children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · teen · tween

Modkid Shelby for Stella

So, here is Stella in her three versions of the Modkid Shelby pattern!  Firstly, I sewed her a cropped, short-sleeved top.

Modkid Patterns Shelby top

This is sewn from cotton/spandex – fairly typical t-shirt fabric. For Stella I sewed size 10, with the length of size 12.

Modkid Patterns Shelby top

This size combination appears to work fairly well for Stella. She’s grown so much taller over the past year – actually, despite the two girls being four and a half years apart in age, they’re now only around one clothing size apart, and are very similar shapes.

Modkid Patterns Shelby top

Hems were finished with a simple small zig-zag throughout. The finished length is just above the belly button, which she seems to like. This top has had a bit of wear since I made it, as has the next version that I sewed.

Modkid Patterns Shelby top

This time I sewed the long-sleeved version with tie front overlay. The stretch jacquard knit is from Super Cheap Fabrics.

Modkid Patterns Shelby top

I had attended an overlocking class shortly before I sewed this top, and took the opportunity to practice my rolled hemming skills on the edges of the front overlay pieces that tie together. This actually made for a nicer tie than the conventional turn and stitch, as the rolled hem resulted in minimal bulk.

Modkid Patterns Shelby top

This fabric was softer yet with more recovery than the blue knit that I used for Stella’s first top, and I think it gives a very pleasing result. She’s worn this one quite a bit over winter.

Modkid Patterns Shelby dress

Finally, I sewed her a dress! This is in lightweight scuba that came into my stash from a friend, possibly originally from Spotlight. Once again I sewed size 12 length with size 10 width.

Modkid Patterns Shelby dress

By this stage I’d sewn this pattern quite a few times, and I can now zoom up one of these garments very quickly. I used a straight stitch to secure hems, and due the fabric thickness I narrow hemmed the front overlay tie edges rather than trying a rolled hem.

Modkid Patterns Shelby dress

Lightweight scuba type fabric can be quite satisfying to sew. No ravelling, very little shifting, some soft structure. Yes, they’re polyester central, but they definitely have a place. They also tend to be very smooth to touch, so Stella quite likes the way that they feel.

Modkid Patterns Shelby dress

It’s often challenging to sew for Stella because she is very particular about what she does and doesn’t like. She was consulted at every step of the process when I sewed these garments, and fortunately it’s worked out well, as they’ve all had quite a bit of wear. We’re currently in the process of deciding what she’d like as her grade 6 graduation dress. We’ve finally identified a couple of patterns, and I’m going to give them a go in some stash fabric to see if she’s happy with the finished product. I never know until the final fitting! Fortunately, this dress was a winner over winter.

Modkid Patterns Shelby dress

Once again, these three garments are good examples of how different fabric types affect the sewing techniques that you use and the finished effect.  For more details on the Shelby pattern and to see the three versions I sewed for Clare, see my earlier blog post.

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · teen · tween

Modkid Shelby for Clare

I’m going to condense three garments into one blog post!  Back I summer I came across the Modkid Shelby pattern.  There are a number of tween/teen patterns in the Modkid range now, which I really like.  There’s so much around for younger girls, and for those with fully developed bodies, but the inbetweeners (who also vary greatly in height) tend to miss out.

From the website: Shelby is a stylish crop top or A-Line knit dress with an optional tie-front panel and three different sleeve lengths. SUGGESTED FABRICS: Light to medium weight knit fabrics with at least 50% stretch and good recovery, like Cotton/Lycra Jersey, Double Brushed Poly (DBP), Rayon Spandex, Stretch Velour or Stretch Lace. This pattern comes in sizes 10 (tween girls) to 18 (teen).

Shelby dress line drawings

First I sewed Clare the Shelby top in the short-sleeved version with tie front panels (worn here with the Modkid Mara mini skirt).

Modkid Patterns Shelby top

Then I sewed a long-sleeved and lengthened version of the top, without the tie front panels.

