Sunday, 24 November 2013

Skirt with built in bloomers

My nieces 1st birthday is in a few days. My sister had been requesting I make her a skirt for some time, preferably with a built in nappy cover/bloomers and I had some great fabric (bought by my sister probably 6 months ago, whoops).

I didn't have a pattern handy so I improvised. I used two fantastic tutorials from MADE to create the skirt (Dana is an authoritative on all things sewing for children!). 

First I downloaded the FREE diaper cover pattern and made up bloomers but left out the waistband elastic. I then followed the Simple Skirt tutorial, being careful to cut the skirt fabric to pattern match with the bloomers. I made up the skirt completely apart from the waistband. Rather than creating a waistband on the skirt I created a tiny top hem (to cover the raw edges) and then gathered the skirt making sure the width of the skirt waist and bloomers matched. I fitted the skirt about 5/8th below the top of the bloomers and attached the skirt around 1/2 inch below the top of the skirt. When this was complete I inserted the elastic into the bloomers waistband and you're done!

The Skirt is is a little too big as I made a size 18 months - 2 years for room to grow. I look forward to seeing Violet in this skirt for many months to come! Today we came together with family and friends for a joint birthday afternoon tea. My sister is turning 30-something the week after next, I turn 25 on Friday and my niece will be 1 Tuesday. I'm really happy with how the skirt turned out and so seems Violet. 

It's great to be able to find, use and adapt amazing online patterns and tutorials to create something just right AND for free.

Now Violet can flash away whilst maintaining her modesty. She gave it a try!

Happy Birthday Nat and Violet!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Saltspring Dress Times Two

Like everyone else, I assume (?!), I am in complete awe of the endless supply of dresses to be conjured and sewn up by Rosin of But it can't be from Dolly Clackett. She gave me an Easter egg! and many other prolific bloggers. My day-to-day uniform generally consists of skirts and dresses. But my me-made-items have involved mostly very simple blouses, tanks and PJ's.

I thought that Sewaholic's Saltspring Dress would be a nice-and-easy transition into sewing dresses. I made up my first Saltspring around the time of the sew-along but I wasn't blogging. Not too long after that I made a second Saltspring. So, here they are, better late than never...?

Blue cotton saltspring dress

For my first version I followed the instructions exactly. The dress came together quickly with no major hassles along the way. One of the great things about this dress is the lack of fitting requirements. The dress is loose fitting, blousey, cinched in at the waist with elastic, and the straps are tied. If you cut your approximate size and alter the elastic and shoulders ties accordingly it should fit reasonably well.  

Blue cotton saltspring dress

For both versions of my Saltspring I used cotton lawn from spotlight. The fabric probably isn't as drapey as is recommended for the dress. This might be why I was so unsatisfied with how my first dress turned out. When I finished it I thought it looked beautiful. That is to say, it looked beautiful on the coat hanger. When I'm wearing the dress I find the blouseyness just too much! It's unflattering on me. Another factor might be that I'm quite short torsoed. Also, I didn't line the skirt and I wonder whether this adds to the heavy-up-top look of the dress on me. Like others, I also noticed that I could get the dress on and off without using the zipper.

 So, obviously, I needed to make another version!
Saltspring times 2
For my second version I removed the zipper and the centre back seams, added a lining to the skirt, and used the bodice lining pieces for the bodice and the lining. Also, this version has tiny rabbits on it! I think this version suits me much more. 

Autumn colours saltspring dress

I'm looking forward to wearing both my Saltsprings this summer but in the meantime they are being paired with tights, cardigans and scarves. It's been very chilly in Melbourne the last couple of weeks. I think the colours in my second dress are particularly versatile and will be great in autumn 2014. 

Autumn colours saltspring dress

Sewaholic's Saltspring was a great introduction to dresses for me. The pattern instructions are very clear and the pattern was simple enough for me to feel confident in adapting it ever so slightly. Not sure if I'll make a third version, but if I do I will probably do a copycat of this divine black silk maxi version sewn by Reves Mecanique.

Blue saltspring dress and a horsey

You will notice I ventured outside the house for these photos! There is a beautiful mural on the wall of IGA in my local tiny shopping strip depicting the old-fashion village shops. Obviously, I said hello to the horsey. 

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Sewing for the man: Jedediah Shorts

I've been promising Tim a few hand-made items for some time. I made him some flannel PJs for his birthday, which he loves, but something more day-time-appropriate was requested. I trawled the web for men's patterns. The patterns I liked looked way too complex for my first non-bed-related men's clothing item (for example this beautiful coat ). Others made me laugh...   
Thread Theory Jedediah shorts

When I found Thread Theory Designs I knew I'd have more luck. I showed Tim the Jedediah Pants pattern and we were both impressed. Jedediah looked to be exactly Tim's style. A week or two later I dragged Tim along to a small crafts market put on by Thread den (I think?) where fabric off cuts, zippers, patterns etc were being sold. It backfired, Tim saw this red and black tiny hounds-tooth fabric and requested the shorts!

