Darling Dungarees

This is my latest baby pattern attempt, the dandelion dungarees by Poppy and Jazz which is an offshoot of Sew Over It.  I thought the promotional photos were all super cute, and I love dressing Toby in dungarees so this seemed like a great pattern choice.

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The pattern is reversible so you get two looks in one which is lovely.  I really like cuffing the ankles so that you can see the contrast fabric from the inside.

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The instructions were really clear, and I think this would be quite a good first knit sewing project because the seams don’t actually need to stretch and get sewn with an ordinary straight stitch.  The only tricky part is ‘bagging out’ the legs, but the instructions do explain pretty well.

 

I did make things rather trickier by hacking these dungarees to have poppers between the legs.  It does make it much easier to change nappies, but I can see why they didn’t include it in the instructions because it did make construction considerably more awkward.  I’m really pleased with them though, and even chose a few different colours of snaps to close them with.

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The straps also have two sets of snaps so that I can change the length as he grows.

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I’m definitely going to have to make some more of these dungarees.  I’ve been eyeing up all the cute printed jerseys in my stash and working out colour combinations.  Even with all the snap setting they were a pretty quick sew.  Plus, they were another of my ‘wildcard’ entry make 9 patterns so I’m really onto a win there!

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Sewing for mini

Baby is growing so fast at the moment, so I’ve been whipping up a few things in the next size up. For these I’ve returned to the Brindle and Twig patterns that I’ve had lots of success with before, the Ringer Tee and Cuff Leggings.

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The basic T-Shirt is so speedy to sew. I made a tiny t-shirt to coordinate with Matt’s space Metro Tee.

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And a couple of long sleeve versions using my popper neckline hack. A few months in to dressing a baby and I definitely gravitate to the easiest option when getting him dressed!

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To coordinate I made two pairs of leggings to mix and match. The orange ones look a bit 80’s but I think they are a fun change from the mostly blue trousers we seem to have!

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To finish off I even have a first modelling appearance from Toby. It’s surprising hard to get good photos of a baby modelling clothes.

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Now Toby can match either of his parents- Matt has a t-shirt to match the space print, and the nautical print matches this dress of mine.

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Review two, and Autumn/Winter Plans

My sewing has definitely slowed down a bit since having a baby, but I do have some plans for the autumn.  I need some more long sleeved tops, as does Matt so I’ve gone back to my favorite cotton spandex from Girl Charlee in Sage Green and Dusty Masala.

Dusty Marsala Solid Cotton Spandex Knit FabricSage Green Solid Cotton Spandex Knit Fabric

 

 

 

 

 

 

With regards to my make 9 plans its going pretty well and I’ve decided on a final couple of things to add as my wildcards.  I’m going to sew the Poppy and Jazz Dandelion Dungarees for Toby (and if I get time a co-ordinating Honeydew Hoodie), and I could do with another wintery Archer shirt for which I have a perfect cream speckled brushed cotton from Fabworks last year.   So my make 9 now looks like this:

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6 made (some several times), 1 in progress, and 2 yet to start.  I feel like that is not too bad.  The Taylor Trench and Archer shirt are pretty involved makes, though I have made the Archer multiple times before.  The dandelion dungarees should be super easy though.  I have some cute Fabworks elephant fabric which might work.

Z2e5If I get time, I could also do with another Oslo cardigan.  The one that I made at the start of the year is in constant rotation, and I’ve been discovering that cardigans are much more convenient to breastfeed in than jumpers, and its getting too cold to be without layers.

 

Perfect Penny

If you saw my previous ‘in progress’ post, you will already know a bit about my planning and design process for this dress. Now I’m ready to show off the finished outfit, all ready for graduation!

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I found the sewing up pretty easy having made my toile. You do have to be aware of the seam allowances though because there are a variety of different ones used in different areas. I’m glad that I added in a seam in the skirt to allow pockets in both side seams. I used the roomy pocket piece from the Helen’s Closet Winslow Culottes and they meant that I didn’t need to carry a bag.

