Sunday 27 April 2014

Kwik Sew 3816: Pattern Review

This week was meant to be a "rest" week. After the excitement of Kid's Clothes Week and then the Easter long weekend out of town, I was planning to rest up and then get into some Selfish Sewing.

Those plans were laid aside, however, when my long sought navy windproof fleece arrived in the mail. P needed a windproof vest for the cold, morning bike rides to school and the weather was definitely turning....

I had thought I would adapt one of many patterns I already owned and draft my own vest, but then I found Kwik Sew 3816 which looked just perfect.

The school uniform is red and navy so the photo top right looked perfect, and my fabric which is a double sided red/navy fleece with a windproof membrane in the middle was spot on. But my son, ever the stickler for detail, said that the "real" school vests were all navy, so mine was made with all the "contrast" fabric navy side out. Secretly I was gutted 'cause having found reversible windproof fleece in red and navy to hide all the red just seemed a waste. Inside out, however, you get to see a fair bit of red:
The pattern recommends fleece or sweater fleece fabric and does mention windbreaker fleece, but I somehow doubt one was meant to use double sided windproof fleece for both the main and contrast fabrics. This was one tough sew!
The biggest challenge was creating a welt pocket with super thick fabric, the instructions for which were superb.
 I was surprised to realise that the small zipper listed amongst the notions was for that welt pocket. (I've heard some people read through patterns before they get started, how droll) What?! A welt with a zip? Heck...
 Not so tricky after all.
I added a label since it's for school:
And here he is, all ready for the cold, windy mornings:
I'm delighted with the fit, however I suspect by next winter it will be too small. I definitely won't be doing it again with both layers being windproof fleece. I think a drill or similar would be better for the over-layers.
Pattern: Kwik Sew 3816, vest view B
Size: S (6)
Fabric: Windproof fleece from Pennine Outdoor in the UK*
I was so delighted with the end result, and had enjoyed sewing the pattern so much I decided to make another straight away. Well, after going out to buy some new, straight, sharp pins and a couple more overlocker and sewing machine needles that is. How I forgot to buy a thimble is beyond me. I really do need one!
This time I went to the fabric pile and picked some fabrics that were gifted to me by a relative's neighbour who would have had no idea about my dislike of purple. My daughter apparently loves purple, and since I had purple fleece and some co-ordinating corduroy I wanted to see how the pattern would sew up in some more manageable fabrics. For the cost of a zipper I couldn't really go wrong.
This time I chose the jacket, view A.
The sleeves have the cute contrast overlays that remind me of an '80s ski jacket:
The zippered welt pocket was much, much easier in a fabric that was a reasonable thickness and which could be ironed into some semblance of a crease.
Given that the front has double fabric on the top sections, and the bottom sections by virtue of the pockets, this should be quite a warm jacket, even without the windproof fabric of her brother's version. The back also has a double yoke at the top and only the bottom of the back and the sleeve fronts are single layer fabric.
Curiously, for all it's purple-ness and the softness of the inside of the fleece, there has been no way of coaxing A to try it on. Instead she is happily wearing this dress, day after day after day. Maybe I should have pleased both of us and made her a brown jacket after all!
Pattern: Kwik Sew 3816, jacket view A
Size: XS (4/5)
Fabric: Sweater fleece and embroidered corduroy
The pattern is wonderful. There are a lot of steps and the sewing is fairly time consuming but the instructions are very clear. With heavier fabrics it would probably pay to increase the seam allowances (from the recommended 1/4") so that you could grade the seams, but for the second version using the overlocker to sew the seams worked perfectly. Pattern runs from XS (4/5) up to XL (10/12) and (I think) is also available in male or female Adult sizes.
*A note on international shipping: I found the Pennine Outdoor site to be wonderful and the shipping was very reasonable. In fact I priced shipping a similar fabric from the US and it was absurdly expensive. If I had shipped fabric to a US domestic mailbox, used a NZ on-shipping service to send it to my stalker (thanks for the offer), and then shipped from New Zealand to Aus it would have cost about 60% of what the US fabric store quoted for direct shipping! From the UK was a little cheaper again and I'll be looking at Pennine Outdoor for all those outerwear fabrics and buckles and bits from now on.

Saturday 19 April 2014

Happy Easter to all!

A couple of weeks ago P's school put out a call for donations to the Easter raffle hampers. They asked for "items with an Easter theme". I'm not a religious person at all and so I immediately interpreted that to mean chocolate, but then I figured so might every other person and why not make something instead.

