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

children's clothing · sewing · tween

McCalls 7708 for Clare

During the last school holidays my husband took the girls on a road trip to visit the town he grew up in (Mount Gambier, in South Australia).  I had to stay behind and work, but while they were away I also indulged in some ‘I-miss-you’ sewing and made a garment for each of them.  I’ll start with the top that I sewed for Clare.

McCalls 7708 in viscose from Darn Cheap Fabrics

This is McCalls 7708, a girls’ top pattern.  I think it’s basically the kid version of the very popular McCalls 7542. I find that girls’ pattern still fit Clare better through the shoulders and upper chest than most adult patterns at the moment.  Clare is finally taller than me (by a whole 3cm) but is not very broad at all.  For skirts/shorts/pants we vacillate between the size ranges, depending on the cut and what measurement is the most important (waist versus hips).

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McCalls description of the pattern is rather brief. ‘Tops have sleeve variations and back button closure.’  Oh really!

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I texted a link to the pattern to Clare so that she could choose the sleeves that she preferred, and she chose view D, the floaty sleeves that overlap at the top.  They’re very dramatic, yet straightforward to construct.  The sleeve edge is narrow hemmed before the sleeve head is overlapped at the markings and basted, then the sleeve is inserted as usual.

McCalls 7708 in viscose from Darn Cheap Fabrics

McCalls 7708 in viscose from Darn Cheap Fabrics

After a quick look at the pattern pieces I was certain that I’d be able to cut the centre back on the fold and dispense with the centre back opening. There would be plenty of room to get this on over Clare’s head. I elected to finish the neckline with bias binding sewn on right sides together then turned to the inside and machine stitched in place. It’s a finish that I often use for necklines, rather than using facings, and I really like it – especially in shifty fabrics like this printed viscose woven from Darn Cheap Fabrics (yes, it was leftover from another project).

McCalls 7708 in viscose from Darn Cheap Fabrics

McCalls 7708 in viscose from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I was a little concerned that the top might be a fraction short, but it turns out that she really likes this length. It works well with her higher waisted bottoms, but there’s still enough length to tuck it in if she wants to. And I have to say that this top goes beautifully with her new glasses from Dresden (made from recycled fishing nets)!

McCalls 7708 in viscose from Darn Cheap Fabrics

adult's clothing · sewing · tween

Vernazza Two Piece

I quite like sewing bathers.  Moreso for my daughters than for myself.  Smallish pieces of fabric, great prints and colours, and mostly pleasing results.  My bathers pattern stash is growing, I must admit, especially with old patterns – often by Kwik Sew – that I pick up at op shops.

Vernazza two-piece in swimwear fabric from Rathdowne Fabrics

This is not one of those op shop patterns! This is the Vernazza Two Piece, a pdf pattern from Friday Pattern Company. It started appearing on Instagram, I showed it to Clare, and she gave it the go-ahead.

Vernazza two-piece in swimwear fabric from Rathdowne Fabrics

From the pattern website:  Whether you’re frolicking along the coastline of northern Italy or sunbathing in your backyard, the Vernazza Two Piece will have you feeling glamorous and comfortable. It features tank straps, an adjustable tie front, and a soft waistband. The bottoms hit at about your belly button and can easily be adjusted for a higher or lower rise. This is a simple swimsuit with a lot of style. It is fun to sew and is perfect for the very confident beginner or intermediate sewist. 

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While writing this blog post I notice that there is also an instructional video for making these bathers!  I wish that I’d actually watched it before sewing them.  Even though I’ve sewn quite a few pairs of bathers, I’m never entirely confident and always keen to get extra tips and hints.  That said, these weren’t really difficult to make.

Vernazza two-piece in swimwear fabric from Rathdowne Fabrics

Clare prefers high waisted bathers bottoms with low cut legs. Show her any of those high-cut ’80s leglines and she recoils in horror! I sewed the XS bathers bottoms, and she is super happy with the fit. I fully lined the bathers with a beige swimwear lining from stash. The print is from Rathdowne Fabrics. I chose not to put elastic inside the waistband, and it seems to fit well (although only wearing in the water will really tell). I used the suggested elastic measurements for the leg openings. I felt as though I was over stretching the elastic when I sewed it on, but once it was all turned to the inside and zig zagged again it seemed okay.

Vernazza two-piece in swimwear fabric from Rathdowne Fabrics

The top is also size XS, and it’s really a size too big for Clare. I put it in the category of wearable muslin. Like the pants, it is fully lined, although I used the print to self-line the front because it shows at the front tie.

