Sunday, 20 May 2018

Jalie 2213 - Anorak time

Do you ever make something, thoroughly enjoy making it, literally gasp when you see your kid wear it, and then have them declare it is THE BEST THING EVER? No, me neither, at least not often...

But just sometimes....

The pattern is Jalie 2213, a now out of print anorak pattern that I got in paper format from Sew Squirrel a little while ago.

P had a store bought jacket that was navy and red (school colours) and that served very well on the cold morning bicycle commute to school. He had outgrown it and his sister gets it now that he has a new jacket to wear. It all came about when I found this fabric at Spotlight....

It's a two-layer, bonded fabric: Navy showerproof nylon outer and a red, microfleece inner. If you have a good memory you're probably shouting at the screen and reminding me that I already have a huge cut of windproof two sided navy/red fleece in my stash (used here) and you're right. But this is a bit showerproof as well as being a whole lot lighter and easier to sew. Totally justifiable.

The pattern is an absolute delight. I find the drafting of Jalie patterns to be spot on. The pattern pieces are always very well marked and match up perfectly. I've made size N as per his measurements with no alterations whatsoever.

That bears repeating. No alterations. This is the kid that I usually add anywhere from 5 to 15cm to sleeves in order to have them reach his wrists. The sleeve is largely part of the the top panel and is generous in both width and length. The combination of generous sleeve length and that shirt tail back hem make it ideal for winter cycling.

The bottom hem can be tightened with an elastic drawcord and toggle to keep the wind from getting in from underneath!

The front pocket is one big kangaroo type pocket with zippers under those storm flaps. I struggled to find zippers I liked and eventually had Jimmy at Jimmy's Buttons shorten some navy zippers for me. It turns out that the pattern requires you to trim the front yoke zipper anyway, so the lesson is to find long enough zippers and then cut them to fit yourself as you sew. Jimmy had cut the zipper teeth to the length I specified and that meant the pocket zippers were slightly longer (the tape above and below wasn't included in my measurement) than required. Luckily I could make my welts a bit longer and still have them hidden under the flaps.

He also dyed some elastic cord and the plastic toggle navy for me - such a gem.

The back of the jacket has a neat air vent opening with a mesh section over the centre back to allow some hot air to vent out. A lovely, professional touch for a sporty anorak. My random fabric shopping had served me very well as I had recently splurged on some active wear fabric (from Sew Active Fabrics) and in that bundle, with no particular designated use, was some red mesh. See, it pays to shop and hoard. :)

That photo reminds me: The one alteration I did make was to add a hanging loop.

There are a lot of panels and lots of topstitching to do. But, since none of my seams needed finishing, I could just trim them, topstitch them down and move on. And so it all came together fairly quickly.

I wasn't expecting a great reaction. He had turned his nose up at the pattern, saying he much preferred a full front zip. He had also asked for thumb holes and cuffs that would cover the backs of his hands. I always like to sew a pattern as it is the first time through and so I stubbornly ploughed on, thinking there could always be another version another day.

And then I was enjoying myself so much with the making that I stopped caring. Then I tried it on and loved it. Yes, it just fits me. A bit tight through the body, a bit too short and the sleeves only just come to my wrists, but absolutely wearable in a pinch. I instantly wanted to make one for me, one for A, another one for P... I'm keeping my eye on the other colourways of this fabric in Spotlight and the minute they go on sale, I'll be all over them.

Once he tried it on, he loved it too and the happy ending was there for both of us to enjoy.

Pattern: Jalie 2213 (now out of print, but hunt it down, it's a gem)
Size: N
Modifications: Added hanging loop
Fabric: Two layer softshell fabric from Spotlight, knit mesh from Sew Active Fabrics
Notions: 3 zippers, thread, and a cute little zipper label that I got from Jalie when I ordered patterns directly one time.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

After School Pants

The Oliver + S After School Pants are just the cutest fitting kid's pants ever.

It had been quite a few years since I'd made these pants - A had a couple of pairs as a two year old (here, here and here) and P had some made as jeans when he was about 4 (here)

When I was rummaging in the fabric stash and pulling out other pale pink and mauve things I found this cut of a Bettina Liano stretch velour corduroy. I'd bought it ages ago along with some pale blue (used here and here) from The Fabric Store. A new pair of After School Pants seemed the perfect pattern/fabric match.

These are a straight size 7 and are a perfect fit - although they were photographed in a rush and I hadn't noticed the front was pushed down and not looking like such a great fit after all. They're fine when worn normally, not prancing for photos, or trying to flash your tummy. Trust me.

I thoroughly enjoyed sewing them and was all set to cut another pair but decided that sleeping and getting ready for our holiday probably needed to take priority!

But now that winter really seems to be on it's way, and this girl is suddenly in a pants not dresses phase I can see that I probably will make them again before she outgrows the traced off pattern. Odds are I'll need to add a bit of length though as she's growing like a weed.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Basic Instinc(T) tee

I'm still catching up on blogging about the mental sewing rush that happened in Feburary/March.

It included a basic white T-shirt for me: The Basic Instinc(T) tee

So, there's not a lot to be said about a white T-shirt is there? Well for starters, I'm just super excited that after wearing and washing it for 6 weeks it is STILL WHITE. That in itself is a minor miracle worth repeating. Still white my friends!

While I never will learn when it comes to laundry mishaps I do feel qualified to talk T-shirt patterns. I was impressed with the generosity of Sasha of Secondo Piano in offering up this pattern for free. But mostly I was delighted that she had written a tutorial to accompany the pattern to explain how to do that cool binding covering the back neck seam thing. - and also to do it extending across the shoulder seams too.

