Monday, 21 November 2016

The four tops

Today's post bundles together four tops, so I couldn't resist the musical reference to the Motown greats!

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!

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Pattern testing: the Tic Tac Toe Dress

If you've been reading this blog over the past few months you'll know that I've sewn two versions of a self-drafted dress, one in a bambiblauw panel and one in a 70s-style floral print. Well, my self-drafting days are over, because Suz of Sewpony has released a new pattern that's exactly what I've been looking for: a vintage-style dress with a fitted bodice, gathered skirt, generous pockets and piping. Best of all, I got to test it!

The Tic Tac Toe dress comes with loads of options: simple bodice, pieced bodice or piped bodice; rounded back neckline or v-back; sleeveless, ruffle sleeves, puffed sleeves or long sleeves; full or half collar; epaulettes; optional ribbon tie. There's a blog tour going on at the moment, and today you can see some beautiful puffed-sleeved and collared versions over at Amelie and Atticus and a gorgeous one with epaulettes at Inspinration. I made the sleeveless Tic Tac Toe with a v-back and a piped bodice and I really love the way the lines of piping extend into the curve of the pockets.

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.

Ugh, so blurry! Here's one I took indoors. I really should use thicker lining next time, shouldn't I... but at least you can tell that I was a good girl and cut all my notches as instructed.

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.