Sunday 25 June 2017

Art Museum Trousers twice straight up

Almost two years ago I made the kid two pairs of Oliver + S Art Museum trousers and they have been in constant rotation ever since. Yes, he LOVED those cheetah pants and wore them all the time. They have held up really well to wear, somewhat surprisingly given the fabric is just a cotton sateen, but they are definitely too short now. The denim pair have worn through at the knees as well as being outgrown. Time to double up on Art Museum pants again.


First up is the plain black denim pair. This is a small part of a great denim that I scored from Rathdowne Fabrics for only $5/metre due to flood damage. I think the bottom of the fabric roll may have been wet but it's washed up perfectly and even on the wrong side there's no stains or marks.

I love the welt pockets on these pants. They're largely decorative as I don't think I've ever seen him use them for holding anything. For practical sewing purposes they could be left off or switched for patch pockets, but they just look so cool and I always find myself sewing them anyway.

I got a bit scissor happy and snipped too close to one corner. On any other fabric it would have been barely noticeable, but of course denim has those really obvious white warp threads that will pop out and scream "hole pending here!". So I added some decorative and very functional topstitching!

The 2015 pants were straight size 7, this year they're straight size 8. How's that for easy fitting. His body measurements fit the size 8 perfectly but height is closer to size 9 or even 10. However this is one pants pattern with plenty of leg length. I stuck to the straight size 8.

To lighten things up a bit, the waistband facing and the pocket bags were sewn in a quilting cotton.

I'll take whatever modelling I can get these days. Sigh.

Back when I was first searching for fabric to make the Cheetah outfit, I came across some grey on grey big cat print denim. I happily snapped it up only to be told by the kid that it was Jaguar not Cheetah and therefore would. not. do.

A year and a half later I figured the jaguar jeans could be made to replace the cheetah trousers.

These are a fair bit easier on the eye than those cheetah pants - which curiously no one seems to want as hand me downs. ;)

They've already become the favourite pants and are first ones out of the drawer whenever they're clean. That's driving me nuts as there are two perfectly good pair of jeans (these and these) that are in that same drawer and never get an outing.

He was momentarily disappointed to discover the Jaguar jeans weren't lined like the cheetah pants had been. It appears the boy has developed a fondness for fully lined trousers. I've created two fashion monsters it would seem!

And another dab pose, of course.

Pattern: Oliver + S Art Museum Trousers
Size: 8 (no modifications)
Fabric: Black denim from Rathdowne Fabrics. Jaguar grey denim for The Fabric Store. Various quilting cottons for facings/pocket bags from the stash

Saturday 17 June 2017

Sunday Brunch for a Saturday Matinee

This was one of those projects that wasn't on the schedule but just had to be made. This week's schedule was looking like being a few days sick in bed then tidy up the chaos of last weeks frantic sewing before the snow.

Curled up on the couch in what was probably a tonsillitis induced delirium, it suddenly seemed like a great idea to make the kiddo a Chanel-esque suit to wear to the ballet.

Back last winter when I made my Koos jacket and found that, even after my very careful layout practice and minimal fabric purchasing, I had about 40cm and odd bits of this wool coating left, I decided it would be perfect for the Sunday Brunch Jacket.

Because the jacket has a short bodice and moderately cropped length it was likely to fit on my bits of leftover fabric. I never did measure the cut of fabric that Tessuti posted me so I don't know if they were generous or I'd over bought, but whichever was the case I wasn't letting it go to waste.

Of course once I started fiddling with the leftovers I became convinced I could cut the skirt out as well and make a mini metallic wool tweed suit. The only fudging was to piece the waistband of the skirt and have a centre front seam.

Oh this pattern. I adore it.

I've made a straight size 6 as per her measurements. She's actually about a size taller but there was no fabric left to allow lengthening anywhere, and thankfully it doesn't look like I needed to anyway.

It was Tuesday afternoon when I was feeling well enough to get down on the floor off the couch and do some cutting. That left me with my rostered day off Wednesday, and a couple of evenings to make it all....

The wool coating kind of needed lining as it's a little bit airy in its weave, and lining would save me from bias binding all those seam finishes. If you haven't seen the insides of this jacket done as per the instructions then check out some of these versions in the Oliver + S Flickr pool. All those bias bound seams! So pretty.

Anyway, I lined my jacket with some 'shroomy brown silk from the stash and then only used binding to finish the edge of the facing. Hot pink satin for the win!

The lining was easy. Simply a matter of cutting everything in silk as well as the wool coating. Sewing the lining together, then attaching both at the neckline before attaching the collar and facing.

I shortened the lining sleeves and then managed to do that pull through thing to stitch the sleeve hem to the lining hem. Feeling clever that I didn't get anything twisted or mucked up, but then realising I had miscalculated how much to cut off the lining. After a rethink I should have cut a 1/2" shorter but I wasn't unpicking stitches from that deep pile wool tweed, so let's just say there's plenty of wearing ease in the sleeve lining - and hopefully it won't hang out the bottom and be seen.

Just a little self-congratulatory pat on the back for that hair braid. I usually struggle with her fine, soft hair, but I guess it was either overdue for a wash or just a little bit of that wax stuff did the trick.

The skirt is also lined with the same silk. That was a lot simpler, but of course I'd mucked it by forgetting to fill in that little cut away triangle where the pockets are on the front top side corners. Note to self: Lay pocket pattern piece and the skirt front pattern piece on the lining and then cut. Like I ever listen.

