Up first is a top from this Japanese sewing book, which I wanted to try as I was curious about the construction of the sleeves and the insert below them. It's a really nice, simple style with buttons down the back (I used snaps instead). The fabric is a light cotton from my stash with a seersucker-like wave to it. In the bottom set of photos you can see the side view of the sleeve and also the side slits - a lovely detail, I think.
Next up is a peplum top from the magazine Cotton Friend: Kids. This cute little number features an elasticised back with crossover straps. I used a linen-lookalike cotton from Spotlight. The pattern was really confusing and I still can't work out why I ended up with an extra (unused) pattern piece - most perplexing! In the end I just looked at the photos and figured it out from there.
This Oliver + S school bus t-shirt sat around my sewing space for some months due to indecision about which colour neckband to use. Finally guilt got the better of me and I just grabbed some grey ribbing and finished it. I made the stupid mistake of not shortening the neckband enough and consequently the fit around the neck isn't great. I should really re-do it - but will I ever get around to it, I wonder? The fabric is a knit from Spotlight.
Lastly, I couldn't resist this cute strawberry print - so summery! I really wish I could find something similar in a swimwear fabric. The pattern is the girl's singlet from Small Dreamfactory - a lovely FREE pattern that goes from 9 months to size 14. As I did with the one I made last summer, I crossed the straps at the back and added a little width to the front and gathered it.
But wait - that's not all! I put a photo of these up on Instagram on the weekend, but here they are in more detail: my two fruit bags from Cotton Friend: Kids. The pineapple is kind of a backpack with drawstrings; the strawberry is a
little drawstring pouch. They were fun to sew and R pounced on them as
soon as they were done, destroying my plan to give one away as a gift. I
guess I might have to sew some more, then...
And that's all from me for today, except for this one last pic: R was adamant that there had to be a photo of her eating the strawberry, so here it is!
Monday, 21 November 2016
Wednesday, 16 November 2016
The pattern has been tweaked a bit since I made my tester version, but I have to say, the fit on R is superb. I had to blend sizes to suit R's proportions, so I made size 4 width with size 8 length. The bodice is lined and Suz has an ingenious way of sandwiching the invisible zipper edges between the lining and the outer, which makes for a very neat finish (why, oh why have I been hand-sewing the lining to the zipper all this time?). The dress is not a difficult sew, although obviously the more details you add, the more time it takes (but all that piping is well worth it in the end!). For my dress I used cotton drill from Spotlight, with gold spots to match R's gold summer sandals.
I adore the v-back, even if I didn't do the most brilliant job of photographing it. These pics were taken on a furiously windy day and poor R was freezing and windswept. If it hadn't been for the packet of tic tacs I bribed her with (because it's a tic tac dress, you know) there's no way I would have got her outdoors.
R adores her new dress, even if Melbourne's weather isn't cooperating by providing some springtime warmth and sunshine... good thing this girl will do anything for a packet of lollies!
Want to see more Tic Tac Toe dresses? Here are the details of Suz's blog tour so you can check out the many variations of this very versatile pattern:
You can buy the Tic Tac Toe pattern here, with a 10% discount available throughout the blog tour using the code TICTACTOE10 on checkout.
Saturday, 22 October 2016
The Japanese teacher at my work lent me a yukata so I could see how it was made. This helped me make sense of the bizarro pattern pieces, although being an adult's yukata it was different from the one in my pattern, which had the tucks at the shoulders and waist which - I have since figured out - are there to allow the garment to be let out as the child grows.
this series of posts on sewing a child's yukata was helpful). I even changed things up a little and used French seams so it would look neater from the inside. Then came the obi. I found some dimensions from a shop selling them on Rakuten, and, using some soft voile from my stash, sewed a giant sash (basically a massive long rectangle). Things were so rushed in the lead-up to the 'big day' that I didn't have time to try the outfit on R in advance, but in the morning I used this tutorial to help me tie the obi.
kanzashi hair ornaments on the internet and ambitiously had a go at making my own, but after two ribbon flowers I'd had enough. Cutting and gluing tiny bits of ribbon is really not my forte, but luckily the two I managed to make before giving up looked quite nice when attached to a two-dollar shop headband, and R was thrilled with her new accessory.
