children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · tween

New Look 6389 dress

Because Stella has had a growth spurt, clothes have moved more quickly than usual from Clare’s wardrobe to hers.  Stella is about two years ahead of Clare (maybe a little more) in height for her age.  Outgrown garments used to go from Clare’s wardrobe into plastic tubs for a couple of years before they entered Stella’s wardrobe – now it’s straight from one wardrobe to the other.  They are wearing the same size shoes (pretty much the same size as me) so there’s no more passing those on!  I wonder if Stella will end up taller or if she’s just doing her growing earlier?  Clare didn’t really have a growth ‘spurt’ as such – she just kept on steadily growing and is now quite an average height among her peers.

New Look 6389 in vintage John Kaldor woven

So, the point of all this? I sewed New Look 6389 in the romper version for Clare a couple of years ago, and Stella is now wearing it. Seeing Stella in it prompted me to pull out the pattern again and sew the dress version. Mind you, Stella made all the design choices. Dress, high-low hem, halter neck strap, tie belt at the waist.

New Look 6389 in vintage John Kaldor woven

I’ve mentioned before that New Look have some terrific tween/teen patterns. Kids can be awkward to sew for once they’re no longer little kids. Height, breadth, development, they all vary so much from kid to kid. These cover quite a size range, up to girls size 16, which really helps when sewing for kids that are still kid shaped but larger overall, who wouldn’t fit properly into the shaping of adult patterns.

New Look 6389 in vintage John Kaldor woven

With my girls sizing issues are always at the other end of the spectrum. They’re pretty skinny (which I have to say isn’t due to their abundance of exercise or any disdain for eating junk food – it’s just the way that they are built) and they’ve generally been quite short for their age. Stella is no longer short for her age – she’s one of the taller kids among her peers now – but she’s still skinny. Because I this I chose a style with elastic, which allows for fitting adjustability, and I cut size 10 in the width of the bodice and skirt but size 12 in the length of the bodice and skirt.

New Look 6389 in vintage John Kaldor woven

New Look patterns are also quite consistent in their sizing, so once you’ve worked out what you need to do in one pattern, you can pretty much apply the same principles across the board. Of course, what you need to do will depend on who you are sewing for!

New Look 6389 in vintage John Kaldor woven

The fabric is from very deep stash – I think that it was originally part of June’s stash (a friend’s mum who kindly passed the bulk of her stash on to me when she moved into a retirement village). It’s a John Kaldor woven, possibly polyester, but amazingly good quality. I suspect it’s from the early 80s, guessing from the fabric width and the type of print. It’s random little black dashes on a coral background. Stella chose it. It was fabulous fabric to work with, and had just enough texture that it wasn’t slippery at all.

New Look 6389 in vintage John Kaldor woven

I sewed it predominantly on the sewing machine, using the overlocker to finish seam allowances. I decided to use the rolled hem setting on the overlocker to finish the skirt hem and the bodice flounce, rather than a narrow double turned hem. I think that this was a good decision, especially for the bodice flounce. It is a true flounce, cut as a curve, rather than a frill cut straight. This gives it lovely flare along the bottom edge, much better suited to a rolled hem.

New Look 6389 in vintage John Kaldor woven

From the pattern website: Girls’ pattern includes pull-on jumpsuit, romper, short dress and high low dress each with elastic waist. Jumpsuit and short dress have halter neckline, romper has straps with bows, and high low dress has thick straps.

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The cover claim of ‘easy’ is correct – there’s nothing too complex in either sewing or fitting this garment.  I did try it on Stella and adjust the elastic to size, which I’d recommend over just trusting the elastic lengths given in the pattern.  This pattern has been around for a few years now, and I’m not sure how long New Look keep things in print.  If you’ve got a tween girl to sew for I’d recommend adding this to stash.