Is it just me or is a kick pleat on a six year old's skirt not ridiculously cute?

If I could have slowed time down even further, apart from sleeping and doing some chores (yeah right) I would have sewn a little white collared shirt (Music Class probably) to go with the suit. As it was, the Class Picnic blouse worked just fine for our Saturday matinee ballet

With no time to shop, the buttons, like everything else, would also have to come from the stash. Thankfully, when I'd attended a few of the Buttonmania open warehouse sales at the old city address I'd purchased "fancy coat buttons" without any real idea how or when they might be used. I held a mini audition for 4 different button types and these guys were the winners. Actually there were two others I liked more at first but they were just too big. Nice to know they're there for a bigger fancy coat another day.

The big gamble with an idea like "I'll sew a Chanel style suit for my six year old in that really expensive wool from Tessuti, and I'll do it in 3 days" is not whether it can be done. But whether the kid will wear it...

If you sew for kids you'll know about the inversely proportional relationship between your excitement for a garment and theirs. The more you care, the more they "meh" your exquisite sewing.

So, here's where I got extremely lucky.... school, A's class is doing some enquiry based learning thing about how we communicate and our idea of ourselves. From that, she has chosen the subject of how fashion has changed with time. She's told me that she and James (nope, I don't know him either) have chosen that topic because they're both really good at drawing. Turns out James draws a fine array of skirts: short ones, long ones, triangle-y ones...

Anyway I started talking to her about Dior's New Look and Coco Chanel's suits. A quick Google search and some pictures viewed on my phone and suddenly she was all over the idea of a wool tweed suit, just like Chanel (who I suspect is also another kid in her class, - skirt drawing skills unknown). This is perhaps now her all time favourite thing ever.

With kids I've learned to neither take pride in, nor try to understand little victories like this. Just enjoy it and roll with the moment.

The victory that makes perfect sense is the result which comes from sewing with impeccably good patterns and beautiful fabrics. I sourced and chose them. I'll take that as win for me.

Pattern: Oliver + S Sunday Brunch jacket + skirt
Size: Size 6
Modifications: Added lining to both jacket and skirt
Fabric: Italian metallic wool coating (no longer available) from Tessuti 
Notions: Silk lining from stash (via Rathdowne fabrics), buttons from Buttonmania, thread, 3/4" elastic.

Tuesday 6 June 2017

A June of gifts

Thanks for all the kind comments about the cycle wear patterns. I promise I'll get on to uploading them and writing some basic guidelines soon.

Meanwhile, I've been sewing like a woman possessed and just popped up for a bit of air and to throw a few things up on the blog. In between other projects I've squeezed in a few gifts:

First up was a Swingset skirt for a little friend of A's. I hadn't planned to make anything this year, although this is the same kid who received the Moon Bunny skirt and then the Little Kunoichi t-shirt. So perhaps I had set myself a precedent...

Anyway I was busy and I'd excluded a handmade. That is, until A chose the gift she wanted to give: A lurid, fluorescent, fake fur covered, lockable journal that had that sickly sweet, plastic-ky smell of the little-girl-stationary-shop. Ok, so I knew the recipient would love it. Heck I probably would have loved it when I was seven, but that didn't stop me from feeling compelled to balance out the tackiness with an elegant little handmade skirt

I already had the Swingset skirt drafted off in a size 5, and my sizeable fabric stash yielded the floral and plain fabrics along with the matching ribbon and the required elastic. Easy and free!

This really is one of the nicest skirt patterns. The way it hangs and swishes, the perfect neat finish, the comfy double elastic waistband, the pretty ribbon tie and it's just delightful to sew too. Ten out of ten for this one.

Meanwhile a friend had offered me first pickings on her mum's sizeable pattern and fabric stash - all of which was destined for the op shop. I helped myself to plenty of fabric and snaffled the whole box of vintage patterns to pass on to a smaller sized sewing buddy. My friend picked up a piece of fabric that I'd passed over and asked if she could possibly have a skirt made from it - something simple for summer. Sure I said, I know just the pattern...

And so I made the Everyday Skirt. Her waist size put her between the Small and Medium but her hip size was below the Extra Small size. I know this pattern tends to run big and is more flattering if there isn't crazy amounts of gathering at the back. I wear the Medium size and my friend is much smaller than me, so I went with the Extra Small. Happy to say it's a perfect fit and she has promised me a modelled shot from an exotic summery location soon.

The fabric is a tightly woven, fine, semi-sheer cotton with a lovely hand and a slight sheen. While the print didn't appeal to me, the way it sewed up really won me over and I would now say this is a really nice fabric, full stop.

There was a little bit left over and since my friend has a daughter just 6 months younger than A, and since everyone should get to share in the awkwardness that is matchy-matchy dressing, I kept on sewing...

I'd missed making the Teaparty dress one last time for A, and since this one tops out at size 5 I was keen to give it a final farewell. Also, this little girl had inherited two of A's tiny Teaparty playsuits and her parents had loved them dearly. Time for a dress version.

Again, I'm hanging out for a modelled photo! I tried it on A before gifting it and while the body fit is fine it would be very short on her. Maybe not indecently so, but in that vintage pattern, wow, that's short kind of realm. Hopefully on her shorter, younger buddy it will be a nice fit.

Usually this week would see my painting up a t-shirt for P's birthday, but since I've just booked a weekend at the snow, it will be all systems go on merino thermals for the kids. See you again when I next come up for air. :)