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I made the executive decision to have the button plackets the wrong way around. The colours and patterns on the facings just seemed to flow more logically across the front of the bodice than when I put them the right way around.  I was also getting a little short of time when it came to putting in the buttons and buttonholes, and I didn’t really want to rush them so I went with snaps instead. These pretty pearly ones look quite like buttons anyway, and are nice and quick to undo to feed!

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Even though I didn’t have loads of time to put this together, I did take some time over the finishing. I french seamed the bodice seams to keep all the layers of fabric neatly enclosed.  I needed help to level the hem properly too because the waistline seems to be rising up slightly at the front.  I think it could be partly because my bust is a bit bigger than in the past and could do with a bit more room. I had to remove about 2″ at the centre back skirt before it hung level all the way around.

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Wearing this with my underskirt did work perfectly, and I will be able to wear the dress without it too next summer.

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I’m hoping this will be a dress which will get lots of wear, both dressed up for a wedding or two, and for everyday. It’s probably getting too cold for many more outings this year though.

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What circle skirt post could be complete without a bit of twirling.  This skirt did feel great to wear.  I would make another I think, though with my sewing time a bit limited it probably wont make it to the top of my sewing queue for a while.

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Penny in Progress

It feels like might just be the last person to try sewing a Sew Over It Penny dress, but it’s the pattern that I have picked out to make my dress to wear to graduation.  I have been planning this dress a while, and it is one of my make 9 plans so it feels good to be underway!  I chose to make it in this beautiful floral cotton lawn from Minerva Crafts.  They have a great selection, and I spent a long while narrowing it down and choosing.

It is slightly translucent, so I spent a long time deciding what to do about it.  I’m still not 100% decided on what to do with the skirt (I’m going to wait and see if it is opaque enough by itself, but I chose to underline the bodice with white cotton lawn.  I could have tried to do a proper lining, but with the construction of the Penny button placket (which is a bit unusual) I wasn’t quite sure how, and underlining doesn’t change any of the construction steps.  I just had to hand sew the lining and the outer fabrics together before beginning the pattern construction steps.  (It’s pretty similar to what I did to my wrap dress here.)

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To make sure that the dress was going to fit properly I did make a toile first from a couple of old bedsheets.  I didn’t bother with cutting and sewing the whole length of the skirt, so I just cut a shortened version.  It did help me to work out the construction process before I start sewing the real thing which was really useful as I did get a bit confused for a while with the collar and facings.  The method in the instructions does work, but did just baffle me for a while!  It also meant that I could make a few fitting tweaks for my actual dress.

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Because I’m still not back to my pre-baby shape and size, I thought it might be most flattering to have the waist seam and the elastic at my smallest point, which is still just below the bust, making my dress empire line.  to do that, I’m removing 2.5cm from the bodice length.  I’ve also decided to add in pockets to the skirt, so I cut the skirt as two pieces and added a seam allowance where it should be placed on the fold.  If you are going to make your own clothes, you might as well have everything that you want!

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That’s about as far as I have got so far.  I’ve finished stitching the underlining to the main fabric, and I’m hoping the construction will go together smoothly, having ironed out the confusion with my toile.  I have just over a week to get it put together so hopefully it will be enough!  I want to do it properly though, and pay attention to the quality of construction.  I don’t make many pretty dresses any more, so the ones I do need to be make to last.

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!

The joy of Tried and True

Sometimes sewing is about the flashy new patterns or beautiful fabric. Sometime thought it is just about basics that you feel comfortable and yourself in. That is what this post is- filling the gaps in my current wardrobe (which seems to stop fitting me every couple of weeks at the moment) with things that I need.

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Both of these patterns have appeared on the blog before several times. I do love sewing up those tried and true patterns though, that you can cut in batches, knowing that the sizing will be right, and can sew with barely a glance at the instructions.

