Monday, 25 April 2016

Endless summer of swimwear

And here it is, my last swimwear blog post for this summer (yep, it's half way through Autumn already, I know).

When I first made the Ottobre Seamus trunks for P and they were too baggy, I put the pattern aside for a bit while I sewed A's swimmers. Then one morning he was riding to school in the Nature Walk shorts I'd made him 2 years ago. They're made of an athletic knit and are now kinda tight and resemble cycle shorts.

It occurred to me I had my perfect boy's swim trunks pattern right there in front of me all along.

And so, I'm over at Oliver + S showing how I've used their patterns to create beachwear. Until Liesl gives us the long wished for swimwear pattern this is as close to Oliver + S swimmers as I can get.

I decided to make the swim trunks a bit more interesting by splitting the pattern pieces to allow for some colour blocking and the faked flatlocked seams.

The rashie wasn't really necessary since he had a couple of shop bought ones that still fit, but the temptation to make something that matched was too strong. The little remnant of the orange lycra, which I'd already used a bit of here, was just wide enough for a sleeve of the Field Trip Raglan T

I toyed with the idea of inserting a short, exposed zip at the back neck, but decided it wasn't necessary so why bother. Instead I just added about 1/2" width to the neckband pattern piece to give it a slightly higher neckband and left it at that. With the neckband sewn on with the overlocker and then twin needle stitched down it has plenty of stretch to get over his head without needing a zipper.

The charcoal grey fabric is a mystery textile that was purchased out at Eliza fabrics. It's definitely synthetic, has four way stretch and one shinier side, so I'm calling it lycra, but who knows. It's thinner than the orange dancewear lycra/spandex that came from GJ's fabrics and I expect it will wear out first. But the way this kid grows I don't expect more than season from his swimwear anyway.

Both the shorts and the T-shirt are made two sizes down from where his measurements would put him. Of course I had to add some length to the t-shirt and considerable sleeve length. I think it may have been as much as 4 extra inches of sleeve length - the kid has long arms! The good thing about a raglan sleeve is that you can measure from collar to wrist and that's the sleeve length you need. Easy to get right.

He loved the beach and enjoyed riding his boogie board and catching waves.  It amazed me that even though this is probably the most well known and commercialised bit of coast the whole way around Australia, and even thought the high rise apartments come right down to the sand, the beach still felt almost empty. Not empty by Aus standards, but certainly empty compared to any well known beach in any other part of the world.

After we got back from the Gold Coast I realised it was A who needed a rashie as hers had been very faded, worn and saggy. Of course that meant she needed a pair of swim trunks to match it, so I set about "girlifying" the Nature Walk pants to suit her.

This is at a much less glamorous, colder and generally less photogenic bay beach in Melbourne and I hadn't expected the kids to go in, but once they see water there's no stopping them.

I made the neckband on her top a bit wider again, adding a full inch to the pattern. Thus the folded neckband is 1/2" wider than intended. It works for a rashie, but is right on the limit to my taste. I think it would be visually far too thick and chunky for a regular t-shirt.

Her shorts were drafted to have an extended side section which is then drawn up and ruched by virtue of a casing and drawstrings. The casing is done in much the same was as this skirt which I adapted and photographed for another Oliver + S tutorial here.

Making this set exactly used up the remnants of the floral lycra from The Fabric Store (used here) and another of the small remnants I'd picked up at GJ's.

These are now her favourite swimmers which is kinda funny since I simply cannot convince her to wear shorts or pants in any other situation.

I love the idea of the new Lisette B6358 one piece swimsuit for me, so next summer, that's on the cards. Meanwhile I want to track down some of this VITA swimsuit fabric - it's made of 100% recycled waste nylon. I love the idea of swimming at the beach wearing a swimsuit made of recycled fishing nets that had been cleaned up off another beach somewhere in the world. But that's a long way off, it's starting to get cold around these parts...

Monday, 18 April 2016

School swimmers - Jalie & Ottobre

I'm pretending Autumn isn't happening and continuing with sewing swimsuits for the kids. There'll be a couple more to show you after these and then I'm plunging straight into fleecy dressing gowns for winter warmth. No inter seasonal sewing here!

