Kwik Sew 1615: Tutu togs for the cousin

I made this little swimsuit for my niece, who is very close in age to my Miss Five, but a bit more petite in size.

I used my daughter as a sizing estimate and these photos were supposed to help me adjust the straps to suit her slightly smaller cousin. It wasn’t the easiest process, because wearing these bathers instilled a sudden sense of silliness in Miss Five which rendered it impossible for her to stand still.

These bathers were made to a size 7. I think I may have lengthened them by 1/4 to 1/2 inch but I can’t quite remember. I used a previously traced copy of the pattern that I’d sewn last season for Miss Seven.

The length is perfect on my exceptionally tall Miss Five, but they are just a bit too wide. You can see how the underarm gapes when her arms are down. The front neck is also a little wide so the binding doesn’t sit flat and there are some wrinkles at her waist. However, these fit issues are hugely amplified by the straps being too long. I always err on the conservative side with strap length to begin with and only baste them in place initially. The gape and neckline fit improved a lot after I shortened the back straps, but two photo shoots were not an option.

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These tutu togs are going to be a bit big for the recipient too. In retrospect, a size 6 would have been a better match, but since it’s currently Winter in Australia anyway, too big is probably better than too small.

The fabric I used was leftover after sewing another pair of bathers for her mother. I like inflicting a little bit of matchy-matchy on unsuspecting victims. I wasn’t able to make the main fabric stretch the whole way for these little tutu togs, which is why you see the green contrast fabric for the straps.

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Kwik Sew 2422 and 1615: swimsuits for my big girls

I’m going to start this post with a disclaimer: I was given this fabric for free by Funki Fabrics in exchange for making something and blogging about it. How could I say no to free fabric, particularly with swimsuit season upon us.

We all know it’s hard to be completely objective about something if you’ve been given it for free, but I’ve tried my best. For a little more information, it’s also worthwhile checking out Gillian from Crafting a Rainbow’s review here.

I made two little swimsuits with my fabric, and I have a little bit more to go yet. My first make was for Miss Five, using Kwik Sew 2422 (complete with a big raspberry drip of melted icy pole on her leg). She was quite specific about the exact style she wanted (down to the actual pattern and strap design). She also chose her own fabric; digitally printed neon tetras. She wanted to be in camouflage for her swim lessons. Obviously.

My only modification to this pattern (from last time) was to raise the neckline by 1.25 inches. Then I just measured the old neckline curve, compared it to the new, and adjusted the length of neckline elastic by the difference. I should have also narrowed the neckline a little as I raised it. Next time.

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The second pair was for Miss Seven, using Kwik Sew 1615, with the same (added seam) modification I’ve used in the past. I think she looks very chic! I only lined the front of the swimsuit bottoms, but due to the light colours, I realise now that I should have probably lined it all. At the moment, they aren’t see-through when wet, but I will have to wait and see how that goes as the print fades.

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I’m pretty fussy about most fabrics, and swimwear is no exception. I was pleasantly surprised with this haul. The prints on the fabric were spot on and exactly as I expected (I could have ordered swatches but I didn’t bother as I was mainly sewing for kids. Yes, double standards abound in this house.). For me, the enormous variety of printed lycra and foiled dancewear fabric are the best thing about Funki Fabrics. I will say though, that their website is a bit awkward, and it does take a bit of time to navigate.

Quality wise, I think the swimsuit fabric is good. In comparison to a RTW surf rashie I own, the fabric is better. But it’s not the best I’ve ever had. I think this may come from the fact that Funki Fabric is all about variety and fabric design. It appears to me that they have the same white, base fabric that they apply all their prints to. It’s a little bit thinner than some other swimsuit fabric I have in my stash, so if using it for myself, lining will be a must. For my kids though, this fabric is more than adequate on it’s own.

Overall, I’m actually very happy with this product. The fabric has a lovely, smooth hand, good stretch and recovery, and the printing is beautifully done. The lighter print (black hearts on cream) feels a little painted on, but not terribly so, and I suspect this is intended to improve the opacity of such a light colour.

We’ve already taken the new swimsuits for a few test runs (which I was waiting to report back on) and they’ve performed very well.  I can’t confirm that they helped the “big arms” actually make it out of the water, nor did I lose sight of my child amongst all the other neon fish at our local pool, but I am happy to say that there have been no saggy, baggy bottoms or immodest see-through togs.

Last tutu togs of the season, and thank goodness for that!

So the downside of having three girls is that many things must also be made in lots of three. Swimmers are of no exception. No doubt, you would have seen this pair I posted about a little while back. Well these are exactly the same.

Once again, I used Kwik Sew 1615. I like this pattern a lot. With a little length adjustment, they really do make lovely swimmers. And having now sewn this pattern three times in as many weeks, I feel like it’s given me a lot of practice sewing very stretchy fabrics. I’m really pleased with how tidy this pair is compared to the first pair I made. Looking back, they were super cute, but left a LOT of room for improvement in the sewing stakes.


I used a size 5 for Miss Four and added 1″ to the body length before making my tutu modifications. These togs are a perfect fit right now. I’m hoping they will get her through the summer at least. I probably could have gotten away with a size 6 for her, but it would have still needed lengthening in the body. These sizes really do run small.



The fabric I used was a beautiful floral swimsuit lycra from Tessuti. It’s not a traditional little girl print, but I love the vintage feel of it when paired with that sparkly pink tulle. And of course, it is virtually impossible to get a photo of anyone in this house without being bombed by Miss Two. Quicker than you can say “sparkly tulle”, she appeared from nowhere with her own hand-me-downs on. It’s hard to believe Miss Four was wearing those same togs less than a year ago!

