Transeasonal Simplicity 1435 and a Swoon cardi

For the past few months (apart from multiple, transient costume changes each day) Miss Two has really only been wearing two dresses (here and here). Apparently they are both suitable for nightwear as well as daywear. Who am I to argue with a two year old? Day in, day out, night in, night out, we see her in the same clothes. I think it has a lot to do with comfort and a little to do with the fact that they are dresses she can slip on herself (and therefore slip off for her costume changes).
 
Hubby and I held a meeting. I was going to make those dresses disappear. Miss Two and I went shopping at Jo-Ann. She found some very pretty (polyester, ugh!) jersey and I found Simplicity 1435. I feel like I don’t sew Simplicity patterns very often so I was going to treat this as a wearable muslin. I’ve rarely been super impressed with the fit of kid’s clothes from the big pattern companies. But this could be because my older two girls are a lot longer and narrower than average.
 
Gnome killer

Miss Two (AKA Midget) is completely average in size (not temperament!). She is smack bang on the 50th centile for everything, despite being dwarfed by her giant sisters. Not surprisingly, this little dress pattern fits her perfectly. The only change I made was to lengthen the sleeves for Autumn and shave a bit of the sleeve cap. I also left the hem unfinished. I love the unfitted, drop waist look and it is clearly very comfortable. The dress has thankfully become her new favourite and the other pilled and shredded dresses have disappeared unnoticed.
 
Yes, she just murdered the gnome

I also made her a Swoon cardi to go with her new dress. A little while back, Lara from Thornberry blogged about a very pretty matchy make for her daughter. I loved the look of her Swoon cardi so I made sure I had enough fabric to make Miss Two one too.
 
I had my doubts when I was putting this pattern together. I was so tempted to redraw a few pieces to somehow turn the shawl collar into a self-facing edge but it all started to hurt my brain too much. I was having trouble seeing how it would come together in the end. But I ploughed on and did a quick hash job of serging the edges in non-matching thread because I truly didn’t think this cardi would turn out as well as it did.
 
Gnome found his way upright again, but not for long.

Got him

So now I’m going to step on his head, because that’s what you do to gnomes.
Miss Two put the cardi on straight away and has barely taken it off since. I even caught her wearing it scrunched up underneath a long sleeved top this morning. The fit is beautiful. The shape is pretty and the lightweight fabric worked very well for it. I will definitely give this pattern another go but with better fabric next time, and nicely hemmed edges too.
 
Sorry gnome. Let’s be friends again?
 


Silk jumpsuit: a vintage pattern mash up

I originally wanted to make a dress out of the lovely silk twill you see in the photos (this exact dress and pant set in fact). Silk twill is actually very similar to CDC but ever so slightly heavier. It drapes and feels much the same, but is basically just less see-through in my opinion. And this makes it perfectly suited to a jumpsuit.

I know there are heaps of totally fabulous jumpsuits doing the rounds right now in blogland. I’ve also made a few myself in the past year (here and here).

 


My version is a mash up of two vintage patterns: McCall’s 6429 and Style 3304. I’ve used Style 3304 in the past (here and here), so I took the bottom half of this pattern and connected it with the top half of McCall’s 6429. The silk is Oscar de la Renta. I’m obviously partial to a bit of Oscar, since he features quite well in my stash. The top is fastened with two black glass buttons.


I also made a few other modifications:

  • I shortened the crotch in the pants
  • lengthened the bodice in the bodice portion
  • lengthened the View B sleeves but kept them wide
  • ditched the back seam and cut it on the fold instead (cheater broad back adjustment)
  • adjusted the facing pieces to accommodate the back change
  • I also added a thin waistband to create a casing for the elastic (but only because I didn’t lengthen the bodice enough in the first place!) 
  • Initially, I made the jumpsuit complete with the full collar you see on the pattern packet (instagram photo here) but it just didn’t look right when I tried it on. The look was too silk-pyjama-esque. I fixed this by unpicking the collar and leaving the facing intact. I  toyed with creating a V-neck but I liked the little lapels better.

Anyway, to sum it up, I’m pretty happy with this make. It was a bit random and I’m not entirely sure how hubby will take it. I think I’m just going to have to book a date night and surprise him (or ply him with spirits if I have to). Because seriously, these pants are made for dancing!