Modkid Patterns Shelby top

And after that, I sewed a long-sleeved dress.

Modkid Shelby dress

Each was sewn in a different type of knit fabric, so I’ll talk about them one at a time.  The first one, in purple, was sewn in a cotton/spandex knit.  You know, classic t-shirt fabric.  I seem to have multiple different shades of light purple knits in my stash at the moment – and I never wear that colour!  This first tee was sewn as a wearable muslin, that actually turned out to be extremely wearable.  I haven’t made any notes on sizing but am guessing that it’s size 14 length with size 12 width.

Modkid Patterns Shelby top

That sizing looks pretty good to me! It’s a cropped top, and ends right at the waist. The instructions have the edges of the ties narrow hemmed by turning twice; I figured that would be much too bulky and just turned the edges once and zig-zagged them right on the raw edge to secure and neaten. The end point is nicely finished with a mitre.

Modkid Patterns Shelby top

The blue top – which is actually much more teal green than the blue that it appears to be in these photos – was sewn from a thicker spongy knit remnant that I picked up at The Cloth Shop, Ivanhoe.

Modkid Patterns Shelby top

This knit has great texture. I sewed the same size, but considerably lengthened so that it could be tucked into tops for winter to keep her middle warm. Not that I actually remember her wearing this top a great deal over the past winter – must ask her why not. I secured all edges with a simple straight stitch on the machine, which appears to have an adequate amount of stretch for this top to get on and off.

Modkid Patterns Shelby top

I think I’ve mentioned before that I love a V-neck with a centre front seam. It makes it so easy to get a super crisp V! The neckline is finished before the centre front seam is sewn up. You do need to be careful that it lines up nicely at the top – yes, I use a few pins – and then voila, lovely neckline.

Modkid Shelby dress

With the dress I decided to make a feature of the seamlines and do some topstitching. This fabric is designer end of roll scuba/double knit that I found at Eliza of Sunshine. I wish that I had more(the girls haggled over who would get a dress from it). It’s not quite as stretchy, and initially it was too tight under the arms, but too loose through the body.

Modkid Shelby dress

I did some on the fly alterations that improved the fit. I should have added doing a swayback/short back waist alteration to that list! Either way, I think that the end product is rather lovely. But it hasn’t been worn much over winter either! Maybe it won’t be long before Stella gets her wish and this dress migrates from Clare’s wardrobe into hers….

Modkid Shelby dress

So there you go, three versions of the one pattern for the teen! And guess what, later I have three versions of it for the tween to show you.

children's clothing · kids clothing · tween

Vintage Butterick 6974

Have you tried to find a summer dressing gown in the shops that is the right size for a tween?  Believe me, it’s difficult!  Fortunately there are a plethora of patterns around.

Vintage Butterick 6974 in vintage fabric

Stella had been asking me for a summer dressing gown for ages, and I really don’t know why it took me so long to provide her with one. I had both the fabric and the pattern in stash!

Vintage Butterick 6974 in vintage fabric

The pattern is a vintage one, Butterick 6974. There are plenty of similar patterns around. This one is in children’s sizes 12-14, just what I needed for Stella.

Vintage Butterick 6974 in vintage fabric

Stella is very sensitive to the feel of fabrics. This one was perfect for her – soft and slippery. It’s also vintage; I’ve no idea of actual age but I suspect 1980s. The colour is actually much more peach and apricot than the pinks that show up in these photos.

Vintage Butterick 6974 in vintage fabric

It’s pretty much your standard dressing gown, with a band to finish the front edges, patch pockets and a tie. I did add loops at the side seams to thread the belt through to keep it secured at her waist. I also have a feeling that I shortened the sleeves considerably.  I topstitched the front band in place rather than sewing it by hand.

Vintage Butterick 6974 in vintage fabric

Dressing gowns get plenty of use in our house; they really are worth sewing! Writing this reminds me that I have a whole lot of silk waiting to become summer pyjamas and dressing gowns for me. It’s lovely to have night/lounge wear that feels good to wear.

