The thing about losing that much weight, is that nothing at all fits anymore. I went from a decent me-made wardrobe to nothing. But the thing about that is that you get to start over. I was feeling kind of stuck in a wardrobe that didn’t really fit me, both literally and figuratively. I didn’t really want to dress like a mum anymore, and I don’t have the kind of job that requires the corporate wardrobe stuffed in the back of my closet which suddenly fit again.
So when I made this dress I decided to choose something way more fun than I normally buy. Roses and skulls. I feel a bit more badass than normal, so I figure I’m doing it right.
This pattern is perfect. It is super easy to make and the fit is great! The only problem I ran into was of course the infamous Awkward Skull Placement™. There was a 1/2 inch of skull on the bodice front that I thought would be fine but then I decided it would irritate me constantly. I had to shorten the bodice by just a sliver. If I hadn’t, the length of the bodice would be perfect, but what’s a girl to do!
Pattern: Lady Skater Dress by Kitschy Coo available in sizes 1-8 (using their own pattern sizing system). I chose the short-sleeved view. There is also a long sleeve version.
Fabric: Red Goth digital jersey: 92% cotton, 8% spandex, and 200 g/m2 with black tubular ribbing. From l’Oiseau Fabrics.
This time I made quite a few adjustments. First, I went down two sizes. I made size 12, which is about 2 sizes smaller than the size chart indicated I should use. This made the fit at the shoulders much better.
I skipped the waistband altogether, which wasn’t especially flattering on me, and lengthened the top by three inches to make up for the length in the band and then some. I’m a little long in the ribcage and ready-to-wear shirts are often too short. This is the length I prefer.
I also skipped the zigzagging around the neckline that is called for in the pattern instructions. Last time, I tried this on the back of the neck but I didn’t like the look. to hem the shirt, I used a double needle. I’m much happier with this finish.
I also used better fabric. This jersey is a bit more expensive than the last time, but has much better recovery. That makes it a little more flattering, but also more comfortable. It’s also really bright, which I like. Who says kids should get all the fun?
I am so much happier with this shirt. It feels great and cheers me up when I wear it.
Pattern Review: Renfrew Top by Sewaholic Patterns. I made view A. Fabric: Cotton-spandex Jersey, from L’Oiseau Fabrics. Cost: The pattern was a birthday gift and the fabric was about 16$ a meter. Total: about 25$. Size: 12. Sewing Level: Adventurous beginner. Modifications: I didn’t zigzag around the neck band, I lengthened the shirt by about three inches, and I skipped the waist band. Results: So much better than the first Renfrew I made. I plan to make this again with the cowl neck.
This fall, when I made my kids t-shirts there was a lot of extra fabric. So I decided to take all the leftover fabric and make some matching hats for everyone and skirts for the girls.
I used the Slouch Beanie by Brindille & Twig. It’s a very simple, fast easy project, but the results are just sooooo cute! My kids look like little elves.
The hats are reversible, and they can be worn, as designed, like slouchy skater beanies. It’s great when mum is doing the styling. But my kids usually fold up the bottoms and wear them that way.
The skirt pattern is from Collection privée filles & garçons by Atsuko Maruyama and Noriko Onoda (a French translation of the Japanese pattern book シンプル＆デサイン おんなの子服 おとこの子服 ). The book contains 27 patterns available in sizes 90-140 cm. I made the “#12 Jupe – legging” (skirt with leggings) in sizes 120, 110, and 90.
The pattern comes with attached capri leggings, which are adorable. But here in the land of Hoth, where tights are pretty much required for six months of the year, they seemed a bit impractical, so I left them out.
Both patterns were super quick projects and I made the hats in a day and the skirts in another.
Skirt: from Collection privée filles & garçons by Atsuko Maruyama and Noriko Onoda (a French translation of the Japanese pattern book シンプル＆デサイン おんなの子服 おとこの子服 ). The book contains 27 patterns available in sizes 90-140 cm. I made the “#12 Jupe – legging” (skirt with leggings) in sizes 120 (not shown), 110, and 90.
Fabric: Jersey. Cost: Hat pattern: 4.50$. Skirt: 0$ (used for another project). Fabric: $0 (leftover from other projects). Project Sewing Level: Beginner. Modifications: For the skirt, I did not include the leggings. Results: Fun, easy sewing.
