Monday, 27 February 2017

An ikatee top and two pairs of shorts

A while back I downloaded a lovely pattern from the French pattern company Ikatee. They offer a free pattern when you join their mailing list, and I chose the Ibiza top, a voluminous swing top with shoestring straps. It's a sweet pattern and very easy to sew. Having made a new top it seemed right to add some bottoms, so I made two pairs: the 'Shorts with Back Pockets' from Happy Homemade, and the fabulous (and free!) City Gym Shorts from Purl Soho. 

I made the Ibiza in a cotton-linen from Spotlight, with a bit of gold piping. It's a lovely, floaty top that's perfect for hot Melbourne days. The City Gym shorts are a Cloud 9 cotton with linen bias binding. This is a fun pattern to make - super easy, and the binding gives a really nice finish. I made size 6-7 for R but they're on the tight side so I suppose I'll be making another size before too long... 

The Happy Homemade shorts are made from some leftover denim. I added decorative machine-stitching to the back pockets in the same hot pink as the top. Although she is still a huge fan of dresses, R is loving wearing shorts for cricket and bike-riding at the moment!

Do you have a go-to shorts pattern? R probably has enough to last her through summer and autumn, but I'm sure she'll be wanting more next year...

Saturday, 4 February 2017

A Laure qipao dress

Three years ago I made a qipao (also known as a cheongsam) for R in a brocade fabric. She loved the style and the shiny material, but it was poor quality and didn't wear too well. The front opening was also difficult for R to do up herself, and I remember thinking that next time I made a qipao I would try to redesign it with a back closure. When I saw that An of Straight Grain had released a qipao pattern with a back zipper I was super excited and bought it right away!

This dress was such a pleasure to sew. There are several different options for sleeves, neckline and even dress shape, but I went for the traditional qipao style and opted for the short sleeves. R is never a straight size, so based on her measurements I made size 5 width with size 8 length, and it proved to be spot-on for size (I sewed up the bodice lining to use as a muslin before cutting into my main dress fabric, and I really recommend doing this to check if the fit is right).

In her blog post announcing the release of the Laure dress, An included a clip from the film In the Mood for Love, in which a woman in a qipao carries an enamel thermos. It just so happens that I have a small collection of Chinese enamel thermoses, so I decided to give a few of them a starring role in my photo shoot - it's not often that they get to actually be useful!

The fabric is from Birch Fabrics' organic 'Acorn Trail' range and I've been hoarding it for a couple of years, waiting for a special project. I adore the colours and the vintage-style rose design, and the cotton is so smooth and soft. For the piping and lining I used a coral-coloured cotton from Spotlight and I have to say, it was not easy finding this matching shade! R's scrunchie is made from a pattern from Kids Clothes Style Book.

I'm so, so happy with this beautiful dress. The simplified qipao design works really well and the shape of the dress retains the traditional fitted shape of the bodice without being too constricting in the lower part. R wore her qipao to a local lunar new year festival today and had no trouble climbing in the playground and doing some hula-hooping - check out this amazing performer!

Next I'm looking forward to trying out the drop-waisted Laure dress with the pussy bow. In the meantime I predict that R's new qipao is going to get a lot of love from her!