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

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · tween

Groove dress – as dress!

It amuses me that I sewed this pattern as a top twice before I got around to sewing it as an actual dress.

Groove dress in ponte from Super Cheap Fabrics

This is the Madeit Patterns Groove dress for teens, sewn in the teen size Small. We chose to sew the long sleeved version with the scoop neck. However, Clare finds the scoop neck is actually a bit wider than she would prefer. She doesn’t like necklines high at the front, so she is happy with the depth, but because she has narrow shoulders the neckline is wider than she’s prefer.

Groove dress in ponte from Super Cheap Fabrics

The fabric is a printed ponte from Super Cheap Fabrics (Brunswick store). I used soft double knit from stash to bind the neckline. As you can imagine, this was a super fast garment to construct. The overlocker was used for most of it, with hems secured with a twin needle on the machine.

Groove dress in ponte from Super Cheap Fabrics

This style does have marvellous swish. The high-low hemline is rather pronounced, so you do need to consider what the reverse side of your fabric looks like if you are sewing that version. You also need to keep your hems nice and neat, because they will be visible.

Groove dress in ponte from Super Cheap Fabrics

Groove dress in ponte from Super Cheap Fabrics

This pattern comes free with either the Women’s or the Child’s size. I bought the Women’s, so there will be one of these ahead for me as well. The pattern has a number of neckline, sleeve length and hemline options, and hopefully it will be a workhorse pattern for me as well as for the girls.

Groove dress in ponte from Super Cheap Fabrics

Worn with her Lily Knit blazer and Shredded Scarf.

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · tween

Nantucket One-Piece swimsuit

One pair of bathers apparently wasn’t enough for our FNQ holiday – Clare needed a one-piece as well!

Nantucket Swimsuit by Peekaboo Patterns in Rathdowne Fabrics print

Okay, I have a confession – Clare wasn’t the one pushing the “I need more bathers” barrow – it was me wanting to sew more of the lovely swimwear fabric that was in my stash! This fabric came from Rathdowne Fabrics. Those butterflies and flowers are so pretty! This was such a pretty fabric that it called for a fairly simple pattern. And I found the Peekaboo Patterns Nantucket One-Piece swimsuit pattern in my stash. I think I’d originally bought it as part of a pattern bundle.

Nantucket Swimsuit by Peekaboo Patterns in Rathdowne Fabrics print

Of course, the back is the highlight of these bathers. Such a lovely low scoop, highlighted with cross-over straps. The description from the website is as follows:  Get ready for a trip to the seashore with the Nantucket One-Piece Swimsuit! The Nantucket features a gathered front neckline and cross-back straps finished in a darling bow. With excellent bum coverage your little one will be comfortable playing all day long in a suit that’s sure to please. Check the Ultimate Swimsuit Fabric Shopping Guide for help finding the perfect fabric for your project :) Tutorial includes tips for sewing on swimsuit fabric and achieving a professional finish. No serger required. Includes instructions for an optional lining.  Pattern comes with a full tutorial and color photos in an easy to print PDF. Pattern pieces are computer generated and color coded for easy cutting. 

Nantucket Swimsuit by Peekaboo Patterns in Rathdowne Fabrics print

This pattern ranges in size from 3 months to size 12.  I used a combination of sizes 10 and 12 for Clare, grading up to the 12 for her hips.  I fully lined the bathers, then zig-zagged the edges together and treating them as one.  The edging was all done with fold-over elastic, so I had to depart from the instructions a little bit there. These were faster to sew than I had anticipated, and once again all the sewing was done on the sewing machine. That zig-zag stitch really earned its place!

Nantucket Swimsuit by Peekaboo Patterns in Rathdowne Fabrics print

If anything, the upper chest is a little wide and bags a fraction. The pattern has a casing here, with the ties threaded through it, which would gather it in a little. I could have probably pulled the elastic tighter when applying it to the upper front, which would have had the same effect. However, we’re both happy with these bathers overall.

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · tween

Mountain Ash Designs two-piece

Before we went to Cairns Clare decided that she needed new bathers.  She wanted a two-piece, but one that would be practical.  We searched the stash, then searched online.  We found the Mountain Ash Designs Swimwear Separates #1 pattern.

Mountain Ash Designs Swimwear Separates in nylon/lycra from Rathdowne Fabrics

The pattern description from the website is as follows: Make your own tankinis and bikinis using this pdf sewing pattern with options for a crop top or singlet top and briefs for swimming. Garments are designed to be made from stretch fabric and can be sewn using an overlocker/ serger or a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine. Pattern will fit girls in sizes 2-14 years.

Mountain Ash Designs Swimwear Separates in nylon/lycra from Rathdowne Fabrics

I have already forgotten what sizes we sewed for Clare, but we pretty much looked at the sizing chart and went by that. It was possibly a 12 for the pants and a 10 for the crop top. The fabric is a swimwear nylon/lycra remnant from Rathdowne Fabrics, and the lining probably came from there as well. I fully lined both the bottoms and the top by cutting the pattern pieces from the lining as well then laying the two together after sewing side seams. Edges were finished with neon orange fold over elastic that was in my stash.

Mountain Ash Designs Swimwear Separates in nylon/lycra from Rathdowne Fabrics

The straps were criss-crossed at the back, tried on and pinned in place before sewing to ensure that they were the right length. As I had just enough leftover fabric, I also made another wrap bikini top to coordinate.  Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of that one yet! It’s based on the Madalynne Sierra bra, modified to work in swimwear lycra.

Mountain Ash Designs Swimwear Separates in nylon/lycra from Rathdowne Fabrics

Bathers are surprisingly satisfying to sew.  I think that these were done entirely on the sewing machine, with a straight stitch to join the side seams and a zig-zag stitch to attach the fold over elastic.  You get better at how much tension to put on the elastic the more that you do it.  You can’t see it clearly in the photos, but this fun fabric has a glittery overprint.  There are terrific bathers fabrics around, especially at shops like Rathdowne Fabrics.  I find that no matter what I do, bathers really only last a year, so I’m glad that I enjoy sewing them!  I’m amassing a rather nice stash of women’s bathers patterns to sew as Clare and Stella get older.