children’s clothing

BurdaStyle top and patternless skirt

Tween sewing came up on instagram yesterday, with a question asking where are all the tween patterns? I will do a separate blog post especially about that at a later date, but in the meantime will share some current tween makes.

top based on BurdaStyle no 144 10/2014 in remnant knits

Both this top and skirt are another example of using up scraps. It’s always such a satisfying feeling! Firstly, the top.

top based on BurdaStyle no 144 10/2014 in remnant knits

This top is based on BurdaStyle No 144 10/2014, which is a pattern I have used before for dresses for Clare. I cut it at top length. So really, it’s just the basic pattern pieces for a raglan top – front, back sleeves. I used scuba scraps for the sleeves and scraps harvested from my friend Karen for the front and back.

top based on BurdaStyle no 144 10/2014 in remnant knits

I bound the neckline by applying a strip of the scuba to the neckline right sides together, stitching it down with about a 1cm seam allowance, then wrapping it around to the wrong side and stitching in the ditch from the right side. I hope that’s clear!

top based on BurdaStyle no 144 10/2014 in remnant knits

I sewed the side seams with a 1cm seam allowance by machine so that I could leave this little split at the hemline. I like the added detail. All hems were secured by machine as well. This was a very fast garment to sew, and apparently filled the brief from Clare for a top that was somewhere between casual and dressy, not to loose and not too tight.

top based on BurdaStyle no 144 10/2014 in remnant knits

I’d sewn the skirt a month or two prior, while at Sewjourn in May. It is very straightforward. Armed with Clare’s waist measurement, and her desired skirt length, I sewed a strip of fabric into a waistband with elastic encased in the centre. Remember that this fabric is scuba, so it easily stretches enough to pull on. The elastic in the waistband provides a bit more structure and stability. Then I sewed the rest of the fabric into a tube, pinned the side seams to the waistband side seam locations, and started to play.

Patternless box pleated skirt in scuba from Spotlight

I created box pleats, distributed evenly with three in the front and three in the back.  I think that in the above photo the skirt is twisted around a little bit.  This took a little bit of maths and a little bit of measuring, but basically once everything was pinned to fit and it looked okay I just went ahead and overlocked it to the waistband.  A quick hem and it was done.

Patternless box pleated skirt in scuba from Spotlight

Clare now wears her skirts on her natural waist, after years of wearing them on her hips. A style like this is SO easy to make, and in a knit fabric like this scuba is comfortable to wear as well as to put on. It doesn’t look like ayet another gathered waist skirt, as the waistband is flat and the skirt fabric is pleated, but it still has some fullness. She likes it.

Patternless box pleated skirt in scuba from Spotlight

If you are wanting to know what other tween patterns I have sewn over the past year or two, I have tried to remember to tag them as “tween” so you can sort by the categories drop down somewhere over there on the right.

Circle skirt for Stella

When I was at Sewjourn in May I mostly did selfish sewing. Let’s be honest – I mostly do selfish sewing anyway. But I always like to sew something for the girls while I am there. Something simple. This time, a circle skirt for Stella.

Circle skirt in printed scuba

There are plenty of circle skirt calculators online. I wanted to sew a full circle. The measurements that I needed were Stella’s waist and the desired length of the finished skirt. In this case, it was waist to a little above knee.

Circle skirt in printed scuba

The fabric was digitally printed scuba from Spotlight. There was enough that I could cut the skirt out without any seams in it at all. Folded in half, folded in half again the other way, then cut the waist hole from the corner and then cut the curve of the hemline. This fabric doesn’t fray, so no hemming needed (as much as that pains me – but a circle skirt in this type of fabric hangs nicely without a hem).

Circle skirt in printed scuba

See, it really is a circle and is super twirly – but this girl moves fast! For the waist I cut a length of wide black elastic to Stella’s waist measurement, overlapped the ends and joined it into a circle, then sewed the skirt waistline to the bottom of the elastic with a zig-zag stitch. Skirt finished – all in under half an hour – and a happy recipient.

Circle skirt in printed scuba

Vintage Style 4248

Vintage Style 4248 (copyright 1985) was recently given to me by Sarah.  I so appreciate that people think of my girls when they are browsing patterns in op shops!  It only took about a minute for me to reach into my stash and pull out a length of soft spotted knit that Emma has also recently given me.  The finished dress really is a combined sewing bloggers effort!

