Friday, 19 April 2019

New Oliver + S pattern: Double Dutch

The other pattern test I did late last year was the new Oliver + S pattern: The Double Dutch Jacket and Skirt.

The jacket is a cute kids take on the ever popular dropped sleeve kimono style jackets that lots of grown ups are sewing for themselves. But with kid concessions like sleeves that aren't so wide you can't keep them out of your dinner.

And it's completely reversible! So you get two little jackets in one. Cool, huh. 

Totally unnecessarily, I actually used a double sided fabric anyway. I bought this fabric back in 2016 from Phillips Shirts when they were still in the city. It's a hefty cotton, almost like a light denim and worked perfectly for the jacket. Of course using a double sided fabric just made things confusing for myself. The instructions are perfectly clear assuming you're using fabrics A and B, rather than one fabric with A and B sides. 

The kimono style sleeve makes it a nice, easy sew, and being fully lined means no seam finishing either, so it's a delight to make.

The buttonhole as a little slit in the front seam is really neat too and caters to those with a pathological fear of sewing buttonholes.

The second part of the pattern is the skirt. It's a simple knit skirt with elastic waist, but with a super cute tulip flare shape.

I made it in a navy ponte and it's already been in heavy rotation as part of her school uniform. 

Back in December it was made to her measurements in size 7. The only alteration I wished I'd made was to add some sleeve length. The jacket was only just long enough in the sleeves when these pictures were taken and is already a little short now. But to be honest, in another year or two, worn open with "bracelet" length sleeves I think it will look really cool.

The jacket will end up being a great pattern for using up oddly shaped bits of nice fabrics and with the potential for four different fabrics in the mix it could be a really unusual garment!

The pattern goes from 6-12months up to size 12. How cute would that jacket be on a little baby!

I had a bit of luck with the button as I had two, lonely single buttons of the same shape and style. One was navy and the other kind of red. Perfect!

All the new Liesl + Co patterns and this new Oliver + S pattern will be available on the Oliver + S website next week. 

I was talking to Liesl via email about Australian stockists for the paper patterns and the whole weird-ass Australian retail distributor system. If you prefer paper (like me) but don't want to pay US shipping on just one pattern, then ask, and ask again, for your local favourite bricks and mortar store to stock the Oliver + S / Liesl + Co pattern range. 

Or just buy lots of them at once and save on shipping that way! :)

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Liesl + Co Breezy Blouse

I have this weird psychic thing going on with Liesl Gibson.... I have a desire for a particular pattern and while I'm working away adapting what I have and trying to make a mish-mash of patterns to suit my needs, on the other side of the world, Liesl is busy designing exactly what I want.

I've lost count of the number of times I've shown her how I've mashed this with that to make the other, and would she like a tutorial for the Oliver + S blog?.... Only to have her say, no, that's almost exactly the pattern I've been working on. It's freaky.

Let's go back to the start of summer, when my friend Sal asked me about making the sleeveless Gorman-esque dress. All I needed was a sleeveless bodice with a bust dart and nice armhole binding or facing that I could add a skirt to. I didn't have one so I tried the Tessuti Felicia Pinafore.

I'm wearing that dress as I type and it has become a useful housedress for a warm evening, but it doesn't go outside much, it's just too icky a shape.

This blouse with a skirt added would have been exactly what I was after. Of course it was one week after I'd made the Tessuti dresses that the email request for pattern testers for the Breezy Blouse came through. She'd done it again, and designed exactly what I'd wanted while I was mucking around with another pattern.

The blouse has these nice shaped side panels and a little bust dart. I made no modifications and made it exactly as per my measurements, size 10, A/B cup size. Yep, the pattern has different cup sizes so unless you're beyond a D cup you won't need to do an FBA. and the less generously endowed amongst us don't end up with too much fabric pooling where it shouldn't!

Excuse the ordinary modelling, these were my fit photos for the pattern test, but you can see the nice, curved hem and the slit opening at the back neck:

The armholes and neck are finished with a bias binding facing, with a thread loop at button. I used a KATM label cause I do love linen and both fabrics were linen from deep in the stash.

The stripe was last seen back here (cue cute P modelling a girl's blouse! Aw, bless him)

It's easy to make the top using just little bits of special leftover fabric. It works really well as a loose tank in linen for summer, but could easily be made more fitted in a heavier brocade, or maybe fancier in a lace with underlining.

And, of course, if you like stripes but don't like matching them at side seams, throwing a solid fabric in those side panels solves all your woes! (but please, check out the stripe matching in that 2013 blog post where I used this fabric, it was insanely good and almost entirely lucky! :) )

I've been wearing this top a lot over summer. Here it is just last week paired with a Liesl + Co Everyday Skirt in crinkle linen on a bushwalk in Queensland.

The new Liesl + Co patterns will be available next week. I've got my eye on all of them!

