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.

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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.

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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

sewing · tween

Modkid Mara skirt for Clare

I think that I’m a sucker for a pattern that is marketed as for tweens/teens.  They’re a little few and far between, so I tend to snap them up when I see them.  The size range generally means that they should work for both my daughters, over a period of time, so I’m quite happy to add them to my stash.  But I don’t just want to add them to stash – I actually want to USE them!  This one didn’t take long to go from electronic file to finished skirt.

Modkid Mara skirt in white denim from M Recht

The pattern is the Modkid Mara skirt. It also comes in a size range for younger girls – this is the tween/teen option, that ranges in size from girls size 10 to 18. The thing that makes the teen patterns different to adult patterns is that the waist to hip ratio isn’t generally as extreme as the sizes go up.

Modkid Mara skirt in white denim from M Recht

The pattern website describes this as follows: The Mara Mini Skirt oozes modern chic style. It is cut short with a high banded waistline in an A-line silhouette featuring a snap front, contrast stitch detailing, belt loops, and extra large side pockets to fit her smart phone. SUGGESTED FABRICS: Bottom-weight fabrics like denim, corduroy, velveteen, cotton sateen, twill or canvas, 54″-60″ wide. Use lighter woven fabrics like shirting, quilting cotton or lining material for the pocket lining in order to reduce bulk in the seams.

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Choosing fabric was easy – I had a small amount of lovely M. Recht stretch denim left in stash, just enough for a denim skirt for a teen.  Choosing size was the next issue.  I decided on size 14 – Clare is a little taller than a 14, but her waist measurement is smaller.  And boy, we found out that her waist measurement is WAY smaller.

Modkid Mara skirt in white denim from M Recht

Lara, write a big sign for your sewing room that says ‘try things on Clare as you sew them and don’t wait until it’s finished’! Because this skirt was way too big everywhere (other than the length, which was only just enough). We did try it with a belt, but then there was just too much pulled in bulk for that to be a solution.

Modkid Mara skirt in white denim from M Recht

You can especially see why that wasn’t a satisfactory solution at the back:

Modkid Mara skirt in white denim from M Recht

So out came the unpicker. Fortunately I have a beautiful quality Clover unpicker that really does make the job straightforward. I decided that I’d take the skirt in along both side seams. I didn’t fancy unpicking the side front and side back panels, which were all neatly topstitched. However, taking in the side seams still required unpicking the waistband and hem topstitching, then unpicking the waistband for a decent section along both side seams. Then I re-sewed, also straightening out the A-line of the pattern into a more streamlined look (‘it’s too sticky-outy at the bottom’).

Modkid Mara skirt in white denim from M Recht

If you look closely there you can see how much I took it in at each side seam. I tried it on her again before I overlocked off the excess and restitched the waistband. I also restitched the hemline after making the hem a little smaller in order to gain a fraction more length.

Modkid Mara skirt in white denim from M Recht

Fortunately the finished skirt now fits her just as she likes it! The deep pockets are a definite bonus, as like most teens her mobile phone is ever present. I lined the pockets in a pretty Anna Maria Horner voile that’s been in stash for years. At first we were concerned about the print showing through the pale denim, but it doesn’t seem to be a problem in wearing.

Modkid Mara skirt in white denim from M Recht

Overall this was a good pattern to work with. Nice details, clear instructions. I chose not to use snaps as the fastening, instead opting for buttons down the front. I did all the topstitching in the the same colour as the denim; Clare didn’t fancy anything contrasting. She figured that the skirt would coordinate with more tops if it was just the one colour.

Modkid Mara skirt in white denim from M Recht

I think that Clare is almost set for summer now. I do have a dress on the ready to sew pile, and I’m sure that other requests will appear, but many wardrobe gaps have now been filled. I’m currently busy with Christmas sewing!

Modkid Mara skirt in white denim from M Recht

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

sewing · tween

Burda 9489 skirt

Clare asked for some summer skirts to bulk out her wardrobe.  I’ve had Burda 9489 in stash for what seems forever, and fortunately she fancied it.

