Sunday, 26 April 2015

KCW: getting carried away is what it's all about

Thursday evening came around and I didn't really have any plans for the rest of Kid's Clothes Week. But what I did have was two cut out, ready to sew garments that Sarvi had posted me a while ago. One was a little white shirt with no known pattern...

That seemed like a fun challenge. No marked notches, no instructions, no known seam allowance....

From the shape of the front pattern pieces it was clear the plackets were to be folded back twice by about an inch. There was a single back yoke, long sleeves with cuffs and little single piece plackets and a pointy collar. Pieces identified. First phase complete.

I guessed at a 1/2" seam allowance and started sewing. Then I decided I couldn't be arsed rethreading the overlocker in white and wouldn't it be an extra fun challenge to make the shirt entirely with French seams throughout. I'd never done that before, but the fabric was nice and light so I figured it should work.

There could have been gathers, pintucks or a box pleat at the back there. A box pleat seemed an easy solution.

I didn't like the super pointy collar after I'd sewn it, so I rounded the ends to get this Peter Pan-ish collar. In doing so I found a neat trick for getting an on-the-fly collar adjustment to be symmetrical. I drew the shape I wanted on the interfaced wrong side of one collar point with a ceramic pencil then folded the collar in half so the pointy ends lined up perfectly and then rubbed firmly enough for the pencil line to be transferred to the other side of the collar. Voila, matching rounded collar ends. (not that the next picture demonstrates this)

At first I thought the collar was meant to be sewn right to the ends of the placket, but no way was that going to fit. I made up my own solution, but I realise that of course it was meant to stop at the placket edge as that's what gives the "double point" when the collar is open. Only mine now has a round and a point.

The bias binding of the collar seam was because I was too lazy to hand stitch the underside of the collar to make it nice and invisible. At this point I was still envisaging this as a plain white shirt, so this little bit of colour was a nice addition.

The sleeve plackets had me bamboozled. I've done simple one piece plackets that are just rectangles (such as the Music Class or Sketchbook patterns) and I've done neck plackets with two pieces, but I'd never seen a single piece, asymmetrical placket like this one. It looked a bit like a skyscraper church. Tall on one side and tall with a steeple on the other...

I made something up and came out with this. It looks fine and obviously would have complimented the very pointy collar, had I left that alone, very well. The inside is not as perfectly neat as I'd have liked but given I hadn't a clue what I was doing, I'm happy enough.

Saturday morning rolled around and kid's Clothes Week wasn't over but my plain white shirt was finished....

While I'd been sewing it I'd been thinking of a white shirt in a Japanese embroidery magazine that had a series of really cute little animals on it. Why not? After all, every Kid's Clothes Week needs a completely nuts and over-ambitious project, right?

The original picture had four little animals holding balloons, some flying birds, more animals reclining on clouds and a mouse on the back. I whittled the cast down to just two main animals and the mouse. After consulting A the rabbit and elephant were chosen and the hand stitching began....

The Japanese pattern kindly suggested stitches and thread colours for every part. .I could only locate about a third of the stitches in the glossary and just used some topstitching thread that I could find at Spotlight.

The main characters are back stitch with French knots for eyes. the balloon string is a twisted chain stitch and the balloons are mostly chain stitch in different formations.

You can see the fabric best here. It's a very nice, finely woven cotton with these tiny embroidered squares. There's just the tiniest hint of a hole at the centre of each one, so I guess it's technically an eyelet? It held up very well to the embroidery and I didn't put any interfacing behind it while I sewed.
Once or twice I got a bit tangled and had to cut and reknot my thread. I became a bit concerned about the feel and security of knots on the back, so I ironed some lightweight interfacing on after I'd finished all the stitching. I'll see how that holds up to washing. It may need some tiny white stitches to hold it in place.
I forget how much fun it is to sew by hand. Last night, Flipper was watching a movie and I could curl up on the couch and stitch away and pretend I was watching the movie (don't ask what it was about, I haven't a clue).
When the Tour de France starts I'll have to begin a huge project so I can abandon all sewing machine sewing and just stitch and watch the Tour for three weeks. Any suggestions?
Although these little critters are far from "wild" with their dresses and bows, it's somewhat on topic with the Kid's Clothes Week Wild Things theme.
So there we are. One mystery shirt, probably size 4, presumably an eyelet cotton, with some likely mistranslated Japanese embroidery. Thanks for the unfinished project Sarvi!

