Last stop on the Two-Piece Set-Acular

And here it is, my last stop on the Two-Piece Set-Acular train.
 


It’s not that I don’t want to make any more, but I just don’t need any more two pieces. I’ve made a few this season already.

But what’s one more between friends?

 

This glorious maxi skirt was only intended as a separate. My plan was to wear it tran-seasonally, paired with my oversized wool jersey top and possibly some tights underneath.

The skirt is a simple, self-drafted number. It’s hard to make a mistake with something so simple, but I did forget to put in pockets. Side pockets would have made this skirt perfect. Of course, being floor length, my girls swooned at the sight of it. Miss Four put in her order for an identical copy. I had just enough left over to do this.

The little mischief is wearing her hand-me-down Liberty playsuit in these photos. She was perfectly mirroring all my poses behind the tripod so I said she could jump in and join me for the last few. Her one goal in life right now is to be inside the TV.

 

The top is a design you’ve seen before. It’s made up to the same pattern as my white version (here). I just skipped the peplum. I really love this little top. It’s so cool and comfortable, and just the right cropped length for me to feel comfortably covered. I can see myself wearing it a lot with jeans.

Getting started early

I’ve been checking a few items off Santa’s list lately. I know, I know, it’s still stinking hot and we are nearly four months away from the big day, but I’ve got a good reason to start so early. The House of Iles has three birthdays plus Christmas to celebrate in the space of two months. It will also be our first Christmas in our new country, so we have absolutely no Christmas gear whatsoever.

Adding to the excitement of a possible white Christmas, is the fact that we have a proper fireplace. It was also brought to my attention that there were already four little hooks above it. Naturally, Mrs Santa had to set about creating some little Christmas stockings. I chose a small selection of Christmas prints at Jo-Ann and let the girls choose the combinations that they liked best. The rest of the construction was done in secret. They will be packed away now until Christmas Eve. 


I appliqued the first letter of their names on the stockings so there would be no mind changing or arguments down the track. Miss Six will no doubt want to know how Santa knows which stocking is whose. I had just enough fabric to make an extra stocking for Daddy too.

I also put on my sensible shoes and made the girls some flannelette PJ pants for Christmas. This was a seriously easy production line whiz bang bam on the serger. I used M6633 and made up a size 3, 5, and 6. I measured my girl’s waists to customise the elastic length. I know the pants will fit, but they still look quite large to me. I’m not too worried though. They will still be soft and warm. I have to admit that it was quite fun choosing a pretty print specifically to suit each girl’s taste. They are all so very different.

Hands up anyone else who is thinking about getting their Christmas skates on. Surely I’m not the only crazy lady out there!

Upcycling: Leather blocked ponte leggings

These leather blocked leggings actually started out as a leather skirt. I purchased the skirt on Ebay for $13. I found a skirt in the largest size I could find, the longer the better. Luckily, leather midi and maxi skirts seem to be in very low demand on Ebay, with most going for a steal, if they even sell at all.

The quality of leather of the skirt was nothing like the gorgeously soft and glossy lambskin that I’ve used before, but it was perfectly fine for this project. The skirt was listed as ‘new’, but the leather actually looked as though it had been washed. I’ll give it a bit of TLC with leather cream and I’m sure it will come up better. 

For the making of these pants, I kept all the seams of the skirt intact, but I did cut off the hem and buttons so that I could lay it flat as a single layer on my cutting mat. You can see some of these seams on my legging panels. I think the random seams add to the interest factor.

 

 
 

I used a beautiful black ponte knit for the back of the leggings as well as for the front knees. Breaking up the leather on the front of the leggings was necessary due to the amount of leather I had on hand. But placing the ponte at the knees also meant that these pants do not restrict my leg movement at all. They are super comfy!

The pattern I used was Vogue 8859, a Marcy Tilton pant. I’ve used this pattern before in my pre-blogging days. I’m completely useless at making notes on pattern pieces (although I am trying to work on this). One thing that I love about blogging is that I have pictures and pattern modifications documented in a way that I can easily go back and look up again. Anyway, I remembered these pants fitting really well the last time, except for being a little too high in the waist. These are the only photos I have of my last version.

Isn’t this the most fabulous ponte knit ever! I think the print was called Dragonfly Fantasia.


In my first version, I ended up hacking off the waistband after I’d sewn it, before restitching the elastic back on, a little lower down. This was a messy modification, but perhaps even messier, was my 2012-self attempt at recording this change by simply putting the hacked off portion back in the pattern packet!

