Jul 28, 2012

For my sister...

I caught up with my sister today, at my niece's birthday party - not my sister's daughter, but my sister-in-law's daughter.  Because our kids are all around the same age, we often all catch up together, like one big happy family.  Anyway, my sister's birthday is next weekend and because I wasn't sure if I would see her for her actual birthday, I brought along the trench coat I had made for her, as well as a dress I'd made through the week.

Are you going to blog me?  She asked as I snapped some quick photos on my phone...  well, yes, yes I am.

The sleeves came up a bit short on the jacket, but I was expecting that.  In hindsight I really should have left myself some "wiggle room" there.  My sister is small pretty much everywhere, except for the length of her arms.  Because I don't really have anything left in the sleeve hem, I'm thinking of adding an extra strip of fabric at the ends and making a little cuff thingy to give them some more length - it really only needs another inch or two.

During the week I also tested out my Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress pattern.  I was inspired by some colour block dresses I'd seen, like the ones here and here, and also this adult version of the Ice Cream Dress.  I already knew from my sister's measurements that the size 12 would (should) fit, so I picked up some brightly coloured polin and got to work.

In the back of my mind there was the thought that maybe the dress would fit me, but being a redhead, orange is not even close to my colour.  Plus I have curves, which is a real pain when trying to sew for myself.  It's pretty much the reason I don't do it.  And the dress didn't fit me, so my sister has scored it for her summer wardrobe.  That's if she is game enough to wear it - it is pretty bright.

Despite adding an extra half inch or to to the bottom of the top panel, it is still just a tad tight around the arms.  I've been trying to think about how I could add some room in there without unpicking the whole top section.  It fits as it is, but it could probably be a little more comfortable.  Plus if I was to make one again, I would make the neck just a teensy bit wider.  Other than that I think it looks great.  

The most impressive part for my sister was that I covered the button on the back with the same fabric as the dress.  Well, as they say, it's the little things that matter most!  

Love you sis!

Jul 22, 2012

Secret Agents 004 and 005

Ok, so I may have had just a teeny tiny problem putting the Oliver + S Secret Agent Trench coat pattern down.  I really wasn't planning on making so many of them, but it was so fun and easy to make, and the end result looks great.  Two of my nieces have scored a trench coat for birthdays already, and one more is about to receive this adorable strawberry version (in size 3) on the weekend.  I left the sleeve tabs and shoulder flap off this one, because I gave up trying to match the print!  Anyway, I think because the print is a bit busy, this simplified version still looks ok.

After seeing the red trench I made for my niece, my sister requested one of her own. At first she wanted a red one as well, but in the end she opted for a plain black one. I was a bit slack in getting started on this project so it has sort of become an early birthday present for her, which actually works out well as I wasn't quite sure what to get for her anyway! The weather is starting to warm up again now, so I hope she still gets some wear out of it.

My sister is tiny and will get away with the size 12.  If I was a couple of dress sizes smaller, I'd also be making one for myself.

Jul 21, 2012

Frilled to bits

Months ago, I saw this tute over at Sewing in No Mans Land. I actually saw the tute and made the dress that same night, but because the weather here has been a bit chilly to be out in a sleeveless dress, it has remained unblogged - until now.

I made the dress out of some pink cotton interlock and some scraps of dusty rose coloured satin I'd had for years - it was actually an extra metre of fabric I'd bought when I had my bridesmaids dresses made so that I could make some matching ties for the groomsmen. There wasn't really enough of it left to do anything with, but I kept it in my scrap basket all that time anyway, because I am a scrap hoarder. The finished dress was pretty heavy because of the weight of the fabric, and I could see it turning out better in something lighter to be honest, but it was still a fun project. I think my favourite part was piecing together all the ruffles on the front and back panels of the dress. Not having to sew any hems was pretty good as well!

Look at those ruffles - love them!

Jul 8, 2012

Tianna Dresses

A while ago I purchased some pdf patterns from the Lily Bird Studio on Etsy.  They have some really cute things for girls and boys.  I liked that their patterns looked simple and sweet - nothing too fussy or cluttered, just clean lines and lovely little details.  Then this week just gone, I managed to make not one, but two of their Tianna Dresses, and I have to say I will definitely be buying and making more patterns from this shop.

The dresses came together really quickly - I made Ellie's in an afternoon and Katherine's I managed to make in under 2 hours, including the cutting out.  Most importantly, the girls actually like them - Ellie has worn hers twice this week, and Katherine wore hers yesterday.  Just after I had sewn it together, but before I had put the buttons on, Katherine came into the sewing room and saw it hanging up.  She clutched it to her chest and danced around the room with it.  I had to gently pry it from her fingers and explain I still had pins in it!  Haha!

The sizing was pretty spot on for my skinny minnies, which was refreshing as I didn't need to make any adjustments at all, really.  I made a size 2 and a size 4. If you have average-to-larger sized children, I would recommend going up a size.  Katherine's dress I made out of some brushed cotton checks (no, it's not just for old men's shirts :P).  I skipped the buttons down the front on Katherine's and just put a pretty ribbon on instead.

Ellie's was made out of some super cute baby elephant cordoroy, with quilting cotton for the lining and trim.  Sorry about the blurry photographs - it is so hard to keep this girl still! 