Before we went on our beach holiday, I tried out an Ottobre swimsuit for the boy. It was an oversized fail, but after we came home I rejigged it and now he's happy.

The pattern is the Seamus swim trunks from Ottobre 3-2009. By his measurements I traced off a size 140cm.

I'm used to Japanese sewing patterns where one needs to add seam allowances, but at least those patterns show a cutting layout where the seam allowances are suggested. This pattern had no such guidance. I'd forgotten to add the seam allowance ot my tracing which is what I normally do, but then added it as I cut the fabric. I gave myself 1cm for sewn seams and 3cm for the waist and hems.

He decided they were far too baggy for what he was used to. In truth they looked very like the image in the pattern magazine, so maybe I should have thought to size down from the very beginning.

This second pair were cut with the front inset and top part 1cm over the fabric fold line, removing 2cm width from the centre front. Then I just cut the rest without any seam allowances. There's a few seams there and my maths brain is failing me late at night, but I'd reckon I've reduced each leg circumference by about 6cm!

The kids are both doing their intensive school swimming programs at the moment, so I had a bit of fun making their swimmers in "school uniform" colours.

For A I used the other Jalie pattern that I have, Jalie 3134.

I love this swimsuit for it's sporty, I'm-on'the-swim-team look.

For both of the kids I added a little bit of colour by doing a faked flatlock seam finish. I've previously tinkered with my overlocker and created a proper lapped flatlock seam (tutorial here). But, I was worried that wouldn't be sturdy enough for swimmers.

Here, I've simply sewn the overlocked seam with wrong sides together, then stitched the overlocked seam allowance down using a twin needle. I matched the twin needle threads to the overlocker threads and even up close it looks passable. Doesn't mean I don't still want an industrial 7 thread flatlocker one day...

These are size I, same as the other Jalie swimmers I just made for her. Again, I could probably have added a little length to make them a perfect fit.

Similar to any racerback, sporty swimsuit, these take a bit more wriggling into than the other style with it's thinner shoulder straps. But once you're in, it's all held together really nicely. This is the suit I'd consider making for myself of the two. With enough power mesh underlining I figure it could work! :)

I didn't want my pale pink lining fabric to show in the exposed seam allowances, so I constructed the whole front first, then laid it flat on the lining fabric and cut the lining fabric out in one piece. For a kids swimsuit with no real built in curves that works fine.

I'm certainly finished with swimwear for this year, but did you see the new Lisette for Butterick patterns? Maybe next summer, hey.

Swimmers for me is one of the only items of clothing I've bought in the last two years. I'm enjoying following the thoughts of other makers on Instagram as part of Fashion Revolution. I'm happy my kids can answer "who made your clothes?". Now to start to think about who made my fabric.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Jalie 3350 - surf and poolside

We've just been away on a summer holiday and I made sure the kids had some new swimwear each before we went.

These floral swimmers had been a favourite of A's (so faded now they're unrecognisable) and so I thought I'd revisit the pattern one size up for this summer.

This is Jalie 3350 view B. I measured her and she appeared to be exactly the right measurements for size I, which is just one size up from last years swimmers.

This first green pair were made with a small remnant of lycra from GJ's discount fabrics. I think it was fished out of the remnant bin and cost maybe $2. And of that I've probably only used half of it! I lined the front with more of the pale skintone pink lycra I'd bought last year.

I made a neater job of the cross over bit this time, and even added a step to pull the lining through the front panels and stitch it to itself. That means there's no unfinished lining edge at the centre front. Much tidier. I'll have to take a few photos next time (next year!) to describe it properly.

A big part of the appeal of this pattern is that she can easily get them on and off herself. The intensive school swimming instruction starts next week and I'm afraid the Cosi pattern (also sewn last summer) with it's cross over straps was just too confusing.

I had decided to make both view B and View A and I was good and sewed this pair right to the end to try the fit before cutting the second pair. I do think they could do with a centimetre or two more torso length, but once I started looking at View A the pattern is more confusing and didn't lend itself to lengthening so easily. So I didn't bother and just made the same size over!