Style 4248 copyright 1985 in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

So, to the pattern.  As you’ve all noticed by now, batwing sleeves and cowl necklines are definitely back in fashion again.  It’s that thirty year cycle.  After taking a look at the pattern cover Clare was quite happy for me to sew up the view with the straight skirt – as long as I made the skirt shorter.  That’s easy to do with a rectangular pattern piece!

Style 4248 copyright 1985

I sewed view 3, in the girls size 10. There is plenty of ease in this pattern, and even though these styles are back in fashion, they are not usually worn as oversized as they were in the 1980s. I did year 12 in 1985, so this dress pattern is smack bang in the middle of my teens and early adulthood. I wonder how many of you had this exact dress back in the day?

Style 4248 copyright 1985 in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

The fabric is super soft – it was originally from Darn Cheap Fabrics. The pattern is super simple. Front and back bodice pieces that integrate the sleeve. Rectangular cowl pattern piece, rectangular skirt pattern piece. A casing for waist elastic is made using the seam allowances where the bodice joins to the skirt. Easy peasy!

Style 4248 copyright 1985 in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

As is often the case, construction was pretty much all on the overlocker. I did use the sewing machine to stitch down the waist casing and to do the skirt and sleeve hems. I think that this dress came together in less than an hour. Shortening the skirt to above the knee brings it into 2016 instead of 1985 – and of course, there are no raglan shoulder pads in this version of the dress!

Style 4248 copyright 1985 in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

It really is worth taking another look at those late 1970s and early to mid 1980s patterns – check at your local op shop or if you are like me, just trawl back through your pattern stash! I love this dress on Clare, and she’s pretty happy with it too. A great tween style.

Style 4248 copyright 1985 in knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Tween winter raglan dress

Clare spotted this fabric at Darn Cheap Fabrics when I was on a stash enhancement visit one day.  The printed side is smooth, and the reverse soft and fleecy.  She wanted an easy warm winter dress.

BurdaStyle dress 144 10/2014 in fleecy backed sweatshirt knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

It’s really just a long raglan windcheater. We based the dress on the BurdaStyle Sweater Dress 10/2014 #144, which I’d sewn for Clare last year.

BurdaStyle dress 144 10/2014 in fleecy backed sweatshirt knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I reprinted the pattern and taped pieces together to eliminate the contrasting sections.  Then I was left with a very straightforward front pattern piece, back pattern piece and sleeve pattern piece.  I cut size 146 and added some length- I remembered that last year’s dress was very short!  I cut full length sleeves, narrowing them toward the wrist, and eliminated the back zipper completely.  So really, imagine the line drawing of the original pattern simplified to the absolute basics!

144-102014-m_large

Because there was a definite “stripe” to the print, once again I had to pay attention to print matching.  I tend to match from the armholes down, and from the bottom of the armscye up for raglan sleeves.  In this case I cut the front piece first, then lined it up beside the back piece to ensure that the print would run across it properly.

BurdaStyle dress 144 10/2014 in fleecy backed sweatshirt knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I cut a neckband from black viscose spandex and cut it to length and applied it according to Gillian’s tutorial. Way easier than attempting a neckband in the self fabric, and I think a better finish than using a facing around the neckline. The black contrast just somehow finishes the otherwise super simple dress quite nicely.

BurdaStyle dress 144 10/2014 in fleecy backed sweatshirt knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Construction was all on the overlocker, but I did use the sewing machine with a twin needle to finish around the neckline and to hem the sleeves and the bottom of the dress. This was SO fast to sew. I think including printing the pattern and cutting out the dress it took around an hour. Maybe an hour and a half. And most importantly – it was exactly what Clare had envisaged. The sewing mum wins again!

BurdaStyle dress 144 10/2014 in fleecy backed sweatshirt knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Speaking of sewing mums winning, if you don’t already follow the blog Five and Counting, you definitely should.  Nicole sews the most divine clothing for her entire family, including herself, her husband, and her six children who range in age from toddler to young adult.  She does beautiful work, always incorporating the wishes of her kids into what she sews.  Her blog is a must read.

Slouchy cardigan

Now that we are into autumn I am quickly realising that the girls have both grown quite a bit since last year, and definitely need warm clothing in larger sizes.  Stella gets Clare’s hand-me-downs, so there isn’t as much urgency to sew for her, but Clare needs some new layering pieces.

