adult's clothing · sewing · teen

Teen Spirit top

When we were in Borneo Clare bought a cropped sweatshirt.  It is fairly lightweight, so perfect for inbetween weather.   She’s been wearing it a lot, so I offered to sew her something similar.  This was made and photographed at the beginning of March.

George and Ginger Teen Spirit top

This pattern is the Teen Spirit Top, by George and Ginger. I love that their multi-sized patterns start at small sizes (tween 12 and 14 then adult XXS) which makes sewing for my daughters much easier.

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We chose to sew the long sleeved, cropped length and I narrowed the neckline. I added bands to the sleeves and the hem to tie them in with the neckband.

George and Ginger Teen Spirit top

The fabric is a knit from the Rathdowne Fabrics remnant bin. It’s actually fairly stable, without much stretch at all, and has a bit of a slub effect. Heavier weight than jersey, lighter weight than sweatshirting.

George and Ginger Teen Spirit top

Current teen fashions are SO late 80s / early 90s! I look at some of Clare’s outfits and then describe to her almost identical onces that I wore back in the day. She wishes that I’d held on to a few of them. I have kept most of my late 80s / early 90s formal wear, but not the everyday stuff.  She’s especially sad that I didn’t hold on to my nubuck Doc Martens (my excuse is that they were trashed after a year of backpacking).

George and Ginger Teen Spirit top

I added a little label from Kylie and the Machine to the side seam, which really tickled Clare’s fancy! I think that I also added one inside that says ‘this is the back’.

George and Ginger Teen Spirit top

As you can imagine, this was an extremely straightforward garment to cut out and sew. Adding the bands made for very simple finishing. I pressed them all toward the body of the garment then topstitched to keep the seam allowances in place and add a tiny bit of detail. And that was it! Sometimes the very simple projects are just as satisfying as the very complex ones – it’s all about meeting the brief.

George and Ginger Teen Spirit top

adult's clothing · sewing · teen

Grecian goddess sundress

The school swimming carnival was four weeks ago!  Four weeks ago, in what feels like a different world and different lifetime.  Clare is in year 12 (final year of high school), so instead of having to wear PE uniform this year she got to dress according to a house ‘theme’.  Clare is in Clare House and their house colour is white.   The theme chosen was ‘goddess’. Out with the sheets!

Grecian Goddess Sundress

We have plenty of old white sheets in the cupboard, and I remembered that there was a free pattern online for a Grecian Sundress. I printed it out and cut it out at the smallest size. The main challenge was gathering the shoulders enough – I should have just done casings and threaded through some cord to pull it up tight; normal gathering with two rows of thread just wasn’t strong enough to pull tight enough gathers in this sheet. In the end I did a running stitch through it by hand with doubled thread so that I could manipulate the gathers more and tighten them.

Grecian Goddess Sundress

It was cool in the morning when they headed off to the carnival, so Clare layered a white tee that I’d made some years earlier underneath. I was pretty impressed with the waist shirring. My sewing machine generally doesn’t like to shir, but I remembered that if I reduced the bobbin tension about a quarter of a turn, it would be okay. And it was! Although I had to refill the bobbin about four times in order to do that amount of shirring. Tedious.

Grecian Goddess Sundress

The girls had lots of fun at the carnival; Stella managed to find herself a job as mascot for her house.

Grecian Goddess Sundress

Grecian Goddess Sundress Grecian Goddess Sundress

This is actually a rather lovely, simple dress pattern. Although this one is very much a costume, I’ll pull out the pattern again and sew it up in a proper dress fabric at some stage. Clare really likes a bit of shirring, and is very pleased that I’ve figured out how to do it effectively on my sewing machine.

Grecian Goddess Sundress

adult's clothing · sewing · teen · tween

Kami skirt for Clare

Short tiered skirts are in all the teen shops at the moment.  Every time Clare points them out, I say ‘I could sew that’.  Then I procrastinate, because I know I’ll need to figure out lengths and proportions and sometimes thinking is hard.  But as it turned out, I didn’t have to do any mental gymnastics, because (unsurprisingly) there is a tutorial for exactly the sort of skirt that Clare wanted.

Kami skirt by The Hemming in cotton from Borneo

The tutorial is called the Kami Skirt, and it’s from a blog called The Hemming. She provides the measurements for Australian sizes 6 (60cm waist) to 16 (85cm waist).  I used the size 8 measurements as a guide for Clare.

