Sunday, 22 April 2018

Badminton top

When I wrote my summary of all the Oliver + S patterns I'd sewn, and realised I only had two left to sew, I also realised I had only a few weeks of sunshine left and should get onto that cute little Badminton top right away.

Of course it was a delight to sew, but then I say that about every Oliver + S pattern that I finally get around to sewing for the first time.

This was a straight size 7 and while I'd normally add some torso length for my long bodied kid, the fabric remnant didn't allow for that.

The fabric is a super cute border print that I first used for a Roller Skate dress way back here, and had a tiny bit leftover. I just managed to cut out the top with no leftovers at all (yay for getting rid of small leftovers) and remembered I had some teal green bits that I thought would work for the yoke and arm bindings. It looks perfect against the small bits of green with the brown background but once the main green border comes into view it obviously isn't that great a colour match after all.

I toyed with the idea of a different colour altogether, or even buying (shudder) some green that was a better match... But then I thought to ask the kid. She declared it to be "absolutely perfect".

My first instinct was to argue that of course it wasn't....Blind Freddy could see it was the wrong shade... But I bit my lip. If she thought it was perfect and if it could be made entirely out of remnants then perfect it shall be and perfect it is.

Continuing with the theme of close enough is good enough, I found a tiny bit of grey brown bias binding to make it a drawstring tie for the front. It's not ribbon, nor is it the right shade of brown, but this Badminton top is looking more and more like a shuttlecock approximation so who cares.

It's pretty cute paired with the Badminton Skirt (which is two years old and probably only a size 5 from memory) and some mosquito bitten knees.

There's been a lot of talk of this top/dress being the perfect summer nightie pattern. Now that I've finally made the top as a wearable everyday top, I'm liberated to make the dress in all white next summer as the ultimate nightie.

She's excited, trust me!

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Lisette B6358 - Swimwear Sewathon Part 7

The insanity (as Inder rightly called it) ends here - or perhaps begins here depending on how you view the idea of posing in a swimsuit on the interwebs! :). My final instalment of swimwear sewing for this year and it's for me....

Back when I made the bikini version of Lisette for Butterick B6358 I knew I wanted to have a go at the one-piece as well. (Swimwear Sewathon part 4 - bikini link)

I was happy with the overall size (14 as per measurements) but had a wild guess at needing to add some torso length. I opted for one inch extra length - I would have really appreciated that torso loop length measurement that the Jalie patterns have as I was just taking a wild stab at a number. With the curved panels it's not easy to work out where to cut the pattern pieces. I found the waistline on the front and then pinned my pattern tracings together. That makes them a bit 3D and buckle-y but I could then draw a line around the swimsuit that would be the waist circumference, and would intersect at the same level all the way around. I cut at that point and added my length.

I could arguably have added a little more, as it tends to pull down a bit. But that might also be because of my weird swim cup issue: I bought some super cheap ($1/pair) swim cups but they're quite thick and shaped.

Did you notice my enormous bosoms? I know, they just look almost normal but trust me, they're huuuge compared to my normal. Anyway, they were what I had and the swimsuit definitely does look better with them than with nothing. (and that's verified by Flipper who said "that side looks better", and when I asked why, he said "because it's bigger")

The weird part is that I missed the step where the cup lining and shelf elastic is stitched to the lining. So, I have these neat little side gaps to insert my cups into, but then they're free to fall straight out the bottom where I didn't close the seam. Oops. The shortish body, the bulky cups and their tendency to head south all means it doesn't feel as secure up front as it should. I suspect a little more torso length would have helped. (as would following the instructions properly)

I like the back a lot. It's the right amount of open but not skimpy. It occurred to me later that I was probably meant to cross the straps but I'm glad I didn't as the crossed straps on the bikini makes it really awkward to put it on and close the centre back clasp.

I didn't end up altering the leg shape after all. When I tried it on before adding the elastic it was super high - certainly much higher than the bikini had been. I figured that was due to it being hoicked upwards somewhat. Of course once I added the elastic that pulled it back down. It's close enough to how I'd want it to be not worth trying to adjust.

