Happy Harem Coverall

Today was probably the last sunny day of what has been a rubbish summer in these parts but any sunny day is a day for celebration in my book. Wee gal is wearing her newest party outfit. It’s not a dress. It’s a harem pant romper because why not?!

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I’ve had my eye on Brindille and Twig patterns for a while. They are good basics but with enough quirky details to suit the age of their target market and they really showcase all the wacky knit fabrics that are out there just now. I took advantage recently of the lower prices of the Harem Coverall and Hooded Vest and I knew immediately that I had to use the appropriately named fabric, Happiness, by Shalmiak. It’s happiness on a plate! Suns, stars, CND signs, rainbows, peace, love and happiness, yes please! I paired it with red and white striped rib knit by Shalmiak. Both fabrics are organic cotton, amazing quality and available here and here in my Etsy shop.

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The romper is well drafted and came together well although I’ll admit to not reading the instructions in detail. It’s a fairly simple construction and I’ve made enough knit garments to feel comfortable about diving in head first but on this occasion I wish I had read the instructions fully before cutting out. As soon as I realised the only way in and out of the romper is through the neck I decided to add button snaps to the shoulders to reduce strain on the neckline. They do advise that you use a fabric with good stretch recovery for the neckline but I think it would have to be very hardwearing to cope with the stress of being pulled over the shoulders umpteen times a day for toilet breaks, undressing, etc. The button snaps work well so it’s not a problem except that I’ve lost a bit of room at the shoulder. The seam allowance is 0.6cm but instead I folded over each seam 1cm then overlapped to make the button band so I think I’ve lost approximately 2cm on each shoulder seam which considerably decreases the neckline and armscye length. It still fits fine but it’s a lesson to me to not be so impatient to get started on a new garment. And I will  *cough cough* pay heed!

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I made the size 3-4T which was a bit of a long shot given that wee gal is turning 2 next week but she is tall for her age and I’d rather make something too big than too small. I think the design of this garment hides the extra length quite well though. It just bunches around the baggy bum and legs area and it will grow with her so hopefully she’ll get lots of wear out of it for – um – the next two years probably!

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But besides the cool shape of this romper it is the fabric that really makes it special. The organic cotton is deserving of its name – it’s the happiest fabric I’ve ever seen. Wee gal had tons of complements when she wore it which makes the process of making clothes extra special. It feels good to know that your kids’ clothes are ethically made (the late nights are all my own!), organic, totally unique and make people smile. For extra feel goods this is Kids Clothes Week, a celebration of sewing for your kids which you can find out about here. The theme for the current challenge is Celebration and that couldn’t be more fitting for this amazing print which is surely a celebration of life!

Peace n love x

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The Ladybird Dress – A Puperita Appreciation Special

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It’s the spring holiday fortnight in Glasgow. Schools and nurseries are closed and I am off work but someone forgot to tell the weather gods and in typical West coast of Scotland holiday fashion it’s a wash out. So, what do you do on a drookit fortnight in Glasgow when it’s too wet to go outside and play? Make summer dresses of course! We live in hope…and in the meantime we are good at layering!

This is the Hula Hoop dress by the wonderful Puperita, an Etsy shop that specialises in clothing patterns for babies and children and today is the day that the very talented lady behind Puperita, Annalisa, is being celebrated by a variety of maker/bloggers who want to collectively show their appreciation and admiration for her and her amazing work. The patterns range from the whimsical to the everyday but every one is crafted with practicality and comfort in mind so that children can do what children do – move! (Sounds obvious but not all clothes for children are comfortable for children!) Annalisa is always on hand with advice and encouragement through her Etsy shop and Facebook group which makes the Puperita experience unlike any other. When you can ask the designer a question about fabric choices, sizing or for help with construction and receive an answer quickly you know you are dealing with someone who really loves what they do…and it makes all the difference. And the Puperita community demonstrates how popular Annalisa and her patterns are – lots of people eager to share pictures of the clothes they have made and to complement and find inspiration in others’. Puperita is a very popular pattern brand and it’s easy to see why when you make up one of the patterns.

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For the Hula Hoop dress I used this beautiful cotton ladybird print that my mum picked up on a holiday in Brighton in Ditto Fabrics. It’s quite a hefty cotton but nevertheless I fully lined the dress in more white cotton because it’s never that warm here, even in summer. The dress will get much more wear this way. I used a fuchsia pink cotton for the piping and cute wee green heart buttons that I had in my stash. The dress is fairly sturdy with all that fabric but as it’s cotton it’s breathable and very comfortable. Wee Gal rolled around all day yesterday in it and it did not restrict her movement in the slightest. I think I’ll make many more beautiful dresses from this pattern.