Now, I need to pack up my sewing things before I get the itch to do anything more tonight. Kid's Clothes Week is officially finished at our house! How was your week?

Thursday, 23 April 2015

KCW: A Deer Turtleneck!

I took a bit of time out from Kid's Clothes Week sewing last night to write up a blog post for Oliver + S but then got a last minute extension, so I quickly set to work and made a turtleneck top for A!

The details....
Pattern: Oliver + S School Bus T-shirt
Fabric: Superfine merino knit from The Fabric Store. Lovely to wear and so great to sew with!
Size: size 3 with about 1 inch extra hem length and about 3/4" extra sleeve length.
Modifications: I cut a super-wide neckband to turn it into a turtleneck. The neckband is also cut about 1/2" longer than the pattern piece
The deer is an iron on transfer. It was leftover from the beaded deer sweater when I'd printed it and then realised I wanted it to face the other way for the original sweater.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

KCW: Forest Path Cape

I wear my Liesl & Co Woodland Stroll cape a lot. Quite a while ago I bought some lovely open weave wool in a large scale plaid from The Fabric Store along with some lining with the intention of making the little version, the Oliver + S Forest Path cape for A.

Well, it's Autumn time and chilly and Kid's Clothes Week rolled around, and hey, the Forest Path pattern is almost on theme with Wild Things, right?! Obviously, it had to happen this week!

The cape is a nice simple sewing task for something that ends up looking quite "high end". It was finished last night and worn today and A received  quite a number of unprompted admiring comments from strangers on the street. You've got to love a pattern that's easy to sew but makes you look clever!

I would have loved for the plaid to have matched up along the shoulder seams, which are the only seams there are, so it felt like it should have been possible. But if I wanted the pattern centred then the back pattern piece was a fraction too small for matching with the front. I'm sure if I'd been making a larger size the scale of the plaid would have magically fit the pattern and it may have worked out.

I'd bought the pattern way back when I bought the fabric and I only had the small size range pattern. This is a size 4 which is the biggest in that size range.

We took a trip into the city to hit up Buttonmania for the perfect buttons. When we got there the sign on the door said they were closed and I was at a bit of a loss, until I read further and discovered it was "warehouse Monday" when Kate opens up the back of the shop and you buy great handfuls of buttons by weight. So, down the hallway we went and found these buttons and dozens of others and had a great shopping spree (for about half of what I would have paid for 5 buttons at Spotlight).

I've realised I didn't get a good picture of the lining, but it's the lovely acetate from The Fabric Shop that doesn't go all stringy like cheap lining does and it's exactly the same colour as those buttons. My buttonholes were looking a bit anaemic so after cutting them open I went over them again with a zig zag stitch.

The main wool fabric is quite an open weave. It looked like it may not be too warm, and it was threatening to unravel where I cut it. The solution to handling it, and adding some warmth, was underlining with bamboo quilt wadding. I had enough left overs to add a single layer of soft, fluffy warm bamboo between the wool and the lining.

So there you go, it's panda food too! Totally on topic with the Wild Things theme!
Hope you're all having a good Kid's Clothes Week so far.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Happily redundant pattern modification!

Have you seen the new Oliver + S patterns?

I'm happy to say that there's a fabulous polo shirt pattern (Parachute Polo and Sweatpants) that makes my previous pattern modification completely redundant.

But I didn't know it was coming, and sewed this polo up about a month ago. This is a long sleeved version of the Sketchbook/Jumprope mash-up that I did as an Oliver + S blog tutorial back here.
This polo doesn't really need the Sketchbook as it's base. If you have placket instructions for a partial placket (any shirt will do) and a nice fitting T-shirt pattern then you're set. All you'd need to do is draft your own collar. But perhaps that's where the magic lies....
Have you ever looked at a neckline, and a collar piece and thought  "I have no idea how they're going to fit together", but then they do. I certainly have. Worth paying for a well designed pattern in my opinion. So, I'll add the Parachute Polo to my collection, as the placket is interestingly different, and the side splits look cool (and I need to keep the collection complete :) )
Round about this point, you're probably recognising the fabric, right? Yep, this is the leftovers from my bumblebee Skippy dress along with a bit of that eternal lasting chambray tablecloth.
Of course that meant P needed to find the bee antennae....
So now there are two bees in the hive! With A and I both having the same dress pattern (Little Joey and Skippy) and a couple of fabrics in common, P and I both sharing some of this fabric, and the three of us all having culottes (did you see the sneak preview of his on Instagram?) we'll have to be more careful than ever not to go outdoors with our outfits matching!
From tomorrow morning, it's Kid's Clothes Week and the theme is Wild Thing, so I'm feeling on topic with my little bumblebee. I've got a few more things to make so I'm sure I'll manage one hour a day, but I'm not sure if I can sneak any more Wild Thing inspiration in.
Are you signed up? 
kid's clothes week

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Lunch Box Tee and Culottes

I've been making quite a few things lately and many of them have gone straight into the kids wardrobes without being photographed. Some are in heavy rotation and others are not...

