children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · tween

Scrap busting with the Camden raglan

Raglan tops really lend themselves to colour/pattern blocking, in my opinion.  The perfect solution for what to do with those scraps that are too big to toss but are too small for an entire garment.

Hey June Patterns Camden Raglan in Crafty Mamas french terry and jersey

I’ve sewn the Hey June Patterns Camden raglan a few times now, but all for Clare. It was time for Stella to get a look in! I used Crafty Mamas Fabrics printed french terry left over from Clare’s hoodie for the front and back, and cotton/spandex knit (probably also from Crafty Mamas Fabrics) for the sleeves and neckband.

Hey June Patterns Camden Raglan in Crafty Mamas french terry and jersey

Because I was working with scraps I wasn’t able to centre the print nicely on the back of the tee. I thought it was more important to get it centred on the front. It’s important to put thought into your cutting out whenever you can. Centring prints wherever possible, keeping the print balanced, lining up stripes. A bit of time spent pondering at the cutting table usually results in a much better finished garment. But sometimes you will be constrained by fabric quantities. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

Hey June Patterns Camden Raglan in Crafty Mamas french terry and jersey

Stella’s top is a straight size 10. This is designed to be a fairly fitted tee. From the pattern website: The Camden Raglan is a casual fitted tee for junior girls in sizes 6 – 16.  Its versatility will make it a great wardrobe builder in your pattern stash.  Support your favorite sports team by colorblocking with the sleeve stripes, or use the front of the shirt as a blank slate for iron-on decals or stenciling.  View A features a trendy curved hem and view B has an easy-to-sew banded hem.  Both views A and B have options for sleeve stripes, a hood, 3 sleeve lengths, wristbands, and a kangaroo pocket.

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Hey June Patterns Camden Raglan in Crafty Mamas french terry and jersey

Construction was on the overlocker, with the machine used to secure the hems and neckband into place with a simple zig-zag after securing the hems with double-sided tape. Fast and satisfying – and already into wardrobe rotation.

Hey June Patterns Camden Raglan in Crafty Mamas french terry and jersey

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · tween

Girl on the Go

When Oliver + S released a tween/teen pattern I got a little excited.  My girls are almost sized out of Oliver + S patterns now.  Well, Stella would still fit into a few of them (I do have some as yet unsewn, sob) but Clare definitely not.  The other bonus of the Girl on the Go pattern is that it is for knits.  Comfort, here we come!

Oliver + S Girl on the Go dress in sweatshirting from Crafty Mamas Fabrics

I bought this brushed back sweatshirting from Crafty Mamas Fabrics last year. Unicorns! Pink glittery unicorns! On grey marle! How could I resist. It was just perfect for this pattern. I combined it with some toning cotton/spandex (also from Crafty Mamas Fabrics) to back the ties and for the neckline facings.

Oliver + S Girl on the Go dress in sweatshirting from Crafty Mamas Fabrics

I sewed size 10 for Stella, and am pretty happy with the fit. Loose, but not too oversized. Construction was mostly on the overlocker. Hems were secured with double sided tape, then twin needled on the machine in pink thread. I also twin needled the facing down in pink thread. Love the contrast!

Oliver + S Girl on the Go dress in sweatshirting from Crafty Mamas Fabrics

If I had been a little more skilled I would have realised that with a directional fabric I’d need to cut the ties differently. One of the ties has upside down unicorns. You may not have noticed if I hadn’t mentioned it – but hey, I’m a sewing blogger, we have a tendency toward pointing out our errors. Because they hang sideways you can’t really tell – but I know!

Oliver + S Girl on the Go dress in sweatshirting from Crafty Mamas Fabrics

From the Oliver + S website: This simple pull-on dress and top is designed for knit fabrics with a little stretch. The View A dress features a fun front tie detail and short sleeves, while View B makes a classic top with 3/4-length sleeves. Both styles include a neck facing with topstitching detail and a forward shoulder for a comfortable fit. You’ll love the look, feel, and versatility of this dress and top which make great wardrobe basics for every girl on the go. Suggested Fabrics: Suitable for knits of all sorts. Stable knits are especially good for this style. Suggested fabrics include jersey, double knit, thermal knit, interlock, sweatshirt fleece, and French terry.

