children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing

Mini Ogden Cami – as dress

There are plenty of “pattern hacks” out there involving the Ogden and Mini Ogden Cami patterns.  I was not immune to the appeal – it is a nice basic that lends itself to transformations and alterations.

True Bias Mini Ogden Cami as dress in embroidered cotton from Chiang Mai

For this dress I chopped the cami pattern off at belly button level, then added a gathered skirt. I retained the subtle shaping at the bottom of the cami front and back pattern pieces to reflect the original hemline curve, and used the same shortened front pattern piece to cut a full lining for the front from a toning cotton.

True Bias Mini Ogden Cami as dress in embroidered cotton from Chiang Mai

The fabric is a beautiful embroidered cotton that I bought in Chiang Mai on our first trip there back in 2014. It took me a while to use it! I really wanted to show off the beautifully shaped and scalloped border, so cut a length of the fabric, sewed one seam up the centre back, gathered the straight edge and then, ta-da!

True Bias Mini Ogden Cami as dress in embroidered cotton from Chiang Mai

It’s very fast to sew a dress when there is no hemming required! Actually, this was fast to sew overall. Do make sure that you check finished pattern measurements before deciding on what size to sew – I had to take this in quite a bit to fit Stella because I chose size based on her height rather than chest measurement of the finished garment.

True Bias Mini Ogden Cami as dress in embroidered cotton from Chiang Mai

I’ve seen variations on this cami done by just extending it to dress length, by adding a skirt to make a dress with a dropped waist, by cutting it off higher then adding a skirt to make an empire line dress, by putting the lining on the outside to make an overlay, and the list goes on! It’s a great basic for tweaking – and of course is lovely sewn exactly as per the pattern.

True Bias Mini Ogden Cami as dress in embroidered cotton from Chiang Mai

I really dislike the term “pattern hack”. To me, hacking something means cutting into it in a random and careless way. And that’s definitely not what I’m seeing most of the time when people talk about “pattern hacks”! They are talking about taking a pattern and changing or tweaking it, generally in ways that do require skill, thought and care. Then again, I don’t like the term “sewist” either….maybe I’m just a bit grumpy and perimenopausal! And don’t get me started on what I think about the use of the word “flattering” nowadays….surely it isn’t just me!

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · tween

Hey June Morrison Tee and McCalls 7150 shorts

So, back to normal programming!  Don’t think that I have suddenly started sewing in a frenzy since returning from holiday.  I have managed to sew one garment during the past fortnight but I think that there are over 30 items from last year that are still unblogged.  So I’ll gradually get them all up here.  The problem with not blogging soon after making is that I do forget some of the details.  Lesson learned – this year I will blog new makes soon after making!

Hey June Morrison tee in knit from Clear It with Simplicity shorts

This is the Morrison Tee from Hey June Handmade.  It is part of a line of Junior’s Patterns in sizes 6 to 16.  This is a great idea – the tween market is an underserved market in sewing patterns, in my view.  There is such variation in height, weight and shape among tweens that it can be very difficult to find things that are suitable.  Many children’s patterns stop at around size 10 or 12.  Although adult patterns kick in then from a height perspective, plenty of tweens/teens aren’t shaped like adults!  I often reflect on this as I look at my daughters’ friends (Clare’s in particular).  Many of these tweens and teens are shaped like adult women, but plenty aren’t.  There are super tall ones still to develop boobs and hips; there are short ones still to develop as well.  There are short ones who are already developing but don’t have the shoulder width of adult patterns.  I suppose that the lucky ones are the taller, developed ones – they can simply fit into women’s clothing (and sewing patterns).  Then “age appropriateness” becomes an issue.  It can be complicated!  These Hey June patterns go to girls size 16 with a height of 162cm – which is taller than me.  I have noticed that Simplicity and New Look in particular have a great range of fashionable girls patterns that also go to girls size 16, and Ottobre magazines have a terrific range too.   Options are there, you just have to look for them a bit harder!