So to summarise my modifications in this pattern:

  • removed 1.5″ of length through the crotch
  • removed the yoke
  • narrowed the waist through the back crotch seam by 1.5″
  • drew up a waistband to stitch to the top. I inserted my elastic through the waistband instead of directly to the pant as specified in the instructions.
  • skipped the pocket
  • added 1″ in leg length

This was an incredibly simple make. I think the panels of leather have turned a very basic, everyday pant into something a little more special. I know I will get heaps of wear out of them during winter. I also quite like the look of them dressed up with my trusty ‘white’ make from back in May.

Oliver + S Ice Cream dress for Miss Four

This dress is an exact replica of Miss Six’s version, but in a size 5. I’m going to let the pictures do the talking. It is such a simple make, but so cute and comfortable and just perfect for preschool.

The fabric is covered in lots of little pink fairies. It’s not my cup of tea, but I purchased it especially for this little middle peep. I must have chosen well. She is making a heart for me with her hands (upside down of course!).

 
 

And that’s all there is to it. I guarantee you will be seeing more of these over the next few years.

 

 


Two piece setacular in lotsa lotsa floral

You’ve seen these pants before. They are my Esther shorts hack. I love them with my Camilla cami, but I was inspired by Ada Spragg’s Two-Piece Set-Acular to put together another matchy matchy outfit. My first Chanel-inspired Two-Piece Set-Acular is here.

 
 Here, I’ve just noticed a squirrel nest up our tree.
 

 

The bustier is a little self-drafted number and a bit of a first-time experiment for me. I draped the pieces to fit my tiny, tiny bust. This worked great! I used boning for structure, some old foam bra cups with underwire within the lining for a bit of extra bust shape. I also encased rows of elastic in the back to keep the bustier tight enough to be secure. I miscalculated the effect of the back elastic though. I added extra width to the back to compensate for the elastic pulling it in. I should have just left the design as it was, removed a seam and pulled it in that way. As it turns out, the top fits perfectly, but it is not tight enough for me to feel comfortably secure for long durations. Or it could just be that I am not used to wearing strapless tops. I might add a couple of straps to bring me back into my comfort zone.

Ikat vs Chanel

The pants in this ensemble are yet another crack at my TNT pants pattern, Vogue 8909. You’ve seen other versions before (here, here, and here). This time, I made them using silk jersey. They are so comfortable it’s criminal and I suspect they will be getting a lot more wear than simply with this dress.
 

 

 

The rest of the dress was inspired by my current Chanel infatuation. You’ve seen the Ikat jersey print before and I’m quite sure that you will be seeing it again. I still have a few kid size remnants left in my stash. The silk chiffon from Tessuti is gathered into a skirt that overlaps at the side to flare and swish as I walk.

 
 

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this outfit. It was actually my first attempt at a Chanel-inspired ensemble (my second attempt in Cracked Glass silk CDC was a winner!). The pants are definitely here to stay. But it’s quite possible that you will be seeing the dress come back as something entirely different down the track.

Oliver + S Ice Cream dress for Miss Six

I rarely purchase quilting weight cottons, but this fabric just jumped into my shopping cart a few weeks ago. It’s from Hawthorne Threads and such a delightful little border print.


The dress is a modified version of the Oliver + S Ice Cream dress. I just skipped the dress panels and pockets so I could make use of the border print better. I sewed it up in a size 6 for my tall Miss Six. I can’t comment on the length of the dress pattern because I modified this bit to my own taste. But I can tell you that the width fits beautifully and once again, the design of this dress is just spot on.

 

A simple white staple and a super leather skirt

It might seem like I’ve been churning out a tonne of clothes in the last few months. I sew a little each night and it’s been good to restock my wardrobe. I arrived in Kansas nearly six months ago with one small suitcase of clothes, culled down to the bare minimum. It was seriously all the clothes I owned. But before you feel sorry for me, there were at least another 2-3 suitcases filled to the brim with fabric and patterns that I chose to bring with me in the place of clothes. It’s been great to have the need to sew anything and everything, rather than just wait to replenish staples.