At school I watched R walk around, smiling sweetly as people admired her outfit. She continued to be a sweet little Japanese girl even after she came home that day, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching her bow to me and pretend to be polite! Given the generous tucks in R's yukata (meaning that it is likely to fit her forever) I'm not expecting to have to make another, but since I've got a grip on the general construction principles I think I'll have a go at a jinbei, which has a very similar top section. I just have to find the right fabric and finish a few WIPs first...
Saturday, 8 October 2016
My first thought was to use the fabric (a bargain at $4 a metre, by the way) for a dress in a similar style to the poppy one I made recently. I used a bodice from a Japanese pattern, lengthened it, and added a gathered skirt with piping at the waist. This time I made the skirt wider and included in-seam pockets. The bodice is lined with voile, closes with an invisible zip and has a little stamped cat tag on the inside (because our home is ruled by our cats). I didn't do quite as great a job with the zip this time round, but given the length of R's hair it's not likely anyone will ever see this little imperfection! And because I'm already lamenting the fact that the perfectly-fitted poppy dress will not fit R for long, I made this one a good few inches longer and a little wider. I don't think it looks too baggy, and it should be good for next summer too.
So now I can stop thinking about blue and green flowers and swirls and move on to finishing R's yukata. But I'm not quite done with this fabric yet - I have just enough left to make a skirt for my little niece, who saw the fabric when she was here and pronounced it beautiful. Such good taste and only four years old!
Monday, 19 September 2016
The cardi is from the same book, and replaces a much-loved and much-worn earlier version which now has ridiculously short sleeves. Like my first one, I made it in French terry, having fortuitously picked up a half-metre cut from The Fabric Store's remnant bin during a rare visit there last month. I was careful to make the sleeves on this cardigan nice and long, and I added a few centimetres to the hemline as well. The buttons are lovely and sparkly; hard to see in the photos, unfortunately. Gathering the 'skirt' section of the cardigan was a bit of a challenge - I ended up sewing a thin strip of interfacing along the stitching line before my second attempt at it, and this really helped everything gather up beautifully.
Friday, 19 August 2016
girls' metallic skirt, which I made in denim. Simple enough to sew, provided you don't mind making up your own instructions as the ones provided are exceptionally brief (directions for sewing the fly were particularly unhelpful). I followed 'instructions' religiously when cutting the waistband but I'm sure it's meant to be significantly wider as it turned out too narrow for a decent-sized button, and it looks different from that shown in the pattern photograph. I would have redone it, but didn't have enough fabric as I was already using leftover scraps from a previous project. I wound up using a bar fastener in lieu of a button and also adding buttonhole elastic to the back section of the waist to ensure a good fit (a wise move, as it turned out).
R snatched the skirt from me the moment it was finished, which surprised me a bit, given that it lacks colour, glitter, decoration and cat motifs. The whole outfit looks quite grown-up compared to some most of her other clothes, but happily she's still a bubble-blowing little girl whose favourite food is fairy bread and who teaches a class of Beanie Boos in her bedroom every day after school.
Sunday, 14 August 2016
The cotton panels are 70cm wide and 140cm long, so finding a way to get the style of dress I wanted out of the limited metrage was quite a challenge. I cut off the skirt sections at either end, which left me with a blue centre section from which to cut a bodice. I tried out the fairy dress bodice (no) and a couple of Japanese sewing book bodices (no, no) before finding one that fit: the top part of dress F from Girls Style Book. I made a muslin first, then added a few centimetres so the bodice would end just below R's belly button. It was a rather tight fit getting the three bodice pieces from my little piece of fabric, but it worked out (just!).