Hey June Morrison tee in knit from Clear It with Simplicity shorts

Anyway, this is not a problem for Stella. I sewed her size 8 in this tee. It’s an oversized style, so it plenty loose through the body, but the armholes and length are well proportioned. The pattern description is as follows: The Morrison Tee is a casual boxy fit dolman tee for juniors.  Options include banded sleeves, cap sleeves, or long sleeves.  Choose a hi-low hem, a straight hem, or either version with a front tie hem.  The Morrison is perfect for 4 season wear and can be made dressier or more casual.  Make a slubby gray front-tie tee for lazy Saturdays or use a pretty floral for a cap sleeve top to pair with a pretty skirt and sandals for fancier occasions.  Personalize your Morrison Tee with cute iron-on decals, fabric paint, tie dye, or applique.  This versatile top will be a wardrobe staple for your tween or teen!

screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-8-55-15-am

I chose to sew the banded sleeve with front tie and hi-low hem.  It was very straightforward to construct.  The fabric is a printed cotton/viscose (?) spandex from Clear It – it’s terrific quality.  Construction was straightforward, as you’d expect if you’ve sewn multiple t-shirts before!  I really can’t remember the instructions much.  I assume that I sewed the shoulder seams, applied the neckband, sewed side seams, attached sleeve bands, then hemmed.

Hey June Morrison tee in knit from Clear It with Simplicity shorts

Oh, the shorts! I forgot about the shorts! They are from McCalls 7150, and are very straightforward elastic waist shorts. I sewed them in viscose/cotton chambray, and used pink thread to topstitch the hems.

Hey June Morrison tee in knit from Clear It with Simplicity shorts

A few more words about McCalls 7150.  The pattern description is as follows: Pullover top, tunic and dress are sleeveless and have yoke back and purchased bias tape for neckline and armholes. A: Yoke front, overlapped tulip-hem back. B: Hemline ruffle, wrong side shows. C: Applied ruffles, raw edge finish on heading. B, C: Bias bow, knot. Lined shorts, and leggings: Elastic waist. D: Thread carriers and purchased ribbon. E: No side seams. A, B, C, E: Narrow hem. Headband: Elastic, bow, knot.  

m7150_a

I sewed the view A top, in the same fabric as the shorts.  It was TERRIBLE.  I used bias tape to finish the edges, as per the instructions, and the results were horrible.  Take a look at the line drawing for this pattern.

m7150

Using “purchased bias tape for neckline and armholes” absolutely does not work on armholes with such extreme curves!  It was fine around the neckline, but those armhole curves at the centre back of the armhole are quite extreme.  There were puckers galore.  It really needed to have a facing of some kind, or be sewn only in a stretch fabric.  Definitely a wadder, which was disappointing because I’d used lovely fabric and bias binding.  You win some, you lose some.

Hey June Morrison tee in knit from Clear It with Simplicity shorts

So, back to the tee! This is a nice basic tee pattern, and one that I am sure I will come back to in the future, both for Stella and for Clare.

Hey June Morrison tee in knit from Clear It with Simplicity shorts

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing

True Bias Mini Ogden Cami

There seems to be an explosion of Ogden and Mini Ogden Camis on instagram and blogs at the moment.  The patterns have been around for a little while now; I suspect that it’s the advent of Australian summer that has made them more obvious to me.

True Bias Mini Ogden Cami in Anna Maria Horner voile

I am usually a bit hesitant about camisole style tops because of all that skin exposure. I have sun paranoia! Think of the sunscreen! But this was a cute style, we don’t spend masses of time in the sun anyway, and I caved into sewing it for Stella.

True Bias Mini Ogden Cami in Anna Maria Horner voile

Okay, it’s a bit hard to see the back when there is long hair covering it…I’ll find some better photos. Originally I also hesitated to sew this pattern because I thought that paying for such a simple pattern when I probably had very similar already in stash was silly. Well, it probably was, but after sewing it I do have new respect for this pattern. It is beautifully drafted, the instructions are very good, and it fits nicely.

True Bias Mini Ogden Cami in Anna Maria Horner voile

The front has a partial lining, and the gentle V neckline is beautifully shaped. The back piece is straight across and has elastic in a casing along the top.

True Bias Mini Ogden Cami in Anna Maria Horner voile

The pattern is described as follows on the True Bias website: The Mini Ogden Cami is a simple top that can either be worn on its own or as a layering piece. It has a soft V neck at center front and spaghetti straps over each shoulder. The front neckline and armholes are finished with a partial lining and the back is finished with an elastic casing for easy dressing. Suggested Fabrics: Light weight woven fabrics such as cotton voile, cotton lawn, lightweight linen, or double gauze.

screen-shot-2017-01-04-at-8-49-09-am

The fabric is buttery soft Anna Maria Horner voile, from stash.  I really wish that I had more of this fabric range.  The voiles are absolutely delicious to work with and to wear.  I sewed the camisole in size 5 for Stella, as per her chest measurement, but with the length of size 8.  This is the second time I’ve used the pattern for Stella, and I’ll fill you in on how I learned about the sizing when I write the blog post about the first time! This pattern takes very little fabric, and if you were trying to squeeze it out of scraps you could always use a contrast fabric for the front partial lining.

