children’s clothing

Winter Playhouse Dress

The first things that I sewed when I was at Sewjourn way back in May were for my daughters.  This dress was intended to be Stella’s birthday dress.

Playhouse dress in stretch velour from Darn Cheap Fabrics

As is often the case, she decided to wear a different dress on her actual birthday. Oh well. That’s how it goes! Fortunately, since then she has decided to wear this one as well – and still refers to it as her birthday dress.

Playhouse dress in stretch velour from Darn Cheap Fabrics

The pattern is the Playhouse Dress by Fishsticks. I’ve sewn it before, in a short sleeved summer version. Stella loves the twirly-ness of the skirt. I love the ease of construction.

Playhouse dress in stretch velour from Darn Cheap Fabrics

This is pretty much all sewn on the overlocker. I did use the machine to baste the purple stretch elastic used as piping to the front and back bodice seams and zig-zag it in place to secure it, and I zig-zagged around the neckband to secure it too, but that was about it. The cuffs are stretched to fit, and provide a nice belled shape to the sleeve.

Playhouse dress in stretch velour from Darn Cheap Fabrics

The fabric is stretch velour from Darn Cheap Fabrics. I was pretty sure that Stella would love the variety of colour. And she does!  It is also highly stroke-able, which suits my tactile girl right down to the ground.

Lux vest

I think it may have been Anna who first alerted me to this pattern.  Figgy’s Lux Vest is for kids.  It’s a simple one piece pattern for a vest made in whatever fake fur you are able to lay your hands on.

Figgys Lux vest for Clare

I sewed the largest size for Clare, which is the 8/9. My tips for this pattern? Print the pattern pieces twice so that you can tape them together to have one big flat pattern piece. You really don’t want to be cutting fake fur on the fold.

Figgys Lux vest for Clare

The fur was from Spotlight, and the lining from stash. I left off the closure. The fur is sewn to the lining by machine right sides together, leaving the shoulder seams open and a gap at the centre back hemline for turning.  Then the shoulder seams are sewn together, and then hand sewing done to close the gaps at centre back and near the shoulder seams.  That’s it!  You do need to take it slowly and push the fur out of the way as you go, but that takes patience rather than technique and the finished result is terrific.

Figgys Lux vest for Clare

And now I insert the obligatory “oh I just can’t take decent photos at the moment the days are so short and the weather so dismal and my phone is fuzzy” sentence. But you can still get the general idea.

This really is a fun project.  It does leave a huge amount of fluff around the sewing room, but that isn’t hard to fix.  The instructions are comprehensive, and I think that most people could sew this successfully.  Now I want one in my size.  Time to start browsing the pattern catalogues…

Figgys Lux vest for Clare

yet another Big Joey

Make It Perfect Big Joey dress in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I’ve sewn the Make It Perfect Big Joey dress for Clare twice before. Those were both summer versions, with short puffed sleeves.  This time around it was a long sleeved, cowl neck version, appropriate for Melbourne winter.

Make It Perfect Big Joey dress in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

The fabric is an acrylic fine gauge knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics. I originally bought it with Stella in mind, but she gave it a definite no. Luckily Clare gave it a definite yes! Last time I was in I spotted an alternate colourway, with more blue and brown in it.  Since it’s acrylic rather than wool it isn’t super warm, but layers up nicely with other garments.  Clare prefers not to wear wool next to her skin as she finds it irritating, so this was a good alternative.

Make It Perfect Big Joey dress in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

This was very easy to make. Since we decided to leave off the front pocket, it didn’t take long to construct at all. There is no sleeve gathering in this version, so all of the construction was on the overlocker. I made straight size 10. Clare must have grown, because this isn’t going to fit her for long. Luckily I have another daughter to pass clothes down to!

Make It Perfect Big Joey dress in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Some of you may have realised by now that this is the same fabric that was used for the sleeves of a Mandy top and a matching infinity scarf previously blogged. I used up every scrap – waste not want not! Clare layered her dress with a beautiful hand-knitted cardigan made by her Grandma. Although the cardi is wool, it isn’t in direct contact with her skin so it doesn’t irritate.

Make It Perfect Big Joey dress in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

My family have been blessed with many beautiful hand-knits over the years.

Burda 10/2014 #144 – tween tunic dress

This was an impulse sew.  I stumbled across Burda 10/2014 #144 on a sewing forum somewhere, and immediately thought of some scraps in my stash that were idling in my stash.

Burda 144 tween tunic (from October '14 issue)

Burda describe this as follows: Girl’s dress sewing pattern available for download. Available in various sizes and is produced by burda style magazine. The perfect dress for school because it’s as comfortable as it is cute. This sweater dress is made with cool contrasting panels and leather accents. An easy project with a little edge. Recommended Materials: Knits or jersey. Combine with imitation leather.

