Monday, 23 July 2018

Future world champs

A couple of babies were born recently to friends where both partners cycle and so these little newborns have impressive pedalling pedigrees.

I needed to make some bicycle themed baby gifts!

Knowing I was sewing for a baby girl and a baby boy I hit Spoonflower to see what I might find. Strike me lucky, they had just had a "bicycle love" themed competition and it was easy to find a couple of bicycle fabrics


This first one is "Petals & Spokes" by blairfully_made. It's a big print and I didn't notice that there was a smaller scale version also available, but sometimes it's fun to have a giant print on a tiny outfit.

The floral design seemed suitably "girly" and I do love using surprisingly dark fabrics on baby clothes.

Next up I found "Le Tour" by booboo_collective. And that was my baby boy fabric sorted.


Then I discovered Spoonflower now have a service called "fill a yard". It's not that easy to find on their website, but it's here via the How It Works tab. That meant I could split my two designs across one yard (the minimum purchase).

I chose the Organic Cotton Knit Ultra fabric and had my two designs printed with the yard split horizontally, meaning I had the full width and 45" length of each print.

One pattern I didn't seem to own was a basic envelope neck onesie, so I purchased the Brindille & Twig One Piece Romper.  They have a pretty big range of baby clothes patterns, many of which seem to be only simple variations on each other, but if you can't be bothered altering an existing pattern for what you want then go take a look, you may find exactly what you're looking for.

I had printed off the PDF pattern, taped all the pages together and traced the 0-3 months size when I received an email with an update to the pattern. It now included an A0 printing option, updated instructions, a change to the drafting of the neckline and pattern pieces for the neck and cuff bindings. To say that annoyed me is an understatement. When I bought the pattern a week earlier were none of these changes even in the pipeline? If they were in progress but not finalised then at least a heads up that the pattern was in the process of being revised would have been appreciated.

I couldn't be bothered re-printing the pattern so I went ahead with what I had. And it seems to be fine. The only change I made to the pattern was how the leg binding was finished: I've finished the ends like you might a waistband so the seam allowances are tucked in neatly rather than just turned over and stitched down.


There is a tutorial on the Spoonflower website for a little baby hat and since I had just enough to cut that out as well I went for it. My half yard was exactly right for a small romper suit and a hat.

It was interesting to see the difference on the two printed halves of the fabric. This darker fabric was quite tacky to the touch when it first arrived and stretching the fabric showed a bit of the white base layer. Yet the other print, on the same cut of fabric, felt lovely and had a much better penetration of the background beige colour. If they hadn't been printed on the same fabric I'd have sworn they were completely different substrates and printing processes. In an email conversation the designer of the dark Petals & Spokes print mentioned she had had the fabric printed on some Kona Cotton and also found it to be tacky to touch. Perhaps there's a limit to the quality of printing with the much darker backgrounds., Something to consider when choosing designs or designing your own fabric.


By contrast my little peloton onesie feels lovely.

The ribbings are what I had in the stash and I managed to track down a new, smaller (size 14) die set for my old snap press and bought some smaller baby size snaps. Just to balance the fabric issues out, the black snaps on the first suit behaved perfectly and the white ones on the second suit were a beast. None of the black snaps misbehaved yet he white ones had a near 50% fail rate. I tested and tested the ones that are on there now and hopefully they will last as many wears and nappy changes as are required until the suit is outgrown.

Little niggles are quickly forgotten when I got to see how delighted the parents were with their custom onesies and when the new little babies confirmed they have the lung capacity of future world champions after all!

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Back to Front (or not) Butterick 6464

Instead of putting away some left over fabric I was quite certain there was enough for a skirt for me...

I tried my new pattern; the Extra Sharp Pencil Skirt, nope, didn't fit
I traced off the City Stroll skirt in a size down from the one that is now too loose, nope, didn't fit
I fiddled with Lisette B6493 to see if that would work, you guessed it, nope.

Then I struck ninja cutting gold with Lisette for Butterick B6464



...or so I thought. The pattern is intended for knits such as ponte, but I figured this stretch corduroy would be about as stretchy as a very stable knit, so I jumped in.

