Category Archives: cotton

Cynthia Rowley vs neoprene

The problem with sewing things out of season is that by the time the appropriate season swings around, I’m no longer enamoured with the idea of the thing I sewed. This is the story of my Tokyo jacket. I still love the neoprene but have bigger and better ideas for a winter jacket.

I was able to cut around the faux leather neckline of the original jacket to preserve most of the neoprene. I had the perfect amount left to use for my Simplicity 1366 top. I’ve sewn this top before in Nani Iro. I’m a little bit besotted with this Cynthia Rowley pattern right now. It’s so simple but so perfectly shaped. I love those extended shoulder seams.

I’m smiling extra brightly so you don’t notice that I didn’t ‘hang’ my circle skirt before I hemmed it. Duh!
 
 
 
 

For the back of the top, I used a little bit of leftover printed corduroy (seen earlier here). I used the same corduroy for the sleeve caps. The only other change I made to the pattern was in using ribbed jersey to finish the neckline, sleeves and bottom hem.

I really love how this top turned out. The structured look of neoprene fits this pattern so well. I paired it with my much loved wool circle skirt for the photos, but I know I can also layer it for winter and wear it with jeans.

Miss Two just did her All the Single Ladies routine. I always have an audience.

Hide and Seek dresses for Scraptember

The Hide and Seek dress pattern by Oliver + S is a fabulous dress for scrap-busting. Let’s forget for a second that it is a beautifully designed play dress and look instead at all those fabulous panels that can allow for so much fabric mixing creativity.

I’ve made Hide and Seek dresses for both of my older girls recently (here and here). This time round, I used up the last of my Nani Iro and double-faced wool on the dress for Miss Six. The lining of the back bodice is wool as well, which should keep this little peep warm in Fall. The back skirt is leftover from here and the pretty dotted chambray is a small remnant I picked up from Tessuti Fabrics many, many moons ago.

 

 


 

Miss Four got a more summery version of this dress because her current summer wardrobe is in a pretty sorry state.

 
 
 
 

With our move to Kansas, we’ve had two back to back summers and some of her clothes have been in constant rotation since September 2013! I used an old linen pillowcase for the front and back of her skirt. The pillowcase lace makes for a very pretty back hem. Unbelievably, I picked it up at a garage sale for only $1.50.

 

 

 

 

 

Did somebody say Scraptember?

I’ve said it before, my girls aren’t fussy. That’s probably a little bit of a lie. They refuse to wear jeans or long pants, but I think we’ve finally progressed beyond the ‘everything needs to be pink and sparkly’ phase. Queue me jumping for joy!

Like most other seamstresses out there, I’m forever collecting fabric scraps. I don’t actually ever put any fabric in the bin. Useable pieces go in my scrap basket and the rest gets lumped in a pile on the armchair where it quickly discovered by small hands and turned into all kinds of pretend food, dresses for toys, train tracks, bows, blankets, and decorations. There is a downside to this imaginary play though…my sewing mess is distributed throughout the entire house!

I often dig into my scraps to find a little bit of cotton to line bodices and skirts for my little peeps. My girls are still quite small so scraps go a long way. I usually try to colour coordinate and match the scraps when I sew, but sometimes I just go on a bit of a scrap-busting binge and wind up with all kinds of eclectic makes. Quite often, it’s the most miss-matched pieces that get the most love from my girls.

Here’s a little round up of my recent scrappy makes.
 
1. First up is a pair of Go To tights for Miss Six. The little skirt overlay is the perfect compromise. I modified the hem length and shape on my version. She thinks she is wearing a skirt. I think she is wearing practical pants. You’ve seen my Ikat jersey before, here, here, and here.
 

 2. Miss Two wanted what Miss Six had, so I made her a smaller version to the same specifications. Hers is the ultimate scrapbust. It’s hard to see in the photos, but I’ve used wool jersey for the front of the tights (here), white solid knit for the back (here), and of course, that infamous Ikat for the skirt.

 

 3. My girls virtually fell over in awe when I walked out in my last Two-Piece Set-Acular. It was the maxi skirt they couldn’t keep their eyes off. So I put my nice mother hat on and made them all a maxi skirt. I took more care making the matching version for Miss Six. It isn’t dangerously long so she can wear hers to school.

 
But it is still most fabulous for swishing and twirling.


4. Miss Four’s skirt was made using the most beautiful pink textured poly remnant from Tessuti Fabrics. Miss Six chose it for her birthday more than 18 months ago but I couldn’t quite bear to cut it up. She didn’t care though. Miss Six isn’t really into pink. Miss Four is though. She’s paired it with her big sister’s Badminton top


Miss Two’s skirt is pure scrap and an ugly little thing, but she doesn’t care. It trails on the floor and swishes which is all she cares about. I purchased the cotton voile on sale a while ago. I’ve since discovered that it’s probably a poly blend, having seen how much and how quickly it has pilled in the other little clothes I’ve made using it (here and here). I didn’t want to waste it, but I wanted to be rid of it. The ruffles are left over from my kimono. I must have pieced together a dozen little lengths to make that ruffle.

Here’s a bit of insight into what goes on behind the camera. The photo shoot basically consisted of Miss Four doing her poses while Miss Two inched closer and closer, before finally pouncing. The smiling assassin.

Oliver + S School Photo dress

This little dress is soon to be wrapped up and hidden for Christmas. Santa will deliver it to Miss Six. It should be perfectly snuggly and warm for winter school days. Miss Four agreed to model the dress. It’s a size 7 so it is understandably way too big for her. Seeing it on her gives me confidence that it will fit Miss Six well in a few months time.


I picked up the fabric from Tessuti several months ago. It was one of my last purchases before I left Sydney. It is a beautifully soft, brushed corduroy with just a little bit of stretch. I was actually planning to make my girls some trousers in it, but since they flatly refuse to wear jeans and long pants, I can’t see the point. So here’s to a little dress instead.


I know the print is a little unusual for a child’s outfit. Perhaps that is why I like it so much. I can see my eldest daughter looking very smart in this dress, paired with grey woollen stockings and some little winter boots.


As always, this Oliver + S pattern did not fail to impress. The instructions are fabulous and I love the little details. The front pocket is a winner (although I forgot to take a picture with it in use), and I love the look of that collar, even though it does look a little restrictive on Miss Four. I haven’t secured with the collar in the back with a hook and eye as the pattern suggests. I’m going to wait to see how it fits the true recipient before I do this.

I will definitely make this dress again, although for comfort and practicality, I may try making it without a collar next time. A wool or flannel version would be lovely for winter!

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!

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.