adult's clothing · sewing · tween

Style Arc Ellie-Mae

I’m still blogging last year’s garments!  I have been doing a little bit of sewing since we got back from holidays, but at a much slower rate than usual.  I’m still adjusting to working in a new job, three days per week instead of two, and have been having lots of very early nights!

Style Arc Ellie-Mae tunic dress in cotton from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Apparently this year’s fashions are all about the sleeve and the shoulder.  This dress managed to incorporate both trends!  It is the Ellie-Mae tunic top from Style Arc.  From their website: ELLIE-MAE: This on-trend top/tunic dress is a gorgeous look with its flattering, elastic off the shoulder neckline. The raglan sleeve allows this style to flow beautifully. Soft ruffles fall from the hemline and the sleeves. Design your own look, why not use a wide lace for the ruffles? We made the top with a hem ruffle and the tunic dress without a ruffle. The choice is yours. The elastic neckline allows you to wear it off the shoulder or alternatively up on the shoulder for a more stayed look.  Wear the top with jeans or use the longer length as a tunic over your favourite pants, or as a dress.  FABRIC SUGGESTION: Silk, Crepe, Cotton, Broderie Anglaise.

ellie-mae

I sewed the dress version in size 4 for Clare.  It was very straightforward to make, being a basic raglan construction.   It was mostly sewn on the overlocker, with the machine used for gathering and securing hems and the neckline.  I used wide elastic in the neckline, and it has gathered it beautifully.

Style Arc Ellie-Mae tunic dress in cotton from Darn Cheap Fabrics

The fabric is a beautiful printed voile, originally from Darn Cheap Fabrics (but it came to me via Anna’s stash – thanks Anna!) and it was perfect for Clare. Very easy to work with and just the right weight and hand for the elastic gathering. It ironed well, and the sleeve frills were easy to gather too.

Style Arc Ellie-Mae tunic dress in cotton from Darn Cheap Fabrics

It’s really important to get that elastic in the neckline the correct length, and there is no way to do that effectively without trying it on. It has to be just right – not too loose, so that it stays up, and not too tight, so that it tries to move upwards or feels uncomfortable.

Style Arc Ellie-Mae tunic dress in cotton from Darn Cheap Fabrics

Clare has worn this a couple of times now. She does find that when she lifts her arms the whole dress moves up a bit and she gets what she describes as “an underarm wedgie”. But overall, this is a great success.

Style Arc Ellie-Mae tunic dress in cotton from Darn Cheap Fabrics

I had enough of the fabric left over to whip up an Aeolian dress/tunic for my cousin for Christmas. No modelled photos of that one however, just these on Ada.

Pattern Fantastique Aeolian dress in woven fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics

This was also a simple sew, especially considering that I’ve sewn this pattern many times. Raglan sleeves, constructed on the overlocker, sewing machine with contrasting thread used to topstitch beside the shoulder seams, secure hems and to secure the self-made bias binding that was used to finish the neckline.

Pattern Fantastique Aeolian dress in woven fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · tween

Hey June Morrison Tee and McCalls 7150 shorts

So, back to normal programming!  Don’t think that I have suddenly started sewing in a frenzy since returning from holiday.  I have managed to sew one garment during the past fortnight but I think that there are over 30 items from last year that are still unblogged.  So I’ll gradually get them all up here.  The problem with not blogging soon after making is that I do forget some of the details.  Lesson learned – this year I will blog new makes soon after making!

Hey June Morrison tee in knit from Clear It with Simplicity shorts

This is the Morrison Tee from Hey June Handmade.  It is part of a line of Junior’s Patterns in sizes 6 to 16.  This is a great idea – the tween market is an underserved market in sewing patterns, in my view.  There is such variation in height, weight and shape among tweens that it can be very difficult to find things that are suitable.  Many children’s patterns stop at around size 10 or 12.  Although adult patterns kick in then from a height perspective, plenty of tweens/teens aren’t shaped like adults!  I often reflect on this as I look at my daughters’ friends (Clare’s in particular).  Many of these tweens and teens are shaped like adult women, but plenty aren’t.  There are super tall ones still to develop boobs and hips; there are short ones still to develop as well.  There are short ones who are already developing but don’t have the shoulder width of adult patterns.  I suppose that the lucky ones are the taller, developed ones – they can simply fit into women’s clothing (and sewing patterns).  Then “age appropriateness” becomes an issue.  It can be complicated!  These Hey June patterns go to girls size 16 with a height of 162cm – which is taller than me.  I have noticed that Simplicity and New Look in particular have a great range of fashionable girls patterns that also go to girls size 16, and Ottobre magazines have a terrific range too.   Options are there, you just have to look for them a bit harder!