The Oliver + S Lunch Box Tee and Culottes was a bit hit and miss for my daughter.

She LOVED the t-shirt and wanted to wear it every day after I'd made it, but it is indecently short. It's really cute with it's cropped, boxy shape but when you're 4 and you're constantly putting your arms above your head and twirling, and then you tug the front of your skirt/pants down below your belly it's not such a good look!

The fabric was a remnant from The Fabric Store, and there's plenty left over to put a band around the bottom and save this from looking like a t-shirt from two summers ago.

The T-shirt is the View B in a straight size 4. I've since made the long sleeved View A with the pockets and the body length is better but the sleeves are a bit too short. Note to self, add length everywhere!

I edited out all of the many photos with her arms up and belly out, but the posing did get pretty silly...

The culottes are, I think, seriously cute, but this photo-shoot is the only time they've been worn. They're hanging in the wardrobe, ready for an outing anytime she gives them the nod... They're also a straight size 4 and the fabric is a stretch velveteen - at least I think that's what you call it. I picked it up ages ago from the Fabric Store and previously made some Field Trip cargo pants from it. Those size 2 pants and these culottes both came from 1.5m of fabric. Curiously, those pants were largely rejected too. I should have seen it coming for the culottes then, right?!

I'm holding out hope for these culottes. She might come around. I'll document the long sleeve tee soon and then at least I'll remember how much more length to add to the next one.

Meanwhile, I've been playing around a bit more with the pattern and been very happy with those results! - to be revealed later this month, and I don't mean revealed in the sense of an eyeful of belly button cause your t-shirts too short!

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

All The Skirts - my Oliver + S skirt collection!

Today's blog post is a skirt round up!

I've corralled photos of all the Oliver + S skirts I've sewn in order to join in with Skirt Fixation and their skirt pattern celebration All The Skirts

All The Skirts is a month long sew along to create all (or as many as you like) of the skirt patterns from a particular pattern designer. There's a link up party where you can post the skirts you've sewn, as well as discount codes for the skirt patterns and the chance to win patterns and fabrics from the sponsors. Awesome!

This month, all the skirts being featured are those from Oliver + S, and yep, I've pretty much sewn all of them. Many of them date back to before this blog was created so I 've dug out the photos for a little trip down memory lane....

I should declare up front that I write for the Oliver + S blog and am an employee of sorts. But, every one of these skirts dates to prior to that arrangement. I bought all the patterns myself, and I can't possibly recommend something I don't honestly like. Trust me, when it comes to Oliver + S I love All The Skirts!

This Sunday Brunch outfit from three years ago was probably A's first skirt. This photo would have been right around the time of her 1st birthday.  The skirt has a sweet A-line shape and super cute little kick pleat in the back. I found it to be quite a slim fit and since she wore cloth nappies it was only really suitable for weekends away in slimmer undergarments!
I made another, possibly one size bigger (who remembers?), out of a little remnant of Hilco corduroy and added hot pink piping!

This pattern is one that I really must make again soon. - Get the feeling you're going to read that a few times in this blog post? Well, you're right!

Another cute, slim fitting skirt that I haven't made for ages, but really must is the Sailboat Skirt.

This was my first ever attempt at piping, and I hadn't quite got my head around how thick a cord I was meant to use. I think I got the upholstery piping there (novice!), but the effect of the chunky piping is actually kinda great. Yep, I need to redo this one for this upcoming winter, and I think I have just enough denim left over too.

A little mustard onesie, some thick tights, a cute retro skirt and a drawer full of chopsticks to empty. What could be cuter?!
Continuing with the straighter, I-wish-they-came-in-my-size skirt patterns. The next is the Music Class skirt. This is a pattern that you could buy for the blouse alone, and overlook the little skirt, but you'd be ignoring an absolute gem.
This one, is my most recent Oliver + S skirt and was made from a remnant from my first Diplomat dress. While these narrow un-twirly skirts may get rejected by the girls they're sewn for, there is much joy in being able to cut a skirt from the teensiest of remnants, and this is one such thrifty pattern.