Once an atheist has ruled out chocolate there isn't much more to Easter than bunny rabbits, right? (please forgive the tongue in cheek tone, I do understand that for some people there's a lot more to Easter than that), so P and I hunted through my softies books. There are a couple of bunny patterns in there but P was taken with the Guardian Angel.

The kids helped me pick through the scraps buckets and we ended up making two Easter Angels.
I sewed the faces on during the day and then in the evening both kids helped stuff our angels.

And amused themselves turning the wings into funny big moustaches!
I finished them off after bedtime and the next morning we snapped a couple of (poorly focussed) pictures before taking them off to school, where we put them in the donations basket next to about a hundred chocolate rabbits. Had I got this totally wrong?.....
In case someone thought I'd got my religious holidays completely mixed up, or that I was re-gifting something someone else gave me for Christmas, I used  a fabric marker to write "{school name} Angel, Easter 2014" on the back of one leg of each angel. 
A few days later I saw another mum turn up with a couple of handmade bunnies under her arm and so thankfully my softies weren't the only non chocolate things in the raffle hampers.
Even better, P told me that each of the hampers with the angels in were won by kids in his prep class and that the kids were delighted.
Wishing you all a happy and safe long weekend, however you choose to celebrate it!

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Kid's Clothes Week: It's a wrap.

I'm very pleased to say that with the exception of the purple cardigan everything I sewed last week has already been worn, washed and dried and even worn again. Score!

I only really get to sew after kid's bedtime in the evenings (although I did sneak in a bit of lunchtime sewing on Wednesday and Sunday). So I knew I'd have to be organised to get through the challenge I'd set myself.

I had everything prewashed, patterns traced and fabric cut before the week started.

I'm normally one to sew a single garment from start to finish but for the sake of speed I decided to sew in colour batches and to try and minimise the number of times I had to switch to the loose bobbin, walking foot and double needle on the sewing machine, or swap thread colours on the overlocker.

I started with grey overlocking (yellow and grey tights) then moved to dark pink (jacket, pink tights and Field Trip dress) then did some finishing of the jacket and Field Trip pocket before switching to hemming mode and double needle-ing everything.

Next,  brown thread in the overlocker (Flashback Skinny T and last pair of leggings) and hemmed before changing back to regular sewing machine sewing and making the Japanese dress.

Then the Sailboat, Playtime and Apple Picking dress were just sewn one after the other in kind-a normal fashion, albeit with some pretty late nights.

I had a pretty solid Autumn theme to my colours and I hope I balanced my love of brown with my daughters need for a bit of pink or purple. Now that I've finally got around to doing some ironing, and caught up with the backlog there, her wardrobe is looking very full!

Surprisingly there was only one hiccup for the week which was when I drove the needle through one of the ten buttons on the Apple Picking dress and cracked it. Thankfully only 5 of them have to be functioning buttons, so the one that has been superglued back together will hopefully be OK as a decorative button. (I claim I was distracted by my son who managed to get his rear end stuck through the ladder of the trampoline and was screaming from the garden. Normally I would have ignored him awhile and finished sewing the button with full concentration but he was yelling pretty loudly! - we eventually got him unstuck without the need for the fire brigade. twit.)

Thanks to everyone who dropped by throughout the week to say something nice. It was like having a cheerleading team and I was regularly checking my blog while I was sewing!

Sunday 13 April 2014

KCW Spring (Autumn!) 2014: Day 7

Here we are at the end of the week and I'm delighted to say I managed some daylight sewing today (for only the second time this week) and finished off my last project....
...which is brought to us courtesy of my stalker! Somehow she has found out where I live (oh that's right I gave her my address to post the Japanese pattern book to) and has studied me enough to know what kind of fabric I'd take home from a Clear It store. So, being the lovely stalker that she is, she posted me a package of fabric!
And I made an Apple Picking Dress, a Flashback Skinny T and another, final pair of Playtime leggings.