I was so excited to find I could fit the pattern pieces on the remnant that might have had the same surface area as a 1m cut, but was too oddly shaped for most patterns. I was *that* close to crowing about my ninja cutting prowess on Instagram.

And then I started sewing.... the waistband is sewn together first and the elastic inserted. That was good as I got to test my ability to get the elasticised waist over my hips. Yippeee, it was going to work....


I sewed the skirt panels into a loop only to find that it was a much smaller loop than my waistband, and that skirt section wasn't going to go above my knees let alone around my hips. Wha??!!!

A smart person, who looks at cutting layouts and pays more attention would have spotted that the side panels are doubled. There is a side front panel and a side back panel on each side of the skirt. The centre front and centre back panels are the same, so while there's only two pattern pieces, the skirt needs a total of six, not four skirt sections to make it up.

Oopsie.

I considered giving it up, putting it aside, or cutting it down to make a kid sized skirt, but then I wondered if a contrast panel might work.... I had one hour left before picking up the kids and I zoomed into Fabric Deluxe...


...where I found the exact same fabric in a tan/cafe-latte colour. It's the same weight, same cut corduroy, same stretch percentage and certainly a complementary colour. It was worth a try.

The fun thing about this skirt pattern is that it doesn't have a defined front or back. If I wish to think I am a pattern cutting ninja wearing a pink skirt I can wear it one way and avoid mirrors that my show my rear view. Conversely, if I'm feeling like dressing a bit like a tub of neapolitan ice cream and recognising my fallibility I can wear it this way round.

I kind of like it both ways.


Except that now I've got most of a metre of a tan coloured stretch corduroy remnant that I need to put away before I start trying to get too clever again! Doh!

Details:
Pattern: Lisette for Butterick B6464
Size: 14
Modifications: None, although made in a stretch woven rather than a knit.
Fabric: Bettina Liano stretch corduroy from The Fabric Store (pink) with identical fabric type from Fabric Deluxe (tan)



Saturday, 14 July 2018

Field Trip Cargo Pants

The second pair of pants I made for the kid with the cold ankles are the Oliver + S Field Trip Cargo pants.


It's been years since I made these pants for him. I use the raglan T-shirt from this pattern all the time, but I've only made him the pants twice before and once for his sister.

I consulted with him about the pattern and then went ahead and ignored his request to not put the cargo pockets on the side. He was good natured about it and we've agreed that the pattern can be a base for some school pants without cargo pockets another day.


The pockets are just really fun. They're constructed with sort of bellows at the edges so they really are as three dimensional as they look in these pictures. It had been a few years and I couldn't help myself but make them again.

Of course they add a fair bit of work to some already quite involved pants. The front is three panels with nice darts at the knee and lots of edgestitched and topstitched seams.


The back has two parts to the leg and regular patch pockets. The waistband is finished with a facing and belt loops and there's an easy to sew faux fly.

I made the size 10 with size 12 length. I only adjusted the length below the crotch seam so the rise and waist height is still that of the size 10. It was a bit confusing to get all the leg panel pieces the right length but luckily everything lined up. They're suitably long and could possibly do with the cuff being turned up once.

Mostly they are long because they're sitting a bit low on his waist. The main pitfall of sewing after dark (lack of sleep notwithstanding) is that I end up guessing at waistband elastic length. He tells me these are a bit loose. Thankfully not so loose that I'm compelled to unpick the casing and change anything. (thanks kid)


The fabric is a heavy duty something (poly/cotton maybe) that I picked up at Eliza's Fabrics for $3/metre. I intended to use it to muslin pants for me or Flipper but it looked perfect for these cargo pants. It's quite wide, so I suspect these are only about $4.50 worth of pants. Although double that figure for the amount of thread that gets used!

