knit

Make It Perfect Joey Dress

I tested a fantastic new pattern recently – you may have seen a few popping up in blog land, it’s the Joey dress by Make It Perfect.

IMG_9971

IMG_9966

The Joey Dress is a super comfy (so Miss A tells me) and super easy to put together knit dress. The cute kangaroo pocket is a big hit and I love how the ribbing adds a pop of colour.

This cute little pocket, for keeping little hands warm and storing dandelions. Embarrassing to admit, but I didn’t know, until I started reading sewing blogs, that this pocket was called a kangaroo pocket. And I live in Australia….

is it just me? is this a term that is more common in the US than here? Aussies – help me out here?!!?

Ha ha, anyway, cute pocket ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_9963

IMG_9975

I used a knit with a small wool percentage for the dress, so it’s great for the cooler weather. It also has great layering potential. Having said that, the pattern also has a short sleeve option and this, paired with a lighter knit, would make a fantastic warm weather version. For proof, check out Teresa’s cute Joey dress.

Toni’s kids patterns come in two size ranges 0-5 years and 6-10 years. This is the first kids pattern of hers that I have made. I found the layout and instructions to be up there with the best of them. I sent about one line of feedback during the test – not because I’m a lazy tester, I was doing my best to find issues, but seriously, there were hardly any. This lady knows how to put a pattern together.

I love the simplicity of the pattern – it’s super quick and would make a great beginner project.

IMG_9972

 

Spring has arrived here in Australia and it was so great to be able to get out and about again for photos

and to make some wishes ๐Ÿ˜‰

A Foxglove Tank in Indonesia

Sewing time has been at an absolute premium lately. We’re getting used to some big work and family changes at home, all positive and exciting, but it has meant that the sewing machine has not been getting much love ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Having said that, nothing was going to get in the way of me sewing up a Foxglove tank to wear on our recent family holiday.

Foxglove 2

IMG_9358

The Foxglove Tank is the latest pattern release from Lauren of Selvage Designs. I’ve previously sewn her Soleil Dress pattern for my daughter and was super happy to hear she has started designing for women too – hurrah!!

Foxglove 3

The Foxglove is a super quick and fun project. I whipped this tank up the night before we flew to Indonesia, when I should have been packing. I trusted that the pattern would live up to my previous experience of sewing one of Lauren’s patterns, and I’m happy to report that it has. Her attention to detail is excellent and the instructions will walk you through the pattern step by step. Lauren advises that the pattern is designed for a 5’6″ woman and gives clear lengthening/shortening lines on the pattern to take the guesswork out of making these changes. As I’m closer to 5’10”, I added approx. 5cms to the length of the front pattern piece. The tank has a hi-low hem, so the hem on mine has a much more subtle change in length than the original pattern (because I didn’t add length to the back). Adding length is the only change I made to the pattern.

Foxglove 4

The fabric is a super thin mystery knit with not much stretch. It wasn’t too difficult to sew with, except for the hem. The print on the knit kept causing the sewing machine to eat the fabric and so due to my time constraints, I decided to leave the hem raw.

This was my first attempt at the Foxglove and even thought the fit feels great, I can see some creasing at the bust in these pics. So I think I’ll add a little width next time. I’m loving that this pattern can be used for both knit and woven fabrics and Lauren gives 8 different options for ways to make up the pattern including different seam finishes. Given the number of options included and how comfortable this tank is to wear, I can see this tank becoming a wardrobe staple come summer.

Foxglove 1

You can find Lauren’s pattern shop hereย and if you’re interesting in seeing some more Foxgloves, I’m really loving these versions from Monica, Heidi and Teresa.

And now we’re home, the Foxglove will be back in the closet for the next few months. Back to some cooler weather sewing!

Willow and Co. Hawthorn Sweatshirt

My Willow & Co. love affair is continuing. I’m not going to stop until I’ve sewn all 9 of these awesome patterns. Check out the snug and stylish Hawthorn Sweatshirtย (snug as in snuggly, not tight fitting).

Hawthorn 6

Hawthorn 8

Hawthorn 1

 

This pattern was designed by Laura of Titchy Threads and Craftstorming. I’ve read many great reviews of her previous pattern, the Small Fry Skinny Jeans, commenting on her thorough instructions and impeccable drafting. I have to say that both are true for this pattern. Some of the techniques in this pattern are tricky – particularly getting the half zip and facings to sit neatly – but Laura’s instructions are great, she goes into plenty of detail and there are great photos.

