children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · tween

Style Arc Cara top – this time for the teen

When Clare saw my version of the Style Arc Cara top, she promptly declared that she wanted one too.  I pondered, because she’s not really in adult size patterns yet.  However, when I checked the Style Arc website I discovered that their patterns start at an Australian size 4.  I figured that it was worth a go.

Style Arc Cara top in navy tencel from Clear It

I managed to buy a copy of the downloadable pdf when Style Arc had a pdf sale on Etsy. I really didn’t feel like grading down my size 12 version! There aren’t many pattern pieces, so it didn’t take long to tape together the A4 pattern pieces. I don’t mind taping when there aren’t loads of pieces, and I was after immediate gratification. Downloadable pdf patterns are always great in that regard!

Style Arc Cara top in navy tencel from Clear It

I cut this as a straight size 4 without alterations. I figured that the length would be quite adequate for Clare, especially since in many ways her proportions are like mine – she has long legs for her height and a proportionately shorter torso. The fabric is navy tencel from Clear It. That reminds me – I need to sew up the pair of pants that I have cut out from the same fabric!

Style Arc Cara top in navy tencel from Clear It

I decided not to interface the front neckband, as the fabric is relatively substantial. This appeared to work out okay. I also made certain when I inserted the elastic into the back neckband piece that I could access it in case I needed to shorten it to fit Clare better. As it turned out, that was a good idea – once I was home from Sewjourn and she tried it on, I needed to shorten the back elastic by a number of inches for the top to stay up!

Style Arc Cara top in navy tencel from Clear It

This is a very straightforward garment to sew. I mostly used the overlocker for construction. Hems were finished on the overlocker, then turned to the inside in a narrow hem and stitched on the machine. Easy peasy.  Just watch out for them stretching out a little and rippling on sections that become bias (i.e. learn from my mistakes).

Style Arc Cara top in navy tencel from Clear It

This top has already had quite a bit of wear. Definitely a wardrobe hit with the teen – and it’s good to jump right onto the off the shoulder/cold shoulder/split sleeve trend before it disappears!

Style Arc Cara top in navy tencel from Clear It

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing

Book week 2016

It was book week a couple of months ago (yes, I am very behind with blogging so everything that appears here was sewn months ago now).  Stella decided that she wanted to go as Billie B Brown.

Book Week costume 2016

The school was focusing on Australian authors, and as it happens Sally Rippin is not only Australian, but local to us! I liked that element of Stella’s choice. Most of the “costume” was easily found in her wardrobe, but Stella really wanted a pinafore like the one on the book cover. Enter Lekala 7198.

Book Week costume 2016

This is a pattern designed for wovens, and I was using a knit from stash, so I eliminated the side zipper. I also left out the back belt and the front pockets. The pattern was folded down at the strap level to create a straight edge, and I traced off a facing to match. The straps were made from wide bias binding and were inserted between the dress and facing.

Book Week costume 2016

Buttons were added at the centre front for decoration. Stella enjoyed having input to every element of the design process, referring back to the book cover as we went along.

Book Week costume 2016

Of course, this was all done the night before it was needed. Some things never change. And the finished costume?

Book Week Costume 2016

Yes, she was pleased!

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · tween

Groove dress – as dress!

It amuses me that I sewed this pattern as a top twice before I got around to sewing it as an actual dress.

Groove dress in ponte from Super Cheap Fabrics

This is the Madeit Patterns Groove dress for teens, sewn in the teen size Small. We chose to sew the long sleeved version with the scoop neck. However, Clare finds the scoop neck is actually a bit wider than she would prefer. She doesn’t like necklines high at the front, so she is happy with the depth, but because she has narrow shoulders the neckline is wider than she’s prefer.

Groove dress in ponte from Super Cheap Fabrics

The fabric is a printed ponte from Super Cheap Fabrics (Brunswick store). I used soft double knit from stash to bind the neckline. As you can imagine, this was a super fast garment to construct. The overlocker was used for most of it, with hems secured with a twin needle on the machine.

Groove dress in ponte from Super Cheap Fabrics

This style does have marvellous swish. The high-low hemline is rather pronounced, so you do need to consider what the reverse side of your fabric looks like if you are sewing that version. You also need to keep your hems nice and neat, because they will be visible.

Groove dress in ponte from Super Cheap Fabrics

Groove dress in ponte from Super Cheap Fabrics

This pattern comes free with either the Women’s or the Child’s size. I bought the Women’s, so there will be one of these ahead for me as well. The pattern has a number of neckline, sleeve length and hemline options, and hopefully it will be a workhorse pattern for me as well as for the girls.

Groove dress in ponte from Super Cheap Fabrics

Worn with her Lily Knit blazer and Shredded Scarf.

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · tween

Nantucket One-Piece swimsuit

One pair of bathers apparently wasn’t enough for our FNQ holiday – Clare needed a one-piece as well!