Vernazza two-piece in swimwear fabric from Rathdowne Fabrics

Once again I used the suggested elastic lengths, and I do think that they just were too short. The top looks pretty bunchy, as I had to stretch the elastic quite a bit in order to make it fit. After trying the outer shell on Clare I shortened the shoulder straps about half an inch at the shoulder seam, and scooped that half inch out of the underarm to compensate. It put the top in a better place on her body.

Vernazza two-piece in swimwear fabric from Rathdowne Fabrics

The instructions have you sew the neckline elastic to the lining, not through both the inner and outer. This means that you need to sew it exactly next to the seam allowance. I learned this the hard way as I sewed it too far in and had to unpick it all and reattach it. I actually found it easier to get it in a better position by sewing it after the lining and outer had been sewn together. That way I could butt the edge of the elastic right along the seamline. It still has a tendency to roll out a bit, but that could be because the top is a size too big. You can see the lining at the back in the photo of them on Clare.  If the top was more stretched out on the body it could be fine.  Either way, I need to refine my elastic application the next time that I sew these.

Vernazza two-piece in swimwear fabric from Rathdowne Fabrics

Clare is happy enough with the wearable muslin. I still have plenty of the fabric, so will actually make another top from a pattern that I know fits her, then she can mix and match a bit. Give her another year of growth and this might fit better. Physically, Clare is very similar to me at the same age.  I kept growing until I was around 18 or so, and like her was still very slight at age 15.  I am so pleased that she still likes me to sew for her!

adult's clothing · sewing · tween

More Elle pants

Not only do I like Style Arc Elle pants for me, but Clare likes them for her!  She did work experience in an engineering firm a couple of months ago, and needed some pants that she could wear to work.  Elle pants to the rescue!

Style Arc Elle pants in Style Arc Bengaline size 6

This pair is in black bengaline, so it’s hard to see them clearly in the photos, but I also sewed her a pair in an eggplant colour and in a neutral beige/brown. They’re SO quick to make!  She’s also got a navy pair that is terrific for Guides.

Style Arc Elle pants in Style Arc Bengaline size 6

I’m pretty sure that these are size 6. I shorten them by taking a fold out of the pattern pieces between the knee and the hem. Construction is all on the overlocker, with the machine just used to twin needle the hems (and to join the ends of the waist elastic together.

Style Arc Elle pants in Style Arc Bengaline size 6

From the Style Arc website: This is the pant of the moment, slim line from ankle to waistline. Elastic waist 35mm or 1 ¼ inch wide. These pants sit so beautifully without any bulk, wear them with your high heels out for the night or with your sneakers for brunch…..a must have piece in your wardrobe! FABRIC SUGGESTION & DESCRIPTION Stretch Bengaline is perfect! You can buy Bengaline at our store.

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These have the comfort of leggings but the fit of a slim pant, and the fabric elevates them above a ponte pant.  Will skinny pants ever completely go out of fashion?  I doubt it.  I’ll probably be sewing this pattern for the rest of my life.

Style Arc Elle pants in Style Arc Bengaline size 6

By the way, I sewed the jacket a couple of years ago.  The shirt is purchased.

adult's clothing · sewing · tween

Style Arc Tallulah

Another garment that was sewn a while ago – this one at Sewjourn in April.

Style Arc Tallulah dress in soft viscose knit from Super Cheap Fabrics

It’s fun sewing for the kids! This is the Style Arc Tallulah knit dress, in size 4. The fabric is a super soft viscose/spandex knit from Super Cheap Fabrics. Clare is pretty fussy about what fabrics she wears next to her skin, and this one ticks all of the boxes.

Style Arc Tallulah dress in soft viscose knit from Super Cheap Fabrics

From the Style Arc website: You will love this easy to wear pull-on knit dress sewing pattern. With its long sleeves, the side gathers elevate this style from a simple shift dress to a super fashionable garment. This is a very easy sewing project – you could have a new dress in an afternoon. FABRIC SUGGESTION: Jersey or double knit.

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Style Arc are right – this is an easy dress to sew, and if I hadn’t decided to sew it from striped fabric it would have been very fast.  Because I did use stripes, I spent quite a lot of time getting them all lined up when I cut it out, and pinned every single stripe together before I sewed each seam.  Worth it though!

Style Arc Tallulah dress in soft viscose knit from Super Cheap Fabrics

Clare is around my height now – 158cm tall – and this is pattern length. She prefers it styled with a belt, as she finds the drop waist a bit too late 80s/early 90s and the side gathers hit at a more pleasing location when the skirt is moved up and bodice bloused over the belt.

