kids clothing

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.

yet more Seraphic raglans

Yes, I’ve been on a roll.  It’s all been about the Figgy’s Seraphic raglan for Clare.

Figgys Seraphic raglan

A few weeks back I had a cutting out, and then a sewing up, spree on basic garments for Clare. The weather has cooled down and is doing what Autumn does in Melbourne, so she really did need a few warmer tops. And after the success of the last Seraphic raglan I made – the one in yellow with a lace front overlay – it was really a no-brainer to make some more.

Figgys Seraphic raglan

For this one I used some light weight printed ponte scraps from Super Cheap Fabrics in Sydney Rd (must pay them another visit at some stage soon) for the front and back, combined with lovely soft stripes for the sleeves and bands. The bottom band isn’t part of the pattern – I just cut a long strip the same width as the neck and cuff bands and that seems to work fine. Actually, I think I cut it wider…must check.

Figgys Seraphic raglan

It’s size 8-9 without any alterations. Loose enough to layer over other garments for warmth, but still fitted enough to get a coat or jacket over it easily. And yes, she likes it. So, on to the next one…

Figgys Seraphic raglan

This time I used some coral stretch mesh as the overlay (I used this mesh before in a summer dress). I happened to coordinate perfectly with some mid-weight cotton jersey that was in stash. It’s interesting to see how the variety in fabrics affect the fit and how the bands sit. It’s not a lot, but I can tell the differences between the raglans. This one has no lycra in it. The floral & stripe version has looser sleeves, as the knit seems to be a viscose blend. Working with knits can really be a matter of trial and error, but the more that you do it the more that you get a feel for the knit and it’s recovery properties and what changes you might need to make as you go along.  For both of these the neckband could have been pulled a little tighter as I attached it so that it would lay a little flatter – but you also have to be careful that you don’t pull it too tight and get puckers.  This is an okay compromise.

Figgys Seraphic raglan

These are the perfect project when you’re looking for a quick sewing fix. The cutting out is fast, and the sewing up seems even faster as it’s all on the overlocker. Too easy.

Figgys Seraphic raglan

I have just discovered that this pattern also comes in a larger tween size range option of sizes 10-16. Hooray! Looks like she’s not going to grow out of it after all.

another Hula Hoop skirt

One of the most often worn garments that I’ve made for my daughters have been their Hula Hoop skirts. I made two each for both of them back in 2012, so it was definitely time for me to get the pattern out again and reprint it to make a larger size for Clare.

Oliver + S Hula Hoop skirt (reversible, size 10)

The fabric was leftover from a Ruby dress I made a few months back.  It’s a very soft woven with a sheen to it.  One side is darker than the other.  One of the features of this skirt is that it is fully reversible, and no matter which side you have out, there is a little contrast from the other side showing in the folded back sections.

Oliver + S Hula Hoop skirt (reversible, size 10)

This skirt is very straightforward to sew.  There is elastic in the waistband, and all raw edges are fully enclosed.  It does take quite a bit of fabric both because of those large curved flouncy skirt pieces and because it is reversible.  I’ll be interested to see which side Clare prefers to wear as the “right side”.

Oliver + S Hula Hoop skirt (reversible, size 10)

I cut size 10 for Clare.  Because the waist is elasticised the sizing is fairly forgiving.  This pattern goes up to size 12, so I imagine that there will be a few years left of reprinting it ahead of me!  It is quite adaptable for different ages depending on the fabrics that you choose. It can also be layered with leggings or tights so is a year-round skirt option.

Oliver + S Hula Hoop skirt (reversible, size 10)

And did I mention that it twirls?

Oliver + S Hula Hoop skirt (reversible, size 10)

Seraphic raglan tee – now with added lace!

This is the second time that I’ve used the Figgy’s Seraphic tee pattern for Clare.  And after the success of this one, there are another two cut out!

Figgys Seraphic Raglan with lace front and back overlay

A few weeks ago Clare and I were in Myer checking out the autumn/winter fashions. Clare also needed a new dressing gown – normally I would sew one for her, but we/she decided that if we bought one instead (there was a lovely soft one on sale in a print she liked) then I would have more time to sew her more interesting clothing. There were loads of raglan sleeved tops there, many in mixed prints or textures. I had a lightbulb moment and remembered this remnant of vibrant fluro yellow/chartreuse stretch lace that I had in stash.