Vintage Butterick 6974 in vintage fabric

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing

Kwik Sew 3605 for Stella

I first sewed Kwik Sew 3605 for Clare, back in 2011.  Then I sewed it again three times in 2014 (and bought the pattern again when I saw it on sale – I knew that I was on to a winner)!  So it was the obvious choice of pattern when Stella asked me for new bathers at the beginning of this year.

Kwik Sew 3605 in fabric from Rathdowne Fabrics

One of the great things about this pattern is how mix and match it is – although each time I’ve sewn it my girls have selected the tankini top.  Kwik Sew describe the pattern options a follows: Mix and match swimsuits. Halter style tops have lined cups. Tankini Top A: Ties at back neck. Top B: Band with hook closure on back, and ties at back neck. Boy-cut Bottoms C: Waist and leg openings finished with elastic. Bottoms D: Front lining and waist and leg openings finished with elastic. Pull-on A-line Skirt E: Waist finished with elastic.

k3605_a

This is a comparatively simple pattern to sew.  I completely line the bottoms by cutting them out of swimsuit lining as well as the fashion fabric, sewing them up individually, then putting the lining bottoms inside the fashion fabric bottoms wrong sides together, then treating them as one when I finish the edges with elastic.  That means that the interior seams are completely enclosed.

Kwik Sew 3605 in fabric from Rathdowne Fabrics

The fabric for both these pairs came from Rathdowne Fabrics. They have an excellent selection of swimwear fabric, both on the roll and as large remnants. The lining fabric came from them as well.

Kwik Sew 3605 in fabric from Rathdowne Fabrics

I wonder what size I sewed? I’d have to pull out the pattern pieces to check. This pattern goes from size 4 to 14. It may have been the Medium with the length of the Large.

Kwik Sew 3605 in fabric from Rathdowne Fabrics

This photo gives you more idea about construction. I use the overlocked for all the major seams and to finish seams, and use the zig-zag stitch on my machine to attach any elastic to the inside of the edges and then again when I fold the edges to the inside and secure them.

Kwik Sew 3605 in fabric from Rathdowne Fabrics

There is elastic around the underbust and along the top edge of the back of the tankini top, and on the waist and leg edges of the pants. The more you sew elastic to bathers edges, the better you’ll get at knowing just how much to stretch it as you attach it. Most of the time, you don’t need to stretch it much at all! I think that’s a fallacy when sewing bathers, that you need to have the elastic much smaller than the opening. You don’t! Think about it – bathers generally have negative ease througout, so the fabric and elastic is already stretching when it’s on the body. Add a little more stretch in places where the fabric will need to cup the body, like at the back leg/bottom, but otherwise don’t really stretch it much at all.

Kwik Sew 3605 in fabric from Rathdowne Fabrics

I notice in these photos that my zig-zag has a couple of skipped stitches. Make sure that you have the right needle in for your fabric, preferably a fresh needle! You want something that works well on spandex blends. My machine seems to prefer a sharps needle to a universal. There’s sometimes some experimentation involved in getting that right.

Kwik Sew 3605 in fabric from Rathdowne Fabrics

There are plenty of swimwear sewing references available nowadays, and I do suggest reading through many of them before you start sewing swimwear. But it honestly isn’t difficult! And it’s definitely highly satisfying, especially when you hit on just the right pattern for you.  I strongly suspect that this pattern is going to get another run for the coming summer – Stella has shot up this year!

adult's clothing · children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · teen · tween

Love a bit of colour

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – sometimes you just need a instant gratification sew, and a circle skirt is the way to do it.

Circle skirt in Spotlight scuba

Clare loves a circle skirt, and she loves scuba. This brightly printed highly polyester fabric came from Spotlight. Digital prints really are a gift!

