Wee Football Star in a Football Shirt (of sorts)

I love children’s clothes but I’m not hugely keen on the gendered offerings available in most high street shops. Everywhere I look boys’ clothes are covered in cars and trucks or ridiculous statements like ‘Here Comes Trouble’ that subtly suggest to boys that we expect them to be troublesome or even find it cute when they act boyish (or boorish). And girls’ clothes! All that pink and glitter and princessy, image-obsessed nonsense. (Don’t get me started on Frozen! Yes, I get that its supposed to be one of the good ones with an empowering female message and all but they’re still bloody princesses and there’s no need for their faces to be plastered all over clothes and toys. Give us a break. Please!) I’m quite particular about how I dress Wee Guy – I like simple shapes, comfortable fabric (cotton, always; organic, if possible) , colour and fun prints. It sounds easy, yes? Well its not. But it’s okay…I can make my own!

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I’ve sewn this pattern before. Many times, in fact. But who cares? Wee Guy needs new clothes and this is his ideal style. It’s my modified Mushroom top pattern from  Ottobre Design mag 4/2014, also seen here and here…oh and here too! I clearly love this pattern. What makes it so good though is that it’s the perfect simple shape to show off lovely fabrics. This one is Shalmiak’s Soccer Star which Wee Guy saw and immediately wanted for obvious reasons. It’s beautifully soft and stretchy and amazing quality. That and the ribbing, also Shalmiak, are from my Etsy shop. The grey fabric is organic cotton jersey from Organic Textile Company available here. Even the wee strip of blue covering the innards of the neck seam is organic but I can’t remember where  it’s from. That means the whole thing is organic! (Okay, except for the thread, damnit!) Wee Guy’s skin is quite sensitive so I try to use organic with him as much as possible but if I’m being honest the more I read about the cotton trade and the garment trade the more I feel compelled to buy organic. I feel uneasy when I think about the harm that the chemicals used in growing cotton and manufacturing fabric are doing and I’m not sure I want to contribute to that. That’s not to say I have fully committed to only buying organic yet but I’m definitely becoming more aware of the issues and my choices as a consumer.

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The entire thing was constructed on the overlocker except for the neck binding and the hem which were done on the sewing machine. I’ve said it before but I’ll say again…I love the jersey stretch stitch on my Bernina! (as seen in the following picture). It has stood up to the demands that both of my children place on their clothing and those are big demands – Wee Guy has developed a sudden interest in climbing trees, need I say more?!

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One happy boy! Will I make more of these? Er…yeah!

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For the Kids: a spot of refashioning

Mr Clootie Dumpling was throwing out some clothes a while ago. He doesn’t do this very often as he does not have an extensive or varied wardrobe – it mainly consists of t-shirts, jumpers and denims – although, he would like me to point out that he is not a slob or a scruff. He considers himself to be a snappy dresser owing to a penchant for Italian designer brands and, in particular, sports jackets. Whatever. I rescued two sweatshirts from his bundle and got into a spot of refashioning.

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The brown jumper is ancient – 15 years old was his guess – and it was pretty faded and worn looking. It still is but I managed to cut around most of the really faded parts and now it doesn’t look too bad. The pink jumper was not that old but Mr Clootie never really took to the pink. He doesn’t have anything against pink btw, he just didn’t think it suited him. I used the recycled sweatshirts for all main pattern pieces except the cuffs and bands which were cut from new organic cotton ribbing from my stash. The only notable thing about the whole experience was the pink fabric. I’ve never seen anything like it. There are two layers of jersey joined together by evenly spaced threads – it’s like the jersey version of double gauze. I don’t think you would call it sweat shirting but it is very thick and snuggly nevertheless.

 

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I used a dress pattern from my workhorse of a pattern book, Ottobre Design 4/2014, for the pink dress and hacked it into a sweatshirt for the brown jumper. This involved simply lengthening the top pieces and adding a band at the bottom. Easy peasy.

Now that the cold (and wet, so blooming’ wet!) weather is upon us the kids are very pleased with their new ‘not new’ jumpers. Dad had better watch out. We might all go poking around his wardrobe looking for some more old jumpers to refashion.

Up in the Clouds

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This is my latest instalment of the Ottobre Design top from issue 4/2014 paired with trousers from the same issue and True Bias Mini Hudson Pants. I haven’t got a huge amount to say about the top pattern that you can’t see here…and I have also made the Mini Hudsons before. What can I say? When I find a pattern that works I tend to make it over and over. These two are my favs – relaxed, modern and fashionable. Wee Guy is a bit of a whirlwind so comfy clothes in which he can move around easily are definitely his preference. Wee Gal’s top and trouser set were not intended to look like pyjamas although, looking at the pictures, I can see that they do very much look like pyjamas. Not to worry, she’s a baby and is therefore oblivious! Sizes used are 104cm for Wee Guy and 86cm for Wee Gal.

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The cloud print fabric is from Remnant Kings in Glasgow. It’s cotton with around 6% elastane, beautifully soft and very stretchy with excellent recovery. I love it. Now, here’s the problem with living in Scotland at this time of year…there’s no blooming’ light! I took these pictures after work at around 5pm and it was already too dull. So, you probably can’t tell that these tops are actually two different colours – pink and red. It’s very obvious in real life but sadly, in this land of diminishing light, not so obvious here. The ribbing is from my stash – it’s also cotton. The blue sweatshirting used for the Mini Hudsons was part of a fabric haul I found on Gumtree. I scored a huge pile of jersey fabrics, including around 6m of this one, for an absolute song. I don’t know what it is exactly but I suspect it is 100% cotton. I just realised too that my version looks exactly like the sample version on the True Bias website! A very happy accident.

