Sunday, 25 June 2017

Art Museum Trousers twice straight up

Almost two years ago I made the kid two pairs of Oliver + S Art Museum trousers and they have been in constant rotation ever since. Yes, he LOVED those cheetah pants and wore them all the time. They have held up really well to wear, somewhat surprisingly given the fabric is just a cotton sateen, but they are definitely too short now. The denim pair have worn through at the knees as well as being outgrown. Time to double up on Art Museum pants again.

 

First up is the plain black denim pair. This is a small part of a great denim that I scored from Rathdowne Fabrics for only $5/metre due to flood damage. I think the bottom of the fabric roll may have been wet but it's washed up perfectly and even on the wrong side there's no stains or marks.


I love the welt pockets on these pants. They're largely decorative as I don't think I've ever seen him use them for holding anything. For practical sewing purposes they could be left off or switched for patch pockets, but they just look so cool and I always find myself sewing them anyway.

I got a bit scissor happy and snipped too close to one corner. On any other fabric it would have been barely noticeable, but of course denim has those really obvious white warp threads that will pop out and scream "hole pending here!". So I added some decorative and very functional topstitching!


The 2015 pants were straight size 7, this year they're straight size 8. How's that for easy fitting. His body measurements fit the size 8 perfectly but height is closer to size 9 or even 10. However this is one pants pattern with plenty of leg length. I stuck to the straight size 8.


To lighten things up a bit, the waistband facing and the pocket bags were sewn in a quilting cotton.


I'll take whatever modelling I can get these days. Sigh.

Back when I was first searching for fabric to make the Cheetah outfit, I came across some grey on grey big cat print denim. I happily snapped it up only to be told by the kid that it was Jaguar not Cheetah and therefore would. not. do.

A year and a half later I figured the jaguar jeans could be made to replace the cheetah trousers.


These are a fair bit easier on the eye than those cheetah pants - which curiously no one seems to want as hand me downs. ;)

They've already become the favourite pants and are first ones out of the drawer whenever they're clean. That's driving me nuts as there are two perfectly good pair of jeans (these and these) that are in that same drawer and never get an outing.


He was momentarily disappointed to discover the Jaguar jeans weren't lined like the cheetah pants had been. It appears the boy has developed a fondness for fully lined trousers. I've created two fashion monsters it would seem!

And another dab pose, of course.


Details:
Pattern: Oliver + S Art Museum Trousers
Size: 8 (no modifications)
Fabric: Black denim from Rathdowne Fabrics. Jaguar grey denim for The Fabric Store. Various quilting cottons for facings/pocket bags from the stash

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Sunday Brunch for a Saturday Matinee

This was one of those projects that wasn't on the schedule but just had to be made. This week's schedule was looking like being a few days sick in bed then tidy up the chaos of last weeks frantic sewing before the snow.

Curled up on the couch in what was probably a tonsillitis induced delirium, it suddenly seemed like a great idea to make the kiddo a Chanel-esque suit to wear to the ballet.



Back last winter when I made my Koos jacket and found that, even after my very careful layout practice and minimal fabric purchasing, I had about 40cm and odd bits of this wool coating left, I decided it would be perfect for the Sunday Brunch Jacket.

Because the jacket has a short bodice and moderately cropped length it was likely to fit on my bits of leftover fabric. I never did measure the cut of fabric that Tessuti posted me so I don't know if they were generous or I'd over bought, but whichever was the case I wasn't letting it go to waste.


Of course once I started fiddling with the leftovers I became convinced I could cut the skirt out as well and make a mini metallic wool tweed suit. The only fudging was to piece the waistband of the skirt and have a centre front seam.


Oh this pattern. I adore it.

I've made a straight size 6 as per her measurements. She's actually about a size taller but there was no fabric left to allow lengthening anywhere, and thankfully it doesn't look like I needed to anyway.

It was Tuesday afternoon when I was feeling well enough to get down on the floor off the couch and do some cutting. That left me with my rostered day off Wednesday, and a couple of evenings to make it all....

The wool coating kind of needed lining as it's a little bit airy in its weave, and lining would save me from bias binding all those seam finishes. If you haven't seen the insides of this jacket done as per the instructions then check out some of these versions in the Oliver + S Flickr pool. All those bias bound seams! So pretty.


Anyway, I lined my jacket with some 'shroomy brown silk from the stash and then only used binding to finish the edge of the facing. Hot pink satin for the win!