True Bias Mini Ogden Cami in Anna Maria Horner voile

This little top must be ticking all the right boxes for Stella because when she’s not wearing the Oliver + S Butterfly blouse I showed you a few blog posts back, she’s wearing this top! Once again, it pairs well with shorts.

True Bias Mini Ogden Cami in Anna Maria Horner voile

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · tween

Style Arc Cara top – this time for the teen

When Clare saw my version of the Style Arc Cara top, she promptly declared that she wanted one too.  I pondered, because she’s not really in adult size patterns yet.  However, when I checked the Style Arc website I discovered that their patterns start at an Australian size 4.  I figured that it was worth a go.

Style Arc Cara top in navy tencel from Clear It

I managed to buy a copy of the downloadable pdf when Style Arc had a pdf sale on Etsy. I really didn’t feel like grading down my size 12 version! There aren’t many pattern pieces, so it didn’t take long to tape together the A4 pattern pieces. I don’t mind taping when there aren’t loads of pieces, and I was after immediate gratification. Downloadable pdf patterns are always great in that regard!

Style Arc Cara top in navy tencel from Clear It

I cut this as a straight size 4 without alterations. I figured that the length would be quite adequate for Clare, especially since in many ways her proportions are like mine – she has long legs for her height and a proportionately shorter torso. The fabric is navy tencel from Clear It. That reminds me – I need to sew up the pair of pants that I have cut out from the same fabric!

Style Arc Cara top in navy tencel from Clear It

I decided not to interface the front neckband, as the fabric is relatively substantial. This appeared to work out okay. I also made certain when I inserted the elastic into the back neckband piece that I could access it in case I needed to shorten it to fit Clare better. As it turned out, that was a good idea – once I was home from Sewjourn and she tried it on, I needed to shorten the back elastic by a number of inches for the top to stay up!

Style Arc Cara top in navy tencel from Clear It

This is a very straightforward garment to sew. I mostly used the overlocker for construction. Hems were finished on the overlocker, then turned to the inside in a narrow hem and stitched on the machine. Easy peasy.  Just watch out for them stretching out a little and rippling on sections that become bias (i.e. learn from my mistakes).

Style Arc Cara top in navy tencel from Clear It

This top has already had quite a bit of wear. Definitely a wardrobe hit with the teen – and it’s good to jump right onto the off the shoulder/cold shoulder/split sleeve trend before it disappears!

Style Arc Cara top in navy tencel from Clear It

kids clothing · sewing · tween

Modkid Cassidy Dungaree Dress

Sewing for my girls is getting harder.  Finding the right match between style, fabric, sizing and pattern – especially for the teen.  Clare is almost 14, but much smaller than most of her peers.  I was the same at her age, and it seems that my genes are strong in this one!  She has a strong sense of her own style, which is much more colourful and individual than many of her friends, yet she wants to dress in ways that make her seem like a typical teenager rather than a kid.  I completely understand that!

Modkid Cassidy dungaree dress in printed corduroy remnant from The Cloth Shop

The Modkid Cassidy Dungaree Dress pattern goes up to a girls size 12, which is what I used for Clare.  Their website describes it as follows: Cassidy is a playful dungaree style dress that can be layered over long-sleeve tees and leggings in the cooler months but also worn by itself or with a tank top underneath for the warmer months. This pattern will be a favorite for back-to-school and Holiday sewing.  SUGGESTED FABRICS: Bottom-weight fabrics like denim, corduroy, twill or canvas, 54″-60″ wide. 

Modkid Cassidy dungaree dress in printed corduroy remnant from The Cloth Shop

I used a remnant of printed corduroy from The Cloth Shop for Clare’s pinafore.  (I just can’t bring myself to use the word “dungaree” – that’s just not a term Australians use).  There was a small tear in the fabric, which I forgot about when I was cutting it out.  Fortunately the back and front skirt pieces are the same as one another, so I made sure that I placed the tear at the back of the skirt.  I repaired it with some fusible interfacing underneath and zig-zagged it to secure, then placed another pocket flap over it to hide it.  I think it worked well!