And this wild and woolly wonder was not content until she’d had a solo photo taken too, just like her sister.

A practical Elsa

I would have loved to have gone the whole hog with this Elsa dress…a fitted bodice, off the shoulder, full sleeves, and all with a slinky floor length skirt. I know Miss Four would have loved the ‘whole hog’ version too. BUT, I am nothing if not a practical mother who knows that the minute this dress was off the sewing table, it would be in hot rotation with the other completely impractical daily dress in Miss Four’s wardrobe. I for one, did not want to be responsible for her tripping down stairs, getting sunburnt shoulders, or smouldering in her first Kansas summer.

 


So, here is my watered down version of the Elsa dress. I am pleased to report that it has been met with approval (much to my relief) and I no longer have a middle child, but I am now blessed with Queen Elsa as a daughter. Let it Go, Let it Gooooooooo!

 


The fabric was from Jo-Ann, handpicked by Miss Four, and both pieces were well under $10/yd. The blue jersey is a polyester blend sprinkled with glitter. The tulle is also covered in glitter. The glitter is regrettably glued onto the surface of these fabrics which means there is now a fine coating of glitter on every surface in my house. Also what I didn’t consider was that the glitter covering also makes the outer surface of the fabric a little coarse and grippy. So instead of the tulle cape slipping and swishing elegantly, it catches the under dress a little and sticks like Velcro at times. Having said that, there have been no complaints from Queen Elsa. But I will certainly learn from this glitter overload experience.

The pattern I used was the Go To Signature dress. There are so many options in this pattern, but I ended up using the simplest version. I made a size 4 for my exceptionally tall, slightly built, 4.5 year old. She is wearing the full length version, which would definitely be closer to ankle length on an average four year old. I lowered the neckline a little and skipped the elastic waistband. I attached the sparkly tulle cape (gathered) at the back neckline and shoulder seams, and otherwise just sewed the dress up as instructed.

I admit that I purchased this pattern to be a part of Indie month, as an effort to try a new Indie designer for week 2 of the competition. The idea of so many sleeve options sold me on it. The pattern sizes run from 12mths to 12years, which is fantastic value. And I am also quite impressed with the simple, yet flattering design of the dress. I often find kids clothes too wide in the body when using commercial patterns, but this one is beautifully sized. I also anticipate this pattern making some nice nighties for my girls in the future!

Overall, this project was super simple and effective, and it certainly beat the $60 price tag that I’ve seen on other Elsa dresses online! And to leave you with Queen Elsa’s parting words, as she haughtily tosses her cape to the wind and flicks her white, side plait (yes, we are also working on growing our hair long, white, and to the side)…the cold never bothered me anyway!





Twinkly tulle for Miss FOUR!

Finally, finally, finally, after several months of anticipation, this little girl turned FOUR. I’ve never known anyone to be quite so excited about reaching a birthday milestone. So it was only fitting that she should be showered with her heart’s desires on this special day…pink and tulle.

Even I am delighted with how beautifully the ‘ballerina’ dress turned out. You may remember my other posts about it here and here.

 

Now on the other side of things, I may be a dietitian, but I don’t particularly enjoy baking. So I am also pleased to report that Miss Four was equally as excited about her cake this year. Looking at her delight in this photo makes me smile. I think I met her ‘pink’ expectations. She made the sponge portion with me (pink, by the way) and I surprised her with the pink icing and candy decorations.
 


And if you are paying extra attention to this photo, you might notice Miss Two’s finger poised to attack. She was painting tiger stripes on her face earlier in the day, as you do.

Twinkly tulle all ready to be wrapped

I am officially all tulle-ed out.


But Simplicity 2464 worked a treat with the added tulle, and just look at all those sparkles. I didn’t want to overdo the tulle, but there is still over four metres of ruffles in that skirt. I can’t wait for my little princess to unwrap it. Now the next item on her list is a sparkly, diamond encrusted tiara…

Layers of tulle for my Christmas baby

My middle Miss turns four only three days after Christmas. She is my Christmas baby. I always try very hard to make her birthday special, since it could so easily get lost amongst the hype of the festive season. This year we are at home for Christmas which makes things simpler, but we are also on an exceptionally tight budget while we renovate our house to sell.

But that’s no problem, because this middle child of mine has a few very specific and doable wishes for Christmas and her birthday. Her list consists of and is limited to:

1. A massive layered tulle ballerina dress
2. A tiara
3. A fairy wand

I am aiming for Christmas to be a mostly handmade affair within our family this year. So bearing this in mind, I got started early and already have some lovely summer frocks and handbags (bento bags) wrapped and packed for Christmas Eve. So now I am free to get started on this extra special birthday dress. Although I hate to say, the thought of this project does not excite me at all.

Over the past few years, I have made several fancy frou-frou dresses for my girls. And there’s been others too!


All three of my girls love these dresses, but no one so much as my middle girl. She is a ballerina girl through and through. She nearly passes out in excitement at the mere glimpse of glittery tulle. I, on the other hand, am well and truly over those big ‘ballerina’ dresses. I mean, have you ever tried doing up a seatbelt around one of those things… in the pouring rain no less!

So despite my lacklustre feelings, I am making this dress entirely for her, all the way down to the OTT sparkly pink tulle on vintage floral. The pattern I will be using is actually very sweet and I am hoping to pick up a few more ideas on construction technique by doing it. I particularly love the cute little bodice section of the dress with the elastic in casing on the back.


The fabric I’ve chosen for her is not my cup of tea, but then this dress isn’t for me. It is for my sparkly fairy ballerina and I am hoping it will tick every one of her fantasy dress boxes. Unfortunately though, I am anticipating seeing this blasted dress on her every second day throughout the entirety of 2014…