Hey June Morrison tee in knit from Clear It with Simplicity shorts

Anyway, this is not a problem for Stella. I sewed her size 8 in this tee. It’s an oversized style, so it plenty loose through the body, but the armholes and length are well proportioned. The pattern description is as follows: The Morrison Tee is a casual boxy fit dolman tee for juniors.  Options include banded sleeves, cap sleeves, or long sleeves.  Choose a hi-low hem, a straight hem, or either version with a front tie hem.  The Morrison is perfect for 4 season wear and can be made dressier or more casual.  Make a slubby gray front-tie tee for lazy Saturdays or use a pretty floral for a cap sleeve top to pair with a pretty skirt and sandals for fancier occasions.  Personalize your Morrison Tee with cute iron-on decals, fabric paint, tie dye, or applique.  This versatile top will be a wardrobe staple for your tween or teen!

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I chose to sew the banded sleeve with front tie and hi-low hem.  It was very straightforward to construct.  The fabric is a printed cotton/viscose (?) spandex from Clear It – it’s terrific quality.  Construction was straightforward, as you’d expect if you’ve sewn multiple t-shirts before!  I really can’t remember the instructions much.  I assume that I sewed the shoulder seams, applied the neckband, sewed side seams, attached sleeve bands, then hemmed.

Hey June Morrison tee in knit from Clear It with Simplicity shorts

Oh, the shorts! I forgot about the shorts! They are from McCalls 7150, and are very straightforward elastic waist shorts. I sewed them in viscose/cotton chambray, and used pink thread to topstitch the hems.

Hey June Morrison tee in knit from Clear It with Simplicity shorts

A few more words about McCalls 7150.  The pattern description is as follows: Pullover top, tunic and dress are sleeveless and have yoke back and purchased bias tape for neckline and armholes. A: Yoke front, overlapped tulip-hem back. B: Hemline ruffle, wrong side shows. C: Applied ruffles, raw edge finish on heading. B, C: Bias bow, knot. Lined shorts, and leggings: Elastic waist. D: Thread carriers and purchased ribbon. E: No side seams. A, B, C, E: Narrow hem. Headband: Elastic, bow, knot.  

m7150_a

I sewed the view A top, in the same fabric as the shorts.  It was TERRIBLE.  I used bias tape to finish the edges, as per the instructions, and the results were horrible.  Take a look at the line drawing for this pattern.

m7150

Using “purchased bias tape for neckline and armholes” absolutely does not work on armholes with such extreme curves!  It was fine around the neckline, but those armhole curves at the centre back of the armhole are quite extreme.  There were puckers galore.  It really needed to have a facing of some kind, or be sewn only in a stretch fabric.  Definitely a wadder, which was disappointing because I’d used lovely fabric and bias binding.  You win some, you lose some.

Hey June Morrison tee in knit from Clear It with Simplicity shorts

So, back to the tee! This is a nice basic tee pattern, and one that I am sure I will come back to in the future, both for Stella and for Clare.

Hey June Morrison tee in knit from Clear It with Simplicity shorts

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · tween

Style Arc Cara top – this time for the teen

When Clare saw my version of the Style Arc Cara top, she promptly declared that she wanted one too.  I pondered, because she’s not really in adult size patterns yet.  However, when I checked the Style Arc website I discovered that their patterns start at an Australian size 4.  I figured that it was worth a go.

Style Arc Cara top in navy tencel from Clear It

I managed to buy a copy of the downloadable pdf when Style Arc had a pdf sale on Etsy. I really didn’t feel like grading down my size 12 version! There aren’t many pattern pieces, so it didn’t take long to tape together the A4 pattern pieces. I don’t mind taping when there aren’t loads of pieces, and I was after immediate gratification. Downloadable pdf patterns are always great in that regard!

Style Arc Cara top in navy tencel from Clear It

I cut this as a straight size 4 without alterations. I figured that the length would be quite adequate for Clare, especially since in many ways her proportions are like mine – she has long legs for her height and a proportionately shorter torso. The fabric is navy tencel from Clear It. That reminds me – I need to sew up the pair of pants that I have cut out from the same fabric!

Style Arc Cara top in navy tencel from Clear It

I decided not to interface the front neckband, as the fabric is relatively substantial. This appeared to work out okay. I also made certain when I inserted the elastic into the back neckband piece that I could access it in case I needed to shorten it to fit Clare better. As it turned out, that was a good idea – once I was home from Sewjourn and she tried it on, I needed to shorten the back elastic by a number of inches for the top to stay up!

Style Arc Cara top in navy tencel from Clear It

This is a very straightforward garment to sew. I mostly used the overlocker for construction. Hems were finished on the overlocker, then turned to the inside in a narrow hem and stitched on the machine. Easy peasy.  Just watch out for them stretching out a little and rippling on sections that become bias (i.e. learn from my mistakes).

