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Selfish Sewing Week: Belcarra Blouse

Argh! Selfish Sewing Week was last week – yes I realise! I did sew this top last week, I just couldn’t manage to get it photographed and blogged until today.

It’s the Sewaholic Belcarra Blouse – a pretty straightforward raglan sleeve top for woven fabrics. I used rayon for this version – I’m a big rayon fan, it’s not difficult to sew with, feels nice to wear and is easy to look after.

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I made a few small changes to the pattern. I left off the sleeve cuff that comes with the pattern and instead used my narrow hem foot to finish. The pattern calls for a deep hem, but given my height (5’10”), I used a smaller 2cm hem. I also added about 3cms in length to the pattern when I cut it out – just to make sure it wouldn’t be too short.

This is a size 8 graded out to a 10 at the hips. I could have gone more fitted than this and I may do in future, especially for work tops. The floral fabric in this top makes it casual or dressy, so I think the looser fit is ok. There is a great sew-along on the Sewaholic website, including options to narrow the neckline if you don’t want to be worrying about your bra straps peeping out. If I was making this top purely for work, I think I would definitely go that route.

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I love this fabric sooooo much! In fact I may have gone back to the fabric store and bought the rest of the bolt (another 3.5m). A whole wardrobe of floral on navy….. why not??!

Some outtakes with my trusty assistant.

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Did you manage to blitz Selfish Sewing Week? I hope yours was more productive than mine!

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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 πŸ™‚

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!

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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!!

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Anyone for tea?

 

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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 πŸ™‚

 

 

It’s a Coco party!

Happy Friday everyone!!

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Did you hear? Tilly’s holding a Coco party to celebrate the release of her latest pattern – the super cute and perfectly drafted Coco top and dress. There will be cocos galore on the sewing internet tonight – cheers!!

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See, I even made the bunting πŸ™‚

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I’m not sure how come this is the first of Tilly’s patterns that I’ve sewn – very slack on my part πŸ™‚ As I’m sure you’re aware, Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons fame is a blogging, TV starring, book writing sewing sensation! The Coco is Tilly’s third pattern release and has breton and 60s influences in the design. There are top and dress length versions, 3/4 and full length sleeve options and also a 60s funnel neck. This top was a cinch to sew and came together easily in a few hours. Tilly has paid a huge amount of attention to detail and her pattern is one of the most professional I’ve ever seen/sewn.

My measurements put me in a size 4-5-4 (bust-waist-hips) so I graded between the two sizes. Next time I’ll just cut a straight size 4 as there is a fair amount of ease. I used a lovely pink French terry knit from a local fabric store, it’s so comfy I’m going back to see if there are any other colours πŸ™‚

Want to see more Cocos? Tilly has a great Pinterest board with so many fantastic versions – inspiration galore!

What are you up to this lovely Friday? I’m hanging out with my little dancing partner πŸ™‚

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Hanging on to summer – the Tessuti Valerie Top

As summer slowly edges away from us here in the southern hemisphere, I’m doing all I can to hold on to it a bit longer. I spotted this floral rayon in a local fabric shop a few weeks ago and it was one of those purchases where I had no real project in mind. I was tossing up between a Wiksten tank or a Scout tee. The lovely ladies on Instagram gave me some great suggestions too, but ultimately I wanted to try something a bit different. I hadn’t sewn any patterns from Tessuti before and here was a great opportunity.

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This is the Valerie Top – a lovely floaty A-line top with interesting gathered darts in the front and back. I have to say that this may just be the most comfortable top I own.

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The Pros: This is a straightforward project and quick to sew. I had it done from pattern purchase to completion in one day. The more I wear this top the more I love it.

The Cons: Be aware that the armhole is deep – there is a bit of bra on show. I took a photo to show you.

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Sizing: My bust, waist, hip measurements put me in a S-M-M, but because of the floaty nature of the top I thought I could get away with a straight small. I sewed up the straight size small and I was swimming in it – I have taken about an inch off both of the side seams and could probably have taken a bit more.

Will I sew this pattern again? Definitely! I’m thinking of a black version with a statement necklace to wear out to dinner.

Want to see more Valerie tops? Rachel made a lovely version hereΒ and Lara’s great pink version is here.

