so I was intrigued enough to want to give it a go to compare. It is the Hollywood Cerise Pattern and I kept it long for the dress version.

The only drawback to the design I chose was the thickness of the fabric and the gathering at the yokes. It didn't gather smoothly and I fiddled with the folds a lot until I was happy with how they lay. Lesson learnt.

Unlike the Ice Cream dress, this one has back plackets and button fastenings.

The pockets are so deep! Although you can't see it, there is a little Disney princess in there. I am sure we will find many more in the washing machine from now on.

I followed the pattern faithfully until I reached the last set of instructions on how to finish the back plackets and neckline. The plackets were meant to be simply folded inwards and sewn down but I prefer the finish on the plackets of the Oliver + S Puppet Show pattern so I changed it to that method. I folded the plackets to the right side, sewed them down horizontally and then refolded the plackets back to the inside, thus creating a nice inverted corner. Much better. 

Also, the instructions for the neck facing went totally over my head. There is a pattern piece for an interfaced facing but it seemed totally the wrong curvature to fit the neckline. While I got the general gist of what I was supposed to do, it seemed impossible given the shape and length of the pattern piece. I pondered over whether to draft a new shape myself but decided that seeing as my fabric was quite heavy anyway, I wouldn't need the interfacing. So I bias bound the neckline as I had the armholes.

I envision this layered with leggings and a long sleeved tshirt. Today being quite chilly we went with skinny jeans and a cardigan. 

The temperature has dropped already and we have bled all the radiators in the house today. Sigh, summer has gone. On the plus side, with the cold nights comes clear skies and hubby and I were lucky enough to spot a meteorite flying over the house last night. It was really bright orange and was quite amazing to see. We saw it from the lounge window and both went hurtling out of the house to see it. It was pitch black outside and I managed to put my hand on a slug which was on top of the gate post. Shamefully I squealed like a big girl. Imagine my horror when faced with a barefoot walk back to the house. 

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Pink Ice Cream Top

This is the second time I have used this pattern the Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress/Top. My first go at it was the dress version. It fast becoming one of the favourite go to items in her wardrobe so I wanted to make the top as well.

The fabric I have used is Alexander Henry: Haru Garden Natural Pink. I love the details of the print. It is fun to look at.

I made sure the front and back panels were identical, I wanted it to look the same both ways. This involved some pattern matching which was actually quite fun to do.

The yoke is lined in a solid pink cotton to give a flash of colour through the sleeves.

I chose to edgestitch the neckline simply because I didn't want the pink to poke out too much from the edge. 

I used a red button to lift some of the colour out of the fabric. When I look at it, the little figure in red pops out at me. Unfortunately there is no escaping the fact that when using a large pattern on the yoke, the picture will end up upside down on the back. I studied it for ages before managing to get as much foliage on the back section as  I could to limit the wrong-way-up dilemma. I have two figures on the left side that are on their heads but hopefully it won't bug me too much.


And on another note, I posted some pictures of my Sunday Brunch Jacket on Flickr but have finally got round to putting the buttons on. Here is an update....

 It is a size 7T so it will fit her over the cooler seasons. The arms seem quite long at the moment. She would fit into a 6T now, I liked the pattern so I may make another one in a smaller size if I have time.

Monday, 10 September 2012

My First Japanese Pattern: Girls Short Sleeved Blouse

I purchased a Japanese pattern book after seeing some really nice outfits on flickr and with the reassurance that the instructions were quite easy to follow.

So I had a look on Etsy where there seem to be quite a few floating about and I settled on this one Girls Lovely Clothes by Yuki Araki. It was the blue dress in the second picture that nailed it for me and the purple coat with the tie waist. If I made nothing else, then I would be happy to master those two!

As it happens, after a very speedy delivery (nothing like the 2-3 weeks estimated - yey! Because who likes waiting for patterns to arrive?) the book is crammed full of tempting patterns and gorgeous photography. The two little girls in the book are adorable and make the clothes look too cute for words.

There are a lot of items with a hint of Oliver + S about them, I spy a Puppet Show style jersey dress, Puppet Show style shorts, a 2+2 skirt and a Sunday Brunch-ish jacket.

And this short sleeved blouse has a feel of the Music Class but minus the collar. This was the item I attempted first......

It has binding on the sleeves and the bottom hem both of which are gathered. The gathering makes the sleeves puff out adorably and the blouse is given a nice shape by the bottom gathers.

I made this from a thrifted mens shirt, so the weight of the fabric was perfect. The gingham is such a subtle check that it seemed babyish. I added pearlised shank buttons in a soft baby pink.

The instructions are actually very clear. All the Japanese instructions are backed up with perfect diagrams so I knew what to do. I was a bit nervous making it as I still felt like I was doing it blind. But really it was fun to make and, well, it looks like the one in the book. So couldn't have missed many instructions!

Making the placket a different way after all the Oliver and S tops/dresses I have been making was odd and to be honest I think the finish is a bit scrappy looking compared to the O+S way of folding and tucking everything away neatly. Next time I may attempt to adapt it so I am happier with the placket inside and out.