The lining was easy. Simply a matter of cutting everything in silk as well as the wool coating. Sewing the lining together, then attaching both at the neckline before attaching the collar and facing.

I shortened the lining sleeves and then managed to do that pull through thing to stitch the sleeve hem to the lining hem. Feeling clever that I didn't get anything twisted or mucked up, but then realising I had miscalculated how much to cut off the lining. After a rethink I should have cut a 1/2" shorter but I wasn't unpicking stitches from that deep pile wool tweed, so let's just say there's plenty of wearing ease in the sleeve lining - and hopefully it won't hang out the bottom and be seen.


Just a little self-congratulatory pat on the back for that hair braid. I usually struggle with her fine, soft hair, but I guess it was either overdue for a wash or just a little bit of that wax stuff did the trick.


The skirt is also lined with the same silk. That was a lot simpler, but of course I'd mucked it by forgetting to fill in that little cut away triangle where the pockets are on the front top side corners. Note to self: Lay pocket pattern piece and the skirt front pattern piece on the lining and then cut. Like I ever listen.


Is it just me or is a kick pleat on a six year old's skirt not ridiculously cute?

If I could have slowed time down even further, apart from sleeping and doing some chores (yeah right) I would have sewn a little white collared shirt (Music Class probably) to go with the suit. As it was, the Class Picnic blouse worked just fine for our Saturday matinee ballet


With no time to shop, the buttons, like everything else, would also have to come from the stash. Thankfully, when I'd attended a few of the Buttonmania open warehouse sales at the old city address I'd purchased "fancy coat buttons" without any real idea how or when they might be used. I held a mini audition for 4 different button types and these guys were the winners. Actually there were two others I liked more at first but they were just too big. Nice to know they're there for a bigger fancy coat another day.


The big gamble with an idea like "I'll sew a Chanel style suit for my six year old in that really expensive wool from Tessuti, and I'll do it in 3 days" is not whether it can be done. But whether the kid will wear it...

If you sew for kids you'll know about the inversely proportional relationship between your excitement for a garment and theirs. The more you care, the more they "meh" your exquisite sewing.

So, here's where I got extremely lucky....


...at school, A's class is doing some enquiry based learning thing about how we communicate and our idea of ourselves. From that, she has chosen the subject of how fashion has changed with time. She's told me that she and James (nope, I don't know him either) have chosen that topic because they're both really good at drawing. Turns out James draws a fine array of skirts: short ones, long ones, triangle-y ones...

Anyway I started talking to her about Dior's New Look and Coco Chanel's suits. A quick Google search and some pictures viewed on my phone and suddenly she was all over the idea of a wool tweed suit, just like Chanel (who I suspect is also another kid in her class, - skirt drawing skills unknown). This is perhaps now her all time favourite thing ever.


With kids I've learned to neither take pride in, nor try to understand little victories like this. Just enjoy it and roll with the moment.

The victory that makes perfect sense is the result which comes from sewing with impeccably good patterns and beautiful fabrics. I sourced and chose them. I'll take that as win for me.

Details:
Pattern: Oliver + S Sunday Brunch jacket + skirt
Size: Size 6
Modifications: Added lining to both jacket and skirt
Fabric: Italian metallic wool coating (no longer available) from Tessuti 
Notions: Silk lining from stash (via Rathdowne fabrics), buttons from Buttonmania, thread, 3/4" elastic.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

A June of gifts

Thanks for all the kind comments about the cycle wear patterns. I promise I'll get on to uploading them and writing some basic guidelines soon.

Meanwhile, I've been sewing like a woman possessed and just popped up for a bit of air and to throw a few things up on the blog. In between other projects I've squeezed in a few gifts:


First up was a Swingset skirt for a little friend of A's. I hadn't planned to make anything this year, although this is the same kid who received the Moon Bunny skirt and then the Little Kunoichi t-shirt. So perhaps I had set myself a precedent...

Anyway I was busy and I'd excluded a handmade. That is, until A chose the gift she wanted to give: A lurid, fluorescent, fake fur covered, lockable journal that had that sickly sweet, plastic-ky smell of the little-girl-stationary-shop. Ok, so I knew the recipient would love it. Heck I probably would have loved it when I was seven, but that didn't stop me from feeling compelled to balance out the tackiness with an elegant little handmade skirt


I already had the Swingset skirt drafted off in a size 5, and my sizeable fabric stash yielded the floral and plain fabrics along with the matching ribbon and the required elastic. Easy and free!