Details:
Pattern: Oliver + S Field Trip Cargo Pants
Size: 10 width, 12 length
Fabric: mystery poly/cotton home dec weight 
Notions: thread, elastic, button (for decoration)

NB: It turns out Blogger had some technical bug with commenting when EU privacy laws changed. I have finally found the solution to being notified that comments have been made and are awaiting approval, but sadly all comments now seem to come from a no-reply@blogger address so replying directly to you is getting harder. I'll keep working on it.... or change hosting services.....
Shelley xx

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Burda 9406 - cool kid pants

So given the whole point of this blog is to remind me of the fittings and foibles of patterns this blog post should be a big F for fail, but the pants are so cool it's a self rated A+ (as always ;))


The boy was getting about in last year's trousers and there was a disconcerting amount of ankle on show! I knew with school holidays coming up I was either going to see a lot of school uniform trackpants, or those exposed ankles... or I was going to have to sew some new pants.


I jumped in with another pair of Burda 9406 jeans. This time in the largest size, size 10, sewing View B which is the longer length , intended to be rolled up at the ankle.

I'd previously made the size 8 with 9 length and they're now comfortably fitting his 7 year old sister, so these are proper fitted jeans. Sadly, the size 10 is as large as this pattern goes.


View B has these larger, low slung back pockets that belie the fact that it's still quite a well fitted crotch seam. Kids can have the appearance of dude pants without the saggy, dropped crotch reality!

The bit that is unchanged between the sizes and views is that the zipper recommended length is still too long (4 inches would be fine, don't bother with a 5" zipper as instructed) and the fly shield is still too short (add ta least an inch to the fly shield length). And that's exactly what I found the first time I made them, and forgot to amend the second time also.


I'm loving these on him so much that I might try and make another pair this year before he outgrows the pattern. Let's see if, for the final time, I can heed my own warning and get the zipper and fly shield length amended and right. Don't hold your breath.

The pattern shows the cuff being rolled considerably, whereas these are just turned up once. Maybe I'll add even more length to the next pair so that they can be double rolled this year, cuffed next year and regular hem the following year. That would be winning at lazy mum sewing. Just have to remember not to overfeed him in the meantime.


The fabric for these is a navy, brushed drill from Rathdowne Fabrics. I usually buy any hard wearing navy fabrics when I find them cheaply as it's school uniform pants/skirt colour and so these pants can double as school uniform pants for those winter days when the washing hasn't been kept up to schedule.

With its soft, moleskin like face it's a really nice fabric anyway and I'd happily have a pair of jeans made out of this. Maybe I just stockpile nice fabrics and then find reasons for having bought them...


I can't say what a difference it makes seeing the kids in clothes that fit. It's only now, that I'm insanely busy with other projects that I realise he needs more pants. I've cut and sewn one other pair that I'll share next, but then he has to get back in line and wait a while.

Details:
Pattern: Burda 9406, View B

Size: Straight size 10
Modifications: NEED to lengthen the fly shield by about 1"
Fabric: Brushed navy drill
Notions: Buttonhole elastic, buttons, jeans button, NEEDS 4" zip (not 5" as specified)


Monday, 2 July 2018

Double knit - Japanese dress pattern version

When I was trying not to buy fabric at Fabric Deluxe and I was weakening faced with the blue/orange double knit, they cleverly showed me the other colourway and now A has a dress too!


The fabric is more of that fabulous double knit, and yes, the collar of this dress is seriously just the reverse side of the fabric.

As soon as I saw the fabric I thought of this lovely Japanese dress pattern which I last made back in 2014 (here). The pattern is from Let's Go Out Girl's Clothes by Yuki Araki - I can't find a purchasable copy on the web, but here's a link that at least shows the cover.


It's a lovely, gently A line dress with an inverted box pleat at the centre front, a peter pan collar using the reverse face of the fabric and the cute Petersham ribbon trim.

It's hard to see in the photo but the ribbon trim is curved slightly, and while I struggled with a standard ribbon last time, this time I did find a Petersham ribbon that was a pretty good colour match. The difference in how it curves is the key. Failing finding a Petersham ribbon I'd suggest a strip of bias binding. This ribbon came from Jimmy's buttons.


The sleeves are perfectly puffy and very sweet. They're gathered with elastic which I suspect has flipped up in these photos and I hadn't noticed until now.


The back neck has a little facing and a hook and eye closure. Looking back at my blog post from 4 years ago I commented on how lovely the neckline finish is and how I should have taken a photo of the insides. For fear of repeating myself, the inside neckline is lovely, and yes, I should have taken a photo.

