Baby Gifts

While I was waiting for baby Toby to arrive, I was making good use of the time to sew up some more tiny outfits from all my jersey scraps.  A couple of friends have also been expecting little ones, so it seemed like a nice idea to make a little outfit for each of the new arrivals.

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Because it is near impossible to guess how big or how fast the babies will grow, I went for the 3-6 month sizes this time, and decided to pair the Brindle and Twig cuff leggings with my hack of the Ringer Tee to have a popper neckline.

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The resulting outfits look very smart, and have been happily received their new owners.

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I even remembered to sew a tag into the leggings to help tell the front from the back!

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Because babies cannot be relied upon to keep clean for long, I thought that a couple of dribble bibs in co-ordinating colours would make a good addition to the outfits.  These are just triangles of bright quilting cotton, backed with some soft sweat-shirting.  I used Prym colour snaps as closures because they come in so many fun colours and designs.

The other bib is just a simple outline, again with snaps to close it.  I did a bit of scrap quilting in pretty coordinating fabrics.

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I love putting together baby clothes.  Its just such a good use of scraps and special fabrics!

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Post pregnancy sewing

During the last weeks of my pregnancy I didn’t want to stop sewing, but it didn’t seem very logical to keep sewing for my bump.  Instead, I thought I would start trying to sew for after the birth, though it was tricky to decide what size to make.  I thought that the best solution to that problem was to make something which could adapt as my size changed so I went with the Tilly and the Buttons Miette Skirt, which has a wrap waist and tie so it can be tied tighter or looser as required.

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This sew was made with fabric from Minerva Crafts– a lovely linen like blend of cotton and raime.  To see the full review and more pictures, head over to the Minerva Crafts blog here.

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I’ve also been wearing my handmade espadrilles a lot in this warm weather, especially as my feet seem to have swollen a little during pregnancy.  Read more about them in this post here.

Prym Espadrile Soles

Making something special!

So I have been absent from the blog for about a month, because our little baby finally arrived! Its been a tricky month for both me and baby as we have had a couple of extra complications, but I think we are both on the mend now and starting to get on with our new ‘normal’ life!

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Matt and I have been spending the last little while getting to know the new addition to our family, and we are all doing well. As expected, we are pretty tired from nights up feeding and busy days, but we are starting to learn more about our little boy and his likes (especially sleeping in the buggy while out on a walk).

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It might be a while before normal service and regular blogging is resumed because my life has suddenly become a lot more about feeding, changing and sleeping than sewing. I think he might just be my greatest make yet though! Certainly he is the most perfect.

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Tutorial: How to hack a t-shirt to have a popper closure

A couple of weeks ago I posted about my hack to the Brindle and Twig Ringer Tee pattern to give it a popper opening/closure and make it easier to get on and off.  I thought that I would put together a proper tutorial.  This method will work for any t-shirt pattern with a shoulder seam, and doesn’t have to be limited to just children’s clothing.  You could just as easily use the same method to add a fun feature to an adult jumper too.  I’m using the Ringer Tee pattern pieces again simply because it is a readily available and free pattern so any of you that want to give this a go, can!

 

Pattern modifications

Step 1:

The pieces that we are altering are the front, back, and the neckband.  You will first need to trace off new copies of these pieces in the relevant size.  Leave space around the pieces for the modifications.

The Ringer Tee has the front and back pattern pieces cut on the fold.  We are going to make the pattern asymmetrical, so you may find it easier to trace the pattern piece off complete so that it can be cut on a single layer.

Step 2:

Decide how much of an overlap you want at the closure.  I chose 1/2″ or 13mm.

I also decided that because it is a jersey pattern, and jersey does not fray I was happy to leave the inside edge raw or overlocked, rather than concealing the cut edge.

Step 3: Front Pattern Piece

You need to know what seam allowance the pattern you are working with uses.  The Ringer tee has 6mm seam allowances.

Draw the seam allowance on to one shoulder seam. (the blue line in the picture)

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Draw on another line which is 13mm (or whatever overlap you decided on) from the seam line.  With my 6mm seam allowance this makes 7mm extra length in the shoulder.  This extra area is shaded in green.

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Step 4: Back Pattern Piece

Draw the seam line onto the same shoulder as you did for the front.  (It will look like the opposite shoulder because the pattern piece is effectively back-to-front.)  See the blue line below.