This really is one of the nicest skirt patterns. The way it hangs and swishes, the perfect neat finish, the comfy double elastic waistband, the pretty ribbon tie and it's just delightful to sew too. Ten out of ten for this one.

Meanwhile a friend had offered me first pickings on her mum's sizeable pattern and fabric stash - all of which was destined for the op shop. I helped myself to plenty of fabric and snaffled the whole box of vintage patterns to pass on to a smaller sized sewing buddy. My friend picked up a piece of fabric that I'd passed over and asked if she could possibly have a skirt made from it - something simple for summer. Sure I said, I know just the pattern...


And so I made the Everyday Skirt. Her waist size put her between the Small and Medium but her hip size was below the Extra Small size. I know this pattern tends to run big and is more flattering if there isn't crazy amounts of gathering at the back. I wear the Medium size and my friend is much smaller than me, so I went with the Extra Small. Happy to say it's a perfect fit and she has promised me a modelled shot from an exotic summery location soon.

The fabric is a tightly woven, fine, semi-sheer cotton with a lovely hand and a slight sheen. While the print didn't appeal to me, the way it sewed up really won me over and I would now say this is a really nice fabric, full stop.

There was a little bit left over and since my friend has a daughter just 6 months younger than A, and since everyone should get to share in the awkwardness that is matchy-matchy dressing, I kept on sewing...


I'd missed making the Teaparty dress one last time for A, and since this one tops out at size 5 I was keen to give it a final farewell. Also, this little girl had inherited two of A's tiny Teaparty playsuits and her parents had loved them dearly. Time for a dress version.

Again, I'm hanging out for a modelled photo! I tried it on A before gifting it and while the body fit is fine it would be very short on her. Maybe not indecently so, but in that vintage pattern, wow, that's short kind of realm. Hopefully on her shorter, younger buddy it will be a nice fit.

Usually this week would see my painting up a t-shirt for P's birthday, but since I've just booked a weekend at the snow, it will be all systems go on merino thermals for the kids. See you again when I next come up for air. :)


Tuesday, 30 May 2017

SoHo shorts - Oh So good

As we plunge into winter I've sewn some seasonally inappropriate shorts, but let me explain...


When Liesl + Co released the SoHo Shorts and Skirt pattern, Liesl asked me if I would write a tutorial or two for some minor modifications to the pattern. First up was adding belt loops. The blog post is live now on the Oliver + S website - click on the image below if you want a belt loop tutorial. Stick around here if you want a pattern review and to see me freezing in some windy, unseasonal shorts modelling shots :)
 

I'm not much of a shorts wearer, so I was a little on the fence about this idea at first. I wear lycra bibknicks when I cycle but apart from one pair of knee length casual-wear shorts (that I'll confess are technically maternity pants) I don't have any other shorts. My legs above the knee are not usually on show!


I made a muslin of the shorts and found the fit to be absolutely perfect - except for the length. Here I've added 4cm to the hem length - there is a lengthen/shorten line midway between the crotch and the hem for adjusting leg length. You can probably appreciate from the little glimpse of my quads that you get at this hem length that any shorter would have been alarming.


OK, so it was really windy trying to get photos of these shorts and until it's 30 degrees or more I'm not putting them back on just for the sake of better pictures. You'll just have to take my word for it that the fit is really good.

The shaped waistband was just right and the back sits nice and close and smooth then falls straight down (unless antartic gusts dictate otherwise) from the peak butt point.


There's pockets (for keeping your fingers warm - eye roll).

And the insides can look pretty lovely too with the waistband facing - in this case finished with some narrow liberty bias binding.


The fabric is some lightweight chambray that my parents were given by an aunt of mine when they visited. It seems word has got around that I sew, so thanks Chris!

As I was sewing and writing a belt loop tutorial it occurred to me that I don't own any belts. My husband and I tend to share this one which he inherited from his dad (we're not yachties!). Since I was going with the nautical themed belt I decided to whip up a Maritime Knit Top to go with my shorts.


I dropped one size from my previous Maritime knit top, but in this softer knit (the other one is a ponte) I think I could have got away with a size smaller again. But as it is, it's super comfy and easy to wear. The fabric is almost as thick as a ponte, but much softer and with nicer drape. I can't remember much about it other than it came from Stylish Fabrics as the same time as the lighter, very fluid, drapey rayon knit that I used for this other red and white striped top.