Style Arc Cara top in navy tencel from Clear It

This top has already had quite a bit of wear. Definitely a wardrobe hit with the teen – and it’s good to jump right onto the off the shoulder/cold shoulder/split sleeve trend before it disappears!

Style Arc Cara top in navy tencel from Clear It

kids clothing · sewing · tween

Modkid Cassidy Dungaree Dress

Sewing for my girls is getting harder.  Finding the right match between style, fabric, sizing and pattern – especially for the teen.  Clare is almost 14, but much smaller than most of her peers.  I was the same at her age, and it seems that my genes are strong in this one!  She has a strong sense of her own style, which is much more colourful and individual than many of her friends, yet she wants to dress in ways that make her seem like a typical teenager rather than a kid.  I completely understand that!

Modkid Cassidy dungaree dress in printed corduroy remnant from The Cloth Shop

The Modkid Cassidy Dungaree Dress pattern goes up to a girls size 12, which is what I used for Clare.  Their website describes it as follows: Cassidy is a playful dungaree style dress that can be layered over long-sleeve tees and leggings in the cooler months but also worn by itself or with a tank top underneath for the warmer months. This pattern will be a favorite for back-to-school and Holiday sewing.  SUGGESTED FABRICS: Bottom-weight fabrics like denim, corduroy, twill or canvas, 54″-60″ wide. 

Modkid Cassidy dungaree dress in printed corduroy remnant from The Cloth Shop

I used a remnant of printed corduroy from The Cloth Shop for Clare’s pinafore.  (I just can’t bring myself to use the word “dungaree” – that’s just not a term Australians use).  There was a small tear in the fabric, which I forgot about when I was cutting it out.  Fortunately the back and front skirt pieces are the same as one another, so I made sure that I placed the tear at the back of the skirt.  I repaired it with some fusible interfacing underneath and zig-zagged it to secure, then placed another pocket flap over it to hide it.  I think it worked well!

Modkid Cassidy dungaree dress in printed corduroy remnant from The Cloth Shop

I used quilting cotton to line the bodice and the straps. The most difficult part of making this was finding decent hardware. I bought buckles and hammer on buttons from Spotlight, but have to say that the quality was abysmal. The buttons bent as soon as they were hammered on – and I wasn’t overdoing things, I’ve done this before – and I ended up going through twice as many as needed to have some that worked. The buckles also feel flimsy. I will buy this sort of hardware elsewhere in the future – I was extremely unimpressed with these.

Modkid Cassidy dungaree dress in printed corduroy remnant from The Cloth Shop

Otherwise, this was a fairly simple garment to make. There are lots of topstitching opportunities, and I always enjoy a lined bodice. I don’t think that the fit at centre back where the straps join is as good as it should be. They needed to be angled more, and I notice that other examples of this dress have the same issue. Note for next time!

Modkid Cassidy dungaree dress in printed corduroy remnant from The Cloth Shop

The front pockets are also fully lined with the same quilting cotton as the bodice. It’s always good to have somewhere to put your hanky. The flaps on the bodice and back skirt are just that – there are no functional pockets there.

Modkid Cassidy dungaree dress in printed corduroy remnant from The Cloth Shop

This should still fit next winter as well, with any luck – it’s a style that is rather adjustable and forgiving.

Modkid Cassidy dungaree dress in printed corduroy remnant from The Cloth Shop

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · tween

Groove dress – as dress!

It amuses me that I sewed this pattern as a top twice before I got around to sewing it as an actual dress.

Groove dress in ponte from Super Cheap Fabrics

This is the Madeit Patterns Groove dress for teens, sewn in the teen size Small. We chose to sew the long sleeved version with the scoop neck. However, Clare finds the scoop neck is actually a bit wider than she would prefer. She doesn’t like necklines high at the front, so she is happy with the depth, but because she has narrow shoulders the neckline is wider than she’s prefer.

Groove dress in ponte from Super Cheap Fabrics

The fabric is a printed ponte from Super Cheap Fabrics (Brunswick store). I used soft double knit from stash to bind the neckline. As you can imagine, this was a super fast garment to construct. The overlocker was used for most of it, with hems secured with a twin needle on the machine.

Groove dress in ponte from Super Cheap Fabrics

This style does have marvellous swish. The high-low hemline is rather pronounced, so you do need to consider what the reverse side of your fabric looks like if you are sewing that version. You also need to keep your hems nice and neat, because they will be visible.

Groove dress in ponte from Super Cheap Fabrics

Groove dress in ponte from Super Cheap Fabrics

This pattern comes free with either the Women’s or the Child’s size. I bought the Women’s, so there will be one of these ahead for me as well. The pattern has a number of neckline, sleeve length and hemline options, and hopefully it will be a workhorse pattern for me as well as for the girls.

