The family uniform

This is very nearly my last project for a wee while. I will apologise in advance if I don’t get around to answering comments like I used to, particularly over the next few months. But I still read every single one of them and I always get super excited to see them!
Today I vacuum packed all my fabric and filled MY suitcase with most of my notions. All that is left on my sewing table is few little scrappy bits of fabric that I have allowed myself to play around with before I pack away my machine. I suspect I may have one or two little skirts left in me before we go.
But oh, won’t hubby be so very proud to see this last collection! Haha, I jest! Just look at us all in the same uniform. Of course this wasn’t planned. But there was NO way I was going to waste a single skerrick of my fabric splurge. The original dress I made with it is here.

 

So let me start with MY little shift. I used up the last main bit of my gorgeous Italian viscose for the body and a little remnant of stretchy jersey viscose for the rest, both from Tessuti Fabrics. Try to ignore the aqua bullseye if you can, and my only decent pair of shoes won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.

 

The pattern I used was Vogue 8805 again. I made the following alterations:
  • slimmed down the arms (the same as here)
  • Shortened the sleeves (the same as here)
  • Shortened the bottom panel by 12cm
The next in line in the House of Iles is Miss Five. Using New Look 6016, I basically remade this dress here as best I could with the lengths of skirt fabric I had available. I did grade it up to a size 5 and make the sleeves shorter with a slight flare though.

 

 

 

And then finally, I was able to scrounge enough remaining scraps to make the same little summer frock for Miss Two. Unfortunately, I had to cut parts of the little skirt on the crossgrain so gathering it nicely was a bit more challenging, and I’m hoping parts of it don’t stretch out too noticeably over time.

 

 

Yeah Mum, I can dance!
So I am pleased to say that this is all that is left of my fabric splurge. It is the truth in it’s entirety and a voucher VERY well spent!

 

Heart jersey love and a colour palette study

So this is yet another post about New Look 6016. I will be completely knit-weared out by the time we hit the runway. Although I do have to say that this is one of my favourite makes in this pattern. The fabric is just divine and the fit is great, even if I am not entirely sure it is the best colour for Miss Five (she of the newly gappy smile).

The fabric is a gorgeous remnant of heart jersey that I picked up at Tessuti Fabrics. I can’t quite remember what it is exactly. It feels a lot like viscose to me but I could be wrong. In any case, it is a drapey, delicious feeling fabric that is clearly great for dancing.


My modifications to the pattern:

  • graded up to a size 5
  • added 2cm to the length
  • lengthened sleeves by 1cm. I probably could have gone longer.
  • added a gathered skirt which I finished with a narrow hem on my serger

Having read a post by Busy Lizzie in Brizzy the other day, it got me thinking about colour palettes and what I should be dressing my daughters and myself in. She pointed me in the direction of Thewallinna and Other Creatures. I was interested to find that I fit pretty squarely into the Spring palette. It makes sense that I’ve never been able to walk past blues, turquoises and watermelon reds on the remnant table. Which is fine for me (and my two youngest daughters of the same fair skin and blue eyes). But out of habit, I think I am subconsciously choosing this palette for everyone in my family.

Spring

When Miss Five (and hubby too), based on her slightly coppery hair and warm complexion, belongs with an Autumn palette. There is a little bit of crossover but there are differences, even in the similar looking colours.
 

Autumn
Which leads me to her second outfit of the day. The colours don’t fit her palette perfectly but they are much closer than her first outfit was and I think they showcase her skin and hair a little better for this reason. The photos were taken in the same spot, on the same day, and within five minutes of each other. Don’t you just love using your own children as guinea pigs?!
 
I’m going to start paying more attention to the colours I am using for this little girl. She has such striking colouring and sparkling green eyes, but I’ve always wondered why they showed up in some photos and not in others.
 
The pants were designed by me, using some of my pretty $10 chambray roll from Tessuti Fabrics. They are simple but comfy.
 

 


  
 

New Look 6016 tights and top

I feel the deadline looming when I will need to pack away my sewing machine for the trip ahead. Has anyone else travelled with a sewing machine? I’m actually a little worried about keeping it safe. But I have found myself two big foam boxes (used by cafes/restaurants to pack veges) which I think I will join together by taping around the machine’s hard cover, and I am hoping that this will be enough protection. I might box it up in cardboard too.

But in the meantime, I am working my way through what I would like to call my ‘rainy day’ stash. These are the lengths of pastel viscose and knits that I have purchased with my daughters in mind; snaffled up from the remnant table at Tessuti Fabrics knowing that they would best suit simple swing dresses, tops or tights (for little girls), all the while knowing that I would never get around to sewing them. Selfless sewing if you will.

I made a few modifications to New Look 6016 when making Miss Four’s outfit. The pink, long sleeve top is a size 4.