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Jalie 3247 - Circus Style

I don't mind a last minute Jalie sew, really I don't. So, when A told me at the end of last week that her end of term gymnastics classes on Tuesday/Wednesday were Circus theme I kicked into gear.

The pattern is Jalie 3247, View A crop top and View C shorts. The fabric was something that a friend at school had given her when her mum had heard that A's mum (me) sewed.

The top is a racer back, which I forgot to photograph from behind in the rush to get to gymnastics, and is finished with fold over elastic. I had a bit of pink from a trip to Eliza's but not enough, and some multicoloured that was a free gift included with an order from Sew Active Fabrics. Mismatched elastic bindings is perfectly legit for last minute costumes.

The crop top was lengthened to be a short singlet. Apparently crop tops are not allowed at gymnastics but ludicrously short singlets are. Seems like semantics to me, but hey. The shorts in this view have a self fabric waistband with no elastic and they're great. This would make a really good swimwear pattern.

The tulle skirt is from book week a few years ago and then I made the hat with a cone of cardboard, a head band, leftover tulle and a glue gun. Fun times!

Pattern: Jalie 3247 Views A and C
Size: L
Modifications: about 15cm added to length of top and hemmed with no elastic.
Fabrics: Stashed lycra and fold over elastic

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Sandbox Shorts

The other Oliver + S pattern that stops at size 8 that I didn't think would be high on my to-sew list was the Sandbox pants.

Yet suddenly I was itching to make a pair of shorts using the pattern. These preceded the Bedtime Story pyjamas in the sewing queue but appear here a bit later as I wrote a tutorial for the modifications for the Oliver + S blog. Click on the image below to go to the blog post:

I've only made the pants once before when I made two pairs in navy French terry for P to wear to school. They didn't prove to be his favourite pants and I don't think I kept them for A to wear, or maybe I did and she never chose to wear them anyway...

But these shorts? She adores them.

She saw an old photo of a Sunday Brunch Skirt in this same bubble gum pink fabric and said she'd like that, only shorts this time. Well I happened to have more of the same pink drill that had been gifted to me and was leftover in the stash,. Easy way to revisit another soon to be outgrown pattern.

I've made a straight size 8 and the few modifications are thus: Shortened to shorts length, curved the front pocket pattern pieces and added waistband elastic as well as the adjustable drawstring. The drawstring is just a supermarket shoelace but looks kind of cool even when it's not entirely necessary. The idea of having the pants only held up by a tied drawstring is a bit optimistic when it comes to kids pants, hence the elastic added to the ribbing waistband.

They're kind of perfect shorts and I'm glad I gave the pattern another outing. I know these will get heaps of wear and hopefully might still fit next summer.

Sometimes the best clothes and the best sewing experience are those that are quick, simple and thrown together from the stash and an old pattern. Very satisfying.

Friday, 29 March 2019

Maaidesign: See You At Six sweater dress

One of only three pieces of new fabric that have found their way home with me this year was this exquisite remnant of See You At Six French Terry from Maaidesign

I'm over on the Maaidesign blog talking more about the fabric. Follow this link for the blog post and then all the lovely/dangerous links to the new batch of See You At Six fabrics! The moral of the story is don't delay. These fabrics always sell out super fast, and for good reason

Using a remnant limited me somewhat with my pattern and I almost considered a hoodie for my daughter. But once you've felt this fabric then there's no way you're not going to claim it for yourself. And those colours are so absolutely me (even if floral prints usually aren't me!)

I settled on Butterick B6494, a raglan sleeve dress pattern that I'd bought when I was one my hunt for a good raglan pattern (just before Liesl + Co released the Neighbourhood Sweatshirt which I could easily hack into a dress)

It was a bit tricky fitting it onto the fabric (sorry I don't know exactly what the cut was - maybe more than 1m, but less than 1.5m), but doable thanks to the six, narrow panels of the dress and the fact that I didn't have to match my print, and the fabric is a generous 150cm wide.

Too lazy for a proper muslin I hit up Sewing Pattern Review for tips. Based on that "research" I sized down one size from my measurements - after all, I knew with this fabric I could get away with figure hugging. The other change was to leave off the pockets. 

The pockets are normally set into the princess seams at the front and would end up overlapping each other by an inch or two at the middle. That puts five layers of fabric, two for each pocket and one for the centre front panel, right on one's belly spot. No thanks! - and I adore pockets... I toyed with the idea of a kangaroo pocket which would give me a three layer thickness evenly across the centre, but I actually didn't have enough fabric leftover even for that.

Since Flipper is particularly fond of this dress I have no need for pockets as he seems to magically appear whenever I put it on, and so I can simply hand him things to carry! 

So there you go, make cuddly pajamas to get more hugs from your kids, and sew a tight dress for a more helpful and attentive husband! All the lifestyle tips on this blog :)

You're welcome.

As I was sewing I basted the side seams and tried it on several times before overlocking the seams. I reduced the side seam allowances down to 1/2" from the pattern's 5/8" to give myself a bit more breathing room, but then had to take it the shoulders and arms by an enormous amount. I think I ended up reducing the upper arm circumference by almost two inches.