It turned out not to be quite as baffling as I'd thought it would be to add length, as that band is more of a flap. It lays over the uppermost part of the bottom section and adds nothing to the length of the swimsuit. The front could be easily lengthened. It's the back that would require a bit more thought.

I love the back of these swimmers!

I tried really hard to cut my fabric to align at least the colours, if not the chevrons. But the upper back sections, which I fastidiously lined up and cut were upside down! I may have missed a grainline marking when tracing the pattern, but the writing, which I always trace is upside down to the pattern piece. There, hopefully I'll remember that for next time.

The method for creating the straps is great. A strip of fabric is stitched onto the edge of some 1cm elastic, then wrapped around the elastic and topstitched down with a zig zag stitch. Then the excess fabric width is simply trimmed off close to the stitching on the underside. The straps are more stretchy, stable in width and have better recovery than if they were just made from a tube of lycra.

Last year I tried to make my swimmers look professional by using a double needle for all the elastic hems. However, I'd stitched close to the edge and the elastic tended to want to roll out. This time I just went with a nice wide zig zag and it behaves so much better and really doesn't look too amateurish at all. So while I chose to use an overlocker for the main seams, there's no reason why one couldn't make swimwear with a very basic sewing machine only.

The back fastening, as per the pattern, should have been a 2" hook which hooks to a loop sewn by folding one of the straps back on itself.

I couldn't find such a huge hook, but did find a two pack of these 1" clear plastic swimwear closures. It was a bit of a squeeze to get the straps happily through and stitched down, but it turned out to work really well in the end.

The chevron fabric is quite a large piece that I bought at Rathdowne fabrics and the orange another of the little scrap remnants from GJ's. It's really quite ridiculous how little fabric you need to make 5 year old girl swimsuits! I think I'll be sewing swimsuit chevrons for quite some years to come.

We had a fantastic holiday in the sun and the kids adored being on the beach. They were up at a crazily early hour each day and so it would feel like we'd been in the water for an eternity, yet my watch would only say half past nine in the morning! This little one is pretty brave when she wants to be and delighted in the big breaking waves. Flipper would take her out and hold her over his head while the wave broke over them. Sometimes they both got completely submerged but she didn't care a bit.

Of course in the Australian sun, you only get to show off your swimsuit for the sake of a blog photoshoot. The rest of the time it's hats and rashies on. So that's what I need to sew her next, a new rashie for riding the boogie board!

Thursday, 24 March 2016

My Firework Shingle Dress and Giveaway Winner

When I first took possession of my lovely pile of Maai Design fabrics, I had a definite plan for my Froy & Dind Firework knit fabric.

It was going to become a Marcy Tilton knit dress - pattern Vogue V8813

Of course, being a stripe addict, I would still love to find jersey fabrics of the same colour with three different stripe widths and recreate that exact dress, but I digress. I was going to make it with my firework blue knit...

So I made a test run first. I measured, chose my size and cut a muslin out of a very stretchy, pilling jersey of a beige-y khaki colour.  It was not looking good. Stupidly, I tried to get some feedback from Flipper but the big beige mess was too awful, and he couldn't even get enthusiastic about the model in her version on the pattern cover. The fabric was maybe too stretchy, but the whole thing was enormous, heavy, saggy and such an awful colour that I just completely lost interest.

But while I was looking for sizing tips or inspiration for that pattern I kept seeing another pattern popping up in my searches...

So when I went to buy the smaller size range of Vogue V8813 (which I will make one day) I found myself buying Vogue 8904 - The Shingle dress too.

Having just cut an oversized mess based on my measurements I decided to just dive in and cut the same size for this pattern. After all, how tight could it be?... Well, quite tight was the answer to that ;)

I added an overall 2 inches in length, which took a bit of thinking through. In order to keep the layered shingles looking even I added half an inch to each shingle, and lengthened the underdress by half inch increments at a mid point under each of the shingle layers.

 - before I add another image, a quick explanation for the strange modelling: To try and make some fun out of a forced outing for blog post photos we played Simon Says and that did include me. Perversely the best images of my dress are the ones that are somewhat odd in terms of sewing blog modelling.  :)

As I sewed it was becoming obvious that I should have paid attention to the part that said 2 inches of negative ease. I was not going to make the 5/8" seam allowance and be able to wear this dress. I sewed the full side and underarm seams at only 1/4" seam allowance on the overlocker, and from the bust down that was necessary. Above the bust and through the sleeves was really baggy, so I went back and took it in to the indicated 5/8" seam allowance.