Burda 144 tween tunic (from October '14 issue)

Clare just fitted into the size range. The pattern started at size 140cm (they are sized by height). This pattern was originally published in the October 2014 issue of Burda magazine, but I bought the pdf via their website. If you do download one of their pattern remember that they don’t include seam allowances – make sure that you add them!

Burda 144 tween tunic (from October '14 issue)

I combined striped fabric from the Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table (previously used for a Finlayson Sweater for my husband and for a shrug for me) with some grey ponte scraps and dark red (is it Marsala?) pleather. Clare thinks it hilarious that there is a fabric called pleather. I think that the pleather came from a fabric free-for-all at a sewing get-together I attended a while ago. I decided not to include the back zip, or to use a band to finish the neckline. Instead I used a strip of fabric sewn to the right side then turned over to the wrong side and secured, a bit like a facing.

Burda 144 tween tunic (from October '14 issue)

This was a fun garment to sew. I used the overlocker for most of it, but did hems with a zig zag stitch on the machine. The pleather wasn’t too difficult to work with. Let’s see how it washes! The same pattern pieces can be used to make dress #145 from the same issue in a woven fabric. I might give it a go at some stage too. A great tween pattern, and Clare definitely approves.  I think I’d like a grown up version.

Burda 144 tween tunic (from October '14 issue)

Twirl To Me

It seems like a long time since I test sewed the Lily Sage & Co Twirl To Me Dress.  I intended to get better modelled photos of it before sharing it on my blog, but the weather has changed and it’s going to be a long, long time before I can persuade Clare to wear a summer frock outside in the cold just so that I can take photos.  These ones were taken right at the end of the day and there was barely enough light – but you can still tell how lovely this dress is.

Pattern test - Lily Sage and Co Twirl To Me dress

The dress is described on the pattern page as follows: This dress is made for twirling. It is fitted through the chest, but volumes out into a trapeze shape. The hem is graduated to give the dress a beautiful shape from all angles, and the front bow fastening is a unique detail you won’t see anywhere else. There is also the option of using a button instead of a bow. The dress can be made in two length options; as a dress or a tunic/top. Suitable fabrics: Most light-medium weight wovens, including lawn, quilting cotton, poplin, Broderie Anglaise, silk dupioni, silk crepe de chine, taffeta, silk satin, rayon, wool crêpe

The pattern comes in sizes 3 – 10, and I sewed size 10 for my slim and small 12 year old. This is the test pattern dress length.

Pattern test - Lily Sage and Co Twirl To Me dress

We used a couple of vintage buttons from stash for the back closure, but Clare could get the dress on without undoing them. And yes, the dress really does twirl!

Pattern test - Lily Sage and Co Twirl To Me dress

Pattern test - Lily Sage and Co Twirl To Me dress

I used a quilting cotton that was in stash (originally from Spotlight) as Clare liked the colours and print. She wasn’t overly enamoured with the bow at the centre front. She thought that it looked pretty, but felt that it was a little young for her. Well, she is twelve and at high school!

Pattern test - Lily Sage and Co Twirl To Me dress

The pattern now comes with the option of a button closure at centre front instead of the bow. Clare definitely likes this option and has asked for her next Twirl To Me dress to have the button. She loved the slight high-low hemline, the twirl factor, and the overall comfort level of the dress.

Pattern test - Lily Sage and Co Twirl To Me dress

This photo shows the fabric colour and print a little better. Construction wise, I found the instructions to be very good. I’m not sure what changes Debbie made between the test and the final pattern, but overall I have been quite impressed with her drafting and instructions. There was a nice mix of written instruction and diagram. I used the sewing machine for most of the construction but the overlocker where appropriate. The hem is finished with bias binding, which gives a nice detail considering that with it being a high-low hemline you can see the inside of the skirt at the back.

Pattern test - Lily Sage and Co Twirl To Me dress

Unsurprisingly, Stella wants one too!

Lunch Box tee and culottes

The Oliver + S Lunch Box tee and culottes pattern really appealed to me when it was first released.  Despite culottes being fashionable at the moment, I just haven’t been able to bring myself to make a pair for me.  Being 158cm tall, thick around the middle and middle-aged could have something to do with that – as well as having worn them the last time around (which reminds me of knickerbockers…who else had corduroy knickerbockers, worn with a checked ruffled shirt some time around the early 80s…anyway, I digress).  So when I spotted the Lunch Box pattern, I thought that I could make some for my kids!  For Clare, to be precise.