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This is only the second pattern I have made up by Puperita. You can see the Mini Tulips pinafore dress here but I have cut out the fabric pieces for the Lil Critters pinafore so that will be appearing on the blog soon. Thank you Annalisa for making such wonderful patterns and please know that this is one Mum (and one Wee Gal) who loves and appreciates what you do!

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To see who else has participated in this Puperita appreciation day follow these links and enjoy…

 

Emi ~ Just Add Fabric     Jaime ~ Made By Jaime

Janice ~ So-Cal Sewing Mom     Soso ~Moineau & Petit Pois     Ula ~ Lulu & Celeste

Nuala ~ clootie dumplings     Pam ~ Threading My Way     Maria ~ Fairies, Bubbles & Co.

Shelly ~ Sew Shelly Sew     Chari ~ Take time to smell the rose     Helen ~ The DIY Fox

Karly ~ Paisley Roots     Sanae ~ Sanae Ishida     Melissa ~ Rebel & Malice

Janet ~ 7 Pine Design     Jenya ~ While she was sleeping 

 

Easter Chick Dress

DSC_0501This is Wee Gal’s new Easter chick dress made with some uncharacteristic forward planning on my part. Okay, I’ll admit, this was entirely accidental, but, by a very happy accident Wee Gal has the perfect dress for the season ahead. My Mum bought the fabric in Brighton last summer for me to make something for the wee one. It’s a lovely Robert Kaufman cotton with a weirdly large bird and egg print that works well in children’s clothes. Who wants to wear boring solids, after all?!

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I used the Mini Tulips dress by Puperita, a great pattern company that sells on Etsy. The dress is designed to be reversible which is great for practical parents who can’t abide lunchtime mess – when baby gets grubby you pull the dress inside out and no one will ever know!  I used unexciting beige polkadot fabric on the inside so I doubt I’ll ever willingly put it on inside out but, still, it’s nice to have the option should Wee Gal ever tip her lunch down her front. I love the details of the piping and the inverted pleat on the front on what is an otherwise simple and easy-to-make dress.

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I’ll be making more of these but in the meantime I’ll leave you with the song we were singing during our photo shoot…

Chick, chick, chick, chick, chicken, lay a little egg for me

Chick, chick, chick, chick, chicken, I want one for my tea

Oh, I haven’t had an egg since Easter, and now it’s half past three

So, chick, chick, chick, chicken, lay a little egg for me

 

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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The Too Big toddler dress and leggings combo

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I am a huge fan of Ottobre Design kids patterns. I’ve made a few items for the boy – they fit really well and are very practical for everyday wear. I am sure this outfit will be no exception…when the girl grows into it. I seem to have a problem with cutting the right size and always end up going too big. Sure, it’s better than being too small but also quite annoying since she won’t get to wear this for a good couple of months at least. I blame RTW (always a scapegoat!) and its tendency to be smaller than it should be. Certain shops have the weirdest sizing in kids’ clothes – and some clearly don’t preshrink fabric as they get smaller after washing which really maddens me! But, isn’t that one of the reasons we make our own clothes?…because we know we can do better? Now, the bairn’s tall and has always worn a size bigger in RTW but, even so, her leggings are always up above her ankles (and the same with the boy, though in his case it’s that the t-shirts don’t always meet the waist band!) so, when choosing a pattern size I tend to – out of habit – go up. Turns out it was entirely unnecessary in this case. Who’d have thunk it?!

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I cut the size 86cm which is normally 12-18months and as you can see in the top pictures there is plenty of growing room. That’s not a bad thing but I just hope that the bairn grows into the waist before the leggings get too short so fingers crossed! The tunic and leggings patterns are from Ottobre Design 1/2015. All seams were stitched on the overlocker and then finished with the twin needle on the neckband/cuffs and the amazing Bernina stretch stitch on the hems (seriously, it’s the most amazing thing about my machine. The hem can stretch way more than a twin needle or a zig zag stitch and means no more popped seams on stretchy fabrics!) If you look really carefully you can see it here on the tunic hem  and leggings waistband – it’s the most close up picture I could get.

