Oliver + S denim culottes for Miss Six

It’s not often I’ll race out and buy a pattern as soon as it’s been released. I’ve only ever done it twice, and both times they’ve been Oliver + S patterns. The minute I saw this pattern I knew I had to have it. Do I need to tell you why?

They’re culottes!

I fell in love at first sight with this pattern, but I also knew that I would have a bit of trouble convincing my skirt wearing six year old that she needed a pair for herself. Part of my sales strategy was to show her my denim pair of culottes and to offer to make her the same. She loved the idea. And I loved the idea that I wasn’t going to have to use pink, or sparkles, or big flowers.


I cut a size six in the pattern but I made a few changes: 

  • I like a sleeker look to culottes so I combined the two front pleats into a single centre pleat. This also gave me more room to add my pocket details.
  • The contrast waistband and pocket was attached externally, so I ditched the inseam pockets. The pocket style is very similar to the ones I made for my denim culottes.
  • I lengthened them by 1″ for my taller than average 6.5 yr old

The denim I used for these culottes is quite heavy. It’s probably a lot heavier than was intended for this pattern, but I quite like the volume it gives the pants, and I know they will  be great to layer with wool tights to keep Miss Six warm in sub-zero temperatures. I made sure the back elastic in the waistband was fixed quite tight to keep the pants up.
 
I really like the waistband design of these culottes. It’s the same as the Oliver + S skort pattern, but this time it also includes instructions to interface the front section, which I think is a smart addition to the pattern. The front of the waistband is kept smooth because the elastic is only threaded along the back, stopping at each side seam. It’s a great design feature but it also means that you need to get the waist sizing close to perfect when selecting the size you cut. If you make the culottes too large in the first place, it’s difficult to pull (the half waist-length) elastic tight enough to keep the pants tight on a little waist. Skirts and pants that fall down while they play are a personal pet peeve of my girls. 


The boxy, drop shouldered top is one of mine that I refashioned specifically for Miss Six. It was originally cropped on me so I didn’t have to alter the length at all. I simply unpicked the side seams to remove the bust darts and re-stitched them narrower to suit her. I also added two pleats to bring the neckline in a bit. The sleeves are long on her, but I think they look great rolled up. She’s pretty happy with her new outfit. I think that smile says it all.



Kwik Sew 3883: GANRYU COMME des GARCON vs Charlie Harper

I’m pretty sure you’ve heard me say this before, but I don’t particularly love sewing men’s shirts. I think it’s the degree of perfection required with those collars and cuffs. It could also be because it’s selfless sewing and the kind of sewing that doesn’t really allow me to experiment much. I’m not allowed to deviate much from a standard pattern. Well, in hubby’s case I do. He’s a fan of classic.

So after doing my nice-wifely duty of sewing him a proper business shirt for his birthday (that post will come later), I decided to experiment with a casual ,short sleeve shirt. I was inspired by a GANRYU COMME des GARCON shirt that I saw on Pinterest. My plan was to keep the pleats but colour block the bottom instead of the curved pocket details. I chose some Anna Sui chambray for the top and some white linen for the bottom.

GANRYU COMME des GARCONS 2015 Spring/Summer Collection | Hypebeast

The patten I used was Kwik Sew 3883. I’ve sewn this pattern before (here and here). It’s taken me until now to finally admit that it isn’t a great fit. The shirt is just too wide in the torso, and perhaps a little wide on the shoulders too. The seam allowance of 6mm is also impractical. I usually start out sewing the shirt with the wrong seam allowance. But even when I get it right, 6mm is way to fiddly for nice felled seams.


Overall, I don’t mind how this shirt turned out. I wanted to bring the sides in by about an inch to slim down the fit for hubby, but he opted to forgo my alterations and send it to his Dad (who is a little bigger than him) instead. His initial reasoning was that it was a Summer shirt and we were headed into Winter. But I delved a little deeper and the truth came out. The fact of the matter is that the chambray reminds him of his old school uniform and the colour blocking makes him feel like Charlie Sheen in Two and a Half Men. I guess colour blocked shirts are off the cards for hubby in the future then. What do you think? Have I made a Charlie Harper shirt?