Kami skirt by The Hemming in cotton from Borneo

This is another Borneo souvenir garment! Clare chose this printed cotton (actually, it feels as though it has some viscose content as it’s quite soft) at Fabriko in Kuching. Once again I took advantage of the border print by cutting the lower tier on the crossgrain. I used the full length of the fabric we’d bought, which was less than the pattern suggestion, but it still worked out okay. It just means that the lower tier in Clare’s skirt is less full than that in the tutorial. Still seems to have an adequate level of twirl and swish!

Kami skirt by The Hemming in cotton from Borneo

Rather than roll hemming the skirt, I chose to do folded and stitched hems. It’s always slightly awkward to attach the lower tier on the outside of the top tier to create the little frill – you need to make sure that it’s overlapped evenly right along. I’d turned a hem, so that also formed a ‘line’ that I could feel so that I could line it up evenly.

Kami skirt by The Hemming in cotton from Borneo

It’s one piece wide elastic in the waist, sewn through to give the appearance of three channels. The tie is just for decoration – it’s non-functional. It took me four episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer to cut out and sew this skirt, and I think it would be even faster to sew a second time. But how many of these skirts does a teen need in her wardrobe? I’m not sure.

Kami skirt by The Hemming in cotton from Borneo

The top that she’s wearing with the skirt was bought in Kota Kinabalu, at E-teen (like Supre). I can’t claim credit for sewing the top, just the skirt.

crochet · teen

Pineapple Lace crochet halter top

I think that this is the last of the 2019 makes to get onto my blog.  I strongly suspect that there are a couple of others that somehow have missed being photographed and reviewed, but I have to draw a line in the sand somewhere, and we’re now well into 2020!

Pineapple Lace summer halter neck top

I crocheted this little top for Clare while we were away on a long weekend holiday last June. I am not sure whether she initiated this project or whether I did! I do remember that I wanted something to crochet that wouldn’t take long – this fit the bill.

Pineapple Lace summer halter neck top

The pattern is the Pineapple Lace summer halter neck top by Melissa Bjerregaard, and it’s a free Ravelry download. It’s designed for 8 ply yarn, and can be customised to fit. We did add elastic to the underbust, as suggested, and really did need it in order to have the top fit snugly around Clare. I simply zig-zagged it in place on the sewing machine.

Pineapple Lace summer halter neck top

Clare has a very small underbust measurement – just 65cm – so we set the bra cups directly beside one another. She’s also around my height, with a short torso, so the finished top on Clare covers more skin than some of the other examples I’ve seen. We found a fancy button in my stash that has worked well as a closure on the back.

Pineapple Lace summer halter neck top

We found the yarn at a stall at the Preston Market (I don’t think that it’s there now). It’s a cotton/acrylic blend. I avoid wool when sewing or crocheting for Clare as she finds it irritating when in direct contact with her skin. This yarn was pleasant to work with and it blocked nicely, using steam from the iron.

Pineapple Lace summer halter neck top

 

I found the instructions quite clear, and it was fast to work up – maybe because there are components, so you can easily measure your progress. Pineapple lace is one of my favourite motifs – I crocheted an entire shawl in it once – because it’s so enjoyable to watch it come together row by row.

Pineapple Lace summer halter neck top

Clare has put in an order for some other little crocheted tops, but at the rate I haven’t been crocheting in recent years she could be waiting for a while! This should keep her happy in the meantime if she has a music festival to attend….

family · sewing · teen · tween

Style Arc Bonnie top and Clare pants

As well as sewing Clare pants for Clare, I sewed a pair for Stella, and paired it with a Style Arc Bonnie top in the same fabric for the look of a jumpsuit without the impractability.

Style Arc Clare pants and Bonnie top

I reviewed the pants extensively in my previous blog post. For Stella I reprinted the pattern and sewed size 4, the smallest size. Once again I shortened the leg length about two inches before cutting out.

Style Arc Clare pants and Bonnie top

This pattern works equally well on Stella as it did on Clare. It’s interesting sewing for the two of them at the moment. Genetics are strong! They’re pretty much the same shape, with Stella a couple of inches shorter and just one size smaller all over. Stella did her growing at a much earlier age than Clare did, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the two are pretty much the same height and sizes in about another year or two.

Style Arc Clare pants and Bonnie top

The fabric is from Darn Cheap Fabrics. It’s a textured rayon, in a blue-green (teal?) colour that really suits Stella. Unfortunately the textured, more open-weave areas do catch very easily and tear, as we discovered the first time she wore the pants when she climbed a tree (she is still twelve)! I had enough scraps to patch it, but have spotted quite a few pulls in various places after subsequent wears.