There were size issues. The sizes are done by height (just like the Ottobre patterns I use) but unlike those I had nothing else to go off as all the instructions were in Japanese and I couldn't figure them out. So.... I made the 120cm size thinking that it would be for my eldest. As I was making all the hem bindings it became glaringly obvious the size was way off. Far too small. I nipped upstairs to pull a 5T Family Reunion Blouse off the peg to compare and yep, much smaller. I suppose Japanese children are smaller. My cousins' gorgeous wife is Japanese and she is TINY TINY with a very slender frame so that could just be the way the patterns are designed. Good job that for one thing, I only made this from a thrifted shirt. Also for another, that I have a younger daughter. It fit her perfectly!

(Still a touch damp from sponging off my markings)
We did try it on my biggest girl and it looked hysterically small, her tummy was poking out of the bottom and she couldn't really move her arms. So it went to a very pleased little sister. I say pleased because she was fascinated to have buttons on the front of her top and played with them contentedly for a while.
I will try again with the pattern book but am a little unsure that any of the sizes will fit my 4 year old. Not such a disaster for my youngest daughter though!

Friday, 7 September 2012

Hula Hoop Skirt

I will admit to buying this pattern almost as soon as it came out. With two daughters there is always the need for a skirt that twirls and swishes.

I couldn't make up my mind what fabric to choose and in the end I decided that I had taken too much time and still not bought anything specifically for it so used some coordinating blues from my stash.

While the weather is still warm enough for a skirt I needed something that would go with Boo's summer shoes (which are a lovely royal blue pair of crocs that she has only taken off to go to sleep)

This pattern is from Oliver + S and is part of their singles collection along with the Firefly Jacket (also purchased and as yet unmade).

The pattern is basically two pattern pieces and couldn't be simpler to put together. I advise procuring a knitting needle or other long pointy thing to get all those lovely creases and corners perfect. I ran the point of the knitting needle around the flounce seam quickly chased by the iron to ensure the seams were nice and crisp.

Talking of the flounce, my husband, whether he likes it or not, is told a lot of sewing information as I work my way through patterns. Although he has never used a sewing machine, he could probably talk you through how to construct something. Poor man. He is a sewing widow. Anyway, as I was making this skirt last night he was sat behind me on the PC and looked up startled as I muttered something about 'must remember to flip my flounce'. Understandably, he was confused. Flounce doesn't tend to crop up in everyday conversation.

I completed this pattern in about 3 hours total, I did all but the yoke attachment the night before and finished the rest while Boo was at school. So here it is modelled....

Sunday, 2 September 2012

New School, New Bag

I feel like I have done well with my sewing over the holidays. I managed to get a few things ticked off my list. I have left this latest project a bit late even for my standards. 

Boo starts school on Tuesday and while I have finished her uniform skirts, the school bag still remained undone. Big sigh... panic over, all finished.

We bought a really cute oilcloth Cath Kidston backpack at Christmas but it was bigger than we thought and it swamps her. So a smaller bag was needed. Enough to hold a few reading books, pencil case and a snack.

My mum bought me 'Growing up Sew Liberated' by Meg McElwee for my birthday earlier this year and I have enjoyed reading it, getting inspiration from it and, thankfully, I have sewn from it.

I wanted to make this Naturalist Scavenger Hunt Bag for school as it is the perfect size and I think it might be easier for her to carry as it goes across the body rather than on her back. She is uncoordinated when it comes to putting her arms through the straps of a backpack.

I chose an Amy Butler print for my main fabric and a solid brown as a contrast. I wanted to keep it fairly neutral for now as I haven't decided what colour her winter coat will be. I plan on making her the School Days Coat from Oliver + S. I would like a heathery purple colour in a boiled wool fabric but it will really depend on what I can get my hands on when the time comes. Whatever I end up with, I will just make her another bag in colours to match! I guess that means I wasn't put off from making another bag again

I organised a free Sunday to get last minute things done (by which I mean hubby was put in charge of the girls and told to leave me in peace!). I had already cut out the pieces beforehand and I made traces of all the freehand pieces as well, these are the ones that you just get given the length x width for and have to draft yourself. I thought it would be handy to have everything prepped incase I made the bag again.

little inner pocket under the flap

It was a simple pattern with good instructions and I breezed through the first half of the instructions. The strap is made up of 2 parts; a long main piece and a short adjustable piece, secured with velcro and threaded through a ribbon.

Making it for the first time I wondered if I was doing it right and had to read from stages 8 - 11 a few times before I got my head around it. but it is a clever way of making the strap adjust without a using a buckle.

I only had velcro that was sticky on one of the sides instead of plain old sew on velcro. This is not what I would recommend using if you are considering it. My needle didn't like going through it and it gunked my thread up. This made the bobbin thread refuse to come up and loop through the sticky thread and so it was a bit of a nightmare. I struggled through but will admit that one long side of the velcro is unsewn. Stuck down but unsewn.

I do have this stuff on hand which is amazing for removing sticky patches from just about anything. (As it says on the bottle). I wiped my needle over and it was good as new.

The strap has an eyelet on the end for a bit of detail.

And incase you wanted to know what happens when you DONT use the hard plastic banging disk underneath when you whack it with a hammer.....

A good job I used one of the childrens blocks underneath instead of just whacking it straight onto my table. Cough cough.

After the strap, the rest of the bag comes together quickly. It is just a simple case of sewing a inner liner and an outer shell both by the same method, basting the strap in place, and sewing it all together inside out before pulling it through to the outside.

I am really glad I tried this pattern. My daughter loves it and it will be perfect for its purpose.

One thing to note is that the bag has no interlining and so is quite floppy. If I make it again I will reinforce it with some so it has some shape on its own.