Nessie dress for Stella

Thanks to all who responded to my last blog post – both to those who added to the discussion about fit and flattery and to those who left such flattering comments on my Mabels!  And guess what – in the last two days I have sewn TWO THINGS!  Admittedly, both were cut out weeks months ago, and both were extremely straightforward.  A dress for me, and finally a second pair of school pants for Clare.  They really needed to be sewn, considering that she finishes primary school in December!  In the meantime I can finally share another garment I made ages ago.  Once again my photography of Stella had an ulterior motive – to get photos for the blog, not just to get photos of her having fun drawing chalk pictures with friends!

Nessie top as dress

This is the Nessie Top pattern, lengthened to become a dress. I also added a yoke to the back in order to take advantage of the gorgeous Babushka fabric that Anna had given me. Despite being a knit, the skirt fabric isn’t terribly stretchy.  It does however have a loop pile back, and is nice and snuggly for winter.  The fabric I used for the yokes and sleeves is a cotton/lycra knit from the depths of stash. I bought a LOT of this once upon a time.

Nessie top as dress

Now a confession – I did a terrible job of aligning the yoke seams at the sides. There is about two centimetres misalignment at the side seams. Shoddy. I remember that I was making this in a bit of a hurry and I didn’t actually draft a new back pattern divided into a yoke and lower back – I just held the front yoke pattern piece near the back piece and chopped away accordingly. Learn from my mistakes people!

wet chalk painting

I originally used the tiny remaining scraps from the skirt to bind the neckline, doing a double folded band. It looked really cute – but wouldn’t actually stretch enough to go over Stella’s head. It was rather entertaining while I tried pulling it on and it just wouldn’t budge over her ears, but clearly something else needed to be done. I chopped off the neckband and cut another from the same cotton/lycra knit that the yokes and sleeves were made from, using the 7/8 of the neck measurement rule, joined it into a circle then quarter marked the folded band and the neckline to match them up then seam them together. This worked well.
Nessie top as dress

The length was determined entirely by the amount of fabric that I had available. It still has the gentle high-low hemline of the original top pattern. I think that I sewed this up in size 6, but don’t hold me to that. Construction was all on the overlocker, and hems were all twin-needled. We already had leggings in the drawer from a previous make in the same fabric. What coordination!

Nessie top as dress

Perri Pullover for Stella

Finally, I have modelled photos of the Perri Pullover that I made for Stella back in May!  Taking photos of her with just de-braided hair was really part of a sneaky plan to get photos of her outfit…..

Perri Pullover

Most of the details are in the review of Clare’s Perri Pullover. The fabric is from Spotlight, a brushed sweatshirt knit, and the fabric for the bands, inseam pockets and matching leggings came from Darn Cheap Fabrics.

Perri Pullover

It’s hard to remember now (reminder to self: blog about finished garments AS SOON AS they are made because otherwise the details evaporate into the ether) but I think that I cut this out in size 6 length but size 4 width. It has the same slouchy look as Clare’s and mine.

Perri Pullover

As with Clare’s, I left the neckband the same width as the hem and sleeve bands. I like the high-low hem, and the band on the bottom curves it in nicely. But that neckline is definitely wide and a little too Flashdance for Stella’s liking. She was happiest wearing it layered over a long-sleeved, higher-necked tee.

Perri Pullover

This is a cute pattern for the kids – and Clare has worn hers quite a lot – but mine is going to be donated. Just too loose on me, even though I’m currently at my heaviest, and the neckline drives me nuts. I found the Day Tripper top to have similar design lines but a much better fit on me. I’m glad that the kids like theirs!  And the whole family enjoyed the “big hair”.

Perri Pullover

togs for Thailand – part 3

So Melbournians, are you feeling even colder each time that I post the bathers I have been making or mention our imminent trip to Thailand?  We are getting VERY excited now – less than a week before we leave!  Part 3 of togs for Thailand are the one-piece swimsuits that I made for Clare and for Stella.