I like it a lot, but it definitely feels like a date-night hold it all in kind of dress, rather than a go about the long, busy day in a comfy knit dress kind of dress. Know what I mean?

I'll definitely make the pattern again with a size or two larger below the waist and perhaps in the long, sleeveless version. I love Meg from Cookin' and Craftin's version- stripes of course!

The pattern would probably be better suited to a yarn dyed rather than printed knit. That way the raw edges wouldn't be so obvious. I did an overlocker rolled hem on all of my raw edges and you can see the sleeves and bottom edge lay nicely. The rest tend to curl. It gives the dress a more casual look, and I'm surprised to find it doesn't bother me as much as I thought it might.

What's with the backdrop change? Giant hairy knuckles to you too!

We hunted high and low for a suitable backdrop for our photoshoot for the Maai Design Blog Tour. I wanted something monochrome since we all had different coloured fabrics to wear. I'd dragged the whole family into the city as I recalled one of the galleries had concrete stairs, white walls and giant windows. I'd recalled wrong, it was redwood stairs, concrete walls and busy, smaller panelled windows. Add in that the gallery happened to be really crowded that day and a photoshoot just wasn't going to happen.

But of course close to home is always better. The local community arts centre has a great wall with the black and white painting on it, and down by the river is a giant mural paying tribute to a local indigenous elder - Uncle Larry Walsh

I hope Uncle Larry doesn't mind being hand model to my awkward dress modelling ;)

And now, a couple of lucky blog readers can start planning their own sewing with some gorgeous fabrics that I purchased from Maai Design to share with you....

Drumroll please.

The winners are:

Maaidesign Fabric Giveaway

In a happy coincidence they can both have the fabric they wanted! I'll email you both straightaway.

Then we're off on holidays for a bit. Hope everyone has a happy and safe Easter!

Monday, 21 March 2016

Froy & Dind Hopscotch Dress

Like a breath of fresh air, or a relaxation massage, or just a nice cup of tea, my next pattern for the Maai Design Blog Tour was a tried and true pattern. Well written and a joy to sew.

This is the Hopscotch Dress by Oliver + S. I've sewn it many times before, both as a t-shirt and a dress. In fact this pattern was the first sewing with knit fabrics I ever did. I'm reminded that I really need to revisit the cute little skirt that's part of the pattern too.

The first few times I made the top/dress I thought I needed to size up, probably because the knits I chose didn't have a lot of stretch, maybe 'cause I wasn't much good at maintaining a 1/4" seam allowance. Also baby arms are pretty podgy compared to small kids. But the last time I'd made the dress was this one back in April of 2014, and my notes suggested that was a straight size 3 on a recently turned three year old...

So I decided I'd make a muslin of this dress too, just to be sure. I had some cheap 1m cuts of knits from Spotlight in the stash and so I made a size 6 for my recently turned 5 year old.

It was comfortably roomy. I would probably have been fine with the size 5 after all, but I couldn't be bothered tracing off another size, so I stuck with the 6. She'll grow.

This is such an easy dress to wear and very much like an elongated, but slightly fancy t-shirt. I often think it would make a fabulous nightie pattern for sleepwear, but then I know I would never look at the pattern as a "day dress" again.

Perhaps when this one is too short I'll lop the sleeves and bottom off and sew some white, knit shorts and it can be part of a pyjama set!

In a nutshell, if you want the sewing equivalent of that feeling when you stop hitting yourself on the head with a hammer, sew an Oliver + S pattern.

In some really good quality fabric, of course!

Here's my original Maai Design Blog Tour post with all the fabric links, and there's still 2 days for my Aussie blog readers to enter the Gleam widget competition and win some nice Froy & Dind knit for yourself. Good luck!

