Sunday, 24 August 2014

Couturier to the Queen

Bet you can't guess who R dressed up as for her friend's Frozen-themed birthday party. Was it the snowman? The reindeer? The dastardly Prince Hans, perhaps?

According to shop assistants at the places where I bought the fabrics for this dress, mums all over Melbourne are busy sewing up Elsa dresses for their daughters - which would explain why Spotlight has such a large range of glittery snowflake fabric. 

This little number was a pleasure to sew and (for R) a pleasure to wear. The pattern is self-drafted, with the top part based on one of R's long-sleeved school tops and the bottom section improvised. I made the upper section of the bodice white in an attempt to at least vaguely resemble the gown in the movie (it actually has sheer sleeves, but no way was I going to attempt sewing with that stuff!) and I found joining the white and blue parts easier than I'd anticipated, although they puckered a little when topstitched. The blue fabric is totally synthetic and totally stretchy, so it's already become a little longer in the torso than intended, but it has a lovely soft reverse side, making the dress extra comfy. The white is some kind of stretchy polyester knit.

To ensure washability the cape is completely separate from the dress, and attaches via two little buttons just under the arms. It was supposed to be floor length but R insisted that I leave it ridiculously long. Consequently she spent much of her time at the party today holding up her cape (including at least an hour's jumping on a trampoline) but this didn't bother her in the least. The things we do for fashion!

I'm thinking R may want to wear this for Halloween this year. I wonder if her older brother will agree to be a snowman, or a reindeer...? Now that would be convenient!

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Pintucks and lace: a Sunny top

I'm thrilled to be part of the sewVery Sunny Pattern tour! The Sunny is an A-line dress or top which can be made with or without a ruffle at the neck. Both versions have an elasticised, low back and ties which fasten in a bow, courtesy of some ingenious loops. This is an easy-to-sew pattern that offers a lot of bang for something that can be sewn up so quickly. The PDF comes with very comprehensive instructions accompanied by photographs, making it suitable for beginning sewists as well as those with more experience.

Unlike some PDF patterns this one is a breeze to print and tile, with only 8 pattern pages. I really appreciated this when putting it together! (I once bought a Burda pattern online, which had - I kid you not - close to 100 pages. Needless to say, I never even printed it.)


Having already made a Sunny dress for the testing phase of the pattern, I thought I'd jazz things up a bit by adding pintucks. Were I not so mathematically-challenged this would have been a simple alteration, but it took much scratching of the head, chalking and re-chalking, sewing and resewing, before I finally achieved what I was hoping for: four neat(ish) pintucks down the centre of the front. I like the effect.

In my last post I wrote about the difficulty of getting R to wear shorts. Because she won't wear shorts or pants, many of her looser-fitting tops - the ones that don't look good with skirts - have sat unloved in the wardrobe, including some of my favourite sews - such as this and this. Too sad. I didn't want the same fate to befall her new Sunny top, so I used a secret weapon: lace. I already know she loves the crossover straps and the bow at the back - as do I - but I'm hoping an extra bit of frilliness will provide enough incentive for her to wear the top. And now that I think of it, a little straightish skirt would go really nicely with this style of top - maybe that will be my next project.

R loves her Sunny top. She wore it all day after I photographed it, even though it's winter and the maximum temperature that day was 13 degrees. I call that a success.

Oh, and because I got impatient and sewed the elastic in without doing a fitting first, you might notice that the top is a little looser around the chest than intended, but it will be easily fixed. And come summer, I know this little gingham-and-lace number won't be languishing in the wardrobe with the other tops!

This is the second-last day of the Sunny Dress & Top blog tour, but if you'd like to check out some wonderful versions of Veronica's pattern, here's the list of participants:

To celebrate the launch of the Sunny pattern, Veronica is giving away two copies to two lucky winners. You can enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also get 20% off the pattern until the end of the tour using the code SUNNY20. So get in quick! You can buy the pattern here.

Thanks for having me on your blog tour, Veronica!

Saturday, 9 August 2014


No, it's not a short skirt... it's a shortskirt! Shorts that look like a skirt. Why would anyone make such a thing, you may wonder? Well, for a start, they are cute in a frilly kind of way. And, most importantly, the cunning trick of hiding the shorts under layers of ruffly skirt makes the garment more palatable to my shorts-averse daughter, in much the same way that disguising kale as 'chips' might persuade a child to enjoy their leafy greens (note the word 'might).

This is one pair of shorts that R has really taken to. As you can see I've pulled out all the stops with these: pretty, girlish fabric; ruffles; ribbon and bow. Short of encrusting them with sequins, surrounding them with My Little Ponies and having them modelled by Princess Anna of Arendelle, I don't think they could be any more appealing to a girly girl like my daughter.

The pattern is from the fabulous Sweet Clothes for Girls and has the sensible inclusion of an opening in the waistband, enabling late-night sewists to take a stab at the amount of elastic required, knowing it can easily be altered later (or expanded as the child grows older). 

I'll be adding these shorts to Shorts on the Line on Kollabora - assuming I can work out how to :)

(I did work it out! The link is here, in case you want to check it out!)

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

A Sunny Dress in winter

I recently tested a new pattern for Veronica of sewVery: the Sunny Dress and Top (available in her pattern shop here). This was my first time pattern testing, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and all the discussion and communication between the testers that went along with it.

Both options A and B of this pattern feature a low back with straps that are tied at the back, either crossed or straight. Dress/top A has a ruffle at the neck; dress/top B has a plain front. I sewed up the option B dress in some lovely light voile which had been waiting in my cupboard to become a summery dress.

R's dress is size 4 (based on her chest measurements) with size 6 length (based on her height). I sewed the dress exactly as per the pattern, with one exception: I added in-seam pockets, using the same tutorial I've previously linked to. Without the addition of pockets you could probably sew this dress up in an hour or so, depending, of course, on whether or not you have young children at home, in which case you will be constantly interrupted by demands for food/conflict resolution/computer troubleshooting etc etc, until your one hour stretches into several and you feel like screaming. Or is that just me?

R loves her new dress, especially the bow at the back. Unfortunately it's not exactly summery weather around here, so she's going to have to wait a few months before she can put it on again (I had to crank up the heating for this photoshoot!).

Stay tuned for another 'Sunny' later this month as part of Veronica's blog tour!

Saturday, 2 August 2014

I made bathers!

Having finally persuaded R to give the school swimming program a go, I realised I'd provided myself with the perfect excuse to try out the new Cosi Swimsuit pattern from sewpony. And sewing these up wasn't half as difficult as I thought it would be!

Finding swimsuit fabric, however, was not all that easy - I ended up buying some 'scuba knit' on special from Spotlight and hoping it would do the trick. And, while they certainly look and feel like a pair of bathers, I must confess I have no idea what this fabric will do in the water and how it will respond to chlorine. These concerns aside, I am thrilled with the way the bathers turned out and the way they fit R so beautifully.

I made size 4 with size 5 length, also taking in the sides of the bottom section a little, as they somehow wound up being a little wider than the top part. Oh, and it was hard to figure out how the elastic was meant to be distributed around the legs and top section, but I just winged it and it seems to have worked out fine.

I'll be looking out for more swimsuit fabric and sewing up some more of these in the future - such a cute pattern with so many options.