kids clothing

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.

sewing fail – McCalls 7151

I always benefit from reading about other people’s sewing fails, which is why I blog pretty much absolutely everything that I sew.  Often I have a niggle in the back of my mind when I start to sew something that might not work out.  It’s not always right, but plenty of times it is.

McCalls 7151 view A sewing fail in cotton voile

Lovely fabric, cute pattern. This is McCalls 7151. They describe it as follows: GIRLS’ TOP, DRESS, JUMPSUIT AND SHORTS: Pullover top, dress and jumpsuit have shoulder strap extending into back band, and narrow hem finish. A: Ruffles. B: Insets. A and B: Gathers. C: Self-bow and button shoulder straps. Shorts and waist C have elastic and stitched hems.
Designed for lightweight to medium-weight wovens and moderate stretch knits.
FABRICS: Cotton Interlock, Cotton Jersey. D: Also Denim, Broadcloth, Cotton Blends.

m7151

McCalls 7151 view A sewing fail in cotton voile

We used a lightweight woven – it’s a cotton voile from Thailand – and I sewed size 10. I felt however that the front of the dress was going to look too “flat” in this fabric, and as it turned out there were definitely problems with the top of the bodice. It was too low and showed too much upper chest, and the binding gaped a bit as the fabric was too crisp. I folded over the straps to raise the bodice front, but then the front armholes were too high. It just wasn’t working.

McCalls 7151 view A sewing fail in cotton voile

The back however is rather lovely. I really like the way that the straps are shaped and join the back bodice in a point. That element is a definite win!  It also drapes nicely when looked at from the back.  But the front?  Nope.

McCalls 7151 view A sewing fail in cotton voile

This dress is going to the shop of opportunity. However, it was a useful exercise, because the garment that Clare REALLY wants from this pattern is the long legged jumpsuit. I have already cut it out, with a raised front neckline, and in a woven viscose. The fabric has much more softness and drape, and the top of the jumpsuit is more blouson with waist elastic. The straps of the jumpsuit button up on the front so that you can get in and out of it, but that will also allow for some more fitting adjustability. There is always something to learn from your sewing fails!

New Look 6297 – the maxi

There are a few different views in New Look 6297.  As well as view C, that I have already blogged, there is a sleeveless maxi.  New Look offer it with a subtle high-low hemline or with a hemline that has applied ruffles.  I chose to sew it with a plain level hemline.

New Look 6297 maxi in polyester knit from Spotlight

Once again I sewed size 10 for Clare. The fabric is a poly/spandex knit from Spotlight. Because it is a border print I cut it on the cross-grain. Although you would generally cut a knit with the greatest degree of stretch going around the body rather than running lengthwise, there is plenty of spandex in this knit and it stretches very well both ways.

New Look 6297 maxi in polyester knit from Spotlight

This was super simple. Front, back, long strips to finish the neckline and armholes. The long strips were cut across the width of the fabric as they usually would be, from areas of the fabric where the colour was more dense. This was to contrast more with the paler areas of the border print that were concentrated at the top of the dress.

New Look 6297 maxi in polyester knit from Spotlight

All construction was on the overlocker. The bands were folded in half then applied to the right side around the armholes and neckline, with the seam allowances secured via a zig zag stitch from the right side on the machine. The pattern also suggested a tie for the back to add more detail and bring in the armholes a little more. It’s just a rectangle of fabric sewn into a tube.

New Look 6297 maxi in polyester knit from Spotlight

There is minimal strap exposure for a racer-back crop top, which kept me happy. The kids don’t care about straps, especially if they are brightly coloured and contrasting, and while part of me understands that aesthetic there is a stronger part that prefers straps and other elements of underpinnings to be hidden!

New Look 6297 maxi in polyester knit from Spotlight

I suspect that the armholes are a little lower in this fabric because of cutting it on the cross than they would have been otherwise. Having the greater strength running downwards in what is also a slightly heavy fabric is possibly dragging them down a little. I’d like to see this made in a cotton/spandex or viscose/spandex. But I couldn’t resist that border print!

New Look 6297 maxi in polyester knit from Spotlight

Lekala 7080

This one was an impulse sew.  After the success of the Lekala dress, I had another trawl through the Lekala website and happened upon a pattern for a skort, Lekala 7080.

Lekala 7080 skort in pinwale corduroy from stash

I figured that it wouldn’t take long to tape together such a simple pattern, and it didn’t.  The pattern appeared in my email in-box within minutes or ordering.  Because it’s a girls’ pattern I only needed to enter height, waist and hip measurements.

Lekala 7080 skort in pinwale corduroy from stash

You all know what a skort is, don’t you?  Wordpress obviously doesn’t, because it keeps on trying to autocorrect the word to skirt.  It is a pair of shorts that has an overlay on the front so that from the back you see shorts, but from the front you see a short skirt.  Therefore, skort.

Lekala 7080 skort in pinwale corduroy from stash

The fabric is a printed pinwale corduroy from stash.  I have a feeling that it was given to me by someone having a clean out of an older friend or relative’s cupboards.  I love the muted sage greens and greys on black, but Clare hasn’t found it terribly easy to coordinate with her tops.  Oh well, I’ll just have to sew some more!

Lekala 7080 skort in pinwale corduroy from stash

Construction wise things were fairly straightforward.  I actually followed the instructions, which were quite logical and assisted in a highly satisfactory finished garment.  There are four pattern pieces.  Shorts front and back, front overlay, and waistband.  The waistband is interfaced and has elastic in the back only.  The line drawing suggests that there are darts in the back of the shorts, but there were no sign of these in the pattern thatI received for Clare’s measurements.

Lekala 7080 skort in pinwale corduroy from stash

The front overlay is supposed to be secured with a square of velcro, but I didn’t see the point and just stitched it down to the waistband.  All the stretch for getting the skort on and off is in the back waistband, not the front.  Overall this was quite a satisfying garment to sew, and it has turned out to be a highly wearable muslin.  Clare intends to choose another fabric from my stash for a second pair.

Lekala 7080 skort in pinwale corduroy from stash