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These are Clare’s. Once again the fabric was from Rathdowne Fabrics. The pattern is the All 4 one Stylish Swimsuit, available on Etsy from Coles Creations. I found the instructions very straightforward. The binding was time consuming, but otherwise these are pretty easy to sew.

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The swimsuit straps can be crossed over and stitched into place, attached straight, or tied in a halter neck. Clare elected to have hers crossed over. She chose the skirted style with a frill along the bodice triangles. We used one fabric throughout because that is what we had!

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The small floral is very pretty. I sewed size 8/9 for Clare, which pretty much corresponded with her measurements, although she will possibly only get one year’s wear from it. Bathers degenerate pretty quickly with chlorine exposure anyway.

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Surprise surprise, Stella chose exactly the same style as her sister, except in a different print (but also from Rathdowne fabrics). However she decided to leave hers to tie as a halter neck.

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And somewhere during the construction process I forgot to line the bodice. Oh well! This fabric was slightly beefier than the one I used for Clare’s bathers. This time I made size 6/7, which appeared to be too big for Stella but in reality seems to fit quite well. Sometimes it’s just worth giving things a go!

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I use the overlocker for some of the construction, but much of it is on the machine with a zig zag stitch. I have started to get a little obsessed with sewing bathers, and have started trawling Etsy for women’s patterns from the 80s and 90s, many of which appeal to me much more than those available today. Speaking of women’s bathers, I still have a “togs for Thailand part 4″ blog post in the works – a Bombshell swimsuit for me!

new togs for Thailand – part 2

I wasn’t the only person in need of new togs for Thailand.  Both of my daughters needed (wanted) some too! This time it was Kwik Sew 3605 to the rescue.

Kwik Sew 3605

These are for Clare. Boy leg bathers bottoms, and a coordinating tankini top. The bottoms were made from scraps, and the top from a small piece of fabric that someone had given me. I had to cut the straps from another swimsuit fabric that was in stash.

Kwik Sew 3605

The pants are super simple. Cut two of one pattern piece, seam the inner legs, then seam the crotch. Add elastic to the leg edges and the waist then you’re done! The pattern has great instructions that include the elastic measurements and how to apply it. I used the overlocker for seaming, but the machine for applying the elastic.

Kwik Sew 3605

The cups are lined, and the upper back and underbust seams are reinforced with elastic. After the success of this pair I decided to make Clare a second pair that she could mix and match with the first.

Kwik Sew 3605 for Clare

This pair uses the same fabric as I used for the straps of the first pair. It’s from Rathdowne Fabrics, and the colours in the stripes really speak to me. Sadly I didn’t pay as much attention to matching the stripes while sewing as I should have, although I did pay attention to it when cutting.

Kwik Sew 3605 for Clare

Oh, those slightly misaligned stripes are going to drive me nuts every time that I look at these bathers! Clare however couldn’t care less. I did a better job on the top.

Kwik Sew 3605 for Clare

Stella didn’t want to be left out either. She has been asking for a pair of bathers with an attached skirt for a while now, and finally got her wish.

Kwik Sew 3605 for Stella

This fabric also came from Rathdowne Fabrics. There are metallic dots in various part of the print, which she loves. The pattern has a separate skirt, but I just basted the top of it to the top of the pants and treated them as one.

Kwik Sew 3605 for Stella

Kwik Sew also tells you where you need to stretch the elastic – around the bottom of the briefs – and where to have it in a one to one ratio – around the front of the legs. That is SO helpful! The first few times I made bathers I overstretched the elastic. Remember that bathers are usually made with negative ease, so the elastic will be stretched on the body anyway. It’s just around those more definite curves where you might need the elastic to pull in just that little bit more. They just aren’t comfortable if the elastic is too tight and digs in!

Kwik Sew 3605 for Stella

The construction of the top for Stella was exactly the same as the construction for the other two pairs of bathers. And guess what….there is a “new togs for Thailand – part 3″ blog post in the works!

