adult's clothing · children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · teen · tween

Love a bit of colour

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – sometimes you just need a instant gratification sew, and a circle skirt is the way to do it.

Circle skirt in Spotlight scuba

Clare loves a circle skirt, and she loves scuba. This brightly printed highly polyester fabric came from Spotlight. Digital prints really are a gift!

Circle skirt in Spotlight scuba

I used one of the myriad of circle skirt calculators that are available to figure out what radius to use. This is really easy – I fold the fabric in half, then in half the opposite way so that I have a square with folds along two edges. Try it with a piece of paper and you’ll know what I mean. Then measure the radius curve from the corner with all the folds.  Then measure the length that you want – Clare requested 17 inches. Cut – and tada! One doughnut. All you need now is to add the waistband, and when it’s just wide elastic, that’s super easy.

Circle skirt in Spotlight scuba

Sew the elastic into a circle (matching thread helps), overlock it to the right side of the skirt, then flip it so that the overlocking is on the inside. And you’re done. No hemming required with scuba fabrics.

Circle skirt in Spotlight scuba

As it turns out, Clare would have preferred the elastic to be covered by the same fabric as the rest of the skirt, but I wasn’t inspired to change it. I have done that before though and it’s also straightforward. The joy of stretch fabrics!

Circle skirt in Spotlight scuba

If you need better instructions than my hastily typed efforts, take a look at these circle skirt calculators:

There are a myriad of others – Google and YouTube are your friends.

adult's clothing · sewing · teen

Tuesday Stitches Nautilus Swimsuit top

Way back at the beginning of January we had a run of insanely hot weather in Melbourne.  The evening before a predicted 44 degree day, Clare asked me to sew up the Tuesday Stitches Nautilus Swimsuit top that was in pieces in my sewing room, so that she could wear it with the Vernazza two piece pants I sewed a couple of months prior.

Tuesday Stitches Nautilus bikini top with Vernazza two piece bikini pants.

This actually took me much less time to sew than I had anticipated. The instructions were excellent. The pattern description from the website is as follows: The Nautilus swimsuit has an elegant twist center front, like the shell of its namesake cephalopod. The pattern is fully lined and comes with 4 different cup size options (AA cup, A/B cup, C/D cup, or DD+ cup) to make fitting a breeze. Available as a one-piece suit (View A) with a cute little peek-a-boo under the twist or a bikini (View B/C). The bikini comes with twists on the bottom that echo the bodice twist (View B) or plain (View C). Instructions are included for optional cup insertion and side boning for coverage and support. The straps can be tied around the neck halter style or can be attached to the back.

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I sewed the bikini top, view B/C, in the smallest size with the AA cup.  The fabric is from Rathdowne Fabrics, and I think that the lining also came from them.  I had to nip out to Spotlight at the last minute to find the clasp to close the back – fortunately I got there just in time!

Tuesday Stitches Nautilus bikini top with Vernazza two piece bikini pants.

Tuesday Stitches Nautilus bikini top with Vernazza two piece bikini pants.

Tuesday Stitches Nautilus bikini top with Vernazza two piece bikini pants.

Tuesday Stitches Nautilus bikini top with Vernazza two piece bikini pants.

Tuesday Stitches Nautilus bikini top with Vernazza two piece bikini pants.

Sometimes photos give you a better idea of construction than I can put into words! This was completely assembled on the sewing machine – no overlocker got anywhere near this. I adjusted the back after she’d tried it on so that we knew the clasp would be in the correct position for a snug fit.

Tuesday Stitches Nautilus bikini top with Vernazza two piece bikini pants.

There is a sewalong for the Nautilus bathers over on the Tuesday Stitches blog.  As with most sewing, bathers get easier and easier to sew the more often you do it.  The sewalongs are very useful when you start off.  I find that the biggest problems are to do with how much to stretch the elastic when applying it.  The basic answer – don’t stretch it much at all!  Bathers are designed with negative ease, to cling to your body.  As soon as they are worn the elastic stretches out further.  If you cut the elastic much smaller than the bathers pieces they are likely to cut in to you when you wear them.  On flatter parts of the body I don’t stretch the elastic at all.  On curvier ones, like on the back legline, I stretch it a little more.  I use a simple zig-zag to apply the elastic – first to apply it to the wrong side, then again after I turn it to the wrong side to secure it.  Once again, you can see that in the photos.

