kids clothing

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

Hide and Seek

Let’s turn back the clocks to 2014 again, as this dress was made when I went to Sewjourn last November.  Sometimes it takes a while to get photos!

Oliver + S Hide and Seek dress

This is the Oliver + S Hide and Seek Dress. I’ll have to pull out the pattern to check what size I made, but I’m guessing it was size 10. As is always the case with Oliver + S patterns there are many lovely features in this dress, but as far as I am concerned the main feature of this version is the fabric used for the yokes and pocket welts.

Oliver + S Hide and Seek dress

Do you remember this? It’s fabric we had printed by Spoonflower from one of Clare’s drawings. Her own fabric design, now part her own dress!

Oliver + S Hide and Seek dress

We used up pretty much every bit of the fat quarter we’d ordered. There was just enough for both the front and back yokes as well as the pocket welts.

Oliver + S Hide and Seek dress

The pattern description from the website is as follows: This relaxed-fit dress and tunic pattern features a front and back yoke, V-notch neckline, and back button closure. The dress has easy-to-sew welt pockets and cuffed, three-quarter-length sleeves, while the tunic has hemmed short sleeves. The yoke on this pattern can highlight a favorite print or fabric, and the number of included sleeve styles and hem lengths offer a variety of design options.

Oliver + S Hide and Seek dress

The fabric is the same one I used in my Tessuti Sophie dress, a silk/cotton from Darn Cheap Fabrics. The ric rac was in stash, and adds another little detail to the bottom of the front and back yoke. The buttons used on the back are vintage, also from stash. They’re not as good a match to the fabric as I’d like, but not glaringly out of place either. I have seen some delightful versions of this dress on the internet; it can be made in so many pretty ways and really does give the opportunity for creative fabric placement. Worth googling!

Oliver + S Hide and Seek dress

As is always the case with Oliver + S patterns, the drafting is impeccable. The sleeve eases perfectly into the armscye, and all the seams line up and join to one another to give beautiful fit. This is a roomy style, especially on Clare, and will fit for some time. It’s also cool and comfortable in this fabric, but in a winter weight it would layer well over a long sleeved tee and tights. I think I’m an Oliver + S fangirl.

Oliver + S Hide and Seek dress

McCalls 6501

Ah, the making of this dress was a tale of woe.  It’s a good thing that the end product was so pleasing!  The pattern is McCalls 6501.

McCalls 6501 in silver foil spot printed cotton from Darn Cheap Fabrics

So, where to start? Maybe with the line drawing and pattern description.

GIRLS’/GIRLS’ PLUS TOP, ROMPERS, DRESSES AND LEGGINGS: Pullover top, rompers and dresses have back button neckband and narrow hem. B,C: elasticized upper back and blouson, dropped waist. C,D: button trim. A, B and E: gathered, single layer flounce (wrong side shows) with tab. A, D and E: back neck slit. Leggings have elastic waist and no side seams.
Designed for light to medium weight woven fabrics. F: Medium weight moderate stretch knits.
SUGGESTED FABRICS: A,B,C,D,E: Cotton, Cotton Blends, Challis. F: Cotton Knits, Jersey.

We chose to make view E, which is the view that is photographed on the pattern cover.  I had become a little wary about the sizing of girls’ patterns from the mainstream pattern companies, so after checking Clare’s measurements against those on the pattern envelope we decided to make size 8.  Now, I made a number of errors and had to make a number of changes when sewing this.  Error number one: the ruffle.

McCalls 6501 in silver foil spot printed cotton from Darn Cheap Fabrics

This is one of those situations where I should have read the instructions. You cut two of the ruffle. I assumed that I would then sew those right sides together and turn them inside out and then insert into the off centre front seam. Um, no. I was supposed to narrow hem each of the two ruffles, as they open out at the top and there is actually one sewn to each of the front pieces. Out came the unpicker, I undid all the ruffle stitching, went to the overlocker did a nice rolled hem on the edges, and I followed the instructions to attach the ruffles to the front pieces. I sewed the back pieces together at centre back, leaving an opening a per the instructions, sewed the front and back side seams….then realised that my fabric was incredibly see through. Time to cut out lining pieces.