Swoon Patterns Scarf Neck Cardigan

Well, it’s Sunday night.  And instead of rushing around the house getting ready for work tomorrow I am browsing the weekend newspapers, checking out instagram, and uploading photos taken over the weekend.  Best holiday of the year tomorrow – the Queen’s Birthday Public Holiday!  How lucky are we to get this day off without any obligation.  I love it!

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I’m trying to get pre-Thailand sewing finished at the moment, but yesterday afternoon realised that I had the correct colours in the overlocker to assemble a Swoon Patterns Scarf Neck Cardigan for Clare. I cut this out a few weeks back, so the actual assembly was very fast.

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The fabric is an acrylic sweater knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics. I have used it before to make a cowl necked tunic for Clare, and was able to cut out this cardigan from the leftovers. I sewed up the size 9/10 for Clare, and used a 6mm seam throughout. It was very straightforward to make. From the pattern description:  An open-front layering cardigan made with lightweight knit, featuring form-fitting princess seams, a draping scarf neck, and an irregular bottom hem. Features full length sleeves. This cardigan is very easy to sew, great for beginners, and takes no time with a serger. Instructions are included to sew this together with neat french seams if you are using a regular sewing machine instead. Sizes include 3/4, 5/6, 7/8 and 9/10. Includes sizing chart.

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Clare discovered that she could get an alternate look from wrapping and tucking the fronts. And did I mention that this pattern is free? And comes in adult sizes as well as children’s sizes?

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Construction was done on the overlocker and hems with a simple zig-zag stitch on the sewing machine. I particularly like the fit obtained from the princess seams.  This cardi is definitely a success. And isn’t Clare looking so much older! I’m almost starting to acknowledge that she is in high school next year….

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Clever Charlotte Olivine

I generally sew each of my daughters a dress for their birthday (and one for Christmas).  They really enjoy having input into the fabric selection and into the pattern that is used.  Last year Stella chose some fabric for the Clever Charlotte Olivine dress.  I cut it out, but never sewed it up, as I was less than enamoured with her fabric choice.  Since then she has hassled me on a regular basis to finish her birthday dress.  Finally I acquiesced and it was finished just in time for her birthday this year!

Clever Charlotte Olivine dress for Stella's 7th birthday

It is a really pretty style. The contrasting pleats in the skirt and the radiating tucks in the bodice are so lovely! However, that fabric. You can see the issues – so incredibly awful to sew and to press in particular. Plus it shows every single crease. She had only had it on for about half an hour when these photos were taken – it looks like she’d been wearing it all day!  It came from deep stash and was originally given to me from someone else’s stash – I have no idea of the composition.

Clever Charlotte Olivine dress for Stella's 7th birthday

Now that I have ranted about the fabric, some discussion of the pattern. It is a beautiful pattern, and everything fits together just as it should. The instructions are comprehensive. The description from the pattern says: Plenty of pleats make the Olivine Dress our fanciest look yet. She’ll look great at holidays, birthdays, even sashaying down the aisle as the scene-stealing flower girl. What fun color combo will you choose to show off the contrasting pleats and pockets on the skirt? The lined Dress has an A-line skirt with a center back zip and full, gathered sleeves.

Clever Charlotte Olivine dress for Stella's 7th birthday

Now, as far as I am concerned those sleeves aren’t gathered, but are eased. The sleeve cap has lovely fullness, but is quite smooth after the sleeves are set in. The centre back zip is an invisible zip. The dress is fully lined, in quilting cotton in this case. That’s what Stella chose!

Clever Charlotte Olivine dress for Stella's 7th birthday

This is a straight size 6, with no alterations. I should have understitched the bodice facing/lining around the neckline, as it is rolling to the outside a little. And I had a hell of a time getting the pleats and tucks to look decent where they met. The fabric completely worked against me, and the shine of it makes it all look a bit dodgy in that part.