Oliver + S Lunch Box tee in striped knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics with Lunch Box Culottes in cotton/viscose twill from Rathdowne Fabrics

I’d better get things straight from the outset – this pattern was my choice, not Clare’s. I really, really wanted to make some culottes. So it’s probably not surprising that although Clare has said “it looks good” she has also said “but I’m not sure that it’s really my style”.

Oliver + S Lunch Box Culottes in cotton/viscose twill from Rathdowne Fabrics

The Oliver + S pattern description says this pattern features wide, pleated culottes that look like a full skirt but can be worn for activities from biking to climbing on the monkey bars. The knit top can be sewn up as a T-shirt with cute cuffed sleeves or a sweatshirt with pockets. As always, it was a pleasure to sew. In my experience Oliver + S patterns are consistently excellent, both in terms of the pattern drafting and the instructions. No criticisms there! I sewed size 10 for both the top and the culottes.

Oliver + S Lunch Box Culottes in cotton/viscose twill from Rathdowne Fabrics

The fabric for the culottes came from Rathdowne Fabrics. It was describe on the roll as 100% cotton, but it certainly didn’t feel like it. In fact, it felt like it had a large rayon or viscose content. A burn test in the shop supported my theory, and the saleswoman agreed. It is a twill with a super soft washed finish, and sewed beautifully. It also feels lovely against the skin. The elastic is just in the back of the waistband of the culottes, and it is pulled rather tight for Clare. This is reflected in how the back really does look like a skirt, whereas you can more easily tell from the front that it is divided into culottes. Can I mention how peeved I am getting at the moment with wide legged pants being called culottes? They aren’t! They’re palazzo pants, or wide-legged pants, or gauchos. But they are NOT culottes, which really are divided skirts.  (I do think that these DO meet the definition of culottes, by the way).
Okay, rant over.

Oliver + S Lunch Box tee in striped knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

The top is made from what I think is a cotton/lycra (although it may also involve viscose) knit from the Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table. I really, really like this knit, and am glad that I have quite a bit left! It’s lovely quality and the colours go perfectly with the culottes. They will also work well with jeans, and I suspect that I will most often see them worn in that combination. The pattern is a great one for playing with stripe direction. Because the fabric has a fair lycra content it was also okay to cut the neckband on the cross grain.

Oliver + S Lunch Box tee in striped knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics with Lunch Box Culottes in cotton/viscose twill from Rathdowne Fabrics

There are little pockets in the front, tucked into the seam between the upper front and the lower band. Potentially useless, but really cute. That seam was sewn on the sewing machine, but everything else was done on the overlocker.

Oliver + S Lunch Box tee in striped knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Would it be really bad if I used the same fabric and the Bento Tee pattern to make myself the same top as Clare? I’m sure that my younger girl would be thrilled if I did that, but I’m not so certain that my tween would agree.

Oliver + S Lunch Box tee in striped knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics with Lunch Box Culottes in cotton/viscose twill from Rathdowne Fabrics

another Perri Pullover

Clare has worn the Perri Pullover I made her last May quite often.  During my March sewing spree I made her a second version.

Perri Pullover in jacquard knit from Super Cheap Fabrics.  Tessuti stripe for bands.

I used the size 8 pattern, exactly the same as last time. Clare has grown taller but this pattern runs HUGE! I know that it is meant to be, but wow, this has to be as oversized as things come. Especially in this softer, lighter weight fabric.

Perri Pullover in jacquard knit from Super Cheap Fabrics.  Tessuti stripe for bands.

The jacquard jersey knit came from Super Cheap Fabrics in Sydney Road. You’ve seen it before in a pink colourway – I made Stella a dress from it. Now I wish that I’d bought more. The striped fabric used for the bands (and pockets) is from Tessuti – it’s the viscose/lycra stripe that was part of their Jaywalk competition last year. Wish I’d bought more of that too!

Perri Pullover in jacquard knit from Super Cheap Fabrics.  Tessuti stripe for bands.

This time I really did have to follow the instructions and double over the neckband. As per the pattern it is cut the same width as the cuffs and bottom band. But when folded in half and attached to the wide neckline, it rippled and flopped, much more than last time. That was probably because the fabric was much softer. I did what the instructions said and folded it to the inside again, and stitched that in place with a zig zag along the overlocked edge. This has made the neckband sit much better, but also means that it is four layers thick. I would recommend that you halve the width of the neckband when cutting out rather than dealing with this level of bulk, especially in thicker fabrics. Or else embrace the floppy/loose neckband look.

Perri Pullover in jacquard knit from Super Cheap Fabrics.  Tessuti stripe for bands.

Most construction was on the overlocker, although the pocket bags and side seams were attached with the sewing machine. I anticipate that this top will get as much wear as the other one, especially with leggings for lounging.