Monday, 30 May 2016

Kid's Clothes Week 'The Future': Results

Last week I put my Spring/preggers sewing plans on hold to participate in the latest instalment of the Kid's Clothes Week sewalong. To play along, all you have to do is sew for at least an hour a day for a week. I definitely managed over seven hours of sewing time over the week, although those hours were distributed slightly differently due to being at work on a couple of those days. Each KCW challenge has a theme, which you are free to adopt or ignore as you wish. My interpretation of the theme was to make clothing for my future-son that is currently dwelling in my belly. Check out the image above to see the results of my week of intense kiddie-sewing.

This challenge was an opportunity to get my head around sewing for a little boy, and it made me think about the types of garments that I imagine will be useful for him. Now let me tell you about what I sewed, in the order in which they were completed:

Straight Stripes joggers:

I really want most of my little dude's wardrobe to be as comfortable and unrestrictive as possible, so some joggers were top of my list to sew. I traced the 'Straight Stripes' pattern (pictured below) from Ottobre design magazine issue 4/2014. I used the size 62 width and 68 length, which is assuming he'll be fairly skinny like his sister! We can always roll up the bottoms for a while so they will get maximum use. The royal blue pair are made from some lovely soft double knit (which I think is this stuff) kindly given to me by Fabric Godmother. The grey stripy French terry was left over from my Breton sweatshirt, and was also given to me by Fabric Godmother. 

The pattern is super simple: just two pattern pieces. I made them using my overlocker for the seams, and my regular sewing machine to sew a channel to thread the elastic through. I've made it easy to unpick the channel slightly and left a big overlap on the elastic so these can be made larger round the waist if needs be. After all, I have no real idea of his proportions yet! 

Drop crotch joggers:

More of the same lovely double knit became a different style of joggers. For these I used the 'Streaky Legs' sweatpants pattern from Ottobre issue 1/2015. I already had the pieces traced out in a size 80 width and 86 length from when I made these awesome leopard print bottoms for Dolores. They were one of my very favourite things I've made for her, although I've probably passed them on to another child as I can't find them anywhere (sad face). I later used the next size up for these epic red/denim/rainbow joggers and pyjama bottoms. It's safe to say that I love this pattern, I'll probably trace some more size-combos to make more versions at some point so that the little guy will always have some of these in his current size. 

This pattern has one whole extra pattern piece compared to the first jogger pattern! It's not the most fabric-efficient, but can be made more so by adding a centre back seam if necessary. As with the others, I used my overlocker for all the seams and my regular sewing machine for the elastic channel. 

Geometric sweatshirt:

Determined was I to make the absolute most of the 1m of blue double knit! This little crew neck sweatshirt was made using this Brindille and Twig pattern that I've previously used for Dolores here. Remembering how the size I used for hers came out a bit big, I traced the size 74 (approx. 1 year) so he'll hopefully fit it during the autumn/winter/spring after next. The jazzy little geometric detailing began as a little sample of this jersey from Girl Charlee. I really liked how to colours worked with the royal blue, so I cut it in half and applied it to the front sweatshirt piece before constructing the garment on my overlocker.

Comic print shirt:

This garment was the most time consuming, but therefore probably gave me the biggest sense of accomplishment! It's hard to gauge the size of these garments without a model, but this is basically a tiny-scale dude's shirt. The pattern (Burda 9851) was kindly given to me by Catherine from Clothes and Sewing when her youngest son grew out of the largest size. She'd already traced the size 9m pieces for the short-sleeved version, so that is what I've used here, but I actually think it's turned out more like 1 year or even 18 months. Time will tell!

The teensy-ness of it all made some steps, like setting in the sleeves, pretty tricky. But I was rewarded for my troubles when it came to stitching on the buttons and I found that I'd completely accidentally got an almost-perfect pattern match at the front!

The amazing fabric is once again from Fabric Godmother, another part of the package she sent me once I announced that I was having a boy. Annoyingly I can't find it on their site, so I'm not sure if it was an end of roll piece but it would be worth dropping Josie an email if it's taken your fancy.