I guess I should think about sewing for Autumn now. How about you?

Kids Clothes Week – dipping my toe in the Ottobre pool

So I did get a couple more small projects done for Kids Clothes Week last week. If you’re new to the concept, Kids Clothes Week goes on 4 times a year and challenges us to sew for one hour a day, for a week, for our kids. To make it more fun, everyone who wants to participate can share their creations over on the Kids Clothes Week website – right there is one amazing place for some sewing inspiration.

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Please excuse the bad quality photo – it’s from my instagram feed. The reason these were not blogged last week is because my camera decided it needed a good lie down and is now in the hands of the professionals – fingers crossed!!!

The leggings are my first attempt at an Ottobre pattern – I love the magazines that these patterns come in, but I must admit to being slightly intimidated by the pattern sheets. See exhibit A (also from my Instagram feed).Image

However, crazy pattern sheets aside, I’ve been seeing some great Ottobre sewing out there particularly from Sabra, Laura and Lauren and this was enough to give me the push I needed. Ottobre pattern sizing for children is based on height.

Ever tried to measure your two year old? Ever successfully measured your two year old? Thought not….

Toni over at Make It Perfect has come to the rescue and put together this guide to give you an idea of what size (in centimetres) you should sew, based on your child’s age. This was a great help to me and gave me the starting point I needed. These leggings are size 92cms, which is roughly for a 3 year old. The pattern is the Tiny Path leggings from Ottobre Winter 6/2013. I found it slightly confusing that you have to add seam allowance to the pattern, but the hem allowance is already added. Hopefully it is just a case of getting used to them. I’m really happy with how these turned out – they are a quick and easy sew and have plenty of growing room for my 2 and a half year old.

I realise that leggings do not make the most exciting blog post – definitely going to try a more adventurous pattern next time πŸ™‚

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The skirt is self drafted and couldn’t really be any simpler. It’s just two rectangles of fabric with a casing at the top and some elastic.

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The second and final KCW project is another Little Betty top. Love this pattern so much and this time I made a size 4 for my niece who missed out during the last Little Betty instalment. I have reviewed this pattern here and my thoughts on it haven’t changed. I’m planning to try a dress version next.

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Not really taking on the world with this post, but hey, that’s what KCW is for isn’t it, getting some staples into the kids wardrobe?Β How did your Kids Clothes Week go?

A Plantain Tank

Have you guys been seeing all the great versions of the Plantain top popping up lately? The Plantain is the latest pattern from the French indie sewing pattern company Deer and Doe. The best news is that it’s a free pattern – hurrah!!

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It’s a cute top for knit or sweatshirt fleece with options for long-sleeves and short-sleeves and a funky elbow patch. I cut short sleeves out of my fabric intending to make the short sleeve version, however when I tried the tee on to check the size, I loved it without any sleeves at all. Given it is the middle of summer here in Australia, a tank version will get plenty of wear.

This top was really simple to sew. The instructions are great – very clear and with plenty of tips if you’re new to sewing knits. I used my measurements to determine that I should cut a size 38 in the bust and grade out to a size 42 at the waist and hips. I only used my sewing machine to sew this top – mainly because of laziness (there was red thread on my overlocker/serger and I couldn’t be bothered to change it….). I used my double needle on the bottom hem and tried a new technique for finishing which came from this great tutorial from Abby @ Things for Boys. The double needle does not like backstitching and I was finding that my double needle sewing was coming unstitched on clothes I’ve made previously. Abby suggests that once the seam is finished, pull the top thread through to the back side and tie both threads together to secure. A simple tip that will hopefully improve the longevity of my sewing.

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To create the colour-blocked back piece, I slashed the pattern across the back and added seam allowance to both pieces. Then to add interest, I added a floral knit pocket at the front (I used the pocket piece from my Wiksten tank pattern). The green and pink knit fabric is Premium Japanese Knit from my local Spotlight and it a lovely mid-weight – light but not too light that it becomes a nightmare to sew. The floral fabric is leftover from Miss A’s Little Betty top.

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I LOVE the fit of this top – fitted in the right places and flowing where people who’ve had two babies might like it to be πŸ˜‰ I’m planning to sew more of these tops, I think I’ll try a curved hem at the back of the next version.