Saturday, 19 March 2016

The Zander Zonen09 Hoodie

Time for a bit more of an in depth look at the garments I made for the Maai Design Blog Tour. First up, P's hoodie:

For a couple of years now I've been wanting to re-create a zip-up, knit fabric hoodie that P had outgrown. I'd stalled due to not being able to find the exact knit I wanted - the old one was a double sided knit with two different, but complementary, coloured striped faces. It had welt pockets, and the welts, bottom band, cuffs and zipper placket were all sewn with the "wrong" side of the fabric showing.

For the lack of such a fabric the obvious thing to do was to use two different knits. I didn't have a suitable pattern, and I was about to start seriously complicating one of my favourite basic T-shirt patterns, when I remembered a pattern I did already have....

It's the Zander Hoodie by Everything Your Mama Made (E.Y.M.M.) and I think I'd bought it a while ago in one of those PDF pattern bundle sales. I figured since I already had a hoodie pattern I may as well use it. I liked the asymmetrical zip, although that stopped me from doing welt pockets as I figured they would look oddly unbalanced, so I sewed it exactly "as is".

P is 7 and a half years old, and his measurements put him smack in the middle of the 6/7 and 8/10 sizes. Knowing his tendency to  need extra sleeve length, I went for the bigger size and scratched around for some fabric to make a test run. What I found wasn't going to suit P, and he didn't need two hoodies anyway, so I made up one for the little sister that can sit in the cupboard for three years!

To be clear, I'm not a big fan of print at home PDF patterns. Sometimes, it's fairly painless and the pattern is so good it's worth it, and other times, not.

I faffed around with Microsoft reader trying to get the 1" test square to be any size other than 15/16ths of an inch. Eventually I gave up, reinstalled Adobe and got my test square the right size. The pattern boasted an ingenious tiling solution that didn't require any trimming. Just line up the free edge of one page with the printed line on the previous page. Great I thought.... I did note an odd comment about using a large window to overlap the pages IF you're using A4 paper. Well, since when did paper size have anything to do with transparency? Tosh, thought I...

Then I gathered up all 34 pages of pattern printout and started trying to align them. They simply did not match up. By searching the EYMM website I found the addendum that the page aligning method won't work for any paper size other than whatever non international standard size the yanks use. For the rest of the world, one should align the pages as best as possible by linking up the lines. It will be accurate to within 1/8th of an inch. Whaaaa??? *#%^@&?!  I've just spent an hour or more trying to eliminate the 1/16" of an inch scaling error only to have to haphazardly mash my pattern pages together.

To be clear, I'm not a big fan of (most) print at home PDF patterns.

Deep breath, pour a glass of wine and start cutting some pink loopback terry knit and the little bits of leftover Lisette knit for the lining.

The sewing is mostly easy, interrupted by trips back and forwards to the computer to view the instructions. Easy that is, until you get to the shoulder and back neckline stage. The pattern has no notches or markings anywhere and this one step is where that is a real problem. To sew the angle at the front shoulder is similar to sewing a V neck T-shirt. There are two opposite V's which need to come together with no puckers.

The problems is that the apex of each V is not clearly defined. One side (the side with the zip placket) is about a cm different to the other - and I was being precise with my seam allowances. To sew a neat V it helps to staystitch, clip, pin down the apex and then shift the fabric under the needle. In fact here's a tutorial I wrote doing exactly that. But I was stumped here as I just didn't have any reference points for where this apex was meant to be...

If I'm sounding a bit grumpy about this, bear in mind that this awkward corner is sewn four times in total. Both sides on the lining and the outer garment. If you're fussy about puckers and rip the seam and re-sew, the count goes up from four. There was swearing.

But after that point, the rest of the sewing is very pleasant, and then when you're finally done and the fit is perfection, well, that's when you go back and do it again (and there was swearing the next four times through that shoulder corner as well)

It was certainly easier in a stretchier knit. I'm sure if you were using polar fleece or similar it would be relatively easy to fudge a decent corner. But why not just give us some pattern markings and save everyone's sanity?!

Perhaps the huge hood is intended to always cover that point, so no one ever needs to feel bad about their shoulder corners. It is a very generously sized hood!

