Sep 27, 2011

Baby, you're tops!

I just wanted to share my latest knock-off, I love this one.

This is a singlet top from Pumpkin Patch (ok, they're not the only children's clothing store on the planet, but I can't get enough of their stuff!). As soon as I saw it, I thought of some scraps I had lying around from this dress I made last Christmas for my niece. She's the one at the front on the left.

I didn't have a pattern, but I thought it looked simple enough to tackle without one.  I cut a front and back piece, making them much wider than what I needed so I could gather the top in with pleats.  I also made up a bunch of bias strips for the edges and straps.  I knew I wanted about half a dozen pleats, but I didn't care about the size of them - I figured I would just pinch them in until the bodice was the width I needed.  I wasn't sure what to do about the back - I knew it wouldn't fit over Katherine's head the way it was, and I briefly thought about putting an elastic casing in but in the end I decided to cut it right down the middle and put buttons right down the back.  I sewed it up, attached the bias strips and popped a couple of buttons on the front.  Here it is:

Closer view of the pleats at the front.

And buttons down the back.  I'm not sure if it will be too broad across the back yet - I'll have to try it on Katherine when she gets home - it's day care day today.

While I had the camera out, I thought I may as well take a picture of these pintuck tunics I made recently.  I had never sewn pintucks before and decided to teach myself, with some help from Google!

A blue one.

And one in gorgeous Japanese lawn that I picked up on special from Spotlight.

Bonus - I managed to get shots of them being modelled!

Sep 26, 2011

Knock it off!

Lately, I've been combining two of my favourite things - shopping and sewing. With the weather warming up, I figured I would need to go out and get some summer clothes for the girls (Katherine in particular - my love of shopping has ensured Ellie has a pretty constant stream of hand-me-downs from her big sis).

I found some gorgeous little dresses in Pumpkin Patch, but there was no way I could justify paying that much on a little girls dress. I'd baulk at spending $60 on a dress for myself! So, I had a bit of a think about how I could recreate a couple of them at home.

This military-style shirt dress was super cute. I thought I might be able to get the same sort of look with an Oliver & S Jump Rope Dress in similar colours. I've made a few of these dresses now and I love this pattern.  I made a (generous) size 3 as the 2T I'd previously made was now just that teeny bit too tight on my tiny almost-4-year-old.  It's probably just that little bit too big on her, but she will grow into it.  

I made it out of a lightweight cotton drill and some pretty pink and white floral fabric from Lincraft.  I made a few changes though - I did the inner placket, pocket flaps, and tie in the floral trim. Plus I decided I wanted the front placket to run the length of the dress, so it was more like the Pumpkin Patch dress.  You can see I tried to trim the hem the same way as the original too.

I am still toying with the idea of putting some pockets on the front here.  In fact, I might rip the pockets off the skirt and put military-style pockets on the skirt as well.  I think that's definitely what it needs.  I just haven't decided yet whether it's worth the effort.  I hate unpicking!

My second effort was inspired by this absolutely gorgeous striped dress.  I had to think about this one a bit more as I had never really made anything this shape before.  I couldn't believe it when I stumbled across the perfect pattern in one of my Ottobre mags!

Ok, maybe it's more accurate to say I knew it would be perfect after I had made a few adjustments!  I rounded off the neckline and then put in that little 'v' to make an almost sweetheart neckline.  I left the sleeves off completely, and made the shoulder straps just that little bit narrower.  I added belt loops.  And I cut a strip of fabric in the opposite direction for the trim along the hem.  Oh, and the original dress had a zip down the back - I decided on buttons because I hate zips!  I still haven't figured out how to use my zipper foot properly, and I couldn't have been bothered learning it now.

I was so happy with the finished dress!  I made it in blue as black and white just doesn't seem to suit my fair-haired little cherub.  But I did buy some black and white striped fabric to recreate this dress for a special niece of mine for Christmas!  Shhh...

The belt came off a pair of summer shorts I bought from Target a little while back.  I had it in mind for this dress as soon as I saw the one in the shop.

The buttons down the back are white with little stars.  I thought they fit well with the whole nautical theme.

So what do you think?  I'm not done yet.... I've still got a couple of ideas up my sleeve.  Two more dresses, and then I will take a break!

Sep 18, 2011

Spring in my step

I can't believe it's been so long since I've blogged anything!  Whoops!

After a couple of false starts, the warmer weather is definitely upon us, so I've been inspired to get a few Spring and Summer projects underway.  I stumbled across this tutorial - I don't even know how I came across it to be honest, I think it was just random blog surfing one day - and decided that I had to make one for Katherine.  I had some stripey knit that I thought I could "practice" with, as I wasn't 100% sure on the measurements I'd need and figured that a knit fabric would be more forgiving.  Also, the colour of this fabric was so incredibly bright that  I knew I needed to transform it into something fun and Summery in order to do it justice.

I decided to do the top part differently and put a frilly gathered bit on instead of the little pleated panel.  Partly because I thought it would be simpler, and I am inherently lazy, and partly because I had seen them in the stores this way and liked the look of them.

This is what I came up with...

It is a bit long but I figure by the time Summer rolls around it will be a better fit.

I've also been making up a few simple skirts. I don't have photos of all of them, but this is one of the more recent ones I've done, and it's a bit different to the others. It's some white broderie anglaise fabric with some ribbon and button trim. I can't decide whether to put buttons all around the bottom, or to leave it as is. What do you think?

The skirt really isn't as long as it looks in these photos! I think because there was much running and jumping going on that it had started slipping down and really needed to be pulled up again! I made it just that tiny bit bigger than it had to be, because I guess I figured that Katherine is so tiny that she is sure to be due for a growth spurt soon and probably before Summer! I learned my lesson when making a bunch of clothes for Winter that didn't see her through the season as she grew too quickly.

I've got a couple more projects on the go, but I'm not 100% happy with them yet. I hope to be back again soon with more completed projects though.

Before I go, I'm just going to put up a photo of Elspeth in the dress I made for her birthday. This was back in June (where has that time gone?) but I have only just realised that I never posted a photo of her in the dress. Plus I don't want her to think this blog is all about Katherine!