Sunday, 25 October 2015

KCW - a summer outfit

So often I read on someone's blog that they just 'whipped something up' in an hour or two, and I am always amazed and impressed that anyone can sew that quickly. My own sewing always seemes dogged by interruptions, mistakes and the discovery that I am lacking certain crucial items (zips, buttons, thread). But last night I surprised myself by whipping up something super-quick. Something straightforward, with a two-piece pattern and with no zips or buttons. And it was SO satisfying!

This little singlet in cotton jersey was a nice easy sew, even with a few modifications. I used this free pattern from small dreamfactory - it only goes up to size 4, but that size is spot-on for R's measurements. To get a less tightly-fitting singlet I added a few centimetres to the width of front and back pieces and gathered the neckline and back before sewing the bias tape (which was just a length of the same jersey, cut cross-grain). I also crossed the straps at the back for a bit of interest - the pattern has them going straight down.

The shorts are from Kids Clothes Sewing Lesson Book and were made last week, so not strictly a Kids Clothes Week item, but I'm throwing them in anyway. This is a really cute pattern with front and back pockets and an elasticised ribbed waist. I used a French terry from Darn Cheap (another $2 p/m find, hooray!) and I really hope R will wear these despite her anti-pants stance because they fit her so beautifully.

In a final, frenzied burst of activity this afternoon, I sewed a bucket hat from this tried-and-true Oliver + S free pattern. I made size L, and as with my last version, I broadened the brim, added grommets to feed a strap through, and eliminated the hand-sewing by using this easy method. Having lots of scraps of striped jersey lying around my (insanely messy) sewing room, I added faux piping to the edge of the brim so it matches nicely with the singlet.

Now I'm looking forward to taking a breather and checking out everyone's projects on the Kids Clothes Week site!

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

KCW - a party dress

Every little girl needs a party dress, right? Well actually, no - not when birthday parties typically involve such activities as trampolining, swimming, racing around play centres and going wild in a giant room full of inflatable things. But do you think I'm going to let the fact that R doesn't need a fancy party dress (complete with tulle petticoat) stop me? No. As the mother of a girl, it is my right to make one, so make one I did!

I wanted a fitted bodice and a full skirt, so I diverged from my Japanese pattern books and bought Dana's First Day Dress. It's such a cute pattern, and seemed perfect for the job. But it turns out the back closure is basically just a small slit with a button, and I could imagine the shrieks of outrage from R as I tried to pull it over her head. I decided to do a little modification and use an invisible zip instead, a nice long one that extends into the skirt. This worked really well and I don't think I'd make the dress any other way now. I also recut the neckline a little to make it lower - this thing has a super-high neck - and I'm happy with this change, too. I fully lined the dress - instructions for this are included in the pattern - and spent an unhappy few hours trying out various ways of adding a layer of tulle between dress and lining. I eventually hit on a solution that didn't look ridiculously bulgy, which was using a folded-over section of cotton lawn for the top part of the tulle petticoat, and gathering the tulle before sewing it to the lawn, sandwiched between the two layers (I have no idea if that makes sense, but it's late, I'm tired, and also I don't really want to revisit the trauma of sewing the tulle). The result is rather nice even from the inside, and it hangs well.

The fabric is Dear Stella Confetti Dot, which I got on sale a while back when I ordered some stuff from Fabricworm. I like it, but fear it may be horribly crinkly once washed. Time will tell! The lining is cotton lawn which is lovely and soft. I bought a few metres so I'd have plenty left for future projects, then wasted most of it making stupid mistakes with the lining. In fact, the litany of errors, blunders and stuff-ups made during the construction of this dress could fill an entire blog post, if not a series of them. Honestly, I'm surprised I emerged from this experience with a decent garment and my sanity (kind of) intact. Marisa's law: whatever can sew wrong, will sew wrong.

I made the bow on R's headband using the Oliver + S felt bow pattern. These things are so quick and satisfying to make - and I know my finger will recover from the glue-gun burn in no time at all. I didn't have any felt, but I think I've found my favourite use for all those scraps of Mexican oilcloth I can't bear to throw away.

How is Kids Clothes Week treating you?  I hope your sewing is not as frustrating as mine has been!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Citronille's 'Marie', modified

When I sewed the Paloma dress for Sew Mama Sew's Citronille challenge, Abby from Fiddlehead sent me a bonus pattern, which I launched into at the first opportunity. The 'Marie' is a  peasant-style top or dress with a gathered neckline held together with bias binding - you can see the details here.

Having become addicted to the French Citro-fan website Je Couds Citronille I had already checked out numerous Maries, and decided to try out the modifications described on the blog By Mimosette. This 'manche papillon' (butterfly sleeve) version involves adding about 20cm width to each pattern piece, which, when the pieces are sewn together and gathered, results in a fuller dress with flutter sleeves. As I was making a larger sized dress than Mimosette's example, I added around 25cm to the sleeve pattern piece and added the same amount to the front and back pieces just by placing them 25cm away from the fold when cutting. It was a super simple modification, although all that extra fabric did make gathering a little more intense!

I also made a small change to the way the back opening is constructed - I sewed a facing instead of binding a slit in the fabric. This makes for a neater opening and is easier to sew (the photo above left shows the facing attached to the right side of the fabric before being turned inside and sewn down - I did mean to photograph the process in more detail, but forgot about it in my rush to get the dress sewn up!). Then, instead of a button and loop, I used a metal snap to join the two sides together. I will use this technique next time I make the Paloma, as well.

I couldn't be happier with this Marie - it's so sweet and summery. The fabric I used is a cotton voile from Spotlight's clearance table and I absolutely love it. It's a happy compromise between red (which I love and R hates) and blue (which she loves, and I don't mind). And as if on cue, Melbourne's weather suddenly changed from winter to summer. We went to take some photos in front of a factory wall down near the train station and discovered this lovely little patch of greenery right by the tracks, complete with dandelions and snowbells.

I really recommend this pattern as a sweet little basic with an easy modification. Vive la Marie!