One feature that I really like, and might have had trouble figuring out, had I made up my own zip up hoodie is the inner zip shield. This is neat:

I think there's meant to be some edgestitching around the bottom band, but since I had no idea which way to press my seam allowances when I attached the zipper, I ended up with some seam allowance down into the bottom band, and some up. Edgestitching seemed futile. Of course I didn't think it through before the second version so it also went without the edgestitching on the bottom band.

A neat trick that I learned from Oliver + S is this (I was looking elsewhere for instructions by now) : After attaching one side of the zipper, close the zip and mark the bottom and top of the garment, and the line of the top edge of the pocket on the zipper tape. Then when you attach the other side of the zipper you can get it perfectly aligned so that the pockets match when the zipper is closed.

To give P's Zonen09 knit hoodie the same weight and warmth as the terry version I underlined with a single layer of polar fleece. I also used some ribbing inside the bottom band and cuffs, so they're also hefty, double thickness.

The pattern has the sleeves unlined (I should have taken a photo of the pink one inside out, sorry), but since I wanted the green one to be super thick I lined and underlined the sleeves as well. It made no difference to the sewing, just that the sleeve cuffs are the final part attached and thus the only inner visible seam. My overlocker did struggle a bit with all that thickness, but they're not about to fall off.

The final verdict: He LOVES it. The squishy fabric, the thick, coziness of it, the ludicrously big hood and the "it's not straight, mum" zipper. And now that the sewing experience is behind me, so do I. To have a jacket fit him so well with no adjustments is a delight. I mean look at those sleeves! No more bare wrists for monkey boy. I'm scoring a definite "room for improvement" on the pattern's assembly and instructions but it's two thumbs up for the finished garment.

I even kept the big tiled pattern sheet so that should I need to trace another size one day then I'm one headaches headstart on this version!

Don't forget you can still enter to win some lovely Soft cactus or Froy & Dind fabric by using the widget at the end of this blog post. Good luck

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Maai Design Blog Tour - fabric love and a GIVEAWAY

There's a new fabric dealer in town and she's importing the good stuff...

I'm very excited and happy to be bringing you the penultimate blog post in the Maai Design blog tour.

Stick around, see what I've made, take a peek at the other amazing creations that have preceded mine in the tour so far and pick up a discount code to go shopping for some of this incredible fabric. Not enough, you say? OK, you can win some fabric on me too. Read on...

Maaike is a Belgian born Sydney-sider who, through her online shop, Maai Design is bringing some of the most divine fabrics into Australia. Maai Design also stocks matching ribbings, piping, zippers and the paper patterns from Compagnie M.

A little while ago, ok perhaps it was quite a few months, I was lucky enough to win some Froy & Dind knit fabrics from Maai Design. I chose the Firework Blue for me (left), and the Art Deco pink for the girl (right). Then I couldn't help myself and purchased some of the gorgeous Zonen09 Off Beetle Green (centre) for the boy. Oh, and I bought some matching ribbings, of course

But I got busy, and the fabrics were still waiting for me...

When Maaike invited me to join the Blog Tour I knew I just had to sew up my fabrics that I'd petted, washed, dried, petted some more and then put away.

I'll talk more about the patterns I used and the successes and failings of my sewing in other posts to follow this one. Suffice to say I liked these fabrics so much that I sewed muslins of (almost) every garment in something cheap and nasty first. For me to sew a practice run, well that is a real measure of how special a fabric is!

I love this Beetle fabric for P. It's a gorgeous soft shade of green and is very gender neutral really. But you know, boys and bugs just go together so well!

The knit is quite the softest, loveliest feeling stuff, and so I was sorely tempted to use it as lining. Instead I dug out a soft, brushed knit that highlighted the little blue bugs nicely, interlined the two layers with a layer of polar fleece, and now it is truly, the most snuggly hoodie in the whole world.

Both the Froy & Dind and Zonen 09 knits are a cotton elastane, made with GOTS certified organic cotton. They are thick enough, stretchy with great recovery and beautifully printed. None of the print quality is lost when the fabric is stretched, so I was happy to use the main fabric for my bottom band and cuffs. - which meant I got to save my co-ordinating blue ribbing for another day!