Simplicity 1435 and self-drafted aprons in vintage fabric

I was given a little bundle of vintage fabrics recently, in the hope that I would put them to good use. Coincidentally, my daughter’s preschool teacher asked me that very same day if I would mind sewing a few aprons for their school. I don’t bake cakes, but I do sew, so it was a big yes from me.

Now, I’ll admit that none of the fabrics were of a style or fibre that I would normally buy. But those little aprons turned out great. I winged the design by sewing together a couple of squares and adding gathers here and there. I varied the sizing randomly to allow for all the different sized peeps in Miss Four’s class. There were four aprons made in total, in vintage floral, tiger stripes, poly plaid, and some white linen scraps from my own stash. The tiger stripes were everyone’s favourite.

Miss Two claims to like every fabric that I touch, including the floral jersey in the bundle. It’s a very old style polyester with a slightly shiny surface so I’m not entirely sure how it will wash and wear, or breathe for that matter. Bearing this in mind, I kept her dress pretty simple. I used the same little dress pattern as here. It’s perfect. She’s perfect. In fact, she’s so edible (even when she’s grumpy), that I’m surprised she’s nearly made it to her third birthday.

Most important criteria met. It twirls.

Still grumpy though.

Simplicity 4192: AKA my happy pants


I took a bit of a gamble the other week and ordered some cotton voile online from Hawthorne Threads. I’ve never ordered from them before and I was half expecting to open up my parcel of beautiful prints, only to be disappointed with the quality of cotton they’d been printed on. This is by no means a slight against Hawthorne Threads. It’s just me recognising the fact that shopping online for fabrics can be risky if you aren’t familiar with the vendors.

Well, I can’t even begin to describe how delighted I was when I opened up my little parcel of pretty. The quilting weight cottons were as exactly as expected, but with a nice feel to them. The Art Gallery voile blew me away. It is the most beautifully light and silky cotton, not too dissimilar in feel to a tana lawn. This little bundle has certainly warmed me to Art Gallery Fabrics.

I made these pants to wear with my white linen, cross back tunic. I figured my wardrobe was in need of a little colour. I purchased the pattern before I found the fabric. It was Miss Oona of the one and only Palooza that pointed me in the direction of Simplicity 4192.  I saw her pretty voile version and quite simply had to have them for myself. I’m still hunting for some matching Kalkatronian bling, but in the meantime, just look at all that lovely overlapping leg fabric. I love the way they flare in the wind and when I walk.
 
 
 
 

 

Simplicity 4192 is one of those rare patterns that you really can’t go wrong with. The style is a wrap pant, so the fit is pretty much guaranteed to be perfect. They tie at the front and the back and are very simple to sew. They suit pretty much any lightweight woven fabric. I used a cotton voile, but I could see them working well in a silk CDC too.  


I sewed a straight size 12 and made no modifications to the pattern at all. The pattern suggests they are designed as full length pants to be worn 1″ below the waist. That would be your natural waist they are talking about, so for most people, the pants would rise to just about belly button level or slightly above. I was after a slightly cropped length with a moderate rise so being tall of both body (and crotch) the pants worked out perfectly for me. A shorter lass may have ended up with the waist around her armpits.

In any case, I love my new pants and I will definitely be classifying this pattern as a keeper.











  

Vogue 8805: linen and lace

I’m not quite sure where this dress came from. I actually pulled out the remnants of white linen and cotton lace (both from Tessuti) to make a dress for one of my daughters. Well, that obviously didn’t happen!

I love linen. I love the crinkles and the way it shimmies and ripples as it moves. It is the coolest, most comfortable fabric in summer. Usually, I can’t get enough of it, but the year before last I overdosed. I do that sometimes. I have a sneaky feeling that I am about to overdose on white this summer…

I’ve used this pattern several times already (here , here and here). This time I played around with the sleeves a little. I also widened the neckline, ditched the back closure, lengthened the middle panel and curved the hem a little. It’s a simple, yet comfortable and cool summer dress. I love it. Miss Four says I look like an angel in it. I can live with that!

Swishy skirt photo update

This little swishy skirt was one of the very last things I made before leaving Australia. I gave it to Miss Six last week for her birthday.
 
You wouldn’t believe just how many panels I had to stitch together in order to construct this skirt. The white linen was upcycled from a pair of too-tight linen pants. The blue linen and Liberty of London were merely scraps.