Hawthorn 9

Hawthorn 4

 

As well as the half-zip version shown here there is also a full zip option. The split side seam (seen above) is also an option and is finished professionally with bias tape. The facing provides some opportunity to have some fun with the pattern – I used a blue and white stripe knit for the facing as well as for the pockets.

Hawthorn 7

This pattern is not quick to sew and certainly took me longer than I initially expected. However, the level of professionalism in the finished product is at a level that I am surprised I was able to achieve. In my opinion, it really is worth the investment of time. I’m really thrilled with the outcome and I know that the more of these I make the quicker I will get.

The only change I made to the pattern was to omit the ribbing on the sleeve cuffs – only because I couldn’t find any to match. I extended the sleeve pattern piece to what I thought was about the right length – they may be a touch too long, but good for keeping hands warm on cold days. This is the size 6, made for my newly 6 year old and I’m happy that this size will be roomy enough to get him through our current winter.

Overall: I love the overall result. I’ve leaned new techniques and pushed myself as a sewer. Each new Willow & Co pattern I sew becomes my new favourite. The Hawthorn is not a quick sew, but totally worth the investment of time in my opinion.

What about you – which Willow and Co. pattern are you sewing up next?

Ojai Wrap Pattern Tour

Ojai Wrap 4

Hi all, here’s a new pattern you may not have seen yet. It’s the very simple-to-sew Ojai Wrap from Justine Marie Patterns. I’m a bit partial to easy to throw on layers that add interest to an outfit and this wrap top fits the bill perfectly.

IMG_8758

IMG_8743

If you think you haven’t heard of Justine Marie Patterns, trust me, you know Justine – she is the very clever lady behind the Sew Country Chick blog and Sewing Rabbit contributor. This is her debut for sale pattern, but Justine has some amazing experience behind her – amongst other things, she designs and sews theatre costumes – seriously clever lady!

For the wrap I found a really light and flowy knit fabric in a local op-shop (thrift store). It’s definitely the lightest knit I’ve ever been brave enough to sew with. The sewing went very smoothly as this is a pretty straightforward top to sew. I was a little nervous about hemming such fine fabric, but I just went slowly with my double needle and it’s honestly one of the neatest hems I’ve ever done (high-five self). I finished the top in an afternoon and I’m definitely not the speediest sewer out there.

IMG_8756

In a size small, my top was a little bunchy around the arms. I’m always between sizes as I have small shoulders and bust in relation to my waist and hips. I sewed a small based on my bust measurement, however, a medium sleeve fitted me better. The great thing with this design is that because there are no set sleeves, taking the sleeve band off, widening the armhole a little and attaching a new sleeve band is no biggie.

Here’s an action shot – see, the perfect top for playing aeroplanes!

IMG_8750

Justine made a great version for colder weather and as we’re about to hit winter here in Australia – I’ll be sewing up a heavier knit version next. How snug does this look?!

cardigantitle1-682x1024

Image courtesy of The Sewing Rabbit.

So there you have it. A really simple and cute top which will be a great addition to my wardrobe. This pattern would be a really good place to start if you’re learning to sew with knit – however, definitely choose fabric that is heavier than mine. Light knit fabric is NOT a good place to start if you want to keep your frustration levels down ๐Ÿ˜‰

There is a pattern tour going on this week, so be sure to check over with Justine at Sew Country Chick to see some other inspiring versions of the Ojai Wrap (and I think you’ll find a giveaway there too). Thanks so much for having me on the tour Justine!

 

 

 

 

Willow and Co. Aster Cardigan

Aster 1

If you’re a fan of Project Run and Play, as I am, you may remember a few seasons ago when Vanessa from LBG Studio competed. Do you remember this amazing outfit?

Image

 

Image courtesy of LBG Studio.

I’ve been dreaming of that perfect cardi ever since. How lucky we all are that Vanessa, as part of the first Willow & Co. pattern collective, has released a pattern based on this cardigan. You can bet that as soon as the pattern collection was released the Aster was the first on my radar.