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As you can see, I mixed up the pattern views to sew view A with view B sleeves.  This is a very easy dress to sew.  There is a sew-along on the Oliver + S blog, and I note that a few bloggers have used this pattern to teach their children to sew.  I did suggest to Stella that she could sew it and I could help her, but she preferred the option of me doing it and presenting her with a finished garment.  Took the easy route!

Oliver + S Girl on the Go dress in sweatshirting from Crafty Mamas Fabrics

Although I took what felt like a myriad of photos of Stella in this dress (she’s such an expressive kidlet) I don’t have any of the back! There’s not much to tell though – it’s pretty plain. The line drawing tells the story. I actually already have another one of these dresses cut out for Stella in floral ponte scraps from another project. I’m doing some scrap-busting at the moment. I have a feeling that this pattern is going to get a real workout.

Oliver + S Girl on the Go dress in sweatshirting from Crafty Mamas Fabrics

This dress has already gone into high rotation – it’s great for autumn weather and she will be able to layer it nicely for winter. As with all Oliver + S patterns, the instructions are excellent and the pdf pattern is extremely well laid out. They’re the easiest patterns to assemble – not just one huge sheet divided into A4 sheets, but A4 sheets with the pattern pieces arranged so that they are able to be assembled with a minimum of paper waste and a minimum amount of space needed. I haven’t seen any other pattern companies do this even half as well, if at all. Oliver + S do also give you the option of printing one huge sheet as well – the last page of the pdf pattern file is the copy shop option, and this has always been the case with their patterns. Pdf done extremely well.

Oliver + S Girl on the Go dress in sweatshirting from Crafty Mamas Fabrics

adult's clothing · sewing

Hot Patterns Blouse Back Tee

Another Hot Patterns!  I actually bought this one in hard copy a while ago, and have only just cut into it now.  I have to say that I’m very pleased with the result.

Hot Patterns Blouse back tee in striped viscose spandex knit with viscose knit back

From the Hot Patterns websiteA fresh take on the classic T, this super-wearable top
is designed for light to medium-weight drape-y knits with a little stretch, like single fiber or blends of silk, rayon, bamboo, cotton, or tencel jersey. Semi-fitted, pull-on T-shirt has a relaxed silhouette,  and features a ‘U’ neckline and short sleeves, both finished with self or contrast knit trim. The (contrast) back is gathered onto the yoke, and finishes with a narrow-hemmed shirt-tail; the front has a deep hem. This great T-shirt *obviously* works beautifully in solid or color-blocked tones, and looks great in your favorite textured, printed and striped knits. For an unexpected twist, make this with a contrast back, neckline & sleeve trim, in a complimentary print or plain fabric. This T is the perfect mix of casual and feminine, and it’s going to look great worn loose or semi-tucked with your favorite cropped slim-cut jeans, or a fluid wide leg pant.

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Once again, I agonised over what size to sew.  I eventually settled on size 10, knowing that there was plenty of ease through the body.  The fabric for the front, sleeves and neckband came to me from a generous friend and is a viscose/spandex mix with a bit of oomph to it.  I used a lighter weight viscose/spandex knit for the back.

Hot Patterns Blouse back tee in striped viscose spandex knit with viscose knit back

When I posted this to the Hot Patterns facebook group, I was asked about the sleeve fit. The sleeve cuffs are definitely quite fitted and firm in size 10 (remember, my measurements are closer to a Hot Patterns size 14) but they are quite comfortable during wear. I did narrow and shorten the hem band in order to have it sit flat. The original width would have required a great deal of stretch where it was stitched to the neckline if the inner neckline was going to sit flush. Easier and better proportioned to narrow it a bit. I kept the sleeve bands the same width as the neck band.

Hot Patterns Blouse back tee in striped viscose spandex knit with viscose knit back

I’d quite like to make this with long sleeves for winter – it should be easy enough to use a long sleeve from another pattern as a guide to lengthen these ones.  This pattern really does lend itself to fun with fabric combinations. You do need to be careful about the fabric weight for the gathered back in contrast to the flatter front – if it’s too heavy it could easily drag the rest of the top backwards. I feel that I got it just right in this case.