Style Arc Clare pants and Bonnie top

So, on to the top! It’s a modification of view B of the Style Arc Bonnie woven top. This is another pattern that I bought in the multi-sized version, because I reckon that I am likely to sew it multiple times for multiple people.

Style Arc Clare pants and Bonnie top

From the pattern website: This wonderful new pattern comes with two options; A & B. Pattern “A” Features a slightly cropped body length, relaxed fit with bust darts. With a round neck and a functional back opening that can be buttoned this sleeveless top is the up to the moment look. For those that prefer a more covered garment there’s option “B”. Featuring a square shaped body and dropped shoulder line with an optional buttoned tab. The body length is longer and has a buttoned back, round neck as option “A”. FABRIC SUGGESTION: Linen, crepe, cotton, rayon.

bonnie-woven-tops

Stella didn’t want the buttons down the back, or on the shoulder tabs. This was an easy change – I just folded the back pattern piece to the centre back (where the buttonholes were marked) and cut the back piece on the fold. I made a corresponding modification to the back neckline facing. This style decision also made it an extremely fast garment to sew. No buttonholes or buttons – the shoulder tabs are just stitched in place.

Style Arc Clare pants and Bonnie top

I sewed size 4 for Stella, so you can see that this is a very roomy style.

Style Arc Clare pants and Bonnie top

Stella wore this outfit to our Christmas Day celebrations. She seemed cool and comfy in it, plus the pants have the all important pockets in which to stash her Christmas present – her first iPhone.

Style Arc Clare pants and Bonnie top

As it turned out, we all wore something sewn by me on Christmas Day – and so did Mum!

2019-12-25 10.45.28-2

I thought that some of you might like to see this next photo of my parents (Dad is ninety-two), my brother and I, and the two granddaughters.  We’re a small family (in numbers as well as in height), and we really span the ages.  Dad was eighty when Stella was born!  After this photo was taken we headed to an extended family lunch, where there were forty of us – Mum’s siblings and their partners, all the children of the next generation (my cousins) and their partners, then all of the generation below who range in age from two to twenty-two.  Quite an achievement to get us all together from three different states and many different cities.  My daughters each have a second cousin very close to them in age and it was beautiful to watch them interacting with one another and finding common interests.

Finlayson family

 

adult's clothing · sewing · teen

Style Arc Clare for Clare

I still have a few things that I sewed last year to get up on this blog. My resolution for this year is to blog as I sew! You may have already spotted these two garments in some of our holiday posts.

Style Arc Clare pants

I’ve already shown you the rayon harem style pants that I sewed for both girls in anticipation of our trip. Clare also wanted some pants in a looser, wider leg style. We’d looked at some at the shops and the Style Arc Clare pattern immediately popped into my head as exactly what Clare was looking for. And of course, the name of the pattern was perfect! It was destiny!

Style Arc Clare pants

Style Arc describe this pattern as follows: A wide leg is the standout pant shape of the season. The cleverly designed elastic waist sits flat at the waist for a slimming look. Featuring a tie belt and angled pockets you will love this easy to wear and easy to sew fashion forward pant. FABRIC SUGGESTION: Linen, crepe, fine wool.

clare-pant

This pattern starts at Australian size 4, and goes to Australian size 30. Style Arc have always been extremely inclusive in their sizing. I suspected that I would sew this pattern for me and possibly for my mum as well as for both my daughters, so I bought the multi-sized pdf version of the pattern. That way I can print it and cut it to whatever size I want, multiple times.

Style Arc Clare pants

Clare chose this rusty coloured rayon from Darn Cheap Fabrics for her pants. I think that we bought 1.5 metres. I shortened the leg length a couple of inches before cutting out the pattern. The instructions call for 38mm wide elastic for the waistband – I used what I had in stash, which was around 30mm wide. I think it worked well for this smaller size.

Style Arc Clare pants

Oh, size wise I sewed size 6 for Clare. Hip measurement is the key one for this pattern, and it’s drafted with a bit of ease, so since she’s at the lower end of the size bracket, I chose one size down from her measurements.  She prefers proportionately less ease.  One of the lovely features of this design is that the waist has elastic all around it, but it’s kept flat at the front between the two pleats. The elastic supports the waistband at the front, and creates lovely comfortable gathers around the sides and back.

Style Arc Clare pants

Clare also wanted a pair of shorts – so we decided to use the same pattern, but at shorts length.