It appears to be drafted for a much larger upper chest/back and upper arm than the waist/hip size. The sleeve length is also generous. I took 1cm off before cutting as I just could not eke it out of my fabric remnant any other way, and even with my long-ish arms they're a great length.

I'm almost looking forward to colder weather now. Bring it on!

Pattern: Butterick B6494
Size: 12
Modifications: Sleeve widthe reduction
Fabric: See You At Six french terry from Maaidesign

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Pyjamas instead!

Which of the Oliver + S patterns that topped out at size 8 was I going to sew next? Well, none of the ones I'd previously mentioned or thought of, as it happened....

I'd been meaning to sew both kids the Bedtime Story pyjamas for some time now, and had the flannel stashed away from ages ago when I'd seen it on sale at Spotlight.

The pyjama pattern that is known as the "ninja pyjamas" is a big favourite at our house and the kids wore these ones, made back in 2014 for ages

In fact, my kids wear all their pyjamas for ages :)

Pyjamas are one of those garments where I don't care if ankles and wrists are on show and they look weirdly small. If they're clean and the kids are comfortable then aesthetics be hanged. Case in point, A has only just now put aside the size 4 Sleepover pyjamas that Clippy Cloppy is wearing in the next pictures!

And so, of course, by comparsion, these Bedtime Story pyjamas seem huge. And they are generously long in both leg and arm, but the pants actually fit perfectly well. 

I was hoping they might still fit P but he struggled to get the waist over his hips and the front to back crotch seam was too tight. In all, too many alterations would have been needed and his flannel can simply be used with the Sleepover pattern that goes up to size 12.

She is beyond delighted with these and has turned very cuddly in the evenings, all thanks to some new pyjamas. Easy trick there, sewing parents, try it! :)

The pattern is lovely to sew. Simple yet neat construction and the only change I make, from experience, is to add a little square of interfacing at the points where the ties attach to the kimono style top. 

I just noticed Spotlight has flannel on sale again at the moment, maybe I need to replenish the stash! I've been so good this year with everything I've shown on the blog to date all being stashed fabric. Yay me. Time to shop, now?

It's defintely time for the ninja pyjama pose:

Size: 8, no changes made
Fabric: main and contrast are both flannelette from Spotlight, aged for >3 years in the stash 
Modifications: Just a bit of interfacing at the tie attachements. Gotta keep a ninja garment structurally sound!

Friday, 22 March 2019

Secret Valentine Exchange Part II - A Year of Giving

I received so many fun ideas back when I requested submissions for projects for things for my summer hands to do...

And I was missing the Secret Valentine Exchange and it's happy vibes so much...

Well, I decided I would run with it every month of the year until the official SVE returns in 2020. So here is my second instalment of the unofficial 2019SVE. I just got word these little critters arrived in the states today so now I can share them.

I made these little trophy head mice using a book that I'd bought a while ago: Crochet Animal Trophy Heads by Vanessa Mooncie (amazon link)

It was the first time that I had tried crochet with anything resembling a chart and I found it completely intimidating when I first viewed it. But, after my success with the school chair cushion, I began to see how the diagrammatic chart and the written instructions were complementary, and suddenly it all started to make sense.

The brown and the white cotton were leftover from my first 2019SVE project: The Bunyip Rattle. Of course I couldn't help myself and I purchased a ball of grey cotton/cashmere so I could complete the trilogy. All of the different cottons came from Yarning Place.

The eyes and nose are embroidery thread and then the whiskers are a heavy gauge fishing line.

This gift was not a suggested or requested one, but rather one that I wanted to make and that I thought I knew just the perfect person to send them to. I posted the three mice off to Jennifer aka Parrishplatz

I first discovered Jennifer's sewing way back in 2012 through the Oliver + S Flickr feed and her crazy good Halloween costumes: Parrishplatz blog

Her sense of humour is second to none and I have previously copied her felt carnivorous plants and intended to copy every Totoro and stencilled/costume gag she has ever made. The Harry Potter inspired mandrake root babies that decorated her front porch last Halloween were brilliant. Now mostly on Instagram, she's one to follow! @parrishplatz

I think I knew she was the right person to appreciate some trophy head mice!

Her cats have their own Instagram feed (@parrishkatzen) and with one cat who has cerebellar hypoplasia and the resultant "wobbliness" that that brings, I thought the idea of some trophy head mice (that the cat would never have been able to have caught herself) would be doubly funny. She's that cool that she has a disabled cat. :)

This was a really fun project and I'm delighted with the reception that the mice had - Jennifer laced them with some catnip and videoed her three cats having a great time playing with them. I have to say, in the short time between finishing them and posting them off, I had them pinned to the wall in our dining room and became rather fond of them myself. Maybe trophy animal heads is a new home furnishing trend?!