It is was the easiest skirt to make, really just several gathered rectangles and a folded, elastic waistband. I usually try to calculate at least 2x waist width (or skirt panel width) for the skirt (and ruffles). I find this gives a good amount of volume swish.

Two little scrappy skirts and a pair of matching bike shorts

So this is it, my very last Australian make…for the time being at least. It’s amazing what you can do with scraps, and silk crepe de chine no less! You might recognise the fabric from my recent Meissa. But I think it also works perfectly as a swirling, twirling, ballerina skirt.

 

I only had awkward lengths of bias cut silk from a previous disaster to work with. The best I could do was gather two very odd skirt pieces and then layer them together. The great thing about making little scrappy pieces like this is that I don’t feel scared of experimenting. I’ve shamefully only been using one or two stitches on my serger. So this was a great opportunity to discover how ridiculously simple it was to make nice, neat, narrow and rolled hems on the serger.

I used my last bit of viscose jersey (from here) to make the waistband, with just enough left over to make a pair of matching bike pants for her handstand sessions.

 
 

And finally, here is a little teaser that I upcycled from a pair of white linen pants. I’m going to smuggle it to Kansas for Miss Five for her birthday. More photos to come.



V8840 in cropped linen and a repurposed skirt

Let’s start with the skirt. You might remember my white linen dress from earlier this summer. I literally wore this dress to death. In the end, due to several small tears at strain points in the bodice (and coupled with my collar mishap), I decided it was time to revive this dress as a maxi-midi skirt. All I did was unpick the bodice slice along the seam line with my rotary cutter, add a back seam for the invisible zip and construct a WIDE waistband (I still need to sew another hook and bar to the back of it).


The top is a simple return of Vogue 8840. I used some amazing linen from Tessuti Fabrics. I actually feel a little guilty about this top. I envisioned those gorgeous stripes in a cute little pair of shorts for my littlest girl (the one who is happy to NOT wear pink). But I think I can get over the guilt. I LOVE this top. It is light and cool and in one of my favourite summer fabrics. I think it looks pretty neat with the skirt too.


The modifications I made to V8840 in the long version (size 12) were:

  • cropping the length by 29cm
  • took 2cm off the neckline, front and back
  • stitched the back seam all the way
  • adding facing instead of binding, and an invisible zip centre front

Drop waist version three

I know I said that I was finished with this style of dress, but here is yet another one. I could make excuses, but quite frankly, I just love this style right now. It has shamelessly become my summer uniform. Anyone who sees me on a regular basis will know that I am simply alternating between my two current drop waist dresses (here and here) each day, so I feel it is only fair to them that I add another to the mix.

Now the main reason for the lack of variety in my wardrobe is that I have already sent most of my clothes to Kansas ahead of me. I wasn’t planning on making any more summer frocks before I go, but this was an act of sheer necessity.


I used a lovely remnant of black linen from Tessuti Fabrics. The construction was simple, a basic bodice with two long French darts and a simple ruffle skirt, exactly the same as my last two efforts. So now, I have tested this dress in a cotton knit, a heavier weight woven, and now linen. I love them all! And I’d say to all my friends, let me go with this drop waist obsession this season, but if I still have this style of dress on rotation in six years time, please someone, sit me down for a serious chat…


 

Festive fever

I made this little dress a few months ago, just before I started blogging. It was only recently unwrapped on Christmas day and I am happy to say that it was met with a big smile. Miss Five did comment on the fact that Santa must have pinched some of my fabric, but for some reason, this all seemed within the realm of normal to her. I think dresses will have to be a gift from Mummy rather than Santa next year if I am to keep this Christmas dream alive for as long as possible.

 
Isn’t it positively festive?! I used a pattern from one of my Japanese pattern books. The same dress is actually pictured on the front cover. However, I did raise the front neckline by a few cm.


The fabric I used is a gorgeous printed linen from Tessuti Fabrics. I fell in love with this fabric the moment I saw it and probably purchased a little more than I needed. I have made it into a fabulous pair of pyjama pants for myself (V1347 Chado Ralph Rucci), a skirt for Miss Two, and a dodgy lampshade (that we won’t speak too much of).


Hubby doesn’t particularly like the fabric base colour. He calls it ‘wholemeal’. I can see his point, but I still love it.

And so does my pretty little butterfly. But keeping her still for these photos on Christmas day was no mean feat!