New Look 6389 in vintage John Kaldor woven

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · tween

Girl on the Go dress – the summer version

I’ve said before that Stella is quite particular about the way that her clothes feel (as well as fit).  She likes soft, comfortable fabrics.  Actually, who doesn’t!  I’ve sewn the Oliver & S Girl on the Go dress twice already, both times with sleeves, and she’s worn them quite a bit.  Time for a summer version!

Oliver and S Girl on the Go dress in knit from Crafty Mamas Fabrics

The fabric is from Crafty Mamas Fabrics. It’s a European knit in cotton/spandex, it’s super soft and extremely good quality. I had just enough to eke out the dress by cutting one pair of the ties on the wrong grain. I figured that it wouldn’t matter to much, especially if I then paired one from the cross grain with one on the lengthwise grain. It’s a directional print but I doubt that you’d notice that it’s going different ways on the ties.

Oliver and S Girl on the Go dress in knit from Crafty Mamas Fabrics

I always rave about Oliver & S patterns, and others from the same stable. They are always beautifully drafted, have great instructions, are fairly timeless in design, and the A4 pdf is arranged to minimise paper waste. They’ve always designed their pdf patterns like that actually – it’s something that lots of other designers could really learn from! None of this ‘just split the single sheet up into lots of A4 sheets no matter where the dividing lines go’ – with Oliver & S each pattern piece is thoughtfully laid out on the A4 to fit together nicely. They do also provide wide format if you want to take it to a printer – it’s always the last page of their pdf.

Oliver and S Girl on the Go dress in knit from Crafty Mamas Fabrics

Stella does up the ties really tight at the front, so they pull the dress in at the back. There is actually plenty of room in it. I sewed size 10 – Stella is quite tall for her age now (eleven and a half), but she’s still skinny.

Oliver and S Girl on the Go dress in knit from Crafty Mamas Fabrics

This pattern really is simple done well. The shoulder seams are slightly forward, everything is beautifully shaped to sit properly on the body. People are three dimensional, and the pattern takes that into account. From the pattern website: This simple pull-on dress and top is designed for knit fabrics with a little stretch. The View A dress features a fun front tie detail and short sleeves, while View B makes a classic top with 3/4-length sleeves. Both styles include a neck facing with topstitching detail and a forward shoulder for a comfortable fit. You’ll love the look, feel, and versatility of this dress and top which make great wardrobe basics for every girl on the go.

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This pattern goes up to a girls size 18 (so those smaller adults that fancy it, I reckon it would fit!) so I suspect that it will get more use in years to come.  Highly recommended.

Oliver and S Girl on the Go dress in knit from Crafty Mamas Fabrics

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · tween

McCalls 7459 for Stella

Pinafores and overalls are all the rage at the moment!  Clare is keen for me to sew her an ‘overalls dress’, but the pattern we fancy isn’t available in Australia yet.  In the meantime, I sewed a pinafore for Stella!  This was also part of my ‘the kids are away and I miss them so I will sew for them’ binge.

McCalls 7459 size 12 in denim from M Recht

Stella was keen on a flared skirt – she likes to twirl! The pattern is McCalls 7459.

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There are quite a few options with this pattern.  Stella definitely wanted the traditional overall style bib of views A/D/E, and preferred the flared skirt of A and B over the gathered skirt.

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With that decision made, I needed to figure out what size to sew.  Stella has been through a major growth spurt this year – actually, a couple of weeks ago we had to throw out all of her shoes and buy replacements, because the ones in her wardrobe were three sizes too small!  Her feet are the same size as mine now!  She’s been growing up and up and up, but is still pretty skinny.  Choosing a size is hard.  In the end I sewed girls size 12.  It’s great in length, but probably still too wide.  Fortunately that really isn’t much of an issue with this type of style, and I do want to allow for a bit of growing room!

McCalls 7459 size 12 in denim from M Recht

 

The denim comes from M. Recht, and I have to say that it’s lovely stuff. I never regret buying denim from them – it’s excellent quality. I went to Jimmy Buttons for the hardware for the buttons and buckles. That reminds me, because I chose to make the straps adjustable I lengthened them substantially when cutting out, as I knew that I’d be threading them through the buckles. The pattern is designed for standard fixed buttons and buttonholes.

