children’s clothing

sewing fail – McCalls 7151

I always benefit from reading about other people’s sewing fails, which is why I blog pretty much absolutely everything that I sew.  Often I have a niggle in the back of my mind when I start to sew something that might not work out.  It’s not always right, but plenty of times it is.

McCalls 7151 view A sewing fail in cotton voile

Lovely fabric, cute pattern. This is McCalls 7151. They describe it as follows: GIRLS’ TOP, DRESS, JUMPSUIT AND SHORTS: Pullover top, dress and jumpsuit have shoulder strap extending into back band, and narrow hem finish. A: Ruffles. B: Insets. A and B: Gathers. C: Self-bow and button shoulder straps. Shorts and waist C have elastic and stitched hems.
Designed for lightweight to medium-weight wovens and moderate stretch knits.
FABRICS: Cotton Interlock, Cotton Jersey. D: Also Denim, Broadcloth, Cotton Blends.

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McCalls 7151 view A sewing fail in cotton voile

We used a lightweight woven – it’s a cotton voile from Thailand – and I sewed size 10. I felt however that the front of the dress was going to look too “flat” in this fabric, and as it turned out there were definitely problems with the top of the bodice. It was too low and showed too much upper chest, and the binding gaped a bit as the fabric was too crisp. I folded over the straps to raise the bodice front, but then the front armholes were too high. It just wasn’t working.

McCalls 7151 view A sewing fail in cotton voile

The back however is rather lovely. I really like the way that the straps are shaped and join the back bodice in a point. That element is a definite win!  It also drapes nicely when looked at from the back.  But the front?  Nope.

McCalls 7151 view A sewing fail in cotton voile

This dress is going to the shop of opportunity. However, it was a useful exercise, because the garment that Clare REALLY wants from this pattern is the long legged jumpsuit. I have already cut it out, with a raised front neckline, and in a woven viscose. The fabric has much more softness and drape, and the top of the jumpsuit is more blouson with waist elastic. The straps of the jumpsuit button up on the front so that you can get in and out of it, but that will also allow for some more fitting adjustability. There is always something to learn from your sewing fails!

New Look 6297 – the maxi

There are a few different views in New Look 6297.  As well as view C, that I have already blogged, there is a sleeveless maxi.  New Look offer it with a subtle high-low hemline or with a hemline that has applied ruffles.  I chose to sew it with a plain level hemline.

New Look 6297 maxi in polyester knit from Spotlight

Once again I sewed size 10 for Clare. The fabric is a poly/spandex knit from Spotlight. Because it is a border print I cut it on the cross-grain. Although you would generally cut a knit with the greatest degree of stretch going around the body rather than running lengthwise, there is plenty of spandex in this knit and it stretches very well both ways.

New Look 6297 maxi in polyester knit from Spotlight

This was super simple. Front, back, long strips to finish the neckline and armholes. The long strips were cut across the width of the fabric as they usually would be, from areas of the fabric where the colour was more dense. This was to contrast more with the paler areas of the border print that were concentrated at the top of the dress.

New Look 6297 maxi in polyester knit from Spotlight

All construction was on the overlocker. The bands were folded in half then applied to the right side around the armholes and neckline, with the seam allowances secured via a zig zag stitch from the right side on the machine. The pattern also suggested a tie for the back to add more detail and bring in the armholes a little more. It’s just a rectangle of fabric sewn into a tube.

New Look 6297 maxi in polyester knit from Spotlight

There is minimal strap exposure for a racer-back crop top, which kept me happy. The kids don’t care about straps, especially if they are brightly coloured and contrasting, and while part of me understands that aesthetic there is a stronger part that prefers straps and other elements of underpinnings to be hidden!

New Look 6297 maxi in polyester knit from Spotlight

I suspect that the armholes are a little lower in this fabric because of cutting it on the cross than they would have been otherwise. Having the greater strength running downwards in what is also a slightly heavy fabric is possibly dragging them down a little. I’d like to see this made in a cotton/spandex or viscose/spandex. But I couldn’t resist that border print!

New Look 6297 maxi in polyester knit from Spotlight

Lekala 7080

This one was an impulse sew.  After the success of the Lekala dress, I had another trawl through the Lekala website and happened upon a pattern for a skort, Lekala 7080.

Lekala 7080 skort in pinwale corduroy from stash

I figured that it wouldn’t take long to tape together such a simple pattern, and it didn’t.  The pattern appeared in my email in-box within minutes or ordering.  Because it’s a girls’ pattern I only needed to enter height, waist and hip measurements.

Lekala 7080 skort in pinwale corduroy from stash

You all know what a skort is, don’t you?  Wordpress obviously doesn’t, because it keeps on trying to autocorrect the word to skirt.  It is a pair of shorts that has an overlay on the front so that from the back you see shorts, but from the front you see a short skirt.  Therefore, skort.

Lekala 7080 skort in pinwale corduroy from stash

The fabric is a printed pinwale corduroy from stash.  I have a feeling that it was given to me by someone having a clean out of an older friend or relative’s cupboards.  I love the muted sage greens and greys on black, but Clare hasn’t found it terribly easy to coordinate with her tops.  Oh well, I’ll just have to sew some more!