IMG_8661

Image

There is not a whole lot to say except – I LOVE THIS PATTERN and I’m going to make 10 more!! It’s really straightforward to sew – unless, like me, you have a very temperamental automatic buttonhole function on your machine, grrrrr. Other than issues with my machine, the cardigan came together really quickly. It hardly takes any fabric, only 70cms for the smaller sizes.

IMG_8657

I made Miss A a size 3. This is a cropped and fitted cardigan, but I think I might make a size 4 width next time. She is quite broad chested – her measurements are almost the same as her 5 year old brother. I only had one of the navy and white striped buttons in my stash, so one button it was. Ha, and if I’d had to do more than one buttonhole I might have thrown my sewing machine out the window. I don’t really understand what its problem is – it sewed the test buttonholes on the scrap fabric perfectly, then on the cardigan it kept doing random things like sewing one side only…..

Are you on the Willow & Co. bandwagon? I certainly am! I tested the Ash Jumpsuit last month (catch that post here if you missed it) but now we’re heading into winter I’m thinking that some snuggly Hawthorn jumpers in fleece will be welcome additions to the kids wardrobes. If you haven’t seen the Willow & Co. Wunderlust collection, check out all the patterns here.

Have you got your Willow & Co. yet?

IMG_8694

Thanks fans

IMG_8643

 

Selfish Sewing Week: A Striped Blazer

Yay! I love Selfish Sewing Week. Rachel has been clever with the timing, we’ve all been spending quite a bit of time lately sewing for the kids so some selfish sewing was definitely needed! There are a few firsts amongst this project – my first ever blazer and, get this, I went out in public to take photos of myself with my tripod for the first time! Scary stuff!! Took a fair bit of courage on my part to leave the relative safety of the confines of our driveway – but I did it and I was super proud of myself.

Image

 

Image

Another first for me is the pattern – it’s the Everyday Basic Blazer for knit fabric from Ottobre 02/2014. This is the first women’s pattern I’ve sewn from Ottobre (it’s a Finnish pattern magazine that comes out 2 times a year for women and 4 times a year for kids). I have sewn a few of the kids patterns here and here but there is a big step up in the degree of difficulty between those projects and this one.

Image

Image

I was completed obsessed with this Old Navy striped blazer that I saw on Merricks Art recently and I had it in my mind to recreate it. I was not having any luck finding a heavy weight knit with stripes in any of my local fabric sources, until last week! I think the sewing gods were looking out for me as I stumbled upon 1.3m of navy striped knit in an op-shop (thrift store) that I was rummaging through. It was meant to be!! The fabric was perfect – not too stretchy, not too thin. Ahhh but I couldn’t muck it up as there is no more fabric…..pressure!!

I made a few changes to the pattern too – it had a waist seam and the bottom pieces were more flared. I didn’t want the difficulty of more stripe matching than was necessary, so I got rid of the waist seam by attaching the upper and lower pattern pieces together. I also omitted the pockets, button, buttonholes and the ribbing knit sleeve cuffs. This is a size 42, however as I am small in the shoulders and bust compared to the rest of me, I took about an inch out of the side seam from the arm to the waist and decreased the size of the sleeve to fit my changes. I’m pretty ecstatic with how this project turned out – I love this jacket!!

Striped Blazer 5

So, the thing with Ottobre is the instructions are written only, no pictures or diagrams at all. I’m an indie pattern devotee – in a big part because I am self taught and I need all the technique help I can get. I’ve tried sewing big 4 patterns twice and I’m pretty traumatised – I need some big glossy photos and step by step instructions thanks!

Having said that, I ventured into this pattern with written instructions only and we all came out the other end in one piece – even the jacket! It really would have helped if I had put a collar together before – going and looking at the other jackets in my wardrobe really helped. I muddled through and the result is not perfect, but it’s very wearable and I’m seriously pleased with it.

Are you sewing something for yourself this week? I’d love to hear about it!

 

 

 

KCW Days 5 and 6: It’s Little Betty

Phew – we’re getting there. Apologies to those who don’t come here for the kids sewing – maybe check back in a week or so when this Kids Clothes Week malarchy is over ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m seriously loving it though – apparently I respond well when there are parameters added to my projects. Are you the same? Sometimes I find the wealth of possibilities of what to sew next a bit daunting – too much choice in patterns and fabrics, how can one ever decide? But add a timeframe and some limitations and I’m a sewing machine (ha ha). I am continuing with my aim of sewing with up-cycled and stash fabrics during this KCW.