McCalls 7459 size 12 in denim from M Recht

There’s a zip in the side seam too – I used a fairly heavy weight metal one that I had in stash. There’s also a button at the waistband opening. I really don’t do a great job of hammering in those buttons – I often bend them a bit. It probably just takes practice, and I haven’t got the amount of pressure quite right. You need to bang hard enough for it to be secure, but not so hard that you make the button and it’s backing go out of shape!

McCalls 7459 size 12 in denim from M Recht

As you can see, the pinafore is topstitched throughout. I used regular thread with a triple stitch, as I find that this gives me the best topstitching effect on denim. I’ve tried using upholstery thread in the past, but still prefer the finish I get with regular thread and a triple stitch.

McCalls 7459 size 12 in denim from M Recht

I really hope that Stella gets some decent wear from this – it’s a trans-seasonal garment, and she really did need a few new things added to her wardrobe!  We’re fortunate that my niece has a daughter who is five years younger than Stella, so we pass everything that Stella has outgrown down to her to keep or to redistribute among her friends.  Stella’s wardrobe now looks the emptiest it’s ever been!

McCalls 7459 size 12 in denim from M Recht

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing

Seussical costume

The local high school recently put on a production of Seussical the Musical, and invited a couple of local primary schools to be involved as citizens of Whoville.  Stella is a keen performer, who takes dance and voice lessons outside of school, and she was thrilled to take part in Seussical.  My involvement was in making a costume.

Seussical outfit

The brief was strong primary colours. Stella wanted a skirt and leggings, and there was the perfect skirt fabric in stash. I easily turned the knit-printed scuba into a circle skirt on an elastic waistband after referring to one of the myriad of circle skirt tutorials that are available online. The leggings are the Go To Patterns leggings pattern, sewn in size 12. And originally I also sewed a long-sleeved tee from the Hey June City Park tee pattern, also in size 12.

Seussical outfit

In the end the kids were all provided with tee-shirts with pom poms attached, so she didn’t need the purple tee that I’d sewn. The kids all had a marvellous time performing, and of course I think that Stella was outstanding! It’s a really fun production and I’m really pleased that the primary school kids had the opportunity to be part of it. Stella was also thrilled that we let her temporarily dye her hair red for the occasion.

Seussical outfit

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing

Ottobre dress for Stella

I’ve probably said before that Stella can be quite fussy about what she wears.  Sometimes I’ll sew her something in accordance with her direction, and she’ll say that she likes it, then she never wears it.  She’s recently been wearing this dress that I sewed over a year ago.  She’s had a growth spurt, and this dress is really not a dress any more – it’s a tunic.

dress from Ottobre 4 2016 in plush backed knit from Spotlight with rib trim

The pattern is from Ottobre 4 2016. I really don’t use Ottobre patterns as often as I should. I know that it’s tracing them from the pattern sheets that puts me off, but I also know that it really doesn’t take all that long to do it. Definitely no longer than taping together a pdf pattern!

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The curved raglan shoulder seams appealed to me.  I had some pink rib trim in stash that contrasted nicely with the plush backed knit from Spotlight, so decided to use that for the neckband, cuffs, and as faux piping to highlight the raglan seam shaping.

dress from Ottobre 4 2016 in plush backed knit from Spotlight with rib trim

Now I have to say that the Spotlight plush backed knit was HORRENDOUS to sew. I will never ever sew with that fabric again, and am glad that it was a remnant that I picked up cheaply. The print is sweet, and the reverse side incredibly soft, but it stretched out of shape whenever I tried to topstitch it and it was bulky along seams. The overlocker dealt with the seam bulk very nicely, but there was no way that I could neatly topstitch the bands or the faux piping so that they would lay flatter.

dress from Ottobre 4 2016 in plush backed knit from Spotlight with rib trim

Anyway, the dress has now been worn as a tunic quite a few times, so my effort in sewing it wasn’t wasted. It’s soft against the skin, which is what Stella likes, and is easy to move in. I’d call this garment a semi-success. I won’t be sad to see it leave her wardrobe in next season’s cull.

