children's clothing · kids clothing · patterns · sewing

Clare’s 6th Birthday Dress

It is Miss Clare’s 6th birthday today.  12 of her little school friends are coming over for a party.  We’re all prepared – loot bags assembled, pass the parcel, party hats and plates, and party food.  We don’t do healthy party food.  The most popular party food menu for my big girl and her friends is chips, meringues, fairy bread, sausage rolls (home-made, at least) and cocktail frankfurts.  Washed down with fizzy drink – usually pink in colour.   Clare has asked for an ice-cream cake this year, so I haven’t had to bake and decorate.  Party games are planned, and now we’re just waiting for the chaos to commence!

I made her birthday dress on the weekend with Mum’s new sewing machine.  The pattern is Simplicity 3510, which has a number of interchangeable sleeve, neckline and pocket options.

Clare's birthday dress by you.

Such a simple dress, but with lovely details.  And very cool to wear.  The bodice fabric is a Japanese cupcake print that I won a little while ago from Corrie and the skirt is from the Full Moon Forest range by Tula Pink for Moda.

Clare's birthday dress by you.

I made bias binding to finish the armholes and tied the leftover into bows to trim the pockets.

Clare's birthday dress by you.

That little shoulder ruffle is so cute!  The bodice lining is in the same fabric as the skirt, and when I pressed it into place around the neckline I left a couple of millimetres peeking out to look like piping.

Clare's birthday dress by you.

Have a very happy birthday my beautiful big girl!

bags · craft · patterns · sewing

An apple for the teacher

We all know that Christmas will be upon us before we know it, and with it comes the end of Clare’s first year of school.  Didn’t that fly past!  Rather than giving an apple to the teacher as a thank you present, I’ve killed two birds with one stone by testing Nikki’s latest pattern.

IMG_6806 by you.

This is the Mod Bag, very poorly photographed.  What a great pattern!  It’s not for beginners, because you have to fit curved front and back pattern pieces to a straight gusset piece, but it’s a fantastic bag.

IMG_6809 by you.

Love those interior pockets!  One side has this zippered pocket, and the other a large overlay pocket.  The outer fabric and the floral interior fabric is from Anna Maria Horner’s Chocolate Lollipop range.  The white fabric with brown spots that I used for the rest of the lining is not half the quality of the other fabric, and I won’t use it again.  It was something cheap from Spotlight ages ago, and clearly contains too much polyester.  Disappointing to spend time and effort creating a bag when the ingredients aren’t all up to scratch.  I’ve become so used to working with quality supplies!  Lesson learned (I hope).

IMG_6811 by you.

I’ve made this version with a front flap that has a magnetic snap to close the bag, and a decorative ring.  There is one shoulder strap with rings.  Inside the bag is a key leash as well as those pockets.  This pattern has loads of variations and I’m already planning which one(s) to make next.  I hope that Clare’s teacher likes it – she deserves a nice gift; she’s been such a brilliant teacher and Clare adores her.  Clare chose the fabric from my stash especially.

If you’re in Melbourne, Nikki is launching this pattern this Sunday – details are here and there are also some lovely door prizes.

children's clothing · kids clothing · patterns · sewing

No hat, no play!

Every childcare, kinder and school kid in Australia knows this rule – no hat, no play!  I’ve just been testing Nikki’s kids hat pattern so now Clare has another summer hat to choose from.

No hat, no play! by you.

The pattern went together beautifully, although I found it harder to assemble a kid’s hat than an adult one because all the curves are a bit stronger, if you know what I mean.  They seem more concave and more convex when they are smaller pieces of fabric.  I originally cut the widest brim, but it was a bit too wide for Clare, so I reduced the width by an inch or so.

IMG_6675 by you.

The fabrics are all from Anna Maria Horner’s Chocolate Lollipop range from a couple of seasons ago.  There is a matching dress all cut out on my desk awaiting assembly.  Don’t you always make/choose the accessories before the dress too?

IMG_6661 by you.

I should have pressed this more and stuffed the crown before photographing it!  In real life there are no puckers.  I love the way that the spots radiate from the centre of the hat tip.

IMG_6659 by you.

Although the hat was a little big at first, Nikki’s pattern has excellent tips for sizing it properly.  The ribbon worked a treat!  It’s still a fraction large (no fault of the pattern but of my failure to measure Clare’s head properly before I started) but quite wearable, so she’ll get a few years more out of this hat (I’ll unpick the ribbon when it becomes too tight).  If you pop over here and leave a comment you might win the pattern – but be quick, it will be for sale on the website any day now.  And lucky me – another pattern is on its way to me for testing as I type!

children's clothing · kids clothing · patterns · sewing · tutorials

Cup Day Skirt tutorial

Firstly, a warning!  This is going to be a long and photo-heavy post.  When I can work out how I will convert the tutorial into a pdf and upload it somewhere, but for now here is the promised tutorial for the Cup Day Skirt.