 

But amidst my wardrobe restocking, I’ve somehow missed out on some staples, meaning long sleeved cotton tops and T’s, the boring stuff. So I decided to sew one. That’s right, one will do me. I’ll stick to frosting any day. It took me a good two weeks to choose the pattern and decide how to modify it. And then it took me another week to actually sew it. It was like somebody pressed my slow-motion button. I can frenzy up a full outfit in 3-4 days if I’m excited enough. Yes, it cuts into my sleep a little, but to me it’s worth it.

I used Vogue 8952 for this top. I’ve used the pattern before, here and here. I made the raglan style this time, but modified it a little:

  • the sizing is roomy so I sewed down a size but widened the back by 5/8″ (my normal broad back adjustment)
  • I widened the sleeves
  • narrowed the waist
  • Increased the hem allowance but kept it straight and simple. I’m most likely to wear this top tucked in.

I’m pretty happy with the fit and the shape of this top. It is exactly what I was after and I know I will get a lot of wear out of it. So was it worthwhile sewing this ‘staple’? It was actually. I was able to refine the shape of a simple top to exactly what I wanted. The fabric also makes a difference for me. As boring as it may seem, this basic cotton knit from Tessuti Fabrics is actually a really beautiful fabric. It’s quite stable, but still stretchy, with a lovely firm weight and feel. It is pure cotton, not poly, so I also know it will last well without pilling.

 

And now that we’ve gotten the boring old staple out of the way, what do you think of my new skirt?! It’s a pretty simple, self-drafted circle skirt, fully lined in silk habutai from Mood. The leather is a Minelli cowhide from Tandy. It is a fair bit heavier than what I’ve used before and probably more suited to a jacket. I much prefer lambskin, but I compromised on weight to get this colour. I love the colour. It is exactly what I was dreaming of.  

The weight of the cowhide made sewing a bit difficult at times, and I know I could have finished the back waistband better where it fastens. I ended up putting a button on the inside, attached with a leather loop. I couldn’t stitch through the leather neatly enough so I sewed some interfaced fabric on the inside and attached the button to this. It’s worked out ok in the end. I’m going to call that outside stitching a design feature, and cross my fingers that the button holds up to the weight of the skirt.  

Dressing gown for Miss Six

So after a little bit of wardrobe shuffling in preparation for Autumn, it became apparent that Miss Six needed a new dressing gown. I must have been particularly kind at the time because I promised to make her one, and that she could even choose the fabric herself. I’d seen a good range of novelty fleece at Jo-ann so we headed there together and came home with turquoise butterflies. It’s not really my cup of tea, but a shade better than the psychadellic tie dye she locked her eyes on first.

 

I used B4322 and made it up in a size 7. My only change was to cut a good 4″ off the arm length. I should also mention that I ignored the construction details as soon as they started to insist upon slipstitching every inside nook and cranny. Seriously! I’m certainly not averse to a bit of handstitching but you won’t catch me handsewing a kid’s dressing gown, especially the entire length of the facing in that long collar! The finished robe is long on Miss Six and quite roomy, but not uncomfortably so. She’s very happy with it and I’m happy knowing that she will be warm and cosy when the weather eventually cools off. 

Turning my Esthers into pants

It’s no great surprise to anyone that I love my Esthers. I have four pairs that I pretty much rotate through the days of the week (here, here, here, and here). I love their high waisted, vintage style, and I love that they fit me superbly. It’s such a boon to find, make, or modify a pattern that fits so well. So it makes perfect sense that I would want to turn them into a pair of pants.

I’ve been wanting a slim fitting, cigarette style pant for a while now, but I just didn’t have a pattern to match what I wanted. I dread sewing pants, not for the process, but for the inevitable fit issues that need to be muddled through, as with any new pants pattern. And I don’t have a lot of experience dealing with fitting pants. I started by looking online for suitable patterns, and then it occurred to me that I already had a TNT shorts pattern that I might be able to modify.

 
 
 


It’s not that difficult turning a pair of shorts into long pants. I basically just lengthened all the side seams. The trick is in slimming them down and reducing the hip and thigh ease by enough. I was pretty happy with my first muslin, but the pants were still a lot looser than what I wanted for such a bright floral and the cigarette style I was after. So I narrowed the legs further to get what you see here. I could have slimmed them down more, but I was worried about going too tight. I don’t know about you, by I hate too-tight pants more than anything else when it comes to clothes.

And as it turned out, I already had a perfectly matching top in my wardrobe. I’ve paired my new flower pants with my trusty, much loved, and totally indestructible Camilla camisole.