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · tween

Hey June City Park tee

Clare came to me with a dress that no longer fitted, in that it was way too short.  This was a ponte Groove dress that I’d sewed a couple of years prior.  See, my kids do actually grow and get taller!  The before photo from 2016:

Groove dress in ponte from Super Cheap Fabrics

It was pretty straightforward for me to grab a copy of the Hey June Patterns City Park tee and use it as a guide to straighten out the side seams and curve the bottom hem.  Hey presto, too short flared dress becomes a fitted tee!

Hey June patterns City Park tee

The neckline was a bit too open and scooped when I first sewed this – but now it’s perfect! While the pattern was out I also sewed up a long-sleeved tee in white stretch panne velvet from stash for Clare to wear to a fairy themed party. I know, she’s a teenager, it’s a fairy party, some things you never grow out of!

Hey June patterns City Park tee

Just a quick snap to show you the fit. This is a nice basic fitted tee with set in sleeves. I think that I sewed the girls size 14. The panne velvet was appalling stuff to sew. My overlocker handled it okay but it left terrible little pieces of sparkly plasticky fluff absolutely everywhere. Ugh. I’m avoiding that fabric in the future. It did however fit the bill nicely and Clare looked lovely (and warm) when she headed off to the party – with the addition of wings and a wand, of course!

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The cardi is purchased, and the patternless skirt sewn from scuba a couple of years ago.

I have found Hey June patterns to be excellent basics for my daughters.  I have three that I use regularly – the City Park tee (set in sleeves, fairly fitted), Camden Raglan (raglan sleeves, fairly fitted) and the Morrison tee (drop shoulder, loose body, fitted sleeve).  And as they grow I just reprint and cut out the size that I want.  Very worthwhile.

 

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · tween

a second Girl on the Go dress

Oliver + S Girl on the Go dress in printed ponte from Spotlight

Stella really likes the Oliver + S Girl on the Go dress that I made her a few weeks ago, so I’ve sewn her another! And yes, it’s from scraps again. Woo hoo for scrap busting!

Oliver + S Girl on the Go dress in printed ponte from Spotlight

This time the scraps are left over from a summer dress I sewed for Clare, that’s had quite a bit of wear since I first made it and is definitely due to be passed on to Stella. The fabric is a soft printed ponte from Spotlight. I faced the ties with a solid knit from stash, partly as a design choice, but mostly because I didn’t have enough of the print to face them with!

Oliver + S Girl on the Go dress in printed ponte from Spotlight

This is a really easy pattern to sew. Construction is on the overlocker other than attaching the neckline facing, which I do on the machine. I use a twin needle in the machine to secure the neckline facing, sleeve and skirt hems.

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Once again, I sewed view A but with the sleeves from view B.  I reckon that this pattern will be sewn up as straight view A when it gets to next summer.  I bought the pdf pattern, so it will easy enough to print out a larger size if necessary.

Oliver + S Girl on the Go dress in printed ponte from Spotlight

You can’t see it in these photos, but I actually used two different colours in the twin needle – each matching one of the blue/greens in the print. Partly as a design feature, partly because it was easier to grab two different spools of thread than to hunt down two that matched exactly or to wind some of one spool on to a bobbin.

Oliver + S Girl on the Go dress in printed ponte from Spotlight

Stella’s dress is size 10, but the Girl on the Go pattern actually goes up to girls size 18. So if you are a slender adult, I reckon that this would fit you fine! Other option for someone wanting to make a grown-up version would be the Liesl + Co Maritime top, lengthened to a dress with ties sewn into the side seams.  It’s such a straightforward dress, but comfortable and easy to wear with a little style thrown in. And isn’t that what most of us want?

Oliver + S Girl on the Go dress in printed ponte from Spotlight