Style Arc Tallulah dress in soft viscose knit from Super Cheap Fabrics

As is always the case with Style Arc, the pattern is beautifully drafted and there is just the right amount of fullness created by the gathers. I used both the sewing machine and the overlocker in construction, and hems were twin needled after securing with vliesofix.

Style Arc Tallulah dress in soft viscose knit from Super Cheap Fabrics

I have to admit that I do get a great deal of pleasure out of seeing my teen in clothes that are all made by me – in this case dress, cardi and scarf! She does have bought clothes in her wardrobe too, but definitely is more than happy to wear what I make – as long as she has a say in what it is! Very satisfying.

Style Arc Tallulah dress in soft viscose knit from Super Cheap Fabrics

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · tween

Hey June City Park tee

Clare came to me with a dress that no longer fitted, in that it was way too short.  This was a ponte Groove dress that I’d sewed a couple of years prior.  See, my kids do actually grow and get taller!  The before photo from 2016:

Groove dress in ponte from Super Cheap Fabrics

It was pretty straightforward for me to grab a copy of the Hey June Patterns City Park tee and use it as a guide to straighten out the side seams and curve the bottom hem.  Hey presto, too short flared dress becomes a fitted tee!

Hey June patterns City Park tee

The neckline was a bit too open and scooped when I first sewed this – but now it’s perfect! While the pattern was out I also sewed up a long-sleeved tee in white stretch panne velvet from stash for Clare to wear to a fairy themed party. I know, she’s a teenager, it’s a fairy party, some things you never grow out of!

Hey June patterns City Park tee

Just a quick snap to show you the fit. This is a nice basic fitted tee with set in sleeves. I think that I sewed the girls size 14. The panne velvet was appalling stuff to sew. My overlocker handled it okay but it left terrible little pieces of sparkly plasticky fluff absolutely everywhere. Ugh. I’m avoiding that fabric in the future. It did however fit the bill nicely and Clare looked lovely (and warm) when she headed off to the party – with the addition of wings and a wand, of course!

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The cardi is purchased, and the patternless skirt sewn from scuba a couple of years ago.

I have found Hey June patterns to be excellent basics for my daughters.  I have three that I use regularly – the City Park tee (set in sleeves, fairly fitted), Camden Raglan (raglan sleeves, fairly fitted) and the Morrison tee (drop shoulder, loose body, fitted sleeve).  And as they grow I just reprint and cut out the size that I want.  Very worthwhile.

 

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · tween

a second Girl on the Go dress

Oliver + S Girl on the Go dress in printed ponte from Spotlight

Stella really likes the Oliver + S Girl on the Go dress that I made her a few weeks ago, so I’ve sewn her another! And yes, it’s from scraps again. Woo hoo for scrap busting!

Oliver + S Girl on the Go dress in printed ponte from Spotlight

This time the scraps are left over from a summer dress I sewed for Clare, that’s had quite a bit of wear since I first made it and is definitely due to be passed on to Stella. The fabric is a soft printed ponte from Spotlight. I faced the ties with a solid knit from stash, partly as a design choice, but mostly because I didn’t have enough of the print to face them with!

Oliver + S Girl on the Go dress in printed ponte from Spotlight

This is a really easy pattern to sew. Construction is on the overlocker other than attaching the neckline facing, which I do on the machine. I use a twin needle in the machine to secure the neckline facing, sleeve and skirt hems.

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Once again, I sewed view A but with the sleeves from view B.  I reckon that this pattern will be sewn up as straight view A when it gets to next summer.  I bought the pdf pattern, so it will easy enough to print out a larger size if necessary.

Oliver + S Girl on the Go dress in printed ponte from Spotlight

You can’t see it in these photos, but I actually used two different colours in the twin needle – each matching one of the blue/greens in the print. Partly as a design feature, partly because it was easier to grab two different spools of thread than to hunt down two that matched exactly or to wind some of one spool on to a bobbin.

Oliver + S Girl on the Go dress in printed ponte from Spotlight

Stella’s dress is size 10, but the Girl on the Go pattern actually goes up to girls size 18. So if you are a slender adult, I reckon that this would fit you fine! Other option for someone wanting to make a grown-up version would be the Liesl + Co Maritime top, lengthened to a dress with ties sewn into the side seams.  It’s such a straightforward dress, but comfortable and easy to wear with a little style thrown in. And isn’t that what most of us want?

Oliver + S Girl on the Go dress in printed ponte from Spotlight