I’m not sure how your October was, but mine was crazy! October is when work gets busy, homework piles us and then, Halloween! I managed to get a bit of sewing done for Kids Clothing Week (KCW). But did I get around to blogging it? Of course not.
I try to sew my kids what they need, so with the approach of crisp fall weather, some long-sleeved tees seemed like a great project. I used the Field Trip Raglan T-shirt pattern by Oliver + S, and sewed it up in sizes 2, 4, and 6.
This is a super fast project. The instructions are great and there are only a few pattern pieces. The only change I made was to add bands to the sleeves. Partly, this was because I like the look, and partly this was because my kids are on the tall skinny size and I wanted to be sure the shirts last through the winter. Next time, I might go up a size, at least for the three bigger kids.
I used my regular sewing machine, as a I don’t have a serger, but this worked really well.
The kids picked these fabrics themselves ages ago. Mostly I used cotton jersey from the Riley Blake collection, but the dark grey is from the Robert Kaufman Laguna collection. The Riley Blake colours are really bright, which I love, and the kids do too.
This pattern looks great colour blocked, especially with stripes. I’m seriously considering copying at least one of these tees using a grown-up pattern.
Jersey is usually about 60″ (150 cm) wide, so I found I had a lot of extra fabric left over. But that just meant that I had enough for a couple more cute projects that I’ll be blogging soon. Yay!
I really, really love these shirts. Even though they were super quick and easy projects, I’m really happy with the results. It’s really hard to find t-shirts that are fun and bright but that aren’t pink with sparkles or covered with logos. I’ll definitely be making more.
Cotton Jersey in Heathered Knit Pepper from the Laguna collection by Robert Kaufman.
Cotton Jersey in small chevron in aqua, small chevron in rainbow, small dots in red, solid red, and 1/2″ stripes in red, all from the Riley Blake Knits collection.
Sizes: 2, 4, and 6. Cost: Pattern: (gift). Fabric: About $10/shirt. Sewing Level: Beginner. Modifications: I added bands to the sleeves, and didn’t put pockets on all the shirts. Results: Amazing. My kids love these shirts and wear them at least once a week.
So I was very excited to be a pattern tester for the newest version of the pattern, which now includes a sweater, a short-sleeved version, and an expanded size range from 12m to 12Y.
And is it ever easy to sew! I finished about one project per nap. I love one-nap projects!
In the end, I made this pattern six times: three tops and three dresses, in three different sizes.
This project calls for knit fabric, and obviously a sweater knit would be ideal, but sadly the choices were limited at my local fabric shops and I had no time to order online.
The smallest kids chose the fabric for the tops (ack! so cute to watch them choose fabrics) – a slinky rayon jersey. In that fabric, the tops have a retro 70s vibe.
The pattern changed slightly during testing, and now has a banded waist, but these tops were made before the change.
For the dresses, I chose a ponte de roma that has a bit of a soft, sweater-knit texture. This fabric gave better results than the jersey. It’s a stable knit that is still very stretchy and has great recovery.
I only made two changes. First, I shortened the sleeves by 1-2″, depending on the fabric and dress size. Second, I attached the cowl neck first, before starting the sleeves. I find it easier to work this way, but it’s just my preference. See a discussion on sewing flat versus in the round, here.
I didn’t use a serger – I don’t have one. I just used my regular machine, which has a faux overlock stitch and I hemmed everything using a double needle. This worked very well.
The results were great. These tops and dresses are cute, cute, cute and the kids love wearing them. Yay!
Dakota stretch rayon jersey knit Hearts in navy, pink and teal (medium-weight knit, 95% Rayon/5% Lycra, 4-way stretch, 25% vertical stretch and 50% stretch across the grain).
Ponte de roma in grey, (medium- to heavy-weight knit, 80% Polyester/15% Rayon/5% Lycra, 30% stretch across the grain), magenta, and dark teal – not shown – (medium-weight knit, 50% Polyester/45% Rayon/5% Lycra).
Sizes: 2T, 5T and 7Y. Cost: Pattern: 0$. Fabric: About $12 per top and about $16 per dress. Sewing Level: Confident beginner. Modifications: I shortened the sleeves, by 1-2″, depending on the fabric and dress size. Results: Great. This was fast, and I love the trendy look.
Disclaimer: The pattern was generously provided by Heidi & Finn, in return for testing the pattern. As always, my opinions are my own.