I thought Ellie's needed something extra, so I cut up an old yellow singlet of mine and made some little leggings using this tutorial from Make it and Love it, made even easier by the fact that I kept the original hem from the singlet so I didn't even have to hem them!  {Future idea - use an old lace-trimmed singlet to make lace-hemmed leggings!}  I added some little ruffles at the ankle, in the same fabric as the trim and lining of the dress.  Also, I swear the legs on the leggings are the same length!  The left leg must have been scrunched up a bit more when I took these photos.

I really like the way this outfit looks, and have resolved to make more outfits as opposed to just pieces here and there. 

Jul 6, 2012

Reversible Placemats

My mum renovated her kitchen a while back, and for Mother's Day this year I decided to make her some pretty placemats and tea-towels to match her new colour scheme.  I didn't get any photos of them before I gave them to her, but on a recent trip to Mum and Dad's place, I snapped a couple of quick photos to show that yes, I do occasionally make things other than clothes for my girls!

I made the placemats by using this tutorial here as a rough guide.  They have an awesome tutorial for making your own bias tape too.  I make my own all the time using their method.  

The placemats are also fully reversible, so if you get tired of looking at the same colours you can flip them over and it's like having a whole new set of placemats.  Cool huh?

Jul 2, 2012

One pattern, two dresses

Pumpkin Patch, one of my favourite children's clothing stores, had a sale on the other day, so I went in for a browse. Before I started sewing for my girls I would spend a fortune at this place! The sale was a good one, but I just can't look at anything any more without thinking "I could make that myself." I actually did buy a few things - leggings and tees, because I prefer to sew the "fun stuff". But there were a couple of dresses that caught my eye and when I got home I whipped up my own versions of them.

These were the dresses I saw in the store:

For both dresses I used a simple A-line pinafore style pattern, in this case it was the Winter Plaid dress from Ottobre 6/11. I hadn't made this dress before but it looked like a good starting point that I could customise pretty much any way I wished.

I loved how the red dress was such a simple design but with the interesting effect acheived by cutting fabric on the bias. For this one I cut the pattern across just under the armholes, and then down the front of the skirt, to make a bodice and two skirt sections at the front. I cut the skirt sections on the bias and I also cut an extra skirt panel about 3 inches wide for the inside of the pleat. The back of the dress I also split down the middle, and cut those pieces on the bias too.

The dress was supposed to be fully lined and have a zip in the back. I only gave it a half lining and I used a simple single button/tab closure at the back, as I really couldn't have been bothered with a zip!

I decided to make some little hair clips to match the dress as well. They were a big hit!

The navy blue dress inspired me to try something I'd been thinking of for a while. For this dress I kept the pattern pieces as they originally were, but I added a couple of little panels on the front to give the dress a bit of a nautical/military feel to it. I made this one out of some winter-weight navy blue jersey knit and again gave it a half-lining and finished it at the back with a button/tab closure.

I thought about lining it completely, but didn't want it to be too heavy, as I figured Katherine could wear it in the Summer if it still fits her then. For Winter we will just layer it with a little skivvy and tights underneath.

I'm very happy with how these turned out. I can see this Ottobre pattern becoming my go-to pattern for A-line dresses.

Jul 1, 2012

Some Wintery Things

As usual, I have been doing more sewing than blogging lately. I've been busy working on some things for Katherine for Winter.

I bought this chocolate brown tweed fabric when Spotlight was getting rid of Winter stock last year.   I knew I wanted to use it to make a jacket for Katherine but didn't get around to it last year, so it sat in my stash instead. 

I found this pattern and thought I'd have a go at making the shorter jacket style in view B.

Here's how it turned out (excuse the chocolate bar - sometimes it takes a little extra encouragement to get my mini model to pose for my photographs!)


I made the size 4 and it's probably just a little bit too big for her.  I did add some length to the bodice though,  as on the pattern cover it looked like it would come up short.  I'm glad I did.    The sleeves though, are just a teensy bit too long - I actually did measure these on her before I sewed them up so I don't know what happened.  And once I had fit the lining I couldn't have been bothered unpicking it to shorten the arms.  Oh well, at least it will see her through the winter, and maybe next year if we are lucky?

The back has a little half belt tab thingy (I'm sure it has a technical name) and there are also cute little shoulder tabs as well.

I lined the jacket with some pink spotty satin that has a lovely soft cottony back, for extra warmth.  This was the first time I have made a lined jacket and although it's not perfect, I was really happy with how it turned out.

The other thing I've made is this cute poncho.  Has anyone else noticed them in the stores at the moment?  I didn't realise they were still in fashion.  Katherine chose this fabric herself ("the kitty fabric").  It's a polar fleece from Spotlight. 

I used McCalls 4912 (out of print) view B for this one - it's a hoodie style.  And partly because the fleece seemed a bit thin, partly because I can't stand doing things the easy way, I decided to line it as well.  I wanted it to be warm, and I wanted it to have a nicer finish as well.

I added a cute pom-pom trim around the bottom edge of the poncho to finish it off, sandwiched between the outer layer and the lining at the bottom.  Technically, it's fully reversible, but the lining is a bit thin and the kitten fabric is a lot nicer to have on show anyway.