Burda 9489 in cotton linen from Spotlight

The fabric has also been in stash for what seems forever! If my memory is correct it’s a cotton/linen blend from Spotlight, part of the Denyse Schmidt range that was extremely popular some years back.

Burda 9489 in cotton linen from Spotlight

Clare has loads of Hey June Morrison tees in a range of colours, many of which coordinate nicely with this skirt. I think that the Burda pattern is possibly out of print.

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Burda describe this as follows: Gathered skirt with broad waistband and intriguing banded hip yoke pockets. Dress: same seam lines and jersey bodice attached at the waist.

We sewed girls size 12 for Clare – her waist measurement is only around 24 inches, and the gathering in the skirt would accommodate her hips and bum.  We left off the belt and belt carriers, and I also eliminated the bands around the pockets, instead choosing to topstitch them in contrasting thread.

Burda 9489 in cotton linen from Spotlight

I used an invisible zip in the centre back seam rather than an exposed zipper.

Burda 9489 in cotton linen from Spotlight

I’m pretty sure that this is pattern length. Like most teens, she likes her skirts shorter rather than longer!

Burda 9489 in cotton linen from Spotlight

I can generally tell if a garment has been a success by how quickly it enters regular wardrobe rotation. This one is a success (like her myriad of Hey June Morrison tees). Clare can style it a few different ways, and I anticipate that we’ll see it quite a bit over the next few months.

Burda 9489 in cotton linen from Spotlight

adult's clothing · sewing · tween

Vintage Simplicity 9725

Oh, how I love a 1970s pattern for the teen!  I gave Clare the option of three 1970s dress patterns, and this is the one that she chose.

Vintage Simplicity 9725 in printed voile

It is Simplicity 9725. I bet that plenty of you have this somewhere in your stash! Nicole has sewn it in the past, and when I popped it on Instagram there were many others who recognised it.

Vintage Simplicity 9725 in printed voile

I really appreciate that there used to be pattern size ranges other than the ‘Misses’ we have today. There were ranges that were sized specifically for certain shapes and proportions – Misses, Women’s, Juniors, Junior Miss, Teen, Junior Petite, Half-Size (my personal fave – women’s circumferences, but less than average height), and the list goes on! I feel as though sizing has become so generic nowadays and as a consequence it’s become harder to find a successful starting point for home sewing.

Vintage Simplicity 9725 in printed voile

Because Clare was away while I sewed her dress, I made certain to sew it with potential size adjustment in mind. She’s not a 32″ bust as per the pattern, but I felt that the vertical measurements would work as they were. In the end I sewed the entire front of the dress together, then the entire back, then the side seams. And I’m glad that I did – you can see the old and new seamlines and how much I had to bring the bodice in after trying it on Clare once she got home.

Vintage Simplicity 9725 in printed voile

The sleeves are really pretty – double layered, narrow hemmed, inserted as one. The shoulders are probably a bit too wide for Clare as well – if she’d been home while I was making this I would have tried it on her and narrowed the shoulders before inserting the sleeves.

Vintage Simplicity 9725 in printed voile

There is an invisible zipper in the centre back. It’s barely long enough, but manages to undo sufficiently for her to wriggle the dress on. I think that the pattern had instructions for a centred zipper – I ignored that. I prefer an invisible zip. The neckline is faced, and I made sure that the facing finished the zipper nicely.

Vintage Simplicity 9725 in printed voile

The fabric is cotton voile (thanks again to a generous friend for this lovely print) and consequently is was super easy to work with. I interfaced the bodice midriff, but think that this dress could have benefitted from a bodice and midriff lining. Something to keep in mind if you’re thinking of sewing this dress.

Vintage Simplicity 9725 in printed voile

I love this on Clare, and she clearly loves it too as it’s already been worn quite a bit. Her friends now ask her ‘did your mum make that’ – to which she proudly answers yes! I get the definite impression that some of them are a little jealous. I really appreciate that Clare appreciates my sewing.

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