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These particular TNT’s are the Tilly and the Buttons Maternity Agnes (which I made a couple of t-shirts of at around Christmas, and a dress version more recently), and the Megan Nielson Amber which has featured recently as both a top and a dress too (worn here with my Oslo cardigan).

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Both of these are made in my favorite t-shirt wright jersey too- Girl Charlee’s solid cotton spandex. It has great recovery, sews up beautifully, washes well and comes in loads of colours. I don’t think I will go back to using anything else for my plain t-shirts.

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So I think this really is the perfect recipe- patterns which I know the fit and the drafting, and fabric which behaves just as you expect. Perhaps not the most exciting or revelatory discovery, but I have found lately with my self imposed fabric and pattern buying ban that I am having to return to and rediscover things which before I might have overlooked in favour of the new and sparkly. Sometimes what you really need has been sat there in front of you all along!

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Part year review

I figured that we are a good chunk through the year now, and it would be a useful exercise to see how I was getting on with my resolutions for the year, while I still have time to get back on track if it was all going awry. Amazingly, sewing-wise it seems to be going pretty well so far and I’m feeling fairly on track to achieve the things I was hoping to, despite feeling like a whale at the moment and waiting for baby to arrive! This is what my make nine plans looked like at the start of the year:

Make 9

Since then I have decided on, a couple of my wildcard patterns, and have also made up quite a few of these patterns too, some of them several times.

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So far I have completed my Lily Top, Oslo Cardigan, a Paxton Sweater for Matt, two Amber Tops and a Dress version, Brindle and Twig baby clothes, and have begun the planning and sewing for my Taylor Trench Coat. I’ve also chosen the Sew Over It Penny Dress to hack into a nursing dress with another of my wildcards. I’m thinking of buying the Thread Theory Jedediah Pants pattern for Matt to make some shorts this summer.

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Another of my plans was to be less impulsive with buying new fabric and patterns, and to use more of what is already in my stash. So far it has been a roaring success! I’ve not bought any new fabric so far this year except for my Trench Coat project, despite being very tempted at a couple of moments by various sales! It means that all the projects that I have been working on so far this year have come from stash fabrics, some of which I had forgotten even existed. I will need to buy some fabric soon for the Penny dress because I don’t have anything suitable stashed away, but I think I’ve done amazingly well to come so far without a single impulse fabric purchase.

Pattern-wise, my only purchases have been the Penny Dress, the Brindle and Twig Patterns, and I did get Tilly and the Button’s new book Stretch when I recently subscribed to Love Sewing again. Again, pretty restrained so far! Turns out I have quite a few patterns in my stash which can be hacked or modified to make some lovely and enjoyable sewing.

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So in terms of what I still have to do this year, it seems to be going ok! 5 of 9 of my make nine completed, one in progress, and another at the planning stage. Still two choices to make, but I’m starting to narrow down what they will be. Fabric and pattern buying under control, and I’m thinking I should do some more sorting out of my stash to give away some of the things which will never see the light of day otherwise. There are definitely some pieces which just don’t inspire me anymore, but might be just the thing for someone else. I would like to narrow down my stash so that it contains just fabric that I can’t wait to sew.

Mini mix-and match!

Early in the year I was inspired by Tilly from Tilly and the buttons and the cute little outfits that she had made for her new baby boy.  It inspired me enough to buy the Raglan Tee and Cuff Leggings from Brindle and Twig, so that I could have a go at making something for my bump to wear when they arrived too!  Given my self imposed pattern buying limit of 4 for the year, it did seem very selfless to be using it for someone other than myself (though I did decide that these patterns were so small that they counted as one outfit, instead of two separate patterns), and this is another of my make nine successfully completed.

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One of the things that drew me to these two patterns was that they both have amazing sizing scales.  Both go from newborn up to 6 years, so these are patterns that I will be able to use for years to come.  With that in mind, I had them printed in colour to make seeing all the different size lines easier, and then traced off the size 0-3m separately.  I generally use pattern paper from Amazon (like this), but I was pretty much out, so these got squeezed onto whatever I had lying around.