Tuesday Stitches Nautilus bikini top with Vernazza two piece bikini pants.

This top pairs beautifully with the Vernazza bottoms, and Clare was extremely happy wearing this in the backyard pool with her friends on that absurdly hot day!

Tuesday Stitches Nautilus bikini top with Vernazza two piece bikini pants.

sewing · teen

Yet another Ogden Cami

Clare and I spotted a piece of floral printed rayon among the remnants at The Cloth Shop Ivanhoe and pounced.  We both knew that it would work beautifully for yet another True Bias Ogden Cami!

True Bias Ogden Cami in rayon from The Cloth Shop

I used our altered pattern, cutting the smallest size but moved over the fold another 5/8″ and joyfully sewed it up. I then wondered why it seemed to come down lower at the back to the point where it was showing her bra back strap a little.

True Bias Ogden Cami in rayon remnant from The Cloth Shop

Clare then popped on to Instagram and read the details on the posts about my earlier adventures in Ogden sewing, where it fitted well. I had forgotten to shorten the shoulder straps! Out came the unpicker, and I shortened the straps, then redid them.

True Bias Ogden Cami in rayon from The Cloth Shop

This outfit has been in heavy wardrobe rotation. These photos were taken on an incredibly bright and baking hot Melbourne day. It appears that denim skirt and Ogden Cami is the combination of choice for the sixteen year old.

adult's clothing · sewing · teen

Vintage Style 4728 shorts

Clare and I had fun trawling through my stash of old patterns late last year in search of skirt patterns.  She’s a mix of sizes, but for skirts will generally fit into a women’s 6 or 8.  She was looking for fuller skirts, that ended above the knee. Then we spotted this one:

Vintage Style 4728 shorts in double gauze from Clear It

This pattern is from 1986, and I do think that the cover art is a perfect example of the fashions of its time. The pattern description is as follows. Misses’ Skirt, Trousers, Culottes and Shorts: Flared skirt, slightly tapered trousers, culottes and shorts are gathered front and back onto waistband with side-front pockets which form buttoned opening.

Vintage Style 4728 shorts in double gauze from Clear It

So as you can see, we decided on the shorts! The fabric is double gauze from Clear It, left over from an earlier project.

Vintage Style 4728 shorts in double gauze from Clear It

I do rather enjoy working with printed patterns from this era. I learned to sew using them, and they really do give me pleasure. They are SO familiar to me! We cut straight size 8 for Clare. The pockets tuck into the side seams but form part of the opening at the front.

Vintage Style 4728 shorts in double gauze from Clear It

The buttons are also vintage, from stash, and are the only closure. You can see the slanted front pocket edge in the photo. Because of this opening method, the pockets aren’t actually as deep or as secure as you might think. The teen does keep on putting her mobile phone into the leg opening rather than into the pocket!

Vintage Style 4728 shorts in double gauze from Clear It

The gathers at the front and back provide lovely fullness to these shorts, and they really do work in the same place as an equivalent skirt. Clare tie-dyed the tee with a friend as some school holiday fun. She also dyed her hair!

Holiday hair - Clare

Clare’s hair is waist length, so she needed a friend to help her to get the ombre pink to purple effect! They’re just temporary colours that wash out after around 8 washes (Schwarzkopf Live Colour range; we get them from Priceline) and it’s become a bit of a school holiday tradition to have ‘holiday hair’. If it’s done right at the beginning of the holidays it is all gone by the time that school goes back – Clare’s school is quite strict about ‘unnatural colours’ in hair.

Holiday hair - Stella

Of course, Stella wanted to be in on the action as well. Her choice was ombre blue ends! They really do enjoy this bit of holiday fun. I’ve still got a few of last year’s projects to get up on the blog, so will try to get that done over the next few days. I’m between jobs at the moment, and as you can see we haven’t gone away on a ‘big’ holiday this summer. We’re all enjoying the time at home, pottering away and getting lots of things done that we never usually have the time for. Yes, there is lots of organising and sorting and tidying up and throwing out going on! As well as reading, watching movies and Netflix, and from me, sewing.