Cup Day Skirt Photo 01 by you.

Please let me know if there are any glaring problems with this tutorial or anything that absolutely doesn’t make sense.  It’s the first one I’ve written and I’m not a professional!

Cup Day Skirt Photo 02 by you.

There are two versions of this skirt; one has twice the fabric in it as the other (more twirlability).  I made these to fit my daughter who is almost 6 years old and rather short.  It is simple to adjust for other sizes – just alter the skirt length and the waist elastic accordingly.  You can alter the depth of the ruffle to suit the amount of fabric you have available, or can leave it off completely.  Happy sewing!

1. Materials and equipment

 

Green skirt:

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 03 by you.

 

Approximately 14” (36cm) of 45” (115cm) wide fabric for the main skirt

Approximately 10” (25 cm) of 45” wide contrast fabric for the waistband and ruffle

 

Brown skirt (more twirlability):

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 04 by you.

 

Approximately 45” (115cm) of 45” (115cm) wide fabric

 

Both skirts:

Coordinating thread

Approximately 50” (125cm) of ½ inch wide elastic

Safety pins or bodkins for threading elastic

Scissors or rotary cutter, mat and ruler

Pins

Sewing machine (an overlocker is handy too)

 

Note: I used 5/8 inch seams throughout.

 

2. Cutting out

 

Version 1

Main fabric: Cut 1 piece 13-14” deep across the whole width of the fabric

Ruffle: Cut 2 pieces 2-3” deep across the whole width of the fabric. 

Waistband: Cut 1 piece 3 ¾ – 4” deep by approx 35” long.

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 05 by you.

 

Version 2

Main skirt: Cut 2 pieces 13-14” deep across the whole width of the fabric

Ruffle: Cut 4 pieces 2-3” deep across the whole width of the fabric

Waistband: Cut 1 piece 3 ¾ -4” deep across the whole width of the fabric

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 06 by you.

 

3. Waistband.

 

Fold the waistband in half along it’s length WRONG sides together and press.

Open out and fold the top edge over 5/8”.  Press this fold.

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 07 by you.

 

Open out again, then place the short ends right sides together.

Sew the waistband seam from the top edge to the 5/8” fold, securing the thread at the end.

Sew again from the centre fold to the bottom edge.

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 08 by you.

 

Press the folds back into place. 

You now have a waistband with an opening that you will later use to thread elastic through.

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 10 by you.

 

The main part of the skirt will be sewn to the unfolded edge (at the bottom of the photo).

Divide the waistband into quarters and mark (I use pins).

 

4. Main skirt

Sew the side seams of the skirt together. 

Version 1 will only have one seam.

Version 2 will have two seams.

Press these seams open.  Since the fabric was cut along the entire width, the edges don’t need finishing as they are the selvedges.

Gather the top edge of the skirt, using whichever method you are most comfortable with.  I sew two parallel rows of stitching using the longest stitch length my machine has.  I sew one row about ½” from the edge of the fabric and the other row about ¾” from the edge of the fabric.

Divide the top edge of the fabric into quarters and mark (I use pins). 

 

5. Ruffle

Sew the ruffle pieces right sides together along the short edges.

Press these seams open.  Since the fabric was cut along the entire width, the edges don’t need finishing as they are the selvedges.

Hem one long edge using whichever method you prefer.  I have done a narrow machine stitched hem, but you could do a rolled hem or a bias-bound hem.

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 11 by you.

 

Gather the top edge of the ruffle in the same manner as you did the skirt, using whichever method you are most comfortable with.  I sew two parallel rows of stitching using the longest stitch length my machine has.  I sew one row about ½” from the edge of the fabric and the other row about ¾” from the edge of the fabric.

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 12 by you.

 

Divide the top edge of the fabric into quarters and mark (I use pins).

 

6. Attach ruffle to skirt.

Match up the quarter points on the skirt and the ruffle and pin them right sides together. 

Pull up the gathering threads until the ruffle fits onto the skirt.  Pin in place, adjusting the gathers evenly.

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 13 by you.

 

Sew the ruffle to the skirt using your machine or an overlocker.  Make sure that you take the pins out before you get to them if you’re using an overlocker!

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 14 by you.

 

If you used a machine, finish the raw edges with a zig-zag or other such stitch.

Press the ruffle away from the body of the skirt. You might need to remove some of the gathering threads.

 

7. Attach waistband to skirt.

In the same way as you attached the ruffle to the skirt, attach the skirt to the waistband.

Match up the quarter points on the waistband and the skirt and pin them raw edges and right sides together. 