Today I’m blogging a complete rip off. Some of you may remember that I was part of the blog tour for the Little Betty top by Suz of Sewpony Vintage back in January. Also part of that blog tour was Trine of GroovyBabyandMama. She totally knocked everyone’s socks off with her dress adaptation of the Little Betty and I’ve been meaning to copy hersย make my own ever since.

Image

Image

Image

The dress is made from a thrifted ladies roll neck top and the leggings are from leftover knit from my Plantain tee. I used the Little Betty pattern pieces that I had cut out from last time (size 2), but apparently this girl has grown a bit since January (who knew?!) This dress is going to have to be worn NOW as there is not much growing room across her chest.

The leggings are ย made from the Tiny Path leggings pattern from Ottobre 6/2013 that I made for the first time last Kids Clothes Week here. If you can get a quicker or easier sew then I’d like to see it – these are about 15 minutes worth.

It’s the quick or the dead with getting blog photos sometimes – she practically ruined the dress within 5 minutes by covering it and her new leggings in sunscreen. Bless her heart. I’m still working on getting the greasy stains out…..still, it pays to be sun smart ๐Ÿ™‚

Image

 

KCW Day 3 and 4: Something for the boy

I love sewing for boys. I’m pretty lucky that this guy is still happy to wear things that I make for him – how long this will last I don’t know, but I’m enjoying sewing for him while I can. I’ve got an up cycle and a couple of stash fabric projects to show you today. Each of these project are super easy and quick to whip up – great staple sewing.

 

Image

Image

 

This tee is the Recess Raglan by See Kate Sew. It’s such a great staple pattern – I’ve sewn it before here and I love it! ย The stripe fabric was a thrifted womens long sleeve tee in about size 20 – giving me plenty of fabric to play with. I’m always on the hunt for striped knits – they seem to be hard to find where I live. ย I added a red pocket purely because this guy loves red and including it in the garment somewhere usually increases wear about 85%.

IMG_8211

I promise the pocket was in proportion with the t-shirt when it’s at its full length, but looking at it here I think I might need to move it up a bit ๐Ÿ™‚

The pants are the Retro Sweatpants pattern by Elegance and Elephants. This pattern is fantastic and did I mention it’s FREE – yeh, get on over to her site and grab this pattern pronto! Navy is hard to photograph but trust me that the fit of these is great – he has room to grow and room to move, see exhibit A below:

IMG_8207

 

Speaking of the lovely Heidi from Elegance and Elephants – I also whipped up one of her Stellar Vests. If you. like me, have a child who refuses to wear more than a t-shirt even on the coldest days, then I’ve found that vests are a great way to add warmth without the restriction of a jumper.

IMG_8261

We’ve reached a compromise – he’s agreed to wear a vest and I feel better that he at least has 2 layers on ๐Ÿ™‚ A note on this pattern: I tested this for Heidi some weeks ago and my test version came out about two sizes too big. Heidi herself had this problem with one of the versions she sewed up too. After some research, she concluded that the knit I’d used did not have an appropriate stretch % for the pattern. She wrote a post detailing stretch % in great detail and has even included a printable stretch % ruler that you can take to the fabric store to ensure you buy something that will work well for this pattern.

I will admit though, that having to find fabric with the right stretch % did put me off sewing this pattern in the beginning. Mainly because knit fabrics are not that plentiful where I live and adding that extra requirement kind of put this project in the ‘too hard’ basket for awhile. That was until one day recently when I found a womens knit long sleeve tee in this grey and white stripe in Target. The fabric fit the bill perfectly and has great recovery.

IMG_8265

So there we have it – three new pieces for O’s wardrobe. How is your KCW coming along?

KCW Day Two: Petit Coco

I’m very excited to be kicking off Kids Clothes Week properly today – are you sewing along too? If you feel like joining in, you can sign up here and join us by sewing for an hour a day for your kids for one week (this week April 7-13). You can manage that right? You can be as ambitious as you please, or not, what ever you like ๐Ÿ™‚

I couldn’t resist sewing one outfit to go along with the ‘mini me’ theme. If you saw my pink Coco top that I posted a few weeks ago then you might already have spotted my inspiration for Miss A’s outfit – that’s right, I made a MINI COCO!