The dress fabric is a thin, synthetic woven with a tiny self rib almost like rip-stop nylon. I've no idea what it is, but even a brand new, sharp needle had to punch through to make a hole. It was also insanely resistant to pins which is less surprising as my pins are all appallingly old, bent and abused. While it appears to be a flimsy, pretty dress I am happy in the knowledge that my daughter will be very well protected by any attacks from rampaging porcupines!
Because it was thin (albeit tough) fabric I decided on full undergarments using the mystery brown knit fabric that was also in the package.
The knit is quite thin compared to my cotton lycra, has a slightly shiny underside, but is wonderfully soft, super stretchy and deliciously brown. Thanks J Wo for both fabrics, I love them!
That was the end to today's photo shoot, as the native grass she's holding is known, at our house, as tickle grass and there was a big brother to chase after and tickle.
tickle grass securely attached to handlebars and off she goes!
And the end of my Kid's Clothes Week. I'll take a few on-the-hanger pictures and do a round up post in a day or two. We played "favourites" this evening at the dinner table. A declared her favourite was the brown leaf dress, P's favourite was the Playtime dress "cause it was so funny that she couldn't find the pockets for ages and ages", Flipper looked blankly and said nothing, and I think this one might be my favourite.
So now that my favourite little girl is well dressed I'll have to do something about my favourite little boy. But not for a week or two perhaps!

Saturday 12 April 2014

KCW Spring (Autumn!) 2014: Days 5&6

After making so many pairs of Playtime leggings it was time to make the dress!

I'd read in the Oliver + S forums that the dress tends to run a bit large, so I chose a size 2 width with size 3 length. The fabric is a stretch cotton poplin from The Fabric Store.

The dress has a really cute faux collar done with topstitching. I used Heidi's trick (seen here) and used two threads through the same needle to get enough oomph for the topstitching.

The topstitching continues around the back and down the placket:

And the in-seam pockets are also outlined with topstitching.

What pockets Mum? I can't find them!
Oh, there they are!
Found them!! Look mum!
Perhaps inseam pockets on a three-year-old's dress aren't such a good idea after all!

My casual approach to fabric cutting has continued (those Weekend Getaway blouses bled me of all cutting patience) and I realised after cutting this dress that the little flowers are probably upside down. Unless of course they're hanging from a vine. That would do as an answer should the kids pick up on my error.

Odd that the only dress this week not to get a matching pair of Playtime leggings was the Playtime dress itself. But it does get a matching cardigan:

This is pattern "j" from Let's Go Out Girl's Clothes. I found the fabric by chance as I walked past a big, city fabric store that was closing down and everything was half price. I didn't know what the fabric was and it was a bit thin for this jacket. It was priced at $30/metre and felt like wool, I guessed the price probably suggested wool. I bought one metre for $15 and then went home and threw it in the wash. That confirmed it was definitely wool as it came out of the wash half the size and twice as thick! It wasn't intentional, I'm just a very lazy laundry person and so I pre-treat fabrics as I intend to treat them for the rest of their lives (which can be very short obviously!). Anyway, now it was perfectly thick for a little jacket!

The pattern is super simple; a set in sleeve, and then the binding around the neckline that becomes the ties. The pattern showed a neat illustration for sewing a gathering stitch inside the front curved seam allowance to help turn the hem nicely. This could be my first "miss' of the week as it was worn happily for pictures but then taken off. The dress however, was declared to be "perfect for a ballet mum to take her ballet kids to ballet school"

...and off she went with a Puffin and a Pig in a pram!

Thursday 10 April 2014

KCW Spring (Autumn!) 2014: Day 4

The only downside about having chained myself to the sewing machine is that I'm missing out on seeing all the lovely things other people are making. I can sew, and, it seems I can sneak in quick blog posts. But I can not spend hours ogling everything everyone else is making....

Flipper has declared that Kid's Clothes Week should be followed by Pay More Attention To Your Husband Week (no blog link there, yet...) but I say that comes the following week. Next week is for browsing the Kid's Clothes Week project pool.

Last night was an oldy, but a goody. The Oliver + S Sailboat pattern, teamed with, you guessed it, another pair of Playtime leggings.

I redrafted the Sailboat top to make it into an A-line dress. I've done that twice before (here and here) but they went straight down and were more tunic like. This time I did the right thing and split the pattern vertically and added width all around and I'm delighted with the shape!

The fabric is a thick knit which reminds me of a rugby pullover (where's that knit dictionary when you need it). While it's not soft like yesterday's dress, this one will be hard wearing and should survive the rough and tumble life of my little full forward (is that a proper rugby term? I wouldn't have a clue!)

Today's Playtime leggings are back to being stretchier cotton lycra, like the original pair and have the required upsy-downsy ease for a young person who uses the toilet. (yesterday's ones were a bit too tricky to pull back up I was told)

It's continued to pour with rain all day today and has been very gloomy but seeing A running around in this outfit really did brighten my day.