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Draw another line twice the overlap away from your seam line.  If you are using a 13mm overlap, this new line needs to be 26mm from the seam line.  The extra area is shaded in green again.

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Step 5: Neckband

Your neckband needs to have the total additional length added to it.  This means the length added beyond the seam line.  In my example that is 27mm.  (13+26-6-6=27mm)

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Sewing up

Step 6: Cutting out and first shoulder seam

Cut out the pattern pieces.  Cut a tiny notch at the seam allowance line on the front and back shoulder on the side which was modified.  Sew the other shoulder seam (the one without the pattern alterations) as in the pattern instructions.  Press the seam to the back.

Step 7: Neckband

Fold and press the neckband in half.  Stitch it to the neckline.  Press the seam down towards the body of the top.  It should now look like this, with the neckline finished, and one shoulder open.

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Step 8: Prepping second shoulder

Finish the shoulder seam allowances if you wish.  Press over 13mm on the front and back shoulder seams.  Use a strip of fusible hemming web to keep the fold in place while you complete the rest of the construction.

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Step 9: Prepping the overlap

Overlap the back shoulder over the front, using the shoulder seam notches to align properly.  Use pins to keep the overlap in place.

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Step 10: Sleeves

Insert the first sleeve, matching the shoulder notches to the central notch of the sleeve.  Once it is sewn, this will keep the overlap in place.

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Insert the other sleeve.

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Step 11: underarm and Side seams

Sew the underarm sleeve, and side seams together in one continuous seam.

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Step 12: Cuffs and Waistband

Sew the short edges of the sleeve cuffs and waistband.  Press them in half wrong sides together.

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Sew the waistband and sleeve cuffs to the body.

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Step 13: Attach snaps to open shoulder

Attach snaps to the open shoulder seam, aligning the two halves.  I used two snaps on this 3-6 month size, but on larger sizes it might be better to use more.

You may wish to use jersey snaps like these which have multiple prongs because they are less likely to pull out with time and wear.  I generally use Prym vario pliers to apply snaps.  Much easier than all the hammering!

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All finished and ready to wear!

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Special Guest Post- Family weddings: Simplicity 1653

This is something very exciting for me- I get to introduce you to Ellen my cousin-in-law!  We took the opportunity at a family wedding to take some pictures of Ellen’s fantastic handmade dress.  I’ll let her tell you all about it…

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Hello, I’m Ellen and I’m delighted to be writing a guest post for Naomi Sews!

Our husbands are cousins which means that Naomi and I share a wonderful extended family. We live on opposite sides of the country, so we tend to see each other at big family occasions. I’ve been completely inspired by Naomi who, in the course of teaching herself to sew, started turning up to every family celebration in a beautiful, handmade outfit! Her enthusiasm and her blog have encouraged me to take my own sewing from straight lines (cushion covers and quilts) to the next step of dressmaking.

After I had sewn a few garments, we received an invitation to a family wedding and I was determined to have a go at sewing something to wear. It was a spring wedding with an outdoor ceremony by a lake, so I needed something that would work with layers for warmth, and would also be able to withstand any sudden gusts of wind!

I’m a big fan of wrap dresses so I went for a ‘mock’ wrap dress: Simplicity Amazing Fit Knit Dress 1653, which came free with Sew Magazine. The dress has a wrap top with a tie but a fixed skirt, so you get the nice ‘wrap’ shape without the potential for the skirt to fly open when it gets windy. I chose some navy and ruby jersey fabric from Sew Over It – it is pretty but very stretchy, and I think I may have over stretched it at times as there are parts which became slightly see-through.

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I prefer to use indie patterns as I like the instructions and the quality, but the Simplicity Amazing Fit collection is a real gift as it includes a variation of cup sizes. This meant I didn’t need to do my usual FBA adjustment so it made the process quicker than usual.

I had already taken a sewing class with stretch fabric to make another wrap dress, so this wasn’t the first time I was sewing with jersey. My Singer sewing machine belonged my mother before I was born, which means it is older than I am! It’s still going strong but it doesn’t have a stretch stitch. I used a jersey needle with a long zigzag stitch and it seemed to work well enough, although an overlocker or a sewing machine with a stretch stitch would have looked neater.