I have recently seen so many gorgeous knit maxi dresses on the web, that I thought it was time I made one too. I was especially impressed by a number of dresses made by some curvier ladies, that looked amazing. So after some mulling over, I decided to use the Moneta dress pattern by Colette Patterns.
The instructions are great, and the pattern is simple and quick. If you’re new to knits, this shouldn’t give you much trouble and there is a Moneta sew along, just starting. It’s also very quick to assemble.
I used a lovely, springy bamboo jersey by Telio that I bought locally. It’s amazing, and I will definitely use it again, in all the colours possible.
I sewed the XL, based on my measurements, but it was huge. I ended up taking in the sleeves by two inches and the sides of the bodice by an inch on each side. I could have taken a bit more in the sleeves, and a tiny bit more at the waist. I probably should have cut the medium with a fake FBA (to the size large).
I’ve seen at least one review that recommended using the sleeve in a size smaller than the dress, and I agree, this would be a good idea. I thought the bodice looked short, but with the weight of the skirt, the length was perfect (I’m a bit long waisted too). I extended the skirt by 12 inches, to make a maxi dress, but I didn’t keep the angle, as others have, keeping the same dress width at the bottom.
The instructions have you gather the skirt using clear elastic. I’ve seen at least one review that noted this was difficult. I had no trouble. But I had to recut the skirt a bit (more on that later), and I was out of clear elastic, so I used lingerie elastic. This is much, much easier as it doesn’t slide around. I added clear elastic to the shoulder seams though, which wasn’t in the instructions.
After taking the dress in, I had two main problems: the first was the neckline. Did it look like the pattern photo and technical diagram? Absolutely! And was it flattering? Absolutely not. It’s just the neckline to show off my bad curves, and hide my good ones. In the end I recut the neckline into more of a scoop neckline and lowered it by 2.5 inches. I could have lowered it more. I also used a band to hem the neckline (like in the Renfrew top by Sewaholic) – tutorial here. My double needle broke, which is why I did this, but I prefer the look, in any case.
My second problem was with the stripes in the skirt. The skirt panels are not rectangles, but curved at the top and bottom. I think this might be to have a prettier hemline with a shorter skirt. However, with stripes, it means that the stripes near the waist will appear to curve down at the sides of the dress. You can see it in the pattern photos on the Colette website, if you look carefully. You would only notice this with stripes. It also means that if your fabric panels are cut the slightest bit off, or if the gathering is uneven, the skirt will appear crooked. In the end, I recut the skirt to be straight on both the top and bottom, because the curved stripes really bothered me.
And in the end? Even with the fitting modifications (and the fit is good), I don’t think the dress is especially flattering – on me. I’ve seen lots of versions of this dress, on a lot of different figures, and they look lovely. On me, though, the gathered shirt emphasizes exactly where I need to loose a little weight (sigh). A better silhouette for me would have shorter cap sleeves, or 3/4 sleeves, a lower scoop neckline, and less gathering at the waist, and I think I’ll stick with a solid next time. It is, however, the most comfortable dress I have ever owned. So overall, a great pattern, but not ideal for my figure.
I’m a bit discouraged, to be honest. I was hoping this would be a great, easy (it is easy!), go-to summer dress. But I think I have to keep looking. I’ve just cut out Vogue 8825 in black , which I think might look better on me. And I’ve bought the Lady Skater by Kitchy Coo, as well. Hopefully I’ll have more luck with one of those. Wish me luck!
Modifications: I took in the sleeves by 2 inches and the sides of the bodice by 1 inch per side. I lowered the neckline by 2.5 inches and made it a bit more scooped. I used a fabric band on the neckline. I reshaped the skirt so that the stripes would be straight at the top of the skirt and I lengthened the dress by 12 inches. I used lingerie elastic at the waist, and clear elastic at the shoulders.
Results: Great pattern, but not ideal for my figure.
Kid No 1 needed a pirate costume for her school play, and I figured, if I was going to make something, I should make something she could wear all summer. I decided a stripy maxi skirt would be just the thing.
I didn’t use a pattern for this one. I just followed the Girls’ Knit Maxi Skirt Tutorial by Crafting Chicks. It was very simple and straight-forward, and the whole thing took under an hour. The tutorial makes a long, slightly a-line skirt with a yoga waistband.