I made a shirt for myself that had a similar neckline finish and the process is shown in this photo tutorial. It's  a really nice, neat way to finish a neckline with collar and involves no handsewing.


Her brother's lesson in expert modelling, which was being performed just out of camera shot, was not being appreciated....


She looks cuter here, but you'll have to imagine how cute he was looking! :)


The dress is size 130cm which is the largest that the patterns in this book go up to. The length is generous and the fit is just perfect. It was made exactly as per the pattern with no modifications. It's a good reminder that I need to revisit my Japanese pattern books more often before she outgrows them all. So many of the patterns are just delightful.


The fabric is just superb, so soft and cozy. I can't promise myself I won't go back to Fabric Deluxe and check out the third colourway one more time.....


* If you're one of my lovely blog readers who regularly leaves a comment you may have noticed I took away comment moderation for a while. The spam comments were no worse, or better, but without moderation I don't get an email to say you've commented. That meant I may not notice the comment and I certainly couldn't reply by email as I usually like to do. So that's why moderation is back. Not because you need moderating but because I need to chat back at you! Let me know if it works OK for you....xx Shell.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

M7574 Cropped tee

When I was making my pleather pencil skirt I remembered this little remnant of textured knit and thought to make a top to go with the skirt.

They didn't work well together in the end as the skirt wasn't as high-waisted as I'd imagined it would be. But, here's my new top with a pair of wool trousers that I bought in Worcester back in 2001 (I don't do much clothes shopping you know!)


I've been wanting to use this fabric for myself for so long but it was only a small remnant and I couldn't find a pattern that fit on it. I desperately hoped I could make the long sleeved version of this top, but no, no luck.

The pattern is the Melissa Watson M7574 Knit raglan sleeve top and dress. I've previously made the View D dress (here and here) and this one is the cap sleeved, cropped View A top.


Again I struggled with getting the shoulder seams to not be too wrinkly. It took a few passes at stitching them to feel like they were behaving. But then the lack of sleeve weight makes the poor fitting at the front underarm really obvious. I don't see that area looking problematic on my dress versions with their slightly longer sleeves. There are fitting adjustment lines all over this pattern and it would be an interesting exercise to really try and get it right, but I suspect I might be ready to move on and say it's all a bit too difficult.

Not that I don't like this top. It's OK. The fabric is lovely: A thickish, cream knit with this geometric, embossed pattern in it. I picked it up as a remnant from The Fabric Store years ago.


My memory is shoddy and I didn't take notes when I was sewing, but I'm pretty sure I cut the length to use all of my fabric, so it's a bit longer than the intended cropped length. I suspect I've added an inch and a half perhaps.


Not much more to say about a little t-shirt.... I've finally resigned myself to winter being here to stay and I've put away all my summer clothes and brought out the wool trousers and coats. This little t-shirt can stay in the wardrobe as a winter top since it works well under a coat and is perfectly comfortable indoors where it's warm (that is to say, anywhere except at my house! brrrrr)




Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Double Knit Double Dipped

Let's not ask who wore it best, OK?

When it comes to modelling sewn garments for the blog, the champion in our house is this kid. He schools the rest of us every. single. time.


It's the same wonderful and weird, double sided poly knit from Fabric Deluxe.

The pattern is my go to T-short pattern for the kids: The Oliver + S School Bus T-shirt


I went with the size 10 again and added the usual 15cm of sleeve length. Yes, you read that right, 15cm! I'm perfectly prepared to concede my kids are monkey-like in their arm length, but I'm sure this pattern must also have shortish sleeves. Don't tell me I'm the only one who adds length to the sleeves on this one?...


For a bit of fun I sewed the neckband using the reverse orange side of the double knit. The pattern has a standard round crew neck, but my tutorial for sewing a V neck is right here. It's super easy and looks great. Also, kinda handy when the fabric has less stretch than a regular t-shirt fabric and you want to make your neck-hole a bit more generous.

Not much more to say about a t-shirt, but he can model it with his skateboard....


And only gets caught out looking silly when I say he has a spot on his face....


I'm sewing the other colour of this fabric now, and it's looking great. Come on over to the inner west and get some. The coffee is awesome over here too.