Since starting gymnastics a few months ago, Miss Six has become a little fanatical about doing handstands and cartwheels at all times. And I do mean, at all times. I can be walking towards her, and suddenly it’s her feet I see, and not her face. She walks down the hall and does a handstand. We walk to the shops and she sees a patch of grass on the verge; she’s upside down doing a handstand. I think she’s spending more time on her hands than her feet these days.
Now, a six year old doesn’t have much modesty. This might change when she heads back to school. But right now, she doesn’t care about flashing her undies or perfect little tummy, luckily so, because she refuses to wear anything but skirts and dresses. Even so, it can’t be pleasant to have a dress hanging over your face each time you invert. So I thought I’d make her a skort: shorts covered by a skirt! Perfect!
I used the Badminton skort and top pattern by Oliver + S. I made the skort up in a straight size 6 using a cotton voile from Mood. I wasn’t too fussed on the scalloped edge look of the pattern so I just skipped this bit, but doubled the skirt width to add some decent gathers instead. My girls are more interested in swish than detail. I love the way the skirt turned out. It fits Miss Six beautifully and is perfect for handstands. See the cute little shorts underneath.
The top is also lovely. I made it up in a size 7. It is comfortably loose but definitely not too big on her. Miss Six has been admiring my faux silk Camilla camisole since the day it was made. And I wear it frequently. She loves the fabric, which has a very authentic silk charmeuse look and feel to it. It actually matches the cotton voile very well so I used a few little remnants to make the top for her as well. The shape and style of this top is beautiful. The instructions are great too. It is a fiddly little top to make with that skinny curved yoke (and the slippery satin I chose to use), but it is definitely worth the effort. I think it looks lovely and Miss Six has given it a big thumbs up.
So, as I was rummaging through my stash looking for red, white, and blue, I happened across a couple of tiny remnants I picked up from Tessuti last year. One was a lovely red cotton sateen and the other, a skerrick of Japanese cotton. Both pieces were too small for anything other than toddler-wear. I always try to label my stash fabric so I know where it was from, how much I paid, and if possible the length. This way, I can justify (in my own warped world of fabric justification) using certain fabrics for my girls.
The top doesn’t need any explanation. It is simply a cropped version of the MOOCHi zip back version, cut shorter to make a top. I love this style of top on little girls and it seems to have the dress/swish factor that ensures it is actually worn, when other singlet tops are not (in my house anyway!). The MOOCHi pattern is free for anyone who wants it. You can see other versions here, and here.
But what I really wanted to mention about this top is the fabric. Does anyone else out there have trouble discerning right sides from wrong? Sometimes I feel like I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out which fabric side to use! I’m pretty sure I chose the wrong side with this Japanese cotton, but it was the side I liked most. It has white embroidered flowers running through the print, but these are printed over on what I think is the right side, so you can only feel them rather than see them. On the side I chose, the print is less vibrant and has that underside look about it, but the white embroidery can be seen (and doesn’t actually look like wrong side embroidery), so that is the side I chose to use. Anyway, it caused me an evening of musing!
The shorts were made using another Japanese craft book pattern. It came from the same book as this dress I made for my eldest daughter last year. In fact, the same cotton sateen was used in her waistband and sash so they can match each other now.
It was a super easy pattern and the little peep loves the pockets. I’m pretty happy with her red, white, and blue outfit for our Fourth of July street party. It’s missing the white factor but at least it isn’t an Elsa dress!
Having seen what leotard options were on offer at our local gymnasium, (and gasping in horror at the price and glare) I quickly steered the girls away, promising them a me-made version very soon. Personally, I think t-shirts and shorts are perfectly adequate gym wear for four and six year olds, but when everyone else is in shiny pink leopard print spandex, I felt a bit miserable sending the girls along in their grey cotton tights.
Luckily, I had a great remnant of floral swimsuit lycra in my stash. It was a remnant I purchased from Tessuti last summer. I paired it with a little big splash of metallic spandex from Mood and chose the simplest leotard/swimsuit pattern I could find, Kwik Sew 2724.
I’ve sewn a couple of Kwik Sew swimsuit patterns up now (here and here). Both times I found the body length of the design to be incredibly short. Knowing this, I started out with a size 7 and lengthened it in the body by 1″ before I started. The end result is a leotard that is quite clearly too big for my tall Miss Six. She’s not too fussed though. The width is ok and it seems comfortable enough on her without gaping immodestly. It just has a lot of unsightly wrinkles, particularly at the back. I probably should have just sewn a straight size 7, but I’m wondering if I should have also made a sway back adjustment and narrowed the bum width a little.
I also bungled the neckline a little. For some reason, I thought the back was the front when I was attaching the elastic, so the slightly warped starting point of attachment is smack bang in the centre front of the neckline. Really, I should have hidden that point under the shoulder seam anyway. I’m also not sure I love the look of that zig zag stitching, or maybe it is the metallic spandex that shows up every glaring mess you make.
I made the bike pants up in a straight size 6 with no adjustments. I ignored the elastic waist guide because it is easier and more precise to simply measure the child you want to fit! These bike pants are actually awesome. They fit her PERFECTLY and took a whole 15min to cut AND sew up. I might make them in some longer versions in winter.
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.
It was so great to see how these shorts actually fit. At first they appeared a little too tight on my reluctant model…everywhere! But they did relax over the course of Christmas day. Yes, he did wear them for the entire day, even though the waist is indeed an inch too tight! And that’s what I love about my dear hubby.
Next time, I will increase the waistband by an inch. He revealed later, that he had been getting around with the top button undone. I think the rest of the pants fit beautifully. They are a lot ‘slimmer’ fitting than he is used to, but I think they look good. Denim, with maybe 2-3% elastane, would be perfect for my next go at these pants.
And it’s a high five for me, who has scored a perfect ten on fit. Yes, birthdays are all about me and seeing my creations finally being worn. If you can remember, I made hubby some Lisa Ho boxers and a gorgeous modal Henley a few months ago. I am ever so proud of myself for refraining from gifting them before today.
My reluctant model permitted me to take a few photos (even though it was barely 6am and he had only just woken up). And yes, he did comment on the gorgeous fabrics. I will definitely be making these for him again. The modal works pretty well in this size for the Henley, but if I use a sturdier or less stretchy fabric, I think I will have to go up a size, particularly in the arm width (yes hubby, to accommodate those massive guns).
Thanks Nick for the photos. You are a natural! x