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The details… In an effort to make my knit clothes look as RTW as possible I’ve been adding a strip of binding to the inside of my necklines. I had a fair amount of trial and error to get a process that I was happy with but now I think I’ve nailed it. I use a strip of knit 2cm wide, stitch it to the seam allowance, fold down and edge stitch (still within the seam allowance) and then tuck under and edge stitch in place. This technique hides the unsightly innards while also stabilising the neckline. I then use the jersey stretch stitch on my machine to hem as it allows the fabric to stretch a lot!

And because kids are impossible to photograph these are the only pictures – out of about a thousand – that are not a flurry of blurred limbs.

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Mini Hudson Pants & A Refashioned T

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The boy never sits still. What 2 year old does? He prefers to jump around, climb furniture and roll on the floor so what better than a pair of Mini Hudson Pants to make his adventures more comfortable? These breeks by True Bias are the perfect mixture of style and wearability for any child. And adult in fact…I’m eyeing them up for myself too.

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As for the fabric… My eye was caught a while ago by some sweatshirts on a sale table in Zara. They were massive and shapeless, made from organic cotton and incredibly soft. I bought two – grey and navy – and to be honest they were quite hideous as ladies’ jumpers but I was sure there would be enough fabric in each one for some mini hudsons. I was right. I even used the neckband for the pocket bands and the sleeve cuffs for the leg cuffs…and there’s some fabric left over for a hat or gloves or whatever (but that can wait until next winter now). Lovely stuff! They were constructed almost entirely on the overlocker except for some zigzag stitching on the pocket bands and the waistband. I really love this pattern. The trousers are modern and stylish and the pieces come together really easily so I can see myself making many more pairs in the future.

I thought I had scored an absolute steal given that organic cotton sweatshirting is expensive but when I got them home and scrutinised the label it appears they were composed of about 30/40% organic cotton and the rest man made. So not as good as I thought. Anyway the fabric was still lovely to work with and the trousers are super-cool so I can’t complain.

The tshirt is a reworking of one of dad’s old ones using Ottobre Design 4/2014. It’s the same pattern I used here but with short sleeves. This is a great basic tshirt pattern and fits the boy really well. Enough said really.

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Ottobre jersey tops for the boy

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I recently discovered Ottobre Design magazine in WHSmith in amongst all the dull crochet and cross stitch magazines that seem to be stocked everywhere (seriously, who buys them?!) I grabbed it without hesitation, despite the eye-watering price tag, figuring that with so many patterns it’s got to be good value for money. Now that I’ve made something I can say I’m really happy with it and look forward to making more. There are loads of lovely and practical clothes for kids from babies up to teens so it could get a lot of use. Even the tracing wasn’t as much of a chore as it usually is (Burda I’m looking at you…) probably because being child-sized the pattern pieces fit on my cutting mat and I did’t have to shift the paper around as I was tracing. Last year I made the Made by Rae Flashback skinny tees but despite cutting a size MUCH bigger than the age of the boy (I know he’s big but really…) he didn’t get much wear out of them before they were straining to cover his poor wee pot belly. Ottobre sizes are based on height rather than age so it’s easier to select a size that will fit without being derailed by the age guide.

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The pattern is the Mushroom jersey top from the Autumn 2014 issue in size 98 cm. As with last time, I used organic cotton jersey from Kitschy Coo. This stuff is lovely. The woodland animals are a hit with the boy and he gets loads of compliments when he wears the top. The second one is my favourite though as the stripy cotton is amazingly soft. Both tops used just under half a metre of the main fabric and are finished with organic cotton ribbing for the neck band and cuffs.

As an added bonus the stripy top has welt pockets!

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It’s the first time I’ve done this with a knit but they went together without any hassle. Ottobre instructions are as detailed as Burda – that is, not at all, so if you are a beginner you might struggle to follow them. Best to consult your instruction manual of choice for help with this stage. Hopefully my construction stands up to the extreme conditions posed by this wee man…

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So there you have it. Two more practical, cute AND organic cotton tops for the boy. And this time they fit better and, hopefully, for longer.

Coming soon…more sewing for me again, YAY!

Flashback Skinny Tees for a Chunky Boy

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I made these wee cuties with the Made By Rae Flashback Skinny Tee pattern. My boy is 20 months old and big for his age so to be on the safe side I cut the size 2T which should be, according to their website, ‘a bit big when the child turns two, and a bit more snug as they near the age of three.’ Ha! Didn’t quite work out in this case. They are both very snug but still passable thanks to the stretchiness of the fabric. Next time I’ll go much bigger.

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The fabric is from Kitschy Coo and feels as lovely as it looks. I had a really hard time choosing the fabric as Amanda has some amazingly colourful prints – and all organic cotton! I’m spoiling the boy! I was trying to recreate the look of the very expensive Swedish brand tshirts you get in the fancier shops but for less money and my plan has worked a treat. I reckon I used about £6 worth of fabric for each one – still more money than you’d spend in Asda on a kids tshirt but who wants an Asda tshirt anyway?! Not my boy.

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The tshirts were really easy to make. An hour for cutting and an hour for stitching. That’s what I call fast fashion! I assembled the main body with my overlocker then used a twin needle to finish the neckband and hem. Easy peasy.

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Two belly-rubbing good tshirts!

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