Have you spotted my other "theme" for the week? Two more dresses still to be sewn.... I think I'll make it....

But perhaps next week is Catch Up On Sleep Week, then it's Peruse the KCW Project Pool Week, then it might be Pay More Attention To Your Husband Week..... No hang on, then it's Selfish Sewing Week isn't it?.... Can we schedule something, say, after August?

Wednesday 9 April 2014

KCW Spring (Autumn!) 2014: Days 2 & 3

The weather has been very autumnal today with non stop rain. I'm not sure if the combination of late nights sewing, school holidays and lots of rain is good for my patience, or perhaps my kids really are more noisy some days rather than others.

Anyway I found a way to occupy them while I quickly finished off the dress I was up late sewing last night......

The dress is from this Japanese pattern book and I teamed it with yet another pair of Playtime leggings. While yesterday's dress was very colourful, this one is much more suited to todays autumn weather and I'm back in my brown comfort zone!

This fabric was a wonderful find, it's a deliciously soft wool jersey which I found at Brunswick Fabrics, aka the $3 shop. That's right, this fabric was $3/metre as has been everything I've ever bought there. Weird pricing policy but I love it!

The leggings are probably more of a T-shirt knit and don't quite have enough stretch for my downsized width, but she seems comfortable enough and I am checking every now and then to see that her toes aren't swelling up.

I am in love with this dress pattern. There's this little slit, faced opening in the back

And an inverted box pleat in the front with the ribbon detail just for some colour. Then there's the sleeves; gorgeous puffy sleeves with elastic gathers at the hem.

The pattern shows the collar being sewn with the fabric inside out and so I followed suit. My fabric perhaps isn't ideal for this as the pattern shows through a bit more than would be ideal but I like the idea. There was also a very clever tip for turning the collar which I'd never seen before. Before turning the collar right side out press the seam allowances towards the under collar. Then, when the collar is turned the seam naturally rolls towards the under collar and saves that fiddly finger pressing and rolling with the subsequent burned fingers from the iron.

Bear in mind, that is my interpretation of the instructions as I don't understand a word of Japanese! I have to say if the idea of sewing in a foreign language sounds daunting, with these pattern books it really isn't. The drawn diagram instructions are so well done that I'm rarely in doubt about what to do. This particular dress is one of the two "lessons" in this book and is accompanied with full colour photographs of every step. Easey Peasey Japanesey!

(I need to hand tack the collar down as it is inclined to turn up a little like this)
I'll take some more photos another day of the inside of this dress as the binding finish on the collar is really lovely. It's as pretty on the inside and so, so squishily soft. I should make another trip to the shop and see if there's more of this wool. I'd buy everyone a metre just so you could feel it for yourselves!

Tonight I'm going to get stuck into a Sailboat dress that I forgot to add to the initial list. How's your Kid's Clothes Week going?

Tuesday 8 April 2014

KCW Spring (Autumn!) 2014: Day 1

I'm not going to pretend I didn't give myself a headstart and begin sewing on Sunday night,.... But I had to start sewing to prevent myself from cutting anything else out!

I started the week with some quick and dirty overlocker love. A Field Trip Raglan dress and some Playtime leggings. I went back and retraced the pattern for the dress the right way this time. I tried not to make it any bigger than the Knid-wear dress but it does seem a little bit oversized...

The dress fabric is from Lillestoff and I purchased it when I was on a quality ribbing hunt. It snuck it's way into my basket when I bought half a dozen each of the different thickness ribbings from Ottobre's online shop. I'm pleased to say the ribbings are brilliant. None of the ones I ordered ended up matching the colour that I needed for original project but they are worth having in the stash for when I am overcome with the need to splash a bit of colour around!

Now I'm off to rethread the overlocker with brown and things will resume as expected...

P.S. Yes, that's a Band-Aid in her hair. Big brother failed to think through the potential outcomes of bouncing on the trampoline with his little sister and a plastic light saber in his hand. Amazing how gashes to the head can bleed, isn't it?!

Saturday 5 April 2014

Kid's Clothes Week: Mini Me!

Only 1 day to go until the official start of Kid's Clothes Week and with a theme of "mini me" how could I not join in?!