Heidi and Finn Slouchy Cardi in wool blend knit from Clear It

This is the Heidi and Finn Slouchy Cardigan.  From the website: What an essential wardrobe piece! great for layering. This pattern is for the Slouchy Cardigan. This sweater features a relaxed fit bodice and shoulder, open front, extra long slouchy sleeves and fitted cuff. The cuffs can be folded up, scrunched and pushed up and down for the perfect look for you! Looks great belted too!
This cardigan is perfect for those new to knits, a super fast and easy sew.
This is a perfect “blank canvas” pattern for your inspiration, solids, patterns….
The possibilities are endless!
This will be your favorite thing to sew!

I sewed the size 11/12 for Clare (who turned 13 in January, but is very petite).  The fabric is a wool blend knit from Clear It.  It was beautiful to sew with – and fortunately I think that there is enough left for a top for me.  It feels quite substantial yet is not super thick.  This garment was sewn entirely on the overlocker.

Heidi and Finn Slouchy Cardi in wool blend knit from Clear It

It’s definitely a very loose and slouchy garment, with the back considerably longer than the curved front. The front and back hem edges are all finished with a band that is attached in one long loop. I went my own way a bit with how I attached the band, sewing it on once the rest of the garment had been constructed completely. I decided that a centre back seam and centre back neck seam would work best for me, and I pinned the folded band in place stretching it more along areas that had more curve.

Heidi and Finn Slouchy Cardi in wool blend knit from Clear It

The pattern suggests that you cut the width of the band according to personal preference. I cut strips six inches wide, which was three inches when folded in half, before being overlocked to the garment body. This is something that you can adjust quite easily.

Heidi and Finn Slouchy Cardi in wool blend knit from Clear It

The pattern includes long tight lower sleeves / cuffs. This means that they can be pushed up easily and stay in place. Clare definitely prefers the sleeves pushed up – she just pulled them down for this photo so you can see how slim they are. They were so slim that there was only just enough stretch to attach them to the body of the cardigan with the overlocker. A friend of mine who has made this cardigan used ribbing for the lower sleeve / cuff and the body bands, which she said was much easier than using self fabric.

Heidi and Finn Slouchy Cardi in wool blend knit from Clear It

This has already been worn a lot.  So much so that we have another planned in the orange/apricot colourway of the same fabric.  A great layering piece for the in between seasons.

Scarf neck cardi for Stella

Did I mention that the Scarf Neck Cardi pattern that was in my last blog post also comes in children’s sizes?

Swoon Patterns Scarf Neck Cardi in wool blend knit from Super Cheap Fabrics, Brunswick

I’ve sewn this cardi for each of the girls in the past, and Stella has worn hers a great deal. It’s a little too small now, so it was time to sew her another in the next size up. This is the size 7/8.

Swoon Patterns Scarf Neck Cardi in wool blend knit from Super Cheap Fabrics, Brunswick

The fabric is the same wool/acrylic blend knit from Super Cheap Fabrics in Brunswick that I sewed my scarf neck cardi from.  It is super soft and has a lot of give to it.  I bought this colour intending to use it for myself, but Stella pulled it out of the pile as her cardi preference. How could I refuse? It’s a great colour on her.

Swoon Patterns Scarf Neck Cardi in wool blend knit from Super Cheap Fabrics, Brunswick

As with my cardi, construction was on the overlocker. I used a zig-zag stitch on the sleeve and cardi hems to secure them, but used a rolled edge finish on the overlocker for the front edge of the cardigan to allow it to either fall forward or turn back and still look neat.

Swoon Patterns Scarf Neck Cardi in wool blend knit from Super Cheap Fabrics, Brunswick

Stella finds this a very easy cardigan to wear – I’ll be making yet more for her. I wonder which of “my” pieces of fabric I’ll have to give up next!

Swoon Patterns Scarf Neck Cardi in wool blend knit from Super Cheap Fabrics, Brunswick

Cutie Cats – a study in knit fabrics

In warm weather Clare really enjoys wearing loose simple t-shirts.  I made her a few a couple of years back and they have been on constant rotation in summer.  However they were becoming a little too cropped – she has been wearing them for a couple of years, and has grown a little bit over that time!  She requested more – the same size width wise, but longer.

Ottobre 4 2011 no. 30 Cutie Cat top lengthened 3 inches in a variety of knits

The pattern is the “Cutie Cat” top, which is no. 30 from Ottobre 4/2011. I sewed size 134 again but added three inches to the length. The fabrics were mostly scraps from stash – this was a great scrap-busting project! It was also interesting as an exercise in how different fabrics affect the fall and fit of a loose top.

Ottobre 4 2011 no. 30 Cutie Cat top lengthened 3 inches in a variety of knits

This one is in a printed knit from Darn Cheap Fabrics a couple of years ago. I think it is a cotton viscose blend. There doesn’t seem to be much spandex in it. And it does crease in wear.