A simple dress shape to show off the Art Deco Pink print was on the cards for A. This time I did use some of Maai Design's white ribbing:

You know, when you sew for a little girl you go through phases when sewing yet another pink garment might. just. kill. you.

This is certainly a bright pink, a kind of hot raspberry pink, if such a shade exists. But look, it's mixed with white and quite a surprising shade of green. And well, I really like it.

In a moment of indecisive online shopping I may have ended up with both the white and green ribbings, and truly, it was a tough decision! The way the ribbing behaved for the neckline was perfect. Not too tight, not too wavy and took a good pressing with the iron with no fuss. I'd previously bought Ottobre ribbings online and had them shipped from Finland, and never thought I could put up with anything else ever again. This ribbing is every bit as nice without the crazy postage price. Winner Maaike - now I'd like you to stock a merle gray, navy and black please! :)

The Froy & Dind knits are extra wide at 160cm, so I have enough leftover for another pink T-shirt when this dress is outgrown!

Of course, the bulk of my fabric win was always going to be for me! I had a firm vision for the summer dress I was going to sew myself. It isn't this one, and here it is almost Autumn, but gee I'm happy anyway!

Cotton elastane knits are always going to curl at the edges, so why not just embrace it?! This dress pattern calls for raw edges which I'm afraid I just can't bear to do, so I did a narrow overlocked rolled hem. They still curl quite a bit but the effect is sorta textural - I'm going with that.

This dress is probably the best example of the quality of these knits. It's tight. No doubt about that. (can I breathe now, honey? Did you get that shot?)

In a lesser fabric it would feel clingy, lumpy, underwear bulgy and just not good enough. With the exception of the single layer sleeves, most of the dress is two, or even three layers thick and it feels goooood. Soft, thick, stretchy and smooth.

Our modelling session may have been helped along by playing Simon Says. One plays, all play. It seems I gotta abide by the rules too.

So that's the three of us in our Maai Design knits. I really wish I'd had the time and foresight to get some of this Stickly Rockers woven cotton and make a shirt for Flipper!

As part of the Blog Tour, Maaike is offering a 10% discount on all fabrics from Maai Design until the 26th March 2016 - just use the code maaidesign10% at the checkout.

You can see the introductions to all the tour participants by clicking on the banner image below, or check out the previous posts directly. There has been so much fantastic sewing you're bound to be inspired.

Maai Design blog tour 
March 8th - Suz from Sewpony

March 9th - Caroline from Usefulbox

March 10th - Kate from Sewing With Kate

March 11th - Allison from The Tall Mama

March 12th - Suzanne from Dressed in Pretty Little Things

March 13th - Toni from Make It Perfect

March 14th - Natalie from Sew Outnumbered

March 15th - Jenya from While She Was Sleeping 

March 16th - Nicola from Create.nic

March 17th - Shelley from Bartacks and Singletrack

March 18th - Maaike from MaaiDesign

Now, you've come this far and you're ready to have a bit of this fabric for yourself, right?!

Since Maaike was sponsoring the blog tour with discounted fabric for the tour participants and I'd already won and/or purchased mine anyway, I figured I should buy a bit more to give away. Deciding what to buy on your behalf was every bit as hard as choosing for myself!

I chose two bundles in the end, and now that I've seen and felt the Soft Cactus cotton  I am really wishing I hadn't made a mental pledge to give it away. It is seriously good.

Enter via the Gleam widget below. Don't forget to say in a blog post comment whether your preference is for the woven Soft Cactus fabric with piping, or the Froy & Dind knit with ribbing. The first winner selected will get their choice of bundle. The second winner might get what they wanted, or they might just get some fantastic fabric that they can be happy with anyway. Fair?!

Maaidesign Fabric Giveaway
- note: Competition entry is only for Australian residents, 'cause I'm paying the postage! - Also Maai Design currently only ships to Australian postal addresses

I've timed my competition to end on Wednesday 23rd March at 10am. That way if you miss out on my giveaway you still have a few days to shop using the blog tour discount code!

Thanks to Maaike for having me on the blog tour and introducing me to her beautiful fabrics. I'm hooked.

Over the next week I'll post each of our garments in a bit more detail, show you my trial runs and share the trials and tribulations of family blog shoots. Stay tuned.