Hot Patterns Blouse back tee in striped viscose spandex knit with viscose knit back

There was a comment on my last Hot Patterns post about the questionable quality of the drafting and the instructions. Now that I’ve sewn a few Hot Patterns, I agree that there can often be errors in both. It’s funny – people often bag Style Arc instructions (and I agree that there early ones were a little more obscure) but I honestly have sewn SO many of their patterns and rarely have any issue with them. I do scratch my head more often with Hot Patterns. Not for this tee, unsurprisingly – how hard can it be to assemble a tee when you’ve made as many as I have over the years – but for some of their other patterns. I do however really like the styles, and have found that many of them are ahead of their time. Moral of the story? If you’re sewing with Hot Patterns, have a good reference book handy, and it’s also very useful to be part of their Facebook group. It’s a super active community and there is lots of advice to be had there regarding their patterns. But I can completely understand the emotions of the person who threw their hands up in the air (and the Hot Patterns in the bin)! I think we’ve all had that feeling with different pattern companies.

Hot Patterns Blouse back tee in striped viscose spandex knit with viscose knit back

adult's clothing · sewing · tessuti patterns

Tessuti Monroe top

Turtlenecks.  Or as I know them best, skivvies.  No matter what you call them, the jury is out as to whether I like them.

Tessuti Monroe top in viscose spandex striped knit

Tessuti released the Monroe top recently as a free pattern. It’s essentially their Mandy boat tee in terms of body shape and sleeves, but with a reshaped neckline and added turtleneck.   From their website: This boxy top features drop shoulders, a turtleneck collar and optional three quarter or full length fitted sleeves. Relaxed and easy to wear, Monroe is a quick sewing project and a classic autumn/winter wardrobe staple. Sizes included (AUS sizing): Size 1 (XXS-XS-S) Size 2 (S-M-L), Size 3 (L-XL-XXL) 

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I wear my Mandy tops rather a lot – they’re perfect for inbetween weather, and for winter layering.  I chose to sew size 2 in the Monroe.

Tessuti Monroe top in viscose spandex striped knit

This is super easy to make – all construction on the overlocker, hems twin needled after securing with double-sided tape. I think that it almost took longer for me to cut it out ensuring stripe matching than it did for me to sew it. The fabric is a viscose/spandex blend. You need to make sure that you choose fabric that has four way stretch, preferably including spandex, for this top. Otherwise the sleeves will be too tight and you’ll have difficulty getting it over your head. This fabric had JUST enough stretch in it. Do be careful with your fabric selection!

Tessuti Monroe top in viscose spandex striped knit

Lisa looks much groovier on the Tessuti pattern page modelling her version of this top than I do, but I still think that I’ll get plenty of wear from this.  I don’t think that turtlenecks are ‘flattering’ on most people, but they’re definitely warm and cosy and perfect for winter layering. I did a forward shoulder and high rounded upper back alteration on the pattern to reduce the potential for that choking feeling a little bit, but this neckline is still snug. It wouldn’t be difficult to cut  the neckline a little larger and turtleneck piece a little longer in order to make the neckline a little looser.  I actually think that I saw instructions for how to do exactly that somewhere, but can’t locate a link at the moment.

So overall verdict?  This is a very useful free pattern.  Just choose a fabric with PLENTY of stretch for maximum cosy wearing comfort!

adult's clothing · sewing · tessuti patterns

Tessuti Lois in linen

By now most of my regular readers know what style elements tend to attract me to a pattern.  A V neckline is a good thing.  No defined waist – or if there is a waistline seam, one that is nowhere near my natural waist.  And in woven fabrics, nothing tight.

Style Arc Lois dress in embroidered linen from Rathdowne Fabrics

So, here we have the Tessuti Lois dress! From their website: Vintage-inspired,the Lois Dress features a v-neck bodice and a floaty, A-line skirt that falls to a flattering midi length. Finishing features include cuffed arm bands, a top-stitch detail around the neckline and waist, and an invisible side zipper. Recommended fabrics: silk satin or crepe de chine, viscose and rayon. See this post about making the Lois Dress in linen.

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So, there are a few things to note if you want to sew this dress.  See those fabric recommendations?  They’re all for something soft, drapey and flowing.  Linen doesn’t really fit that description, especially a medium weight embroidered linen.  But I used it anyway.  This linen came from Rathdowne Fabrics, and it’s been in my stash for a year or two.  I strongly suspect that it was a remnant.

Style Arc Lois dress in embroidered linen from Rathdowne Fabrics

I really dithered about what size to sew. In the end I chose to sew size 14, but I really could have gone down a size in the bodice depth. I am short waisted, the pattern isn’t. That seam between the bodice and skirt could be a little higher for improved fit. The other thing to take note of if you want to sew this dress is the neckline.

Style Arc Lois dress in embroidered linen from Rathdowne Fabrics

Oh yes. It’s low. I had to ferret around in my undies drawer to find a bra that had a low enough bridge that wouldn’t show during wear. I don’t mind exposing a bit of cleavage, but note that there is no way that this would be work appropriate as it is. A camisole underneath would solve that though. The neckline could be raised, but I actually think that the depth works nicely with the rest of the style.

Style Arc Lois dress in embroidered linen from Rathdowne Fabrics

I went my own way a little with the neckline finish. I cut a strip of matching pink stretch woven, pressed it in half lengthwise, then attached it to the right side of the fabric with the raw edges together. This was understitched, turned to the inside, then topstitched in place. I wanted to be certain of the stability of the neckline – at that depth I wanted to know that it wouldn’t flare out but would sit close to the body.

Style Arc Lois dress in embroidered linen from Rathdowne Fabrics

As is often the case (clearly I will never learn) this dress would have benefitted from a short back-waist length alteration (similar to sway back alteration). Check out that puddling! One of the benefits of sewing the size 14 was that I omitted the side seam zipper. I can wriggle in to this dress without much difficulty. The centre back skirt seam isn’t in the pattern – it was due to fabric restrictions.

Style Arc Lois dress in embroidered linen from Rathdowne Fabrics

I wore this to the Melbourne sewing community Garden Party a few weeks ago. It was perfect for the weather and was actually quite comfortable to wear. I was aware of the neckline depth, but nothing got too exposed! I possibly won’t sew up this pattern again, but do rather like this dress on me.

adult's clothing · sewing

Hot Patterns Nexus T-shirt dress

Quite a few Hot Patterns have made their way into my stash since they started offering pdf patterns.  I’ve admired the designs for some time, but the hard copies are in large envelopes and are printed on substantial paper, so the postage costs from the US to Australia are a killer.  I’m also still working out how the Hot Patterns drafting and sizing works with my body shape, so a pdf is handy as it can be easily reprinted (I am not a pattern tracer).

Hot Patterns Nexus t-shirt dress in cotton spandex knit from Clear It

This is the Hot Patterns Nexus T-shirt dress. From the pattern website: Meet your new wardrobe superstar, an easy-make, easy-wear, throw-on-&-go T-shirt dress. Choose a medium weight knit with a little stretch and drape like a heavier jersey, panne velvet, velour, ponte, a firm sweater knit, French terry or a double knit.    

Unlined, semi-fitted, pull-on dress features a center front seam and integral tie that can be cinched snug or loosely knotted at the waist. Dress has a bound ‘V’ neckline; decide between elbow or full-length T-shirt-style sleeves, and a midi or above-knee length; dress and sleeves finish with deep hems. 

You’ll get year-round mileage from this style with a simple change of fabric weight & sleeve length; try  it with long sleeves, thick tights and flat knee high boots in cold weather, or wear the short sleeved version with flat strappy sandals when it’s warmer. A gorgeous metallic, beaded, or sparkly knit will make a f-a-b-u-l-o-u-s party dress too…

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There were a few things that drew me to this pattern.  Firstly, the lack of a defined waist. That’s always a winner for me!  Secondly, that it was in a knit.  And thirdly, the v-neckline and integral front ties.  Fabulous!

Hot Patterns Nexus t-shirt dress in cotton spandex knit from Clear It

After some deliberation I chose to sew size 10 (my bust and waist are more like a 14 and higher) as I felt that this would work better around my shoulders and upper body.  Hip fit is rarely an issue for me. I sewed the shorter length, with short sleeves. The fabric is a cotton/spandex knit from Clear It. It’s substantial enough for a dress, but still seems to have enough drape for the ties to work.

Hot Patterns Nexus t-shirt dress in cotton spandex knit from Clear It

I have a feeling that I didn’t really follow the instructions for the neckline. I pressed the neckband in half along its length, sewed it to the inside, then turned it to the outside and topstitched it down. This was done before sewing the centre front seam up. After sewing up the seam, there is a nicely finished V neckline.

Hot Patterns Nexus t-shirt dress in cotton spandex knit from Clear It

The ties are unlined, which niggles me slightly. I think that when I sew this again I may line them, depending on the thickness of the fabric that I use. I finished the edges by turning and zig-zagging to secure – I wanted to retain stretch. I did pay attention to the instructions when it came to where to place the tie that is sewn to the side seam, and put the dress on and had Clare fiddle with it until it was in the best position for my body.

Hot Patterns Nexus t-shirt dress in cotton spandex knit from Clear It

The sleeves are finished with deep hems, and are quite loose. This makes them very easy to wear. I used a twin needle for the hems on both the sleeves and the skirt. The slightly dropped shoulders look quite intentional, in my view. Hot Patterns say that you can wear a small shoulder pad with this style if you wish – I don’t think that I intend to.

Hot Patterns Nexus t-shirt dress in cotton spandex knit from Clear It

This is a fun and easy pattern to sew. The front ties are far easier to construct than you may first think, and there’s a centre back seam that allows for alteration and shaping. I’ll be sewing this one again.

Hot Patterns Nexus t-shirt dress in cotton spandex knit from Clear It

adult's clothing · sewing

Cashmerette Montrose muslin

I got rather excited when the Cashmerette Montrose pattern was released.  It’s a basic woven top with sleeves, and you may be wondering why that excited me so much.  Well, it was because of the fit of my Cashmerette Springfield top – a sleeveless woven top that fitted me beautifully in size 12 C/D without alteration.

From the pattern website: Elevate your style with the Montrose Top! This timeless pattern features two variations: View A is a scoop neck blouse with short sleeves and curved back yoke, while View B shows off lace fabrics with a jewel neck, elbow length sleeves, and keyhole back. And, there are standard or full bicep sleeve options for both. Whether you choose a delicate, embroidered tulle, or flirty floral voile, the Montrose Top is sure to be a hit! RECOMMENDED FABRIC: Light- to mid-weight woven opaque or sheer fabrics with good drape, like silk, lawn, voile or lace.

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I have some gorgeous lace in my stash that I keep looking at without knowing what pattern to sew it up with, and hoped that this pattern might be just the one that the lace had been waiting for.  Rather than doing what I often do – just cut straight into it – I decided to sew up a muslin.  I found some mid-weight cotton fabric in stash – not really quite enough, so I had to piece the back, but enough for a muslin that might have been wearable.

Cashmerette Montrose top muslin fail

I chose to sew view A with the scoop neckline and back yoke feature. I cut and sewed straight size 12 C/D, the same size I’d sewn the Springfield woven top in.

Cashmerette Montrose top muslin fail

Now, some caveats. The fabric is probably a bit stiffer than this pattern would prefer. It’s a mid-weight cotton, a bit like a quilting cotton, and this would definitely benefit from something softer and drapier.

Cashmerette Montrose top muslin fail

Also, that piecing in the back – the centre back seam and another piece – really do make the back fit look strange. That’s not the fault of the pattern. However, overall I find the fit of this top on me very disappointing. The front neckline is good, and the back neckline and yoke sit nicely across my back. The front sticks out at the bottom, the darts are probably a little high, and the shoulders seem too wide. Also, there is a great deal of excess fabric at the upper back sleeve cap.

Cashmerette Montrose top muslin fail

I really don’t know that I can be bothered adjusting this pattern to work with my body.  I need the bigger fit through the body, but my upper chest/back/shoulders are comparatively small.  My arms are pretty average I think – this is the regular sleeve option, not the one for a fuller bicep – and this sleeve has way too much space in it for me.

My first thoughts were to narrow the shoulders, remove fabric from the upper sleeve head, lower the bust darts, should I go up a cup size?  I’m a C cup….nah, I think I’ll sew something else.