Groove dress in ponte from Super Cheap Fabrics

Worn with her Lily Knit blazer and Shredded Scarf.

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · tween

Nantucket One-Piece swimsuit

One pair of bathers apparently wasn’t enough for our FNQ holiday – Clare needed a one-piece as well!

Nantucket Swimsuit by Peekaboo Patterns in Rathdowne Fabrics print

Okay, I have a confession – Clare wasn’t the one pushing the “I need more bathers” barrow – it was me wanting to sew more of the lovely swimwear fabric that was in my stash! This fabric came from Rathdowne Fabrics. Those butterflies and flowers are so pretty! This was such a pretty fabric that it called for a fairly simple pattern. And I found the Peekaboo Patterns Nantucket One-Piece swimsuit pattern in my stash. I think I’d originally bought it as part of a pattern bundle.

Nantucket Swimsuit by Peekaboo Patterns in Rathdowne Fabrics print

Of course, the back is the highlight of these bathers. Such a lovely low scoop, highlighted with cross-over straps. The description from the website is as follows:  Get ready for a trip to the seashore with the Nantucket One-Piece Swimsuit! The Nantucket features a gathered front neckline and cross-back straps finished in a darling bow. With excellent bum coverage your little one will be comfortable playing all day long in a suit that’s sure to please. Check the Ultimate Swimsuit Fabric Shopping Guide for help finding the perfect fabric for your project 🙂 Tutorial includes tips for sewing on swimsuit fabric and achieving a professional finish. No serger required. Includes instructions for an optional lining.  Pattern comes with a full tutorial and color photos in an easy to print PDF. Pattern pieces are computer generated and color coded for easy cutting. 

Nantucket Swimsuit by Peekaboo Patterns in Rathdowne Fabrics print

This pattern ranges in size from 3 months to size 12.  I used a combination of sizes 10 and 12 for Clare, grading up to the 12 for her hips.  I fully lined the bathers, then zig-zagged the edges together and treating them as one.  The edging was all done with fold-over elastic, so I had to depart from the instructions a little bit there. These were faster to sew than I had anticipated, and once again all the sewing was done on the sewing machine. That zig-zag stitch really earned its place!

Nantucket Swimsuit by Peekaboo Patterns in Rathdowne Fabrics print

If anything, the upper chest is a little wide and bags a fraction. The pattern has a casing here, with the ties threaded through it, which would gather it in a little. I could have probably pulled the elastic tighter when applying it to the upper front, which would have had the same effect. However, we’re both happy with these bathers overall.

children's clothing · kids clothing · sewing · tween

Mountain Ash Designs two-piece

Before we went to Cairns Clare decided that she needed new bathers.  She wanted a two-piece, but one that would be practical.  We searched the stash, then searched online.  We found the Mountain Ash Designs Swimwear Separates #1 pattern.

Mountain Ash Designs Swimwear Separates in nylon/lycra from Rathdowne Fabrics

The pattern description from the website is as follows: Make your own tankinis and bikinis using this pdf sewing pattern with options for a crop top or singlet top and briefs for swimming. Garments are designed to be made from stretch fabric and can be sewn using an overlocker/ serger or a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine. Pattern will fit girls in sizes 2-14 years.

Mountain Ash Designs Swimwear Separates in nylon/lycra from Rathdowne Fabrics

I have already forgotten what sizes we sewed for Clare, but we pretty much looked at the sizing chart and went by that. It was possibly a 12 for the pants and a 10 for the crop top. The fabric is a swimwear nylon/lycra remnant from Rathdowne Fabrics, and the lining probably came from there as well. I fully lined both the bottoms and the top by cutting the pattern pieces from the lining as well then laying the two together after sewing side seams. Edges were finished with neon orange fold over elastic that was in my stash.

Mountain Ash Designs Swimwear Separates in nylon/lycra from Rathdowne Fabrics

The straps were criss-crossed at the back, tried on and pinned in place before sewing to ensure that they were the right length. As I had just enough leftover fabric, I also made another wrap bikini top to coordinate.  Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of that one yet! It’s based on the Madalynne Sierra bra, modified to work in swimwear lycra.

Mountain Ash Designs Swimwear Separates in nylon/lycra from Rathdowne Fabrics

Bathers are surprisingly satisfying to sew.  I think that these were done entirely on the sewing machine, with a straight stitch to join the side seams and a zig-zag stitch to attach the fold over elastic.  You get better at how much tension to put on the elastic the more that you do it.  You can’t see it clearly in the photos, but this fun fabric has a glittery overprint.  There are terrific bathers fabrics around, especially at shops like Rathdowne Fabrics.  I find that no matter what I do, bathers really only last a year, so I’m glad that I enjoy sewing them!  I’m amassing a rather nice stash of women’s bathers patterns to sew as Clare and Stella get older.