Vintage Style 4728 shorts in double gauze from Clear It

adult's clothing · sewing · teen

True Bias Ogden cami – from mini to adult

Last Sewjourn I whipped up a mini Ogden cami for Clare.  (Side note: whenever I type ‘whipped up’ I smile.  What a funny expression to use in a sewing context!  And although the implication that whatever is ‘whipped up’ is done in a frenzy, I didn’t rush my way through this.  It’s just not a complicated garment; there are very few pattern pieces, and no tricky finishing techniques).

True Bias mini Ogden cami in rayon from Rathdowne Fabrics

The fabric is printed woven rayon came from Rathdowne Fabrics and was left over from another project. This is the Mini Ogden cami, sewn in size 10 which was the largest size. I doubted that Clare would be a girls size 10, but the chest measurement looked like it would work, and from past experience I knew that for this pattern I needed to select the size based on circumferential measurements.

True Bias mini Ogden cami in rayon from Rathdowne Fabrics

The first thing that I had to do when she tried it on was re-cut the straps. As designed, the size 10 straps were WAY too short for her height.  I cut out and sewed a new set of straps, adding about four inches to the length, then attached them where they best lined up with her bra straps. I’m old fashioned in that way – I prefer underwear to be covered rather than exposed (unless it’s brightly coloured and worn with an outer garment that suggests it is clearly meant for exposure).

True Bias mini Ogden cami in rayon from Rathdowne Fabrics

Now to me there wasn’t enough boob room in the front of the cami. Yes, it fits, in that it goes around her and isn’t skin tight, but the underarm seams are digging in. Time to pull out the adult version of the pattern and give it another go.

Screen Shot 2018-12-21 at 7.45.22 am

The above diagram is the mini Ogden.  The adult version is a little different, which you can see in it’s line diagram below.

Screen Shot 2018-12-21 at 7.54.52 am

The adult version has a front and back lining piece (it comes down as far as under the bust) and there is no elastic in the back.  Rather, it has a gently curved V neckline like the front.  After checking out the measurements for the adult version I knew that I’d need to sew a muslin.  Clare really needed a size somewhere between the size 10 girls (designed for a 28.5 inch chest) and the size 0 women’s (designed for a 32 inch chest). I found some fabric in the stash, printed and cut out the size 0, and sewed up a wearable muslin.  Then made just-awake Clare try it on with her pyjama bottoms.

True Bias Ogden Cami - size 0 no mods

The fabric is printed cotton from deep stash – maybe originally from Spotlight. It’s not as soft and drapey as the rayon I used for the mini Ogden. I used some plain white fabric I found elsewhere in stash for the partial lining, which was much softer and was possibly rayon.

True Bias Ogden Cami - size 0 no mods

Now as you can see, the fit of the women’s cami here is WAY better than the mini Ogden. However, as I’d anticipated, the neckline was much too wide and the shoulder straps were too far apart. Clare felt really exposed in this version and wanted more chest coverage. Interestingly, that’s how I felt in the Ogden cami that I made ages ago. When we pinned out a chunk along the centre front and centre back, everything seemed much better.  I cut out a second version of the cami, this time from rayon, but after having folded out 5/8 inch along the centre ‘on the fold’ edge. Yes, I did remember to do this to the lining pieces as well as the front and back pieces! In total this removed two and a half inches from the total circumference of the pattern, while retaining the side seam shaping and the overall neckline shaping.

True Bias Ogden Cami - size 0 no mods

Apparently this is drafted for a C cup bust – which Clare doesn’t have.  However, I didn’t do a SBA.  Once change at a time!  And as it turns out, I didn’t need to.  This version fitted so much better!

True Bias Ogden Cami size 0 with mods in rayon

This alteration also raised the neckline a bit at both the front and the back. Clare was really pleased with it. Not sure that the fabric colour is the best for Clare – her skin tone blends into it a bit – but she’s already wearing it quite a lot! She chose to wear it for her early 16th birthday party celebrations (January birthdays often mean that friends are all away at party time, so we chose to have a pre-Christmas celebration this year).

True Bias Ogden Cami size 0 with mods in rayon

You can see how much better that armhole fit is. The back is deep, but finishes above her bra. Bra straps are still exposed a little bit, but not dramatically so, and the cami straps are in a comfortable place on her shoulders.