Modkid Cassidy dungaree dress in printed corduroy remnant from The Cloth Shop

I used quilting cotton to line the bodice and the straps. The most difficult part of making this was finding decent hardware. I bought buckles and hammer on buttons from Spotlight, but have to say that the quality was abysmal. The buttons bent as soon as they were hammered on – and I wasn’t overdoing things, I’ve done this before – and I ended up going through twice as many as needed to have some that worked. The buckles also feel flimsy. I will buy this sort of hardware elsewhere in the future – I was extremely unimpressed with these.

Modkid Cassidy dungaree dress in printed corduroy remnant from The Cloth Shop

Otherwise, this was a fairly simple garment to make. There are lots of topstitching opportunities, and I always enjoy a lined bodice. I don’t think that the fit at centre back where the straps join is as good as it should be. They needed to be angled more, and I notice that other examples of this dress have the same issue. Note for next time!

Modkid Cassidy dungaree dress in printed corduroy remnant from The Cloth Shop

The front pockets are also fully lined with the same quilting cotton as the bodice. It’s always good to have somewhere to put your hanky. The flaps on the bodice and back skirt are just that – there are no functional pockets there.

Modkid Cassidy dungaree dress in printed corduroy remnant from The Cloth Shop

This should still fit next winter as well, with any luck – it’s a style that is rather adjustable and forgiving.

Modkid Cassidy dungaree dress in printed corduroy remnant from The Cloth Shop

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing

Book week 2016

It was book week a couple of months ago (yes, I am very behind with blogging so everything that appears here was sewn months ago now).  Stella decided that she wanted to go as Billie B Brown.

Book Week costume 2016

The school was focusing on Australian authors, and as it happens Sally Rippin is not only Australian, but local to us! I liked that element of Stella’s choice. Most of the “costume” was easily found in her wardrobe, but Stella really wanted a pinafore like the one on the book cover. Enter Lekala 7198.

Book Week costume 2016

This is a pattern designed for wovens, and I was using a knit from stash, so I eliminated the side zipper. I also left out the back belt and the front pockets. The pattern was folded down at the strap level to create a straight edge, and I traced off a facing to match. The straps were made from wide bias binding and were inserted between the dress and facing.

Book Week costume 2016

Buttons were added at the centre front for decoration. Stella enjoyed having input to every element of the design process, referring back to the book cover as we went along.

Book Week costume 2016

Of course, this was all done the night before it was needed. Some things never change. And the finished costume?

Book Week Costume 2016

Yes, she was pleased!

cloth diapering · kids clothing · sewing

Tessuti Cut Out Lace Competition entry

When Tessuti announced their most recent competition, the Cut Out Lace Sewing Competition, I looked at the fabric and knew that I would never sew it for myself.  I don’t really wear lace, as much as I love it on other people.  But I had a very strong suspicion that Clare would like a lace dress.  There were three colour ways on offer – black, red and ivory.  Clare chose ivory, and I ordered two panels. When it arrived and I opened the parcel all that I could think was “tablecloth”.

Tessuti Cut Out Lace Competition entry begins

Now that I’ve said that, it’s all that you can see too, isn’t it! I had a dilemma – how was I going to best use this fabric in a way that it wouldn’t look like a tablecloth? I ran a few pattern options past Clare, and a few lining options, and in the end we decided to base her dress on view B of Simplicity 8086 with a contrasting taffeta lining.

Tessuti Cut Out Lace Competition entry begins

So, the first challenge. This is a women’s pattern. Clare measured a 4 bust and an 8 waist. I didn’t care about the hip measurement as I knew it was a full skirt. I also checked front and back waist lengths, and shoulder width, and knew that I had some adjustments to make.  I really would have made life easier for myself if I’d started with a girl’s pattern.  I needed to focus on the bodice pieces.  Firstly I graded between sizes where needed then did a SBA to remove the copious bust shaping.  Then I cut a muslin from an old sheet and tried it on.

Tessuti Cut Out Lace Competition entry begins

It was SO worth sewing the muslin. As you know, I’m not usually a muslin maker, but there are times when I can really see the value.  I made some more alterations, sewed them, tried it on Clare again, then unpicked it completely and used it as the pattern to cut out the lace. Having sewn the muslin also meant that I had all the pattern pieces needed for the bodice, which made working out the lace placement more straightforward. Hooray!