McCalls 6501 in silver foil spot printed cotton from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I had plenty of cream silk/cotton in stash to use for lining, so used the front pattern pieces overlaid as one to cut one front lining piece, and cut two back lining pieces. The front and back lining pieces were then sewn together, and the centre back lining seam up to the opening. After unpicking the back dress finishing, I sewed the back lining to the back dress with right sides together, thereby clean finishing the centre back opening. I also sewed the lining and outer together around the armholes, clean finishing them as well. The original instructions had you turn and topstitch a narrow hem around the armholes.

McCalls 6501 in silver foil spot printed cotton from Darn Cheap Fabrics

By then I was on a roll – I sewed the dress to the neckband, and tried it on Clare. And it didn’t fit. The armholes were WAY too low, the neckband was too large, and the whole dress really didn’t work. I tried pinning out the excess a few different ways, and eventually decided that I needed to sleep on it. I did remember to take this in progress photo to show just how much fabric needed to be pinned out.

McCalls 6501 in need of lots of alteration

I think I spent most of the next day trying to figure out the best fix. In the end I cut off the neckband, rather than unpicking it, which instantly brought the armholes up about half an inch. I recut the neckband from my fabric scraps, and used a better quality interfacing on it. I shortened the neckband completely by taking one and a quarter inch seams at the shoulder seams (and trimming appropriately) rather than five-eighths of an inch, and trimmed the seam allowance where I was going to join the neckband to the dress back to about a quarter of an inch. I then joined the dress to the neckband, this time only using a quarter inch seam allowance. It worked beautifully with a much nicer neckband than the first one.

McCalls 6501 in silver foil spot printed cotton from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Of course, the saga wasn’t finished. I had taken the dress in quite a bit at the side seams up to the armhole. This time when she tried it on the armholes were a bit too tight and binding at the front. I was able to turn the dress inside out and scoop the armholes out further at the front, because of course when I’d taken it in I lost some of that armhole curve. Wish I’d thought that part through earlier. So another try on later, a quick press, and a narrow hem on both the outer fabric and the lining, it was done!

McCalls 6501 in silver foil spot printed cotton from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Thank goodness she likes it so much is all that I can say. The fabric came from Darn Cheap Fabrics by the way – it’s a cotton with silver metallic spots (that stick to the iron terribly if you are not careful) and it’s almost impossible to get all the wrinkles out. I made a top with the same fabric here. So, will this pattern get another outing? She has expressed interest in the halter neck romper version, but I am certainly in no hurry to make it at the moment.

McCalls 6501 in silver foil spot printed cotton from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Another Big Joey

I do have an awful lot of patterns, but there are also an awful lot of patterns that are used more than once.  This is my second go at making the Make It Perfect Big Joey dress for Clare.

Make It Perfect Big Joey dress

I’ve reviewed this pattern before and all the details are here. The only thing that changed this time around was that I went up a size and sewed the 10. It’s a better fit, and she’ll get more wear out of it.  The armholes could still be a little deeper, but they’re not a problem as they are.

Make It Perfect Big Joey dress

The fun thing this time was playing around with the directions of the stripes. Yes, I did have to match them along the side seams, but otherwise the changes in direction made cutting and sewing much less time consuming than it could have been. The fabric came from Anna’s stash and was lovely to work with. It clearly contained lycra, which meant that there was plenty of stretch in it to allow for cutting the neckband on the cross grain. I did the same with the sleeve bands.

Make It Perfect Big Joey dress

Clare’s favourite part of this dress is the front kangaroo pocket. The last thing I want is a massive pocket right on my stomach, but when you are twelve it’s a wonderful thing!

Make It Perfect Big Joey dress

I cut the skirt pieces with a gentle curve up to the side seams, so that the skirt would be the same length the whole way round. This is the same alteration I made last time. Construction was primarily on the overlocker, with the machine used for gathering and top-stitching. Very straightforward.

Make It Perfect Big Joey dress

 This pattern will probably get another outing in winter, in the long sleeved, cowl neck version.