Figgys Seraphic Raglan with lace front and back overlay

Fortunately I also had a flecked stretch knit in stash that was pretty much a perfect match for the lace! I cut the size 8/9 out for Clare. Unfortunately that is the largest size that this pattern goes to. I cut the front and back pieces with the lace and knit as one. I also cut bands for the neck, sleeves, and hem. I think I cut them around 2 1/2 inches wide (could have been 3 inches).

Figgys Seraphic Raglan with lace front and back overlay

This was an incredibly straightforward garment to sew – raglans often are! Sew arms to body, sew sleeve/side seams, add the bands. All construction was on the overlocker, and I decided to skip topstitching the bands in place.

Figgys Seraphic Raglan with lace front and back overlay

Clare loves it and I can tell that it will be worn a lot as the weather cools down. There is enough room for her to layer something underneath, but it’s not too big that she can’t wear it as it is or easily layer something over it. Success!

Stella Sews

Last weekend Clare was busy out socialising, my husband was at the gym, and Stella and I were home.  Just the two of us.  She quickly seized the opportunity – “Mummy, can I sew something”?  And this time, I said yes! So often she asks when I am in the middle of things or am unable to supervise her properly – and for a seven year old, supervision is a good idea. I quickly located my copy of the Lucy La La skirt, and Stella rummaged through the cupboard to choose suitable fabric.

Stella sews: cutting out

I laid out the pieces, explaining grain line to Stella as I went, and pinned them in place. Stella did the cutting out. Then we decided to give the overlocker a try. After doing a number of practice overlocked seams she decided that she’d rather construct her skirt on the sewing machine. So after a little more practice, that’s exactly what she did.

Stella sews: removing pins

In the end I did the pinning and ironing, and Stella did all the sewing. (I did finish the edges on the overlocker for her too). She used straight stitches for the seams and finished the hem edge with a zig zag. The waist is a simple channel with elastic threaded through. She was extremely diligent at removing pins before she got to each one.

Lucy La La skirt sewn (mostly) by Stella
This was a great pattern to use for a first skirt – simple elastic waist, but a few seams to do and a bit of style with the slightly flared, flippy skirt. The fabric was also a good choice – it’s a twill with a slightly textured weave that made it very stable and straightforward to handle.

Lucy La La skirt sewn (mostly) by Stella

Stella is very proud of her skirt making and plans to take her skirt in to school for “sharing” time and to take it to Brownies as badge evidence.

Stella sews: the proud maker

I am very proud of her too! She showed real determination and patience, unpicking seams that went wonky without getting frustrated, and being prepared to practice techniques before embarking on the actual garment. I have a feeling that she might be more likely to take after me in the sewing department than her older sister. The most difficult thing about the process was for me to find the patience and self-restraint to just hold back and let her do things for herself, all the while knowing that I could have finished the skirt in about half an hour. It took closer to three hours for Stella to do it – but was absolutely worth it!

Lucy La La skirt sewn (mostly) by Stella

Vintage Style 2302 revisited

Clare put this dress on for church a couple of hot Sundays ago.  It has been languishing in her wardrobe since I made it for her birthday way back in 2012.  For some reason the photos that I used in the original blog post about the dress have vanished from Flickr, and are no longer anywhere to be found!  So here is the reprise.

Vintage Style 2302 in vintage floral fabric

When I made this it was way too big and dragged on the ground. That part was my error – I forgot to shorten the main part of the skirt before adding the ruffle. But now it’s a great cool longer dress! I’m going to steal other details from my previous blog post.  The pattern is vintage – Style 2302.  Looks like a 70s pattern to me.

Vintage Style 2302 in vintage floral fabric

The fabric is also vintage – from June’s stash. I suspect that it could be organza – it is very sheer and has a fairly open weave yet a relatively soft but crisp hand. If you can enlighten me further it would be welcome! It is quite narrow, around 90cm wide. I vaguely remember that width fabric from my childhood, so figure that this fabric is from the seventies or earlier. The bodice is self-lined, and I used some soft voile to make an underskirt. I really like the underbust gathers combined with a four-gore skirt, and the little frills along the edges of the shoulder straps.

Vintage Style 2302 in vintage floral fabric

I am so glad that it still fits her. It’s vintage size 8, but I’ve shortened the shoulder straps a little. The fabric is so pretty, and the style is really very classic.

Vintage Style 2302 in vintage floral fabric

I have managed to squeeze in a little sewing over the past week. Fingers crossed that I find time to take/crop/upload photos and get to blog posts on them soon.

Vintage Style 2302 in vintage floral fabric