Tessuti Cut Out Lace Competition entry

See those instructions? They were basically gobbledygook, so I discarded them completely. I cut out the bodice overlay entirely from the lace. For the under bodice I cut the bodice waistband and lower back pieces from the lace and underlined them with taffeta. I cut the upper front and back bodice from the taffeta as well, then cut all the same pieces again to sew a full bodice lining. The taffeta is a copper colour, with red threads in one direction and green in the other. It has enough depth that the patterns on the lace really stand out, yet it blends fairly well with Clare’s skin tone beneath the looser overlay.

Tessuti Cut Out Lace Competition entry

I sewed the overlay, the under bodice, and the lining separately. Then the fun began. I needed to join these pieces in a way that would fully enclose all the seam allowances. There was a lot of fiddling, a lot of pinning, and a lot of working in small spaces involved. I started by putting the overlay in place on top of the under bodice, then sewing the lining to it right sides together around the neckline. This seemed to work okay. Then I used the burrito method to sew one armhole, then the other. The overlay is joined at the neckline and armholes, but hangs free elsewhere. Once I’d done that, I needed to finish the edges of the upper back under bodice. Once again there was a fair bit of pinning and turning inside out. I’d left the waistline and centre back seams open so that I could manipulate the rest of the bodice. By taking things slow and steady, and thinking logically, I was able to complete the bodice other than the centre back seam. I knew that I wanted to leave it for the eventual insertion of an invisible zip.

Tessuti Cut Out Lace Competition entry

The skirt width is the full length of two panels of the lace.  I cut it as a long rectangle, without any shaping. I underlined it with the taffeta, hoping that the taffeta would add fullness to the pleats and prevent any show through of the seam allowance at the centre back skirt seam. This worked well. Pleat placement was a matter of trial and error. I spent some time manipulating the skirt fabric, measuring, pleating, pinning, unpinning, re-measuring, pinning, checking, and so on, until we had the pleats at a depth and distribution that was pleasing to the eye. The mirroring of the lace was really important here as well – some pleat depths looked better than others. Eventually the pleats were stitched in place, then the skirt attached to the bodice and the seam allowance edges overlocked together. There is quite a bit of bulk in that seam and we wanted it to sit as flat as possible from the outside of the dress.

Tessuti Cut Out Lace Competition entry

After all of that it was a relatively simple matter of inserting an invisible zip at the centre back seam. The bulk at the waist seam made this a slightly delicate process, but once again patience was my friend. I sewed a button loop from embroidery thread at the centre back neckline, and covered a button with a flower from the lace, with taffeta underneath.

Tessuti Cut Out Lace Competition entry

The last step was to sew the hem by simply turning the edge of the lace under and stitching it by machine. This just made it a little more substantial and helped with the skirt fullness.

Tessuti Cut Out Lace Competition

This was one of those special sewing occasions where I turned the finished dress around the right way, gave it a shake, and felt a huge smile spread over my face. I just loved it! Then I called Clare – and she had entirely the same reaction. And once she tried it on? Just beautiful. I know that I am biased – she’s my daughter, after all – but I think that this dress is absolutely perfect for her.

Tessuti Cut Out Lace Competition

Tessuti Cut Out Lace Competition

Tessuti Cut Out Lace Competition

We had an absolute ball doing a photo shoot down at the local creek. We managed to get some lovely photos in the natural environment, as well as some at the industrial estate nearby.  That green wall is an auto body repairers, and the grey wall belongs to a funeral director!

Tessuti Cut Out Lace Competition

Tessuti Cut Out Lace Competition

Tessuti Cut Out Lace Competition

So now I’ll subject you all to yet more of the photos that I took – because I found it incredibly difficult to narrow down which ones to enter in the competition. There is a week or so left before the competition closes, and there are already a number of stunning entries. I don’t expect to win the competition, but as far as Clare and I are concerned, this dress already takes first prize.

Tessuti Cut Out Lace Competition

Tessuti Cut Out Lace Competition

Tessuti Cut Out Lace Competition

You can follow the entries for the competition on Tessuti’s Pinterest board here.

Tessuti Cut Out Lace Competition

Tessuti Cut Out Lace Competition

Tessuti Cut Out Lace Competition

Tessuti Cut Out Lace Competition