Lekala 7080 skort in pinwale corduroy from stash

Construction wise things were fairly straightforward.  I actually followed the instructions, which were quite logical and assisted in a highly satisfactory finished garment.  There are four pattern pieces.  Shorts front and back, front overlay, and waistband.  The waistband is interfaced and has elastic in the back only.  The line drawing suggests that there are darts in the back of the shorts, but there were no sign of these in the pattern thatI received for Clare’s measurements.

Lekala 7080 skort in pinwale corduroy from stash

The front overlay is supposed to be secured with a square of velcro, but I didn’t see the point and just stitched it down to the waistband.  All the stretch for getting the skort on and off is in the back waistband, not the front.  Overall this was quite a satisfying garment to sew, and it has turned out to be a highly wearable muslin.  Clare intends to choose another fabric from my stash for a second pair.

Lekala 7080 skort in pinwale corduroy from stash

McCalls 7079

Another addition to Clare’s summer wardrobe – McCalls 7079.

McCalls 7079 in printed ponte from Spotlight

McCalls describe this as follows: GIRLS’/GIRLS’ PLUS DRESSES: Pullover dresses have back bodice and skirt variations and raised waist. B and D: back bands. A, B and E: narrow hem. C, D and F: gathered skirt and stitched hems.
Designed for medium-weight moderate stretch knits.
FABRICS: Cotton Knits, Interlock, Jerseys, Novelty Knits.

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We chose to sew view E, with the flared skirt, short sleeves and back cutout.  The fabric is a beautiful soft printed ponte that we chanced upon at Spotlight one day.  Just perfect for this dress!

McCalls 7079 in printed ponte from Spotlight

Once again we sewed size 10 for Clare. The bodice looked quite loose at first after the skirt was attached and the weight stretched it out a bit. Some elastic threaded through a casing between the bodice and the skirt fixed that. We had a few goes to get the length of the elastic just right – it needed to be enough to support the dress and draw the bodice in a bit without actually gathering it.

McCalls 7079 in printed ponte from Spotlight

The skirt was shortened a couple of inches after trying the finished dress on, which improved proportion and appealed more to Clare’s sense of style. Because I was working with a ponte I decided to twin needle the hems and neckline rather than the zig-zag I’d been using a lot on knits. Ponte is that bit more stable and tends to sit flatter anyway, and the twin needle gave a more “ready to wear” appearance.

McCalls 7079 in printed ponte from Spotlight

The back cutout is faced, and topstitched down. I made sure to start at the bottom of the cutout with the twin needle in order to more easily get around the curves and have the stitching line up neatly. This cutout allows for a crop top underneath without straps showing, which is my preference. Dress construction was primarily on the overlocker.

McCalls 7079 in printed ponte from Spotlight

It’s always good to have a skirt that twirls!

Lekala 7058

I don’t think that I have EVER written as many blog posts in one day as I have today.  I’m not sure whether to apologise for the deluge or to just celebrate it!  The backlog of blog posts is still considerable but at least I feel as though I am making some inroads.

So, on to Lekala 7058!  This is a girls pattern, so the measurements required were just height, chest, waist and hip.  Nothing else fancy and no adjustments.

Lekala 7058 in textured Japanese cotton from The Cloth Shop

As far as I am concerned – and fortunately, Clare agrees – this dress is an unqualified success. It is a garment that appeared super quickly. One day I was at The Cloth Shop buying this printed Japanese cotton (which has a bit of texture to it, as many of the Japanese cottons do), then before I knew it I was downloading the pattern and sewing it up! I think that it was finished the next day.

Lekala 7058 in textured Japanese cotton from The Cloth Shop

This is such a simple dress, so is ideal for such a beautiful fabric. I pretty much ignored the instructions, and used my common sense for construction. The bodice is self-lined, so I used the “burrito method” to line it. That works beautifully in a sleeveless garment. The centre back seams were sewn, with a centre back slit at the top and an elastic loop on one side, and the shoulder seams of both the dress and the self lining/facing. The dress and facing are sewn together firstly around the neckline, with the facing under stitched so that it won’t roll to the outside. I actually remembered to try it on Clare before under stitching, and we decided that the neckline was too high as it was so scooped it out another inch or so at centre front. The next step is to “burrito” one armhole, then the other. After that the side seams of both the main dress and the lining/facing can be sewn. Got that?

Lekala 7058 in textured Japanese cotton from The Cloth Shop

The centre front pleat is actually the first part of the garment construction. I made sure to secure it with a V shaped row of stitching at the top. It was all pretty straightforward from there on. The hem was sewn by machine with a blind hem stitch that sunk into the fabric quite nicely.

Lekala 7058 in textured Japanese cotton from The Cloth Shop

The back has a vintage button from stash as a closure in combination with an elastic loop (stolen from the girls’ hair tie collection). As is often the case, the dress slips on over Clare’s head without needing to be undone. I suspect that we are a small-headed family!