Thread theory Jedediah shorts

From this time it took me about a month to make the shorts from pattern printing to hemming. This was because a)the pattern includes more complex components than I've tackled before; b) I was distracted by selfish sewing; and, c) when sewing for others I am much more careful than I would be otherwise.
Now I've made the pair once I'm sure I could whip them up a second time much quicker.  

Thread theory Jedediah shorts

I followed the pattern instructions and used the sew-along tutorials  when I was unsure of a step. The tutorials were really helpful! The only change I made from the pattern was to omit the bias bound seams. This pair of shorts was my test/wearable muslin pair and I didn't want to invest so much time making and sewing bias binding if the shorts didn't end up fitting. I made Tim a size 32 and they fit like a dream! Very satisfying after such a time consuming make!

Thread theory Jedediah shorts

Tim loves the shorts and it was such a pain that the weather turned this weekend and he wasn't able to give them a wear. We both agree that they look almost as good as store bought shorts and that's all because Morgan, from Thread Theory, designed such an amazing and detailed pair of shorts. Above is the Jedediah shorts and a store bought pair which are very similar! No doubt I'll be making this pattern again.

Thread theory Jedediah shorts

On a side note, what do you think of our art? It's a self-portrait Tim painted in Prep which won first prize at the Whittlesea Show Art Competition (portrait category). I love the painting and it's a real conversation starter with visitors. FYI, that's a nose not a mustache! 

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Six Scoops: Colette Sorbetto Top

One of the first patterns I made when I began sewing was Colette Patterns Sorbetto Top. It's a fantastic beginner project, it's FREE and it doesn't take a lot of fabric. It's a winner in my books. So, obviously, I made six versions. 

Colette Sorbetto

There's not much to say about the pattern that hasn't already been said. I'm about two years late to the Sorbetto party. So, here's a summary of my Sorbetto's 1 to 6. 

Sorbetto 1. 
My first Sorbetto was made out of some thin soft gingham I found in Savers, a local op-shop. The first top came together very quickly and I fell in love with it immediately. Even after all my subsequent Sorbetto's  this one is on high wardrobe rotation.

Colette Sorbetto

Sorbetto 2. 
Here's another one made from Savers fabric scraps. The fabric is a bit stiff and was probably intended for quilting or decor. But the important thing is how damn cute it is!

Colette Sorbetto

I loved this fabric so much I thought it would be awesome to have some PJs/lounge shorts in it too. Great idea right? Well, the problem is that now I associate the top with the shorts and when I wear the top I wonder whether it looks like I'm wearing PJs. What do you think, is the top better with jeans or as a PJ set?

Colette Sorbetto and shorts

Sorbetto 3. 

Colette Sorbetto

This Sorbetto is a little different. I added sleeves using the PDF pattern on Sew Indecently. I also left the bottom half of the front pleat unsewn so it would ease out. This is my least favorite version. The Sorbetto is quite short and the length doesn't work in this roomier version. Perhaps I will sew the pleat all the way down after-all. 

Colette Sorbetto

Sorbetto 4. 
This version was intended for my sister. She bought the fabric and requested that it have sleeves and a longer curved hem. I used the Wiksten tank as a template for extending and curving the hem.  My sister is a few sizes smaller than me but likes to wear clothes with  A LOT of ease. I tried to get her measurements, but she was convinced my tops fitted her just right. Long story short, I have another version in my cupboard and she bought more material for me to make her a smaller size.  
Colette SorbettoColette Sorbetto

Sorbetto 5. 
This little number is a favourite! I refashioned it out of a dress I bought from Dangerfield as a 2012 conference dress. The dress was now way too big for me but I always loved the fabric. 

Colette Sorbetto

I made two changes to the pattern, I removed the center pleat and created a key hole in the back. I used the key hole pattern piece from the Laurel Extras download from Colette Patterns. It turned out really neat, I think! 

Colette Sorbetto

Sorbetto 6. 
Last but not least, another refashioned Sorbetto. This one I made out of a light pink drappey shirt from Sports Girl. Again, now too big. In this version I removed the front pleat and kept the original shirts curved hem.
Colette Sorbetto

I really liked the idea of using the front of the shirt for the back of the Sorbetto, using the buttons as a details. It didn't turn out nearly as nice as I'd envisaged. The buttons pull and the top wrinkles like crazy.

Colette Sorbetto

There we have it, all six versions thus far. The Sorbetto Top is a fantastic summer wardrobe filler. It's a fun easy pattern that you can whip up quick smart when you need a break from more challenging sewing.  

Thanks to Tim (the bf) for taking these photos, x