Ottobre 4 2011 no. 30 Cutie Cat top lengthened 3 inches in a variety of knits

These are super simple tops to sew, with just a front, back and neckband. The sleeves are simply turned and hemmed, like the bottom. I finished the necklines with a band from self fabric.

Ottobre 4 2011 no. 30 Cutie Cat top lengthened 3 inches in a variety of knits

I go back and forth between finishing edges with a zig zag or with a twin needle. In this case I chose the zig zag. I think the effect is very pretty. It doesn’t look “shop-bought” – and this is not my goal in my sewing, as I don’t think that shop-bought necessarily means professional or better! I choose the finish based on personal aesthetic and on which I think will work best on the fabric.

Ottobre 4 2011 no. 30 Cutie Cat top lengthened 3 inches in a variety of knits

This one is in a heavier weight viscose/lycra from Tessuti (bought when they were running their Jaywalk competition). The fabric hangs beautifully, and feels soft against the skin.

Ottobre 4 2011 no. 30 Cutie Cat top lengthened 3 inches in a variety of knits

All construction was on the overlocker, other than hems. I think I sewed all four tops in an afternoon.

Ottobre 4 2011 no. 30 Cutie Cat top lengthened 3 inches in a variety of knits

Once again I used the zig-zag stitch to finish edges. You can see in the photo above that the neckband is a teensy bit ripply. I should have cut it that fraction shorter. Getting neckband lengths right is a matter of trial and error, as so much depends on the degree of curve in the neckline in combination with the width of the band and the added influence of the recovery of the fabric. It’s one of those things that you get better at as you go along. I pretty much ignore any neckband pieces that come with patterns for knit garments and cut my own according to preference.

Ottobre 4 2011 no. 30 Cutie Cat top lengthened 3 inches in a variety of knits

This fabric comes from Super Cheap Fabrics in Sydney Road, Brunswick. I don’t know why I don’t go there more often – they do have excellent fabrics at “super cheap” prices! However, fabric composition is often unknown. This knit jacquard feels like a poly/viscose/spandex combination to me, but I really have no idea. It has quite a bit of substance, and also hangs nicely.

Ottobre 4 2011 no. 30 Cutie Cat top lengthened 3 inches in a variety of knits

Even with the added length, these tops will show a bit of tummy when Clare raises her arms – especially because she likes to wear her bottoms low slung. I like the proportions on her, especially as compared to the width of the tops.

Ottobre 4 2011 no. 30 Cutie Cat top lengthened 3 inches in a variety of knits

This time I used the reverse side of the fabric for a contrast neckband. This fabric is very difficult to press, and the fold of the neckband is not quite as crisp as I would prefer. Once again the edges are all secured with a zig zag.

Ottobre 4 2011 no. 30 Cutie Cat top lengthened 3 inches in a variety of knits

I often refer to this tutorial from Gillian at Crafting a Rainbow when I am sewing knit neckbands – I find it really helps to distribute the length of the neckband along the curves successfully. Give it a try if you have trouble with your knit neckbands.

Ottobre 4 2011 no. 30 Cutie Cat top lengthened 3 inches in a variety of knits

This fourth one is Clare’s favourite. The fabric was a gift from my friend Rachel, and it is the softest, drapiest, stretchiest stuff yet is still quite straightforward to handle. It flows beautifully over the body.

Ottobre 4 2011 no. 30 Cutie Cat top lengthened 3 inches in a variety of knits

I was inspired after watching “The Artful Tee” class on Craftsy to try cutting the neckband so that the stripes went across it rather than along it. I did first check that the fabric had plenty of stretch, which it did.

Ottobre 4 2011 no. 30 Cutie Cat top lengthened 3 inches in a variety of knits

And yes, it was a zig-zag again that was chosen for finishing! I was extremely happy with this neckband – it sits perfectly flat to the body, and it’s fun to have the stripes going the other way.

lots of tops

I hope that you found it interesting to see how the differences in knit fabrics translate to the finished garment. The differences can be subtle, but definitely influence the sewing techniques that are used. There are some good Craftsy classes on sewing with knits – I have watched both the classes by the Tilton sisters and highly recommend them, as well as the Sewing Fashion Knits class by Linda Lee. I actually did a KnitWit course back in 1990, so have been sewing knits for many years – although I’ve only owned an overlocker for about nine years. There is nothing like sewing a knit garment for ease and comfort.