Style Arc Clare pants as shorts

All I did was figure out what inseam length we wanted, and fold back the pattern pieces accordingly. When Clare tried them on at first they were still longer than she wanted; so I just folded back the hem again, stitched it in place, and she was happy! This also caught the bottom of the pocket bag in place, securing it from flapping around. An unintended but happy occurrence!

Style Arc Clare pants as shorts

So this is the same size as the long pair, but in a slightly different fabric. It’s a pinstriped cupro, also from Darn Cheap Fabrics. I’ve just googled cupro and discovered that it is a type of rayon, produced from cellulose in combination with copper and ammonia. It is a breathable fabric, crisper when ironed than the drapey rayon I used for Clare’s pants, but it still wrinkles a fair bit. I’d definitely use this fabric again. I found a great blog post about regenerated fibres like cupro, tencel, viscose, modal, rayon – these are fabrics that I enjoy sewing and especially wearing.

Style Arc Clare pants as shorts

Don’t look too closely at the stripe matching for this pair – because there isn’t much of it. I didn’t even manage to get the seam in the tie belt lined up exactly! I was a little bit pressured to get these clothes finished before our holiday.

Style Arc Clare pants as shorts

There’s a lot of love for the Style Arc Clare pants over on Instagram – search for #clarepants or #saclarepants. Liz Alexandre (Sew Lizzie in Brizzy) in particular has sewn multiple pairs. There is an especially helpful blog post by Mie of Sewing Like Mad here. You’ll be seeing this pattern on my blog again too, I’m quite certain. It’s a great wide leg pants (and shorts!) pattern.

Style Arc Clare pants as shorts

adult's clothing · sewing · teen

McCalls 7626 for Clare

Clare particularly likes the style of clothing from Princess Highway.  We’re fortunate that there’s a clearance outlet not all that far from us selling their clothes and others from related brands (Clear It – who also sell fabric, hooray!) and we are often able to pick up cute pieces there for her.  But when it comes to dresses rather than separates, there’s nothing quite like the fit that I can achieve for her.  Clare is one shop size smaller in tops than in bottoms, and only custom made can accomodate that.

These two Princess Highway dresses give you an idea of the general style and silhouette  that Clare was looking for – a fitted bodice with a square neckline, straps, and an A-line shaped skirt with pockets.  So we hit the pattern books at Spotlight who were having a pattern sale.  We came across a few styles that we liked:

But of course, being Spotlight, not one of them (or the other patterns we were interested in) was in stock.  We eventually found a copy of McCalls 7626 at Lincraft.

McCalls 7626 dress line drawing

We decided that the bodice on this would be perfect.  Clare really liked the fitted waistband and the neckline shape.  The skirt as drafted was much fuller than desired, so I folded out a significant amount of the flare, while keeping the angled pockets.  And the result?

McCalls 7626

Hooray! Just what she was after! The fabric is linen, maybe a cotton blend (thanks to Anna from relocating it from her stash to mine). The bodice is lined in a slightly lighter weight, smoother cotton. Size wise it’s a mash of size 4 and 6. If you’re sewing this dress, use the finished measurements printed on the tissue as your guide for size selection, not the size guide on the pattern envelope. We made quite a few adjustments to bodice fit as we went along, including the usual removal of excess centre back length.

McCalls 7626

I have to say that I am very proud of the centre back zip in this dress! All the seam lines match across the zip perfectly, aided by very judicious marking and pinning. And the print even lines up across the bodice!

McCalls 7626

Clare is a typical teen in that she wants – no, she needs – pockets to put her phone in. These angled pockets are very comfortably placed, and are straightforward to sew. There is topstitching alongside the angled opening which adds details and gives structure.

McCalls 7626

To remove skirt volume I used a vintage A-line skirt pattern from stash as a guide. I made a big slash through the skirt pattern piece from the hemline right up to the waistline then overlapped it until the hem circumference was more suitable, while maintaining the waist circumference. It’s still more flared than A-line, but not excessively so.

McCalls 7626

I really enjoy sewing with linen.  It’s lovely when each seam is pressed and looks crisp.  This fabric didn’t wrinkle as much as some do, and has a little bit of texture.  Sadly, I don’t have any left now!

McCalls 7626

Clare wore this to a function on a super hot day last month and looked both fashionable and comfortable. The armholes are possibly a fraction high at the front – if I make this again I will scoop them out a little further.  I would also remove another centimetre from the bodice length.  Some things are only discovered on wearing.  Otherwise, the fit is great.

McCalls 7626