The fabric is a swimsuit remnant from Rathdowne Fabrics (first used way back here) and some solid blue Carvico VITA. The lining this time is the proper cotton-y feeling swimsuit lining (like this stuff) and that's a vast improvement over the too stretchy mesh I lined my January swimwear with.

I can see how it could be better (and hopefully my notes to myself will be sufficient) but it's certainly a passable swimsuit that I'll be happy to continue to wear. And so I guess that means I don't need to make a final version. At least not in the forseeable future. Swimwear Sewathon over and out!

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Swimwear Sewathon Part 6

Last summer I had traced off the Jalie 3668 Rashie in both kids sizes. I'd gone on to make A's and mine, but hadn't made one for P. Until now...

I thought I'd recreate his top and trunks swimmers from two years ago. He loved those swimmers but as they were made with some very ordinary stretch fabric of uncertain content they didn't last very well.

That time I used two Oliver + S patterns: The Nature Walk Pants and the Field Trip Raglan T. Here's the blog post from 2016 for turning those patterns into swimwear: Beachwear with Oliver + S

This year I've used the Nature Walk pants again, and done the same modifications as described in the tutorial. I've sized down two sizes again in the shorts, but these are a bit looser than would be ideal for swimming trunks.

And for the rashie I used the L width and N length that I had prepared 12 months earlier. Given that he might be wearing for the trunks for another two years, the top could do with a touch more body and sleeve length but is otherwise perfect.

Both the lime and the grey are Carvico VITA lycras and I bought some matching lime overlocker thread. To get the fake flatlock look I just sewed the seams wrong sides together with the overlocker, then stitched the seam allowance to one side with a twin needle.

P and I both think it looks pretty cool!

One more swimwear blog post installment to come and then I think it's going to be all raincoats and trackpants for a while...

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Jalie 3135 - Swimwear Sewathon Part 5

There was a brief hiatus in swimwear sewing and then I started up for round 2... And so here's part 5 of the 2017/2018 Summer Swimwear Sewathon, with 3 (!) versions of Jalie 3135

If you haven't already guessed I LOVE this pattern. It's really very simple to make and the drafting and fit is fantastic. I've made it as swimmers previously (last year) and as a leotard/skinsuit

The first of these three was sewn back in January when my nephew came to stay. He's pretty much the same size as A so I had him try on her cheetah suit and it fitted perfectly - I think he was pretty unhappy about not getting to keep it.

He chose his colours, and had electric blue Carvico VITA lycra for the body and a navy leftover generic lycra for the collar and sleeves.

 I added a little label to designate the back and save confusion with real wetsuits that zip up the back. - but also cause it was navy, had an aeroplane on it and was cute. I'm afraid I've long forgotten who gifted me these, but thanks! xx

I hadn't planned to make any more swimmers for A, as she'd scored well in round 1, but I really do enjoy sewing this pattern and the size was already drafted...

Hers is a coral pink Carvico VITA lycra that I recently picked up on super-duper sale from Sew Active Fabrics. (Holy crap, she still has it on sale at only $7/metre! Be Quick) She went nuts for the colour, and I have to say it is a perfect fluorescent peach-pink and really easy to spot your kid in the waves. Which is good, 'cause she has wave jumping bravery way beyond her skill or strength. We fished this fluoro blob out from under breakers so many times last week!

Both little kids suits were size J with 1" of extra torso length, using the pattern's short sleeve and leg length markings.

The multicoloured chevron lycra is something I picked up at Rathdowne Fabrics ages ago (previously used here) and of which I still have an unfortunate amount. (bags not me wearing it)

P's original Jalie 3135 swimsuit from last year had worn out as it was made of a "regular" quality lycra and was used in the swimming pool all year. He wanted another and was quite taken with his cousin's colour choice.... Only his should be black with electric blue sleeves and collar. As you wish.

The arms and legs on his look longer and I really can't recall if I added length or cut them at the pattern's cutting line. I need to make more notes as I sew - especially when I'm on a mad making bender.

