Shorty shorts

Another pattern test! I’m feeling fairly prolific, though I have only been accepting ones with quick outcomes and sewn in jersey! This one has been for Appletree patterns, and I’ve sewn a couple of their grow with me patterns before so I was really excited about being involved in this test. I actually managed to sew up two different options, one each for Toby and Lottie.

These little shorties are super cute. They remind me of the bike shorts and cut off leggings that I wore when I was about 10! The pattern has two lengths, two skirt options and a relaxed or snugger fit cuffs. I think I might try the double height waistband too soon. A bit of extra height is always useful with cloth nappies!

I would also have loved a skirt with the little shorts sewn in too for doing handstands and cartwheels! I dont think Lottie is up to that right yet, but she is very sweet in her skort. She has the shorter version of the shorts, and a half circle skirt attached. There is a full circle skirt option too.

I made the longer shorts for Toby. We had a really active morning in these and they were perfect. Its a bit different to the shorts I have put him in in the past, but I really like them! I tried these shorts on Lottie too, and with her big cloth nappy they fit surprisingly well, so at the moment they can both fight it out to wear them!

As in many pattern tests, small tweaks are made to the pattern pieces throughout so I ended up sewing two different versions. In the final pattern though they have ended up giving both options so that there is a closser and more relaxed fit for the waistband and cuffs.

I made Lotties skirt with a rainbow rolled hem on the overlocker, which actually meant that this was a no sewing machine required make. Definately something to consider, and does make the process very fast. I always feel proud of myself when I manage to use some of the other settings on the overlocker.

As Lottie grows up I can definitely see myself making her dozens of these to wear under school uniforms and dresses for a bit of modesty and freedom of movement. They are such a quick and practical sew. I know I’ve said it before about her grow with me rompers, but I really love the concept of grow with me clothing. It makes so much sense with children who grow so fast!

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Tons of t-shirts- Toddler capsule part 1

I have a few bits of sewing to share today, but all of them are from the same well used pattern and fairly simple I thought it best to share them as a group. This is the start of Toby’s 2-3 capsule wardrobe.

I made a selection of pick n’mix T-shirts, which is part of the same MBJM (Made by Jacks Mum) pattern as Lottie’s bodysuits. These are all the basic round neck version, but with a few tweaks to add variety. These first two are as in the pattern. I took my time matching the stripe, and I just love the space print. I even bought a bit extra of the space fabric to add a dress to this capsule for when Lottie gets bigger!

Next I added a simple pocket to a plain shirt using the offcuts from the stripes.

I recently bought some rainbow overlocking thread so I thought it would be a nice feature running through all of the little capsule. I did actually buy 4 cones, but I’ve just been using it in the loopers, and matching the needle threads to the fabric which seems to be helping to let the seams blend in from the right side.

I’ve been making friends with my twin needle again so there is a mixture of twin needle and zig zag stitching. Definitely enjoying the finish of the twin needle and the ease of stitching when using walking foot so I need to stop being so lazy in switching the feet over!

Then I started to get a bit more creative. I colour blocked this t-shirt so that the white background had a better chance of staying stain free! Toby is great at eating independently, but somehow tomato sauces get everywhere so I thought the teal would have a better chance of survival!

I also curved both the front and back hems, so this shirt is a touch longer than the others. As an engineering student I was required to have a set of French Curves among other things to use when technical drawing. I’m glad that they get to have a new use now in my sewing space. I’m glad I took the time to create a hem facing because I love the little bit of teal peeking out of the bottom.

The final t-shirt has a whole load of applique. I think it might have taken longer to prepare and sew all the shapes than cutting and sewing the rest of the t-shirt. I have some fusible stabiliser which can be printed on, so I used that to help cut the sea creatures out. Then it was just a case of slowly stitching each one on.

All of these tie in with the colour scheme I planned for Toby’s wardrobe. I’m going for more pattern and embellishment on the tops and keeping the bottoms plainer to avoid pattern overload!

I think this should be enough t-shirts for now, though I would like to add some long sleeve t-shirts/ light jumpers in to the mix at some point. I like that though these are ‘short sleeved’ they come right to his elbows at the moment, which gives a little more sun protection. I also recently bought the MBJM explorer raglan, so there may be one or two more once I’ve printed and traced that one out too!

Baby Feathers

One of the things that I really enjoy about pattern testing is trying out different designers and getting a chance to see their instructions and how they interact with their customers. I recently did a little pattern test for a really new company- Wildflower Patterns.

I don’t have loads of time to sew at the moment, and pattern testing is usually done with a fairly tight deadline so I only volunteer to test patterns if I know that I’m going to have time to do it properly. This ‘Fat Baby Slims‘ pattern is a really quick sew, so I actually had time to sew a quick first test fit and a second ‘pretty’ pair with a few tweaks.

One of the tings that I am discovering is that I would definitely class myself as an intermediate dressmaker now, so I felt like I was actually able to give some useful and constructive commentary on the pattern based on my personal preferences and experience. This pattern is aimed at much less experienced sewists so I could see why the construction had been instructed the way that it had, but I tweaked the construction of the waistband so that it was easier to sew on an overlocker. My method also traps the elastic in the seam line instead of in a casing, so there is no chance of it twisting or bunching up. Amy the pattern creator was really gracious in letting me experiment with her pattern during the test, and I’m really pleased with how this pair have turned out. She even switched the method to mine in the final instructions.