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Leather trimmed tunic

I have this idea that I need to practice fashion illustration. I have a fabulous set of Fashionary sketch books that have been sitting untouched for at least a month. I see beautiful fabric and I simply can’t control myself. A vivid picture forms in my head and I pounce on that fabric, much like what happens when a vampire sees blood. Now who’s been busy watching too many episodes of True Blood back to back…

So once again, my plans to sketch this dress fell through. However, I did manage to use up the rest of my little bitty leather scraps (from here) and my black ponte (from here), so I’m going to give myself a high five for scrap busting anyway.

The dress is basically a modified version of Vogue 8840 (seen before herehere, and here) with a bit of leather embellishment. I used a metal ruler and a sharp rotary cutter to cut dozens of 6mm strips of leather. I lined up a few strips side by side and basted them on the interfaced ponte with fabric glue, before stitching them down with a single centre seam. I then just kept lining up those strips until I liked the look of the pattern. 

 
I added leather strips to the front of the dress and to a panel at the bottom of the back of the dress. I only added the back panel because I was short of ponte. Yay for that though, because I think that back panel finishes the look!
 


V8840 is a pattern designed for a top. What I wanted was a slightly unfitted tunic that I could layer with layers upon layers of wool for a Midwestern winter. I’m pretty happy with what I ended up with.

Here are the modifications I made: 

  • lengthened both pattern pieces to turn the top into a tunic
  • fused interfacing on the inside of the entire front dress pieces and to the back panel. This was needed to stabilise the ponte for stitching on all those leather strips.
  • shortened the (short) sleeves by a few inches
  • brought the side seams in by about 2.5″ and adjusted the bust dart to deal with this
  • ditched the back seam and kept the back piece the same but cut on the fold (cheater broad back adjustment)
  • widened and lowered the neckline a smidgen
  • added a front zipper
 
 

 

 

 

 


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.

Refashioned Ikat dress

A very short while back, I turned some Ikat jersey into a Chanel-inspired dress. It worked out okay, but I didn’t love it, and pretty much knew from the outset that I would be changing it into something different. I already had my idea. 

This refashioning was very simple. I simply cut the original skirt portion off. It currently hangs intact, complete with the elastic waistband, on a hook in my sewing room. I’m constantly tempted to put it on and twirl around the house but I have better plans for that piece as well.

The top portion of the dress was reattached to my last little bit of Ikat jersey. I had just enough fabric left for a fitted skirt. To lengthen the skirt a smidgen and to finish the edges, I added a band of white, silk/modal jersey. I also straightened up the ends of the sleeves little and attached a similar band to them.

I much prefer my refashioned dress. I think it’s going to get loads of wear now.


Little blue tunic


I’m not always in love with the clothes I make for my girls, but on this particular occasion, I feel like I’ve struck gold. I would wear this! Usually, I’m trying to blend sewing what I want to sew for them with what I know they will like, and therefore, actually wear (read ruffles, fairies, and gathered skirts). It’s a delicate balance. I also try to use up a lot of my fabric leftovers for their clothes, rather than spend money specifically on kid fabric. 

Now, if you saw my last post on the winter coat I made for myself, you will be familiar with this gorgeous double faced wool. It was a big birthday splurge but so worth it. I ordered a little more than I thought I would need, just to be certain that I would have enough for a long coat. I also had this little tunic in mind on the off chance that I had any leftover. Luck was on my side. I had just enough for both makes, plus a few extra squares that will soon be patch-worked into another little dress.

 


I love the oversized look of this tunic. I drafted the pattern myself but I used the placket piece from Thread Theory’s Henley top, reminding me in turn that it’s been a while since any clothes for hubby have been on my job list. He keeps suggesting that I put up a chalkboard in the basement my sewing room, so that he can add what he wants to it. I covered the buttons with a few scraps of Japanese cotton.


The pattern itself isn’t rocket science. It’s just two pieces, with pockets and a placket. I made it large enough for my biggest girl (to be on the safe side and to guarantee maximum hand-me-down potential). I planned to give it to the peep it fit best. It fits them all but Miss Four fell in love with it first.