Circle skirt in Spotlight scuba

I used one of the myriad of circle skirt calculators that are available to figure out what radius to use. This is really easy – I fold the fabric in half, then in half the opposite way so that I have a square with folds along two edges. Try it with a piece of paper and you’ll know what I mean. Then measure the radius curve from the corner with all the folds.  Then measure the length that you want – Clare requested 17 inches. Cut – and tada! One doughnut. All you need now is to add the waistband, and when it’s just wide elastic, that’s super easy.

Circle skirt in Spotlight scuba

Sew the elastic into a circle (matching thread helps), overlock it to the right side of the skirt, then flip it so that the overlocking is on the inside. And you’re done. No hemming required with scuba fabrics.

Circle skirt in Spotlight scuba

As it turns out, Clare would have preferred the elastic to be covered by the same fabric as the rest of the skirt, but I wasn’t inspired to change it. I have done that before though and it’s also straightforward. The joy of stretch fabrics!

Circle skirt in Spotlight scuba

If you need better instructions than my hastily typed efforts, take a look at these circle skirt calculators:

There are a myriad of others – Google and YouTube are your friends.

children's clothing · kids clothing · Lekala · sewing · tween

Sims inspired for Stella

What would you do if your tween showed you a photo of an outfit that she’d just dressed her Sim in and asked you to sew her a real life version?

Sims inspired outfit - Lekala patterns in Spotlight sateen

What I did was sigh deeply, then say that of course I could sew something similar! And I jumped on to the Lekala website to see what I could come up with. I came up with these two patterns.

Sims inspired outfit - Lekala patterns in Spotlight sateen

I plugged in Stella’s measurements, and around 15 minutes later I was printing off the patterns (yes, Lekala are that fast). Then it was into the car for a trip to Spotlight for fabrics. Stella wasn’t with me, so we had a pretty funny Whatsapp video call for her to select the fabrics that she preferred. I bought them, came home again, and a few hours later we had this!

Sims inspired outfit - Lekala patterns in Spotlight sateen

Sims inspired outfit - Lekala patterns in Spotlight sateen

Not the same as the original dress, but definitely Sim inspired! So, on to the details. I’ll start with the skirt.

Sims inspired outfit - Lekala patterns in Spotlight sateen

The pattern is Lekala 4645, described as ‘double skirt’.  Waist measurement is the key for this style.  There is a zip set into the left side seam, and the waistband closes with a button and buttonhole.  As is always the case with Lekala patterns, the instructions are fairly brief.  It helps if you’ve sewn a lot before, or have a sewing reference handy to assist with any potentially tricky bits such as zip insertion.

Sims inspired outfit - Lekala patterns in Spotlight sateen

The fabrics are cotton sateen. We thought that it would have the right amount of body and oomph for the style, and it definitely does. While this was a perfect choice of fabric for the skirt, I don’t think that it worked quite as well for the top.

Sims inspired outfit - Lekala patterns in Spotlight sateen

The top is Lekala 4656 and the recommended fabrics for this one are ‘blouse fabric, lace’. The cotton sateen is okay, but something drapier would work better with the centre front pleats, and the edge finishes would look neater.  A combination of the fabric type, self fabric bias strip finishing and the fact that it’s sewn in a rather small size makes the armholes and necklines bulkier than I’d prefer.

Sims inspired outfit - Lekala patterns in Spotlight sateen

That said, the fit overall is pretty good and allows for a fair bit of growing room (much needed for Stella at the moment). I chose to sew a separate skirt and top rather than combine them into a dress because I thought that there was more chance of future wear if they were separates. I suspect that I’m right and that the skirt will get much more wear than the top.

Sims inspired outfit - Lekala patterns in Spotlight sateen

You can see that there is plenty of room in the top! It was also very long – I chopped a fair bit off it and there was still plenty left to tuck in. That’s one of the hazards of using Women’s patterns for a tween, despite it being drafted to measurements.

Sims inspired outfit - Lekala patterns in Spotlight sateen

Sims inspired outfit - Lekala patterns in Spotlight sateen

Sims inspired outfit - Lekala patterns in Spotlight sateen

One happy tween – and therefore a happy mother!  It was fun to work together to turn her vision into reality.