I like that the trousers are roomy around the bottom so that there is plenty of space for a big cloth nappy, but still nice and slim at the ankle so that they aren’t always slipping off over Lottie’s feet. She is pretty much perfect for the recommended measurements for the smallest size so she is probably quite a useful reference as to how they should fit on a little baby.

This fabric is cut from some of the offcuts from one of my t-shirts, so perhaps at some point we will have to do some mummy and daughter matching! It always amazes me how little fabric is needed for baby clothes.

While I like these, I think my favourite trouser pattern for Lottie at the moment is still the Made By Jacks Mum Harems. They just seem a bit easier to get on and off having slightly longer elastic measurements, and being UK rather than Australian sizing I just find it a bit easier to get my head around. It is nice to have some variety though so I’m sure I will make other pairs of these too.

Planning a toddler capsule wardrobe

I’ve been thinking about sewing smarter rather than sewing more. Part of that has been to plan and cut in batches. The next phase is to plan stratecigally about what I sew, so I’ve decided to plan Toby clothing as a whole capsule for the next year or so. It’s a bit like the planning I did for Lottie before she was born, and the yellow bananas set, but on a bigger scale.

First, I wanted to think about the fabrics that I have ready to sew for Toby and how they might fit together. I came up with a bit of a colour scheme based on fabrics that I definitely wanted to use, and then looked for a colour palette that included them.

Now that I had a collection of colours, I went back to my fabric and pulled out any others that would fit in, including a few prints and lots of solids. I also looked out for some extras to fill in the gaps in a few fabric shops, because it seemed like a great excuse for a little fabric shopping!

This is what I came up with. The fabrics are mostly knits of a mixture of different weights from t-shirt jersey to sweatshirting. Most of the clothes that I make Toby are stretchy because he wants to be able to move freely, though I think I might also pull in a few cotton or linen type fabrics too. I’m hoping that this capsule will be sufficient for approximately a year, so I’m planning to make things with a bit of growing room and to suit a range of weather too. I’m hoping to be able to include a few quirky and unique touches like some of the animal inspired outfits I made in the past, but keep everything as interchangeable as possible.

Once the fabrics are finalised, it was time to think about patterns and quantities. I’m not sure yet if I will end up making everything or if I will supplement what I make with hand me downs, charity shop finds or even a few ready to wear pieces. The clothes will all get a lot more wear by keeping the number of items low, so they all need to be able to withstand lots of wearing and washing.

I decided that Toby probably needs:

  • 5 short sleeved t-shirts
  • 5 long sleeved t-shirts / lightweight jumpers
  • 2/3 warmer jumpers / hoodies
  • 5 pairs of trousers- 3 warmer, 2 lighter
  • 2/3 pairs of shorts

This should be enough to avoid washing every few days, but few enough that they should all be able to coordinate and also get worn regularly. To make it as simple as possible to get him dressed I’m going to keep the prints to the top half, so they can be layered up but should match with any of the shorts or trousers.

I already have a great selection of patterns to choose from, so I don’t think I’m going to look for any new ones particularly, unless I come across a real gap. Some of the ones that I’m already planning for are a zip hoodie, some joggers, ringer tees, and a yet to be blogged grow with me pattern. I’ve also bought a few other patterns recently so I’m looking forward to incorporating those too.

I’m really excited now about the prospect of creating a structured and cohesive set of clothing. Now I need to start pairing fabric to patterns and get started. A few of the items are already underway or completed so they will be appearing here shortly. I’ve also been planning something similar for Lottie (and got sucked down a fabric rabbit hole) so I’m quite excited about that too!

Musings on remakes

I wonder at which point it becomes a bit pointless to blog repeat makes? I quite like seeing when someone has made things multiple times because I know it must be a pattern that works for them, and you can find out what it looks like in different fabrics and with any tweaks they have made. It also feels like forever since I posted something made for me so I’m diving back in with this, my third Seamwork Oslo cardigan. I’ve actually been wearing it for a while and had failed to get any pictures, but it is constructed in the same way as my previous and much worn grey version.

This fabric is a bit special feeling. It is a really soft sweatshirting from Girl Charlee and the colour is a bit of a style departure for me. I’ve always admired mustard as a colour option but this is the first time I have owned anything. I’m hoping that it will work well with all the navy clothing in my wardrobe and brighten up some outfits! What other colours would you coordinate mustard with?

As I said before, this is another Olso cardigan. When I made my first Oslo I thought the sleeves were a bit wide, and the cardigan was overall a bit loose fitting. Now these are two of the properties I like best about the pattern because it is so easy to throw on over whatever I’m wearing. I can even throw it on over the sling when I’m wearing Lottie.

Like in my grey version I have halved the height of the cuffs which makes it easier to just pull on and wear. My version with the longer cuffs I am always needing to adjust and fold back the cuffs so that they don’t get in the way. I also like that the cuffs push up to my elbows and stay there if required.

I went for a triple zigzag stitch for hemming. I think it looks pretty smart.

This slouchy style is just so comfortable and perfect for stay home days. I haven’t even added a closure at the moment, though perhaps I will once the weather cools down.

I think this probably concludes my requirement for cardigans for now, though I am tempted to make another and add patch pockets to the front panel like in this Kinder Cardigan. I like the idea of making one using some of the lovely cable knit fabrics that I have seen around, or another super soft French Terry!