To do the shoulder seams as well involves adjusting the pattern pieces and I thought I'd keep this first run simple - so I just bound the back neck line. It is such a nice, pretty finish for a T-shirt. I should endeavour to do it to all T-shirts forthwith (yeah, just watch lazy ol' me stick to that pledge)

How is the pattern? It's beautifully presented, well explained and very easy to download, print and sew. I'll confess to not looking at all of the instructions, so I missed the note to press the sleeve seam allowances towards the body not the sleeve - I've always done it the other way, so mine are pressed toward the sleeve. I should try Sasha's way next time and see if it makes a difference.

I measured between the size S and the size M. With five sizes on offer from XS to XL, I couldn't imagine myself being in the second from smallest size, so I plumped for the M, smack in the middle of the sizing. It's a casual, comfortable size and the shoulder size is correct. But I could easily have it more fitted through the bust and waist. However, I agree with Sasha that showing bra lines is ugh, and this T-shirt is designed to be a relaxed fit and avoid those bulgy, squidgy lines. So from that perspective I chose the right size.

I forgot to take a photo of it, but it looks best if I hoick it up at the shoulder seam with clothes pegs, raising the armhole by almost an inch. Suddenly the weird sleeve wrinkles and the wrinkles beside my bust line disappear.

As a comparison I put on my tried and true T-shirt pattern, the Liesl & Co Metro tee and the armholes on that one are right up there in my armpits. While that sounds less comfortable it works much better for me and gives my massive biceps (self deprecation font) room to move and flex freely.

This fabric needs to be talked about as well. I picked it up on sale at GJ's fabrics as it had some shop soiling. That washed out fine (even with my lack of laundry skills). It is the perfect white T-shirt fabric: blindingly white, thick, stable, stretchy and just superb. And for once I actually know what it is as it still had the Charles Parsons label attached. That also means it's locally made, I think. If you find Charles Parsons cotton lycra then snap it up, it is seriously good quality fabric. My ribbing neckband was a tiny bit of leftover from Maaidesign and required me to make two joins near each shoulder seam to get sufficient length.

I think if I was to sew a T-shirt tomorrow I'd probably take Sasha's neat neckband instructions and apply them to my Metro tee block, but that's just me and my armholes. If you don't yet have a favourite T-shirt pattern then this crew tee might just be your perfect pattern. Give it a try.

Meanwhile I'm going to keep wearing and washing this one on high rotation until it turns pink or grey...

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Trying something new

I made a little thing. I wasn't planning on making anything, but as soon as we got back from our April holiday we were off for a weekend of mountain biking and I wanted to take along a little project for the evenings.

So I learnt to crochet.

I first tried learning from online resources and video tutorials but I definitely prefer written instructions to video and much prefer a book to a screen. Then the kids did a short class at The Handmaker's Factory, painting some ceramic bowls and plates on our one free day in the school holidays, and while they were busy, Nichola kindly showed me how to crochet and then gave me a book to take home.

I used some of the Hemptique variegated hemp twine I'd bought ages ago for playing around with macrame samplers. I still haven't really figured out the different crochet stitches, or how to read a pattern. But, once I'd worked out this simple stitch (don't ask me what it's called or whether I've technically done it correctly, OK?) I played around with increasing and decreasing to curve my bowl.

There was plenty of undoing and starting over if I felt it was losing shape but eventually it looked alright. Then I did some rapid increases to get the rolling over lip at the top. It was a bit floppy and I wondered if spray starch wasn't what I needed....

Lacking in domestic know-how I wasn't actually sure what that was, but I was pretty sure it would work. I mixed some cornflour and hot water and gave the bowl a good wetting then let it dry for a few days over a Pyrex dish that happened to be just the right size.

It came out perfectly shaped and moderately stiff and I'm quite pleased with it. Now I just need to work out what to do with it - which is always my dread of learning new crafts - one just accumulates crafty stuff around the house.

Anyway, I made a little thing and I learned a new skill. :)

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Ice Cream Top - Slow Food Style

This Ice Cream blouse was finally made up from long stashed ideas and materials to give a lovely fresh top - just in time for the end of summer (eye roll)

I was rummaging around in my fabric stash and rediscovered this little remnant of lilac broderie anglaise which was gifted to me by the lovely J-Wo

She used it to sew a beautiful Seashore Sundress all the way back here in 2013, and I shamelessly begged for the leftovers. Turns out she had stashed the fabric for 6 or 7 years, and then I've cellared it for another 5 while ruminating on how best to use it.

I hadn't made the Ice Cream top before and it was a good five years since I'd made the little dresses, and then of course there is THIS TOP... the one that wowed the sewing'net with it's gorgeousness.... Lucinda's top dates all the way back to 2012, but I remembered it, and I knew I wanted to use my embroidered border for the hem of an Ice Cream Blouse. I also figured if I couldn't make a nice garment by straight out copying L. Poel then I might as well give up altogether!

I cut a straight size 7 but then used all of my fabric to add as much hem length as possible. There is probably 3 to 4 extra inches of length (and of course no hem allowance), making it more of a tunic. It's such a roomy blouse and I knew Autumn was closing in fast, so it's sized to fit next summer, and perhaps even the one after.

From the little scrap leftovers, I made a covered button for the back. Then, I confess I kept the tiny bits, even thought I'm trying so hard to clean out all small bits of fabric. I think there might be enough for a wee doll's dress and I know she'd be delighted by that. Whether it happens or not remains to be seen. Maybe that's an idea that needs another 5 to 7 years of marinading. :)

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!