This LEGO Music Class skirt was sewn for a friend's daughter and was also eeked out of leftover fabric.

My first Music Class skirt was this one. Sadly it was another skirt that was only suitable for disposable nappy days. The sticking point was not waist or hip measurements but getting the waistband past the combined width of her thighs (and that's why this pattern would not work for me!!)

Time to size up and make another one, right?!
The 2+2 skirt is a pretty pleated skirt with a side opening, so there's zero risk of not getting this one to fit, regardless of what you wear under your skirt. I made the skirt below ages ago, and I'm somewhat embarrassed to say that it's still in her wardrobe and in rotation almost two years later.

It's undoubtedly too short now, but with tights or leggings underneath it still looks pretty sweet. Still, you know what I need to do, don't you?... OK, add it to the list. 

So, while I'm in confessional mode; here are two more skirts that are probably only size 2 and are still being worn by my 4 year old! It's the Hopscotch pattern. This pattern comes with a gorgeous knit top/dress pattern but the skirt is such a beauty on it's own.

The pockets are really charming, and there's room to hide all sorts of things in them. The button placket doesn't need to be functional, so if buttonholes aren't your thing you could just fake it and sew the buttons straight through.

I've seen this pattern sewn up for older girls and I really like the proportions of the skirt in the larger sizes.

One little skirt that didn't get as much wear as it should have was this Badminton skirt. It was also a more narrow fit, and the lightweight fabric meant it was very much a summer skirt, and she just never took a shine to it.

The Badminton skirt is really a skort and I suspect if I make this one in a knit and leave off the scallops, I'd have the perfect school skirt. So I'll pull this pattern out again for sure next year when she needs a school uniform sewn up.

Perhaps my very favourite of all is the Swingset skirt.

But look, I've only made one so far. How can that be?! It's a bias cut, swingy, twirly, adorable skirt which is lined and looks so professional but sews up in no time at all. I think this one might also only be size 2, but it's still in heavy rotation. Of all the skirt patterns this is the only one that tops out at size 5, so I need to get a move one and put this one at the top of the must-sew-soon list.

The last two skirts are sort of peripheral to the main collection. One is the free Lazy Days PDF and the other is the Tutu from Little Things To Sew. The tutu is the perfect fancy dress up skirt, and the spotty Lazy Days skirt was whipped up super quick for a spotty picnic at the Art Gallery.

There's another free skirt pattern, the Onstage tutu skirt which I haven't made yet. I saw a very expensive tulle layered skirt in a shop recently and thought I could do exactly that with a free pattern from Oliver + S!

One for the trainspotters; have you picked the only other Oliver + S skirt pattern I haven't sewn? I guess I need to make one just so I really can claim to have sewn All The Skirts.

If you've read this far, thank you, now go treat yourself to the chance to win skirt patterns from Oliver + S, or fabric from the Fat Quarter Shop. Enter the competition over at Skirt Fixation or pick up the skirt pattern discount code and then join me in sewing at least one new skirt before the month is out!

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

More Autumn basics and GIVEAWAY winner announced

The mornings have become quite Autumn crisp, the skies are blue and it's just perfect weather for cycling.

Oh, and perfect weather for leggings. The last lot were getting a bit tight so I whipped up more Oliver + S Playtime leggings for A. This time in size 3 with size 4 length. Perfect!

They've all been worn and washed quite a few times each over the last couple of weeks. Curiously, the pale mint ones on the far right have shrunk further and are now only just long enough compared to all the others.

To go over the top, and since she loved the last one so much, I made another one of these tiered skirts from this Japanese pattern book. Nothing better than easy do-it-yourself dressing on cool Autumn mornings.

Now, courtesy of my losing track of my pattern stocktake, here's the winner of the Garden Party dress pattern!

Blog birthday pattern giveaway

Congratulations Brittney. I'll email you for your postal address and then post it off.

Speaking of posting things, this dress is about to go off to northern England to live, and this one recently departed for Tasmania. I have a limited number of local recipients for outgrown girl's clothes. Heavily worn or the occasional store bought garments go to goodwill, but there are some special Oliver + S clothes for which it seems only right to offer up to other Oliver +S enthusiasts. It's fun imagining them being enjoyed all over again. What do you do with your outgrown sewn clothes?