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It was really fun rummaging through my knit fabric scraps for different colour and pattern combinations, and seeing what I could squeeze out of various pieces of fabric.  The short sleeve piece, and the legging cuff are both great for little scraps too small to do anything else productive with.  I’ve used a few Girl Charlee cotton spandex plains to co-ordinate, though some of those pieces were scraps too.

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I still don’t know if we are expecting a boy or a girl, so I wanted to keep most things pretty gender neutral, and I really liked the idea of clothing that is able to mix and match so that when some of the outfit inevitably needs changing, I can just stick on any of the other pieces and it won’t look odd.

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I figured that by sticking to a fairly simple colour palate for each size range that I sew up then I should be ok there, so in the 0-3m I’m going for navy, blue and white.  I was inspired by Skirtfixation and the amazing co-ordinated child capsule wardrobes that she has put together using scraps too.

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That said, I did have a couple of more girly fabric pieces which were just big enough for these patterns, so I thought I would run with it anyway.  I have a couple of friends that are expecting in the next couple of months too, so perhaps this set will make a good gift when one of their little ones arrives.

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Sewing-wise, these patterns are brilliantly simple, especially when they can be whizzed together on the overlocker.  Some parts, like putting the cuffs on the leggings are a little fiddly, but that is only because they are so tiny!

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I do like playing with mixing and matching all the different combinations.  They look very cute!

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My only slight concern is that the neckband might be a little bit tight or small, but if that does prove to be a problem then I can just cut the current one off and install a slightly longer one.

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I haven’t been able to test any of these out yet for practicality in the real world, with an actual wiggling baby, but they are super cute so I’m hoping that they will get lots of use one little one arrives.

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Amber Dress

When I made my previous Amber Top for my holidays, I knew that I was going to want to make the dress version too at some point.  This dress was definitely also what I had I’m mind when I added this pattern to my make 9 list in January, so it feels good to have the plans coming together.

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This fabric was always intended to be a dress, though it has sadly sat in my stash for about two years waiting for something to happen!  I bought it with a Tilly and the Buttons Agnes Dress Hack in mind and I was also clearly inspired by Tilly in the fabric choice too.  Like hers, my fabric is from MyFabrics, and I have always liked how they send fabrics out labelled with a sticker which has all the fabric details on, including length, composition and washing instructions.  They don’t have this fabric any more, but they do have some other similar nautical designs which are really fun.

 

So back to the dress that I did actually make.  I found it much easier to put all the pleats and pieces together than when I made the t-shirt version, and I made sure to baste together some of the key seams with lots to line up so that nothing could get unintentionally caught in the overlocker this time!  The modesty panel is just plain navy cotton spandex from Girl Charlee because I thought it might be a bit much to have the print there as well, and now it just looks like a little vest top underneath.  I think it would be really cute sometime to make a dress or top with a little lace trim along the top edge of that panel too.

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One of my only issues with this dress is that the front waistband does get stretched quite a bit at the moment, now that the bump is getting bigger, and sometimes that does cause the white backing of the printed fabric to show through.  Probably most people wouldn’t notice, but it does annoy me enough to have to rearrange it slightly when I notice it!

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The only change I made from the pattern was to shorten the dress 10cm at the hem once it was finished.  I very rarely wear any dress length other than above the knee so I just knew I was going to be more comfortable with it a bit shorter.

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This dress is going to get lots of wear in the next couple of months I’m sure.  It looks great now with leggings and boots, and I know I’ll be able to wear is as the weather (hopefully) warms up too.  It should be a practical and comfortable post-bump option too.  I’m not sure how the front of the dress will hang without the bump, and I guess I might have to re-hem if the length isn’t quite right any more, but that is easy enough to do.

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It’s not often that Matt and I manage to get a picture of us together, so I thought I’d leave you with one just for fun.  A picture of our ‘growing’ family before it all changes in May!

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