Image

 

Image

Image

Mini me is all very well, but I didn’t want to make A’s version exactly the same as mine. Instead I made her a small version of the 60s funnel neck which is one of the options of the Coco pattern. Tilly’s Coco pattern is only in grown up sizes, so to make the petit coco I used Ottobre 1/2014 Owl Princess top in 92cms as the base. I created a boatneck shape and added the funnel neck and I’m pretty thrilled with how it worked out! The fabric is leftover French Terry from my Coco top. In fact, I’ve decided that this KCW is going to be all about recycled, upcycled and stash fabrics – I’m not buying any fabric for any of this weeks projects. This idea was also inspired by Laura, Abby and Celina’s Fashion Revolution sewing flash mob that’s happening this month, which you can read about here.

The jeans are a re-fashion. They were a pair of wide-leg 12-18 month size jeans. They still fit A in the waist but were much too short. To re-fashion the jeans, I created a slim leg and a wide cuff and something that was unwearable is wearable again.

Here’s a very quick how to: (1) use a pair of skinny pants/jeans to get an idea of the shape you want and pin your new seam line (2) baste stitch down the pin line and turn right side out (3) check the fit of the jeans (4) sew the seams with a normal stitch length and overlock/serge seams – Easy!!

Image

 

Anyone for tea?

 

Image

Image

 

Need some more inspiration? Head over to the Kids Clothes Week site – everyone who’s sewing along will be posting their projects there this week. Come and join the fun ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

KCW Day One: Soleil Dress and a Giveaway

Welcome to Kids Clothes Week! It seems I have two non-paying jobs at the moment – that of mum and of pattern tester. But I love it and how could I not – I mean just look at these amazing indie sewing pattern designers producing seriously impressive, innovative yet user friendly patterns. Today’s designer is no exception, she’s a blogger, pattern designer and she is also the brains behind the Pattern Workshop e-course helping others reach their dreams of releasing patterns for sale. I’m talking of course about Lauren Dahl of Selvage Designs.

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to be involved in the testing of Lauren’s debut sewing pattern, the Soleil Dress. Yes I sewed this during testing last week, but Lauren is releasing the pattern today – so here it is! Take a look:

soleil 1

Image

The Soleil Dress is a straightforward knit dress with front pocket detail and a gathered skirt. There are no closures to battle with, the dress slips over the head just as a t-shirt would. You’ll notice that Miss. A loves those pockets, she loves to walk around with her hands inside.

Image

Image

Image

Lauren’s step by step tutorial is impeccable – there are both diagrammatical and written instructions which I like. This is a really straightforward project that a beginner could easily achieve. This dress will definitely become a staple in Miss. A’s wardrobe and as the weather cools down here in Australia, a cardigan and some leggings will extend the wearing season.

The dress also comes with an open back option for added interest and I’m tempted to try this version next. Truth be told, this is the second Soleil dress that I made. The fabric I used (I don’t know exactly what it is but it’s like a cross between a knit and sweatshirt fabric – it’s not fleecy but has the weight of sweatshirt fabric) has a lot of stretch in it so I thought I would reverse the fabric for the bindings. I loved the look of it, but unfortunately I misjudged just how stretchy the fabric is because the dress would not go over her head ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Miss A was devastated, so quickly added a placket at the back. Here is version 1:

Image

Cute dress – but not really the done thing to test a pattern and make big design alterations while you are sewing, oops! Hence why she now has two fuchsia knit Soleil dresses. Back to the review:

The good: stylish, fun and quick to sew. Fantastic and thorough instructions that a beginner could easily follow.

The bad: ummm, don’t really have anything to say here. I’m very confident that you will be as impressed as I have been if you sew this pattern.

Will I sew it again? yeh for sure!

Now to the giveaway – Lauren has generously given me one copy of the Soleil Dress pattern to giveaway. Just click on the link below to enter – Good luck!! Or if you can’t wait to see if you’ve won there is a discount code for $2 off until April 11 – just use the code: soleilrelease2

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway