Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Last KCW projects

The last couple of days of KCW were spend experimenting with the Flashback Tee pattern. If you haven't heard of this pattern, where have you been? It is a real staple in the children's sewing pattern pool.

I have been slow to approach sewing with knits and although I have made a couple of successful tops, I have only drifted into this territory briefly.

I made one of these tops earlier in the year but it was a size 6 and too snug for my daughter. This time round I went with a size 7 and the fit is perfect. I did two short sleeved versions with some knit fabric I had lying around at home. 

The first is your traditional short sleeved tee. I love the neckline and arm cuffs on this pattern, it makes the finish look more professional.

It looks so retro it makes me laugh! Boo said it was really comfy so that is high praise indeed. She has a real bugbear about itchy labels and the soft, stretchy knit I used passed the test. I had some red and white spotty fabric cut out for the bindings but they wouldn't stretch enough so I used some from a pair of baby leggings that had a bit of lycra content. Perfect! You really do need something with a good stretch to make it work.

 My second version was in a lightweight wool, viscose, lycra mix. In a former life it was a jumper dress from Gap that happily saw me through my late pregnancy months. It is a bit worn but the worst of it was around the old shoulder seams so it was due to be upcycled or thrown out.

I kept the details of the original dress; a pintuck down the center front and a triangular flap on the middle of the neckline. The flap I parted down the middle and laid flat so it formed a nice little triangle. This was sewn down and secured into the neck binding. I like the look, it is subtle.

This is the first pattern I haven't had to add length to. It comes just below her hipline which is perfect. This woollen version is light enough to layer in the cooler months. I like it with the long sleeved white tee underneath.

So, now I have got my knit mojo working I should expect a few more versions of this pattern will grace my sewing table. 

Friday, 25 October 2013

KCW: Everyday Pocket Pants

The last couple of days have been spent cutting out these trousers for my youngest and tracing off some new projects. These are a firm favourite in our house and this will be my third pair. See versions one and two here.

I used a soft needlecord for this pair. I adore my girl in this colour. She couldn't contrast further from my eldest daughters requested colours of pink and purple. Blue, Green, Grey and White are just lovely on her.

She is now 2 and a half but I didn't trace off a bigger size for the new pair because her older flowery cord pair still fit her (with growing room). I tend to put her in these for nursery days so I know she isn't in anything too restrictive. Little girls are always on the move!

There is no contrast fabric or stitching on these. I just wanted them plain so they would fit in with everything else. The ribbon was necessary to lift my spirits a bit. Plus, she is a big fan of her ribbon edged taggie (which goes everywhere with her) and likes the addition of a comforting ribbon loop to play with.

The cuffs were cut on the opposite grain to add some subtle detail.

 I made one slight alteration to the pattern this time around and that was to make the waistband deeper. I always felt that the width looked a bit mean and so I cut two strips of waistband casing and used both of them to make up the inside and outside casing. You are only meant to cut out one and then fold it over. I much prefer this version.

The waistband is so so soft against her tummy. I may have popped in a longer length of elastic than last time to prolong the shelf life a bit. Ironically, I finished these last night and this morning a parcel arrived containing the buttonhole elastic I ordered earlier this week. Ah well!

We are on half term now and so the rest of KCW will be mainly late night sewing sessions to work around the children. I will get some t-shirts sewn up at some point!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Kids Clothes Week Challenge: Day One

Day one of the challenge and I decided to put together this hat. The truth is the pieces had been cut out months ago and forgotten about. In the name of tidying up my sewing area I decided this would be my first project of the week.

The pattern is the Uptown Hat by Heidi & Finn. 

I used a medium weight stretch denim and a star print quilting cotton for the lining and decoration. Both fabrics worked really well. You do need a lightweight fabric for the lining that will enable you to stretch it to fit around the outer shell. My cotton just about eased into place.

I added some of the lining fabric to the brim along with some ribbons to add some interest to the outside.

You can add an optional bit of elastic inside the layers of the back brim to make the hat more secure. I skipped this stage because my girl has quite thick hair and that in itself stops the hat sliding about!

I used a fat quarter of the star fabric and had plenty left over so you really don't need much for this project. The brim is quite stiff on this hat because I used some fusible buckram I had left over from some curtain tie backs. It did make the hat a bit tricky to turn out and I wouldn't use it again. Just medium weight interfacing would be fine.

So there we have it. First item made. I really like how it looks on my daughter, she seems to suit a hat. We have a lot of woolly hats so it is nice to have something a bit different.

While I was waiting for her to come home from school to try it on, I may have got a little bored.....
(you can't be sensible all the time!)

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Winter Staples: Sailboat and After School

We had a good old family walk out in the sunshine today and so I got Boo dressed in her new clothes that I finished earlier in the week. The light was perfect for some photos and the clothes were park worthy!

The patterns I used were the Oliver and S Sailboat Top and (also O+S) the awesome After School Pants. 

This is the second time I have made the pants out of denim. They make great jeans. My girl is not a fan of jeans but I managed to get these to meet her approval. The main issue is that the waist on jeans is too big for her while the legs are never long enough. I can't get shop bought ones to fit properly. (I have the same issue for myself but childrens homemade jeans are easier to contemplate making than womens ones. That thought terrifies me!)

On my first pair I included the front pocket ruffles. This denim wouldn't play ball on that score though. I tried to gather the ruffle panel but it wouldn't pull at all. So they were left off. A shame, but nothing I could do.

These pants are a great fit and Boo tested them thoroughly. They are pretty good for....




Practicing some killer ballet moves...

Not to mention chasing squirrels, climbing playframes and rolling on the grass. 

On to the Sailboat Top. 
I made this one out of interlock jersey. It is super soft and sewed up like a dream.

I love this top as a t-shirt or a sweater. It is the easiest pattern to follow and the facings are all secured inside it giving a clean finish. I forgot to take a photo but I put a contrast fabric on the bottom hem to add some interest.

We had a funny conversation about the buttons on the shoulders. I wanted to put these purple ones on and asked her opinion (I know, I know, duh!) She said "I think I would like turquoise ones mummy". What? Where did turquoise come from? For her benefit, I had a look for 4 matching buttons but could only find two. Sorry love but it is the purple ones after all. 

The buttons are sewn on to fix both the shoulder layers down. I did attempt buttonholes but my machine kept getting stuck and just ended up creating holes. I didn't want to ruin all my work so just attached the buttons and she can get it on and off just fine.

The bottom hem is a beautiful sweeping curve which makes it nicer to look at than just a plain straight hem. I made this top a bit longer than the pattern for two reasons. Firstly my daughter is just plain long in the body, and secondly I wanted a bit more length so she could wear it with leggings and have more coverage over her bottom. I added an extra 1.5" to the front and back panels.

The park is settling into a real autumn phase. From our walk we got a sense of the seasons changing. The leaves are turning golden, the trees are bearing apples and seed pods and the whole place just smelt leafy and mulchy. It won't be long until there is a whiff of bonfire smoke in the air and the nights start to get darker again.

I can't express to you how excited Boo was to find this shiny conker.

We finished everything off with a trip to the playground and then back home for hot tea, boiled eggs and buttered toast. A good afternoon, well spent!

This is the start of my winter sewing. I am really getting into the swing of it now and have three 2+2 skirts cut out ready for sewing. Two are for school but one is for fun. Can't wait to get started on those, it has been too long since I have pulled that pattern out.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Ottobre Jenkka Skirt

Pattern: Jenkka Skirt Ottobre 6/2012
Fabric: Red Twill
Size made: 128cm
Alterations: just the waistband fastening

This skirt caught my eye as a potential school skirt option. It is designed to be made from tweed and is fully lined with an invisible zipper. I have done a dry run in some plain heavy weight twill to judge the size. It is in the older girls sizing range in the Ottobre magazine (those few pages towards the back) and my daughter isn't quite there yet, the smallest size is the 128cm. But she does fall into the 122cm size normally so I knew it would be close.

The lining is some lightweight cotton that wouldn't add much bulk to the seams. It wasn't really necessary to add the lining to an otherwise smooth fabric but I wanted to see how easily it all went together. I have seen versions of this skirt in plaid and cord and it looks lovely. 

The edges of the twill frayed easily so I bound all the seams and the hem edge to keep it all neat. (If you are my cousin Molly looking at that binding fabric thinking 'I made a dress out of that fabric once'. Yes *cough* yes you did. You mum gave it to me.)

I swore that the next time I fitted an invisible zip, I would have bought a proper invisible zip foot for the task. I didn't and so this one was done with my normal zip foot. The big surprise was that it went in with no issues. Nobody could be more shocked than me!

I even nearly managed to get those yoke seams to line up. Just a smidge off, but I can live with that. There is a buttonhole on the original pattern but I didn't like the construction of the waistband and think I fudged it anyway. So there is a hook fastening on there instead.

The pattern says to add hanging ribbon loops inside, which I can't help but like. We always run short on trouser/skirt hangers in this house.

So there we have it. A pretty new skirt in a bright bold (and difficult to photograph properly) red colour. I handstitched both the waistband and the bottom hem to give it a nicer finish. I am hoping that once it has been washed, my hem stitches will disappear a bit. 

It is a little too big around the waist for her to wear now but I will definitely make this one again. It is a robust yet pretty design.