Thursday, 29 December 2016

A seersucker swimsuit

Looking through rolls of swimwear fabric the other day I found some fantastic neon-striped seersucker that took me back to circa 1983, when I'm pretty sure I had a bikini made of something virtually identical. But I'm not a fan of bikinis on little girls, so a Cosi Swimsuit it had to be! I've used this pattern before (here and here) so it's a tried-and-true one for me. I made R the size 8 length and altered the width to size 5.

This morning R was desperate to go to the beach. The boys weren't even out of bed yet, but I did a deal: I take her to the beach; she models her new bathers. Since the photos only took me about a minute, I think she got the better end of the deal, but I did enjoy getting into the cool water even if the beach was a bit too windy (hence the quick photoshoot, and my failure to notice that the bathers look all scrunched up at the bottom - they are actually a pretty perfect fit, provided one pulls them up properly...)

The awesome fabric is from Joelle's Fabric Warehouse in Dingley, which is my go-to place for swimwear material. This seersucker was only $7 a meter, making these bathers pleasingly inexpensive to sew. Due to ear problems R hasn't yet learned to swim, but her specialist has given her the all-clear, so this will probably be a year of intensive swimming lessons. These Cosis are going to get a lot of wear! They're probably not ideal for extreme UV days at the beach, though, which is why I'm now moving on to a more sunsmart swimsuit... coming up shortly!

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Jinbei PJs

Having tackled a yukata for R's school's Japan Day, I felt pretty confident about making a jinbei - a Japanese two-piece outfit combining a yukata-style top with a pair of shorts. This pattern came from Cotton Friend Kids! Summer 2016 and was far easier to sew than my yukata pattern, with more manageable-sized pieces and a simpler method of construction.

The top part of the jinbei has a inside tie as well as an outside one, and next time I make one of these I think I'll just use a button for this part to reduce the not-so-pleasant feeling of a knot and bow inside the top (not that R has complained, but it doesn't seem ideal). The shorts have an elastic waist and are slightly lengthened in the hope that they'll fit R for a while. I decided to go totally cutesy and use this cotton strawberry fabric from Spotlight, which of course R loves - in fact, she loves the whole outfit and has been wearing it constantly.

Here are the jinbeis shown in the magazine:

The boy version is identical, but doesn't have the ruffle at the bottom of the shorts.

Now to make R some less layered nightwear for the stinking hot summer nights that will no doubt be arriving soon...

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Ribbon dress

This is the 'ribbon-embellished dress' from Linen, Wool, Cotton: Kids. I found the trim on clearance at Darn Cheap Fabrics and was excited to make this dress, which I'd long admired in the book. The dress itself is made in a lovely white linen from Kim Anh Fabrics.

I though this one would be an easy sew, but it proved quite complicated. The ribbon yoke is made from pieces of trim cut at various angles and assembled (I had to zigzag the edges as I went or it would have been a total fray-fest!). Then the dress sections are joined to the ribbon yoke, and finally you make an inner ribbon yoke in pretty much the same way. Having chosen white linen, though, I realised I'd have to make some kind of lining, so I basically wound up making two dresses - an inner and an outer, with the inner made from voile - and sewing them together at the neckline.

I really like the shape of this dress, and, of course, the super-bright trim. It makes me think of a cross between Hmong embroidery and Ethiopian traditional wear, with a modern neon twist. Totally impractical of course, and god knows how that trim's going to stand up in the wash, but I love it anyway!