I can say the size is N and also with 1" of extra torso length. I really appreciate that one of the body measurements for these patterns is a torso loop: between the legs and up over one shoulder. For kids who are considerably taller than their width that measurement is invaluable to avoid saggy, baggy, or knackeringly short-bodied swimwear.

This time last year I was promising to take photos of my first bit of Carvico VITA recycled lycra sewing a year later. Of course I forgot to. She still has that suit and it still fits (just). The dark colours have barely changed but the lightest pink has faded considerably. It's gone a weird beige in areas but hasn't sagged, lost elasticity or gone see through. The technical data sheets give fading scores for all the colours and the very pale colours do fare worse than the darker colours. So that suit is almost ready for throwing out but it's still serviceable and I regularly see worse at the weekly swimming lesson.

I'm hoping these ones will last... :)

Monday, 2 April 2018

Made, Worn, Torn, Mended, Blogged....

Not my preferred sequence of events when it comes to getting clothes documented and on the blog, but hey, when kids wear what you make, you take the good with the bad.

No sooner had I made this little T-shirt than she was putting it on and heading off for the day with her granny.

I'm sure I've said it before but she is a cartwheel fiend and is upside down as least as often as she is right way up. Well, she turned a cartwheel onto a stick and tore the t-shirt, coming home with a gash along her tummy and a hole in her clothes.

I found a cute little scrap of knit fabric that colour matched well and made a patch:

To look more like a design feature and less like it's covering a hole I probably should have added some extra little hearts but I couldn't be bothered. It's fixed.

The pattern is the Oliver + S School Bus T-Shirt with my own V neck modification. It works really well and I can't believe it's been a few years since I last did it. Here's the link to the tutorial if your curious:

I made the size 6 width with 7 length, adding another 3cm to the sleeves - they still look a bit short to me. Sigh.

And it turned out I did something weird with the body length as my back panel ended up longer than my front panel. Not to worry, I just made some side splits and kept the uneven hem length. I asked her to show me the side splits for a photo....

Not quite what I meant kiddo

That's better, thanks.

This fabric has been hanging out in the stash for a very long time and is the last of what I used for the very first knit sewing I ever did, way back in 2012

We're off to the beach next week and if you follow me on Instagram you'd know there's a whole new batch of swimwear to photograph. If you're not on Instagram (and fair enough) then you would have missed what we got up to this Easter weekend....

We entered my dad's car in the country town Easter parade again. This year as a chicken

...and here was last year's entry as a rabbit

He wants to sell it, but I have at least two more ideas for Easter parade car costumes so here's hoping that doesn't work out! :)

Hope you all had a lovely Easter. See you after the holidays!

Monday, 26 March 2018

Sunshine Finch Shorts

I was rummaging around in my daughter's drawers the other day and discovered that her wool Finch shorts (from back here) had resized themselves to about right for an 18" doll.

I'm sure it has nothing to do with our laundry systems, but there you go. Weird how wool garments sometimes shrink so dramatically when no one is looking. ;)

I had the pattern traced off in her size, so why not make another pair?

Have I mentioned already how I'm on a kick to use up small bits of fabric and leave nothing behind? Yes, I know I have, but I'm serious about it and so I set to, trying to get the shorts to fit on the remnants of this retro floral fabric (used here).

I barely made it. The cuff facings on the insides of the legs is a spotted cotton but since it never shows that was an ok cheat.

Thankfully I'd kept the placket that I'd cut for the dress then not liked the print placement. It turned out to be exactly the right length and width for the front belt tab. Without having kept that scrap I would have fallen short. - on my shorts :)

I'm yet to make the little top that goes with these shorts but I know A would love it. The shorts are a great pattern, such a cute shape and a delight to sew.

Today had a distinct chill in the air and I'm starting to get excited about Autumn sewing. Yet we're off to the beach after Easter so I've been plunging back into the second chapter of the Summer Swimwear Sewathon. I love winter dressing but I'm enjoying the summer sewing too much to stop. I even busted out that Badminton top pattern and ticked it off my list from the last blog post.