Nantucket Swimsuit by Peekaboo Patterns in Rathdowne Fabrics print

Okay, I have a confession – Clare wasn’t the one pushing the “I need more bathers” barrow – it was me wanting to sew more of the lovely swimwear fabric that was in my stash! This fabric came from Rathdowne Fabrics. Those butterflies and flowers are so pretty! This was such a pretty fabric that it called for a fairly simple pattern. And I found the Peekaboo Patterns Nantucket One-Piece swimsuit pattern in my stash. I think I’d originally bought it as part of a pattern bundle.

Nantucket Swimsuit by Peekaboo Patterns in Rathdowne Fabrics print

Of course, the back is the highlight of these bathers. Such a lovely low scoop, highlighted with cross-over straps. The description from the website is as follows:  Get ready for a trip to the seashore with the Nantucket One-Piece Swimsuit! The Nantucket features a gathered front neckline and cross-back straps finished in a darling bow. With excellent bum coverage your little one will be comfortable playing all day long in a suit that’s sure to please. Check the Ultimate Swimsuit Fabric Shopping Guide for help finding the perfect fabric for your project :) Tutorial includes tips for sewing on swimsuit fabric and achieving a professional finish. No serger required. Includes instructions for an optional lining.  Pattern comes with a full tutorial and color photos in an easy to print PDF. Pattern pieces are computer generated and color coded for easy cutting. 

Nantucket Swimsuit by Peekaboo Patterns in Rathdowne Fabrics print

This pattern ranges in size from 3 months to size 12.  I used a combination of sizes 10 and 12 for Clare, grading up to the 12 for her hips.  I fully lined the bathers, then zig-zagged the edges together and treating them as one.  The edging was all done with fold-over elastic, so I had to depart from the instructions a little bit there. These were faster to sew than I had anticipated, and once again all the sewing was done on the sewing machine. That zig-zag stitch really earned its place!

Nantucket Swimsuit by Peekaboo Patterns in Rathdowne Fabrics print

If anything, the upper chest is a little wide and bags a fraction. The pattern has a casing here, with the ties threaded through it, which would gather it in a little. I could have probably pulled the elastic tighter when applying it to the upper front, which would have had the same effect. However, we’re both happy with these bathers overall.

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · tween

Mountain Ash Designs two-piece

Before we went to Cairns Clare decided that she needed new bathers.  She wanted a two-piece, but one that would be practical.  We searched the stash, then searched online.  We found the Mountain Ash Designs Swimwear Separates #1 pattern.

Mountain Ash Designs Swimwear Separates in nylon/lycra from Rathdowne Fabrics

The pattern description from the website is as follows: Make your own tankinis and bikinis using this pdf sewing pattern with options for a crop top or singlet top and briefs for swimming. Garments are designed to be made from stretch fabric and can be sewn using an overlocker/ serger or a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine. Pattern will fit girls in sizes 2-14 years.

Mountain Ash Designs Swimwear Separates in nylon/lycra from Rathdowne Fabrics

I have already forgotten what sizes we sewed for Clare, but we pretty much looked at the sizing chart and went by that. It was possibly a 12 for the pants and a 10 for the crop top. The fabric is a swimwear nylon/lycra remnant from Rathdowne Fabrics, and the lining probably came from there as well. I fully lined both the bottoms and the top by cutting the pattern pieces from the lining as well then laying the two together after sewing side seams. Edges were finished with neon orange fold over elastic that was in my stash.

Mountain Ash Designs Swimwear Separates in nylon/lycra from Rathdowne Fabrics

The straps were criss-crossed at the back, tried on and pinned in place before sewing to ensure that they were the right length. As I had just enough leftover fabric, I also made another wrap bikini top to coordinate.  Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of that one yet! It’s based on the Madalynne Sierra bra, modified to work in swimwear lycra.

Mountain Ash Designs Swimwear Separates in nylon/lycra from Rathdowne Fabrics

Bathers are surprisingly satisfying to sew.  I think that these were done entirely on the sewing machine, with a straight stitch to join the side seams and a zig-zag stitch to attach the fold over elastic.  You get better at how much tension to put on the elastic the more that you do it.  You can’t see it clearly in the photos, but this fun fabric has a glittery overprint.  There are terrific bathers fabrics around, especially at shops like Rathdowne Fabrics.  I find that no matter what I do, bathers really only last a year, so I’m glad that I enjoy sewing them!  I’m amassing a rather nice stash of women’s bathers patterns to sew as Clare and Stella get older.

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · tween

yet another circle skirt

Clare's circle skirt in textured knit from Rathdowne Fabrics

It’s a skirt. It’s a circle. It has an elastic waist. And the hem was left raw.

Clare's circle skirt in textured knit from Rathdowne Fabrics

The fabric is a textured knit from Rathdowne Fabrics, and the waistband wide black elastic from Darn Cheap Fabrics. I cut the elastic to her waist measurement, and sewed the ends into a circle. The skirt was “drafted” using one of the online circle skirt calculators that is available online, using Clare’s waist measurement and the desired length. It is a full circle, and fitted onto the fabric without the need for any seams – so I essentially cut out a donut shape.

