Monday, 29 April 2013

Flowers and fairy tales

An from Straightgrain has made some great clothes and dresses for her daughter.  Her blog  and Pinterest Kids' Clothes Belgian Style pins show an aesthetic that really appeals to me: bright colours, flamboyant prints, and simple style lines with a retro vibe.  I haven't seen clothes like this here (although I don't routinely stalk kids' clothes stores when I am shopping)  and I thought it would be fun to make something similar.  

 I found a print on Spoonflower by Helenklebesadel called prairie garden plenty ( and ordered 2 yards in Kona cotton to make my Belgian-inspired dress

  Prairie Garden Plenty

Prairie garden plenty

I used the Oliver + S fairy tale dress pattern and made the sleeveless, collarless version.  

size 4 tapering to size 3 at the waist

I lined the bodice with white poplin

and used an invisible zip in the back... which is out by about 2mm at the waist seamline but luckily is hidden by the busy print!

I followed the pattern for constructing the bodice and I am not sure I like the bias binding around the armscye.  It was also a bit of a fiddle AND required hand sewing for a neat finish.  I think I will do it differently next time and eliminate the binding.  

I didn't add a skirt lining because I was so annoyed by the bodice I just wanted to be finished thought the skirt had enough fullness already.  

Overall, I'm pleased with the finished product and I just love this print!  I have enough fabric left over for another small item so I may make a pair of fun, floral shorts next summer - a blatant copy of the ones featured recently in the flickr photo stream by megamora16.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Anyone for badminton?

This isn't quite badminton as I remember it from my schooldays but the skirts are definitely better looking than the ones we had to wear!  The Oliver + S badminton pattern is actually a skort with shorts underneath.  This is perfect for a small person who occasionally forgets to put underwear on....

I have recently made 2 of these and they are relatively easy to make.  The first skort was made out of a small floral print with contrasting floral shorts:

size 3

I used a freezer paper template to stitch the scalloped edge.  This is certainly easier to do than cutting the scalloped edge and stitching a 1/2 inch seam and I think it makes for an more accurate finish. (Have you realised how much I love freezer paper?)

The second skirt was made from a pretty Japanese cotton/linen blend Echino fabric

size 3

 I made the shorts out of a pink quilting fabric in my stash.  I also attached the hem facing with a blindstitch rather than just edgestitching because I didn't want the stitching to break up the line of the border print on the front.  (I have it on good authority that some of the stitching isn't perfect but apparently that is on the inside so hopefully it won't be too distracting!)

And here is Rosa in her badminton skort: 

Oliver + S badminton skort with Ottobre t-shirt 19 - 3/2011. 
The belt and hair decoration are Rosa's own!

I made the t-shirt from an Ottobre pattern (number 19 in 3/2011) and used 2 prints from craftyscientists at Spoonflower to make it. The front is made from Anne plays the Pipes ( and the back is The Jazz Band (  I needed less than a fat quarter of the knit fabric to make each side. 

size 98cm

 Spoonflower is a fantastic source for fabric prints that can really change a simple pattern to something that is special and unique.  After all, which little girl doesn't like a fairy?

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Don't sew late at night!

Let this be a lesson to you:

size 6-12M

Colleagues recently welcomed a son.  Dad is mad on sport and supports one of the New Zealand Super 14 rugby teams... but not this one!  

Late on Wednesday night I remembered I had some material from an older version of the Crusaders rugby team jersey.  Yes, I thought, I'll be a little provocative and make the happy parents an Oliver + S sailboat top for their little Crusaders' supporter. I carefully cut out the various pieces so that the stripes matched, merrily sewed away (aware that the pumpkin hour was fast approaching), found some matching snaps in my sewing room (hooray for hoarding!) and hammered them in place, took a few photos, wrapped the top with the other goodies I had crafted, and gave my friends the parcel on Thursday.

All seemed well until this morning when I realized to my horror I had placed the back panel over the front panel at the shoulder.  This is not the way the top should look.  And now I think the top looks ugly.  Grrrr.   What was I thinking?!? Why did I make such a silly and amateurish mistake?  Sewing late at night perhaps?  Deciding I was going to put snaps on instead of buttons and in my haste placing the panel which would normally have the buttons, on top?   Anyway, if you take more care than I did you won't find yourself waking in a sweat,  your heart racing, and kicking yourself for being a klutz.

I have made this top once before

Size 4

And notice the buttons: just where they are meant to be and the back panel beneath the front panel

This fabric was a remnant of white sweatshirt material that I dyed.  The buttons were bought at Buttonmania in Melbourne and match perfectly.

And I will make this top again but will definitely be more careful.

Anyway, the purpose of today's post was to write about the music box jumper dress

I first made this dress at the end of 2012 out of some Kokka fabric in a pink and beige colourway.  Interestingly, a New Zealand fashion designer, Andrea Moore, used the same fabric for a woman's shirt but I think it looks better as this dress.

Size 3

This is view B with an A-line skirt and single, inverted centre box pleat.  There are 2 flaps which I fussy cut.  The buttons are pink shell buttons.

The bodice is lined and I chose a cute fairy fabric from my stash

This is a simple pattern (another single scissor pattern from Oliver + S) and quick to sew.  The simple lines are perfect for a small child and for showing off some great fabrics

Yum, that chocolate cake was good..

And the dress makes unwrapping Christmas presents very easy

"I hope this is another music box jumper dress...."

I have made another version of this dress for Rosa.  The fabric is a vintage sheet I recently bought.  Luckily there were two sheets on sale and although they were being sold either separately or at a reduced rate for both I just knew I had to have both sheets... because you never want to get caught short....

size 4

No buttons on the flaps this time because sister N said it would look like the dress had orange nipples!  

I love this dress and, no doubt,  there will be many more of these.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Move over Kate Moss!

This is Rosa

She is my new muse.  Rosa is a natural in front of the camera and a happy recipient of my sewing.  She is adorable and I'm sure that Kate M is relieved that Rosa is only 4 and child labour is illegal...

My 'thing' is sewing children's clothing.  The clothing can be bright and fun.  (After all, how many 40 year olds do you know who could get away with wearing that Barbie pink skirt and those matching shoes?!?)  As an added bonus, kids' clothes are usually much quicker to make than items sewn for me (groan), and it is possible to try things that you might not otherwise try - particularly if the material is expensive because you only need a small amount for a little person.     

I read a lot of sewing blogs and I have figured out that the best ones have lots of cute kids wearing funky outfits rather than fuzzy pictures of a handful of completed outfits.  Hardly very interesting ... and probably the reason so few people bothered to read my blog except for some folk in Russia.  

So I put the call out for a model and look who turned up!  How lucky am I?

Rosa wears Ottobre t-shirt (19) from 3/2011.  Size 98cm.  Model's own pants.  

The fabric is a cotton elastane jersey I purchased from the Ottobre etsy store.  I loved the retro look of the crochet granny squares and it reminded me of the "tank tops" we wore as kids.  Luckily for Rosa, retro is cool and so is crochet. 

I have also recently become obsessed with Oliver + S patterns.  For some reason I have decided I am going to make all of the patterns.  By my count there are currently 34 patterns and about 50 items...  So far, I have made 14 of the individual pieces (some multiple times) and here is one of them on Rosa:

This skirt is the hula hoop skirt


model's own t-shirt, necklace and shoes

It is a reversible skirt, with a "flippy flounce".  I chose two pink and white dotted fabric from the same colour range but with different sized white dots.  It was quick to sew and appropriately rated as a single scissor pattern on the Oliver + S difficulty rating scale. 

Up next, is the music box jumper which is fast becoming a favourite of mine.