I'm usually loathe to use any fabrics that I've used for myself for either of the kids lest we accidentally dress alike one day, but I did have just enough of my brown on brown jersey to make this Hopscotch dress, and get myself in the mood for the upcoming Kid's Clothes Week Challenge.

kid's clothes week

I don't think I'll be quite so literal when I start the week of sewing (at least one hour per day for seven days straight) but believe me, there will be more brown. I've taken the Mini Me theme to mean that I get to choose the fabrics and I get to choose the patterns. Should my little version of me prove to be equally as determined as her mother there may not actually be any modelled photos for the whole week. We'll see.....

Meanwhile, we're both loving our brown dresses, just not on the same day. This is the Hopscotch dress in a straight size 3, possibly with an inch extra hem length, I forget. What I should have remembered to do was add a bit of length to the neckband. It's much easier to get the yoke to sit nicely if the neckband is about an inch longer and can overhang half an inch at each end, then be trimmed once the yoke is sewn to the dress.

Finally, I got around to making some leggings. I broke open my as yet unused Playtime pattern and sewed up a pair of leggings with 18-24m width and 3T length. Perfect fit!

Now, I love this colour combination, and if, like me, you remember the good old days when there was alcohol advertising at the cinemas then you can sing along with me:....

My plans for Kids Clothes Week may be far too ambitious (but isn't that the point!) as I've cut out:
  • 4 more pairs Playtime leggings
  • a Japanese pattern knit dress (pattern stash busting)
  • a Japanese wool cardigan/shrug  (pattern stash busting)
  • a Playtime dress (pattern stash busting)
  • an Apple Picking Dress (pattern stash busting)
  • a Flashback Skinny T
  • and a Field trip Raglan Dress
Forgive me if nothing happens on the blog for a few days, but I promise there'll be some things worth coming back to look at once I resurface. Are you joining in?

Thursday 3 April 2014

Little Things To Sew Cover to Cover Challenge: Lynn over the line!

That's right! We have our second finisher in the Little Things To Sew Cover to Cover Challenge.

Lynn, known in the Flickr group as Mile571acr has completed all 21 projects. Here she is to introduce herself and respond to my finishing line interview questions:

My name is Lynn from Carmel, Indiana and have two granddaughters, ages 3 and 2.  When I brought "Little Things to Sew" home both of my daughters said, "Please make one of each project!" The sewing challenge was just the right motivation to make it happen! Several of the projects I have made twice already (Puppet Theater, hood, scarf and gloves, bucket hat), so you will be seeing more posts as I complete the projects for both girls!

Q: As a sewer, what was your favourite project in the book?
The Penguin Backpack. I’ve never sewn a backpack before and thought it might be a difficult project, but it actually came together very quickly! There are so many cute variations that are possible with this too! So far I have made two, but I can see more in the future!

Q: Which project was the favourite from the kid's point of view?
The tutu was the biggest hit – my granddaughter’s face lit up when she saw the pink tutu. She put it on and twirled around until she fell !!

Q: Were there any projects that you found difficult or got stuck on? If so, why?
The bento box was a little more difficult to do - not from a construction standpoint, but my sewing machine doesn’t love stitching on laminates...

Q: Were there any projects that you wouldn't have made except for the Cover to Cover Challenge and the need to make them all? Which one(s)?
I probably wouldn’t have made the Bear Bath Mitt. It is cute, but neither grandchild uses a mitt in the tub!

Q: Would you be happy, uninterested or horrified if there was ever a Little Things To Sew Volume II?
I imagine like most people who have ever completed one of Liesl projects, we would all love to see a Volume 2 of Little Things to Sew! Should we start an email campaign?

Q: And finally, what's next?
I am making some little treat bags from Nana Company for Easter, then back to my Oliver + S patterns for some more garment sewing! I am excited for the new layette patterns with a new granddaughter coming in a week or two.

How exciting. I for one look forward to seeing you sewing everything over again for a third time!
When Lynn first started adding photos to the Flickr pool I was impressed not only with how fast the projects came but how beautiful each one was. For me, Lynn's Playtown was an absolute stand out that has me rethinking my previously vague plans for when I make it. Here are examples of her projects from the Flickr pool in a mosaic

Thanks for joining in the challenge Lynn and congratulations again on such wonderful sewing.
I don't know if you need a blog button, but perhaps you could print it onto a T-shirt transfer and wear it with pride!

With April under way I've updated the PDF so everyone else can see where they're up to. I've just made some bibs that I've gifted to another 1 year old and I have a Red Riding Hood cape cut out so there are my projects for April. What are you working on?

PDF also on Google drive here