So there I stand, already dreaming about making the skirt version of the SoHo pattern, or maybe a winter pair of shorts in wool or tweed.  Or maybe I'm thinking about how exceedingly cold it is and whether all the bird shit on the boat ramp somewhat detracts from my attempt at a glamorous photo shoot....

Details:
Liesl + Co. SoHo Shorts and Skirt
Size:10 (size range is 0-20)
Alterations: Added 4cm length. Please note: there is an errata for the front pleat markings on the Oliver + S website. Of course I didn't look for any errata prior to sewing and you know what, it seemed to make no difference for my size. I only noticed the error listing when I was browsing the pattern page for another reason. Checking first is always recommended. ;)
Fabric: gifted chambray
Notions: invisible zip, thread, bias binding

Liesl + Co. Maritime knit top
Size: 12 - alarm bells should have gone off as my top half has never been a size bigger than my bottom half. usually the other way around.
No alterations
Fabric: knit from Stylish Fabrics (18 months or so cellaring in my stash)

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Arms, knees and feets - sewing cycling gear

It was Flipper's birthday recently and as I have done twice before (but only documented once here) I made him some lycra cycle shoe covers.

Why cover your cycle shoes with lycra booties? Well, they keep your toes slightly warmer, make you go ever so slightly faster, but mostly they make you look way more pro!



But this year I went a bit further and made him some arm and knee warmers too.

For the blog readers who don't cycle, or rather who don't cycle in lycra, I'll explain. Good quality lycra cycle gear is expensive, and to have long sleeve, short sleeve, long legs, short legs etc , and multiples of each 'cause you ride every day and can't keep up with the laundry, well it would get crazy pricey.*

*At this point I must mention out good friends and clothing sponsors who run THE best cycle holidays IN THE WORLD. Topbike Tours - check 'em out

Also, when you set off in the cold early morning and then it heats up later on, it's nice to be able to peel off your arm or knee warmers and not suffer in the boiler suit of a full length cycle kit.


Add in that the fella had taken a slide recently and put holes in his kit as well as his legs, he was sorely (ha!) in need of new cycle gear.

When I put in my order for the amazing eco-friendly VITA swimsuit lycra, I also ordered a few metres of Carvico Vuelta. It's a brushed back, fleece lycra with amazingly soft feel. Nice and thick but plenty stretchy enough. These arm and knee warmers feel every bit as good as that super expensive Swiss brand but I bought 3 metres of fabric for the cost of one pair of their arm warmers.


Of course it's hard to photograph black fabric and you'll just have to imagine the soft, snuggliness of the brushed face of the lycra.

As far as patterns go, I just traced around some existing kit - minus the road rash holes of course. I have all the pieces on pattern trace interfacing and could easily upload them if anyone has a desire for one size fits most cycling gear. These fit me just fine as well. Ping me an email if you're interested (sounds of crickets...)


The critical part of getting the "totally pro" feel is in the elastic. I've used silicone grip elastic to finish both upper and lower hems of the knee warmers, and the upper hem of the arm warmers. The wrist hem of the arm warmers was turned under and twin needle hemmed. The elastic needs to be firm but not overly tight. Here's where custom made really rocks, as it's easy for the less than super lean amongst us to get that awful sausage casing effect if the elastic is too tight. Yet nobody likes kneewarmers that keep falling down while you pedal. Happily, just going off his existing kit I got it exactly right.


Determined to make these to an acceptable standard I decided to fake flatlocked seams throughout. I've sewn the seams on the overlocker with wrong sides together, then folded the seam allowance to one side and stitched it down with the twin needle.

Most fortuitously I had just been gifted some silver, reflective bias tape from a sewing friend I went mountain biking with (thanks Nicki). I tucked little lengths under the seam allowances before stitching them down, so all three items; knees, arms and booties, have reflective tape on the back edges.


I'm very pleased with these and more than a bit jealous. I think I need to make some for me now.

Details:
Pattern: Self drafted from existing TopBike booties, Adidas kneewarmers and Assos Armwarmers
Fabric: Carvico Vuelta fleece lycra - heavenly!
Notions: Silicone elastic from Jimmy's Buttons. Reflective bias tape gifted.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Cut, Sew, Cartwheel, Blog: Jalie 3136

One of the things about sewing for kids is that their enthusiasm can be catching. Everything gets set aside to whip up the outfit of the moment. Right now it's all about gymnastics.