Looking for some more Plantain inspiration? I love this version in sweatshirt fleece by Shino of Nutta!, this 3/4 sleeve version by Anna of Paunnet and this long sleeve version by April of Modern Handmade.

As for the lovely patterns at Deer and Doe, I’m eyeing off the Aubepine dress next. I think it would be gorgeous with leggings and boots when the weather cools down in this part of the world.

So, have you given the Plantain top a go yet?

The Little Betty Top Pattern Tour

I’m more than a little excited to bring you this post today. The very talented Suz of Sewpony Vintage has been working her magic again, in the form of a new pattern, The Little Betty Top. As much as I love to sew with woven fabric, my daughter is 2 and knit tops are the thing I most often reach for when dressing her – so comfortable and fuss free. A knit top with some personality is what I’m on the lookout for and Suz has ticked these boxes for me with her new pattern.

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After seeing two long sleeved versions of the Little Betty yesterday (see day 1 of the pattern tour here), I’m showing the short sleeved version today. This pattern comes with sleeveless, short sleeve and long sleeve options and is sized from 6 months to 8 years.

It’s true to say that I enjoyed sewing this pattern up so much that I really couldn’t stop at one.

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This is Miss A (2) wearing a size 2 and my niece Miss B (6), who is wearing a size 6 with size 7 length. The Little Betty top features a shoulder ruffle, a placket with button closure and a wide ribbing band. The placket gives a real look of professionalism to the top and is very simple to do.

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The floral knit is from a women’s tank top that I bought specifically for this project. The range of interesting knit fabrics local to me is very poor, so I need to get creative with sourcing. I cut the sleeves so as to use the existing hem of the tank top instead of adding ribbing as is given in the pattern. Other than this change, I have sewn the pattern as directed.

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I used the testing version of the pattern to sew these two tops – Suz has since lowered the neckline a little at the suggestion of a few of the testers.

There are some basic ‘working with knit’ skills that are required here: attaching the neckband, creating the ruffle and adding the placket, however nothing is over complicated and Suz’s instructions are very clear (with colour photos). If you’ve sewn a basic t-shirt, this would be a great next step project to build confidence with knits. Suz provides some handy tips for sewing with knits in her pattern instructions and in addition to this there are plenty of online resources, including two very comprehensive ‘sewing with knit’ series over at Made by Rae and One Little Minute. So, no excuses!!

This next photo comes with a confession…….

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Yes that’s me, having an absolutely lovely time with the girls. We were away at an extended family catch up weekend and I had everything planned to photograph this post. My niece would be there, I brought the tops, made sure their denim skirts were matching, I even brought my sewing machine in case of some unforeseen sewing emergency. I did not however, remember to pack the camera!!!!!!!!!! Disaster – or so I thought (we were 4 hours away from home and my camera). Luckily, my very clever and not so forgetful cousin Kellie Giesen obligingly played blog photographer – and didn’t she do a fabulous job. Pity she doesn’t live closer to me so I could use her photography skills more often πŸ˜‰ Thanks for saving the day Kellie!

Anyway, back to the tour…. To learn more about the pattern visit Suz’s blog and to purchase visit Sewpony Vintage.Β Suz is offering the Little Betty Top pattern for the discounted price of $7AUD from now until Jan 21, with the code LITTLEBETTY1.Β Be sure to head over to Dandelion Drift, my partner in the pattern tour today, to see what Teresa has been sewing with this pattern. There will be plenty more Little Betty inspiration in the coming days of the pattern tour, stay tuned to the Sewpony blog to see glimpses of them all.

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Thanks so much for having me on your pattern tour Suz, it has been a pleasure.

The Victory Satsuki

Sooooo my Kids Clothes Week was hijacked by the fickle Victorian weather – the weather forecast for this past weekend was looking very bleak meaning that my plan to wear my new Saltspring dress to our friends’ wedding was not going to happen. Hence a sewing emergency – I needed something just a bit warmer and I needed it quick!

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I had this lovely cotton voile sitting in my stash from my last trip to Tessuti in Melbourne and so I decided to try the Satsuki top/dress pattern from Victory Patterns. This is a pretty straightforward project, there are no closures to tackle, however sewing the curves on the sleeve edges takes some concentration. The facing gives the neckline a very smooth finish.