Clare's circle skirt in textured knit from Rathdowne Fabrics

And yes, it twirls! Even thirteen year old girls like a twirl.

Clare's circle skirt in textured knit from Rathdowne Fabrics

I simply zig-zagged the skirt to the elastic waistband after quarter marking both. So simple. As it turns out, Clare is wearing it with the waistband turned over once to shorten it a little. Just like she does with the winter school uniform skirt….

Clare's circle skirt in textured knit from Rathdowne Fabrics

So, if you’re looking for some tween/teen sewing for a girl that likes skirts, don’t forget the simple circle skirt, especially in a knit with an elastic waistband. Just choose a fabric that they like, and it will be a winner!

Clare's circle skirt in textured knit from Rathdowne Fabrics

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · tween

Vintage Simplicity 6494 and another Groove top

More sewing for the thirteen year old!  I find that vintage patterns can work well for Clare. The girls patterns have a decent size range – often up to a 16 – and sometimes you can find “Juniors” patterns that were designed especially for changing bodies.  However, this skirt is a straightforward Girls size 10.

Vintage Simplicity 6494 copyright 1975 skirt with Made It Patterns Groove dress shortened to a top

I have mentioned before that after years and years of wearing skirts and pants down low on her hips, Clare now wants to wear things at her natural waist. This means that she is re-examining her tops as well in order to find things that work better with her bottoms. She rather liked the Groove dress as top that I had already made, so I sewed her another.

Vintage Simplicity 6494 copyright 1975 skirt with Made It Patterns Groove dress shortened to a top

This time I cut the top slightly longer – only an inch or so. The striped fabric is from Clear It and has two sides, one with wide stripes and one with narrower. We decided to use the narrower stripe as the “right side” for the sleeves and the neckband.

Vintage Simplicity 6494 copyright 1975 skirt with Made It Patterns Groove dress shortened to a top

This time I did sew a proper neckband, cutting a strip to length, folding it in half lengthwise with the wrong sides together, then sewing it to the right side of the neckline with the overlocker. I stitched it down from the right side with a twin needle to secure it. Hems were also twin needled.

Vintage Simplicity 6494 copyright 1975 skirt with Made It Patterns Groove dress shortened to a top

I did go to the effort of matching the stripes through the sides of the body, so need to include a photo to show off my success. I didn’t worry too much about stripe matching with the narrow stripes of the sleeves, although they are pretty good too.

Vintage Simplicity 6494 copyright 1975 skirt with Made It Patterns Groove dress shortened to a top

But really, the “hero” garment of this blog post has to be the skirt. The pattern is copyright 1975.

Vintage Simplicity 6494 copyright 1975 skirt with Made It Patterns Groove dress shortened to a top

I sewed view 1 in size 10, but found that I had to take it in quite a bit through the waist after Clare tried it on. Otherwise it is all sewn as per the pattern. There were lots of great tips and tricks throughout.

Vintage Simplicity 6494 copyright 1975 skirt with Made It Patterns Groove dress shortened to a top

That elastic is sewn inside the back waistband pieces, on the half of the waistband that will be against the body when the skirt is complete. It provides support and a bit of additional shaping and security. Yet from the outside it looks like a flat waistband. Very nice.

Vintage Simplicity 6494 copyright 1975 skirt with Made It Patterns Groove dress shortened to a top

I decided – in conjunction with Clare – to use an exposed zip. There are a few different ways of doing these, depending on the finish that you want. I decided to simply stitch it to the outside of the skirt, with the ends of the zipper tape folded into a little “V” at the bottom. I sewed both close to the zipper teeth and again near the edge of the zipper tape.

Vintage Simplicity 6494 copyright 1975 skirt with Made It Patterns Groove dress shortened to a top

I also love the little curved pockets. You can just see where I have taken in the skirt at the side waist seams in this photo, as there is now a seam in the waistband. Originally it was all one piece. If only Clare had been available to try it on at every step of the sewing process rather than me having to alter after the fact! That is one of the challenges when sewing without your model available (I think she was at school).

Vintage Simplicity 6494 copyright 1975 skirt with Made It Patterns Groove dress shortened to a top

I did two parallel rows of topstitching around the pockets and around the skirt hem. I used the triple stitch on my machine for these – I find that it often works better than using topstitching or upholstery thread, and my sewing machine is happier doing it too.

Vintage Simplicity 6494 copyright 1975 skirt with Made It Patterns Groove dress shortened to a top

I am ridiculously pleased with this little skirt – with the entire outfit, actually.

Vintage Simplicity 6494 copyright 1975 skirt with Made It Patterns Groove dress shortened to a top

Even the scarf is one that I crocheted – it appears to have made a permanent move from my wardrobe into Clare’s.

Vintage Simplicity 6494 copyright 1975 skirt with Made It Patterns Groove dress shortened to a top

If you are sewing for a tween, don’t overlook vintage patterns. They might provide you with exactly what you are looking for!