Comic print shorts:

To get full value from each piece I've been sent, I was able to squeeze out a size 1 year of the Made Everyday (previously Dana Made It) Kid Shorts pattern (previously used here). Truth be told, I messed things up a bit when cutting out the shirt so I had to recut the front pieces. If that hadn't happened then I'd have had enough of the comic print fabric for an entire pair of shorts, but instead I had to think on my feet and ended up combining it with some red poly cotton that was one of the squillion red table cloths that my lovely mum made for our wedding. I actually think that necessity being the mother of invention, as it has been here, has served me well and these shorts are probably way more interesting and unique because of the enforced design change. I now only have just enough of the comic print fabric for a couple of small contrast patch pockets for a future sewing project. 


This has been a really productive and valuable KCW for me. Not only have I made a nice variety of cute, and hopefully useful, pieces for the mini-dude, it has also really helped me get used to the idea of having a little boy in my life. It has been an opportunity to express some of the ideas and inspiration that I was discussing in this post. I like the blend of more traditional style garments (the shirt and the shorts) with the more modern (the drop crotch joggers and the geometric sweatshirt), and as I made these items I had about a thousand new ideas for more things that I want to make him.  

I love all these garments and can't wait to see them worn by my future-son in the months/years to come, but my favourite item is probably the sweatshirt. The simple application of a tiny piece of contrast fabric has really elevated what would have been a fairly dull item, and it's left me with lots of ideas along this theme. 

If you participated in KCW this season, how was it for you? What did you make and what was your favourite garment? Do you find it difficult to find an hour a day to sew? Did you have to fudge the timings a bit?! 

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Cabernet Cardigan: Round #3

Here we are! My third (but probably not final) stab at the SBCC Cabernet cardigan pattern. As my #MMMay16 challenge documentation pictures will confirm, I have rarely taken it off since its completion. 

(image source: SBCC Patterns)


As you can see from the image above, my #3 Cabernet cardi doesn't really resemble the original pattern. To recap: for my second version of this pattern, I started with a size smaller than my measurements would suggest, lengthened the sleeves, straightened the side seams and made the neckband/button stand narrower. On top of those changes, for this version I also made the neckband narrower still, shortened the length of the cardi by 4cm and reshaped the front edges slightly, which included making them 2cm narrower on each side. I'm suuuuuper happy with the look of this cardi now! It's got the proportions of my beloved secondhand fine knit mustard cardi which will soon be too ratty and misshaped to wear. 


I 'bought' this mustard double knit from Fabric Godmother in exchange for helping out at their recent open day. It's not from their range of deliciously soft Ponte de Roma's (one of which I used for the navy version), it's not quite as soft as those and is more like the turquoise double knit I made my first version from but a bit thicker. It was still fantastic to work with and great to wear. The colour is the precise shade of mustard/old gold that I adore. 


Ah! I'm so happy to have made this garment. As an almost-exact replica of something already in my wardrobe, I knew that it would fit in, and as I mentioned above, hardly a day has gone by that I haven't worn it since it was finished. 

When I first finished it, however, I was being a bit critical and felt that I still had some work to do with the shape and/or width of the front sections. But the more I wear it and the more images of it I see, the less I feel that there is an issue there that needs to be addressed. 

I think my current cardi selection is perfectly sufficient for now, but I can see one or two more versions of this pattern in my future. Possibly a black one using some of the super soft Fabric Godmother ponte if it's the same stuff as the navy. And I'm sorely tempted by a crazy trompe l'oeil effect one using this crochet print double knit from Ditto fabrics. That fabric is totally not my style, but I think it'd be so funny to make a cardi from it. What I would really like is to make it from a really warm cut-and-sew knit fabric, if I ever find some. Many moons ago I found some wooly (albeit synthetic) knit fabric that I used to make this jumper that I wore to death. It was a really warm garment, and I'd love to find something with good heat-trapping abilities to make a cardigan from. Has anyone seen anything that they think might fit the bill?


Pattern: PDF $12 (£8.37) from here. I've used it three times now so I'm counting my pattern cost as £2.80 for this project
Fabric: £14 per metre from here. I used 1.5m for this project so my fabric cost is £21
Buttons: £0. Given to me by Textile Garden, which are these that can be found here.
Total: £23.80

I often think of garments I've made or footwear I've bought in terms of 'pounds per wear'; how does the price spent on the item (or materials for the item) relate to the amount of use that item gets. To me, it doesn't matter if it cost a lot initially if it gets many more wears than the amount it cost. I think it'll take a very short amount of time for this cardi to have justified that cost!

Monday, 23 May 2016

Indie Stitches #MMMay16 Giveaway!

Shall we have one more celebratory #MMMay16 giveaway?! Yes, let's! This week Jen is hosting the final giveaway in which #MMMay16 participants can win their choice of PDF sewing pattern from the range stocked by Australian-based Indie Stitches. It's super simple to enter, so if you are a participant, head over here to through your hat into the ring. 

Saturday, 21 May 2016

My Me-Made-May'16: Week 3

Week THREE?! How did that happen? Does anyone else feel this month is flying by in a flash? I've barely had a chance to snoop through the Flickr group or through the #MMMay16 hashtag on IG. Anyways, at least both of those will remain as a permanent record of the challenge to be enjoyed at a later date when (if) life calms down. On with the documentation...

Day 15

Dolores's mum-mades:

I totally forgot to take a photo of myself but I wore exactly the same as Day 11

Day 16:


Dolores's mum-made:

Day 17 (catching up on the first episode of GBSB):

Maternity leggings (as yet unblogged)

Dolores's mum-made:

Day 18:


Dolores's mum-mades:

Day 19 (with my friend Mima, who was wearing a cardi that she had darned, so I felt she should be included in the documentation pic):

Mustard Cabernet cardi (as yet unblogged)

Dolores's mum-made:

Day 20:

Mustard Cabernet cardi (as yet unblogged)
Maternity leggings (as yet unblogged)

Dolores's mum-made:

Day 21:

Mustard Cabernet cardi (as yet unblogged)

Dolores's mum-made:
Paris jersey dress

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Kid's Sewing Strategies: Revised

Over the last couple of weeks I've been giving a lot of thought to kid's clothes sewing plans. I mean, even more than usual. So, we found out that the baby I'm currently brewing is a boy. It was a bit of a surprise at first, in a kind of 'But we make girls, don't we?' kind of way. Pat got over the shock within an hour, it took me about two days. Now I'm totally down with it and excited to make a mini-dude wardrobe, it's going to be ace!

(image source: Brindille and Twig)

This news also seems to be helping me accept Dolores's increasing desire to wear only dresses (preferably pink sparkly ones). I can't get behind the pink-sparkly part, but instead of trying to distract her in the morning whilst I attempt to sneak her into a pair of jeans and a cute sweatshirt or T-shirt, I've been indulging her requests to wear dresses (or flow-y tunic tops which she also describes as 'dresses') as far as the weather, the day's activities and the laundry cycle will permit. Simply put: now that I'm having a boy, I not lamenting the lack of fun sweatshirts, joggers and anchor print stuff making an appearance on Dolores!

(image source: Sloppop Yeah)

I was surprised that she has developed such a strong sense of how she wants to dress at only two and a half. I most certainly don't want to squash her developing sense of self, but I thought I might have a bit more sartorial freedom for a little while longer! Equally, I've been slightly alarmed by how naturally she has started gravitating towards the colour pink, princesses, fairies, ballet dancing and other intensely stereotypical 'girly' imagery and activities. I met a lady at a sewing class I was teaching a couple of weeks ago whose four year old would literally only wear dresses. (Currently at least) I can convince Dolores to wear leggings and T-shirts underneath her beloved dresses, but I think I'm going to have to make her a slightly larger selection than she currently owns.
(image source: Toby Tiger)

But back to the boy's stuff. Boy's clothing had always been a pretty abstract concept to me, not something I've given much thought. I've dabbled by making my friends' little boys the odd pair of trousers or shorts, but I'd never thought beyond the occasional stand-alone item. Boys clothes in the shops usually seem sooooo boring. So much navy blue with perhaps a dinosaur, car or (in the summer) sea creature printed somewhere. Little bird clothing seems to be one of the few exceptions, on the UK high street at least. And as I found when researching independent children's sewing pattern companies, despite there being some fantastic ranges for making boy's clothes out there, in terms of quantity, there are far fewer sewing patterns out there for boys than for girls. This is, of course no surprise. The range of types, styles, colours, fabrics and detailing of clothing that is 'acceptable' for boys is far smaller than for girls. However, within the boundaries required to prevent getting asked 'How old is she?' too many times each day, I plan to have masses of fun creating awesome, colourful, comfortable and joyful clothing for my little boy. The images illustrating this post are my current inspiration points for mini-dude clothes sewing.

(image source: C bien fee!)

My feelings towards new clothing for children remain the same, perhaps are even stronger, three years on. Thankfully, about 40% of the clothes Dolores wore when she was tiny was either unisex or once were bought from the boy's section. Plus, an enormous amount of recent hand-me-downs means 'Squiggler' (working-title) should need very little for the first year. Which is useful, because clothes start to fit the child for more than five minutes the older they get, so any sewing efforts for a year+ will be enjoyed for longer! Fabric-wise, I'll hunt through the non-girly sections of my stash that Dolores would now refuse to wear. Plus, I was sent an amazingly generous package from Josie at Fabric Godmother (pictured at the top of this post) when she heard that I was having a boy. The length of fabulous orange-y leopard print twill is for making something for Dolores so that she won't get jealous!

kid's clothes week

Just as all these discoveries and ideas have been taking place, Kid's Clothes Week has popped up announcing their latest challenge at just the right time. This time the theme is 'The Future', and although it isn't compulsory that you incorporate it in any way (the only stipulation is that you sew kid's clothes for at least one hour each day for a week), I will be using the challenge to sew stuff for my future-son! If you sew for kids, are you taking part this season? Any ideas yet?!

(image source: Molly Goodall)

(image source: Zulily)

(image source: Petit and Small)

(image source: Instagram user @tomboy_in_a_dress)

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Jennifer Lauren Handmade and So Zo #MMMay16 Giveaway!


Ok Me-Made-Mayers! It's time to celebrate all your efforts further still with another of our weekly giveaways. This week, us organisers (myself and Jen) have come together to provide the prizes: a bumper collection of PDF sewing patterns. 

Jen of Jennifer Lauren Handmade (formerly Jennifer Lauren Vintage) is offering two sewing patterns OF YOUR CHOICE from her awesome range. Oh my goodness, there are so many beauties to choose from. How about her beautiful newly released Hunter tank pattern (pictured above)? Or the button lovers favourite, the Cressida skirt pattern (pictured below)? Or any of the other amazing options...

So what am I bringing to the table? Well I don't currently have a sufficient quantity of patterns to offer a choice, so I'm simply offering up both my two sewing patterns! There's the Dolores batwing pattern (pictured below) and the Anya shoulder bag pattern (pictured lower down in this post). 

To enter, all you have to do is answer a quick question: what's the next sewing technique you want to master? Leave your answer in a comment at the bottom of this post, and remember to include your email address if I can't easily find it within two clicks of my mouse.

Every time I host a giveaway, I end up having to redraw the winner because someone didn't leave a way for me to contact them. If you win but there's no email address, then there's no way to get the sewing patterns to you.

Your email address will not be used for any purpose other than contacting you if you are the winner. Please remember that the giveaway is open to participants of Me-Made-May only. Leave your comment by midnight GMT Saturday 21st May 2016. I will pick a winner by random number generator the following day and contact them soon after.

Good luck!

Saturday, 14 May 2016

My Me-Made-May'16: Week 2

( I should explain that the dress has zebra buttons at the back, and the T-shirt has little zebras all over it. Can you guess the theme for Day 8's outfit?)

Wow! Week 2 is over, this challenge is flying by, as far as I'm concerned. How has it been for you? The weather has been really lovely this week, which has definitely made getting dressed a bit easier and more fun. Most of my maternity clothing is still with my sister-in-law (who had her third little boy this week!), so I'm making do with a limited selection of warm-weather appropriate things. If it stays this sunny, I'm going to have to whip up a T-shirt or two...

Day 8:

Navy Cabernet cardigan (not seen here)

Dolores's mum-mades (see photo at the top of the post):
Zebra print leggings

Day 9:


Dolores's mum-made:
Black leggings

Day 10:


Dolores's mum-made:

Day 11: 


Dolores's mum-made:

Day 12: 


Dolores's mum-mades:
Later on... vintage beach towel poncho (as yet unblogged)

Day 13:

PLUS! Newly self-stitched maternity leggings (as yet unblogged)

Dolores's mum-made:
Paris jersey dress

Day 14:


Dolores's mum-mades:

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