Pattern: Clever Charlotte Finch Shorts
Size: 6 - no modifications
Fabric: Vintage cotton from my friend's mum's cleanout.
Notions: buttons from Buttonmania back room sale

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Lisette B6169 Of Sorts...

I had it in my head that I would get to Bendigo to see the Marimekko exhibition and photograph this dress with that awesome gallery backdrop, but I'm not that good a blogger, so you get my dirty, marked wall instead.

Where do we start? With the flower-tits issue? the pattern? the modifications? the fabric?....

Pattern placement issues first, yeah? This super vintage fabric which came in the big haul from my friend's mum was narrow, and was only just enough for the dress so long as I did not consider the print. So I didn't :)

Given that my boobs are not quite so widely placed or lopsided as those flower centres I'm calling the flower-tits issue a non event. It could be better, but it's not as disastrous as it could have been either. (wait 'til you see the back though, I got a bullseye there!)
Moving on....

The pattern: It's the Lisette for Butterick B6169. The one where everybody has made the Moto Jacket and very few have made the dress.

I liked the idea of the longer length although I was unsure about the high/low hemline. I cut a size 14 adding 1" in length at the waistline. The pattern has full length princess style seam lines front and back and the extra length gave me the perfect butt seam lines but the point where the ties attached had to be moved back up by an inch as they were too low to be comfortable.

So what happened to that long skirt and strongly shaped hemline? It got lopped!
Here's the phone photo of the dress when I first made it and just wasn't feeling the love:

My grumpy feelings towards the dress at that point may also have been to do with the neck binding. The pattern had me cut a wide bias strip, fold it in half lengthwise, attach the raw edges to the neckline then turn the folded edge to the inside to make a facing.

For some reason this fabric has NO stretch on the bias. It just warped and twisted but gave nothing in terms of smooth length. The fabric has a strange, almost seersucker kind of texture. I guess there is something about the weave that renders it completely immune to bias stretch. Of course I had trimmed my neckline seam allowance to almost nothing before I discovered that. I took the bias facing off and tried the same technique with a navy cotton bias facing. I still couldn't get enough stretch for a smooth, unpuckered neckline. To avoid another unpicking session I simply cut that bias down to half the width and managed to get a narrow bias facing to work adequately.

Interestingly, I saw a version of this pattern made up in a lovely linen at The Cloth Shop and it looked fantastic - but I did note that the neckline had been finished with the bias wrapping around the neck as a bias edge finish rather than a turned under facing. Do your own thing may be the final advice on that point.

It's barely noticeable but my lopped hemline does still have a very slight curve across the front and a fractionally lower back hem. It's a subtle nod to the original pattern, but as much as I could handle when it came to an uneven hem. I guess it's not my thing after all.

Those nice seam lines on the front neatly hide some inseam pockets. Go to love pockets!

The yoke and the gathers remind me of the Chai Tee and I think this dress made up in a knit and fitted would be awesome. I imagine it could be cut as is and then just pin those back seam lines to get a nice, snug fit through the back.

As it is, there is lots of room in the back and so the ties are a necessity to stop it billowing out behind. But in a woven fabric (with no give at all remember!) that's essential to allow ease of movement.

The only other modification I made was due to fabric limitations, and a tip from Sewing Pattern Review: The ties are meant to be double layered, sewn right sides together then turned out. The reviews suggested that in any fabric other than a very light weight one, the ties would end up a bit stiff and unwieldy. I had limited fabric anyway, and with that warning in mind I made them single layer and just did a narrow hem all around the edges.

While I usually shy away from prints I really like the Marimekko vibe of these big flowers and the simple colour scheme. The dress has turned out to be perfectly comfortable and I'm certainly planning on packing it for our end of summer beach holiday in April.

I just have to remember to never wear it to a deer or rabbit farm lest I startle all the animals with my turned up white tail!

Pattern: Lisette B6169
Size: 14
Fabric: Vintage mystery stuff from @topbikephysio's mum
Modifications: 1" torso length, single thickness ties, lopped about 8-10 inches off the hem, narrower neck facing