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · tween

New Look 6389 dress

Because Stella has had a growth spurt, clothes have moved more quickly than usual from Clare’s wardrobe to hers.  Stella is about two years ahead of Clare (maybe a little more) in height for her age.  Outgrown garments used to go from Clare’s wardrobe into plastic tubs for a couple of years before they entered Stella’s wardrobe – now it’s straight from one wardrobe to the other.  They are wearing the same size shoes (pretty much the same size as me) so there’s no more passing those on!  I wonder if Stella will end up taller or if she’s just doing her growing earlier?  Clare didn’t really have a growth ‘spurt’ as such – she just kept on steadily growing and is now quite an average height among her peers.

New Look 6389 in vintage John Kaldor woven

So, the point of all this? I sewed New Look 6389 in the romper version for Clare a couple of years ago, and Stella is now wearing it. Seeing Stella in it prompted me to pull out the pattern again and sew the dress version. Mind you, Stella made all the design choices. Dress, high-low hem, halter neck strap, tie belt at the waist.

New Look 6389 in vintage John Kaldor woven

I’ve mentioned before that New Look have some terrific tween/teen patterns. Kids can be awkward to sew for once they’re no longer little kids. Height, breadth, development, they all vary so much from kid to kid. These cover quite a size range, up to girls size 16, which really helps when sewing for kids that are still kid shaped but larger overall, who wouldn’t fit properly into the shaping of adult patterns.

New Look 6389 in vintage John Kaldor woven

With my girls sizing issues are always at the other end of the spectrum. They’re pretty skinny (which I have to say isn’t due to their abundance of exercise or any disdain for eating junk food – it’s just the way that they are built) and they’ve generally been quite short for their age. Stella is no longer short for her age – she’s one of the taller kids among her peers now – but she’s still skinny. Because I this I chose a style with elastic, which allows for fitting adjustability, and I cut size 10 in the width of the bodice and skirt but size 12 in the length of the bodice and skirt.

New Look 6389 in vintage John Kaldor woven

New Look patterns are also quite consistent in their sizing, so once you’ve worked out what you need to do in one pattern, you can pretty much apply the same principles across the board. Of course, what you need to do will depend on who you are sewing for!

New Look 6389 in vintage John Kaldor woven

The fabric is from very deep stash – I think that it was originally part of June’s stash (a friend’s mum who kindly passed the bulk of her stash on to me when she moved into a retirement village). It’s a John Kaldor woven, possibly polyester, but amazingly good quality. I suspect it’s from the early 80s, guessing from the fabric width and the type of print. It’s random little black dashes on a coral background. Stella chose it. It was fabulous fabric to work with, and had just enough texture that it wasn’t slippery at all.

New Look 6389 in vintage John Kaldor woven

I sewed it predominantly on the sewing machine, using the overlocker to finish seam allowances. I decided to use the rolled hem setting on the overlocker to finish the skirt hem and the bodice flounce, rather than a narrow double turned hem. I think that this was a good decision, especially for the bodice flounce. It is a true flounce, cut as a curve, rather than a frill cut straight. This gives it lovely flare along the bottom edge, much better suited to a rolled hem.

New Look 6389 in vintage John Kaldor woven

From the pattern website: Girls’ pattern includes pull-on jumpsuit, romper, short dress and high low dress each with elastic waist. Jumpsuit and short dress have halter neckline, romper has straps with bows, and high low dress has thick straps.

newlook-girls-pattern-6389-envelope-front

 

newlook-girls-pattern-6389-front-back-view

The cover claim of ‘easy’ is correct – there’s nothing too complex in either sewing or fitting this garment.  I did try it on Stella and adjust the elastic to size, which I’d recommend over just trusting the elastic lengths given in the pattern.  This pattern has been around for a few years now, and I’m not sure how long New Look keep things in print.  If you’ve got a tween girl to sew for I’d recommend adding this to stash.

New Look 6389 in vintage John Kaldor woven