 
  • I widened the sleeves (made them straight, not tapered)
  • added cuffs
  • added 2cm to the hem (she is very tall)

The latte ponte pants are also a size 4, but I added a bum ruffle (bum flare sounds a bit rude!). I’m not completely happy with the bum ruffle. I’d make it much smaller and higher next time, or add one in the front too. But I AM pleased to say that this feature had the desired effect in terms of wearability to Miss Four. She LOVED the bum detail. In fact, her song throughout the photo shoot went a lot like this. “I look so cool. I look so cool. I look so cool”.  Accompanied of course with the requisite bum wriggling. I am optimistic that these will be the first pants she is happy to wear this winter.

Little Miss Two’s top is a size 2, with the same modifications on the sleeve as the other top. I didn’t change the length (she is tiny!) but added a bottom ruffle just because I could. You might recognise the ruffle fabric from here. Drop waaaaaiiiiiist!



Leftovers for Miss Two in New Look 6016

If it seems like I only own two patterns at the moment, well that is probably not far from the truth. Even my mannequin, Alice, is wrapped in plastic and ready to take her (rather undignified) place amongst the boxes we have chosen to store while we are away.

Of course, I actually have two large boxes crammed to the brim with sewing patterns, but half of them have already made it to Kansas and the other half are boxed up for storage. Choosing which ones to take and which ones to leave behind was quite a big task. I dread the thought of carting around unused baggage for the next few years, nearly as much as I dread missing that painstakingly custom modified pattern that I unfortunately decided not to take with me.

I currently only have a small selection on hand (that will also come to Kansas with me later). New Look 6016 is one of them. I have lost track of how many times I have used this pattern. Most recently, I am finding it exceedingly useful in making simple knit tops, dresses and tights for ALL of my daughters even though it only goes up to a size 4. But I do find the sizing to be extremely large, something I am still muddling my way through in terms of fit. The problem with children, well my girls at least, is that apart from the standard chest and height measurements, any other fitting efforts are near impossible. It is like pinning a dress to a live eel! So I pretty much rely on my best guesses as to whether I should lengthen, shorten or slim down any parts of the pattern.

I think this dress worked out reasonably well. The wool will keep her warn and it looks like it will allow a little room for movement and growth. It is basically a modified version of the long sleeve top in the pattern. I used up all the scraps from my recent makes (here and here), as well as my last little bit of Lodden Blue Liberty. For the neckline, I found a band of black bamboo ribbing in my stash (If I ever have any little sraps of ribbing/stretch knit, I always cut a few neckband/cuff width strips and store it away like this for convenience. One of these bands came in useful for this dress because I simply didn’t have enough fabric for a matching neckband.) 

I started out with a size 2 and made the following modifications:

  • created a mid panel, purely because I didn’t have enough fabric to cut the entire bodice as one. The top panel is a heavier wool ponte and the mid panel is a lighter weight wool jersey. I used the lengthen/shorten line as a seamline
  • lengthened the arms by 2cm and added the curved panels at the end of the sleeves
  • lengthened the entire top to the Size 4 guide
  • Added the Liberty of London ruffle to the bottom hem

And here is a still shot of the dress from the back. The front had too many dribble patches on it from our brief photo shoot!

I think it will look better with tights but I couldn’t subject Miss Two to long pants in our summer heat. I’m actually surprised I got any decent photos today. Most of them were like this, but blurry. She’s only little but she sure can move.


Little pink drop waist in New Look 6016

After months of requests for a pink winter dress, I finally relinquished. I feel I should apologise for yet another drop waist, but at the moment, with all the crazy packing and organising going on for our move, I feel like I need to stick to simple and necessary sewing. Of course drop waist dresses are necessary! How could anyone possibly question this fact?!

 


I dragged out New Look 6016 again to make this dress. It was made with a beautiful pastel viscose which came from Tessuti Fabrics. The skirt was made with a little leftover Lisa Ho cotton/silk from The Fabric Store. This Lisa Ho fabric is amazing, so light and silky, and perhaps a little bit too special for a four year old. In my pre-blogging days, I made a pair of Suzy pants with it, and more recently a pair of boxers for hubby.

As usual, I made several modifications to this pattern. I started with a size four.

  • lengthened the top by 4cm
  • widened the sleeves by about 2cm each side to eliminate the taper, and added cuffs (I didn’t shorten them at all)
  • added a gathered skirt (I always aim for 2 x the width of the hem I’m attaching it to, but as I generally use scraps for these skirts, I use what I have)

This is actually one of my favourite knock ups. The drapey viscose worked out so much better than I anticipated and I much prefer the top with cuffs. I can see myself making a few more of these little dresses in the winter months, mainly for my girl who flatly refuses to wear anything but dresses. As you can see, it is the perfect dress for twirling and practicing magic with your spoon-wand.