True Bias Ogden Cami size 0 with mods in rayon

We’re really pleased with the fit of this cami now, and have fabric queued to sew more. I might even give this pattern another go for myself with similar alterations (cut a larger size than I did last time, then move the pattern piece across to shift the neckline and strap position). Clare is also keen for me to sew it as a slip dress. I have a feeling that this will be a very useful garment in the teen wardrobe over this Australian summer.

True Bias Ogden Cami size 0 with mods in rayon

sewing · teen · tween

New Look 6487

If I keep posting once each day, I might actually get my 2018 sewing up to date before the end of 2018!  That’s incentive!  This dress was sewn for Clare back in September.

New Look 6487 in embroidered chambray from Spotlight

There’s every chance that there will be way too many photos in this blog post, because I love this dress so much!

New Look 6487 in embroidered chambray from Spotlight

The pattern is New Look 6487, one of their ‘sized for tweens’ patterns.  From their website: Girls’ shirt dresses are adorable in chambray and shirting fabrics. Pattern features collarless dress with long sleeves and shirttail hem, or gathered skirt with appliques. Collared sleeveless dress can have shirttail hem with belt or gathered skirt.

newlook-girls-pattern-6487-envelope-front

I picked up the fabric at Spotlight.  I called in to one of their larger stores one day after dropping the girls off at a Guide camp.  This embroidered chambray jumped out at me, with one of my girls in mind.

New Look 6487 in embroidered chambray from Spotlight

Because the embroidery ran along one selvedge, I had to do most of the cutting out on the cross grain. As with most sewing, getting the cutting out right is vital! I did my best to get the motifs centred and matching, within the limitations of the design. We decided to keep the yoke, pockets, collar and cuffs plain, and focus the embroidery sections along the bottom of the dress and the sleeves.

New Look 6487 in embroidered chambray from Spotlight

You’ve probably already guessed that this was a fairly slow sew. There are lots of components. Cutting out took a while, and so did assembly. Most construction was done on the sewing machine. I only used the overlocker to finish edges.

New Look 6487 in embroidered chambray from Spotlight

When I look at the photos of Clare wearing this I wish that I’d placed the buttons and buttonholes differently. The one above the bust point creates awkward ‘pulls’, which aren’t due to the dress being too small.

New Look 6487 in embroidered chambray from Spotlight

Size wise….what size did we decide on? I’d need to pull out the pattern pieces to check. I have a feeling it was size 12 girls with size 14 length. The sleeves are a fraction long, but she’ll often wear them rolled up.

New Look 6487 in embroidered chambray from Spotlight

The sleeve cuffs are simply constructed, without a tower placket or similar. The sleeve edge is straight, then the shorter cuff is attached to it with a ‘gap’ that forms a pleat when the cuff is buttoned up. It’s actually quite straightforward.

New Look 6487 in embroidered chambray from Spotlight

I found the buttons at The Cloth Shop.  I had plenty of white buttons in stash, but wanted something that would blend in, with more of a ‘jeans’ vibe to tone with the embroidered chambray.  And a shout out to those embroidered platform sandals – they’re from Django & Juliette, via my fave eBay seller.  Like me, Clare (and now Stella) are sample size.

New Look 6487 in embroidered chambray from Spotlight

There are actually a number of options included in this pattern. You can see that Clare chose the classic straight shirt-dress option, with the added tie belt.  This choice did mean that the straight embroidery had to be incorporated into a curved hem.  It’s worked okay.

newlook-girls-pattern-6487-front-back-view

The other options are cute too.  I wonder if Clare or Stella would like view C for summer – maybe with the mandarin collar?  This pattern definitely allows for mixing and matching the details.

New Look 6487 in embroidered chambray from Spotlight

This is probably one of the stand-out garments that I’ve made this year. It has only been worn a couple of times so far, however. The items that are worn the most are the simple Hey June t-shirts that I’ve churned out in multiple (and possibly haven’t even blogged).  I’m confident though that this will stay in the wardrobe and be worn trans-seasonally, as it can also be worn with tights and boots.  A definite success.

New Look 6487 in embroidered chambray from Spotlight