Clever Charlotte Olivine dress for Stella's 7th birthday

We really do like the effect of the contrasting fabric in the skirt pleats, and it’s not difficult to do that part. I used the blind hem stitch and foot on the machine for the skirt and sleeve hems of both the dress and the lining. So overall, this wasn’t a quick sew, but it was satisfying. Just don’t use a slippery shiny fabric like this one if you want a happier time during the process!

Clever Charlotte Olivine dress for Stella's 7th birthday

Happy Birthday my gorgeous girl – the years are flying past almost a little too quickly! And finally you have your birthday dress.

Lucy La La skirt

Anna recently alerted me to the presence of the free Lucy La La skirt pattern by The Surly Seamstress.  As luck would have it, the measurements looked as though they would fit Stella, so I popped the pattern into my Sewjourn packing.  Luckily for me Rachel was giving away a few remnants that included some lovely denim with small pink spots.  The perfect fabric to make a new skirt for Stella!

Lucy La La skirt

This is a very straightforward pattern, which made is fast to sew yet surprisingly effective. I decided not to topstitch the seams,due to sheer laziness, but the next time that I make it I will definitely either topstitch them or pipe them. The flounce flips out beautifully to allow for movement and the elasticised waist makes it easy to put on and to wear.

Lucy La La skirt

As the skirt flounce is quite flared, I decided to blatantly copy Anna and finish the hem with some pretty printed bias binding that has been sitting in my stash for some time. I also finished all the raw edges by overlocking with contrasting pink thread. A little bit of fun!

Lucy La La skirt

This is a nice basic pattern with that extra little bit of style. It’s only in the one size, around Australian size 6, but I highly recommend it if you have a little one who is around those measurements.

Lucy La La skirt

Go To Patterns Belinda

Although I had primarily planned on selfish sewing when I was away at Sewjourn a couple of weeks ago (yes!  It’s already two weeks ago – time does fly and all those cliches) there was no way that I could envisage coming home without one thing for each of the girls.  So I sewed Clare a dress and coordinating leggings.

Go To Patterns Belinda dress and matching leggings

The dress is the Belinda dress from Go To Patterns, and the leggings are the Go To Leggings.  The stripe was from GJs, and the print from Anna‘s stash.  The pattern description from the website is as follows: A girls’ dress sewing pattern designed with comfort in mind! This adorable dress has a fitted knit bodice, puff sleeves, a gathered skirt, banded hemline and a fun kangaroo pocket.

Go To Patterns Belinda dress and matching leggings

This was quite a straightforward sew, although gathering always takes a little bit of time and there were gathers at the sleeve head, at the waist seam and at the hem band. I used my usual method of sewing two parallel rows of stitching with a long stitch length, and drawing up the gathers to fit. The majority of the construction was on the overlocker.  There is a little bit of topstitching on the neck and pocket bands, but that is all.

Go To Patterns Belinda dress and matching leggings

Clare enjoyed working out what fabric she wanted where, and the end placement of stripe versus print has worked out quite nicely balanced. Both fabrics were of a lovely quality with similar amounts of heft and stretch. This was a pleasure to sew. And check out the front pocket – it goes right through, as well as down to the hem!

Go To Patterns Belinda dress and matching leggings

I sewed the size 8 for Clare, which the pattern says is for a 26″ chest (she measures 25″). Clare is 136cm tall, and the fit of the size 8 is good. The leggings are cut at size 7/8 width, with 9/10 length. The construction is fairly standard for garments of this type. And yes, I did match the stripes where needed!

Go To Patterns Belinda dress and matching leggings

Cosy, warm and comfortable. A definite hit for a winter dress!

Nessie top for Stella

Anna has churned out a plethora of Nessie tops recently.  A great simple t-shirt style, but with the added interest of a curved front yoke seam and a gentle flare. And what am I if not a follower?