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I do love the idea of this top, however, I am feeling like it overwhelms my figure. As I didn’t have time to make a muslin, I erred on the side of caution when choosing the size to sew (i.e. the larger of the two sizes that I was between, this is a size 10) but clearly the smaller size would have been fine. I also think some shaping at the bottom of the tunic would help the tunic feel less mumu-like.

To keep things real over here – this top never did make it to the wedding. On Saturday morning I sat down to finish the sleeve edges with 3 hours until we needed to leave. The kids were staying with my parents. What could possibly go wrong here?!? Yup, the power went off and stayed off for the next 3 hours. The top could not be finished, I could not blow-dry my hair, I couldn’t even iron something else to wear. A first-world drama situation to be sure! In the end, the power came back on just 10 minutes before we needed to leave. At least I was able to iron the alternate dress I was wearing.

Now to get back to all the kids sewing projects I have still sitting here unfinished!

Selfish Sewing Week – Batwing Top Knock Off

Are you participating in Selfish Sewing Week over at Imagine Gnats and Made with Moxie? The idea is simple – spend some time this week sewing for yourself and then share it with us. It’s selfish sewing week quite often over here at nearest the pin – I don’t need too much convincing to sew something new for myself!

With school holidays upon us here in Australia and sewing time at a premium, I needed a quick and easy project. I recently pinned this cute tee on Pinterest and decided to incorporate the pocket onto a batwing top.

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I cut a pattern from my new favourite batwing top. Two pattern pieces, no sleeves to insert – soooo quick!

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I used a grey marle cotton jersey that I had in my stash. The floral for the pocket was left over from my Washi dress, making this a very cheap project. The neckline is finished with a 1 1/2 inch wide strip of jersey. I have currently left the sleeve edges raw, but I may add binding to these too.

I think this batwing top knock off will be the first of many. Perfect for the in-between weather we are having here at the moment and so comfy. Thanks to Imagine Gnats and Made with Moxie for pushing us all to do some selfing sewing this week!

I’m linking this project up with the Professor Pincushion Closet Copy challenge over on KollaboraΒ and the new link party at GoToSew.

Come on mum, enough photos already!!

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When inspiration strikes – a Hanami top and hand stamped leggings

How amazing the creative process is! Since becoming a sewing obsessive, I am finding inspiration in all sorts of places. Of course the internet is a huge part of this, but it’s certainly not the only place where inspiration strikes me. When I’m out and about, I love to check out what people are wearing, however I do let this be more of a passive process rather than actively looking for ideas. You really never know when a great idea will strike, so I have a notebook where I try to write down/draw these ideas before I forget them.

So, last week I was at my son’s soccer class on a routine Tuesday morning. There was a little girl there wearing the cutest outfit of (imagine now please) bottle green leggings with silver stars and a blue knit top with large flutter sleeves. She looked comfy and stylish – two things I love to see in an outfit for small people. Here is the very crappy sketch I made:

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After rolling this image around in my head for a few days, here is what we came up with. I’m certainly not a pattern designer, so the creative process for me is matching/adapting patterns to the look I want, choosing fabrics and notions and then putting it all together.

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The top is the gorgeous Hanami top and dress pattern from Straightgrain in size 2. For the top and the lining I used a lovely chambray from hereΒ (no online shop).Β The chambray gives the sleeves and ‘flounce’ a nice fullness, although 4 layers can be tough to sew. This pattern is the second I have used from Straightgrain and I can’t say enough great things about how well written and clear these patterns are. I could not get my mind around under stitching until I followed An’s very clear instructions – super easy and such a neat finish!

The leggings are cut from two women’s long sleeve t-shirts that I found on clearance for $2 each – score! They are actually a pj pants pattern from the Growing Up Sew Liberated book by Meg McElwee. I’ve used this pattern before here. I handstamped the stars using inspiration from Jess at Craftiness is not Optional and also inspired by this post from Dana. The stamping was so much fun – i’ll be making more of these for sure.

Not all my sewing adventures work out with something wearable, but I’m pretty happy with this one! Now tell me, where does your best inspiration come from?

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