Lekala 7058 in textured Japanese cotton from The Cloth Shop

I have a feeling that this is one of my favourite garments for the summer. Pretty, yet a little sophisticated. Young, yet not childish. And the colour is one of her favourites. I think that it is perfect.

Lekala 7058 in textured Japanese cotton from The Cloth Shop

New Look 6297 view C

New Look 6297 view C in rayon knit from Spotlight

Spotlight have really improved their offerings over recent years. My local Spotlight is a pretty small one, and I am often frustrated when I can’t find what I want. One day while wandering around not finding what I wanted, Clare spotted this floral viscose jersey. The colours are so lovely and vibrant that I was able to ignore how off-grain it was on the roll, and bought some to sew her New Look 6297.

New Look 6297 view C in rayon knit from Spotlight

New Look describe this pattern as follows: this knit dress for girls can be made as a sleeveless maxi dress with trim near the hem or a high low hem both have racer back with bow. dress can also be a short high low with cold shoulder short sleeves or no sleeves.

We chose the high-low hemline with cold shoulder short sleeves. I have decided that I really like this sleeve treatment! It’s a two-piece sleeve. The curve for the “cold shoulder” opening is hemmed, then sewn together at the bottom and overlapped at the top. A little fiddly but not too difficult, and certainly effective. I sewed size 10.

New Look 6297 view C in rayon knit from Spotlight

Once again I used a zig-zag stitch on the sewing machine to secure all the hems and the neckband. I’m rather enjoying the zig-zag stitch rather than the twin needle at the moment. I think that I go through fads. It sits nice and flat, stretches without any difficulty, and adds a decorative touch when sewn in a contrasting thread colour.

New Look 6297 view C in rayon knit from Spotlight

The high-low of the hemline is rather extreme. Clare says it feels funny fluttering against the back of her ankles, but that hasn’t stopped her from wearing it. The top and the skirt are constructed separately, then joined together with the seam allowances of the join being used to form a casing for waist elastic. I included a couple of little ribbon loops at the side seams when I joined the top and the bottom, so that the waist tie could be threaded through them and held in the right place.

New Look 6297 view C in rayon knit from Spotlight

I also made sure that the neckband had plenty of colour in it and placed it so that there was as much contrast between the neckband and the bodice of the dress as possible. The little things like that add up to a much more satisfying garment, in my opinion. A considerable portion of the final success of the garment is determined when it is being cut out, in my view. The size, alterations, pattern matching or colour placement – all of those things are important.

New Look 6297 view C in rayon knit from Spotlight

Speaking of cutting out, it was a pain. I pre-washed the fabric, which is really important when sewing with rayon or viscose as they often shrink, and the amount of off-grain I noticed when the fabric was on the bolt increased even more. Argh! I did my best when cutting, and it has all worked out alright in the finished garment, but didn’t make that part of the process very enjoyable. Fortunately the resulting dress is lots of fun and a welcome addition to Clare’s wardrobe.

New Look 6297 view C in rayon knit from Spotlight

Love Notions Lotus Blossom Blouse

This top has been an unqualified success.  It’s the Love Notions Lotus Blossom Blouse.

Love Notions Lotus Blossom Blouse in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

The website describes it as follows: Do the twist! This top is simple but packs a fun surprise. The dolman sleeved blouse is a flattering top meant for light weight drapey knits that are the same on front and back. The neckline features a gradual v-neck that is a breeze to sew. The back of the blouse can feature a special fabric such as stretch lace or a really cool scrap of knit you’ve been hoarding for years. The surprise in this blouse is the twist at the front. The shirt-tail hem really makes this top a great choice for just about any pants or skirt style. Available in girl’s sizes 2T-16 as well as ladies XS-XXXL.

This style definitely benefits from a fabric that is pretty much the same on both sides, because half of the front shows the reverse of the fabric.  I had loads of this slinky coral poly/spandex from the Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table in stash, and as it so happens it was perfect for this pattern.

Love Notions Lotus Blossom Blouse in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Coincidentally I had a small remnant of embroidered stretch mesh in stash (also from Darn Cheap Fabrics) that was a perfect colour match for the knit, so I used it for the feature insert in the back. I think it’s just lovely!

Love Notions Lotus Blossom Blouse in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

The centre front seam allows for the drape at the front, and for a nicely finished V neckline. The instructions for this top are excellent, and it was very fast to sew. I used the sewing machine for most of the construction, and finished all hem edges by turning once then zig-zagging. It is actually very similar in construction to the Style Arc Ginger top.  That reminds me, I must sew myself another one of those!

Love Notions Lotus Blossom Blouse in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Size wise, it’s loose through the body but more fitted through the hips and across Clare’s bottom. I sewed size 10. You know, sizing can be a bit of a guess. I usually have a read of what the pattern says it should be for the person’s measurements, check the finished garment measurements and work out how much ease I want, then pick a number. Experience helps.  I love this top on Clare, and she loves it too. It goes up to a girls size 16, so I suspect that it will be reprinted and remade a few times as Clare grows. Easy and effective.

Love Notions Lotus Blossom Blouse in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics