Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Front placket dress and a summer cardi

This is the front-placket dress from the lovely Japanese book Fu-Ko Basics: Girls' Clothes I Want to Make, and I would have given up on it pretty quickly were it not for this fabulous tutorial that Sanae put together (thank you! thank you!). There's nothing especially complicated about the dress, but the diagrams for constructing the placket are not very clear, and I suspect that even if the book were in English I'd find this particular pattern hopelessly confusing. With the tutorial, though, it's very do-able and I enjoyed seeing the dress come together. R insists that this is actually a tunic, and perhaps she's right - it did turn out on the short side. It's pictured in the book worn with leggings, a pattern for which is also included, so I tried them out and lo and behold, I seem to have found the perfect pattern for R's skinny legs. I used a lovely light linen from Kim Anh for the tunic and cotton/elastane jersey from my stash for the leggings, pictured below.

I found some beautiful (if overpriced) cotton knit at Spotlight - I don't know what it is, but it's not stretchy enough to be a jersey and not thick enough to be sweatshirt knit - which worked beautifully for this little short-sleeved cardigan. I used pattern F from A Sunny Spot, which is a bolero-length cardigan with buttons down the front, but I made mine waist-length with just two metal snaps at the top. It's comfy, easy to wear and goes with lots of R's clothes, so I imagine it'll get a lot of use. I'm less sure about the dress/tunic, because much as I love it, I suspect it might not be R's cup of tea.

All in all, a satisfying little outfit to sew, even if it's not exactly leggings weather around here. Next up, another dress from Fu-ko Basics - and it isn't blue!

Saturday, 19 December 2015

A dip-dyed dress and a kitty bag

First day of summer holidays - yay! Unfortunately it's a stinking hot day - over 40 degrees as I write this - and we're all staying inside with just the odd foray outdoors to hang up washing, rescue wilting plants, retrieve cats etc. I dragged R away from her cubby-house building and persuaded (ie bribed) her to try on this somewhat experimental dress.

Inspired by Toya's stunning dip-dyed dress I had a go at dying some cotton lawn before cutting out the dress pieces. As you can see the results are somewhat stripy and not nearly as amazing as Toya's, but I do love the shades of purple (Dylon intense violet, in case anyone wants to know). The pattern is from this book, which was part of a thoughtful and generous Christmas gift I received from... me. The book has some great patterns, but I am mystified by the use of American food products in the photographs. Was the stylist perhaps a huge fan of Lays chips and Hershey bars? Or is there some uniquely Japanese logic to their inclusion that I don't understand? Anyway, this is top #6, lengthened. I added a few centimetres' width to the front and back pieces for extra body, and the fit is pretty good except that the armholes turned out surprisingly wide. The pattern is almost identical to the Citronille Marie that I made a couple of months ago. It looks cute worn as is, or tied around the waist with some hastily-made tassels on a string. Probably loose will be the way to go, especially given the hot and sticky weather at the moment and the fact that Morry thinks the tassels are a cat-toy and has already had a good chew on them.

Some time ago I saw this fantastic cheetah bag on the Kids Clothes Week site. I checked out the original tutorial and made one for R, using linen for the outside and synthetic fleece for the inside. The fleece gives the bag a good, substantial structure and it feels soft and appropriately cat-like when you put your hand in it. I added press-studs at the ear-tips so the bag can be (kind of) closed, which also prevents the ears from flopping. Despite my less-than-professional embroidery skills, I really do adore this bag and R loves it, too. I made it a few months back and haven't blogged it til now, but what do you know, the purple embroidery makes it a perfect match with the dress!

I have another outfit ready to be photographed, but it's too hot to do anything right now, so I'm going to have to close this hot laptop and retreat to the airconditioned comfort of the loungeroom, which I have been avoiding so as not to have to listen to the sounds of Return of the Jedi being screened at full volume. Melbournians, I hope you're keeping cool today!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Briabaloo: a pinafore dress

Recently I was approached by the lovely Eluned of Sewabaloo to review her Briabaloo, a digital pattern for a girl's shirt dress, pinafore and peplum top in sizes 1-12. The pattern looked very sweet, and I love nothing better than an excuse to sew a pretty dress, so I jumped at the chance!

I made the 'pinafore', which is a sleeveless dress with a gathered waist, in-seam pockets and buttons down the front. I really liked the look of the peplum top's collar, though, so I cut out the pieces for that too, and sewed it with some piping. It was easy to add the collar to the dress and I love the way it looks. The fabric is blue linen from Kim Anh Fabrics.

I'm so happy with the fit of this dress. As the pattern promises, it's loose-fitting with room to grow, but the gathered waist and additional ties at the back (which I somehow managed to stuff up - the casings are meant to sit right on the waistline) give it shape. The pockets are nice and deep for collecting treasures and the construction is beautifully thought-out and detailed, with neck, armhole and hem facings making the finished garment very professional-looking.

Briabaloo isn't what I would call a quick sew, like some of my Japanese patterns with very few pieces, but I thoroughly enjoyed the process of making the dress and seeing how lovely the finished product looks on R. Eluned's pattern instructions are absolutely superb, with clear illustrations and very well-explained steps to guide you. This is easily the most detailed and professional digital pattern I've come across from a small independent designer. Also, the pattern PDF includes layers, allowing you to print out the size you want, which makes cutting out the pieces so much easier. For my little beanpole I made a size 4 with size 6 length and the fit is just right.

Check out R's vampire teeth in the photo below! I was so glad I got a picture of them, because right after I did, one of those wobbly teeth fell out. Now she just looks like a one-fanged vampire.

As well as the Briabaloo, Eluned has a cool kids' animal costume pattern, and her blog is worth following for the sewing tips and tutorials she posts. She recently blogged a fabulous Christmas sewing wish-list, which should be essential reading for partners of sewing enthusiasts (if my husband is reading this, he should check out this link!). Thanks, Eluned, for the chance to try out your pattern. I couldn't be happier with the result.