On Sunday, she was bugging me to buy a second hand leotard from her gymastics club that she's just recently joined. It was too small and the full priced ones that might come in her size just seemed crazy expensive to me. Do you do this too? It's not that I couldn't afford to buy the regular leotard but it just irks me to know that I could do it cheaper, probably just as well, and have more fun in the process.

So I convinced her I'd do a trial run and then we'd go fabric shopping together next weekend...

Sunday night became cutting night:

 

Whenever I've been at the sewing machine repair shop (Nick Ciancio - he's good) the kids rummage in the scrap fabric basket and dress themselves in outlandish outfits of tied on scraps. Last time, A had found a remnant that almost looked like it might be big enough for something. Nick always lets the kids take whatever bits they like, so we kept it.

It was big enough, but only just. The tiny bits above are all the leftovers after cutting the leotard. Design choices were made based solely on the fabric allowance.

Long sleeves were out (boo), but then that left enough to add the skirt (yay). The requested cross over bodice was possible (yay) but only on the front (boo).


I thought it would be as simple as cutting the View B bodice for the front and the View A bodice for the back, but I hadn't looked at the shoulder width. The round neck version has a considerably narrower shoulder than the cross over one. I had to scoop a good 3/4" off the front shoulder to make them fit together.


Monday was sewing day and to say she was excited to wear it to her gymnastics class on Tuesday is just a bit of an understatment!

The neck binding looked a bit wavy and stretched out when it was straight off the machine, but happily when she's wearing it, it is fine.The size is the same J width and L length I'd done for swimemrs. Fit wise: I think the leg elastic might need to be bigger, or maybe cut the leg openings a bit lower at the back. I suspect there was some wedgy action going on under the skirt. The upper sleeves are a tiny bit tight. Otherwise it seems perfect.

She was positively prancing around in her class and her teachers did comment that she was easy to spot! :)


Details:
Pattern: Jalie 3136
Size: J width l length
Fabric: Scrounged lycra with crazy print and metallic gold highlights from Nick Ciancio Sewing Machine Repairs.
 (go watch that video link, it's great!)

* crappy photography virtue of flash battery being dead and us being in a hurry to get to gymnastics.
Notions: 1cm elastic

Monday, 24 April 2017

Vogue 8813 - Fishy Fishy

Ages ago I promised my mum a dress by way of talking her out of buying an overpriced dress that didn't fit her. Almost a year later that dress is nearing completion....

But, while she was visiting for the day to go fabric shopping for said dress, I got her to try on my Big Puppy Pockets Dress and, as I suspected she might, she loved it. So, of course, we had to find some fabric for a version of Vogue 8813 for her too.


We found this fabulous fish printed lightweight linen at Darn Cheap Fabric's Heidelberg shop and since she was about to head to the beach for a holiday, a fishy linen dress seemed perfect.

I missed getting any photos of her in the fish dress on the beach, but after their return she kindly posed in the garden at their house. Flipper took the pictures while I was busy decorating my dad's Renault 4CV for the annual Easter Monday parade (bunnycar!). Mum has given me permission, or an order perhaps, to crop her head out in any photo in which she's squinting into the sun, so please excuse the whole lot of headless dress photos which follow...


Putting the other promised dress aside, I jumped straight into this one. It was easy as I already had the pattern traced off in the size I'd used and was making no alterations at all. I guess that's the beauty of an easy-wearing outsized dress.


The lightweight linen behaved perfectly for this dress. In fact it was easier to keep the pocket edges crisp and neat with linen compared to the washed cotton version I made for myself. It's an awful lot of fabric to wear, so you wouldn't want a heavier linen - this one is quite lightweight and semitransparent if held up to the light. However, with all the gathering at the front and the big pockets, there are almost no areas where the fabric is single layer. So, while back lighting might give a bit of a leg silhouette it's certainly not a see through problem dress. This same fabric in a simple shift shape dress would definitely need a lining.


The buttons are more of the same carved wooden ones I used for my dress. The pattern which is slightly reminiscent of a starfish, or sea anemone was just perfect for this dress.


As you can see, I made no attempt whatsoever to pattern match the fish across any seams. You could say it was laziness, but since the pattern pieces are so enormous, to pattern match would require an insane amount of yardage. From memory, we bought about 5m of this fabric and I maybe used about 2.8m. I'm trying to convince Flipper that this is the perfect shirt fabric for a non-Hawaiian tropical shirt.


I think it makes pretty great fabric for a cool, loose, easy-wearing mum-at-the-beach dress too!