Nessie Top

Stella was in full “modelling” mode when I took these snaps – I have a myriad of rather hilarious shots! Her Nessie top is made from Spotlight printed sweatshirt fabric of the same type as Clare’s Perri Pullover – smooth and printed on one side, thick and fleecy on the other. Perfect for winter! I paired it with some cream loop-backed knit that I had in stash. It’s more white than the cream part of the printed sweatshirting so doesn’t match exactly, but I figure that it “tones” (and beggars can’t be choosers. Have you tried matching whites or creams lately? Aaarrrrggghhhh).

Nessie Top

The hem curves up a little at the sides, so down in the centre front and centre back.

Nessie Top and Go To Leggings

After measuring Stella – who has also grown considerably over the last year – I decided to make this in a size 6 throughout to allow for the relative firmness and thickness of the sweatshirt fabric. She measured about a size 3 in width, and in retrospect I should have probably made this in a size 5 length with size 4 width. But at the rate she is growing it won’t be long before it fits a little better.

Nessie Top

Aren’t those deer and rabbits sweet! I stitched a contrasting pink ribbon and braid trim from stash along the top of the curved yoke seam before sewing the side seams, and used pink thread in the twin needle to topstitch the hems and around the neckband.

Nessie Top and Go To Leggings

While I’m at it, I’ll give a call out about the Go To Leggings pattern. It’s such a great basic one piece legging pattern. I made the striped leggings in size 4 width with size 6 length for Stella, and they are pretty much perfect. They were actually made to coordinate with the bands on the Perri Pullover that I made for Stella but haven’t blogged yet.

Go To Leggings

The leggings are in a lovely pink/grey marle viscose/spandex from Darn Cheap Fabrics. Stella loves the feel of this fabric on her legs, and Clare has requested something (anything!) made from the same fabric. My girls know their fibres! I might have to go back and get more of this stripe. And no, it wasn’t on the discount table.

Nessie Top and Go To Leggings

I’m really on a roll with knit sewing at the moment. I have a Sewjourn trip coming up in just a couple of weeks time, and have been cutting out loads of knit garments for winter.  Oh, the instant gratification!  It all makes for plenty of blog fodder – I just need to remember to get the photos taken and blog posts written.

Nessie Top and Go To Leggings

Perri Pullover for Clare

Often it’s the simple sews that are the most effective.  The Perri Pullover from the Cali Faye Collection seems to be popping up on a few blogs.  It is a very simple sew, but has quite a lot of impact!

Perri Pullover

I have read conflicting things about the sizing for this top. The description says The Perri Pullover is the embodiment of comfort and style. With a slight fishtail base, and its loungy aesthetic, the Perri Pullover will pair fabulously with leggings for a look that will never go out of fashion. But what your child will love more than how adorable they look is the pockets! The photo on the pattern page definitely indicates a large, slouchy style. With that in mind, I measured Clare, (yes! She has grown two inches since this time last year!) compared her measurements to those listed in the pattern, and cut a straight size 8.  The finished pullover looks to fit her just as per the description.

Perri Pullover

At first Clare was pretty unsure about the width of the neckline and the tendency for it to slip off her shoulders. A bit too Flashdance, maybe! But then she changed the top she had underneath to a racerback tank and suddenly her opinion changed too. Now she loves it!

Perri Pullover

The fabric is gorgeous printed sweatshirt knit from Spotlight – smooth and printed on one side, and quite thick and fleecy on the other. This means that it could easily get a bit bulky, so I used a medium weight navy ponte for the contrasting bands and for the pockets. According to the instructions the neckband should be folded in half again to be about one inch wide then stitched down to cover the seam – as you can see, I didn’t do that and thought it to be an unusual instruction. The bulk of the neckband would be four layers thick! Also, the width as I left it matched the other bands. I notice from the photos of other Perri Pullovers on the internet that most people appear to have done exactly the same as I have and have left the neckband wider.

Perri Pullover

This would also be nice made in a soft, slouchy fabric such as a brushed jersey, where it would drape more closely to the body. As it is, Clare thinks it is an excellent addition to her winter wardrobe. And wouldn’t you know it, I’ve made one for Stella as well. And have one cut out in the Adult version of the pattern for myself! Matchy matchy…..