 

More Simplicity 8668 for a little winter coat

I purchased some very pink pinewale cotton corduroy from Spotlight about three years ago. Heaven knows why I bought so much of it, but I have been trying to whittle away at my supply ever since. Thankfully, it is actually a great wearing fabric and from experience, it washes well and fades little. I thought it would do nicely for a little winter coat, as long as I was able to underline/interline (what’s the right word for this, anyone?) in a better insulating material.


I used Simplicity 8668 for the coat. More recently, I’d used this pattern to make Miss Four a little ponte dress. I lined the jacket in a pretty cotton chambray that I was lucky enough to pick up as a $10 roll from Tessuti Fabrics.

 

 

This was an absolute steal. I think I have about 10m of this gorgeous chambray and it is just so versatile for a little girl’s wardrobe. I know it isn’t the best fabric for lining a jacket (particularly patch pockets!), but it was the prettiest match I had on hand.
I also underlined the jacket with bamboo wadding. Bamboo is fabulous as a fabric! And bamboo wadding works wonderfully inside jackets. It insulates well, is antibacterial, wicks away moisture, is quite light and compact, washes beautifully and holds its shape (no need for quilting it in the jacket). I purchased it from the Bamboo Fabric Store some time back. I’ve also sewn with bamboo jersey, terry towelling, and ribbed knits before and they are all just beautiful.



But back to the underlining. I wasn’t quite sure whether I should have basted the wadding to the lining or to the outer fabric. In the end, I chose the lining because I though it would make the front facing area too bulky when it overlapped. I would love some advice on this! But first, some more shots of the super cool one.


The buttons I used were from All Buttons. I’d originally purchased them for a Chanel-style jacket I was making for myself last year. I think they add a little class to the candy pink cord (you may have noticed I am doing my best to counter-pink the pinkness of the cord). I also cheated when setting in the sleeves, simply gathering them rather than easing them in. It’s a hastily made jacket, but then I didn’t want to spend a lot of time or money on something that gets worn as hard as it will on Miss Two.

The jacket is a size 4 so it swims on little Miss Two. But as long as I can see her head and hands, I am ok with this. It means she will be warm! Especially when she teams it with her new wool ponte pants (made using New Look 6016 ). I think these pants are super cool. They are unfortunately a little low in the rise for nappy wearers but I think we can get by with this for a few months until she is properly ready for her big girl undies.

 
And now for the winning pose…



Some little winter warmers

Yes, despite the soaring temperatures here, I am neck high in wool. Well not quite, but I have raided my stash of all my remaining wool remnants and have been stitching up a storm of winter warmers (before my sewing machine is off for a service and then packed away).

It all started with New Look 6016. This is a fabulous little pattern. I first stitched up the little pinafore about three years ago. It was one of the first dresses I’d ever sewn. More recently I’ve made the leggings and the top. They make great wardrobe staples. Although I do find the sleeve and leg length a little short for my girls, and the sizing (width) is quite large.


Miss Four needed warm tops more than anyone else in the house. And yet all I had was a little bit of black merino ponte and a slightly larger remnant of a beautiful grey wool/spandex blend. Both fabrics are beautiful (picked up from Tessuti Fabrics nearly a year ago), but I knew the colours would not make the grade. Miss Four is by far my most difficult customer. I know that when I sew for her, I have to add details that I wouldn’t otherwise do.

Now, the grey fabric is actually very lovely on it’s own and I would have preferred the top to remain very simple. But in order to keep this little princess happy, I rummaged through my stash until I found a tiny piece of glittery French lace. Quite unbelievably, this little length was in the free bin at Tessutis a very long time ago. I think it may have been a flawed piece but I can’t find the flaw, other than the fact that it sheds glitter every where it goes. In fact, this was the main reason I wanted it out of my stash.

I’m afraid that I wasn’t very imaginative with it’s use. All I did was to overlay the top sleeve portion in this top. The other change I made to this pattern was in lengthening the arms by 1.5 inches. It should come as no surprise that the sight of that glittery lace suddenly made the top very appealing to Miss Four. And I am pleased to announce that there will be one less battle in getting her to wear a (relatively) simple long sleeve wool top when we move to Kansas.

The second top dress I made was originally for her too, but lucky Miss Five happened upon it first. I used the same fabric and the same top pattern, also in the largest size. But by this stage, I was running a little short of my glorious grey so I had to be creative. Instead of lengthening the sleeves on this one, I cut two wee cuffs and stitched them on instead (the sleeves would have looked longer on the intended recipient).

Now as it happened, on my sewing table was a lovely black jersey dress that I was in the process of turning into a top. I decided to use the bottom band of this dress (with intact hem…so easy!) to gather and add as a very slightly ruffled skirt. I would have preferred a slightly fuller skirt but the fabric just wasn’t that long. But I quite like how this little winter dress turned out, and so does Miss Five! Although to be perfectly honest, I am starting to think that my girls simply just like new clothes.