The dress was reasonably straightforward to sew and came together surprisingly quickly. My main issue was working out the direction of the pleats in the wrap tie section – I did them back to front the first time around. This may have been more to do with me than with the clarity of the instructions.

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The neckline comes down quite low and I didn’t have time to make the navy camisole I was planning to wear underneath it, so I ended up wearing the dress with a safety pin to avoid over-exposure. This shifted the neckline a bit but I decided it was better than the alternative! I have since made a camisole using the brilliant pattern from So, Zo, What to you Know which is a definite improvement on the safety pin.

The wedding was beautiful and the dress worked really well outside – a normal wrap dress would have been problematic. I got very positive comments from our family as well as from Naomi herself, who asked if I would like to write a guest post. She and Matt took me for a photo shoot during the wedding reception and we had a lot of fun. 

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Double-duty Dressmaking

This post comes slightly out of sequence because it has just gone live today on the Minerva Crafts blog. When I was offered some of their John Kaldor jersey to test I thought that this floral pattern was just beautiful and the drape of the fabric is great. At the time of sewing, my sewing time was a little limited because I had assignments to finish so I decided to combine a couple of different plans to make maximum use of my limited time.

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This pattern is the maternity hack of the Sew Over It ultimate wrap dress, a pattern which was one of the first to make it onto this blog. Sew Over It provide instructions to hack the standard pattern pieces into an empire line so that is can be fitted around a bump. I also sized up to a 12, rather than the 8 I made before, as I’m hoping to be able to use this dress for nursing, and I’ve changed size at the bust too. The flutter sleeves are another hack, so look back to my post from Sunday to see what I did, and the tutorials that I found helpful.

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This dress is also my entry for this years #sewtogetherforsummer community challenge, which involves making any wrap dress. I participated last year with my Alex shirtdress, and I’ve enjoyed seeing all the different patterns, inspiration and lovely dresses that have been made.

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Anyway, to see the full blog post with all the construction details and final photo’s head over to the Minerva Crafts blog. I’m hoping to keep getting plenty of use out of this dress once baby arrives- hopefully it will be practical for throwing on when I don’t have time or energy to work out what to wear!

Sneaky early preview!

This week’s post will be arriving slightly later than normal because it is another collaboration with Minerva Crafts and is only due to publish on their website on Wednesday.  I’ve been so exited to share this make though because I really am loving wearing it in this more summery weather, and I feel very sophisticated in it!  Full details on the blog later this week, but for  now I’ll show you the bit of pattern hacking that I did to create these lovely flutter sleeves.

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This pattern started out as the Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress, one of the first patterns that I blogged about.  The dress has full length fitted sleeves- not very summery so I decided to make a few changes! Firstly, I worked out approximately how long I waned the sleeve to end up by holding it up against me, and I just traced off that much of the pattern.  There are some great tutorials online, and I followed this one on craftsy, and also found this one on sewing pattern review helpful.  You can see how the finished pattern piece looks very different to the initial one, but because none of the sleeve allowances or seam lengths have changed inserting it works exactly the same as before.

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I wanted to keep the sleeve looking light and airy so I didn’t want a heavy hem weighing it down.  It made it a great reason to use my overlocker’s rolled hem function which is much more dainty, and a very quick easy way of finishing a curve.  I think I will be using this sleeve hack again over the summer- the sleeves are just so lovely.  They aren’t restrictive or hot, but keep your shoulders covered when out in the sunshine!  Pop back on Wednesday to see the other changes that I made to this pattern.

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Taylor Trench Progress Report 1

As part of my sewing plans for the year I have divided up some of the steps involved in sewing up my Taylor Trench.  In the last post I included all my materials and planning.  I have everything that I need ready now, and have started some of the pre-prep work for the coat.  I have spread the tasks for this coat across the next few months.  I don’t want to overload myself, or end up rushing it so I’m planning to have all the final touches complete in time for autumn.  I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t fit my planned size very well at the moment anyway!

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The first steps have been relatively simple, but also a little time consuming.  I have pre-washed and shrunk my lining fabric, and as I explained before I wanted to make this coat a little warmer by quilting the lining to some thinsulate, much like Lauren from Guthrie and Ghani did with her Kelly anorak.   I don’t need all the pieces of lining to be insulated, so I tried to work out how much quilting I needed to do by laying out the pattern pieces that I did need on the fabric and measuring along.