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The fabric is the really beautiful Elk Grove knit by Birch Fabrics. It’s organic cotton interlock knit and I’ve been hoarding it for about a year waiting for the right time to use it. It feels very soft yet thick enough to handle some rough’n’tumble toddler action. I only bought a half metre of each fabric and couldn’t get the whole dress out of one piece. I like the mis-matched arms though so I’m pleased with the way it turned out. If you can get away with weird details anywhere then it’s most definitely on kids’ clothes. Due to fabric limitations there was no way I was even going to attempt to match the chevrons on the leggings. Quite liberating really as I would probably have done it despite the fact that the bum will be covered. Fortuitously, I had the perfect match of cotton ribbing in my stash. I sure do love it when that happens!

Baby’s First Handmade Dress

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So, this is the first dress I have made for Wee O. Surprising? I’m probably alone in this but I think dresses look a bit odd on babies that are not yet standing up. They bunch up around their backs when they are lying down and get in the way when they try to crawl. Tunics are nice. I like tunics with leggings or shorts but dresses are wasted on little scrunched up babies. And just don’t get me started on poofy skirts and tutus! Now though, Wee O has reached that lovely age where she is learning to walk and is spending most of her time upright so I decided to mark the occasion with a new dress.

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There are some really cute dress patterns out there. A quick search on Pinterest throws up loads of options and many of them free too. I love that people put so much effort into designing and digitising patterns for anyone to use. It’s a real sign of the generosity of the sewing community. This free pattern by Made by Toya is a lovely simple back-buttoning bodice with gathered skirt.  It’s available in two sizes – 18-24 months and 2-3 years and can be made as either a dress or a tunic. I chose to make the dress. Wee O is 12 months old but she is big for her age so I was sure that the 18-24 months would be fine.

I used some cotton fabric that I picked up for a bargain price in a lovely wee shop in Kirkintilloch called i Sew 2. I had no intention of buying fabric that day – I have mounds of the stuff at home – but sometimes you just stumble upon a shop you’ve never seen before and, well, you just can’t help buying more! I just tell myself I’m spreading the sewing love. It’s 100% cotton and has the weight of a quilting cotton. The bodice is lined in the same fabric as the outer and I lined the skirt in red cotton. This means that altogether it’s probably stiffer than a baby dress should be but it holds its shape nicely and gives Wee O plenty of room to move.

Wee O wore her first handmade dress to a family party today and got a bazillion compliments so we’re drawing up plans for more. Now that baby dress season is upon us it’s time to experiment with all the weird and wonderful decorative stitches on my sewing machine. And why not?!

Candy Stripe Baby Top

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Here I have a sweet candy striped top for Wee O, the bambino of the family. It’s a pattern from Ottobre Designs magazine 4/2014 with slight modifications. I love Ottobre Designs’ children’s patterns. They’re practical and modern and I find the sizing to be great. They list their sizes by height  – this is 86 cm which falls into the 12-18 month range. Wee O has just turned 1 and it fits her as I would expect – with plenty of room to wriggle and grow. It should see her through to 18 months with any luck. There’s nothing I hate more than baby/children’s clothes that come up small. They grow so fast but I’m sure I’m not alone in wanting to get as much time as possible out of an item of clothing – especially if it’s something handmade. No quick turnarounds here please! Clothing generally follows a pattern in this house – too big, just right then too small. Then passed on to someone else with any luck. It’s much nicer for the planet that way.

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The fabric is by Sew Caroline for Art Gallery Fabrics. I’m not too keen on this. The print is nice but I don’t think the quality is all that great if I am being honest. It’s a bit thinner than the jersey I would normally use for children’s clothes and doesn’t seem to have the best stretch recovery so I’m not sure how it will hold out. It’s maybe a good thing that this is a loose top or we might end up with baggy elbows! Anyway I might be wrong. A few rounds in the garden with Wee O will test it out! I got it on Ebay for a few pounds and I’ve still got enough to make something else. Leggings? A dress? Might wait to see how this one fares before deciding how to use it. The fabric is, I believe, 95% cotton, 5% spandex but it is not organic. Still cute though. The neckband and cuffs are navy cotton ribbed knit.

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All I did to the pattern was raise the neckline at the front by 1.5 cm and eliminate the pockets. Construction was easy peasy. All done on the overlocker except for the hem which was finished with the most amazing stitch that I came across on my sewing machine. It’s a jersey stretch stitch. I’ll write more about that in another post as it’s wonderful and needs to seen to be fully appreciated!

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My wee pudding looks like an actual pudding in her stripes. How lovely!