Pull up the gathering threads until the skirt fits onto the waistband.  Pin in place, adjusting the gathers evenly.

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 15 by you.

 

Sew the skirt to the waistband using your machine or an overlocker.  Make sure that you take the pins out before you get to them if you’re using an overlocker!

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 16 by you.

 

If you used a machine, finish the raw edges with a zig-zag or other such stitch. Press the seam allowances towards the waistband. You might need to remove some of the gathering threads.

 

8. Casings.

Fold the waistband to the inside and press.  It should just cover the seamline.  Pin into place and stitch close to the bottom fold.  This will hopefully be almost along the seamline between the skirt and the waistband.

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 17 by you.

 

Sew another line of stitching halfway between the first line and the top of the waistband.  This forms the casings for the elastic. 

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 18 by you.

 

9. Elastic.

Cut two pieces of elastic to fit comfortably around the waist, plus another 2” (I cut them 22” long for a size 5 skirt).

Using elastic bodkins or safety pins, thread the elastic through the casings.

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 19 by you.

 

Adjust to fit, and sew the ends of the elastic together.

Distribute the gathers nicely, and sew the waistband casing opening closed.

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 20 by you.

 

Try on and twirl!

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 22 by you.

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 21 by you.

 

Cup Day Skirt Photo 24 by you.

 

patterns · planned projects · sewing

Oh I love boutique patterns!

While the Australian dollar was still worth something, I participated in a few fantastic special buys over at the Crafty Mamas forumCrafty Mamas is an Australian online store specialising in supplies for – you guessed it – we crafty mamas, particularly European and boutique fabrics and patterns that are otherwise difficult to find here.  I couldn’t resist the pattern specials.  The hardest part was restraining myself from ordering more!

Pattern bonanza - Portabello Pixies & Favourite Things by you.

The Portabello Pixies patterns are really gorgeous.  I am about to cut out a dress for Clare from the pattern called Claire!  I’ve made the Prairie Girl dress in little girl size before, and liked it so much I bought a pattern in my size too.

Oliver & S patterns (& Lola apron) by you.

And these are super cute as well!  The Oliver & S one on the bottom right is about to be put to use to make another dress for Stella.

baby · children's clothing · kids clothing · patterns · sewing

And a coordinating dress for Stella

Thanks so much for the compliments on Clare’s top!  That fabric is very cute, isn’t it!  Apparently it began life as a bedsheet.  Luckily, there was just enough left to squeeze out a dress for Stella as well.

I used New Look 6792 (circa 2008, unlike the pattern for Clare’s top).

New Look 6792 circa 2008 by you.

And the finished result?

Stella's New Dress by you.

This is a size small (for 3-6 months! crikey, Stella is almost 17 months but at the upper edge of the weight suggested for size small) and fits perfectly.

Oh look!  It's chalk! by you.

It’s pretty much made according to the pattern instructions, other than omitting the ric-rac trim around the armholes and adding bias binding trim to the hem.  And we even have some coordinating knickers (a gift from my sister-in-law):

Cute knickers! by you.

Too cute!  The knickers stop Stella from undoing her nappy all the time.  Here’s a close-up of the front:

New Look 6792 - front detail by you.

Those little puffed half-sleeves are so cute and so wearable (keeping the sun off those little white shoulders).  The tucks are a lovely detail, as are the curved side yokes.  The curved yokes are a bit tricky to attach to the dress front, because you’re joining a concave and convex curve, so I wouldn’t suggest it for beginners.  The back has a lapped zipper which I could have done a better job of if I’d inserted it earlier in the construction process, rather than when the instructions said.  I might need to get a copy of a general sewing reference like the Reader’s Digest one to double check for these types of issues.  That said, a delightful pattern!

children's clothing · kids clothing · patterns · sewing · vintage patterns

Crafty gifts coming together

The warmer weather has inspired me to make a start on summer sewing.  Firstly, a new top for Clare.

Simplicity 8430 circa 1978 by you.

The pattern is Simplicity 8430, copyright 1978!  Many thanks to LIttle Miss Flossy for sending it to me.

Yoked 70s top - front by you.

The main fabric was a gift from Linda; the contrast yoke and undersleeves are from Heather Bailey’s Freshcut line.

Yoked 70s top - button & sleeve detail by you.

I have always liked using fabric-covered buttons; these close the back of the yoke nicely!  It was much more enjoyable sewing this yesterday than doing the chores.  It is a fraction big on Clare at the moment (I made the size 6) but at the rate she is now growing it should be fine over the summer.

Welcome also to anyone popping over from Sew Mama Sew!  I am really pleased and humbled to be on the Sew Mama Sew Board.  Please feel free to delurk and say hello!