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Quilting the two fabrics together is a very slow process!  I decided on a 1.5 inch diamond grid pattern, and used a walking foot and guide to try to keep it even.  I found that the layers ‘stick together’ pretty well by themselves because the backing of the thinsulate is almost like cotton wool.  I did use some extra pins and safety pins to keep them from moving about during sewing, though I didn’t need loads.  It was pretty tricky manipulating such a large piece of fabric on my domestic machine and sewing table.  I think next time I would be tempted to send it in to my local quilting shop and get them to do it for me.

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I looked at a few different thread colour options for the quilting, but in the end I settled on simple white.  Pragmatically, I already have a massive reel of white cotton, so I was ready to go, but I also didn’t want the quilting to detract from the print in the fabric.

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It took absolutely ages to get the fabric all quilted and prepped.  I was expecting it to be slow, but I do think it will be totally worth it in the end.  The quilting is definitely not perfect, but I doubt anyone would ever notice.  I did invest in a better walking foot partway through which helped enormously.  I had been using a cheap unbranded one, but the actual Brother foot and guide was just so much better at drawing the fabric through evenly.

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Next steps are to cut all the pieces from both my lining and my outer fabric, which will be another time consuming part because there are quite a few pieces.  I’m really looking forward to actually getting to the sewing though now!

Wendy Ward book review and the Kinder Cardigan

This weeks blog post comes to you a day early as it is part of a collaboration.  I was given the chance to review and make something from Wendy Ward’s new book in coordination with Minerva Crafts.  As part of their book tour, lots of lucky sewing fans were given a chance to test out the patterns in the book with some of their fabrics.  I chose to make the Kinder cardigan in some great quality ponte in a muted ‘Denim Blue’.

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The book has loads of options for modifying the included patterns, and lots of good advice and technique.  I particularly liked how well drafted the patterns are, and how the construction process is really thought through to give a neat and professional finish.

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My full review is on the Minerva Crafts blog here, so check it out, and the reviews and makes by some of the other very talented bloggers.

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These Photos were taken quite a while ago, and I have got quite a bit bigger since then, but this cardigan is still going strong in my maternity wardrobe.  Versatility is always a winner.

 

 

 

Baby pattern hacking

A little while ago I shared a couple of Brindle and Twig patterns that I had been making up multiples of- the cuff leggings and raglan tee. This time I’ve been using a free release from Brindle and Twig- the ringer tee, but I had a few thoughts on making it more practical for dressing wiggly babies!

The basic ringer tee is already a great pattern. Some pattern companies release free patterns so that you can get to look at their instructions and drafting and decide if you like them enough to work with in their paid patterns. This is a well drafted basic tee in lots of sizes (it goes from 0-3m to 6 years) so another pattern that I should get lots of use out of. With that in mind, I had the pattern printed in colour to make it easier to see the different sizing lines, and just traced off the size that I needed.

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I went with the 0-3m size again, but one of my concerns before with the raglan tee’s was whether the neckbands would be easy to get over baby’s head. I’ve heard that babies sometimes don’t like things being put on over their head and I wondered if I could hack the pattern to make it easier. I have seen quite a few baby t-shirts and jumpers with snaps at the shoulder to make the neckline bigger while putting them on and off and it looked like a simple fix.

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This hack was actually really easy to do. I just extended the neckband, and the front and back shoulder on one side so that I had a bit extra for folding over. It makes putting the neckband in particularly easy because you only sew up one shoulder seam, then put the neckband in flat. Press the excess over on the open shoulder, and pin together at the right position while the sleeve is inserted, then just add snaps. If people are interested I can put together a proper photo tutorial of how to modify the pattern pieces and sewing process.

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I used my vario pliers and some prym colour snaps to co-ordinate with the jersey. I’m not sure how robust these will be as I don’t know if I interfaced the snap section enough to stop the jersey from stretching out and releasing the snaps. I think on the next version I will use jersey snaps instead which should be more robust. I’m pleased with this as a test run though. It looks super cute, and extra practicality. Now I just need the baby to arrive to test it out!

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