I sewed this on my regular machine, which has an overlock-style stitch. I didn’t bother to hem it.
Also, no model for this one. Kid No 1 wasn’t in a great mood. Oh well!
I used a bamboo jersey from Telio. It’s really springy and soft, and though this skirt takes under one yard of fabric, I may have, ahem, purchased four meters. So expect to see more stripes on the blog soon.
One of my goals this year is to try to make more clothes that I will wear – everyday basics that fit into my real world, mum-of-four lifestyle. And while I’d love to say that darling dresses and strappy heels were a huge part of that, t-shirts and jeans are the norm. However, darling dresses do figure in my sewing plans, so stay tuned for that in upcoming blog posts.
I was super excited to get the Renfrew Top by Sewaholic for my birthday. It’s such a versatile pattern. It can be a basic tee, or you can dress it up.
I wanted to test the fit, so started with I a wearable muslin in cotton jersey. I made the neck from view A and the sleeves from view B.
I made the size 16, based on my measurements. It all depends on how you like your tees to fit, and the stretchiness of your fabric, but I found the 16 to be large. The shoulders are quite loose, and the sides as well. I took in an inch on each side, (leaving the full width just under the arms for curvaceous reasons-ahem) and it’s still not especially fitted. Next time I will definitely go down a size, maybe two, and do a cheater FBA. I’m also considering shortening it a bit. But maybe without the band at the waist, it would be better. We’ll see.
Since this was a wearable muslin, I used simple cotton jersey. It’s soft, casual and comfortable and easy to wear.
The only change I made, was not to zigzag along the neckband. I did this in the back of the shirt, but I didn’t like the look, so I didn’t continue on the front. It’s a wearable muslin after all, so I think that’s fine. If I were making the cowl neck version, however, I might keep the zigzagging just to stabilize everything, since it wouldn’t show.
I don’t have a serger, but my sewing mating has an overlock stitch, similar to what you would find on a serger. Net time I have to remember to trim the seam allowances so that the insides are more neatly finished. The pattern uses 5/8 inch seam allowances, which is fine for sergers and sewing machines when using a narrow zigzag stitch. But my overlock stitch works with 1/4 inch seam allowances.
Overall, this is a really good pattern. The instructions are very clear and the whole thing comes together in an afternoon. Next time, I’ll try the cowl neck in a different fabric.
Since this is a wearable muslin, (kindly worded) fitting suggestions are welcome!
So where have I been, you may be asking? Each I year I co-organize an open source tech conference. It was on June 29-30. It is huge and crazy and getting through the pile of laundry afterwards is an amazing feat. But I am officially back in my usual, crazy, mum-of-four swing of things.
My first job has been to tame the email, and what was awaiting me there? A prize!
Yes, I am one of the official winners of the shorts on the line giveaway. My prize is the Kid Shorts by MADE. It looks really cute and I can’t wait to try it out. And since it fits kids 12 months to size 10, that means I’ll have to make four. Shorts, shorts, shorts! Thanks to Rachel of Imagine Gnats and Carla of Small + Friendly for organizing both the Shorts on the Line contest (which I also entered) and the giveaway. And thanks to Dana of MADE for donating the prize.
And what else did I get to now that life is getting back to normal… the fabric store!
It’s about 40 degrees with the humidex during the day here in Montreal – unbearably hot and humid. I kept seeing all the local mums in these fabulously comfortable jersey maxi dresses. I’ve been having babies for so long now that my (non-maternity) wardrobe is just pitiful, so I figured it was time for some summer sewing for me.
This is some really soft, really spongey bamboo jersey and McCall’s M 6760. The photo makes the fabric look darker than it is. It’s actually a medium grey and medium-weight. Now that I’ve blogged it I will be forced to sew it. No procrastinating allowed!
I know, I know, all the dresses on the pattern envelope are made of georgette or some other airy fabric, but definitely not knit fabric. But there it was on the back of the envelope, “jersey”.
And the bonus is that with jersey, I won’t need to line it or use an invisible zipper. I’m just a bit concerned that the jersey might be a bit heavy and weigh too much on the waistband, but we will soon find out. The waistband is meant to be interfaced, but then it won’t be as comfortable. Hmmm. dilemma, dilemma. I love the fabric, but I could also do a glorified t-shirt maxi dress instead. Maybe a bit dull, in grey though. What would you do? Suggestions welcome.